Smallville Review – “Skinwalkers”

Lionel Luthor is starting to compete with Spike for the title of “greatest character on television.”

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

Story by Mark Warshaw. (I hope that’s the right one.)
Teleplay by Brian Wayne Peterson and Kelly Sounders.
Directed by Marita Grabiak.

Original Airdate

Skinwalkers originally aired on Tuesday, November 26, 2003.

Synopsis

A cave containing a myth about a visitor from the stars who will have the strength of ten men and be able to shoot fire from his eyes is found under the site of the next LuthorCorp building.

High Point

Any scene with both Luthors. I will watch anything and everything that has Michael Rosenbaum and John Glover sharing screen time. Both characters are fantastic, and the actors have wonderful chemistry.

Low Point

Clark’s discovery of the cave was much too convenient.

The Review

This felt like an original episode. We’re starting to lay some of the groundwork for the future version of the past. We also seem to have learned why a part of the ship was so easily detachable. This episode tied into a lot of what we’ve seen and what we’ll expect, but did it in a way so natural that we didn’t get the “beating you over the head with a brick” feeling (such as the Warrior Angel conversations), but the material wasn’t so subtle that people not familiar with Superman would miss it (such as Chloe’s placement of her pin, which is reminiscent of Ursa’s placement of her police badge in Superman II). Also, this is a portion of the Superman myth that I haven’t heard of from comic fans, although it’s still mostly consistent with what I know of the series. (Perhaps Jor-El took a closer look at Kal-El’s future home than I remembered, but apart from that…) I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects consisted of stock footage, some interesting “lupis-eye view” footage, a long drop, and a morph. All of these effects were very well done. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story was, for the most part, very good. The opening event was unlikely enough to bother me, and I’m not a big fan of cliffhangers that are almost unrelated to the rest of the episode, but otherwise, this was a very good episode. Yes, we’ve seen the “main character misses the obvious” problem before several times, but this time the character in question has a very plausible reason to blind himself to the possibility in question. Once the cave was introduced, the episode ran with a pretty tight plot and some great dialogue, especially from the Luthors. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting was very good from most of the cast (including Kristen Kreuk!) Tom Welling was good, but not great. Tamara Feldman, who played Kyla, was not bad. However, since she doesn’t even have an IMDB entry yet, I think it’s safe to say that she’s pretty good for an actress with so little experience. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced in me was almost entirely positive. (I’m sure there are some serious Superman fanboys who blew a gasket, though.) Once again, the negative portion was the low point. I know it sounds like I’m dwelling on that, but frankly, those four or five seconds were the only parts that really bothered me. I liked the rest of the race; it’s the only kind of race that Pete can win against Clark without one of them holding back. The Luthor scenes were great, and the cliffhanger was effective. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production was excellent. The sound in the scene when Lionel was alone was perfect. The teaser made me feel like The X-Files was still on the air for a few minutes. The cinematography in the morphing shot was beautiful. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this was an excellent episode that belongs in sweeps week, and may form a cornerstone for the series. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, Skinwalkers receives 37 out of 42.

7 replies on “Smallville Review – “Skinwalkers””

  1. GrimSean says:

    Smallville Goodness
    And this, my friends, is the reason that Smallville is still on the air while Birds of Prey is being cancelled.

    I’m hoping that we’ll eventually get an episode that will focus entirely on the Luthors, with Clark playing the back-up character for once. In my mind, that would be (if done well) the epitome of what this series is striving for.

    Does anyone think that they’ll ever find that hexagonal bit of the spaceship, or do you think that it’ll stay lost until the end of the series? (I vote for lost)

    • Alexius says:

      Re: Smallville Goodness

      And this, my friends, is the reason that Smallville is still on the air while Birds of Prey is being cancelled.

      I’m hoping that we’ll eventually get an episode that will focus entirely on the Luthors, with Clark playing the back-up character for once. In my mind, that would be (if done well) the epitome of what this series is striving for.

      Agreed. Clark’s Interesting, but It’s Lex’s Character That REALLY Makes The Show. I’m Much More Interested In His Journey Over To The Dark Side.

      Does anyone think that they’ll ever find that hexagonal bit of the spaceship, or do you think that it’ll stay lost until the end of the series? (I vote for lost)

      I Remember Lex Having It, And It Being Stolen During Tempest, Then The Reporter having It, Then…

      Well, Then I Don’t Remember.

      Also, I Have a Memory Of Seeing An Old (Read: 4 color) Comic, Saying That Kal-El Wasn’t The First Kryptonian To Leave Krypton. They Showed Jor-el Exploring And Testing his Shuttle, And Finding a World with A Yellow Sun. He Saves Someone Or something From Someone Or something Else, Then Goes Home. Anyone Know What I’m Talking About? (Besides Having Some Of That Lovely Flavored Crack?)

      • fiziko says:

        Re: Smallville Goodness

        I Remember Lex Having It, And It Being Stolen During Tempest, Then The Reporter having It, Then…

        The last we saw of it, a lightning bolt knocked it out of the ship. It should still be in a corn field somewhere.

    • y42 says:

      Re: Smallville Goodness

      Does anyone think that they’ll ever find that hexagonal bit of the
      spaceship, or do you think that it’ll stay lost until the end of the
      series? (I vote for lost)

      I vote for Lex paying people to go around every inch of smallville
      with metal detectors looking for “archeological artefacts”. He just
      got a government contract to manage the archeoligical site, he can
      use that has a profit-making cover-up for his pet project.
      Hmmm…perfectly legal mastermind : )

      BTW, I’m a bit confused about the Lex/Lionel buisness relationship
      right now…did I hear it right, it seems to me like there is now both a
      Lexcorp and a Luthorcorp, wich would fit really nicely with the
      “self-made man” theme that Lex is supposed to embody.

      Oh, and isn’t that spaceship-key octogonal? I can’t seem to find a
      picture of it online…

      • GrimSean says:

        Re: Smallville Goodness

        Oh, and isn’t that spaceship-key octogonal? I can’t seem to find a
        picture of it online…

        Hexagonal, Octagonal, it’s a difference of two…. but I think you’re right. My bad.

    • pythor says:

      Re: Smallville Goodness

      Does anyone think that they’ll ever find that hexagonal bit of the spaceship, or do you think that it’ll stay lost until the end of the series? (I vote for lost)

      According to spoilers on another site(which I can’t remember the name of), it will show up again in 3 episodes.

      A Google search turned up http://www.kryptonsite.com .

  2. waii_hui says:

    Skinwalkers sucked
    I don’t understand why you ranked Skinwalkers so highly. It was just another lousy episode. for a much much better review, look at:
    http://smallville.tnmc.org/smallville210.shtml

    Every one here should read that article. I agreed with everything that article said. Kyle felt like she’s another Lana, and ho ho both their named sound alike. the writers of the show really need to use more creativity in plotting. the ending was too sudden, and left too many loose ends in the story. the last scene seems to be the same for every episode for some reason..lana+clark together saying something meaningful. ah who cares anymore, it’s all very redundant.

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