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'Smallville' - 'Checkmate' Recap

by Brad Trechak, posted Apr 10th 2010 1:03AM
Smallville(S09E15) I'm usually pretty critical of 'Smallville,' but tonight was a darn good episode. Pam Grier's character of Amanda Waller, taken straight from the comic books, showed the right amount of menace (albeit a bit comic book-y). The interaction between Tess, Oliver, Chloe and Clark kept my interest. There was even a new mystery relating to whomever Jonn is working for.

If there were any downsides to the episodes, they were minor and revolved around Tess. Her character seems all over the place and has had too many different roles in her history. First, she's Luthor's pawn, then she's a bad-ass corporate CEO, then she's in bed with Zod, then she's a Checkmate agent, and now she's a rogue agent with a price on her head. The writers need to decide who she is and be consistent about it. Or maybe the inconsistency is part of her character. But that gets a pass since the rest of the episode worked so well.

They must have spent half the special effects budget for the year on the first ten minutes of the episode and another third on the remainder. The action sequence at the end that showed Clark rescuing Chloe using only still pictures was particularly clever.

There is irony on many levels at having Amanda Waller be the White Queen. I'm going to leave it at that.

I really hope that the new player in the game (either the Red King or the Red Queen. I didn't see the piece that clearly) is not something the writers are going to pull out of their ass later. Most likely, that is who Jonn is working for. I'm kind of hoping it's Luthor.

This storyline is very familiar for those who've watched the 'Justice League Unlimited' series on Cartoon Network. The government sets up a special agency due to their distrust of super-powered individuals that they can't control. Still, it beats the whiny relationship drama of previous seasons.

There is no way the Oliver/Chloe relationship will last. He's just too unstable when it comes to those things. Consider, he's already slept with the three major female cast members of the show at this stage.

Rogue Checkmate agent Tess now knows both Clark's and Oliver's identities. That could be fodder for getting back into the good graces of Ms. Waller. It's kind of silly for a government agency like Checkmate to kill their own agents, but it's 'Smallville' so once again it gets a pass.

A likely ending to the season would be Zod giving powers to the rest of the Kandorians and Clark unifying every other power he can find to stop them, including the Justice League and Checkmate. Then there will be a three-second final battle as there was with Doomsday.

More Superman foreshadowing: when Amanda said to Clark "I liked it better when your colors were more patriotic." Clark's even starting to wear more black in his civilian identity.

Those that read the comics know that Jonn has a weakness for fire, but since when is Tess afraid of heights? You'd think that considering everything she's been through since her start on the show, heights would rank low on the things that scared her.

Overall, it was a very well-written and exciting episode. Looking forward to seeing Metallo again next week.

[Check out free episodes of 'Smallville' at Slashcontrol.]

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Moog

My problem is how did Tess not already know the members working for Watchtower, and that Oliver was the Green Arrow. In s9e13, Persuasion, Chloe does an overhaul of Watchtower's security measures to find Tess had planted all sorts monitoring measures within Watchtower.

April 16 2010 at 9:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nick Ross

ok ima noob
some comments ive written not posted
some rewritten and posted twice
arrr

this is my last post on this episode and my 2nd time writing this comment so if it shows up twice please ignore
wanted to respond to orignal post...

" There is no way the Oliver/Chloe relationship will last. He's just too unstable when it comes to those things. Consider, he's already slept with the three major female cast members of the show at this stage. "

I respectfully disagree, I think they are great together! She will keep him in check and give him what he needs from a woman and he will show her that its ok to throw caution into the wind from time to time and just have fun. If they do seperate it will be her dumping him (not to rag on oly. Chloe has always been my favorite and im happy to see her happy...hope it lasts. When was it infered that Oliver and Lois slept together? as in sex? sorry dont think so =D His relationship with tess was a long time ago (safe assumption though them two being on an island n all).. he only hopped into her bed that one time as a distraction and he was let down hard by tess anyway. He wrecked himself out of guilt , guilt which he wouldnt have if he wasnt a good guy. Chloe went to extreme measures to snap him out of it, if he doesnt marry her he is a fool...

" Those that read the comics know that Jonn has a weakness for fire, but since when is Tess afraid of heights? You'd think that considering everything she's been through since her start on the show, heights would rank low on the things that scared her."


what makes you think she was scared? more like startled. She knew he wasnt going to drop her, she chose to tell him, shes always trying to get into his good graces. She just got done shooting @ zod knowing he has his powers.... put the green rock on em then took it off... Dude she was curly from city slickers in a past life the girl is hardcore. If she didnt want to tell him ..."what are you going to kill me cal el" woulda been all she would have had to say.

correction from earlier the choking comment threw me off a bit... he doesnt choke her at the top of the building just threatens to drop her and slams her into a wall...the episode where he was trying to find jorel (clone) he grabs her by the neck and lifts her in the air. I imagine that her ability to breath was impared by at least some degree by someone elses hands on her throat AKA choking. Overlooking the episodes of supermans brutality towards women while under the influence of pixie dust/silver kryptonite...the images of clark kent roughing up the ladies still remains....food for thought smallville writers.

