Honestly, I’m just happy that Smallville doesn’t have episodes this dull more often. I know, I know, I’m still early on in the series; the bad times come later. Still, TV was a much different beast in 2001, still extremely episodic and not concerned with ongoing storylines and developments. Frankly, back then, you got dull, uneventful episodes like “Hug” on the regular. That it’s also a pretty dumb, sloppy episode certainly doesn’t help matters.
Seriously, the show has had some bad episodes in the past, but at least they’ve been logically consistent and made sense. For one thing, why is this episode called “Hug” when meteor freak Bob Rickman’s power is activated through a handshake? And why can Bob’s power only be activated that way to begin with? If he had grabbed Lex’s bald head, would that have not done the trick, given that it was his brain chemistry he was affecting anyway? A villain with the power of persuasion is an interesting one, but there wasn’t a lot of effort put into crafting a good limitation to those powers.
This was a lacking week on the logic front in general, with everyone making some questionable decisions. It was a particularly bad week for Lana, with her accusations of Clark trying to tear down Whitney feeling painfully forced. Does she not remember just last week, when Clark gave up on a chance to confess his love for her so she could be there for Whitney? The whole thing made Lana seem awfully fickle and out-of-character, which is a bummer to see after last week’s strong relationship material.
Kyle Tippet, meanwhile, was our second friendly meteor freak, though his hermit-like ways did serve as the main source of conflict between Lana and Clark. He was ultimately just a coward, hiding his power instead of exploiting it or using it to do good. He was there to give Clark the prerequisite speech about making the most of his gift at the end, but he failed to make much of an impression as a character.
Also, it’s not as if Clark needed that speech, as this episode might be the most open he’s been yet about using his powers. Seriously, from super-punching Kyle to running (almost) faster than a speeding bullet, Clark wasn’t exactly being subtle with his abilities this week. He was lucky that Lex didn’t remember anything at the end, though I wouldn’t be surprised if some memory of the incident lingers.
Really, it’s a shame this episode was as dull as it was; like I said before, there were good elements present, but none of them were utilized properly. An episode that ends with Lex Luthor spraying fire with an Uzi should be a memorable one, but that’s just not the case here. Hopefully, things get back on track as we move into the second half of the first season.
– Pete Watch: A brief scene at the Torch office, but that’s it. Could he not ride a horse and join the group in the episode’s opening?
– Alright, show, I know these things were less well-regulated in 2001, but did Kyle really need to have Chloe kiss Clark to prove his powers? Less sexual assault next time, come on.
– Way too many cheeky references to Clark’s future in this episode. He mentioned not wanting to wear a suit in his future job, and Lex commented that their friendship would be the stuff of legend.
– That said, it’s appropriate that this episode would be the first appearance of his iconic Smallville red jacket/blue shirt combo.
Final Score: 5 out of 10