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'Smallville' Season 10, Episode 19 Recap

by Mike Moody, posted May 1st 2011 3:30PM
smallville dominion['Smallville' – 'Dominion']

'Dominion,' like some of the most memorable episodes of 'Smallville,' was a mixed bag of geeky fun, melodramatic nonsense, and silly ideas stolen from other, better TV shows and movies.

But, unfortunately for first-time director Justin Hartley (aka Oliver Queen), this week's episode was more clumsy and over-the-top than it was memorable.

Sure, there were important bits about Oliver and his spooky connection to Darkseid, and about how Lois will stand by Clark through anything, but 'Dominion' was mostly chock full of cheese. It felt like the meaty bits were few and far between or piled on at the end, making things feel pretty uneven

But, hey, at least we got to see Callum Blue return to gnaw the scenery as the ever-sniveling Kryptonian baddie, Zod.

I was never a huge fan of Blue's Zod, but the guy definitely got in a few good scenes last season as the show's major big bad. Most of my problems with Zod during season 9 concerned the clunky Kandorian clone storyline and not the actor or the show's portrayal of the character, who, of course, is of one of Superman's most famous foes.

Blue did his best to bring Zod back to life here, and it was fun watching him cutting down Clark and ordering people to kneel and generally being a dick to anyone within earshot. But it's clear that he still lacks Terence Stamp's creepy, understated style. (Yeah, I know 'Smallville' is its own thing, and it's probably unfair to compare Blue's portrayal of Zod to Stamp's, but it's nearly impossible for a Supes fan like me to resist doing so, especially since the show visually references the 1980s movies every chance it gets.)

This ep stole liberally from movies like 'Gladiator' and '300' and the 'Spartacus' TV series with its many stylized scenes of arena-style "kill or be killed" showdowns. This was also probably one of the bloodiest episodes of 'Smallville' we've seen in a long time, but the violence and the bloodshed were so cartoony that the action scenes probably inspired more chuckles than anything else. I'm pretty sure I saw gobs of CGI blood splatter and "hit" the camera at least twice, which was pretty ridiculous.

Oliver and Clark's arena smackdown was a blast to watch, visually speaking, but the intensity of it all was undercut by our knowledge of these characters and of their history together. Simply put, the "twist" was weak. There's no way that Ollie would turn against Clark for a chance to "rule" alongside Zod in that shantytown they call a Phantom Zone. Ollie has had his problems with Clark in the past, but I don't think anyone bought that he was about to murder his pal after a two-minute chat with Zod. The fight scene might have been more effective if The Darkness had somehow taken full control over Ollie's mind and inspired his hate, insecurities and rage to surface. But I guess they're saving that for later, as the ep's ominous ending seemed to suggest. It was pretty cool seeing Ollie drive a sword through Clark's belly though, but the wound quickly healed when they were zapped back to Earth.

The awkward scenes between Tess and Lois inside Watchtower felt like they were transported over from a Mexican telenovela. Saying that the ladies were overacting here would be quite the understatment. I was sure that Tess' eyes were going to pop out of her face and explode at one point, and seeing Lois pull a gun out of nowhere felt more than a little forced. All of this drama didn't really amount to much, as Lois and Tess eventually managed to work together for the three weeks that Ollie and Clark were missing.

I liked the idea that Clark was powerless in the Phantom Zone and he and Ollie were on even ground. But it seemed like a missed opportunity, since Ollie, who uses only his wits and strength to fight crime, didn't really get to teach Clark anything about handling himself in the rough sans superpowers.

So what did you think, 'Smallville' junkies? Did you enjoy Callum Blue's/Zod's return to the show? Did you buy/like the whole "General Zod's phantom merged with Major Zod's body to form Super Zod" idea? (The only thing I really liked about that was the beard.) Let us know in the comments.

Other thoughts:

- Hey, Clark wore a red cape! It was super short Roman-style cape, but it was still a cape!

- Nice callbacks to Hawkman's legacy and the Veritas plot. Plus, the hunt for the "Bow of Orion" gives Ollie something interesting to do in these final hours.

- Loved the image of Zod trapped in the Phantom Zone glass, like in 'Superman' and 'Superman II'.

- Enjoyed hearing Clark namedrop Bart Allen and John Jones.

- Whattup, show? You mention General "Saul Tigh" Slade, but you don't deliver General "Saul Tigh" Slade!? Grrr....argh...

- Lois and Clark's wedding is only a few days away! Anyone excited about this?

'Smallville' airs Fridays at 8PM on The CW

Follow @mikemoody on Twitter.

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gman

I love it when Clark said that he should explain his Kryptonian side rather than hide it was great. It’s too difficult to believe that Clark and Lois will actually get married but now poor Oliver is hiding a secret that is building shame in him. I love also how Tess asked Oliver to ask for help. She’s too smart though to not know what’s going on. I am so glad that I can watch TV when I’m camping like I will be tomorrow because not only did I miss the entire season but I can catch up with the reruns. My DISH Network employee tailgaiter http://goo.gl/vd4M4 is easy to set up and fits my budget which is important to my wife and me.

September 04 2011 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
onigiri

Where the hell was Chloe??

I know, I know, I should just accept that she's hardly in this season at all and get over it, but COME ON. Oliver and Clark go together on a dangerous mission from which they may very well not return, they're missing for *three entire weeks*, Lois and Tess get the big standoff, and they can't even give Chloe - Oliver's significant other, Clark's oldest friend, and the original Watchtower - thirty seconds' screen time?? And now Oliver's about to rush off on *another* big world-spanning quest, and still not even a mention of her? Even though two seasons ago *she* was the one being slowly taken over by an evil influence from within, and might be in a unique position to sympathize and help him figure out what to do?

That really irks me. If that wasn't obvious. Aside from that, the episode was decent enough, but due to the glaring lack of Chloe where she clearly should have been, I hates it. I hates it forever. =P

I really, really hope they don't leave her out of the finale. (I'm sorry, she's been my favorite character since day one, and if they wanted to remove her from the series I wish they'd have just *removed her* so I didn't have to be constantly wondering why she's not there when the show is pretending she's still around.)

Still super excited for the return of Michael Rosenbaum, though!

May 04 2011 at 9:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sandacomics

So Oliver wants to go into the phantom zone with Clark but DOESN'T take his bow and arrow to give them some way to fight things on the other side? I mean, surely Clark could have brought a tazor (since he won't kill anyone) or a stun baton or something to give them some protection. Whatever.

May 02 2011 at 8:44 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Lois Goff

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May 02 2011 at 6:48 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Alonzo Grooms

The producers left, last season was their last because they just didn't want to do it anymore. So they decided to get new ones.
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May 02 2011 at 12:57 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Craig Downey

Love smallville.

Seasons keep getting better and better

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May 01 2011 at 7:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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