Smallville

Season 9 Episode 10

Disciple

1
Aired Friday 8:00 PM Jan 29, 2010 on The CW
AIRED:
8.8
out of 10
User Rating
422 votes
16

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Oliver's former mentor, the Dark Archer, seeks revenge on his pupil and launches attacks on Chloe, Lois, and Mia as part of his plan. When Oliver is driven to his limits and beyond, Clark must come to the aid of his friend.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • 910

    6.0
    You know what I hate? After 2 months of anticipation for a new episode... we get a filler. This episode just reminded me of Season 6's "Combat" in which you can tell from the get go that it was a filler episode. I mean nothing really happened here, we knew Zod wanted to build the tower from the last episode, it was just a "throw away" episode of the season.



    Oh and how out of character was Lois? She didn't find it a tad suspicious when Zod walked in to her hospital room to give her flowers, he basically spelled out that he was trouble, yet Lois remained naive for one reason or another. The Clark and Lois relationship is as dull as dishwater, so nothing new there. Yes, the Oliver & Mia interactions were a tad interesting but overall this episode paled to the past 2 episodes, and just when I think it's getting back on track, they deliver an episode like this: an uneventful comeback episode. You can also notice the writing is weaker here. No Allies, No Lovers, No Disciples? Yeah like we couldn't have put two and two together to figure out that's why the guy was after Lois, Chloe and Mia. Overall, an entertaining hour, but nothing new here.moreless
  • No lovers. No allies. No disciples. (WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD)

    8.0
    Normally, I don't much care for episodes centering around Oliver (*coughcough*, ROULETTE, *coughcough*), but this one was actually kinda interesting. Of course, I loved the Clois moments, few and far inbetween though they were, but also loved Oliver's showdown with his former mentor and how Mia now knows Ollie's big secret (now, I'm just waiting for her to announce that she's HIV-positive, like the writers and producers keep saying she's supposed to be). Anyhow, I liked how the writers used the backstory established in season eight's TOXIC and just expanded upon it, namely how Oliver honed his archery skills while he was trapped on that island. And while I liked the mystery set up about the Book of Rao, I agree with Clark that Zod shouldn't be in anywhere near Lois. But all in all, I rate DISCIPLE eight crossbows out of ten.



    Highlights -- Lois and Clark on their first outing as a "kind of" couple; Lois mistaking the Dark Archer for a jealous Oliver; Clark visiting Lois in the hospital; Chloe confessing to Clark that she helped Oliver gets his life back on track; Clark and Chloe solving the mystery of the "mentorship cult" Oliver joined; Oliver and Vordigan's showdown; Lois and Clark's "PDA number five"; and Clark telling Zod to stay away from Lois.moreless
  • What a strong episode

    10
    After a 2 month break, Smallville comes back with a strong episode. I'm glad that the writers are not shoving the clois relationship down our throats like they did with the clana relationship. I love how clois' relationship is. I think it's time that Oliver moves on from Lois and goes back head to head with Tess. Clark is determined to protect Lois from Zod. I was impressed when he told Zod, "come after Lois again and I will destroy you all." Lois is meaning more to him than Lana ever was. The Kandorians are coming closer to getting their powers back and it has something to do with that Jorel was hiding in the Kents house. The book of Rao holds some special meaning and I hope Clark finds out about it eventually. Zod claims that he didn't kill Jor-el, but I think he did. All of this mystery will be solved in the second half of this season, which is already going better than the first half.moreless
  • Smallville, how I've missed you! Bad dialogue and all!

    8.0
    The episode began with Clark and Lois finishing up a date. I'm sure I've mentioned it before but the decision to have Clark and Lois get together has been one of the most surprisingly brilliant in recent memory on the show. While it's a bit early for them to be getting together going by the comics, it works well as the two are at a stage in their lives that it makes sense. The fact that Clark has clearly matured from the guy who pined over Lana for so long means he can have a mature adult relationship. This also applies to Lois who has changed as well over the last few years and I liked her openly admitting here that she wanted to take their relationship slowly so as not to ruin it. It should also help it avoid the question of whether Clark can have sex which is something I don't think any of us want brought up again on the show unless they just admit he can go for it!



