Smallville

Season 8 Episode 4

Instinct

2
Aired Friday 8:00 PM Oct 09, 2008 on The CW
8.8
out of 10
User Rating
557 votes
30

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Tess and her team of scientists trigger a signal through the blue Kryptonian crystal. It reaches an alien princess, Maxima, who comes to Earth to seek a suitable mate... and whose kiss kills mortal men.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Haha, then

    7.5
    Super-powered slut is pretty much there solely to make a "Lois and Clark" romantic revelation. Well, that and to start to give birth to the "Red Blue Blur" - the stupidest hero name ever given, yet I'm not all that angry because When the original creators left the show, Lana left the show, Clark started working at the Planet, Clark took on a superhero name, and the push to make Lois and Clark a thing can't be too picky on the stupid Red Blue Blur name.moreless
  • A lame attempt to convert the kryptonite powered super villain of the week to the alien super villain of the week.

    4.0
    As this series limps along, it's obvious the writers consider 2/3 of the episode as filler.



    So many episodes are the same story rehashed with a kryptonite supervillian of the week. This week, instead of using that tired old formula for filler, they just replace the 'kryptonite' excuse with an even worse one, an alien from another planet (not like an illegal alien from Mexico). Do the writers really think this is original?



    This opens up so many question, such as how many other aliens from various other worlds are going to come knocking on earth's door? Do all aliens have superpowers? It seems so. She even infers that krypotian's all have superpowers.



    Once again, the writers of this show are just trying run out the clock while leaving any sort of action for their season finale (and its always ridiculous season premiere resolution) and while making us groan with their Smallville 90210 subplots. How many times are they going to rehash that Chloe, Clark Jimmy love triangle?moreless
  • Clark's desire for a soul-mate exposes his feelings for Lois, as an alien seeking a Krypton survivor causes death to every man she encounters. Tess continues experiments with the blue crystal.moreless

    8.0
    As others have pointed out, the dark-shadows effect is overused by the lighting crew this season, but it's not as bad here at the mansion, when Tess pressures Dr. Grohl (spelled Groll in the Season 6 "Arrow" episode) for results on his testing of the blue crystal found in the Arctic after Lex disappeared. Outside, a full moon is over the mansion; inside, Tess is still determined to find Lex, and the crystal is all they have as a clue. Grohl thinks it's an alien device, Tess doesn't, but maybe changes her mind when "sonic vibrations" induce the crystal to power up and fire an intense beam of light into the stratosphere, and maybe beyond. Now the moon is just a crescent, and misaligned at that - moon advisor still needed - get an astronomer or navigator! Why a crystal so connected to Clark and his destiny is also a love-beacon for an intergalactic biker-babe is not clear.



    The alien-queen-come-to-earth theme in "Instinct" isn't quite as bad as it might sound, although guest queen Charlotte Sullivan, playing Maxima, is pretty far over-the-top, glam makeup, skimpy outfits and all. She looks like she teleported in from Club Rave on her home planet, but Ms. Sullivan does the best she can with this seductress role, starting out ridiculous and ending up not so bad. Her Earth entry is borrowed from every "Terminator" film, a flash of light and burned asphalt back in a dark alley. Comic-book plot it is, but the rest of the characters and the script are an improvement over last week's episode, and with better lighting and some clever scenes, almost makes me think Smallville is making an early-season comeback from a weak start. She's come for her soulmate, but her kiss is fatal if you're not Kryptonian.



    One of the better scenes is Clark at the farm - still living there, though I thought he surely had a Metropolis apartment by now. When he speeds out after a call from Lois, poor Shelby is left looking forlornly at an unopened can of dog food, but Clark remembers, superspeeds back in to get Shelby fed, and he's back to the DP and Lois in about two seconds. Some of the most irrelevant scenes (to the plot) can be the most memorable.



