Smallville Review – “Abyss”

I actually had time to watch this on the night of the broadcast this week. Next week has the last new episode for some time.

Cast

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 Holly Henderson and Don Whitehead
Directed by Kevin G. Fair

Original Airdate

Abyss originally aired on Thursday, November 13, 2008.

Synopsis

Brainiac is slowly working its way into Chloe’s mind, eliminating her memories in the process. Soon she is left with the memory of one individual only, and it’s not whom you might expect.

High Point

Clark’s conversations with Jor-El.

Low Point

The resolution seems a little too pat, particularly given what happens next.

The Review

Once again, the episode that doesn’t feel original is one that sets up important status quo changes for the future. Oddly enough, the last time we hit an episode that didn’t feel original was when we had another plot about memory loss and manipulation. I give it 2 out of 6.

The effects were, oddly enough, more realistic in Chloe’s mental world than outside of it. The breaking ice looked a little too pat, and didn’t fall with the right acceleration to look realistic. This was a small point; the larger points with Chloe’s memory did look good, and they wouldn’t have been easy. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is logically consistent, and it has implications for the rest of the series. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting was well done, particularly from Mack. This was an episode in which she had to show some strong emotions and hide others, and that was all done convincingly. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response wasn’t bad. I was curious about how it would end, even if I wasn’t particularly concerned about how we got there. I give it 4 out of 6.

The production was solid. This has never been an issue for the series. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a decent episode that sets the stage for future episodes well enough. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Abyss receives 29 out of 42.

6 replies on “Smallville Review – “Abyss””

  1. nitefallz says:

    Inconsistency?
    I don’t remember season one that much, but were Clark and Chloe friends at such a young age? I thought they didn’t meet until high school?

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Inconsistency?

      I don’t remember season one that much, but were Clark and Chloe friends at such a young age? I thought they didn’t meet until high school?

      The pilot episode revealed that Chloe grew up in Metropolis and moved to Smallville after her mother left, so she’d arrived more recently than the others, but they definitely already knew each other. I don’t remember if they specified how recently she’d arrived, but that moment seemed like they were a bit young to me, too.

      • hans says:

        Re: Inconsistency?

        I don’t remember season one that much, but were Clark and Chloe friends at such a young age? I thought they didn’t meet until high school?

        The pilot episode revealed that Chloe grew up in Metropolis and moved to Smallville after her mother left, so she’d arrived more recently than the others, but they definitely already knew each other. I don’t remember if they specified how recently she’d arrived, but that moment seemed like they were a bit young to me, too.

        I’ve only watched things once, but I don’t remember anything indicating they wouldn’t have known eachother for some time before high school. Plus, the little girl did an outstanding young Chloe.

  2. Mandroid says:

    Deja Vu
    Chloe’s memory erasure sequence reminded me of Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Especially the moments when she finds Clark and drags him into another part of her memory to avoid deletion by Brainiac. It was well done and I enjoyed the effects but not entirely original. Plus seeing the faceless Jimmy kind of gave the creeps. Bravo. :)

  3. Dave says:

    timing
    Isn’t "halfway through the eighth season" a bit late in the show to fundamentally rewrite a major character? :confused:

    • madhack says:

      Re: timing

      Isn’t "halfway through the eighth season" a bit late in the show to fundamentally rewrite a major character? :confused:

      Well, she never appeared in the comics until after the show began, so I guess it provides a good way to start de-emphasizing her character. That helps cement the lessons Clark is supposed to be learning about hiding his identity, and it gives him a little more pathos: if the change sticks, she’ll probably drift away, because she doesn’t have any reason anymore to put Clark above her own fiancee, etc.; if it doesn’t stick, she’ll undoubtedly feel betrayed.

      It’s probably also not unreasonable to think that Allison Mack may be interested in leaving the series, but that’s pure speculation on my part. If she’s getting the same itch to move on that’s taken most of the rest of the original cast, though, then they’re well-positioned to make it happen.

      Also keep in mind that there’s a new writing staff, so I won’t be surprised if this effectively ends up being a retcon. It does remind me somewhat of the things Manny Coto tried to do when he took over Enterprise (like explaining why the Vulcans in that show seemed so damned un-Vulcan).

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