    One of the things that works nicely in this episode is that while it was billed as an Ollie ep, Clark has just as much to do himself, mainly dealing with Zod. Their scenes together were well handled as Clark clearly didn't want to admit the reason he wouldn't help them get their power is that he knew what would happen in an attempt to keep Zod friendly. Of course that was until after Zod spoke to Lois which Clark responded to brilliantly by threatening him. Just as a side note it's still a bit weird to see Clark using his powers in front of relative strangers, in the case of Zod here. But it's actually brilliantly refreshing that the only main character on the show who doesn't know about him now is in fact Lois.



    The main mystery and threat of this episode was the Dark Archer, Oliver's old mentor. I did like that we got a bit more of Ollie's backstory, although it did seem to break continuity a bit. Didn't he go off with Tess for a while after he got off the island, where as Chloe said he went off training straight after it. Still that's not a huge deal. Vordigan didn't have a huge amount of screentime, but he was good with what he had. But it was fine as the story wasn't about him, but how he was affecting Oliver. I was a bit worried that Ollie was falling back into his self pitying state again here, but fortunately not. Don't get me wrong, his journey this season has been far better than when they didn't know what to do with him last year, but going backwards now would undermine the first part of his story this season.



    And as a little bit of a surprise we had the return of Mia. Smallville has a tendency for starting plots that never go anywhere and Mia's story could have worked as more of a hint to her and Oliver's partnership in the future. But if they are actually going to show him train her this year then fantastic. The two of them are really good together and we got a cool fight sequence out of it between them! The "No lovers, no allies, no disciples" bit was a cool idea and made sense for a brotherhood of assassins (fortunately they did specify no disciples outwith the brotherhood otherwise the whole Ollie/ Vordigan relationship would've been a big plot hole).



    The climatic battle in the hedge maze was done really well and I loved that, while Mia was the bait in there, she wasn't completely helpless. Also it's always great to see Oliver in full Green Arrow gear, although I wished they would've shown the CGI effect for his collapsible longbow, as opposed to it being offscreen. And the climax was very cool too, with Clark doing his Clark-time to block the arrows. It may not have been the most original stunt, but as always it looked very cool. I loved that it was still Ollie who took down the Dark Archer, implying Clark had the faith in him to do the right thing and not kill him. I don't know if that was the writer's intention but that's the way I saw it. My only gripe was Oliver pointing out that he hit him in the shoulder to take him down not kill him. As soon as we saw where the arrow was, combined with the info of it being the perfect place to take out your enemy without killing them from earlier we realised. It's times like this where Smallville talks down to its audience, not thinking we're smart enough to follow.



    Which nicely leads me into the complaints section of the review. This episode was certainly good, but not perfect. To be fair it was the usual Smallville issues that came up here. Once again Lois was maimed (she's been shot, stabbed and knocked out countless times before) and yet I'm willing to bet the next gratuitous nude scene she has there'll be absolutely no scars on her. Also the music can be really obnoxious and unnecessary. Yes music can add so much to a moment when used properly, but when used constantly throughout it becomes noticeable and annoying.



    And finally there's the show's dialogue which overall has improved over previous years. Every character seems to spout pop culture references with every alternate breath. Yes they can be funny when used properly, but needing to have Wikipedia open just to understand what Chloe's saying is not good writing. Even Clark was guilty of it this week, although thankfully not Zod, as that would be all kinds of wrong! Justin Hartly seems the best at handling the reference riddled dialogue so for the most part I had no problem with anything he said. It's annoying as for the most part the story was really good and very well executed (although Chloe finding the maze just using a satellite seemed a bit of a cop out) so the poor lines do stand out a bit.



    Still it wasn't enough to really spoil my enjoyment of this very impressive episode. While I find myself not entirely interested in Zod's plan to get the Kandorians powers (as we've already seen the result of that) he still continues to be very compelling. On top of that him finally having scenes with Clark is a great boost for the second half of the show's season. Plus the Lois and Clark stuff continues to be great to watch and the Green Arrow's awesome! So overall this show is still great!



    P.S. I wish they'd go back to the old super hearing effect.moreless
  • No lovers, no allies, no disciples

    6.0
    If there is one thing that "Smallville" has always struggled with, it's continuity. Not just in terms of overall series continuity, which is generally acceptable, but rather, the continuity within a season arc. For one reason or another, it always feels like the writers fail to communicate once they break out the stories for the season. Add to that a historical tendency to lose focus about halfway through every season, and it's no shock that "Smallville" has often been dismissed by fans of genre television, despite its longevity.



