Smallville Review – “Transference”

Lionel plays a big part this week, which is always a
good sign.

Cast

Tom
Welling
as
Clark Kent

Kristen Kreuk as
Lana Lang

Michael
Rosenbaum
as Lex Luthor

John
Glover

as Lionel Luthor

Annette
O’Toole
as Martha Kent

John
Schneider
as Jonathan Kent

Jensen Ackles as
Jason Teague

Allison Mack as
Chloe Sullivan.

Written by Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer.

Directed by James Marshall.

Original Airdate


Transference
originally aired on Wednesday,
October 27, 2004.

Synopsis

Lionel and Clark switch bodies. This proves
educational for both
parties.

High Point

The encounter during the riot.

Low Point

Lionel’s rapid mastery of Clark’s abilities. How
would he have gotten
the hang of them so much faster than Clark did?

The Review

The body swap is hardly an original story,
but this did serve
the ongoing story well, even if some aspects were
reset. I give it 4
out of 6.

The effects were well done in most cases.
We got a flash of
their heads in the first transference, a great
“through the mist”
shot, and even the lack of the effects shot that
usually precedes the
use of sensitive hearing, using instead a more
efficient close up. My
only complaint is that the leverage was obviously off
while lifting
the tractor. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story was well written. After an uneven
opening to the
season, we’re getting some quality stuff. I’m not
entirely happy with
Lionel’s final on screen conversation, but otherwise,
it’s looking
good for an overall plotline for the season. I give
it 5 out of 6.

The acting was very well done. It seems Tom
Welling can act
when he isn’t playing Clark Kent. John Glover is
always excellent. I
give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was very strong. I
definitely felt
compelled to watch, and can’t wait to come back next
week to see the
fallout. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production was the usual quality work.
A little more
variety in the lighting would have been nice, but I’m
otherwise happy
with it. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a good episode, that’s a nice
followup to an
appearance by the Flash, and a lead in to an
appearance by another DC
character. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total,
Transference
receives
34
out of 42.

20 replies on “Smallville Review – “Transference””

  1. LC says:

    Acting surprise
    I was downright astonished at Welling’s acting. This would have been an excellent performance from anybody, not on the “well, not bad for a non-actor” standard that I used to apply to him.

    But Glover actually disappointed me! I was expecting much more of a sense of helplessness and confusion and anger, and more importantly, he delivered only a few of the lines with Clark’s cadences and mannerisms. Welling actually out-acted him here. Of course, Welling had the advantage of far better writing for his lines, but still, if I’d tuned in during the middle, I’d have recognized almost instantly that Clark was Lionel, but not that Lionel was Clark.

    Just along the plot, it’s really straining disbelief that Lex doesn’t wonder how Clark is always right there to save him. The shooter in Metropolis, now right there in the penitentiary, as well as all of the other moments right in Smallville. I wonder if they’ll ever address that?

    • Babbster says:

      Re: Acting surprise
      I’ve always thought that taking shots at Tom Welling for his seeming lack of acting talent was unfair. Not only did he start off as an inexperienced actor, but he’s playing the mild-mannered Clark Kent and that’s not conducive to showing off one’s range. I think he’s done a good job of being the guy they’ve written for the show and he’s done good during the red kryptonite episodes (though I personally wish they’d never introduced red kryptonite) when Clark becomes more “interesting.” Christopher Reeve, for example, had the advantage of being able to play two characters, as well as the advantage of having an over-the-top nerdy Clark Kent written for him. Smallville’s Clark Kent is a little more realistic but he’s still a kid who’s been taught from a very young age to keep himself in check, for safety and for preserving the secret of his powers.

      Tom Welling is definitely not DeNiro, but I think he’s done a great job over the years with the material he’s been provided.

      • vanyel says:

        Re: Acting surprise

        I’ve always thought that taking shots at Tom Welling for his seeming lack of acting talent was unfair.

        I have to agree with this: he’s exactly what I would expect a young Clark Kent to be…

        • GrimSean says:

          Re: Acting surprise

          I’ve always thought that taking shots at Tom Welling for his seeming lack of acting talent was unfair.

          I have to agree with this: he’s exactly what I would expect a young Clark Kent to be…

          I think it’s partially because we all think we know what Clark should be like. Given how good Welling is as Kal-El, I’m starting to wonder if it’s him or the writing for Clark that we don’t like.

  2. obiwan says:

    Lois & Clark plot devices
    It seems Smallville keeps using plot devices from Lois and Clark. First Clark gets his powers transferred to that other kid (played by the Iceman actor), complete with kryptonite and high-voltage (the same device used in L&K). Now we have this. I remember a L&K episode where Clark and some bum switched bodies.

