Tom took the role of Clark Kent in Smallville in September 2001, and helped to redefine Clark for a new generation of Superman fans. Tom has also directed several Smallville episodes.
Episode 908 - Idol Review
Written by Babaluwee
DISCLAIMER - Please remember that this review does not represent the opinions/viewpoints of everyone; it is the personal opinions of the reviewer only. Thank you.
Without any reservations, I would call "Idol" the best SV episode in years! Much of why the episode was extraordinary was because it focused on Clark's journey to becoming Superman, and within that context, its characters portrayed the series' essential values such as love, altruism, goodness, responsibility, and hope. The episode dealt with important themes such as the power of symbols, the necessity for Clark's dual identity, and the deepening of Lois and Clark's love for each other.
Tom's Performance: Tom's performance was absolutely magnificent: From the level of portraying the larger-than-life superhero to the level of subtle facial expressions and vocal inflections, Tom Welling graced us with a thoroughly masterful performance! As the superhero, he was awe-inspiring when, for example, he exhorted the Wonder Twins to live lives of heroic virtue, but also to act very responsibly because they may be making life and death decisions. Not many people can pull that off without sounding corny or pompous. As the romantic male lead, he was resplendent and incomparable. As Clark, Tom is adept to keeping his reactions to Lois nuanced but readable, for example, when he looked mildly amused with her when she blushed or when she spoke about her phone calls with the Blur. The viewers know exactly what Clark is feeling when he's with her.
As a reviewer, I make an effort to focus only on Tom's talent as an actor, rather than be distracted by his appearance, but this time the impetus to comment on his literally stunning good looks is too overwhelming. In every single scene the man was breathtaking, heart-stopping, and mind-blowing! And his shirtless romantic scene opening the episode made me swallow my tongue and forget to breathe.
Clark and Lois: The chemistry between Erica and Tom is riveting. Their portrayal of a couple finding true and selfless love is engaging and heartwarming, and not a little sexy. There were many great and memorable moments between them, like when Clark "confessed" to needing glasses. Yes, it's true he'll need them, but not to correct his vision. (Was there an actual prescription in those lenses?) Or when Lois took charge and kicked a bundled stack of newspapers to Clark's feet and used it as a stepladder to his lips—What a great kiss! (for as long as it lasted anyway).
The Shield Symbol: Clark's family crest was a recurring symbol throughout the episode. A symbol points to realities other than itself and makes them present, or re-presents them, without being identical to them. If a symbol didn't really "make present" certain realities, it wouldn't have power to motivate people to action or to inspire hope and goodness. Symbols that represent intangible realities such as hope, goodness, justice, and salvation are "real" and needed. As Clark exhorted the Wonder Twins, "Believe in the shield and what it represents," it was quite humble of Clark to direct them away from idolizing him and toward the values themselves, now represented by the shield.
Among the myriad of meteor-empowered people we've encountered throughout the seasons, few, if any, used their powers to do good and help people. Clark's instinct to leave his shield at the scene of his rescues was proven to be right. It did inspire the Wonder Twins to use their powers for altruistic purposes, even if they bungled the jobs (that's why they shouldn't be anonymous and unaccountable). There is every reason to believe that Clark's symbol is stirring altruism and benevolence in the hearts of all people of good will, whether meteor-empowered or not.
The Dual Identity: The writers are doing an excellent job in developing Clark's dual identity, the Blur, which will eventually evolve into Superman. The Blur is serving Clark's purposes for the time being: It preserves his anonymity and allows him a private life. It protects his loved ones from those who would exploit or harm them. It laudably deflects any acclamation from Clark (who doesn't want any credit) and directs people to emulate the values represented by the shield. But the appearance of the Wonder Twins revealed some serious weaknesses with an anonymous superhero: Others can impersonate him and usurp his shield, even distort the symbol's meaning. Because the Blur is anonymous, the corrupt D.A. could have attributed any crime to him, "make him whomever he wanted to be," even a murderer.
The Blur, or Superman, is going to have to step into the light, so that he can be accountable for his actions, protect himself from slander, eschew the charge of vigilantism, and work with law enforcement and facilitate the due process of justice (the accused have Constitutional rights). The values Clark hopes to promote by leaving behind his shield will be better served by his assuming a second, public identity, i.e., Superman. This identity would not be a lie. As Lois noted, Clark isn't even capable at lying his way out of speeding ticket. This alter ego would be just as much who he is (and has always been) as the farm boy or the reporter is. So when the time finally comes for Lois to learn his secret identity, this episode will have laid the foundations for Lois to have a complete understanding of the various needs for secrecy, and that she should not accuse him of lying to her.
Lois: Erica gave a both rousing and moving performance as Lois who was discovering a true and enduring love for Clark (even if she was still a little confused about her feelings for the Blur). When she was deciding whether to tell Clark that she knew he was the Blur, her first consideration was about how it would affect him; she put his best interests first. She acknowledged that Clark had always been "selfless and brave;" and appreciated the burdensome nature of his secret. When she was hanging from the flagpole on the DP Building, she was willing to die in order to protect this secret. I got chills when she deadpanned, "Let me go?" She is selfless and brave. This episode really began to do Lois justice, presenting her more and more as a woman of substance. And when she concluded that Clark wasn't the Blur, she appreciated all the more what it took for "that scared guy" to step out onto the ledge to save her.
Chloe: The way Chloe is currently being written is very worrisome. She came across as arrogant when she met with the Twins. It was inappropriate of her to launch into the topic of "saving the Blur, even from himself" with complete strangers. The Twins just wanted to help the Blur and advance his cause, not "save him." Is that how Chloe sees herself, as Clark's self-appointed savior? I don't have a problem with Clark needing indispensable help from his friends occasionally. That's part of human relationships.
I also like when women aren't always depicted as helpless and in need of rescue, but actually make a crucial difference in Clark's life. But Chloe exhibited a very dangerous and explicit savior/messiah complex toward Clark in "Beast." In this episode she is again presenting herself as Clark's savior, to the extent that she is spying on him and seriously violating his (Constitutionally protected) rights to privacy! In an earlier episode she installed cameras in his barn (and who knows where else). Now she can pinpoint his whereabouts, and she has been listening in on his phone calls and can impersonate him as the Blur. Even if Chloe did protect his identity as the Blur, it was hard to believe that Clark didn't have more to say about her complete betrayal of trust. And did he thereby simply accede to her continued monitoring of him?
The Kissing Scenes Were Too Short! Would it have killed anybody to have extended the two kissing scenes by mere seconds??? Each of Clark and Lois' kissing scenes were just enthralling in different ways. The first kissed was slow, serious, and tantalizingly erotic; true love emanated from their embrace. But that orange red glow surrounding them was a little ominous; so was the cut on Clark's cheek. The second kiss caught Clark a little off guard and it was just great see Clark initially in "awkward mode" again, until he shifted gears and got into "drive." But then Lois seemed to go into a convulsion and faint (not from the kiss).
Rating: I give "Idol" 5 out of 5 bright, shining stars
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