Smallville Review – “Recruit”

Wouldn’t a football themed episode have made slightly
more sense last week?

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 Jeannot Szwarc.

Original Airdate


Recruit
originally aired on Wednesday,
February 9, 2005.

Synopsis

Clark is being actively recruited by Metropolis
University, while Lois
is called to court after an assault.

High Point

Chloe’s dialogue and its connection to the Richard
Donner film. Very
nice touch.

Low Point

With exits like that, how does Clark expect to keep a
secret?

The Review

I have to give originality credit for a
decent excuse to
integrate Lois into the cast more fully. I also have
to credit Szwarc
for pulling back on the blatant feminism. This is
how it should be:
strong female characters who can hold their own
without belittling the
male characters. (I know that Szwarc just did the
opposite bias to
many past directors, but two wrongs don’t make a
right.) I give it 5
out of 6.

The effects were fairly limited this week,
but nicely done
nonetheless. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story had only one noticeable plot hole,
which might only
seem like a plot hole because I’ve underestimated the
investigative
abilities of some of the characters. Still, Melvin
was located pretty
quickly by two people who didn’t even know his name.
(He was referred
to by Clark only as “some other student.”) I give it
5 out of 6.

The acting was pretty good this week, as
well. Tom Welling
is getting more natural all the time, as the
character he plays is
getting more and more confident. Kristen Kreuk does
a decent job of
playing mad, which was most of her limited screen
time this week. I’d
prefer to see the Luthors take on a more prominent
role again, though,
since Rosenbaum and Glover are two of the best actors
on TV, and they
play so well off of each other. I give it 5 out of
6.

The emotional response was moderate for most
of the episode.
It wasn’t until the final act break that I really
started to see the
long term effects come out. Before that, the scenes
with Chloe were
really the only ones that worked well for me. I give
it 5 out of 6.

The production was considerably better than
I’ve come to
expect from Szwarc. The output seems great when it
lacks the personal
feminist signature. (It worked with
Supergirl to some
degree, but it came across so strongly in Szwarc’s
last episode that
it interfered with the story.) This story was
allowed to tell itself,
using numerous outdoor locations for shooting without
looking like a
low-budget cost cutting plan. (In fact, shooting
outdoors in this
much rain would cost considerably more than usual.)
The subtleties
with Chloe and Clark’s conversations worked very well
with the editing
and camera choices, too. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a strong episode. I don’t
mind the odd Freak
of the Week, especially when the fallout has lasting
repercussions. I
give it 5 out of 6.

In total,
Recruit
receives
36
out of 42.

9 replies on “Smallville Review – “Recruit””

  1. Babbster says:

    Best Thing This Season
    Chloe’s new knowledge has already proven to be the most interesting character development of the season. If they can keep it subtle and fun like it was last night, it should make for a lot of good scenes to close out the season. As a side note to that, in response to the review, I think it’s nice that they can finally have some fun with Clark’s entrances/exits again besides the traditional back turn, “huh?” Pete’s been gone for a while now and some of those moments were pretty cool (despite the fact that the writers never seemed to have a handle on how to keep Pete involved and interesting).

    On the specifics of this episode, the Lana/Jason/Mrs. Teague (I’m ashamed that I can’t think of her first name – BAD geek!) situation is going in a potentially interesting direction. Hopefully, dealing with Clark’s non-kryptonite weakness should provide some fresh fodder for the season finale.

  2. y42 says:

    Damnation: I missed the first half
    But the last bit, aside from some level of “whuts going on, I’m confuseledated” on my part, was damn good. Especially, like you said, the Chloe-hints-at-Clark moments.

    blatant feminism. This is how it should be: strong female characters who can hold their own without belittling the male characters.

    OMG you’ve just hit, smack on the head, my biggest pet-peeve/universal low point of the last… 20 years of TV and movies!