    In this case, it is the treatment of the Clark/Zod relationship. While Clark has never been particularly talented at diplomacy, his interactions with Zod seem overly contentious, given his stated goals. Clark may be right not to trust Zod, but Clark had come to the conclusion that the best way to prevent the future seen in "Pandora" was to befriend Zod and show him a better path. Constantly making threats and dismissing Zod's attempts at a dialogue don't make sense within the context of that strategy.



    Part of the problem is that Zod has been inconsistently depicted. Major Zod was ruthless from the start, and while the information provided in "Kandor" made some sense out of that, it also presented a case for Zod's potential for redemption. Yet in the end, Zod always defaults to a scheme that he knows is diabolical. So which is it? Is Zod capable of change, or is Zod evil at the core? The writers could have gotten much more mileage out of a Zod that could go either way, giving Clark's choices far more importance.



    As it is, Clark's choices really don't matter. Zod will be evil, because Zod is always evil. In that respect, Clark's decision to help Zod find another path is merely a delaying tactic. And perhaps that explains why the writers are inconsistent with Clark's treatment of Zod. They know Clark's strategy is doomed to fail, they know the audience must know it's going to fail, so why bother making it convincing?



    On the other side of the spectrum, we get another close look at Oliver's climb back towards heroism, even as Clark becomes more and more uncomfortable with how Oliver and Chloe define the term. I know there are plenty of "Smallville" fans who consider episodes like this to be a waste of time, but I disagree. Oliver was introduced for two reasons: to jumpstart Clark's development as a hero with a worldwide perspective (what a hero should be), and to provide Clark with a negative example (what a hero shouldn't be).



    So exploring Oliver's side of the story is not a distraction from Clark's journey; it is necessary to place Clark's own development into context. Let's face it: Superman/Clark Kent is a fairly boring character in and of itself. He only gets interesting when his strict moral code or inherent sense of moral superiority is challenged. Yet, he is also the hero of the story. The time-honored approach, then, is to ensure that his contemporaries are morally inferior yet still influential in his life.



    The catch, however, is that Oliver's story must eventually coincide with some important stage in Clark's life. If Oliver is meant to stand as a key influence for Superman on "Smallville", then for all his psychological damage, he has to be shown as a semi-capable mentor. Hence the introduction of Mia, who thankfully was not a one-episode addition to the mythos. If Oliver manages to make her even slightly viable as a hero, before her inevitable demise, then it justifies his role in Clark's life just a little bit more.



    Oliver's journey is relevant in another sense. Chloe has been one of Clark's primary allies for years. In fact, in many respects, Chloe has been Clark's anchor in many a storm. Without a doubt, Chloe has changed in recent seasons, and from Clark's perspective, not for the better. That has coincided with Chloe getting more involved in Oliver's world. The more Clark and Oliver diverge in their view of the world, the greater the rift between Clark and Chloe. The more we understand Oliver's side of the equation, the better we understand what it is that Clark rejects.



    The problem with this entire approach is that it requires the characters to debate things a bit more directly than they are to be effective. The subtext is all there, but the characters stop just short of making a definitive point. It's exactly the same problem that plagues the Clark/Zod scenes. It's as if dancing around conflict is somehow the only way these people can communicate. I realize that the writers want to keep things stewing because they have no idea how long they need to keep the series going, but a little bit of frank confrontation can go a long way.moreless
Tom Welling

Tom Welling

Clark Kent/Kal-El of Krypton

Justin Hartley

Justin Hartley

Oliver Queen/Green Arrow

Allison Mack

Allison Mack

Chloe Sullivan

Erica Durance

Erica Durance

Lois Lane

Callum Blue

Callum Blue

Major Zod

Elise Gatien

Elise Gatien

Mia/Speedy

Guest Star

Steve Bacic

Steve Bacic

Vordigan/Dark Archer

Guest Star

Sharon Taylor (II)

Sharon Taylor (II)

Faora

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (4)

    • The Brotherhood were supposed to be of Irish origin (as shown on the data Chloe pulled up on screen), but the Celtic inscription looked more like Welsh or Breton, which is a different type of Celtic language from the Irish language. Welsh, Breton and Cornish are p-Celtic, Irish, Manx and Scottish are q-Celtic.

