Monday, May 9, 2011

Review: Smallville 'Prophecy'

Last Friday, the second to last Smallville episode, 'Prophecy', aired. The episode, co-written by Batgirl scribe Bryan Q. Miller, moved the main storylines of Clark's ascension to Superman and Darkseid's incursion on our planet forward nicely. But the main draw for me was the conclusion of the Kara 'Supergirl' storyline.

The two words that I thought of as this episode ended were 'hooray' and 'whew'! Because Kara's story ends in a very upbeat way for her as a character. I was worried that she would be killed Crisis-style. I was really worried she would end up as Darkseid's vessel with the series culminating in a Superman vs. Supergirl battle. Thankfully, neither of those things happened. Instead, Kara gets sent away as a hero ... and in some ways that encapsulated all that has been wrong with this series, a series I will admit I have very much enjoyed these last couple of years.

Kara and Green Arrow are both separately hunting for the Bow of Orion, a weapon that was used in the past to vanquish Darkseid when he came to Earth before. The series knows it's audience know so the script is littered with references to Orion as the son of Darkseid, raised by a bringer of light. For those of us who know the New Gods, things like that are appreciated.

In an Indiana Jones like cave, riddled with death traps, Oliver finds Kara trapped by a forcefield tube. Solving the riddle on the walls, Oliver is able to free her. Together, they maneuver through the traps and are about to grab the bow when Kara is called away by Jor-El. So first off, this shows Kara in a very positive light, proactively looking for the one thing that can defeat the oncoming darkness.

In the Fortress, Kara talks to Jor-El. asking him why he called for her. He tells her that this time is Clark's time, that Clark needs to face the darkness and accept his destiny, and that Kara retrieving the Bow and aiding her cousin could actually derail Clark's path to glory. Jor-El also tells her that she has a strong will and doesn't need to listen to him any more but that he knows that Kara's destiny is in another place and another time.

In essence, he tells her to not be the hero and asks her to take off. She should leave and let Clark be the hero he needs to be. As a Supergirl fan, I loved this moment. Jor-El basically is saying that Kara has surpassed Clark. She is strong and strong-willed. She is about to save the day. Unfortunately that would upset the cosmic apple cart which has determined Clark needs to be the savior of the world.

But in many ways that's what is wrong with Smallville. Clark has kind of sleep-walked through a bunch of seasons and has never quite emerged as a great hero. Even these last few seasons, when he is anointed as the savior and is named the head of the League, he still hasn't manifested himself as a Superman-like presence. Now I will say that the last few seasons are light years better than the glum Clark we saw earlier in the show.

And with Clark never having asserted himself, the writers probably felt a bit stuck with Supergirl. She has time and again been shown to be outgoing, powerful, brave, and intelligent. How could they have Clark face Darkseid in the finale alone and defeat him if Kara is still kicking around? In many ways, Kara would be a better choice to fight Darkseid. Clark has almost been possessed once. So the easiest way to get around that problem is to send her away.

The show ends with Kara leaving without even saying goodbye to Clark (another of dysfunctional dad Jor-El's orders), donning a Legion ring, and heading to the future.

We have seen this destiny of Supergirl before, in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon. And kudos to blog-friend Gene who called this way way way back!

And let's face it, it leaves a Supergirl and the Legion spin-off or special out there as a possibility. Are you listening CW? We want it!

But I'll reiterate, despite her listening to Jor-El and taking off (a questionable act for a hero), Kara is treated pretty good in this episode, lauded for the hero she has become.

And she wasn't killed.

And she wasn't possessed, turned into the bad guy.

Hooray! Whew!

And Oliver? He can't get the bow because he is an unwitting agent of Darkseid. Granny Goodness shows up and incinerates the weapon.

The other plot is a well-worn comic plot with Lois given Clark's powers by Jor-El so she can understand what it means to be The Blur. There is a battle with the Toyman (who seems to have set up a Legion of Doom with glimpses of Solomon Grundy, Captain Cold, Black Manta, and Roulette sitting around a big table) who has created Starro sort of drones. That plot ends with Clark regaining his powers and Lois breaking up with him just days before the wedding. In a tear-soaked conclusion, Lois says she fears that the time he spends with her will keep him from saving others. She couldn't live with that. Ahhh .. .Smallville angst.

The truth is I really have enjoyed these last couple of seasons with the immersion into DC lore. And Erica Durance really plays a wonderful Lois. And Laura Vandervoort is just spot-on for Supergirl.

Now hopefully next week we'll see flight and tights! The Smallville finale is only 4days away!

Overall grade: B


Anonymous said...

