Smallville Episode 10.15 ‘Fortune’ Review

Posted on February 26, 2011


Smallville, Ep. 10.15 'Fortune'

Summary: A weak attempt at humor in the main storyline detracts from a strong and heartfelt goodbye to a long-time part of the show.
Rating: 6/10

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

Review Trailer
The quick skinny on the episode.

Clark is set for his bachelor party with Ollie and Emil and Lois is ready for a bachelorette night on the town with Chloe and Tess. To kick off the evening, they toast with champagne that turns out to be sent from Zatanna and charmed. Everyone awakes to find they can’t remember the previous evening and they’ve somehow run afoul of local casino owner Amos Fortune. Emil is captured by Fortune’s men, and while everyone tries to find him and figure out what happened, Lois searches for her lost engagement ring and Chloe makes a big decision on her future.

Feature-Length Review
The in-depth review.

So there are two story thrusts at work in ‘Fortune’. Like writer Anne Cofell Saunders’ and director Christopher Petry’s disappointing effort at such a thing in last season’s ‘Persuasion’, the schism makes for an overall weak episode. The unfortunate thing, no pun intended, is that it’s the main story – Clark’s and Lois’ bachelor/bachelorette parties gone awry – that suffers the most. In fact, the whole thing involving Amos Fortune, the casino and the stolen armored car was cringe-inducing.

One of the problems that the show often runs into is that when they try to do farce, the comedy is too extremely broad and predictable. Lois’ Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-like attempts to retrieve her engagement ring from the floor of the casino fell flat. The too-easily-telegraphed moment where Lois had to pause to comment to herself before finally getting the ring and Fortune grabbing her nearly made me change the channel. This amidst the cheap sight gag of Ollie in showgirl drag and Fortune inexplicably hitting on him. Sure, the first glimpse of Ollie done up brought an expected chuckle, but Fortune still thinking he was a girl after sharing a few words was far too unbelievable and took me out of the scene. And as much as I enjoyed the energy and the commitment by both Alessandro Juliani and Cassidy Freeman, the extended Emil as Elvis bit was too silly to be humorous and too on-the-nose.

(The only real payoff to this bit was the absolutely lovely exchange between Emil and Tess in Watchtower near the end when he talks about his wife loving his singing and Tess asking him to not give it up. These two had splendid energy and connection throughout the episode. More on that in a bit.)

I’m not going to even get into the absurdist addition of the lemur except to say that it was actually two of Clark’s reactions to the animal that really worked rather than the lemur itself. Tom Welling’s delivery of the command to “Stay!” when he and Chloe put the lemur in the closet at the Kent home was fitting and funny. His drunken exclamation of “Monkey!” when they first see the lemur in the armored car was positively dorky and perfect for a laugh.

That came in the video that Emil had shot of their evening of debauchery and they all viewed in Watchtower near the end of the episode. In fact, the humor in that video was actually the only comic bits done absolutely right. Clark’s telling “future” Lois how much he loves her, after they put out the fire of him Blur-burning his ‘S’ into the ceiling, was a good laugh, as was Clark’s reaction to watching it. The end part with the private moments of Emil and Tess were a treat as well. It’s seems a bit of cheat to put Emil and Tess together, as they were the odd singletons out amdist power couples Clois and Chlollie (ugh), but damn if Alessandro’s and Cassidy’s chemistry doesn’t make it work. I’m a fan of Emil, so if it gives both of them something to do and a little more screentime, I’m for it.

But it does make me sad that this video was the best of the humor the episode had to offer. I was simultaenously looking forward to the episode and dreading it. Having heard the description of it weeks ago, the premise sounded bad. It had the potential, however, of being another ‘Escape’, which I know for most fans would’ve been a bad thing. For me, I really enjoyed ‘Escape’ and its almost carefree celebration of the characters and their interactions with each other. I was hoping for the same from ‘Fortune’, and while it seemed that the cast had a fun time with it, it was a slog to sit through.