    • Trekkie says:

      Re: Lois & Clark plot devices

      It seems Smallville keeps using plot devices from Lois and Clark. First Clark gets his powers transferred to that other kid (played by the Iceman actor), complete with kryptonite and high-voltage (the same device used in L&K). Now we have this. I remember a L&K episode where Clark and some bum switched bodies.

      Yeah but that was his powers, not necessarily his entire essence of being and thoughts. Granted ‘it’s been done’ but it was done well. I enjoyed it a lot.

    • y42 says:

      Re: Lois & Clark plot devices

      It seems Smallville keeps using plot devices from Lois and Clark. First Clark gets his powers transferred to that other kid (played by the Iceman actor), complete with kryptonite and high-voltage (the same device used in L&K). Now we have this. I remember a L&K episode where Clark and some bum switched bodies.

      Yes, and worst of all, the whole character is quite reminescent of a story from the 1930’s! Down to the name of the characters and the powers of the hero!

      I really can’t see how would could be surprised/disapointed that they’re re-using the classic superman stuff in a show about superman.

  3. Cerberus7 says:

    My Favorite Non-use-of-plot-device
    I don’t recall any show I’ve ever watched that introduced a Deus Ex Machina, and then didn’t use it. Me likey.

    Of course, they’re probably saving that for later, but then it’ll be an established characteristic of the device, not just a big reset button.

  4. vekeller says:

    Water/Transformation
    So the symbol Lana has on her back is for water or transformation. Cool! She’s gonna change somehow. And might she have had relatives that were dealing with Kryptonians? Or maybe even some Kryptonian DNA in her?
    Seems like the race is on among Clark/Lex/Lionel/Bridgette to assemble the artifacts.
    Poor Clark – always something screwing over his life and relationships. The scene with Chloe hurt! Ouch! Obviously setting things up so he’ll have nothing left in Smallville at the end.
    Enjoyed the episode. :-)

  5. teamspam says:

    My low point

    Why couldn’t Clark tell Lex that the rock had a symbol on it from the caves and that Lionel had cave symbols all over his cell walls? Instead he pulled a “I don’t know” and Lex wondering if he’s being lied to.

    • cb says:

      Re: My low point

      Why couldn’t Clark tell Lex that the rock had a symbol on it from the caves and that Lionel had cave symbols all over his cell walls? Instead he pulled a “I don’t know” and Lex wondering if he’s being lied to.

      I think it’s safe to say he doesn’t entirely trust Lex. Also, I assume he doesn’t want Lex to find out what all the stuff in the cave really is.

      -cb

    • pythor says:

      Re: My low point

      Why couldn’t Clark tell Lex that the rock had a symbol on it from the caves and that Lionel had cave symbols all over his cell walls? Instead he pulled a “I don’t know” and Lex wondering if he’s being lied to.

      Remember that as Kal-el, Clark found the one artifact in Lex’s possession. I doubt that he wants to give Lex a lead on finding any of the others.

  6. y42 says:

    Clark Kent is an assumed identity, a mask
    If there’s one thing that’s been annoying me throughout the Smallville reviews here, its the constant “boohoo Tom Welling is acting all stiff waah wahh”.

    I’ve said this here before in a previous review, but again: He SHOULD act like he’s acting. Clark Kent is not his true self. His true self is superman. Whenever he’s being Clark Kent, you have to remember that its an alien superman acting as a human, conciously conceiling his true identity at all times. He has to restrain his movements, be carefull not to break anything or any bones, all the time. He’s supposed to look ackward.
    And the guy has the “hey, I’m invincible” smirk down. He’s playing it perfectly well if you ask me.

    As far as Lionel learning to use the abilities, yes, that was fast, but we’re talking about a sould exchange here, does that come with or without the learned motor controll in the cerebellum? I was surprised Lionel wasn’t breaking stuff and running around at light speed earlier, he didn’t know to controll himself. Or did he…he went from old, sick man to young, muscly farmhand, I guess he would be cautious, the old coyote that he is…

    • nkuzmik says:

      Re: Clark Kent is an assumed identity, a mask

      If there’s one thing that’s been annoying me throughout the Smallville reviews here, its the constant “boohoo Tom Welling is acting all stiff waah wahh”.

      I’ve said this here before in a previous review, but again: He SHOULD act like he’s acting. Clark Kent is not his true self. His true self is superman. Whenever he’s being Clark Kent, you have to remember that its an alien superman acting as a human, conciously conceiling his true identity at all times. He has to restrain his movements, be carefull not to break anything or any bones, all the time. He’s supposed to look ackward.
      And the guy has the “hey, I’m invincible” smirk down. He’s playing it perfectly well if you ask me.