" If there were any downsides to the episodes, they were minor and revolved around Tess. Her character seems all over the place... "

I couldnt agree with you more... that part of the story is losing integrity b/c she has so many roles

" There is irony on many levels at having Amanda Waller be the White Queen. I'm going to leave it at that."

oh no no no no
please do tell...and please tell me it has nothing to do with skin color... sounds like im missing alot there, am aware of cartoon network series only caught the one episode (luckily "the one") where amanda waller made some "rich boy" comment to batman... pretty much figured out what was going on from that 5 minute scene but still missing alot of that story. now pam grier white queen irony yes shes more of a black panther =D but that thought didnt enter my head until just now.

ok im out!

April 13 2010 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nick Ross

agreed
clark/superman never (used to) inflict pain to get the information he needs ( thats what americans do right?)
infact him and batman got in a fight over that once in one of the cartoon movies many years ago
this superman reminds me of the evil clone lex made in the recent doomsday movie (yes i still watch cartoons)
Hint: hes a reporter when does he start investigating to find out what he needs instead of just threatening people with his powers ? it can be written so there is more than the option of of superman choking out a woman that he's hanging off a building
i mean equal oppurtunity womens rights etc. a woman should be equally accountable as a man but
superman = chivalry
same thing with batman
think about how much abuse catwoman had to give him before he would even defend himself
you just dont rough up the ladies bro
not cool

April 13 2010 at 10:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
green_arrow

I thought this was a spectacular episode. The past couple have not been, so this was a step in the right direction for me. I am very curious with who the red piece was from. My thoughts are either Martha Kent or Lex Luthor. I can also sort of see maybe Bruce Wayne/ Batman. I mean Manhunter with the whole detective thing and then Batman. idk just a thought. It's probably very unlikely though because I don't think they would add bruce wayne to smallville because it is a superman thing, not a batman thing. but whatever the turnout, I really wanna see luthor make a return.

April 11 2010 at 7:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
joesocwork

This is the first episode I saw this season after a very sorry season 9. And the biggest problem I had with season 9 was exactly Trechak's problems with this episode: inconsistency with the characters, and I mean all of them(!) as if throughout the year the writers completely forgot what they scripted 1-3 episodes earlier. But this was a good introduction back. The opening scene was classic comic book action, there was no teen/20 something angst, and Clark was a steely hero even if he is still not Superman yet.

April 10 2010 at 9:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Edward

so who is the Red Queen? it doesn't seem to be from established comics...

Smallville is at its best when it revolves around its source material

April 10 2010 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Edward's comment
Oracle

One possibility for the Red Queen could be Valentina Vostok (formerly Negative Woman of the Doom Patrol). In the Checkmate comic, she replaced Waller as White Queen. This could be a power play between the Intelligence side (White) and the Operations side (normally Black, but could be redone Red due to Vostok's Russian heritage).

April 17 2010 at 1:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JaySin420

Great episode, maybe the Manhunter is working for Hawkman? (not sure how the red fits in though)

April 10 2010 at 3:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to JaySin420's comment
Joe Nickel

Mars is the red planet.

April 10 2010 at 5:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JaySin420

Possible Red Queen spoilers below.


----------------------------------------------------------

Ok I just read somewhere that the red queen is most likely............Martha Kent!

She's already been announced to return at the end of the season, she has a powerful job in the government, she's a redhead, and it would make sense that she's been using the Manhunter to keep tabs on her son.

April 10 2010 at 6:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Philip Harlon

I watch smallville now out habit...I wouldn't miss it if it was cancelled but watch it every week when its on.

I miss Luthor and Tess is just sad at this point. but I hate to say it this episode was pretty good.

But they never strive for excellent anymore, its always just OK, I don't re-watch any episodes and rarely tell others about it.

April 10 2010 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ac

I've finally manages to catch up with this season online...

-Every time Clark needs answers from Tess, he chokes her. Not very Superman-y but then again who doesn't want to choke Tess from a skyscraper?

-If season 10 starts off with Checkmate v Zod's Army v Justice Leaugue, and the 2 winners become the big conflict next season, then I will be happy to tune in. But something tells me Pam Grier wouldn't want to be a regular on a CW show.

-The Clark rescuing Chloe sequence was incredible use of slow motion. I loved LOVED the comic book cell look of it.

-I'm back to watching Smallville full time. Hopefully nothing will go wrong now.

April 10 2010 at 10:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ac's comment
Nick Ross

Agreed!
Clark/Superman never (used to) inflict pain to get the information he needs (thats what the CIA does right?)
Infact superman and batman got in a scuffle over that once in one of the cartoon movies many years ago and that was when batman was ruffing up a dude!
Im all about equal oppurtunity
but im not letting go of chivalry just because a woman can be my boss
superman = chivalry meaning a girl can hit you but you cant hit em back (or something like that & has something to do with opening doors too i think) I mean restrain a female if shes slipped out of gear but dont ever hurt em! and especially dont choke em out while hanging them off a building!?
Hint: hes a reporter, when is he going to start investigating instead of strong arming ppl with his abilities?
it can be written so there is more than the option of choking tess
this clark kent reminds me of the superman clone lex made in the recent doomsday movie (solid telling of doomsday story btw deviation from comic's nominal & not a factor for me.....davis bloom saga.... im still recovering)


April 13 2010 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
comphipps@aol.com

I too really liked the episode. One big problem I have with the series as a whole is Clark's knee jerk reaction to every situation, as shown when he blazes off into action before even hearing Chloe's offer to help him. Also, it was nice not to see Lois in the episode, it seems half her lines seem to include her breathessly sighing "the blur". Not to mention the fact that Clark seems to act more like a love struck 13 year old than a twenty-something whenever she is around.

April 10 2010 at 9:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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