Smallville Review – “Reckoning”

No, I do not reveal who dies, though I expect the
comments will repeatedly. If you want to know before
comments are posted, watch the episode, or read this
interview
.

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

Erica Durance as
Lois Lane

Allison Mack as
Chloe Sullivan.

Written by Brian Peterson and Kelly Sounders.

Directed by Greg Beeman.

Original Airdate


Reckoning
originally aired on Thursday,
January 26, 2006.

Synopsis

Clark tells Lana everything before asking her to marry
him, and then
everything goes terribly, terribly wrong.

The confrontation in the barn was a close second.

High Point

The presentation of the funeral. No dialogue, and a
few different
individual “looks.” It did its job well from a
viewer’s perspective.

Low Point

The aspect that most hampered the enjoyment of this
episode was the
use of the funeral footage in the promotions. If
they’d only used the
accident, then the ending might have been something of
a surprise.
Instead, I knew the funeral was still coming. The low
point of the
episode as produced, distinct from the promotional
materials, was
Jonathan Kent pulling Clark away from the corpse. How
could he
possibly have enough strength to do
that?

The Review

This had some original moments for the
series, with the ideas
that Clark can’t save everyone, and that some death is
permanent. I
give it 6 out of 6.

The effects were, again, well done. The
accident that kicked
things off was remarkably convincing, while the
“glowing hand” was a
nice touch. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story was well written. I complained
about the funeral
footage in the promo, revealing that another death was
coming.
Jor-El’s comments revealed this as well, though it was
the promotion
that insured the death would happen this week, and not
some later
week. They managed to generate some doubt about who
it would be, but
the main red herring just wasn’t an option if they
want to be
consistent with any other version of the character
I’ve seen. Add in
the pillbox from earlier this year, and there was no
doubt about who
it would be. Still, this was an episode that marked a
lot of
permanent changes for virtually every character on the
show. I give
it 5 out of 6.

The acting was great this week. Everyone
brought their “A”
game to the table, particularly Rosenbaum, Schneider,
and Glover. You
could tell that the cast and crew were putting
everything they had
into this one, and they didn’t let us down. I give it
6 out of 6.

The emotional response would have been better
without the
reset. Had the first time through remained unchanged,
the
implications for departure from most versions of canon
and for Lex
would have been great to see. They did have some
excellent moments
after that, including the aforementioned barn scene,
but they still
ended up pulling their punches a little. I give it 4
out of 6.

The production was very well done, with great
lighting,
angles, and editing. Everyone involved was bringing
forward the best
they had. I particularly liked the sudden appearance
of the bus the
first time, and the slow build revealing the bus in
advance the second
time. They didn’t take the easy way out and just
reuse the footage.
I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this was a very good episode, and
definite high
point of the season to date. There are few episodes
this good in the
entire series, in fact. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total,
Reckoning
receives
39
out of 42.

10 replies on “Smallville Review – “Reckoning””

  1. hans says:

    Good, but…
    Might as well spoilertag the whole thing…


    I manage not to watch previews and try not to visit spoiler sites, but I knew that this was the episode where somebody was going to die. I figured it would be Lana or Jonathan, and though it may have been wishful thinking I was really hoping it would be Lana.

    Not that I don’t like Lana herself, but I have had it up to here with the Clark and Lana roller coaster. I’d really like to think that they’re separating for good, but even that I can’t honestly say I believe. Lana will be cold for awhile, Clark will be bummed and paranoid about telling her, but eventually he’s going to remember that she took it well and want to tell her and get back together. Here’s another half season of Clark’s inner turmoil, when they could be doing something good with him and Chloe. I like that Chloe knows, but I’m getting tired of Clark torturing her with his and Lana’s issues. Surely Clark is not that dense.

    The episode was good and well done, but I saw a few holes. First, how is it that Lex is alone and in casual clothes on election night? Could he really leave his party before it was over without seceding? Would Lex secede? Even if he had, wouldn’t we have known about it instead of waiting for the news?

    Could Lana have really gotten away from Chloe for so long? Why have chloe trailing her at all, then?

    What happened to Lois? That was before Lana didn’t die… was "fate" ahead of itself? On the plus side, might Clark realize he would have missed her if she had died?

