Smallville Episode 10.6 ‘Harvest’ Review

Posted on October 30, 2010

0


Teaser

TVSummary: An above-average episode about faith that was strangely more satisfying than its parts would suggest.
Rating: 7/10 (Adjusted Score 2/26/11; Original Score 7.5/10)


Review Trailer
The quick skinny on the episode.

Clark gets Lois out of Metropolis during an anti-hero rally but leads her straight into trouble in a backwoods village whose citizens practice an annual human sacrifice in the belief that it protects the bounty of their people. The town was struck with Blue Kryptonite during the first meteor storm that struck Smallville and has infiltrated the water supply. As the people have consumed the water over the years, they have built up levels of the blue rock in their system, such that Clark is rendered powerless by being near them. Clark and Lois must find a way to escape the village without his abilities. Meanwhile, Tess employees a doctor to fight Alexander’s rapid aging so that she may raise him different from his source. But Alexander has been having visions – memories – of a past life not his own.

** Note: Review contains spoilers if you have not seen the episode.**

Feature-Length Review after the jump.


Feature-Length Review
The in-depth review.

‘Harvest’ is about faith. I know that because they splayed the word across the preview trailer for the episode. Joking aside, and though it trotted out the ages-old tale of religious faith and belief gone astray, the story was rooted in two divergent plots that focused on faith in people. While the Clark and Lois story was a bit ho-hum in parts, the haunting and creepy Tess and Alexander story was exemplary.

That’s not to say the Tess and Alexander storyline was flawless. Overall, the acting in these parts of the episode was a bit sketchy. That can happen when dealing with child actors, though I thought Connor Stanhope did an exceptional job in a simple majority of his scenes. Cassidy Freeman was also solid throughout, though she did get a bit grandiose at points. I think that had more to do with what she was playing off of with Stanhope and Lexa Doig as the doctor in certain scenes. Also, when dealing with the doctor side of the story, the writing was a bit dry and not wholly that interesting. You get to a certain point, kind of like with Star Trek, where the science babble on the show forces you to gloss over and hope that you move on quickly. It wasn’t bad here just not that engaging. I still managed to stay with it long enough to understand the gist of what they were accomplishing. Plus, as the farewell tour rolls on and they continue to shout out to the past, it was nice to hear reference of Emily Dinsmore and her father. I also liked that that gave us a root for the research they did into the tiny vial of serum.

I really do have to commend Connor on a job well done, in particular the scene in the Kent barn loft. I’ve been having real trouble – or rather a significant lack of desire – buying into the concept of the clone Lex as the Lex who will stand opposite Superman in the future. Sure, it’s a story that was actually done in the comics 20-some odd years ago, but it has so far rung false and cheap. Plus, it really solidifies that Ollie is a killer. He really did murder the Lex Luthor who ran a Porche into that poor farm kid on a bridge. That’s actually kind of a disturbing thought.

What was more disturbing, though, was listening to Connor recant memories of Clark and the barn. It actually felt like a different person was speaking than the boy we saw earlier and I could buy the fact that he had these memories. The way he put Tess in her place and defiantly told her that his name is Lex was chilling. For the first time, I was able to jump on-board with this young clone story and when they cut to the last scene of Lex shaving his head I couldn’t stop myself from grinning. Kudos to Stanhope and also to writers Al Septien and Turi Meyer. This was the storyline I was desperately waiting to see in ‘Isis’ last week and it delivered. The only downside is that, now, I really do need to see Michael Rosenbaum back in the part to finish out the series for the proper payoff. I can still understand if he doesn’t come back but it will feel incomplete if we don’t see the Lex Luthor in the end.

The other half of the episode was devoted to the Clark and Lois storyline, which offered some great moments but wasn’t more than slightly-above standard fare. In fact, as many decided to lash out at those of us who choose to label the Isis/Osiris bits from last week’s episode as “filler”, I would say that the Lois and Clark story falls into that category as well. And yet, I was able to track along with this one much better than last week’s. I think part of that was tied to the superior storyline going on opposite this but also to solid writing on Al and Turi’s parts.

I’d have to say Turi Meyer’s direction also helped elevate the whole affair. Just as with last season’s ‘Conspiracy’ – an episode I liked more than most seemed to – the pacing was of its own accord and the feel was different from the rest of the series. The location shooting was not only a factor but a boon and it helped establish a proper tone for what was essentially a Halloween-tinged show. This brought out good performances throughout and gave the town first a leisurely pace (reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie or The Waltons, actually) and then a nice mob-mentality vibe. I liked that they didn’t make these “Believers” seem horror-movie crazy but rather a town wrought with stinkin’ collective thought that brought about what was essentially a lynching scene (or two if you count the prior scene where they gut Clark).

