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Smallville: Noir

Jimmy: "I figured you could use an escape from your real-life soap opera."

So "Gardenia" was just a cigarette case. Can you say "rosebud"?

Even though this was not my type of episode, it was a lot better than I expected. The diffused black and white photography, backlighting and rear screen projection, fog and cigarette smoke in every frame, the old movie music, and Lana as a total femme fatale in the literal sense were all skilfully done without completely descending into camp. I mean, if you're going to do something like this, go whole hog.

And Lana is lot more believable in the femme fatale role than she used to be. The noir melodrama continued into the regular sequences, too, with Lionel manipulating Lana and Lana spying on Lex, and so on. I'm still a little confused about exactly what was going on there. But for me, the whole episode was worth it just to see an adult Clark Kent as a reporter with slicked back hair and horn-rimmed glasses doing the clumsy routine. He was even an undercover cop with a thing for Lana, which wasn't far from the truth.

Lionel appears to have gotten a haircut while he was in the hospital recovering from the last episode's near fatal injury. Funny how he looks just fine already. And Lana ended up back in Smallville Medical Center, again. She should have a locker there or something.

Bits and pieces:

— The dream sequence took place on May 3, 1940. Wasn't Superman created in 1938?

— Jimmy shot Lex, and the cops pulled up literally a second later. If only life were that simple.

— Dream sequence Lex had both Lana and Lois.

— Everyone was smoking. In fact, there was so much cigarette smoke that this episode should be condemned by the American Cancer Society.

— After what seemed like an extremely long absence, Lois returned. And she even sang like a forties chanteuse. Was Erica Durance doing a movie all this time? Or were they just completely focused on Lana?

— Another comic book sequence. Yawn. But if all this is to eventually promote some future, live action Justice League, I can put up with it.

— Car crash with Lex versus train, and a glass window in a door at the Daily Planet got busted. Two points.


Jimmy: "Am I the only one who thinks it's weird that she was wining and dining with Daddy Warbucks instead of Lex?"

Jimmy: "I didn't peg you as the kind of guy with a secret identity."
Clark: "And you're never gonna."

Paps the bartender: "Poor sucker. Dames is poison."

Three stars,

Billie Doux had a love-hate relationship with Smallville, which is why some of her reviews are briefer than they should be.


  1. I love this one. It always amazes me how fantastic the entire cast look in their 40's roles -- especially Lois who was gorgeous.

    And, what's not to love about Clark actually being cool?

  2. Delightfully, the "Daily Planet" sign shown on the building exterior in the dream sequence is an often-used establishing shot from the classic George Reeves "Adventures of Superman" series.

  3. May 3rd was the actual date that this episode aired back in 2007. As for the 1940 significance, while it is true that Superman debuted in Action Comics in 1938, the Adventures of Superman radio show debuted in 1940. Since the radio show introduced the character of Jimmy Olsen, and since this episode was Jimmy Olsen in the spotlight, the reference most likely refers to his birth year.

  4. I thought this episode worked particularly well. Lana channeling Veronica Lake was over the top, but over the top in a way that totally worked, making me feel like Kristin Kreuk would have been totally at home in 40's noir films. It was great fun.

    Sometimes when I really don't like a cast member on a show, it's because they're simply in the wrong role, and maybe that's the issue with Kristin Kreuk. I remember when Marina Sirtis had to masquerade as a Romulan intelligence officer, she was much more compelling than she ever was as Deanna Troy.


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