tariel22 (tariel22) wrote,
tariel22
tariel22

Smallville 8.03 - Toxic

This episode was a piece of fluff. It had lots of pretty, a little suspense, a little action, and just a hint of story. It was fun, and I enjoyed it, but there really wasn't any substance. And as far as character development went, to me this third episode of S8 felt like one step back after two steps forward. I liked the episode, but it left me a little disappointed, and a little confused as well. Oh, and the title was all wrong. It should have been called Oliver. Or maybe Shirtless.

It's a good thing I like Justin Hartley so much, because even I almost overdosed on the man's naked chest in this episode. Honestly, I would love to see jeannev give us his screentime minutes for this one broken down by those in which his shirt was off, or completely unbuttoned, and those in which his chest was covered. There was an awful lot of hot, naked, sweaty, golden, male skin, I must say. I appreciate that Justin is such a sport about it, and he is absolutely beautiful, but sweetie, really, I like you just as well with your clothes on.

They've certainly made it clear that when a guy from Smallville gets stuck on a deserted island, he's going to spend the majority of his time running around half naked. So when is it Clark's turn? I know that when Oliver said to Clark at the end of the episode, "Maybe your island's still out there," he meant it metaphorically, but I want it literally! For serious, show.

So the big thing we learned in Toxic is that Oliver Queen spent two years shipwrecked on some tropical island. It was an experience that changed him fundamentally, and transformed him from a wastrel playboy into a vigilante for justice with a hero complex Green Arrow. On that island he met Tess Mercer (whom he calls Mercy), who was also subsequently transformed, in her case from a sweet marine biology student to a Lex Luthor wannabe who commands not only one of the world's richest corporations, but also, evidently, an emerging mutant army. All of which would be fascinating, if only they had told us why.

We did get to see how Oliver developed his archery skills, as a matter of survival first, and personal pride later, and I loved that sequence. The music was wonderful, and it was fun to see Oliver get better and better. It was also cool to see the birth of his future Green Arrow costume along with his skills. Besides, he looked too cute the whole time, with his little boy, no product hair style and his adorable white tennies. :) But I still have no idea why he came away from those two years determined to be a hero. I guess introspection is difficult to write, and a 42-minute episode format doesn't lend itself well to exploring psychological motivations while simultaneously following the exploits of six different series regulars plus a random bad guy. *sighs*

I know even less about what happened to Tess, although I suppose they may tell us more about that in future episodes. How and why did she change from that compassionate, frightened girl on the island to who she is now? And who exactly is she now anyway? Most of the time she seems ice cold and deadly, as she was when she executed her revenge at the end of the episode. But she also has moments of vulnerability and deep emotion, and she still wears Megan's bracelet. She seemed both supremely bitter and oddly wistful toward Oliver. She flirted girlishly, and inappropriately, with Clark. And she even seems to have some weird sexual vibe going on with Lois. Are we supposed to believe she's the corporate mogul with the heart of gold? Or is she just a big, hot mess? Kudos in any case to Cassidy Freeman. She makes Tess's every mood convincing.

I have really enjoyed Clark and Lois this season, both separately and together, and they both had great moments again this week, but they also both fell back into old patterns that drove me crazy. Lois was once again given some clunky lines that made me groan and roll my eyes, and Clark just stood there and took it, looking mopey, while someone heaped unwarranted abuse on him. Grrr. Can we not go there again, please?

Where Lois shined this week was in the scenes that showed her vulnerability, especially when she confessed her doubts about their breakup to an unconscious Oliver. I thought Erica Durance's performance was both touching and believable. And I liked the scene between Clark and Lois at the DP. That cute little bit with Clark's coffee was classic. It was especially nice to see Clark open up to someone about Lana a little bit, which I think is hard for him to do with Chloe, since she's Lana's friend, too.

Speaking of Chloe, I'm a little worried about her. I think it's cool that she has gained so much independence, and Oliver would have died if not for her, but she spent most of the episode butting heads with Clark, and she seems dangerously, albeit understandably, enamored with her newly enhanced brain power. She's keeping secrets from both her fiance and her best friend, and that can't be good. Davis seems like a good person, but the way Plastique ended makes me think he's not the best choice for a confidant. None of it bodes well, if you ask me. I've never seen Chloe look more beautiful, though. She was stunning in that gown.

There wasn't an over abundance of Clark this week, but I loved every moment he was onscreen. First of all, Tom was devastatingly handsome in Clark's new DP wardrobe. The man was born to dress this way, and I hope it continues all season. Second, Clark continued to be both smart and heroic, taking the initiative to get out there and do whatever he could, including using his superpowers, to help Oliver. Who, by the way, appears to be Clark's new boyfriend BFF. From the way Clark's face lit up when Oliver arrived at the fundraiser, and the way he defended him when Chloe thought he was drunk, to the way he rushed to his side when he fell, and then lost it (yelling!) over his condition at Isis, it was clear that Oliver means a lot to Clark. When did that happen, exactly? Not that I object, but it just seems kind of sudden. We even caught a glimpse of Jealous!Clark when Oliver implored him to save Tess!

My favorite Clark scene was his last one, with Oliver at the Ace of Clubs. Oliver was a complete ass to Clark, but even so, there's just something about the way these two guys are together that I love. They don't have the incredible chemistry that Clark and Lex had, but neither do they have the tension or the baggage that marked that relationship in recent years. They're just two guys who want to save the world, and the uncomplicated masculinity of their friendship captivates me. I'm willing to cut Oliver some slack for his behavior; he was reeling from the news about Lionel, felt betrayed by Clark for keeping it a secret from him, and was well on his way to being drunk. But he still owes Clark an apology, big time. I hated that Clark didn't defend himself, but I'm fanwanking that he figured it was pointless to argue with Oliver when he was angry and intoxicated.

Finally, the new music is beginning to win me over. I like how each episode is scored like a mini movie, and the recurring themes we hear for particular characters and situations are growing on me. I still miss my emo alt rock, but I'm getting my weekly fix from Bones now. :) And did everyone notice we had new music over the end credits this week? I don't know that I like it better, but it certainly evokes Supes in every note!

Random thoughts: I like that Clark is giving Tess the benefit of the doubt for the moment. That's a quality I want to see in my Superman. I did not like the naked waiter at the fundraiser. Ewww. The name of the poisonous plant was Euphorbia Marshalis. :) And the funniest line of the episode? "There were MOSQUITOES! That ate me alive!" hee! Even Justin thought that line was ridiculous.

I had my reservations about this episode going in, and actually liked it better than I thought I would. I did think Clark was somewhat marginalized, but the scenes he did have were important, and he still had a chance to shine. Plus they managed to advance the story in some interesting ways. This won't ever be my favorite episode, but I will watch it again. And I'm worried about next week, too. I'm all for sexy shots of Tom's chest, of course, but if this is a replay of Hypnotic, I don't think I'm going to like it. I'd rather see Clark stay away from sexual situations altogether than to see him mind whammied again. But I'm keeping an open mind until I see it.
Tags: justin hartley, smallville, sv episode review, tom welling
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