TV Discussion

Smallville 4×16 – ‘Lucy’ – TV Rewind

After the incredible low-point of ‘Sacred’, it comes as a blessed relief to see Smallville revert back to a stand-alone tale of sorts focused primarily on Lois Lane. Erica Durance has frequently been the MVP of the season, even as the story arc revolving around the Stones of Power (it even sounds stupid, let’s be honest) falls into the perilous pit of revealing itself to be something that isn’t working at all.

Opening with a surprisingly fun James Bond-style teaser, (although it does use mid-2000s CGI that might have been passable back in 2005 but is less so now), the episode benefits from laying down more character work from the comics in regards to Lois, indicating that the writers at this stage were clearly eager to have her hang around for as long as possible despite the efforts of Warner Bros to keep television and cinema separate (hence the reason Batman/Bruce Wayne will never show up and why it took so long for Lois to appear).

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The character of Lucy Lane has had a spotty record of showing up in various live-action Superman stories. Most recently Jenna Dewan showed up in the Arrowverse as a recurring presence on Supergirl and is set to return to the role on the wonderful Superman & Lois, so it might come as a surprise to fans of those shows to see the character depicted as a somewhat less ethical version of the character with myriad troubles and a very difficult relationship with her older sister.

© Warner Bros. Television.

There is a vibe to the younger Lane sister here that feels like it’s a cross between Gossip Girl and Alias. It’s all good if contrived fun, but truthfully one just wants to go along with anything this season if it works, and even better is that after the Howard Hawks-style banter and chemistry between Durance and Welling all season, it’s somewhat refreshing to see the writers actually do something a little more dramatic with the character. We’ve already been introduced to her father Sam earlier in the season, and the use of Lucy here allows the audience to see Lois and her complicated family dynamics played through a different point of view, but one that was actually there for the backstory itself.

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There’s even the lovely revelation that Lois herself feels like she never had a proper childhood after the death of her mother because it was up to her to be not only a sister but a maternal figure for Lucy. It’s not spelled out concretely, in fact it’s perhaps a great example of ‘show, don’t tell’, but it hints that both Clark and Lois are very similar since they are both in the end children who have had to grow up too fast because of the complex world of responsibilities.

Admittedly, they are both very different responsibilities, but it’s a lovely observation for a script and an episode that even though it turns into typical comedy-thriller fare for most of the duration is at least entertainingly fun with great chemistry between Welling, Durance and Peyton List as Lucy. It does so much more in this one episode in terms of enjoyment factor than anything going on between Lana and Jason, which, as always with this season, threatens to bring everything down just by simply devoting time to them.

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