    • The view used to show the street outside Oliver's training place is shown twice. even though it's clearly not the same time. The same cars can be seen passing by. The first time is before Oliver is seen meditating, and the second one is before Lois and him talk in the alley.

    • In the previous episode, Tess said the plans for Zod's tower hasn't even gone public yet. But in this episode, at the end, at least half the tower is complete.

    • When Chloe is showing Oliver the x-rays, she tells him "the arrow went in under her right shoulder." Lois was shot under the left shoulder.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Oliver: Lois! What are you doing here?
      Lois: Well, someone planted an arrow pretty damn close to my heart and I don't think it's Cupid.

    • Clark: You know, Lois, we could go back to the farm and take a walk. I could give you Clark Kent's tour of the galaxy.
      Lois: Smallville... the only planet you know about is the one you read at the breakfast table.

    • Lois: I'm a little nervous. It was our first public outing as kind of like a couple.
      Clark: Emphasis on "kind of." You wouldn't even let me help you with your coat.
      Lois: I held your hand.
      Clark: Only when you were taking hors d'oeuvres out of it.

    • Lois: Well, it is a lot to wrap your head around--Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Who knew?
      Clark: I did.

    • Zod: The apple is such a plain yet fascinating fruit.
      Clark: What are you doing here?
      Zod: You know, it was the apple that launched the Trojan War, one of the great epic battles of all time. And, in many religions here, it's the apple's fall from the Tree of Knowledge that represents the fall of Man. Now, I found that story quite interesting because it so aptly illustrates how humans hoard knowledge. Whereas our own Kryptonian religion... now, that teaches knowledge should be shared... by all.
      Clark: I'm sure you didn't come here for a Sunday school lesson. What do you want?

    • Zod: Look, Clark must have mentioned me. I'm Zod.
      Lois: Can't say that he has. And being a championship-wrestling fan, I'd definitely remember a name like that.

    • Chloe: Any time you have to pull the trigger on making a difficult decision, you always just walk away.
      Clark: I do what's right.
      Chloe: You're not willing to do what's necessary.
      Clark: Pulling the trigger on Oliver--was that necessary?
      Chloe: Not if it really shattered him. Where are you going?
      Clark: To pick up the pieces.

    • Clark: It's okay, Lois. He's just a truck.
      Lois: Oh, Clark, come on. That's like saying Tommy Lee's just a drummer. Sometimes I worry there is no poetry in you.
      Clark: You just have to look deeper.

  • NOTES (4)

    • International Airdates:
      UK: July 27, 2010 on E4/E4 HD
      Sweden: August 6, 2010 on TV6
      Turkey: March 27, 2011 on CNBC-e
      Norway: April 10, 2011 on Max
      Czech Republic: October 7, 2011 on TV Nova

    • The Dark Archer is loosely based on the character of Merlyn from the comics. In the comics, a young Oliver Queen was inspired by Merlyn - who was a performing archer - to take up archery. Around the time Oliver became the Green Arrow, Merlyn began his crime career as well and the two frequently clashed, with Oliver repeatedly proving himself to be the better archer.

    • Cassidy Freeman is credited but doesn't appear.

    • Episode pre-empted due to Hope for Haiti marathon on 1/22 and shifted to 1/29, pre-empting "Warrior."

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • Oliver: I came here for a training session, Mia, not an audition for Kill Bill 3.
      Referencing Quentin Tarentino's two-part movie series, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004). The martial art flicks chronicle the adventures of the Bride, who seeks revenge on her former team of assassins, including Bill, who turned against her when she tried to escape her life as a killer.

    • Oliver: Not a real great time to dress up in black and go Steven Seagal on me.
      Referencing actor Steven Seagal, a martial artist who has parleyed his abilities into a movie career. As of the time this episode premiered, he has his own TV reality series, Steven Seagal: Lawman, where he works as a deputy for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office.

    • Chloe: And how many arrow-toting Rambos out there know about Watchtower?
      Referencing the character created by David Morrell for his novel First Blood (1972). Rambo is John Rambo, a Vietnam vet who returns from the war but is unable to reenter normal society. The novel was subsequently made into a movie in 1982, and several sequels followed, with Sylvester Stallone as Rambo. Rambo, a Green Beret, is an expert archer.

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