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Smallville s10e14 review

REVIEWS - TV

Clark gets dorky at last, as issues of identity come to the fore...

Smallville - 'Masquerade'

"Masquerade"

Sin is 'in' these days, in Metropolis. The darkness is spreading across the town thanks to Darkseid’s prophets, and those who can’t be converted will be destroyed. The path to Hell on Earth is being paved, and it’s left to The Blur and friends to stop it. But there’s something else that Clark needs to prevent: his identity getting out. It would be easy to say that this wasn’t a strong episode, but that’s only because the last few episodes were so incredible. There are some really great moments in this week’s entry. Lois admonishes Clark for popping up on the internet in viral videos from around the world, worried that he might be identified. And she worries for good reason, because Bert the forensic photographer tells him that although the video was blurry, it really resembled Clark. And he just compounds things when he catches Bert as he steps into a manhole. And out on a date incognito, Oliver and Chloe take someone else’s reservation at a restaurant. But when Oliver gets a distressed phone call from the man’s wife, the two are pulled into a mystery involving the FBI. Both their problem and Clark’s murders lead to Desaad, owner of an S&M club, and prophet for Darkseid. And worse, he takes Chloe as his next disciple.

There are some very powerful moments in this episode, which examines what it would take for someone to allow the darkness to take hold. Chloe is subjected to a test of wills, being tempted by all seven deadly sins. All she has to do is say okay, and she’s one of Darkseid’s followers. But in the end, she holds her own, not allowing Desaad to have the upper hand. It was a fitting outcome, since we’ve seen Chloe in some dark places in the last few seasons, and we never really get satisfactory explanations for some of her actions. It’s nice to see that she couldn’t be branded by the darkness. Unfortunately, in the parting shot of the episode, we find that Oliver wasn’t so lucky.

Another scene I just ate up was when Clark accepts that he needs a “mask”. This comes after Lois attaches a hood to his Super jacket, and gives him shades to wear (he immediately rips the hood off, with a look of disbelief at her actions). He explains to Lois, however, that Clark Kent is just a name, and in reality, he is The Blur. He pulls a pair of glasses out, and decides that Clark will become the wimp we all remember him to be: slouching, eyeglass wearing, bumbling. He even bumps into an intern, who immediately begins to tell him off, before realizing it’s Clark, and starts to apologize. Yeah, we all know the glasses aren’t really going to fool anyone, but it has to do with the mannerisms of each character, and how they present themselves. And as far as I’m concerned, it was an awesome moment to see him don the glasses and get one step closer to being Superman.

The theme of being strong enough to fight the darkness or being susceptible to it is an interesting idea, and one that is more adult than we have seen in previous seasons. While Brainiac, Zod and Doomsday were formidable foes for different reasons, Darkseid may prove to be even more so, because while Clark has always been such a moral character, he still has some issues, and we don’t know just how far he can be tempted.

The little bickering moments between Oliver and Chloe add a bit of levity to the dark theme of the episode, and are kind of nice. We also get to see Chloe start to accept that she can be in a relationship and not have it define her. Chloe has become a wonderful character, having gone from chirpy high school paper reporter to mistress of all things technological. And this episode gave her some real growth, and showed her true strength.

I will say that I’m a little disappointed that we’re only about eight or nine episodes away from the finale, and we haven’t seen Darkseid outside of the shadow figure in the season opener. I would like to see a real confrontation between him and Superman before it’s all over. Especially since Lex will return for the finale, and I think there should be a lot of time spent setting up the future of Lex and Superman in that episode. I have faith the writers will make all of our dreams come true. This was another fine episode of Smallville, and it looks like they’re just going to get better.


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