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Thursday, November 11, 2004
Wednesday Night TV Round-Up
Smallville: Spell
Stephen DeKnight, what happened?!? How could your pen possibly turn out such a sub-part, unspectacular and on the whole lackluster episode of Smallville, especially in light of the fact that you used to turn out some pretty solid segments over at Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Could it be that without the genius that is Joss Whedon to edit your writing that it just turned out crap? Or maybe it was that this whole concept was half-baked and lame to begin with? I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Lana buys a witchcraft book off E-Bay (seriously, do they have an occult section?) and before you can say "Faster than a speeding bullet..." she's possessed by the witch, who eariler this season when she touched her tomb, gave Lana her amazing new tatoo. Witchy Lana goes out and turns Chloe and Lois into her fellow coven sisters and all hell breaks loose. Apparently Lana's coven wants to find the three stones--you know, the ones Lex and Clark have been all obsessed with this year. Which brings me to my first--what the hell?!? moment. I thought that the stones came with Clark from Krypton when he crashed to earth 18 or so years ago. Now, we're being told they might have been around since the late 1600's. Ummmm, sorry but I don't accept this bit of retro-continuity here. So, the witches take on Clark and can steal his powers. Luckily he get them back by touching the first of the three stones of power in the caves and defeats the witches by destroying the spell book and freeing Lana, Lois and Chloe. Oh yeah and did I mention that yet again people witness Clark being super and forget about it later?

After last week's great episode, this one was a huge step backward. I guess Smallville does want to be the new (late seasons) X-Files. Certainly they have they whole "dangle out some possible cool moments and then cruelly not address them in the next episode" thing down. I was waiting to get some explanation of why Lex did what he did in the last episode, but we got none. In fact, once again, continuity goes out the damn window. Last week, Clark says to Lex "I really doubt why we call ourselves friends and I don't need your or trust you", when Clark goes Risky Business on the Princeton visit, he goes running straight to Lex. No wonder Lex grows up to not take any of Superman's threats seriously...the man just can't follow through.

Lost: Confidence Man
Meanwhile, over on ABC, the best new show of the season only gets better with an episode that focuses on Sawyer. (Or at least that is what he's calling himself). Whereas Smallville could not end soon enough to put me out of my misery, I wanted Lost to keep on going and going and going. Wow, this episode was good. Shannon has asthma and has run out of the medication in her inhaler. Lucikly, her brother was smart enough to pack four more in his suitcase, which he hasn't found yet but suspects Sawyer has since the copy of Watership Down we've seen Sawyer reading was also packed in said suitcase. Jack and Sayid begin to take dramatic steps to get the inhalers back as Shannon's condition worsens--culminating in Sayid using some of the skills he learned as a member of the Iraqi Defense Force to try and torture the knowledge out of Sawyer. Let me just say, the scenes of Sawyer's torture were not for the squeamish, but damn if I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. Sawyer eventually gives, but he'll only tell Kate. (Big shock there!) Meanwhile, we learn bits and pieces of Sawyer's past, including that he was sleeping with some guy's wife and conspiring to swindle them out of a lot of money in an oil well scam. Now, let me say this--what I love most about Lost is that it plays on your assumptions and then, in one quick moment, pulls the rug out from under you. Early on, Sawyer has Kate read a note from a boy that Sawyer swindled, causing his father to kill his mother and then take his own life. So, you assume that this is where the flashbacks are headed--up until the point that it's revealed that the Sawyer in the note wasn't Sawyer but a man who did that to Sawyer as a boy. Sawyer saw himself going down the same path and walked away, but he's punishing himself and trying to get others to hate him because he hates what he's become. Could the island be some type of redemption potential for him and is he wasting it? Just as Locke has made the most of his opportunity, is Sawyer actually doing anything with his? Certainly here, he has the opportunity to do the right thing but instead exploits it in order to get what he wants--a kiss from Kate.

But along the way, we get some other good character work. Seeing how far Jack and Sayid go to get the information from Sawyer was rivetting, but it also made me wonder something. If it were, say Charlie or Sawyer, would they go that far to get the information? Also, have his actions here cost Jack some of the loyalty of his fellow castaways who looked to him as the leader? And is Kate really the moral center of the island?

I also loved seeing how far Charlie would go to try and get Claire to come to the caves was nicely done. Charlie's accusing Hurley of hoarding food was well done and a scene that we needed to see. And to see Sun contribute something while Jin stands off to the side brooding and looking accusingly was nicely done. All in all, this was another great episode of a great show. And next week only looks to get better. Man, I am going to suffer some major withdrawals when this show goes into repeats during December. I have not been this into a new show since I discovered Buffy the Vampire Slayer and 24 and I think we all know how obsessive I am about those two.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/11/2004 08:49:00 AM | |
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