Apropos of nothing, but when Smallville finally goes for the terminal dirt nap, will the "" finally simply vanish in a puff of smoke?
Okay, done wif da snarkage.

John Feer

Anonymous said...

Yup, we got lucky all right...:D
John Feer

valerie21601 said...

Let's hope Kara being sent off to the 31st century and joining the Legion is a good sign especially for her character in the comic book

So far, twice in the media, Kara has left to stay in the 31st century with the Legion. Personally I would love to see this Supergirl become a permanent member of the Legion and be written by Paul Levitz once again.

Jason said...

Great episode!! This was a fitting final farewell for Kara and for Laura Vandervoort.

Kara got to exit in a noble, heroic manner. We got to see her being noble and searching for the bow of Orion to help her cousin. And in the end we got to see her being heroic by giving up everything she knows on Earth, including being with her only family left, so that she can step aside and let Clark fulfill his destiny. We find solace in this by knowing that in doing so, she was also fulfilling her own destiny to become Supergirl by going into the future to join the Legion.

Seeing her say goodbye to Clark through the window and in her Supergirl costume was a touching, heartwarming moment. I wish she could have said goodbye to him in person. One final embrace between the cousins would've been a nice way to say goodbye.

It may have taken until her final episode, but Smallville FINALLY managed to do right by the character of Kara and by Laura as an actress. They FINALLY nailed her character.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, this episode left me disappointed. While I agree with you Anj that it was good that Kara did not end up dead or possessed, I was hoping that she would mop the floor with a villain from Smallville to Metropolis and back again.

Instead we see her play Tomb Raider with Ollie (who after three seasons still had to ask her if she was Clark's cousin) before being told by Jor-El to simply go away. We don't even see Kara and Clark in one scene together! Instead of KARATHARIS (thank you John Feer for coining that) we get a teary eyed "Good Luck Clark" as she looks in from the outside. I would have liked her last scene better if the Legionnairs from season 8 welcomed her to the future along with a green skinned Coluan making a cameo.

Overall, Lara Vandervoort gets an A+ for her portrayal of Supergirl, while Smallville gets a C for the weak storypoints and lackluster plotlines Supergirl had to suffer through.

If and when Supergirl appears on Young Justice, it would be awesome if Lara Vandervoort voiced her.


Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments.

I have to say that I was very happy with the ending of Supergirl's story, given the alternatives. And it was enough for me to overlook some of the odder parts of this episode.

And I do find it interesting that a Supergirl/Legion connection has been so prominent in both comics (recent Annual, cameo in Adventure, and even the Waid/Kitson run) as well as in other media like the JLU.

I do hope we haven't seen the end of Vandervoort as Supergirl. Even if there isn't a spinoff some sort of made for TV Smallville: Supergirl and the Legion movie would be fantastic.

Anonymous said...

GIVEN THE the catchphrase here!
But in the future there will come a time when our girl won´t be given the Cosmic finger if she does, and if she doesn´t.-
(without derailing the proverbial universal apple cart, of course (loved the methaphor!))
(sigh...) it Is hard to be a SG fan.-


Anonymous said...

I myself was disappointed with how Kara was treated in this epiosde.
Not to mention the appalling lack of screen time and the bare minimum use of her powers.

And, I've said it before and I'll say it again. Clark is a horrible hero and I'm sick and tired of better hero's and heroine's getting stamped on to build this pathetic man up.

One might say that it's his show and that's what the other characters are suppose to do. However, it doesn't make it any less sickening. All his undeserved praise have turned him into one of my least favorite character.

Anonymous said...

Tom Welling casts a spell on me, every time I watch Smallville.
He makes me very nostalgic for Dean Cain...


John Feer

Martin Gray said...

This sounds like everything I hate about Smallville - a great character being sidelined so that whiny, miserably, cowardly Clark can fulfil some non-specific Destiny. Admittedly, I watch only about two episodes a year, but that's because I cannot stand Clark.

So Supergirl actually leaves, mid-crisis, at the behest of computer Jor-El (I don't actually understand how a dead guy hologram can interact with the present day)? It's a case of 'my boy has a destiny, you might have one, bugger off and find it'?

I really can't see comic book Kara ever going along with that.

gman said...

Now we get a little Raiders of the Lost Ark in this episode. This season is like an homage to the best action movies. I love that Oliver is playing right into the prophecy and now we have hope of redemption for him. I think we all want to believe there is redemption available for us. Honestly I want to see these episodes again but I can’t save them on my DVR forever, it’s too many so I deleted them and now I’m just waiting for the Blu-ray to come out so I can rent it from Blockbuster in November. I got on a waiting list which is really cool about Blockbuster and I got my account free for 3 months with my DISH Network employee account too.