Friday, July 25, 2008

Smallville reprise: Pete Ross returns looking for his hero, through whom he lives "vicariously"

In Smallville Season 3, one episode, called “Velocity”, had depicted young Clark Kent’s best friend, Pete Ross (Sam Jones III) playing hero worship with Clark. Pete says he feels that unless he gets powers himself, he will find himself living through Clark “vicariously.” That’s one of my own favorite words. Psychologists call this “upward affiliation” and it leads to some moral paradoxes, and is not equivalent to "vicarious immortality."

Pete even challenged Clark to hoops, where Clark would play “without powers.”

Then Pete tried to simulate Clark by driving a race car powered by green kryptonite, and then some bookies tried to get him to fix the race. Pete got into real trouble, and then wanted things to be all right with his super hero, Clark. It wasn’t.

There is further irony before, when Clark had to “tell” Pete who he was, and for a while Pete couldn’t take it. It doesn’t take too much imagination to draw a parallel between Clark’s keeping his “secret” (alien origin) from others, and especially the government, and “don’t ask don’t tell” today in the military. Furthermore Clark “looks” the same as anyone else (only better), so his secret can be hidden if he doesn’t show it off in public.

Then, in Season 7, this year (when Clark would have the legal age of 20), Pete shows up again, in an episode called “Hero”, repeated last night (July 24), after a hiatus from Jones’s part in the cast. This time, he has powers himself for a while, after ingesting green kryptonite, and has to be saved again.

Season 2, remember (one of the best) had a couple of episodes of “Bad Clark” when, on red kryptonite, he would lose his moral inhibitions. In one episode, Pete had to hold him at bay while his father removed a red kryptonite class ring.

Smallville has run seven seasons, starting on TheWB which became CWTV when TheWB and UPN were joined.

Picture: former Granada Theater on Massachusetts Street in Lawrence, KS aka Smallville.

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