Smallville Review – “Vortex”

The second season of Smallville started off on the right foot, to say the least. Time to start talking about it.

Cast

Tom Welling as
Clark Kent
Kristen Kreuk as
Lana Lang
Michael
Rosenbaum
as Lex Luthor
John Glover
as Lionel Luthor
Sam Jones III as
Pete Ross
Allison Mack as
Chloe Sullivan
Annette
O’Toole
as Martha Kent
John
Schneider
as Jonathan Kent

Teleplay by Philip
Levens

Story by Alfred
Gough
and Miles
Millar

Directed by Greg
Beeman

Original Airdate

Vortex originally aired on Tuesday, September 24, 2002.

Synopsis

Smallville feels the aftermath of the tornado that hit in
Tempest.

High Point

Roger Nixon’s speech to Jonathan Kent. Not only is it word-for-word
the kind of speech that will be given by Superman’s supporters in the
future, but the delivery does a fantastic job of showing just how
slimy Nixon was.

Low Point

The resolution of the space ship aspect seemed like a cheap cop-out at
this point. Wouldn’t a craft that intelligent be programmed to
avoid such intense weather patterns?

The Review

There were a number of nice twists that helped this episode feel fresh
and original. Lana’s now suspicious, Chloe’s upset but will
get back to normal, Lex and Jonathan are on somewhat friendly terms,
Clark knows Lex has lied to him, and Lionel Luthor, now blind, has
made it to the opening credits, and presumably, every other episode
this season. Oh, yes, and the daring and risky operation that the
doctor’s performed was not successful. How often does that
happen on TV? I give it 5 out of 6, lacking only because of Nixon’s
predictable demise. (The method was surprising, but it was a question
of how and when, not if.)

The effects are better than a show with this budget should be
able to manage. Where do they get the funding for these things? The
only part that wasn’t completely believable was the demolition of
Lana’s truck. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story was a great way to finish last season’s finale,
apart from the opening spacecraft spot. It was incredibly well paced,
and had several lasting implications. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting is up to the same level we saw last season; Tom
Welling is competant but not fantastic, and Kristen Kreuk is inexperienced
but improving. Allison Mack, Sam Jones III, and Michael Rosenbaum
are all flawless, although Sam Jones III is still sadly underused.
John Glover didn’t really have a chance to turn in one of the magnificent
performances he gave last season. Finally, John Schneider and Annette
O’Toole are both very good in their respective roles. Unfortunately,
the only weak actors are in the two lead roles. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response this generated was excellent. It had
me going at every turn, and had me lunging for the “fast forward”
button at every commercial. It had surprises, and got the adrenaline
flowing. The scene between Chloe, Clark and Pete in the woods was
exceptional. This was a fantastic way to start the second season. I
give it 5 out of 6.

The production was incredible. The switching in the teaser
was fantastic, maintaining the pacing beautifully. The direction kept
up the pace of the script, which wasn’t easy to do. I give it 5 out
of 6, as some of the camera angles in the woods were not the best.
It’s probably the best they could do without cutting down the trees,
but it still showed on screen.

Overall, this was a fantastic way to kick off the second
season. Given the “krypto-freak-of-the-week” plots of the first half
of season one, and the number of threads they had to finish from last
year’s season finale, I’d say they did a fantastic job of tying things
together. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, Vortex receives 36 out of 42.

6 replies on “Smallville Review – “Vortex””

  1. dram says:

    Damn, I’m sorry that I missed it.
    I tried to get somebody to tape it for me but nobody had an empty tape. I hate to admit that I wanted Gilmore Girls taped too, but I hear it wasn’t that good so I’m not disappointed that I missed it. Hopefully I will be able to find it online somewhere so I can watch it.

    Anyways, I will make sure I buy tapes before West Wing and Enterpirze tomorrow.

  2. Alexius says:

    Allison Mack
    Okay, I Noticed She Was Kinda Cute At The Begining Of Last Season. By The End Of Last Season, She Was Quirky, And Alluring, And Very Cute.

    This Season, When she First Appeared, She Was Down Right Sexy. When Did This Happen? Maybe The Wardrobe Department Simply Got the Hang Of Her, But She’d Rendered Me Litterally Speachless. After Two Scenes Of Stuttering, I Finally Managed To ask ‘When Did She Become Sexy? Cute, Sure, But Sexy?’

    According To My Sister, BTW, The Answer is ‘Over The Summer.’

    Was I Alone here, Or Did Anyone Else Notice This Difference?

  3. pythor says:

    My thoughts…
    As far as the spaceship goes, I was under the impression that it was “looking” for Clark. Given that he was inside the tornado at the time, I can see why the spaceship didn’t try to avoid it. Of course, the logic of having an external key for the autopilot on a spaceship defies me.

    I was a little disappointed by the fact that we didn’t get to see the “I’m flying” epiphany. Clark runs into the tornado, next thing we see he’s in the truck. Maybe the effects budget was already maxed out.

    A couple questions for the Superman fans… I don’t follow the comics, but I believe in normal continuity Lex knows Clark is Superman, but Lana doesn’t. Do Chloe and Pete exist in the comics? Do they know who Clark is? Or does Smallville have no relationship to the comics, and glaring continuity errors all over the place?

    • fiziko says:

      Re: My thoughts…

      A couple questions for the Superman fans… I don’t follow the comics, but I believe in normal continuity Lex knows Clark is Superman, but Lana doesn’t. Do Chloe and Pete exist in the comics? Do they know who Clark is? Or does Smallville have no relationship to the comics, and glaring continuity errors all over the place?

      Pete and Lana are married in the comics, and Pete is Lex Luthor’s running mate in the Presidential election (which Lex won.) Chloe and Whitney were created for the show, although a lot of people confuse Whitney with the character named “Brad” in the first and third Christopher Reeve films. Lionel Luthor was killed by Lex at a young age in the comics, and he was a completely different person.

      Incidentally, the Smallville one-shot comic shipped last Wednesday, the 18th.

  4. Cerberus7 says:

    Good review, plus my thoughts
    Your review sums up my thoughts, mostly. I have an addition. The forest scene felt awkward to me, and there was WAY too much smiling for people in a crisis situation (i.e. Lana in the hospital). I don’t know why that bothered me. Anyhow, in the middle of frantically searching for Clark’s father, who may very well be dead, Chloe takes the opportunity to talk about their relationship?! What the hell?!

    Aside from that, great start for season 2. I’m looking forward to the rest!

    • antihero says:

      Re: Good review, plus my thoughts
      My only thought about that is, that, realistically, the writers knew they had to do SOMETHING with that situation between Chloe and Clark.

      And yeah, it felt a little weird to me as well, but if you’ve never been in a big disaster situation, you’d be surprised what you wind up doing to keep from barking. From a certain point of view, pursuing comparative trivialities like that is healthy.

      But basically, I think the writers couldn’t find anywhere else to shoehorn the encounter into the packed storyline. I’m very happy with the season opener.

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