Guns in Smallville
I’m currently rewatching Season 5 of Smallville—need to be fresh for trivia at the Celebration this year. A problem stood out to me this time. I know this is a problem in television and movies all the time, but the way Smallville handles being shot in season 5 is wildly inconsistent.
Action movies have a tendency to show getting shot as a wound that may slow you down. You get hit in the leg or your shoulder, you’re fine to continue being the action hero. I think it’s part of why our culture views guns in a positive light; when in reality they are killing machines. Even the least lethal gunshot wound can have debilitating effects on your entire life. I had surgery a year ago where they went in with a scope and some very small tools to remove my gallbladder. Simple basic surgery, very small wounds. I couldn’t sit up without pulling myself for more than a week. I certainly wasn’t able to run around!
In episode three “Hidden” Clark gets shot by our villain-of-the-week Gabriel Duncan. Clark had lost his powers in the first episode of the season on a silly technicality that we knew wouldn’t last—but would set up a chain of events leading to Pa Kent’s death in the 100th episode. Clark is shot in his lower midsection and dies. Space daddy Jor-El brings him back to life deus ex machina style. I think this is a pretty accurate depiction of gun violence. You get shot, you’re probably dead. They even make a show of covering up where his wound would be the next week on “Aqua” when he’s at the beach.
Fastforward to episode nine “Lexmas”. Lex is shot and his life is in major danger. While unconscious he dreams of what his perfect life could be. Lionel uses his power and influence to get Lex medical care that he could only get as one of the richest men in the world. In contrast to how Lana dies in his dream without access to those resources. I feel like this is another accurate depiction. Lex’s life and ability are in serious jeopardy after getting shot and it’s implied that his recovery will be long.
Of course a few weeks later in episode ten “Fanatic” Lex is fine and back on the campaign trail. Just a miraculous recovery with no mention of it when two episodes later “Lockdown” he gets shot again. He doesn’t even show that he was shot at first! This time he’s left bleeding out for a long time, but after a quick trip to the hospital he’s fine and ready to finish the campaign the next week. No mention that just a month ago he was in serious jeopardy of never being able to walk again. Imagine being shot two months in a row? No way! It’s inconsistent and they treat major things like this as frivolous.
I wouldn’t say the way they handle guns is the biggest problem Smallville has. I love Smallville despite it flaws. I think Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum are excellent in their roles (not to mention John Glover, John Schneider, and Annette O’Toole). The effects are mostly passable and forgivable for being on television in the early 2000s. The show really hit it’s stride in the middle years moving away from cheesy freaks-of-the-week to the serial narrative.
Next week: Lois & Clark Season One yes I know I posted this on Tuesday not on Monday.