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Smallville review: Hostage - tasabian [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Smallville review: Hostage [May. 7th, 2010|09:37 pm]
tasabian
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Warning for spoilers and an absence of SQUEE inside.



Man, that first half hour moved like molasses.

While it was lovely to see Annette again, I hate hate HATE that Martha is the Red Queen. Working with Maxwell Lord cheapens who she is, her moral authority. Martha never had a problem lying: that's in character. Even looking away to protect Clark (as Jonathan and Martha coldly turned their backs on Lex in "Asylum") is in character. But actively hurting other people to preemptively protect Clark? No. It's offensive that her character gets sabotaged for one cheap reveal (which the promos gave away anyway.) And this episode, once again, made poor use of Gil Bellows as Lord.

S3's "Perry" holds a permanent place on my SV top ten. IMO, it's Smallville at its absolute best: sunny, sweet, Clark in a white t-shirt. I loved Perry the character which is maybe why this time, he seemed....subdued? I have never disliked a Michael McKean performance but he seemed so muted this time compared to his work in "Perry". Even "Great Caesar's Ghost!" came out rather flaccid. Part of the problem is the script, which was not exactly sparkling. (Wish Bryan Miller had written this one.) Maybe I just prefer Perry drunk, obnoxious and teasing Clark about gym mats.

Chloe: nice performance by Allison but really? That's it? A few tears, "I'm sorry", Clark's instant reassurance and this terrible plotline putters out? So what was the point of it?

Lois: Nice actions scenes & rapport with Martha, as always. Fun with Perry. But the Clois break-up is contrived and beyond stupid. Lois needs a sense of purpose, which she can't have with a boyfriend, but she apparently attains after hauling one guy to safety? Firstly, Lois is not an insecure character and doesn't need that kind of validation. She walks around pre-validated. Secondly, she has performed much more heroic acts this season than hauling Perry onto a roof so why is that such a pivotal moment? And ditching Clark because he's somehow holding her back? Bleh.

Clark: A lot of reacting to people, again. Tom looked so beautiful in the final scene. Some nice physical acting, especially the moment where he reaches for Lois and then draws his hand back. I wish we'd seen a some verbal sparring between Clark and Perry - Tom is awesome when he gets to be a little snarky and it might have sparked Perry back to life too.

On the plus side:
Annette does have fabulous legs!
Clark catching the falling sign was a nice stunt.
Perry, silhouetted in the doorway like Jonathan, was moving.
Erica did not let me down with mis-spellings or misplaced apostrophes while tweeting. Well done!
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: miss_tress
2010-05-08 02:19 am (UTC)
ois needs a sense of purpose, which she can't have with a boyfriend, but she apparently attains after hauling one guy to safety?
Well, recreating a Clark rescue with Kara appeared to affect Lex in a positive way for awhile so it seems to follow that doing the same with Perry would bolster Lois. *shrugs*

And I agree that I would have rather have the Momma Bear Martha without having her morals become such a dark gray.

As far as Chloe goes, I'm happy. That's how little I've been expecting from her lately. She said she was sorry and actually seemed to enjoy Clark's presence for once so I'm happy. The plot does seem like a waste but at least she's not making bitch faces at him all the time now.
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2010-05-08 04:36 am (UTC)
As far as Chloe goes, I'm happy. That's how little I've been expecting from her lately. She said she was sorry and actually seemed to enjoy Clark's presence for once so I'm happy. The plot does seem like a waste but at least she's not making bitch faces at him all the time now.
That's a positive way to look at it! And you're right. It just seems like such a waste of the preceding 19 episodes.

Well, recreating a Clark rescue with Kara appeared to affect Lex in a positive way for awhile so it seems to follow that doing the same with Perry would bolster Lois.
You know what else bothered me, that Lois and Perry's adventure amounted to nothing. They don't get a story out of it, just Lois's ersatz revelation that she can help people too, which she's already been doing all season. Like Metallo 2 episodes ago! Whereas in "Perry", Clark's rescue of Perry actually does precipitate a change in Perry's life.

I agree that I would have rather have the Momma Bear Martha without having her morals become such a dark gray.
And also the fact that there will be no follow up, as AOT has no plans to return to the show. So it's this dud plotline that just sits there.
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[User Picture]From: miss_tress
2010-05-08 01:17 pm (UTC)
I think the best way to sum it all up was that it was an episode 21. They've all kinda been like this. Acceptable but not anything amazing.

I think the biggest problem was pacing. It took half the episode just to get to the dinner scene!

Also, I'm curious to what Perry's been doing all this time. Because we know he used to be great then he had his dark patch but what has he done since to clean up and win back his reputation that the Editor would give Lois and Clark their jobs back just because he put in a good word for them?
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2010-05-08 05:09 pm (UTC)
I think the best way to sum it all up was that it was an episode 21. They've all kinda been like this.
Very true. It is a very typical second-to-last ep.

The big mistake IMO was to bring Perry & Martha back together. It diluted everyone's story lines. Perry should have come back solo for a Clois journalism story and Martha should have had her own separate Mom & Son-centric episode. I know they made Martha & Perry a package deal to lure AOT back but earnest, in-love Perry is not that exciting to watch for me.

