TV Recap: Smallville - Noir

Don’t get me wrong, the latest episode of ‘Smallville’ isn’t horrible. It’s just completely unnecessary, thus becoming a waste of the viewer’s time. The acting is intentionally cheesy, the forward plot momentum occurs in the final five minutes, and Jimmy is made to look like a fool. At least a little. Of course, Olson is still charming as ever and watching him enjoy his noir world keeps the viewer from wanting to erase the memory of the episode. But just barely.

Jimmy and Chloe are watching a classic black and white film. The kind he insists they don’t make anymore. They hear a gunshot, and realizing it wasn’t in the film, they go to investigate. Jimmy sees a man running out of the Daily Planet and gets a shot of him with his camera phone. Unfortunately, it looks like someone was injured. Oh wait, it was Lana. She got shot, which means she won’t be in the episode much. This is a good thing, except the writers have different plans.

The whole gang begins showing up at the Daily Planet to see Lana off to the hospital. It’s so nice of our key players to be on-hand so swiftly, you gotta love television. Anyways, Lex shows up to tell his father that Lana had better be alright. I guess taking his daughter in-law to the opera is a capital offense in the Luthor household. Jimmy, on orders from his beloved, goes to get the pic off his camera. Instead of finishing that job he is clubbed over the head. He wakes up and we’re in noir nirvana. Or hell, as the rest of the episode will prove.

In this noir version of things, the world is colored Jimmy Olson black and white. In his fantasy Chloe works for him, and worships at his feet. Clark is a bumbling reporter who acts like…well, he acts like Clark Kent. While enjoying this world Jimmy gets a call from someone wanting to report a murder. Their own! Dun dun dun! It’s Lana, talking all extra breathless. It doesn’t help; she’s twice as annoying and half as audible. Jimmy goes to meet with her, and during a conversation in the street she tells him Lex is trying to kill her. Hey, a man can only take so much. As proof she gives Jimmy Lex’s cigarette case, which points toward The Talon as his next point of interest. One thing is clear in this episode; Jimmy is a big and strong man.

OK, to be honest this episode was truly 15 minutes long. The entire Jimmy fantasy led up to him realizing the cigarette case was the key. It was all meant to be intentionally cheesy, but it came off as ridiculous. Jimmy goes to The Talon and finds that Clark is there, looking all suave. Oh wow, he has a secret identity. Lionel owns the club, where Lois sings. Following a lead from Lionel, Jimmy follows Lex. The younger Luthor meets up with Lois and as they share a kiss Jimmy gets a picture. While chasing our hero down the road Lex flips his car. Later Lex meets up with Jimmy and while reaching in his pocket is shot by the reporter. Oh, you’ve done it now Olson! Chloe finds Jimmy drowning his sorrow at The Talon and tells him that Clark has been in touch with Lana, and so maybe he’s the one who has set all this up. Jimmy goes to confront Clark.

When he meets up with Clark it turns out that it’s Lana who has set him up. He tells her that now he’ll be going to jail because he killed Lex, but no worries as she has a gun and plans to not let that happen. Clark shows up and shoots Lana. At this point the episode is so deep in it’s own swamp of mediocrity that even this can’t help me enjoy the moment. It turns out that Clark is a bumbling reporter by day and a “crime fighter” by night. He’s a cop, but it’s the same deal. We’ve sat through all of this crap, even the painful allusions to who everyone really is (especially Clark) just for Jimmy to realize that it’s the cigarette case that caused Lana to be shot. Seriously, 30 minutes just to tell us something that could have been established in a single scene. Instead of writing interesting filler, we’re treated to Jimmy’s view of his colleagues. It’s worth hating simply for making Jimmy a silly character, rather than keeping him the sweet and funny guy we know and love. No lasting damage is done thankfully. But I’d like my hour back.

Upon waking, and thankfully getting us back to reality, Jimmy tells Chloe that whatever is in the cig case is what Lana was shot over. So, with some convenient leads like the elevator remembering what floor it was on last, the two go digging. They find a gossip reporter who was to meet with Lana. He said he heard the gunshot and went to find Lana. When he heard them coming he ran away. He was the one who clubbed Jimmy, but it was for a good cause. You know, to stay out of prison.

Meanwhile back with Lois, she arrives home to find Lionel and a henchman hanging out. I hope she didn’t break up their game of gin rummy, because that’s just rude. He gets the cigarette case from her and inside is a flash drive. She says there’s nothing on it, but Lionel plugs it into a laptop anyway. A video of Lex with Senator Burke talking about Project Ares is on it. Lois can’t believe he didn’t know Lex was working with the senator. After a quip about Lana getting the best of both Luthors, he warns her that the man protecting Senator Burke was willing to have Lana killed. She shouldn’t be so cocky, because there’s no reason he wouldn’t kill her. Hmmm…that’s the thinly veiled threats we’ve come to expect from a Luthor. At least something happened in the episode to remind us we’re watching ‘Smallville.’

Chloe visits Lana at Smallville Medical and asks who it was that tried to kill her. Lana admits that it was Lionel. She’s been working with him to get info on Lex, but instead of giving up the goods she was going to the reporter to make the info public. Ballsy move Lana, I much prefer this side to her. I just wish it could wash the filth from my eyes and ears that came from the rest of her scenes in the episode. Again, why move away from this interesting storyline for such crap? Lana’s betrayal of Lex and Lionel is something worth spending an hour on. Lana asks Chloe to not let Clark know, as his life may depend on it.

Back at the Daily Planet Clark is frustrated that the only info he can get on the man who shot Lana is that he’s a hired gun. Being the perceptive guy he is, Clark figures out that Chloe is holding back info. She explains that sometimes people keep secrets to protect the ones they love, and maybe they even have a good reason. You know, like the last 6 years of a certain Boy Scout “protecting” Lana. With a little help from Chloe, but not too much, Clark figures the whole scam out. Well, the good parts at least. He knows that Lionel is manipulating Lana and that’s why she went through with the marriage.

The episode ends with Jimmy telling Chloe he’s going off on assignment. He’s made the front page as a hero. Thus ends this episode. If you missed it, trust me when I say you should watch the opening and the final 10 minutes. All the story you need is there, and the rest is just not worth it.

Steve West

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.