Smallville

Season 9 Episode 20

Hostage

1
Aired Friday 8:00 PM May 07, 2010 on The CW
AIRED:
8.9
out of 10
User Rating
349 votes
13

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Clark finds Martha and Perry White returning to Smallville. Lois and Perry team up on a story they are both working on, but end up getting in serious danger. Meanwhile, Clark and Chloe search for a way to stop Zod and the rest of his army.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Trite, Campy, Redundant and Plot Defying

    6.0
    So Zod is on the verge of taking over the world and Clark is having dinner with mother? Completely idiotic.



    On top of that he decides fixing his relationship with Lois takes priority...



    I wonder if they got Shyalaman to write this episode? These writers seem to make the same stupid mistakes, lets build a plot around a twist. In this case making the mother the Red Queen was not only ridiculous it made no sense.



    So Clarks mother decided to sabotage and stop Chloe and Clark from locating the book of Rao why?



    Lois can hold up a full grown Perry White with an extension cord how?



    and the Red Queens actual purpose? Now that's a real question as they never really made it clear. Other then to give us a redundant subplot and find a strange way to bring in Annette'O Toole...



    Im sorry but this was a poor penultimate episode, they should have saved that position for Sacrifice. Because its clear the writers decided to sacrifice plot integrity to bring in old actors.moreless
  • 920

    8.5
    Things are continuing to heat up for Smallville, and I have to say this was a great penultimate episode. Lets face it, this season of Smallville was a complete mess, but this past couple episodes have made up for it. It was great to see Anette O' Toole again, and I came to realize how much I missed the mother figure of Clark Kent. This episode reveals something going on in the season long arc, which is the Red Queen. We got such a great cliffhanger that leads us in to the season finale of Smallville. Martha being the Red Queen was very surprising, for a while there, I was almost sure it was Tess.



    What we also got from this episode was great character development. From Chloe, from Tess, from Clark & Lois' relationship. Thank god these two broke up, they had no chemistry, but of course it's just like Smallville to get these two together sooner or later.



    Chloe thinking of leaving Watchtower was eventful, and the scenes between Tess & Oliver were fantastic (in dream state). Overall a great episode of Smallville.moreless
  • *** Spoiler-free *** Smart and philosophical Lois driven story, top notch mature guests, inspiring and friendly Chloe, pivotal cliffhanger

    9.0
    With an opening theme like Save Me this episode title definitely means something deeper. Lois, Clark & The Blur. What a complex triangleship ! But Jordan Hawley and Anne Cofell Saunders did a great job at portraying these characters. The first worked on Rabid and Disciple. They're definitely not my favorite episodes but I still remember some of their emotional and inspiring scenes. The second gave birth to Idol, with the help of the head writer of course, but also wrote the hilarious Persuasion. I didn't know that before watching Hostage but now I'm done with it I'm not surprised at all. Indeed even if it wasn't funny Hawley and Saunders succeeded in developing a refreshing story but also all the arcs we had to follow so far, from the Red Queen to our two love birds crisis.



    Smallville is a fairytale. If you pay attention there's always plenty of knowledge to acquire from it. The morality can be superficial at times but maybe it's only a reflection of the protagonists doubts. Having issues and dealing with them is part of life. What's the meaning of life ? It's a question Lois had to think about all along this installment. When Charade was an obvious sequel to Idol this one focused more on the philosophy of it. Remember her psychological therapy ? Well this time it was completely different. Indeed they finally decided to grant my wish and brought mature characters to the show. As mentionned in my Absolute Justice episode review I've always missed the good old days when Clark used to talk with his father and mother. He had so much to learn from their experience. The Martian Manhunter wasn't back but instead we had the most unexpected and welcome guest stars ever. I hadn't seen the previews so I didn't know what to expect so at times it's a good thing not to be too curious. Moreover their scenes were full of nostalgic memories and some of them were brilliantly directed. The performers also did an excellent job.



    I don't dig the whole Book mumbo jumbo because I think such a metaphora is a bit too literal. I prefer the more spiritual approach of Jor-El. But they finally found a way to give it some sense. Indeed Clark learned more about it and what using it could mean for him and his kind. It should remind you of the Pandora box. What will happen once someone speaks its words ? We had a first element of answer but we'll have to wait for the finale to know what it's all about. Beside the recurring Zod arc Hostage found also a few minutes to feature Chloe. And what a part ! Allison Mack gave a very convincing performance and should make her character grow on you even more. After what happened in Sacrifice she had to redefine her role. Who is she for Clark and her friends ? Can a mere mortal like her, even very smart, make a difference ? And what about the Watch Tower ? Her dialogs sounded like words exchanged with a long time friend. It even becomes captivating when you hear Sullivan using lines you have written or told. Describing her as Big Sister in my Conspiracy episode review was obviously a reference to the Big Brother conspiracy but it was also a twisted pun on BioShock. That's why I'm glad Chloe is such a beautiful and sweet person and an ugly little creepy creature. Of course she has been in the shadow of Lois & Clark from time to time but in the end I think she did her part in season 9. I was expecting her to slowly disappear but instead she kept glowing and sparkling like a shining star, to guide the steps of her Family.



