Smallville, “Prophecy”

This review is going to be really short, as I am short on time, catching up AND have very little to say about this episode. 

I hate to say this, but it’s pretty obvious that Smallville had no business coming back for a full 22-episode final season. I enjoy these characters and like spending time with them, but aside from a few standouts, the second half of the season has been mostly frivolous. Most of these episodes haven’t been terrible per se, but they’ve been pointless. Lois and Clark have, for the most part, been spinning their wheels relationship-wise. The season-long plot with Darksied has not really been much of a season-long plot, considering it disappeared for a while and is still barely coming on strong with only two hours remaining. I understand the business reasoning in bringing the series back for an entire full-length season, but “Prophecy” is yet another episode that is enjoyable, but ultimately fairly worthless. It’s certainly not as worthless as “Dominion,” but for a penultimate episode of the series, it’s a bit disappointing in its lack of stakes. And unlike “Dominion”‘s paper-thin narrative, this episode actually struggles because it has too many things going on at once for it to be that great overall.

The power-swap nonsense has been to done death on this series, but I guess it’s only fitting that Lois get her time in the sun before things all end. The first part of the episode, with Lois trying our her new powers while Clark tries to teach her a little bit about his life usually works, was actually very good. Unlike some of the previous people to obtain Clark’s powers — coughLanacough — Lois seemed totally interested in learning about what it is that Clark does and how he accomplishes those goals while still living a normal life of sorts. But by the middle of the episode, all that was lost so that “Prophecy” could bring back Toyman one more time and hint at some group of villains that we will never see because the series is basically over. I like Toyman and love the idea of recurring villains that Smallville has worked with over the past few seasons, but the reappearance of Toyman and others (we don’t see the faces of Metallo, Roulette, Dark Archer and more) seemed to derail the episode. By the end of it all, “Prophecy” was back to the story about Lois not being able to recognize all the stuff Clark has to go through on a daily basis, but because it lost it somewhere near the middle, the end result (Lois deciding that she cannot marry Clark) rang a bit false. I believe that someone like Lois could come to that conclusion, but her decision felt powered by external reasons (the desire for a cliffhanger) than internal character logic.

The episode also tried to tell a short beat of a story about Clark’s reaction to Jor-El’s trials and it was just stupidly bad. Earlier in the season, it appeared that Clark and Jor-El had finally come to some understanding and it wasn’t as if Jor-El giving Lois Clark’s powers was really the most awful thing in the world. I think Jor-El wanted Lois to see exactly what she saw: That Clark’s life can suck sometimes. It’s hard. But for whatever reason, Clark again reacted like a petulant child and decided to just turn off the Fortress. Of course, we know he’ll be returning to it before the end of the finale, so the whole “story” felt a bit aimless and undercooked.

Elsewhere in the episode, Oliver went searching for Orion’s bow, only to find Kara trapped…or something. I’ve never, ever liked the character of Kara and my opinion wasn’t really altered by this episode. She was less annoying and stubborn here and everyone can work with Justin Hartley, so it wasn’t the worst use of the character the series has ever implemented. But there’s nothing like a story that brings back a former series regular and then has her told to leave and has another character go on a search for a mystical bow, find it, have it destroyed 3 seconds later and then succumb to the darkness in his heart. I’ve enjoyed Oliver’s journey this season, but the story here was completely pointless outside of officially putting Oliver on Darksied’s team. I get it, the bow is destroyed and now there is “nothing” that can stop Darksied from rising and taking over everyone’s spirit. You know, expect Clark. Again, this is one of those cases where our external knowledge of upcoming episodes (that Clark is going to do all of these things) harms the enjoyment of this episode, but it felt like the writers didn’t really care to subvert that knowledge at all. I’m not sure what I was looking for in a penultimate episode of Smallville, but I’m fairly sure that this wasn’t it. “Prophecy” is far from the season’s worst episode, but it’s just not good enough for its placement in the season.

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