Smallville: Upgrade

I think the episode should have been titled "Out of Control," or to keep with the Smallville standard of one word titles, "Control."

This was about John Corbin (Metallo) and Clark losing their ability to control themselves, mostly because of Tess and, unfortunately, Chloe. Brian Austin Green is an interesting choice for Metallo, but he might be a touch too sympathetic. Maybe it's because they pulled a complete reversal from the previous episode and gave him back his center of morality. It is of course better than having a mindless monster rampaging about.

But ultimately this worked on a number of levels. The dynamic between Lois and John didn't feel forced and actually made Lois a stronger character. She was willing to overlook his monstrous side and see him as a person, without being naive about it. And she finally admitted out loud that Clark was the 'One' for her. I also felt sorry for John. It was difficult to watch his honest acknowledgment that he could almost live a normal life with her. I could even believe if it weren't for Clark (and the Blur) she could've gone with him.

What was really surprising is the Zod plot didn't lose me this time. Maybe it was the long overdue return of Red K, but I was having fun with watching Zod finally get the acceptance that he has been asking for since his introduction to Clark. I felt a strange sort of sympathy for him when he realized that Clark was never going to join his side. Thinking of it that way, I can understand why he waited to give powers to his followers, but I think it was the producers wanting to use the fortress set for dramatic effect.

I was disappointed that we didn't have a Zod and versus Zod... cough... Jor El conversation in the fortress. Maybe they couldn't get Terence Stamp to do the voice over. Also for once I sort of liked the Tess plot. But I didn't like Chloe sinking further and further towards whatever dark side they have in store for her. I feel echoes of Evil Willow surrounding Chloe lately and it really doesn't sit right with me.

But back to the issue of control, everyone in this episode was trying to exert control over something or someone. Tess was trying to control Chloe, both Tess and Chloe took control of Metallo, Lois was trying to get control of the situation, Clark let go of his control and gained a new form of it, and John was trying to gain control of himself. And yet, they named the episode "Upgrade" even though nothing was upgraded. To add insult, Metallo was really just a plot device, used to save Clark. I think the character and the actor deserves more than that.

Bits:

Lois gave John a Red K heart. How much do you wanna bet that is going to cause issues in the future?

The Superman symbol of the wall of Watchtower was kinda cool. I almost wanted them to keep it there.

Lois and Clark can't even kiss now? Do the actors not like each other?

It was nice to see Chloe use her intelligence for a change.

Tess was finally used effectively, in an ambiguous supporting role.

It was cool that they brought back Metallo, he is the one villain this season that has worked. Well, he did. You can't really count him as a villain anymore.

& Pieces:

Chloe: "I should have known that Clark took a walk down the ruby red road. That's explains his lack of edit button."
Tess: "I thought Clark was only affected by green meteor. What's the red do?"
Chloe: "Basically it turns him to the bad boy every girl dreams of... in her nightmares."

Lois: "By the way, this is the least-secret secret lab I've ever been in... twice."

Chloe: "Clark Kent at the keyboard? Have I been downsized in the bureaucratic world of superheroes?"

Not as bad as last week's "Checkmate," but not quite up to the standards set by previous episodes.

2 out of 4 Red K Hearts.

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.

3 comments:

Jenny Malm said...

Love the review!
I liked many things in this episode, like making metallo more human and giving him a personality, wonder if he will come back.
I loved how Clark woke Lois up, now that is a good way to start your day :).
I also loved the Tess and Chloe team up.
What I didnt love, they knocked out Lois three times! In one episode! I really feel for that poor girls brain. Ok once or twice, but with this many times I starting to think that the writers just doing it for fun.
I didnt love that they made Clark lojack Lois and question her about truth and honesty. I was like, Clark, really?
I so dont want another Clark/Lana trainwreck!

Charles said...

Thanks for the review.

I liked the episode. But I don't understand when Chloe decided Tess should be told ALL of Clark's secrets.

Just because Tess knows Clark is a Kryptonian, doesn't mean she should be told about every different rock and how it effects him.

ChrisB said...

And yet, they named the episode Upgrade even though nothing was upgraded.

I took it to mean the bit at the end when the Kryptonians were all getting Zod's blood. Agree that it is odd to name an episode after a thirty second bit at the end.

My problem with Zod is how Callum Blue is playing him. Every word out of his mouth sounds as though he is trying to be seductive. I'm afraid all it does is completely creep me out, not frighten me.

And Chloe worries me as well. I hope the descent isn't too far, too deep or too long.