Directed By: Marita Grabiak
Written By: Brian Peterson & Kelly Souders
Starring: Tom Welling, John Schneider, Annette O'Toole, Michael Rosenbaum, John Glover, Gordon Tootoosis, Tamara Feldman ...
Running Time: 60 min
Air Date: 26/11/2002
Smallville is in the news at the moment, somebody is arguing about whether the show is about the 'superman' or 'superboy' character, and thus whether or not they own the legal rights. It's the same freakin' character, isn't it? Sheesh. Anyhoo, when the show first began I saw it as basically a poor man's Buffy. Call it Buffy without the irony. But at least it was better than Roswell, which in turn was a poor man's Smallville. This series has improved over time, though, particularly when the fourth season came along, and I think at the moment it's one of the most popular shows on TV. So they can probably afford to pay some royalties for the 'superboy' character I guess.
In "Skinwalker", the Smallville native americans are causing trouble for the evil Luthorcorp empire. The episode begins with two important events, the first being a wolf attack on a Luthorcorp employee, and the second being the discovery of the prophetic caves that play a vital role in the coming seasons. In the caves he also meets a new romantic interest, but obviously that ain't gonna end well, especially after she discovers his secret. Generally that's pretty much a death sentence for any character on this show.
This is quite an interesting episode, not quite as formulaic as the standard 'mutant of the week' storylines that we generally saw on the show at this point, and an important episode in the long run. Most of the story that continues through the next couple years centres almost entirely on the caves discovered here. "Skinwalkers" is not much of a mystery, but it is an entertaining story.
The "Skinwalker" in question here is someone of native american descent who is protecting land owned by their ancestors. The attack on a Luthorcorp employee turns out to be suspicious since wolves have been extinct from Smallville for ninety years, but canus lupus teeth marks were found at the scene. When Clark discovers that his new girlfriend's tribe name translates as 'skinwalkers' he becomes suspicious.
As usual, the events here are linked to the meteor rocks. Earlier visitors from Krypton brought rocks with them that mutated the tribe into the very first skinwalkers, so the legend goes. The wolf attacks are nicely directed and atmospheric, and the wolf appears vicious enough (see top photo) although it doesn't kill anybody directly. There is one transformation scene, the old 'pre-death reversion' to human form to reveal the culprit, and this is achieved through simple but effective morphing.