    Jive talkin' Lois gets in about six jabs at Clark and his moping about Lana - "You're about as predictable as mullets at NASCAR," and "You've got to look outside your wheelhouse!" He replies, "I didn't know I had a wheelhouse! "Of course you do," she retorts, "Pretty, friendly, damsel-in-distressy. You need to try another scoop of the 31 flavors, maybe a little less sweet vanilla and a lot more wild cherry." That's Lana-sweet and Lois-wild to us, as Lois continues to be the queen of pop-culture references. The writers have me hanging on every phrase she speaks. She's urging him to move on, and they soon team up on an untimely-death story, the first one caused by Maxima in that dark alley.



    Jimmy moves in with Chloe at the Talon to "save their wedding pennies," but you have to wonder how they handle that three-hour commute to Metropolis for their real jobs. When Jimmy finds that ancient high-school love note from Chloe to Clark (memo - never keep mementoes of your past romances), we have to endure another childish jealousy fit from him, which was tiresome some episodes back, but at least this time Chloe calls him on it. Jimmy hasn't played an admirable part since "Noir."



    The better part of the story is about Lois and Clark collaborating on the death investigation, now that the super-endorphins mean a bigger scoop, so she joins in, saying, "What kind of friend would I be if if threw you in the deep end without a floatie?" Clark finds an alien symbol burned into the pavement, so he suspects something, well, alien. Chloe looks at Clark's rendering of the symbol, her Brainiac download going on speed six, which worries Clark, and is a bit silly for fans, as Chloe spouts lots of interplanetary stuff about Maxima's origin and purpose. Police reports indicate a trail of crumbs, or bodies in this case, leading to the Ace of Clubs.



    Jimmy drinks away his sorrows at the club, where alien Maxima has come after a throw-down confrontation with Tess over the crystal's location. For a moment, Jimmy almost remains faithful to Chloe, but - nah, he's weak when faced with extensive eye makeup, so he succumbs to her adrenalin-endorphin-overload kiss. Humans just can't take it, and she's sorry. Maxima spots Clark's superspeed move to grab a falling Jimmy, one of the better FX clips I've seen on Smallville, and she says, "Now that's more like it," as she does a perfect lip-bite for the camera.



    Tess offers Chloe an opportunity to hack the blue crystal, but describes it as a "supercomputer," so Chloe misses a great opportunity to learn about it - she won't listen to anyone connected to Lex. A quick trip to the ER for Jimmy, courtesy of Clark, goes pretty well, and Chloe's relief at seeing him revived in the hospital once again cements their relationship.



    Clark's night shift at the DP, scanning Ace of Clubs security videos to identify Maxima, takes place at normal speed. You'd think he would do some of this assignments faster to save time. Why doesn't he type at superspeed, sort of like Jim Carrey answering prayer emails in "Bruce Almighty?" Aren't his mental absorption skills at least equal to supercharged Chloe?



    Maxima finds Clark at the DP, makes some big moves on him, and he doesn't fight, so even he is susceptible to her hormone hyping. After a lot of grappling, Lois finds them in mid-debauch in the elevator, apparently breaking Maxima's spell over Clark. "You're pulling a 9 1/2 weeks in an elevator," she shouts angrily, revealing some pretty strong feelings. Clark clumsily tries to explain.



    Soon, outside the DP, Lois is attacked by Maxima, who tosses her Pontiac Sunbird a full city block, crushing a GM dustbuster minivan and a Ford Taurus in the process, but Lois survives. Now that's jealousy. But before Maxima finishes off Lois, she lectures her about Clark's feelings that she sensed - "He would never have been able to pull away from me if he wasn't drawn to you." This is the most significant revelation to Lois yet about her future relationship with Clark - even he is not conscious of this attraction. Smallville writers tend to neglect these important moments in subsequent episodes, so we can't count on Lois acting on this knowledge, or even remembering it next week or after.