      As far as Lionel learning to use the abilities, yes, that was fast, but we’re talking about a sould exchange here, does that come with or without the learned motor controll in the cerebellum? I was surprised Lionel wasn’t breaking stuff and running around at light speed earlier, he didn’t know to controll himself. Or did he…he went from old, sick man to young, muscly farmhand, I guess he would be cautious, the old coyote that he is…

      I had a similare discussion with one of my Lit professors after X-men came out. This is the same prof who taught “Comics and American Culture,” BTW. He mentioned that there was a lot to critzism against James Marsden’s portrayal of Cyclops. We just looked at eachother and shook our heads. for anybody who doesn’t know, Cyclops is a character who takes everything very seriously. As a result, he is very stiff. For many scenes in that movie, you could have substituted a redwood tree for Marsden for all the emotion that came through… but that is the character.

      • fiziko says:

        Re: Clark Kent is an assumed identity, a mask

        As a result, he is very stiff. For many scenes in that
        movie, you could have substituted a redwood tree for
        Marsden for all the emotion that came through… but that
        is the character.

        True, but he always could open up to Jean. All they
        needed was a scene with the two of them together alone to
        get that across. I’m not happy with Cyclops in the
        movies, but my complaints are about how he’s written and
        how rarely and poorly he’s used, not about how Marsden
        plays him.

    • UncleJam says:

      Re: Clark Kent is an assumed identity, a mask

      I’ve said this here before in a previous review, but again: He SHOULD act
      like he’s acting. Clark Kent is not his true self. His true self is superman.
      Whenever he’s being Clark Kent, you have to remember that its an alien
      superman
      acting as a human, conciously conceiling his true identity at
      all times. He has to restrain his movements, be carefull not to break anything
      or any bones, all the time. He’s supposed to look ackward.
      And the guy has the “hey, I’m invincible” smirk down. He’s playing it perfectly
      well if you ask me.

      Completely disagree. Clark isn’t an alien superman trying to act human.
      He’s a human who has recently found out that he’s an alien superman.
      Everything about Clark except his DNA is human. He was raised
      by humans and lives around humans and thinks like a human. His true self
      is Clark Kent. He never wanted his powers, he never wanted all
      the weirdness, he has only ever wanted a normal life with the girl he loves.
      We’ve seen several scenes since the pilot where Clark says something to the
      effect of “why can’t I be normal?” Superman is the assumed identity, Clark is
      his true self. He should act like a normal teenage boy who has a terrible
      secret to conceal, a secret that he wishes he could be rid of.

      Welling’s acting isn’t bad, I think. He acts like an awkward, unsure
      teenager, which is what Clark is.

      I’ll buy the “having to restrain his movement” thing to a point, but I think
      you’re overestimating the effect this has had on his life. We’ve seen little to
      suggest that Clark can’t control his strength. In fact, I think this was the first
      of his powers to emerge and so he would have the most practice managing it.
      Things like his heat vision and super-hearing, okay, I can see that he might
      have some problems controlling those powers. But his strength and speed are
      the two he seems to have the most control over.

  7. GrimSean says:

    Low Point
    I personally bought Lionel’s mastery over Clark’s powers. Clark has been charging up for the last four seasons, slowly gaining new powers, and the first time Lionel used one of the ‘new’ powers (heat vision, super hearing), it was reminiscent of how Clark did as well. Given the amount of control a person like Lionel would need to have over his emotions, it would probably be a snap for him to control the powers.

    Also, the fact that they spelled out his attraction to Martha with them was quite cool – I just wish they had made his eyes glow during the near-kiss with Chloe, or better yet had Lionel use a power Clark hasn’t activated yet, like superbreath to put out those flames.

    My low point was the end. Did Clark learn nothing from Bart last week? He used his super speed to get out, so why not use it to search the floor of the jail while he was there? I would think that if he were so concerned about the artifact, he would have grabbed it immediately.

    • Babbster says:

      Re: Low Point

      My low point was the end. Did Clark learn nothing from Bart last week? He used his super speed to get out, so why not use it to search the floor of the jail while he was there? I would think that if he were so concerned about the artifact, he would have grabbed it immediately.

      THANK you! When they showed Lionel’s hand empty after the exchange back to normal, I was so certain that we would get a shot of Clark smiling at him with the artifact in his hand. It seemed beyond dumb for Clark to leave the place with the possibility that Lionel still had it.

  8. Trekkie says:

    Oh yeah…
    I was glad to see that even with the passing of Mr. Reeve that they’re working in to continue the plot of a third entity working on getting the cave stuff.

    What was interesting to me now is that with the transformation thing in the hands of Margot Kidders character they could bring back Mr. Reeves character in a new body so to speak. While I would have loved to have Mr. Reeve in future episodes they could maintain the story arc with the loss of the main character. Just something that I thought of while reading the comments.

  9. mateo70 says:

    Transferenc e
    This was definitely a watershed episode. The writers used this
    gimmick to reveal more about the characters and further the plots.

    The scene in the prison riot was amazing, kudos to the director.

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