Smallville Review – “Rosetta”

Christopher Reeve makes an appearance on Smallville. Oh, and some other stuff happens for the first 45 minutes.

Cast

Tom Welling as
Clark Kent
Kristen Kreuk as
Lana Lang
Michael
Rosenbaum
as Lex Luthor
John Glover
as Lionel Luthor
Sam Jones III as
Pete Ross
Allison Mack as
Chloe Sullivan
Annette
O’Toole
as Martha Kent
John
Schneider
as Jonathan Kent

Written by series Executive Producers (who adapted the concept for
television) Alfred
Gough
and Miles
Miller
.
Directed by .

Guest starring Christopher
Reeve
as Dr. Virgil Swann. Mr. Reeve would probably also
appreciate a plug for this
website
.

Original Airdate


Rosetta
originally aired on Tuesday,
February 25, 2003.

Synopsis

Clark finally learns something about his life before landing on Earth.

High Point

The slow integration of John Williams’ score into Mark Snow work. The
last 15 minutes worth of music was all John Williams.

Low Point

The set-up for the episode felt awkward. I sincerely hope they come
up with a good reason for the sudden change in behaviour of an
inanimate object.

The Review

This was somewhat original. The last few weeks have been all
about landmarks, and this one didn’t feel that big to me as a person
somewhat familiar with the traditional canon. Of course, the twist at
the end was interesting, but will probably not be met with enthusiasm
by fans of the comic book character. I’ve got to give them credit for
taking that sort of step with a borrowed property, so I’ll give it 4
out of 6.

The effects were sparse, which is good, as they weren’t that
convincing. The flying looked like a guy hanging from a harness, and
the heat rays from his eyes didn’t match up with where his eyes were
pointing half the time. I give it 3 out of 6.

The story started awkward, but began to fill out as the
episode progressed. Once the symbol hit the barn, things flowed more
naturally. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting was in good form this week. Tom Welling did a
decent job showing strain under the pressure of the mysteries of
Clark’s life. The other actors really took a back seat for most of
the episode. John Schneider and Allison Mack got a fair amount of
screen time, but the rest were really secondary. Once again, Pete is
barely in the episode. (I was hoping that learning the secret would
make him a more prominent character.) Christopher Reeve didn’t have a
lot of screen time, but he was definitely the center of attention for
all of it, due to a combination of talent, expectation, and importance
in the script. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response this week was fairly good. My only
real complaint is that I spent the first 45 minutes waiting for
Christopher Reeve to show up, so the earlier events didn’t really have
the impact they should have. Still, some of them did get through,
such as the choice of colours on the active key, the shape of the hole
that opened in it, Lex’s obvious and justified mistrust of Clark, the
first Torch scene with the nuclear family discussion, and the pan
across the group as they looked at the damage to the barn. The use of
the John Williams music was very effective, building with the less
recognizable Planet Krypton cues and moving into more familiar
territory as the scene progressed. The last scene packed quite the
punch, too. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production was excellent. Again, the use of the familiar
John Williams score for this episode earns big points from me. I
really enjoy the work Mark Snow has done on the show, and I think he
gave us the foundation for a new Superman anthem when Clark was
preparing to jump from building to builing in Insurgence, but
his wasn’t the score I grew up with, and it’s not the music I
immediately think of when I think of Superman. The pan across the
group looking at the barn was a very nice shot, as well. I give it 5
out of 6.

Overall, this episode felt like a bit of a let-down, but that
could be primarily because I had my hopes up too high. While I might
give it more credit watching the full season on a DVD release when
there are no more surprises, tonight I only feel it deserves a 4 out
of 6.

In total, Rosetta receives 30 out of 42.

13 replies on “Smallville Review – “Rosetta””

  1. y42 says:

    Kal’ El of Krypton
    I didn’t quite get what the ship was telling him at the end. Something about being a god amongst men (duh), and the rest I didn’t quite catch. Or what I caught didn’t warrant for the freak out.
    Although, maybe Clark’s been reading too much dragon balls…

    • Trekkie says:

      Re: Kal’ El of Krypton

      I didn’t quite get what the ship was telling him at the end. Something about being a god amongst men (duh), and the rest I didn’t quite catch. Or what I caught didn’t warrant for the freak out.
      Although, maybe Clark’s been reading too much dragon balls…

      I’m trying to remember exactly, but the gist of it was you will be a king among them with your strength, something like that.

    • Foeclan says:

      Re: Kal’ El of Krypton

      I didn’t quite get what the ship was telling him at the end. Something about being a god amongst men (duh), and the rest I didn’t quite catch. Or what I caught didn’t warrant for the freak out.
      Although, maybe Clark’s been reading too much dragon balls…

      I think it was the ‘Rule them wisely.’ bit that was weirding him out. The implication is that Jor-El knew what powers Clark would have on Earth, and expected him to end up ruling over humanity with them.

    • Alexius says:

      Re: Kal’ El of Krypton

      I didn’t quite get what the ship was telling him at the end. Something about being a god amongst men (duh), and the rest I didn’t quite catch. Or what I caught didn’t warrant for the freak out.
      Although, maybe Clark’s been reading too much dragon balls…

      I Loved How They Changed The Whole Concept From Jor’el just Trying To Save him, To Sending Him Someplace To Rule. Though Clark Did Comment He Might Be Reading it Wrong, And I Think That Was The Key. If You Change The Word ‘Rule’ To Help’, The Meaning Changes To More Of What Clark Will Eventually Be Doing.