    On the whole, a great episode. I just wish it didn’t leave us open for more Clark/Lana "drama".

    • Fez says:

      Re: Good, but…

      Might as well spoilertag the whole thing…

      Sounds like a good idea…

      I manage not to watch previews and try not to visit spoiler sites, but I knew that this was the episode where somebody was going to die. I figured it would be Lana or Jonathan, and though it may have been wishful thinking I was really hoping it would be Lana.

      I was hoping for this as well. Not really because I was getting tired of the current Lana arcs, but more because I’d hoped the lesson that Clark had to learn was that some things can’t be changed, and you have to live with them. It would’ve been even better if he’d been given 3 or 4 chances and each time Lana died some other way. Of course that also would’ve been a little too long for a one-hour show.

      I like that Chloe knows, but I’m getting tired of Clark torturing her with his and Lana’s issues. Surely Clark is not that dense.

      Yeah that keeps striking me as odd as well. Then again, who else can he talk to about that stuff openly? He sure won’t talk to his mom and dad about his sex life.

      The episode was good and well done, but I saw a few holes. First, how is it that Lex is alone and in casual clothes on election night? Could he really leave his party before it was over without seceding? Would Lex secede? Even if he had, wouldn’t we have known about it instead of waiting for the news?

      I took that to mean that all his supporters had only been supporting him because they thought he would win, and when he did not they switched to supporting Jonathan. That, and he may not have had a whole lot of campaign crew left after several of them turned up dead. :)

      What happened to Lois? That was before Lana didn’t die… was "fate" ahead of itself? On the plus side, might Clark realize he would have missed her if she had died?

      Fate wasn’t ahead of itself, but many things about the day had changed by that point. She had been in the room with Lois in that situation because she was still in shock about Clark’s confession/proposal. Though it is odd that nobody noticed her missing sooner.

      Jonathan will be missed, but that would have been a pretty major change to make to the Superman universe to have him survive too much longer.

      • karchie says:

        whose alive and who isn’t
        There is a comment here, just spoiler tagged it all.

        Jonathan will be missed, but that would have been a pretty major change to make to the Superman universe to have him survive too much longer.

        Depends on which Superman Universe.
        As I recall, in the original Superman world, both human parents
        were dead by the time Superman got to Metropolis.
        But the series got restarted in the mid 80’s and both
        Martha and Jonathan were, and last time I looked still are, alive.
        In the movies, Jonathan dies early on.
        And both are alive throughout the ‘Lois and Clark’ show.
        Don’t know about the ‘Superboy’ series.

        I think ‘Smallville’ is yet another seperate universe
        so anyone could have died. I would rather have Jonathan around than Lana.

  2. pythor says:

    Pulling on Clark…
    I’ve seen a numerous explanations for how Clark manages not to hurt people by accident all the time. This show seems to go with the idea that he deliberately limits himself 99% of the time. Unfortunately, that explanation leaves us with questions like how/why is he controling himself while Johnathan is pulling him away from Lana (also the whole woman-of-tissue-paper problem).

    I like better the explanation that Clark has to specifically concentrate to use any of his powers, other than invulnerability. Obviously he concentrates to use his super- vision and hearing, why is it different for speed and strength? Then you can say that he just wasn’t focused enough to pull away from Johnathan, and he can put his mind at ease about hurting his SO in a moment of passion.

    • Babbster says:

      Re: Pulling on Clark…

      I like better the explanation that Clark has to specifically concentrate to use any of his powers, other than invulnerability. Obviously he concentrates to use his super- vision and hearing, why is it different for speed and strength? Then you can say that he just wasn’t focused enough to pull away from Johnathan, and he can put his mind at ease about hurting his SO in a moment of passion.

      That explanation is certainly more convenient but it absolutely goes against nearly every incarnation of Superman down through the years (maybe the earliest S&S incarnation could get away with it). After all, how would he even find out he has powers if he had to concentrate to turn them on? I suppose he might discover the strength and speed the first time he exerts himself in those areas, but his other powers are just a tad counter-intuitive. Also, since a big part of his character is about using his powers wisely, it’s dramatically more effective that he has to keep a tight rein on himself for fear that he’ll accidentally hurt someone.