Save for the second story thrust that is. We were aware going into the episode that this was likely Allison Mack’s last of the series. She had been signed to appear in five episodes this season: ‘Lazarus’, ‘Collateral’, ‘Beacon’, ‘Masquerade’ and this appearance in ‘Fortune’. (They also managed to recycle some unused footage from ‘Lazarus’ into mid-season finale ‘Icarus’, though Allison is uncredited for that appearance.) It’s still unclear if she will be involved in – or even available for – the series finale, but it also appeared that they weren’t make much effort to resolve Chloe’s storyline leading into this episode.

Yet, here it is, the resolution to Chloe Sullivan’s saga on Smallville. In all honesty, not only was her send-off fitting and appropriate for the character, it was also one of the best send-offs in the history of the show. It was low-key and personal and I thought it was a lovely choice to have the barn scene just between her and Clark. For the longest time, Chloe was one of if not my favorite character on the show. She hadn’t always been pleasant or done the right thing, but she was a good friend to Clark and she was written so consistently and performed so well by Allison. I’m definitely in the camp that was devastated to see how much they sullied the character throughout Seasons 8 and 9, and I have to say that I was glad she wasn’t around for the majority of this season. She was a burden that needed to be let go.

Her return in the disastrous and demeaning ‘Collateral’ fed right back into all the things that had been wrong with the character, but then they did something rather astonishing. They dialed “superhero” Chloe back and gave us tastes of the girl we came to love from earlier in the series. That apexed in a rather nice scene in last week’s ‘Masquerade’ where Chloe is looking back on her life the last few years and trying to sort out who she is. When she makes the decision to leave again this episode, it at first seems abrupt but it does hold meaning with this introspection.

She talked last season about being “hero support” and the fact that she’s chosen that for her life in a much softer direction is rooted in the character and speaks to how she’s always been the one to exhibit the most growth on the show. I love that her new role incorporates everything she’s done in the past and had a desire and passion for. She’s like a superhero scout now, out recruiting and helping heroes come into their own, which ties into her Watchtower experience and what she was originally doing at the Isis Foundation for Lana. Then, her cover as a reporter for the Star City Register leads her full circle to her first career love. I’ve never been part of the camp that felt Chloe should’ve been killed off of the show. I always felt they could’ve found some way to write her out and I think they found the most respectful and poignant way to do that.

(For the time being, I’m going to overlook the fact that she met or was at least exposed to both Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince before Clark. Yes, I appreciate the references. Yes, I also feel like that was a tad bit much on the fan wank scale.)

I have to say even the Chlollie in this episode wasn’t bad and followed well on the heels of the palatable scene of them at the end of ‘Masquerade’. I enjoyed their exchange to close the episode, even if I still don’t care for the relationship. Though, I must admit I was a bit huffy at first about Chloe and Ollie supposedly being married. Then, I thought back to Chloe and Clark’s conversation in the barn and how she called the chapel and found out the wedding wasn’t official. So no one worry that Ollie’s married and now has to find a way to dump Chloe so he can eventually end up with Dinah.

I do have two bones of continuity contention with the episode, though. First off, Clark just made the huge decision to develop a secret identity last episode and he doesn’t even attempt to use the glasses this episode. I can understand him not using them when he’s amongst just his friends, but then he’s out on the street and at the casino not using them. It was rather irksome and inconsistent. And, though I know they were going for comedy, they had this big reveal that Ollie was infected with “the darkness” last week and there isn’t a single sign of that this week. It didn’t need to be a focus, but something tying it together would’ve been nice.

Overall, I can’t say that I liked ‘Fortune’. Fortune and his goons didn’t seem like that big of a menace and all of the stuff in the casino was mediocre and unengaging. I absolutely loved Chloe’s send-off and the connection between Tess and Emil, though. I’m at a loss as to how we have another episode like ‘Persuasion’ where the storylines are so disparate and jaringly out of place with one another. I enjoyed Anne Cofell Saunders’ work on Battlestar Galactica, but I have to say I’m rather disappointed with what she’s brought to this show. I enjoyed most of last season’s ‘Idol’, though I couldn’t stand the Wonder Twins. I also really liked ‘Hostage’, but she was partnered with Jordan Hawley on that. With ‘Persuasion’ and this season’s ‘Supergirl’ and ‘Fortune’, I find myself not a fan.