TV discussion

Smallville 2×06 – ‘Redux – TV Rewind

‘Redux’ opens with a surprisingly entertaining hook for a monster-of-the-week instalment of a television show; a high school swimmer goes into the pool, but as soon as he comes out he’s aged to the point of being an old man. Usually, for a Vancouver produced genre television show, the call would be placed to Mulder and Scully, or the investigators from Fringe possibly, but for now, we have to make do with Clark Kent and Chloe Sullivan and her Wall of Weird.

In fact, there are certain similarities here to a number of X-Files episodes, including ‘Young at Heart’ and the incredibly underrated gem ‘Tithonus’, all of which detailed characters who were eternally young, while lead guest character Chrissy (a pre-Psych Maggie Lawson) seems to share a feeding for survival modus operandi like Eugene Tooms or Virgil Incanto.

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If it seems like there are too many X-Files comparisons here then that’s too bad, as it’s hard to not feel the similarities. Because after a wonderful start to the season, ‘Redux’ sees Smallville falling back into some old habits by delivering a season one-style monster of the week tale, but for once it’s not really the fault of the show because ‘Redux’ is, in fact, an actual season one monster of the week tale.

Filmed during the first year of production, this is an example of an episode of television held back until the following season from when it was filmed. Everything about the episode feels like season one and there are even moments that are very reflective of where the show was last season. In his final confrontation with Chrissy, Clark sends Pete away as if he needs to protect his secret, a secret Pete learned about a few weeks ago. Even Nell shows up and reacts to The Talon as if it only opened last week, even though it’s been open since before the end of season one. It’s little details like this that make it such an odd episode to watch given how much has happened.

Maggie Lawson makes for an entertaining antagonist this hour, and her appearance just adds to Smallville‘s growing roster of future stars showing up and making life hell for Clark and everyone else. Chrissy is a character unable to let go of the past and is stuck with wanting to stay as a high schooler, seemingly at her peak, or the happiest she has been.

The past never being able to truly let us go is a common theme this hour with Jonathan and Martha finding themselves turning to Martha’s father in an attempt to get out of their current financial situation and with it the pains of their pasts, while Clark’s new principal tries to get him to apply himself by looking to the future and asking where he sees himself in five years.

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Of course, Smallville will still be on the air in five years, and the series will still not have gotten Clark Kent to become Superman. The show will have created a whole new set of problems for its characters to deal with, all while they still live in Smallville, but it’s always one of those fascinating joys with this show whenever they have Clark question where he sees himself, all the while the audience knows full well what his eventual destiny will be.

Trying to see one’s future while history keeps repeating itself all get a fair shake when it comes to the episode’s themes, and honestly, if this was a season one episode it would have been more than decent – in fact, it might have been one of its best episodes. But six episodes into season two and the show has made a massive leap in how it’s telling its stories this season and as a result, ‘Redux’ cannot help but pale a little in comparison, despite being somewhat good fun.

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