Don’t let the title fool you. Yes, when it comes to anything related to the DC universe with the word ‘Crisis’ in it, one can easily expect some sort of cataclysmic story that might alter the world of DC’s superheroes forever: ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’, ‘Infinite Crisis’, Identity Crisis’, ‘Heroes in Crisis’, ‘Final Crisis’, etc. Of course, the Arrowverse used ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths‘ as the basis for its big crossover event a few years ago, and perhaps seeing the word used here might make the audience think that Smallville is on the cusp of delivering some sort of massive event that might change its branch of the DC television universe forever.
Put those expectations aside, because that’s not what’s happening here. Thankfully, the episode does shift away from the emphasis on the self-contained stories of the last few weeks (and feeling like it was using whatever DVD was in the writers’ room for inspiration!) to get some forward momentum back to Smallville‘s ongoing story arc concerns. It’s here that we say a hearty welcome back to Adam Knight.
What started off feeling like it was Smallville‘s teen soap element trying to force into the mix a love triangle component, because they haven’t had that as an ongoing concern since Whitney was around, has instead morphed into something that has weirdly become something fun to add to the already heady mix of the season. So many plot threads get thrown into this one and thankfully since this is a Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson script, it ends up being a lot of fun, even if credibility is thrown out the window as it piles on the revelations, set-pieces and cliffhangers.
Despite coming into the series seemingly as the new love rival for Lana’s affections, and being another thorn in the side when it comes to Lana and Clark being together (almost as if they shouldn’t be together), Ian Somerhalder’s performance has enjoyably morphed into an increasingly fraught antagonist. There is nothing left for him here by the time the episode comes to its conclusion. This is the end of the road for Knight, and unsurprisingly for Smallville it comes to a head with a story that sees Lana in danger yet again.
One really ought to have sat down with the writers and asked them to stop placing Lana in danger at this stage. It’s a trope they clearly like to rely on and in an episode filled to the brim with suspense and terrifying thriller moments where Adam turns into a fully-fledged antagonist amongst all the other enjoyable chaos around him, it’s hard to be too critical when the script is an enjoyable as this one is.
Better yet, this plays into Smallville‘s core strengths, as twenty-two episodes per season genre television series of the period. The whole telephone call from the future conceit is a great hook with which to begin the episode, and plays into genre television and its ability at the time to combine stand-alone concepts with ongoing story arc concerns; a period of television that has given way to more intensely structured serials with little time for filler.
Not that this is a filler episode in the strict sense of the word when it comes to the adventures of teenage Clark Kent. This brings one of the season’s biggest story arcs to an end but sets things up nicely for the final third of the season, using a brilliant idea that could have been thrown away for something resembling a filler episode and turns it into one of the season’s most enjoyable episodes.