Smallville Review – “Toxic”

Three weeks into the new season, and we’ve had the third solid episode. My hopes for the rest of the season are starting to climb.


Tom Welling as Clark Kent
Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan
Erica Durance as Lois Lane
Aaron Ashmore as Jimmy Olson
Cassidy Freeman as Tess Mercer
Sam Witwer as Davis Bloome
Justin Hartley as Oliver Queen / Green Arrow

Written by Caroline Dries
Directed by Mairzee Almas

Original Airdate

Toxic originally aired on Thursday, October 2, 2008.


Oliver Queen is poisoned, and he specifically asks not to be taken to a hospital. In his delirium, he has flashbacks revealing his origin to the audience.

High Point

I’m a sucker for origin stories, particularly in that moment of decision, where the hero makes a conscious decision to make the world a better place. The combination of dialogue and timing for that moment in this episode are both excellent.

Low Point

Question: If a marine biologist knows about the toxin, why wouldn’t the hospital?
Answer: The logic comes from outside the story to force the character dynamic they’re looking for. There is no logic for this within the story.

The Review

This is somewhat original for the series, bringing in a fairly accurate adaptation of Green Arrow’s origin. (The broad strokes are correct, though the finer details have changed dramatically.) We also get a glimpse of the reason Tess Mercer was chosen to follow Lex Luthor as an adversary. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects were nice. There aren’t many we haven’t seen before, though this is the first time I can think of where Clark tracked his superhearing while moving, which looked pretty darn great. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story works if you ignore the first five minutes. The reason given to keep Oliver out of the hospital simply doesn’t hold up, but once that decision is made, the rest of the episode works well. Still, that’s a pretty big elephant in the room. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting was stronger from Kennedy than it has been so far this season. The cast work together as well as they ever have, but a couple of casting decisions seem to be based primarily on appearance rather than talent. Durance does well enough when she doesn’t need to show strong emotions, but those scenes just don’t hold up the way they should. Hartley was pretty convincing in those scenes, but his cast members weren’t. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response was strong, for the most part. Like I said, I’m a sucker for origin stories, and the alterations made to this one help keep things well integrated with the current state of the series. It’s a pretty enjoyable episode. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is solid, with nice editing, great sound design, colour temperatures that give the flashbacks a unique feel, and other such typical high quality we’ve seen from the crew. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a pretty solid hour. The problem with the premise is a big one, but the rest of the episode overcomes a lot of that problem. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Toxic receives 32 out of 42.

2 replies on “Smallville Review – “Toxic””

  1. Toxic Plant

    Question: If a marine biologist knows about the toxin, why wouldn’t the hospital?

    I had thought she knew of the toxin because it was there on that island, and the leeches just happened to work. She could have seen that he was injured by the plant, and might have put two-and-two together. If it was a rare plant only found on that island, it’s possible that knowledge of its deadliness might not be widespread.

    That said, I did wonder why she didn’t just suggest they find some leeches to toss on him, unless that would have taken too long.

    There are still some holes in that theory (how did they know the exact time it took to kill someone?) but it is somewhat plausible.

    Overall, I think it was a good episode. I, too, have raised my hopes a little based on the first three episodes, but only time will tell if that is a mistake. :)

    • Re: Toxic Plant

      Question: If a marine biologist knows about the toxin, why wouldn’t the hospital?

      I took it that Oliver knew if he went to the hospital, they would treat him for a very common problem that his symptoms matched, like they did for the throw-away girl, and that the treatment they’d have used would have killed him quicker. Since he wasn’t awake enough to convince the hospital staff he was really poisoned by a rare flower, and not something they see every day and raving like anyone with the fever would be, he figured he’d be safer in his office.

Comments are closed.