    <rant>
    The “girl power” crap, where they can’t write a believable strong woman, so they just write a bunch of looser guys and go “girls are the best, yay girls”. Examples of which being the T3 movie (why, exactly, is THIS robot a “she”, and no an “it”, like the previous two? Remeber that the T-1000 also turned into both men and women, yet was an “it”), and the Simpsons episode that first aired on a march 8 where Lisa discovers that girls are smart and boys are dumb (the Simpson gene)… that was retarded.

    And since when I start ranting on this subject, the automated reaction is to go “OMG you are teh mysogin!!1!”, I shall name the perfect example of a WELL DONE strong woman: Lewis, from Robocop. They don’t say she’s strong, they SHOW her being tough. And her strength isn’t based on diminishing the guys around her, she’s just a bad ass. Verhoeven did it again in Starship, with Dizzy (although in the book, Dizzy is a guy…). Sure, Zim ends up smacking her around, but she’s the only one of the recruits who had the “balls” and the skillz to actually get a good punch in. She was still girly at times, but she pulled her weight around the boys like nobody’s business.
    It CAN be done right, it just so rarely is.
    </rant>

  3. vanyel says:

    Too convenient
    Although I thought it was well done, it really struck me that it was way too convenient for another football superhero with hidden powers recruiting Clark and inadvertantly teaching him how much fire he was playing with. It would have been much stronger if it wasn’t superpowers, but just a normal, talented guy, being corrupted by the excesses of popularity, maybe with some strong incentive for Clark to use his powers in a way where he could see where he was headed down the wrong path. A reminder by his parents of what Red Kryptonite Clark would do might help him see his error…

    I do like the way they’re handling Chloe’s knowledge, except it needs to be toned down or we’re never going to believe that Clark won’t figure out she knows. Unless they plan on him figuring it out fairly soon — he should already have a pretty good idea about it just from this episode. But he’s always been way more blatant about his use of things like the instant exit than he could really get away with, so it’s something I just put up with since the rest of the show is so good.

    • Babbster says:

      Re: Too convenient
      I actually think that Chloe can make many more comments such as she did last night and Clark could still delude himself into believing his secret is still secure. Keep in mind that he’s kept this secret from Chloe for years despite the fact that she had previously, actively, investigated him. Since she no longer seems to be chasing down his secrets, it would be easy for him to believe that she’s accepted him at face value again.

      • y42 says:

        Re: Too convenient

        I actually think that Chloe can make many more comments such as she did last night and Clark could still delude himself into believing his secret is still secure. Keep in mind that he’s kept this secret from Chloe for years despite the fact that she had previously, actively, investigated him. Since she no longer seems to be chasing down his secrets, it would be easy for him to believe that she’s accepted him at face value again.

        I can actually see a good exchange in my head of “I know you have kryptonite powers Clark” “I don’t Chloe I swear”… because, he doesn’t. ;-)

  4. vanyel says:

    Good strong ending
    I forgot to add that I thought they really did a good job of making us feel what Clark was giving up at the end.

  5. karchie says:

    A Superman moment
    In this episode, Clark made a decision about his future.
    Something about the way he did it and what it cost made
    me think that this was a moment (maybe there will be more)
    when he became Superman. Because it’s not really the powers that make Clark Kent Superman, there are plenty of powerful heroes in the comic book world. It’s his sense of duty, of right and wrong (and which side he is on) that makes him unique.

    I also liked the way Lois called him ‘Smallville’, a nickname from the comics.

  6. spikeskaemo says:

    kinda convienient, where’s pete?
    I don’t know if it’s just me or what but has pete been gone? I either have a very bad memory or am a bit psyco cause i can’t remember him. Plus kinda a convienance that Lois is there. of course clarks going to save her. she was paralysed but she could still see. i thinkn i would be a bit suspicious of the door just flying off. And chloe come on just tell clark you know already. obviously he’s too thick headed to get the humongo clues you’ve been throwing around.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: kinda convienient, where’s pete?

      I don’t know if it’s just me or what but has pete been
      gone? I either have a very bad memory or am a bit psyco
      cause i can’t remember him.

      He left at the end of last year.

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