Erica Durance and Tom Welling shined throughout. I’m never a fan of car scenes that are clearly shot with backdrops but the opening conversation where Clark has obviously told Lois he is an alien and is answering her questions was charming and reflective enough to let it slide. Everything played in town was superb, in particular the scene in the house between our leads, especially where Lois reveals she is the one who pulled the Blue-K dagger from Clark back in ‘Lazarus’. (I’m sorry but I’m a real sucker for explicit continuity on this series. It’s actually a rarity and it’s so welcome to see so much of it lately.) Also, Erica’s work when she was standing under the Bell of Molten Blue Kryptonite Death was layered and multi-faceted. I like that not only do we have Erica in 22 episodes this season but that they are giving her such a wide range of things to do.

I also like that Lois and Clark feel like a team. Yes, the romance gets me giddy, but they do a wonderful job of showing us these two interacting as partners. It’s actually a very unique relationship throughout the series. Yes, we’ve seen Clark with his Justice League buddies. And we’ve had the Clark and Pete show and the Clark and Chloe hour. But we’ve never seen Clark in a relationship on the series where they so effortless channel one another and cooperate with one another, to the point it is second nature. I find myself tingling in these moments because it shows an understanding of just how different this relationship is from all others and a decided willingness on the writers’ and producers’ parts to not stand in the way of its natural tendencies. Tom’s and Erica’s natural chemistry helps inform this relationship and blends all of its notes and rests to pull off such a beautiful dance. Even in some of the more seen-this-before kind of moments like the story in ‘Harvest’ offer, these two give them a believability and an easy comfort that satisfies you.

There’s a significant moment to call attention to and it’s one that made me actually gasp. It’s the moment where Clark runs, covers Lois and takes the full brunt of the Blue-K fire pour on top of him. We’ve seen Clark offer himself up to protect people from all manner of things in the series but this is one of the few that really stunned me with the sacrifice. First off, I had no idea what to expect of the flaming blue rock and its effect on Clark. Second, the searing of his back was just gruesome. And Clark took it, without question, without hesitation. Lois, in turn, stepped right up and pushed those people back with her words (a nice touch, even if she made a case for these people being more crazy than they came off). More importantly, Clark allowed her to, something I don’t think Clark would’ve done in the past, hurt or not. Which made the “super speed us out of here, honey” line and the following scene in the barn that much more touching.

As I said earlier, this episode was about faith in people. It was about Lois’ faith in Clark and his faith in her to trust her with absolutely everything that is him. There are no secrets left between them and I think this is a vital place to bring the two characters to at this point in the season. This gives them a base so they can begin to focus on the more external parts of Clark’s superhero life, something that Lois opens the door to while talking to Clark. Yes, we’ve heard much of what she said before, but this seemed like the point Clark needed to hear this to step forward. The people need faith and hope and Clark needs to have faith in the people that he can come out of the shadows and that they will be affected positively.

The episode was also about Tess’ faith in Alexander. She believed she could alter his path and that he wouldn’t be affected in the same fashion as the man she knew before. But while there are internal things within Tess that responded to the maternal aspects this new relationship offered, Lex was right to call her out on acting with her own selfish desires in the matter as well. It’s something both the doctor and Tess admitted to earlier but it was cold and slithery to hear it coming from this Lex. In fact, it could’ve been the trigger that destroyed Alexander’s faith in Tess and unlocked such a surge in Lex’s memories.

I liked ‘Harvest’, perhaps more as a sum than its parts would imply. It’s an odd episode that lingers with you much like Turi Meyer’s work in ‘Conspiracy’ did. He seems to be a director who works as much on mood and tone as he does story and dialogue. It certainly helps to have good foundation to work with as the script by Meyer and Al Septien. I wouldn’t say it was their strongest effort but you can see the skill of the veterans in this solid outing. And I must commend Louis Febre’s work here as well. He’s still got his strong themes present this season but he’s finding ways to get back to really developing a sonic mood and environment that let you live in an episode. That’s exactly what ‘Harvest’ offered and it complimented Turi’s direction and pacing so well.

And yes, I was happy we got a gauzy, soft-focus, romantic love scene for Clois that rivaled any her had with Lana or even the almost-moments with Alicia. I’d dare say this was even more touching than the future Clois sex scene from ‘Pandora’, which was a bit more ostentatious. No wonder it appears Clark and Lois are all smiles when it comes to next week’s ‘Ambush’…

Advertisements