I think the biggest problem was pacing. It took half the episode just to get to the dinner scene!
The pacing was dire and the episode seemed haphazardly thrown together, with the Tess scenes belonging to another episode.
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[User Picture]From: lonelywalker
2010-05-08 04:54 am (UTC)
Although the Red Queen is a big step away from the Martha Kent of the comicbooks, it doesn't seem so bizarre when you consider that she's spent years as a senator, and was best buds with Lionel. It's a similar point to the one Lois was making in this episode - do you stand around wringing your hands, or actually do something to save people? And I'm sure she can justify everything she's doing. No one actually got hurt. Of course that doesn't make it morally right, and it would be nice to see this storyline developed in S10, but I don't think it's OOC or a destruction of her character.

The script was... well, the farm stuff was beautifully written - for a stage play about four people with pasts and secrets. It really didn't work very well for an hour-long action show.

Perry broke my heart.

I have to agree that the Lois "character development" seems like something that may be instantly forgotten next week, like Chloe's plot.

Still, this was my first SV episode since Glover left, and I really quite enjoyed it. Possibly mostly for "I don't know why you need all these clothes. With my help you won't be wearing any..." ;-)
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2010-05-08 05:12 pm (UTC)
What boggled my mind was that AOT and MM who are charming separately and hilarious in interviews together had NO onscreen chemistry that I could perceive in this episode. She had much more chemistry with JG and JS! Yet there's no question they are besotted with each other in real life, and very cute about it.

I wish the plot had been Perry trailing Martha, trying to get a story - if they'd had a bit of antagonism ij the relationship, maybe there'd have been some sparks.
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[User Picture]From: lonelywalker
2010-05-09 02:41 am (UTC)
Well, I've seen them together in a Law & Order episode before, playing characters who hated each other, and they had wonderful chemistry. Soooo I'm putting it down to Martha being preoccupied with memories of Jonathan, and Perry being caught up in his story. But we also never had a scene between them, so it's hard to get a good grasp on their relationship.

That would've been a good one!
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[User Picture]From: foreverknightfa
2010-05-08 07:29 pm (UTC)

Martha as red queen

Two weeks ago when I commented the really idle thought in my head that MK was the RQ, I postulated that because I was wondering if SV was going to bring back AOT/MK. MK's absense as senator from the Kent farm where she missed Kara struck me as one of the holes in S8. But gee, I didn't actually think I could be correct.

Guess the SV brain trust must be leaking and the flow seeped into my brain for a bit. :-)

I do agree that Perry should have been a bit more stronger.
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[User Picture]From: jlvsclrk
2010-05-08 06:28 am (UTC)
I had many of the same reactions even though overall my opinion of the episode is quite positive. I was particularly disturbed at Martha working with Lord in the first place given his hatred for all metas, and then she apparantly had a way to knock him unconscious over the phone. That was pretty darned dark.

I thought the scenes with Clark and Martha were the highpoint of the episode, if only because like you said Perry felt a little flat this time around.
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2010-05-08 05:18 pm (UTC)
I thought the scenes with Clark and Martha were the highpoint of the episode, if only because like you said Perry felt a little flat this time around.
I wish they'd separated Perry's return from Martha's - he should have come back to the Planet in all his snarky glory. What was fun about Perry in S3 was the way he acted as viewer surrogate, mocking the characters - but with a sweetness underneath. Bringing him back as Martha's suitor deprived him of his snark: he likes Clark! He likes Lois! Everything is bland and positive.

I think it would have been much more fun for him and Lois to compete for story and clash. And that's how she gets her job back, by besting Perry White, not by him calling in a favour.

Would also have preferred to see Clark suspicious of Perry, giving Tom some comedy to play.

I was particularly disturbed at Martha working with Lord in the first place given his hatred for all metas, and then she apparantly had a way to knock him unconscious over the phone. That was pretty darned dark.
And Lord just kidnapped Lois a few episodes ago - did Martha know about that? Terrible use of both Martha and Lord, IMO.
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[User Picture]From: jwm_rocks
2010-05-11 02:02 pm (UTC)
Warning for spoilers and an absence of SQUEE inside.
Such a shame because an episode with the return of Martha and Perry should have provided SQUEE. Where the hell was the SQUEE?

All I'm saying is they better have saved all the SQUEE for the finale.

While it was lovely to see Annette again, I hate hate HATE that Martha is the Red Queen. Working with Maxwell Lord cheapens who she is, her moral authority.
It's not that she's the Red Queen that bothers me so much as the methods she employed during the episode. What she had done to Tess was lousy. If Martha would have "tricked" Tess into leading her to the book of Rao without the torture it would have been a lot more palatable for me.

I have to wonder what was going when Lord was probing Lois' mind. Was he virtually beating the crap out of her too? If so it kinda makes Lois' reaction during Charade more understandable.

Chloe: nice performance by Allison but really? That's it? A few tears, "I'm sorry", Clark's instant reassurance and this terrible plotline putters out? So what was the point of it?
And Watchtower was back up in a day. A day. Kind of makes Chloe's line about losing "everything" she worked for last episode seem even more ridiculous.

But the Clois break-up is contrived and beyond stupid.
Yep. In fact I found a most of the Lois stuff disappointing plot wise.
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