Smallville s1e3: Hothead

Air Date: October 30, 2001

Rating: 5/10

The football coach is caught giving answer keys to his players so they can pass tests and continue winning at football. He also seems able to start fires. When Clark joins the team, he learns just how far the coach is willing to go for his players.

I think I should get this out of the way, there are questions I have that annoy me about this episode that I really hope are answered in later episodes. For one, does Clark not know what kryptonite is? I mean, it’s affected him once before and now he seems surprised when it does the same thing again. Also, why is kryptonite everywhere? Why is it giving random people superpowers? I’m a fan of the comics and I’m pretty sure all the things as they showed it here are wrong. I get this is an alternate universe so not everything works the same, but it’s weird to me when they take things clearly shown how they work canonically and just throwing that out the window and decide that something like kryptonite is a fictional device and therefore they can do whatever they want with it. Kryptonite is just a space rock that also happens to be the only thing (not really) that Superman is weak against. If you’ll notice, it’s mixing the words “Krypton” (the name of Superman’s home planet) and “meteorite,” indicating that it’s merely leftover parts of Clark’s planet. Though it is drawn as if it glows green, which always made me think it was at least slightly radioactive, but despite what the Marvel comics want us to believe, radioactivity doesn’t give you superpowers. I would have liked some kind of explanation, and maybe there was one but it was so minor I just forgot, but it feels like something just added out of convenience instead of giving real supervillains an origin story they can just keep phoning it in with monsters-of-the-week like they have been.

Oh well, at least Lex Luthor is around, even if he’s not doing much in this episode.

Sorry, I actually did enjoy most of this episode, even if it was fraught with cliches. Clark wants to join the football team but his father won’t let him, but he does anyway. Same with Lex fighting with his dad on how to run his company. Though these are stereotypical moments of any dramatic show since the history of television began, they do it uniquely enough here that I didn’t really think about how cliche it all was until I started this review.

However, the thing that ruined it for me was the last ten minutes of the episode. I felt the defeat of the fire guy was basically a Deus Ex Machina and the coach doesn’t really deserve what happened to him even if he went evil, he was still a helpful and influential member of his community. And during the denouement, I was mostly just bored and waiting for it to be over. These are not good qualities for any episode of any show.

SCORING:

+7: I still enjoyed it despite all it’s flaws

-1: That’s not how kryptonite works…

-1: the last ten minutes is kind of tough to get through

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