Okay, Smallville is not the worst series ever, and much fun if you’re into the whole superhero/Superman stuff. Ergo, I have recently picked up where I left off a while back and started watching season 6. And just when I began to like it again, wham, they hit me with another filler episode: “Subterranean“. I cannot begin to moan how much this episode sucks. It basically sucks in all the places it can. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a quick summary of the main plot: Two 14-year-old boys, illegal immigrants from Mexico, run away from a farm just down the road from the Kents’. One is mysteriously swallowed by the ground and the other gets away. Clark then finds the kid, Javier, in his barn and he promises to help him (thinking of himself as an illegal immigrant, too). But – surprise, surprise – the kid runs away to find his mother, just as Clark x-ray-discovers dozens of bodies of illegal immigrant runaways buried at the farm down the road. He has the police take the owner into custody who turns out to be a meteor freak – he goes total mole and escapes underground. Clark then rescues Javier again from the police and beats up the farmer-mole-freak for good, they find Javier’s mum, Happy End. After that, it turns out that the farmer – surprise surprise – is actually the result of an experiment in LutherCorp’s mysterious 33.1 project. Lex takes a last look at the comatose farmer and then leaves the building dramatically.
Now it is possible to write a crappy storyline with decent dialogue. But in this episode, apart from being cheesy, the dialogue, just like the action, simply doesn’t make any sense! Right at the beginning, Javier and his friend plan to run away from the farm – which should be easy, considering there isn’t even a fence around the whole thing! But, as Javier, worried, observes:
But Francisco – everyone who tried to leave has disappeared!
Um, yes? Isn’t that the point of an escape? Especially if you’re an illegal immigrant? I honestly did not get the sense of this sentence until it is later revealed that he refers to the whole ground-swallowed-them thing. And how did the other illegal workers know about that anyway? The farmer only killed those that tried to leave and expose him – how would anyone know that all the bodies just happen to lie beneath this big willow tree?
The second thing that really pissed me off was Javier sneaking out on Chloe. He was safe, they were going to get his mum, he just had to stay there. I hear you saying “but it’s boring if he stays there.” Well, then change the damn plot. He has no motivation to run away, and no possible way of achieving anything. And when Clark speed-runs to save him, he reveals his abilities! I mean, come on – he can’t bring himself to tell his best mates and his girlfriend, but he has no problem with this immigrant knowing, whom he hasn’t known for more than a day! Hello?
And Javier seems of course very relieved that Clark has saved him – but he doesn’t offer one word of complaint that he is being taken back to Smallville instead of finding his mum. They don’t even talk about it! Next, Javier is so overcome with grief over the death of his friend, that he needs to leave the car immediately; coincidentally, they are just passing the farm, with mole-man waiting for them underground. There have not been many plot devices more clumsily enacted than this.
Finally, the cheesy ending. Martha, who was extremely reluctant to hide an illegal immigrant, decides it would be great to have such a nice, pretty and intelligent kid as an American citizen. After all, Javier speaks fluent English, just from watching TV.
Seriously, this episode made me cry with bitter anger. The only good the episode achieved was again to expose Jimmy as the tosser he is, and provide us with another chilling scene of “Lex is evil and therefore walks down a dark prison corridor in slow motion to menacing, cool music.”