    Unfortunately, the scene ends with a ridiculous appearance by a SWAT team, arriving fully-armed and deployed in seconds after the flying-car bit, all aiming their laser sights at Maxima. Even Clark wasn't aware of all that noise, so he goes to ISIS, finding Tess, surprisingly open about her knowledge of Maxima. As to a photo of Maxima, Clark simply says she's wanted for murder, a good cover. She shows the blue crystal to Clark; he lies about knowing what it is. She gets a call about the Maxima-Lois fight, so Clark has to do a quick exit to intervene before Maxima can do more damage. I would have directed this scene differently - Tess would have turned to Clark, described the battle, and asked Clark to get the story, then he would hurry out, and superspeed only when out of sight. Why show him constantly risking exposure by zipping away right in plain sight?



    The special effects budget must have been depleted, as the only aftermath of the SWAT team - Maxima confrontation is a burning car. After Clark whisks her away from Lois, she tells him she's found the "last son of Krypton," a man who is her equal. And of course Clark is attracted to her, a love he has yearned for - but he rejects her - and she disappears in a flash of light. Did Clark manipulate her bracelet - a space-time warp device described by Chloe?



    Chloe shares her high school letter with Clark - why, how does this help? By being open about it, Chloe can explain that her perfect person is Jimmy, and Clark's her BFF, as she asks him to give her away at the altar. Now he tells her about the crystal - it could restore the Fortress, and Jor-El, and break the Brainiac hold on her. So Chloe goes back to Tess to hack the crystal, but she first foolishly gripes about the break-in at ISIS by Tess. But it's too late anyway - Tess says the blue crystal has been stolen.



    After innumerable scenes of wistful/loving/angry Lana coming to the loft to talk to Clark, it is now Lois taking this role. She sees him in a different light, looking for signs of the feelings Maxima described to her. "One supercharged fembot can't put a dent in Lois Lane," she tells Clark. He says, "What if my soulmate comes along and I'm too blind to see it?" This, while he's looking right at Lois, so he's not yet aware of Lois as such. The screenwriters will have a challenge in developing the expected Lois-Clark romance, given the long-standing differences between the two, but for now, he has at least softened his stance on her. He offers her old room at the farm back (but how would he commute to the DP at superspeed?). We can see she's thinking of Clark's hidden feelings, so she declines - "Why tempt fate?"



    In the teaser for next week, or month, Tess receives an email - a photo of the crystal, with the words, "You are not ready yet - X." A nice mystery setup for future episodes? Or a weak plot device to stretch out the inevitable scene of Clark finally taking possession of it? No matter, I don't want anything resolved too quickly - I want a Season 9...and 10...and...



    Re-run rating B.moreless
  • Maxima a women searching for a man who can survive her deadly kisses. Lois shows us a small bit of her feelings for clark...

    10
    Maxima a girl from the Royal Family of Almerac, another planet like krypton, Goes around searching for her mate, Seeing if any can survive her deathly kisses... On the balcony of the ace of clubs, after kissing Jimmy (yeah chloe's Jimmy) She sees clark super speed to save him from falling over the edge... Maxima then tracks clark to the daily planet, where she kisses him, which leads to them in an elevator. Lois opens the door saying smallville with a shocked and sad face. walking away, Clark catches up... When lois starts yelling at him about what just happened. "I am calm i am perfectly calm, why wouldnt i be calm, dial down the ego smallville i dont care what you do with your love life". It then cuts to her walking to her car "give me a break, does he really think i care who he kisses. She wasnt even his type".



    Maxima throws lois's car down the block... Saying theres an attraction between lois and clark, he wouldnt of been able to pull away from my influence, if he wasnt drawn to his attractions to you. This is a good episode, leading to the best next episode with lois and clark being kidnapped...moreless
  • While experimenting on Clark's crystal, the crystal sends out a beacon that catches the attention of Maxima, queen of the planet Almerac. She begins to seek out her soul mate, the one she believes sent the signal, but finds her kiss kills mortals.moreless

    9.0
    Recap: Tess enlists the help of Dr. Groll (see FALLOUT) to study the crystal she found in the Arctic (ODYSSEY). During an experiment, the crystal goes berserk and sends out a beacon that attracts the attention of Maxima, queen of the planet Almerac. Arriving on Earth, Maxima begins seeking out her soul mate, who she believes sent out the signal, leaving in her wake a trail of victims who died from her powerful kiss. When Clark saves Jimmy from Maxima's kiss, she realizes Clark is Kryptonian and believes he's her soul mate. Meanwhile, the love letter Chloe wrote to Clark their sophomore year surfaces (FEVER).