      I think it’s just as easy to explain Jonathan being able to pull Clark away by just saying that Clark was deeply in grief but not so deep that he didn’t realize it was his father pulling him; his father who has already been the victim of Clark’s strength (and his alien nature in general) many times and who he’s probably most afraid (apart from Lana) of hurting again.

  3. mjcohen says:

    Forced "Idiot Plot"
    The science fiction writer and reviewer Damon Knight coined the phrase "idiot plot" for a story in which the people (good and bad) act like idiots. IMHO, this episode qualifies.

    Of course, all the idiocy was driven by the plot requirements that (1) Clark and Lana could never get married, and (2) Lex will eventually turn evil.

    Really dumb elements:

    Lana leaving the victory party without telling Clark.

    Lex (as mentioned before) being alone and in casual clothes.

    Lois climbing up to get the snack.

    Jonathon leaving his own victory party to meet with Lionel.

    And the grand prize goes to ….

    Clark, when he gets a second chance, rebuffs Lana instead of doing as before but saving her instead.

    Also, Jor-El is pretty powerful for a dead guy.

    Also(2), when did Clark learn to fly? (I must have missed something while channel hopping during previous shows.)

    Also(3), how did the guy who got the mysterious picture in the earlier episode did? And why would he betray his client (Lex) just for more money from Lionel?

    Also(4), what is in the picture? Clark showing his powers, Martha doing a pole dance, …?

    Martin Cohen

    • Babbster says:

      Re: Forced "Idiot Plot"
      On flying: I think the question is whether he flew (which the producers/writers have been studiously avoiding) or jumped.

      On Lana leaving: She’s been pretty two-faced for a while now on the issue of secrets. She probably felt like a) she could close out her secret relationship with Lex regarding extraterrestrials and b) talking to Clark about going to see his father’s opponent in front of the public (specifically, reporters) was a bad idea.

      On Lois reaching: People do some pretty dumb things when they’re "trying" to "diet."

      On Lex alone: To me, this is the hardest to reconcile, though they never mentioned the margin of victory. If Kent really wailed on Luthor at the polls, it would be entirely in character for Lex to walk out on his own party; it would also be in character for Lex to cancel the party before election day if pre-election polling data revealed he had no chance of winning.

    • y42 says:

      Re: Forced "Idiot Plot"

      Really dumb elements:

      Lana leaving the victory party without telling Clark.

      "Honey, I’m gonna go away from your dad’s victory party to go hang out with his opponent, your former best friend and now bitter enemy with whom I’ve been spending a lot of time and having lots of secrets. BBL!"

      Clark, when he gets a second chance, rebuffs Lana instead of doing as before but saving her instead.

      Lana told him she couldn’t keep Lex from figuring out she knew something. He realised he couldn’t keep her safe if she found out, just like he feared.

      when did Clark learn to fly? (I must have missed something while channel hopping during previous shows.)

      He hasn’t. He just jumped real high.

      Also(3), how did the guy who got the mysterious picture in the earlier episode did? And why would he betray his client (Lex) just for more money from Lionel?

      Dunno how, dunno what it is, but guy with a gun gives you more money, you take it.

  4. Fez says:

    Cast pruning for the CW move…
    The recent episodes have made me wonder about this…


    They’ve gotta kill off all the old people before they switch networks, they’ll only want the young and pretty ones on The CW! If I were Lionel and Martha, I’d be watching my back…

    ;)

  5. GrimSean says:

    Spoiler-tag-o-rama
    Like above, yada yada yada…


    I loved this episode up to the reset (especially the look on Lex’s face when Clark showed up at the accident scene), but the entire second half of the show is exactly what is wrong with Smallville. Clark should have (as stated above) done everything exactly the same up to the party, then saved Lana – but instead we get stupid Clark who doesn’t ever use his powers.

    As to the death, well, I think I preferred the first one. I wasn’t sure about watching season 6 before and now I’m even less so. John Schneider was a big draw for me on Smallville (I grew up watching the Dukes), and although I should probably be pulling for Kristen Kreuk as a fellow Canadian, I don’t think she brought as much to the table as Schneider (there’s also the fact that I’m really, really sick of the Clark-Lana Rollercoaster of Love). I think that the show is going to be missing a key part without him, and I don’t think that what it needs is another dead father figure should they choose to keep him around or bring him back as a flashback figure.

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