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October 6, 2015

'Smallville' - 'Upgrade' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 17th 2010 2:01AM
'Smallville' - 'Upgrade'
(S09E17) Five episodes left in this ninth season, so General Zod needs to start putting together whatever his endgame plan is going to be. Steps were definitely taken toward that this week, but first we got the return of one of Superman's deadliest foes: Metallo.

It's always nice to see Brian Austin Green, and he's actually quite effective in this role. I was a little disappointed in how quickly they were able to re-establish his character in whatever way they needed him for this week, but I'll forgive it because it was so much fun seeing almost everyone else turned on their ears.

Checkmate and The Wall took a break from intimidating everyone and pushing Tess around, which freed Tess up to make an unexpected alliance. Also missing from the fun was Green Arrow, but there was plenty of action without them.

I know fans of 'Smallville' have been on the fence about Tess since she showed up as a sub-par replacement for Lex Luthor, and I've kind of had to agree with them. She's never been as cool or as menacing as him. The twist of her being an agent of Checkmate, albeit a reluctant one, is a nice character angle, but I don't know if it's enough to make me stop hoping that she's the major character who bites the dust this season.

I wouldn't mind Zod sticking around into the tenth season to continue being a super-powered thorn in Superman's side -- oh sorry, the Blur's side. After those closing moments, he'll be but one of many super-powered thorns in the Man of Steel's side. It's about time we got some payoff to this "army" of Kandorians traipsing around Metropolis.

I was a little surprised that Zod revealed himself to Clark when he did, but he must have sensed that something was different about our boy in black. He couldn't have known about the red Kryptonite exposure (does he even know what it does to Clark, and, presumably, himself as well?), so he must have really been hoping that Clark was finally coming around to his way of thinking.

It was a clever way for the writers to get Zod into the Fortress of Solitude and start to build a relationship between the two. I think Clark's later explanation to Chloe about how it was an unconscious desire to reach out to the closest thing to real family he has at this point when he connected with Zod was very revealing about the depths of Clark's loneliness at times. Yes, the red Kryptonite was compelling him to take things much further than he otherwise would have, but that's kind of what the red does. It lowers inhibitions and makes him Extreme-Clark!

This evolution of Metallo into a sympathetic character, who's now a Kryptonite-powered Iron Man, is a bit odd ... and convenient. I guess someone liked how Green turned out in the role, and how cool he looked with that glowing chest, but they didn't want to him to be just another foe for Clark to pummel again and again. After all, true foes tend to die around Clark in 'Smallville.'

Instead, he's now a sad and lonely guy who's got a mad crush on Lois ... which is a great way to turn him all evil and crazy again. That and the jack in the back of his neck which can easily be utilized to turn him into something entirely different. Look at that, now the writers have whatever kind of character they need, so long as Green is available. Maybe they can turn him into a power washer so he can get that House of El crest off of Chloe's wall in the Watchtower.

So, here's how this is going to play out -- and know that I'm basing this on nothing whatsoever. Clark is going to be facing Zod and an army of super-powered Kandorians and it's going to be more than he can handle, even with the help of Green Arrow and Chloe. So they're going to actually call in an all-star team of heroes to help (which means more than just Martian Manhunter). Then, when all is said and done, inspired by the Justice Society of America, they will form a fledgling Justice League of America for the season finale.

Or it will end on some horrible cliffhanger with Clark tied to a board sliding toward a circular saw -- no wait, that's Batman. Either way, it will be some dramatic cliffhanger with someone about to die, and then next season we'll get the Justice League. And maybe Lex back. At least for one episode? Come on, Michael Rosenbaum, you have to come say goodbye to the fans. We'll even allow a bald cap so you don't have to shave your head again.

[You can always relive the recent excitement with full episodes of 'Smallville' on SlashControl.]

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Tess Mercer as "a sub-par replacement for Lex Luthor", well said! I must admit I didn't watch Smallville from the very beginning, instead watching it in succession on DVD and dropping in to regular viewing around the beginning of season 7 and I have to say Tess Mercer has always been sub par compared to Lex Luthor.

I know this is Smallville and a certain amount of suspension of belief is required, but who the hell is she and where the hell did she come from, if she was so high up in Luthorcorp how come we had never heard of her before? And the thing with Oliver, what is all that about, I have to admit I haven't a clue what is going on there (that may be because I dozed off from boredom in that episode, but I digress ...). The Check Mate thing just further complicates her which does absolutely nothing for me because the less screen time the better. I agree I hope she bites the dust this season.

April 18 2010 at 7:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Emma's comment

Tess Mercer is Mercy (sp?) from the original superman comic books. She's practically Lex Luthors right hand man, later in the comic book series she gets replaced by the daughter of Rah Al Ghoul (sp?), the one that keeps rising from the Lazarus pit main villian to batman. Think of Tess Mercer to the joker's Harly Quinn. They are pretty much whipping boys to Lex and Joker. I remember Mercy always dressed up in a sexy chauffeur uniform, bodyguard and everything else to Lex Luthor.

April 18 2010 at 8:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

ashe thank you that is interesting, she makes a lot more sense now. I have to say though that is something else that has put me off the more recent Smallville series a little, there a lot of references to the comics with the knowledge taken as given. I don't mind them bringing in stuff from the comics, after all that is where Superman comes from, but a little bit of back story for those viewers who have never read them would be nice.

April 19 2010 at 5:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Brian Austin 'Green' (kryptonite). Funny!!

April 17 2010 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

after last week's ep, the preview made it less compelling...so i skipped it...i like the checkmate/suicide squad story line much better

April 17 2010 at 11:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ronald McDouchebag

this episode was good, but a bit patchy all over. I didnt like how scenes were jumping way to conveniently throughout the episode. Anyway, great review.

April 17 2010 at 9:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

For me, the most memorable scenes were the ones with Lois - Lois and Clark (only one short scene, but dayum!) and Lois and Corben. BAG was really impressive as the sweet Corben and the psycho Metallo. The only downer was Clark apologizing to Chloe yet again, and giving her a pass on her devious ways.

April 17 2010 at 6:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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