    My Review: First off, kudos to the writers for inserting some continuity, namely Chloe's love letter to Clark, especially considering the letter has been almost nonexistent for the past six seasons. Kudos also go to The Powers That Be for snagging another DC comics character to appear on the show. Now, I have mixed feelings about Maxima. On the one hand, I liked the fact that she's a character from the comics, she's a non-meteor-infected Freak of the Week, she's as strong and powerful as Clark, *and* she brought out some Clois sexual tension. (Major plus on that last part, by the way. :D) On the other hand, though, I found it lame that her kisses were so-powerful-that-no-mortal-man-could-withstand-them, and that her bracelet could so *easily* be used as portal between Earth and Almerac. Also, she was so insanely jealous at times that it was ridiculous, and other times, she seemed dumber than Britney Spears at a political convention. I mean, what was with her making out with every guy she came across, based solely on the assumption that one of them was her soul mate? Oh, well, moving on. The reiteration of Jimmy's insecurities about Chloe's friendship with Clark was annoying, but mercifully, Chloe told him off for us. Major brownie points for that. And I wanted to downright *smack* Jimmy for even dancing with Maxima, much less lying to Chloe about it. In any case, the Clois moments more than made up for any nitpicks I have with the episode. So sue me, I'm a die-hard Clois fan. It's not the only reason why I watch SMALLVILLE, but it's a pretty big reason. Overall, I give INSTINCT nine space-traveling bracelets out of ten.



    Highlights: Lois giving Clark her "wild cherry" spiel, and flirting with Clark; Chloe telling Jimmy his insecurity about Clark is wearing thin; Chloe identifying Maxima's scorchmark for Clark; Maxima watching Clark at the Ace of Clubs; Maxima approaching Clark at the Daily Planet; Lois catching Clark and Maxima making out, and getting jealous; Lois and Maxima's brief face-off; Clark saving Lois from Maxima and sending Maxima home; and Lois and Clark's talk about Maxima and soul mates.moreless
Anna Williams

Anna Williams

Tess' Assistant

Guest Star

Bill Mondy

Bill Mondy

Dr. Grohl

Guest Star

Stephen Huszar

Stephen Huszar

Man on Street

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Clark goes to the Isis Foundation to supposedly use facial-recognition software on Maxima's photo from the Ace of Clubs security footage. However, this makes no sense since he already knows she's an alien queen from Almerac. Plus he knows she's looking for him: there's no reason for him to have the computer systems look on any other security footage or databases. To find her all he needs to do is go out somewhere public and let her find him.

    • It's not clear why Chloe is choosing Clark to give her away, given that she has a father, Gabe Sullivan. He hasn't been seen in four years, but there's never been any indication that he's dead or that his relationship with Chloe has soured.

    • Maxima sees Clark at the club, and recognizes that he's a Kryptonian when he uses his powers. However, she doesn't confront him at the hospital. And she doesn't confront him as he leaves the hospital. Despite the fact she's eager to find and face him earlier in the episode, she waits until he returns to the Daily Planet to finally confront him.

    • In the shot with the crescent moon over Lex's manor, the moon is facing the wrong direction. The lit part should face the Sun, which is already below the horizon. However, it doesn't.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Maxima: You're my soul mate.
      Clark: You don't even know who I am.
      Maxima: When I was a little girl, I heard the stories of the brave and gallant men of Krypton. Men worthy of standing by a queen's side. When I learned your planet had been destroyed, I prayed for survivors. And then I saw your beacon.
      Clark: The beacon didn't come from me.
      Maxima: It doesn't matter. I found the last son of Krypton, and you're everything I wished for.