  2. UncleJam says:

    Wow…
    I don’t really have much to say about this one except “Wow.”

    I nearly teared up when I heard the old theme there towards the end.

    It’s been a while since I actively read any Superman titles, but I seem to have a vague recollection of the “sent for conquest” thing at least being touched on in some previous story. Maybe in Man of Steel? Perhaps it was a possibility mentioned by Jor-El but rejected? Or am I dreaming it all up?

    Again, wow.

  3. GrimSean says:

    Messages from Beyond
    Well, it was a good episode, mostly because I spent three-quarters of it waiting for Christopher Reeve to show up (anticipation makes just as good a flavouring as hunger). I’ve heard rumours that it might become a recurring role for him, and I for one hope it does – a story about Superman without a Reeve in it just doesn’t seem right.

    Everyone is on about the message in the spaceship, I’m more concerned about what wasn’t in there – Fabric or a Blanket. It was always my understanding that that was where the Superman costume material came from. I was really hoping that we would get to see that nice big ‘S’ crest. I suppose it’ll show up eventually, I was just hoping that they’d throw it out with this episode as Christopher Reeve was there. I actually thought for a minute that that was what he burnt in the side of the barn, though it would have made a secret identity hard to hide later on.

    • Alexius says:

      Re: Messages from Beyond

      I was really hoping that we would get to see that nice big ‘S’ crest. I suppose it’ll show up eventually, I was just hoping that they’d throw it out with this episode as Christopher Reeve was there.

      It’s Almost There, Actually. The Shape Was What The Hexagon Opened Into, And Also, If You look At The ‘Letters’ That Clark Is Writing, The Symbol For ‘Son’ Was The Triangular Shape with An 8 In It (Think An S With A backwards S Overtop Of It.) Also, If You Look At The Smallville highschool Mascot, It’s A Crow With A Billowing Red Cape, And A Shield With An S On The Chest. We also Saw It Refrenced With The Museam Artifact That Alexander The Great (I Think It Was him) Wore. You’ll Also Notice I Apparently have Been Paying WAY To Close Attention. Excuse Me, I’m Going To Go get A Life. Wish Me Luck.

      • y42 says:

        Re: Messages from Beyond

        I was really hoping that we would get to see that nice big ‘S’ crest. I suppose it’ll show up eventually, I was just hoping that they’d throw it out with this episode as Christopher Reeve was there.

        It’s Almost There, Actually. The Shape Was What The Hexagon Opened Into, And Also, If You look At The ‘Letters’ That Clark Is Writing, The Symbol For ‘Son’ Was The Triangular Shape with An 8 In It (Think An S With A backwards S Overtop Of It.) Also, If You Look At The Smallville highschool Mascot, It’s A Crow With A Billowing Red Cape, And A Shield With An S On The Chest. We also Saw It Refrenced With The Museam Artifact That Alexander The Great (I Think It Was him) Wore. You’ll Also Notice I Apparently have Been Paying WAY To Close Attention. Excuse Me, I’m Going To Go get A Life. Wish Me Luck.

        Hey, you saved me the 5 minutes to type all that in : )

        And in a related matter, Reeve’s character was called “the man of steel” according to Chloe, and so was Clarck when he was running for president : )

        • fiziko says:

          Re: Messages from Beyond

          And in a related matter, Reeve’s character was called “the man of steel” according to Chloe, and so was Clark when he was running for president : )

          I think you meant to type “Man Of Tomorrow.”

    • UncleJam says:

      Re: Messages from Beyond

      Everyone is on about the message in the spaceship, I’m more concerned about what wasn’t in there – Fabric or a Blanket. It was always my understanding that that was where the Superman costume material came from.

      IIRC, that hasn’t been true since John Byrne revamped Supes in the late 80’s. I believe the current explanation is that his mother just sewed him a costume out of regular old Earth materials and some kind of aura protects it from harm. I think Martha (again, in Man of Steel?) mentioned at one point that once Clark started exhibiting powers as a child, his clothes never got torn, which would be the same effect.

      • antihero says:

        Re: Messages from Beyond
        That’s right, for a few millimeters out from his skin, there’s a protective field… that’s why you so often see most of his costume being pristine, while his cape’s in tatters.
        This would also explain why, on these long, how-do-I-explain-this-to-everyone runs from smallville to god knows where, his shoes aren’t ground into dust from the friction and stuff.

  4. jbrecken says:

    Scientist guy
    Maybe it’s just my desire to see more Superman-related characters on the show, but my spoiler-laden theory is that the anthropologist who got Kryptonian data uploaded into his head is going to come out of his coma as Brainiac. It sort of combines the post-crisis concept of Brainiac as an earthling possessed by an alien intelligence with the animated series concept of Brainiac as Kryptonian supercomputer. His last scene where they show the EEG electrodes attached to his head just clinched it for me.
    Hey, why not?

  5. kamil of toronto says:

    Jor-el’s reasons
    In the first few pages of the Superman: The Ultimate Guide by Scott Beatty (and illustrated by Jeph Loeb, the new consultant on “Smallville”), there is a picture of Superman shrouded in black, facing away, and on the opposite page it says that Jor-el sent his son Kal to Earth so that, and I quote: “On the third planet from the star known as Sol, the Last Son of Krypton shall rule and the Kryptonian civilization will be reborn.” Sound familiar. The twist at the end of Rosetta seems to be directly from that interpretation, but I’d never seen it in any comic or book until then. It seems to make sense, if I sent my kid away to a backward planet with superpowers, I’d expect him to run the show. But where’s the comic that first introduced this idea?

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