A very exciting episode is putting it mildly when talking about ‘Forsaken’. There is a great balance going on here between a self-contained monster-of-the-week episode and something that pushes Smallville‘s ongoing story threads into wickedly brilliant directions as we hurtle towards the finale. There is only one episode of the season left after this and everything is up in the air, with considerably high dramatic stakes.
I’ve probably said this one too many times in my reviews of season three, but this has been a brilliant run of episodes. Yes, there have been the occasional misses (unavoidable when you’re producing twenty-two episodes in a row) but one gets the sense that things came together for the series in its third year.
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Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson were a big reason for the success of the season. Joining the series in season two, they frequently delivered many of the best episodes, and a lot of the highlights of the season are down to them. It’s no surprise that the last two seasons of the series, after Gough and Millar exited the series as showrunners, was handed to them, and it’s not much more of a surprise that those last two seasons are so good (especially season nine).
‘Forsaken’ is another brilliant example of what it is they bring to the table on Smallville. The balance between pushing all those ongoing story threads forward while also delivering the type of self-contained forty five minute episode that network television executives are in favour of because of syndication gets a massive workout here.
Yes, once again Lana is in danger and spends the majority of the episode kidnapped, but away from Smallville-by-numbers, the Lex/Lionel dynamic enters a new dramatic phase, Chloe might just have put herself in more danger than ever and Clark finally wants to tell Lana his secret. What impact this will have going forward is something that is still up in the air at this stage.
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It leaves one wondering if Smallville will go out and dare to make such drastic changes to its world. In the end, it will have no choice, given that it needs to lead up to what is essentially the Superman story that we know and love through comic books and numerous other movies and television series, but what it’s doing here is fantastic. You get the sense that the writers really want to shake it up, and it’s daringly having Lionel get arrested and Lana opting to leave for good in a manner that you kind of wish it would commit to.
In the end, it will only half deliver on the promises here, and I want to hold off on my many, many critiques of season four until I get to them (and I warn you, there will be many), but as of right now you just want to revel and enjoy the blissful confidence of a television series that in on fire at this point.