    To sum things up Hostage was an excellent way to introduce the finale. I expect all these arcs to finally collide for a mesmerizing and apocalyptic fireworks. Moreover a note left to Lois should definitely intrigue you. Now let's hope they won't repeat Doomsday's mistake and try to amaze us with short action scenes and budget killer visual effects. Smallville doesn't need these superficial musical notes because Hostage proved again that empathic characters and an inspiring story are enough. Spice it up with investigation elements involving Lois and you know who and you get one of the strongest and most rewatchable episode ever.moreless
  • Martha is back and the Red Queen is revealed.

    6.0
    I admit that I was disappointed with this episode. Penultimate episodes are always tricky and can often result into being fillers. Hostage wasn't a filler. It just had some wrong ideas in my opinion. The handling of Martha Kent is my main gripe about this. Martha and Jonathan were heroes in the first couple of seasons of Smallville. They raised Superman and they taught him about dignity and morality. Martha was fine in that role and leaving to become a senator was a good change of pace. Unfortunately, as it has become the case with other characters' returns(Pete and Lana for example), the producers figured it was a good idea to give Martha a different persona. She became someone who adopted the "any means necessary" motto in order to protect Clark and fight right alongside him. It's something that doesn't suit Martha. I also wasn't too fond of the Martha and Perry pairing. Annette did a great job of portraying how much she misses Jonathan and I understand how she any widow feels lonely after a few years. But, in Smallville, it's hard to imagine Martha with anyone other than Jonathan. Their dunamic was fantastic. In other developments, Clois took an unexpected turn that resembled Clana a bit and I will wait to see what it brings in the finale. The best part about this episode was the Chlark scene. It brought some clarity between the two and I liked how they opened up to each other.



    Clark had a good episode, but I wanted to get more of his perspective on Martha and Lois. It seemed like he was too passive in these scenes. Lois had a good episode, but they have to be careful about how they handle her tension with Clark. So far it's been ok. Chloe had a great episode and I was waiting for this for a long time. I hope she can find some balance in her life from now on. Tess had short screentime again. Hopefully she will find her way in Salvation. One way or the other. Perry had a great episode. I was glad to see Annette and McKean back for one more time. I hope that we will see them again, but with better stoylines.



    Overall, it was an episode that was a letdown considering the two big returns. But now it's time to swicth gears. Can't wait for Salvation!moreless
  • Ruined by CW promos

    6.0
    I mentioned at the end of the review for the previous episode that I thought the CW promotional department may have completely spoiled the big twist in this installment. And of course, that's exactly what they did. And that's too bad, because the twist is actually a promising development. Unfortunately, this is an instance where foreknowledge undermined the episode on a fundamental level.



    It's now revealed that Martha Kent is the Red Queen. It's also revealed that the Red Queen is actually not a part of Checkmate, but rather, the head of a rival effort to prevent Checkmate from achieving its goals. This is actually a nice touch, even if it will rankle the sensibilities of those devoted to the DC comics continuity. It gives meaning to Martha's quick sendoff to Washington earlier in the series.



    For quite a few seasons, it's been known that government task forces existed to study the potential threats of alien incursion, and that many of those efforts were based on the Kryptonian presence. Lex tapped into those resources during his poorly-plotted stint as a man bent on preventing an alien invasion, and Checkmate was essentially an evolution of those elements into an international package.



    With Clark barely able to wrap his brain around global concerns in the past several years, it makes sense that his allies would work to fill that void on his behalf. Chloe's efforts have been a part of the series' DNA for a little while, but the presence of the Red Queen helps to explain why Clark was rarely on the Most Wanted list. The notion that the Red Queen was so secret that even Chloe didn't know about her until recently conveniently explains why this layer of protection was never mentioned in the past.



    Of course, this presents a few logic problems. While one might accept the idea that a Senator might have the means and resources to prepare and fund such an organization, Martha Kent never demonstrated the kind of ruthlessness that such a black ops project would require. Sure, a mother will kill to protect her child, but this is very different. The writers try to insert enough suggestion in this episode to make it clear that Martha has the intelligence and cleverness to pull it all off, but it just seems way beyond her skill set.