    • Lois: I am so jealous of you in that Kent farmhouse all by yourself. So many empty rooms, huh?
      Clark: It is pretty quiet.
      Lois: You are about as predictable as mullets in NASCAR. One little mention of you living alone, and you start singing the "missing Lana" blues. You know, I hate to be the one to dish out a helping of tough love here, Clark, but Lana is gone for good. Time to get back in the saddle, buckaroo. But this go-round, you need to look outside your wheelhouse.
      Clark: I didn't know I had a wheelhouse.
      Lois: Of course you do--pretty, friendly, damsel-in-distress-y. You need to try another scoop of the 31 flavors, maybe a little less sweet vanilla and a lot more wild cherry.

    • Tess: You know, Lex Luthor may have been wowed by your high-tech smoke and mirrors, Dr. Grohl, but I've come to expect more hardcore evidence from boys and their toys.

    • Tess: Do you kickbox, Chloe? I find it helps me focus my anger.
      Chloe: Maybe I should rush over to the dojo because I have a lot of it building up right now.

    • (talking about Clark)
      Lois: Look, he's about as attracted to me as a Red Sox fan to the Yankees.

    • Clark: Lois! Lois, wait!
      Lois: What!? Oh, sorry to rain on your orgy, Smallville. I think I scared off your date.
      Clark: Where'd she go?
      Lois: Probably to find you two a motel room.
      Clark: You don't understand.
      Lois: What's not to understand?! You were pulling a 9 1/2 Weeks in the elevator! I mean it may not get you a membership in the mile-high club, but, hey you got to start somewhere!

    • Lois: You know endorphins? They're hormones that are released when the body performs a certain activity.
      Clark: Like when you play a sport.
      Lois: Or there's another kind of activity two people share, repetitive motion, builds to a climax.
      Clark: Thank you.

  • NOTES (3)

    • International Airdates:
      Norway: Saturday, January 24, 2009 on TVNorge
      Sweden: Friday, June 12, 2009 on TV6
      Czech Republic: March 18, 2010 on TV Nova
      Turkey: March 28, 2010 on CNBC-e
      Slovakia: May 22, 2012 on Markiza

    • Justin Hartley and Sam Witwer are credited but don't appear.

    • Maxima:
      In the comics, Maxima first appeared in Action Comics #645. Created by Roger Stern and George Pérez, Maxima is a princess of the royal family of Almerac. She came to Earth to look for a suitable mate and fixated initially on Superman. She battled Doomsday during his first rampage and later died stopping Brainiac from destroying the universe. A somewhat different interpretation of the character appeared in Superman: The Animated Series in the episode "Warrior Queen," where she was voiced by Sharon Lawrence. She is typically represented as having psionic abilities which she can use to enhance her strength and resistance to levels rivaling Superman.

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • Chloe: Now that Lois is riding shotgun in your Mystery Machine, your old sidekick is jonesing for a Scooby clue.
      This is a reference to the 1969 Saturday morning cartoon Scooby Doo, Where Are You? which aired on CBS. The show dealt with a group of four high school students, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and their dog Scooby Doo, a loveable but cowardly Great Dane, who formed Mystery, Inc. The group was interested in the mysterious and supernatural and traveled around the area in a bright green van called the Mystery Machine. Over the decades the cartoon has had additional episodes and even hour long movies produced; finally culminating in the film Scooby Doo (2002) and a sequel Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004) which starred Freddy Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar.

    • Lois: What's not to understand?! You were pulling a Nine 1/2 Weeks in the elevator! I mean it may not get you a membership in the mile-high club, but, hey you got to start somewhere!
      Referencing the 1986 movie starring Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger, with Basinger's character drawn into an increasingly disturbed sexual relationship with Rourke's character John.

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