Clark Kent (Tom Welling) may look silly to some as the Blur, but it does allow the Smallville writing team the opportunity to delve into the duality of the character without having to turn him into the Man of Steel just yet. The story essentially plays out like a Superman:
Year One. Unlike previous seasons, Clark has truly embraced his destiny and is allowing himself to even enjoy his life as a Superhero. He may have to live in the shadows, keeping his face from the public eye, but he carries that S-Shield proudly into battle and over the course of the season it even develops as a symbol that his fans will embrace.
Though Clark is starting to slip comfortably into the role of humanity's protector, he's still faced with challenges that force him to confront the problems with leading a dual, even triple, life. Clark isn't just torn between being Earth's protector and Clark Kent, this season he's also forced to struggle with his Kryptonian heritage. With the introduction of Zod and the Kandorians, Clark becomes conflicted and finds himself siding with Zod and trying to help them, even against the better judgment of his peers. This conflict is what the season primarily focuses on and it's exciting to watch it unfold. Clark has to make a lot of tough decisions here, decisions that will shape the man he is to become, and he doesn't always make the right ones – but that is what makes this season so good.
Many were a little skeptical about the introduction of a younger Zod, especially after we've already witnessed Clark do battle with another Zod, via Lex, only a few seasons earlier. Thankfully, Callum Blue as Zod pays off and does what Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman) has failed to do as a character – become a realistic and formidable villain for Clark. Tess' motives have never been clear, her character has flip flopped constantly between shades of grey over the past two seasons, and the series has suffered for it. With Zod, we get a villain with a clear understanding of what he wants and his actions throughout the season are true to his purpose. Blum does a great job in the role, providing an important presence as a strong villain who can be cold and calculating yet teeter on the edge of madness.
The Kandorians themselves remained fairly undeveloped as individuals, with the story only ever really highlighting Zod's love interest Faora (Sharon Taylor) and her sister Vala (Crystal Lowe). Their story ties in nicely with the final half of the season, providing Zod with key motivation in the final act. The rest of the Kandorians find themselves conflicted between Clark's promise of a new life and Zod's declaration for a new Krypton on Earth. It's an interesting dilemma, and while we do explore their thoughts on the matter, we don't nearly hear their voice enough.
The story of Clark VS Zod culminates brilliantly in one of the best season finales the show has had in years. For those of you who remember "Reckoning", the same director, Greg Beeman, helms the finale after being away from the series for several seasons. There's no late season disappoint this year. While not all the episodes are as stellar as we could have hoped, the latter half of Season 9 is just as strong as the first, making this one of the best seasons of the show since Season 5.
Zod isn't the only new villain introduced in Season 9. Metallo makes a couple of appearances throughout the season and is surprisingly portrayed as a sympathetic character. Brian Austin Green, who battled cybernetic organisms in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, now becomes one himself and is exceptional in the part. He switches between the sympathetic John Corben and the violent Metallo effortlessly.
Throughout the season there are a sprinkling of DC Universe heroes and villains, but non quite as surprising as Checkmate. The reason they are surprising has nothing to do with the fact that we didn't know they would show up, their appearance was telegraphed with the announcement of Pam Grier as Amanda Waller, but with how poorly they were used over the course of the latter half of the season. Checkmate was a huge opportunity to cement a new, clandestine, organization in the Smallville universe and the characters stumbled at every step; never establishing themselves as a formidable villain.
It's hard to talk about Season 9 of Smallville without discussing Geoff Johns fantastic "Absolute Justice" two hour episode that aired mid season. It may have been exposition heavy but it also provided us with near-perfect recreations of some of DC Comics' most memorable characters; Michael Shanks as Hawkman, Brittney Irvin as Stargirl and Brent Stait as Dr. Fate. Even more make cameo appearances via flashback throughout the episode. It's recommended viewing for any longtime DC fan but Smallville fans who may not read the comic books should get plenty of enjoyment out of the story as well.
As usual, romantic relationships play an important role in the story this season. Lois (Erica Durance) and Clark become romantically involved early on in the season providing a much-needed evolution to the sexual tension they were experiencing in the previous season. While silly at times, for the most part their relationship feels genuine. Clark still struggles with telling Lois the truth about his Kryptonian heritage much like he did with Lana. Thankfully however, Lois doesn't get caught up in this issue for most of the season, she's too busy working towards advancing her career. She cares deeply about Clark, but never lets that overwhelm her own life. After the complete failure to establish Lana as an independent character, this is an incredible breath of fresh air.
With the death of some guy named Jimmy Olsen, Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack) shuts herself off from the outside world. Locked up in the new Watchtower, Chloe spends most episodes monitoring events via a computer screen much like that other Chloe on 24. Not to worry however, there is plenty in store for Miss Sullivan in the latter half of the season, including a surprising new love interest.
Oliver Queen's (Justin Hartley) storyline is a bit of a tumultuous ride. His story arc through the first half of the season demands more screen time (entire episodes even) than its worth. Some may find his self-loathing journey an interesting tale but it drags on longer than needed. Much like Chloe, he becomes a lot more exciting in the second half of the season, returning to his old, cheerful self.
Smallville may be long in the tooth, but it continues to stride with youthful exuberance, even in Season 9. There's no question that this story needs to wrap up by the end of next season, as the story of Clark Kent can't remain interesting in this stage of his development forever, but the very fact that so many are excited for Season 10 is testament enough to the success of this season.
|Title : DVD Smallville Season 9
Episode : 01 - 22
Format : AVI
Subtitle : English
Price : RM20
|Maybank Acc : 153010562040
Name : Ahmad Zamakhsyari Zainuddin
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