With most of the staff on a high from last night's midnight and 3AM screenings of The Dark Knight Rises, I've decided to step in for the first time since Chapter 1 and review this week's installment of Smallville Season 11. With the season premiere "Guardian" nearly over, we're inching towards Batman's first appearance in the Smallville universe. But for now, we last left off with Clark in the middle of a battle that exploded right at the end of the last chapter. Does the action succeed in giving fans exactly what they want? And with a reveal that has been months in the making, was the identity of a masked visitor worth the wait?
What's been great about Smallville Season 11 so far has been the fact that most of what's been showcased could have never happened on the series. And here, the episode starts off exactly the same way. Buildings left with holes, pavement broken in the streets; it's all a high flying spectacle. But for me, that's what makes part of the fight in this week's issue somewhat disappointing. While if you go back and connect the last few pages of Chapter 10 with this week's installment the fight feels more complete, the brawl itself actually feels more restricted than the movie heights it wants to rise to. While the dialogue keeps things interesting, it feels as if the fight is more of a quick "zip, zing, boom" and the action is all over.
However, what the fight does bring out is a character development that has been brought more to the reader's attention mostly throughout the past few weeks: Clark can't save everybody. Clark has had to wrestle with this in the television series itself when he couldn't save Lana nor Jonathan back in a pivotal moment of his life, and he can't do it now. Though he hates to admit that, what's beautiful is seeing how this is affecting him. He's still at odds with himself taking on a job that was thrust upon him rather than being his choice, and yet he's stepping up to his destiny. As he exchanges words with Henshaw, it's clear that while Clark may be doing his best that even for a Kryptonian the best is simply not good enough.
Once the action is over, we do settle into a more final tone that certainly feels like the last ten minutes of any given episode the series once brought forth. It's capturing that similar skeleton where Bryan Q. Miller truly succeeds and he does it damn well despite my uneasiness about how fast the preceding battle may have been.
We finally return to the cornfields of Smallville for the first time in what feels like awhile given recent developments, and with it comes a major step up on Chloe & Oliver's ongoing mystery. And while there are still many more questions to be revealed coming out of just what the hell happened in this week's finale, I feel oddly enough excited for what this could possibly lead to. Miller calls back to events in Season 10 that certainly led to a big turn around by the series finale, and to bring it back now feels incredibly surprising. What exactly could become of this is unclear and how it will factor into the next story arc "Detective" is even more mysterious as well. But if this happens to be the overarching concept for all of Season 11, I'm intrigued to see just where it could go and if it actually pans out in the process.
Chapter 11 does wrap up nicely things that we have been following for nearly two months now, though how exactly next week's final moments of "Guardian" will fare in comparison is certainly something to watch for. Every week has ended on a cliffhanger thus far, but this week's chapter actually feels like the biggest teaser of a following chapter for the first time since perhaps Chapter #5 or even in the entire series so far. While I do have some hesitance about what this new twist may bring, Miller's story still has me at the very least interested while Pere Perez packs in plenty of visual representation to provide a well-rounded package yet again.
But what did you think of this week's installment? Let us know either in the comments below, or tweet us @FilmThrasher on Twitter!