    After all, the red herring in this episode was Tess Mercer, whose background was built over two seasons. Her skills, training, and cunning are an essential part of her character. Even then, it was obvious that Tess wasn't the Red Queen, because her interactions with Checkmate made it very clear that the covert organization had her outmatched. The idea that Martha Kent would be capable of something Tess Mercer couldn't reasonably do is a bit ludicrous.



    Part of the problem is the lack of definition for Checkmate. The organization was never given a proper introduction, so the various inter-relationships were never clear. I'm still not sure I understand the full extent of their goals and reach, and they still feel like a tacked-on addition to the season. It's very much like Veritas in the seventh season: a great idea that never seemed to get the attention and time it deserved.



    Still, I like the idea of making such a bold choice for the Red Queen, which is why it was so mind-boggling that the network would spoil it so casually. It took the wind out of the sails of Tess' subplot, since it was clearly an illusion, and it undermined the whole point of the distracting relationship between Martha and Perry White.



    For that matter, the Perry/Lois subplot seemed to be used as a means of delivering necessary exposition on the Book of Rao and the Red Queen, because these plot devices were never properly introduced or explained in previous episodes. Perry had enough pull to get Clark and Lois their jobs back, but otherwise, his presence seemed unnecessary, except as a red herring for Martha's presence in the story.



    A good chunk of the story was devoted to Lois' decision that she can't handle her relationship with Clark while trying to reconcile her desire to make a difference in the world, based on her work with the Blur. It's a moment that builds on previously established tensions, and it also points to the possibility that Clark will reveal the truth to Lois in the season finale.



    The problem there is that the writers have played this game so many times during the Clark/Lana era that it just doesn't work. Either Clark will chicken out at the last minute, or Lois will learn the truth, only to have it wiped from her memory by the end of the episode (or early in the tenth season). I've liked the Clark/Lois interplay, especially when Lois maintains her strong personality and self-interest (a quality Lana increasingly lacked), so this trite retread promises to be disappointing.



    In essence, the entire episode unraveled once the shocking twist was prematurely revealed. But even taking that into account, and trying to look at it with an objective eye, there were storytelling problems. The "red herring" just wasn't convincing, because it flew in the face of established information. Martha's purpose for being in Smallville with Perry touched on nostalgic moments, but otherwise seemed unnecessary. And the Clark/Lois breakup seems headed in an all-too-familiar direction.moreless
Allison Mack

Allison Mack

Chloe Sullivan

Erica Durance

Erica Durance

Lois Lane

Cassidy Freeman

Cassidy Freeman

Tess Mercer

Justin Hartley

Justin Hartley

Oliver Queen/Green Arrow

Tom Welling

Tom Welling

Clark Kent/Kal-El of Krypton

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Instead of using his x-ray vision in the opening scene, Clark pointlessly smashes through the wall of his own home to confirm there's nothing inside.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Clark: When will Watchtower be up and running?
      Chloe: Well, I can't exactly call the Geek Squad, Clark.

    • Clark: I'm sorry, Lois, I thought you were a...
      Lois: Thief? If you can't recognize my butt in a pair of jeans, then what are you thinking about?

    • Lois: (taking a picture of herself with Perry) Oh, my God. You have got to forward this to my high school journalism teacher.
      Perry: Oh.
      Lois: "Check it out, Mrs. Kreitzman--me and Perry White. Who's sorry now, biotch?"
      Perry: Sorry, kid. Last thing I need is a Mrs. Kreitzman on my ass.

    • Lois: I've got to hand it to you, Mrs. K--running Senate subcommittees by day, cooking rockin' meals by night. You put the "M" in "modern woman." Me, I put the "T" in "takeout."

    • Perry: All right, you lovebirds. Tell us what it's like working together and dating.
      Clark: It's never been better.
      Lois: It's kind of like being on a chain gang with your ball and chain.

    • Martha: Sometimes the hardest save to make isn't a stranger in a burning building, it's the person closest to you.

    • Lois: So, is this what it was like when you busted the Star City Strangler?
      Perry: Did I do that?
      Lois: Yeah.
      Perry: In the '90s. Ah, those were my fuzzy-navel years. I've blacked out most of that decade.

    • Perry: Look, Lane... if for some reason I don't make it and you do...
      Lois: Don't talk like that.
      Perry: It's not pretty , but it has to be said. I think I deserve first position on the byline.

  • NOTES (3)

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • Lois: Oh, no, Austin Powers.
      Referencing the main character, parody superspy Austin Powers, of the Austin Powers movie franchise. Austin is a swinging 60s British spy who is frozen and released when his nemesis, Dr. Evil, emerges from his own suspended animation in the 21st century.

    • Lois: Too bad, Ahab.
      This is an allusion to the 1851 novel by Herman Melville titled Moby-Dick (originally The Whale). The story is based around Captain Ahab's obsessive hunt for Moby-Dick, the whale, who eventually kills him.

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