Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 3 - Episode 8: "Shattered"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Main Points:

  • Lionel Luthor is likely conspiring to make Lex Luthor appear insane
  • Lex Luthor knows Lionel caused his own parent's deaths, and wants to pin it on him.
  • Lex suffers from delusions caused by his staff for Lionel, and does some bad things.
  • Lex sees Clark use his powers and is then committed to an insane asylum.


    It's been 6 hours now since the credits rolled on Shattered, and I've hemmed and hawed as to what I thought of the show. There's a certain, I don't know, ANTI-climactic element to it, because even though we see Lex and Clark go through a moment not unlike in Slumber where Lex reaches his Clark denouement, if you will, where everything he believes is confirmed, not three minutes later, it's revealed that he will be losing all of his short-term memories, likely. So I have to admit, up until that very point, I was as jazzed as jazzed gets, then they went and poured water on my jazz.

    I hate it when people pour water on my jazz. Or interrupt a geekgasm. Now on with the review, before this starts sounding nasty.

    This show reminded me of The Game, an underrated flick, largely because it has a poseur big name in it, Michael Douglas. And I dig that, but hey, the twists, the turns, it was at least interesting. And this story, while a bit all over the place, was at least internally consistent. The two flaws I found to Lex's insanity, which I'm presuming to be false, are the fact that Foster said he threw a bottle through a window, and we know Foster wouldn't lie... she's a good character down the line in comics... and the fact that Lex held the blanket baby and sang to it in Junior High, was it? But that's easily fixed... Chloe's records source was bribed by Lionel Luthor.

    I am very frustrated by the fact that the last five minutes was as trumped up as it was, and turned out to be another moment like in Slumber. See, it's the same basic theory. This is the COOLEST Lex Luthor scene put to film with Clark Kent/Superman, IF they have the Nutty Buddies to make it real and not something erased in the short-term memory. My bet is that it's gone. That stinks. It ruins the whole episode for me in ways. Couldn't they have thrown in that line in 8 weeks, when they show the next new episode?

    I'll buy that Morgan Edge looks different, but it's harder for me to buy that his voice changed. And that guy from Sleeping with the Enemy! Creepy! This is a good time to ask if anyone knows the name of what I consider that guy's theme song, the classical music number they also used in The Shining? Well, anyway. That's tangential. But man, that's the kind of guy you never want to meet, much less have as the Morgan Edge to your Superman. Rutger played it well, perhaps better than this guy, but I kept expecting Hauer to give his final thought, and for Lana to grab the Mike from him and scream "That's not yo baby!"

    You know... like a Jerry Springer show? The guy... looks... Jerry Springer... eh, never mind.

    I like the Kryptonite worry beads. That's kind of neat. But he broke them! You'd think the fool would hold them out with one hand and punch with the other instead of busting his only defense against the most powerful alien on Earth (we can only assume). And then he goes and drives straight for a man who's already pumped bullets into him. You'd think further that Morgan Edge, if he wants to survive to foible Superman, would stop running into multiple bullets.

    And come to think of it, what DID happen to Edge? Clark disappears after screwing up in front of Lex, but they just kind of ignore the crushed car and forget about Edge. I know he's still alive (he has to be because of the comics, likely), so I won't add him to the whammy, but he SHOULD be dead, I'll say that much. But it's off screen, so I have to call it up to the imagination.

    I tend to get criticized for not mentioning the acting in this show and what I think of it... I've explained that it's because I usually don't slap at it unless it itches, meaning it's overly good or overly bad. In this episode, I really noticed Rosenbaum and his tic, the touching of the neck... well played. I really believed he was insane. I was afraid that though Rosenbaum can do serious and intelligent, when it came to MWU HA HAHing, he'd fluster or look silly. He didn't. I have to applaud that.

    I have to utterly criticize the professionalism of the hired killers Lex hallucinated... or did he. But I know when I'm chasing after rich billionaires with a gun (hee hee, what an image!) and I have a ten foot shot downward, where the guy is not expecting me, I just shut off the laser sight and cap the guy. Lionel paid the assassin too much. But hey, maybe the assassin was fake... he probably was...

    In fact, he must be, because only in a hallucination can Lex jump through a pane of stained glass and not be cut to death.

    Hey... they must have a REALLY good stained glass guy. In my experience, it takes a LONG time to put together stained glass... more than days, to be sure.

    Am I crazy, or when Clark bent over to get the glass in the hall, did a red light shine on his coat? I'll have to re-watch to be sure, but it looked like a laser sight to me. Maybe I'M paranoid now.

    I think a critical and likely to be overlooked part of this episode is when Clark has to choose between his parents and Chloe vs. Lex Luthor, and he chooses to put faith in an obviously erratic Lex Luthor. It seems small, but I found it to be a really understated example of characterization, and it pleased me.

    What happened with Lex and Julian? I can't wait 8 weeks for that! For the love of monkeys, they can resolve Lex seeing Clark, but they couldn't resolve that?

    I loved Lex going nuts in the sewing shop. Not for any particular scenic reason, just because I always love seeing Lex Luthor go nuts, period. Have you guessed I'm a Lex fan yet?

    But it wasn't complete... we needed to find out what the immigrant was saying. I want to know, I do. In fact... here's a nice little business contest... whoever can come up with the most interesting thing for that guy to be saying gets top spot next business when we come back in eight weeks. Nothing dirty, nothing racist, or I'll read you your mirandas... remember. Kids loves Superman. I have to remember that and not make naughty jokes, so so do you. ;) Just imagine what you would say if some bald man accosted you at your job and shoved your hands towards a sewing machine, and you knew he couldn't understand you. Hilarity MUST ensue.

    Bizarro behavior... NICE touch. ;) Some writer with a touch of "Me am not witty!".

    People have been getting on me for my treatment of Lana (see business for the penultimate surmise), but I have to say, given the way that things have been hemming and hawing between her and Clark, and what it's been doing to the series, I was rooting for the horse when she moved up in the KO Count today. I didn't want her dead, just maimed a little... knock some sense into her! MAN am I a sicko.

    And before anyone asks, there will be no caption contest for the horse... I already created it:


    Sorry folks. I'm Mr. Ed here.

    And it looks like next episode, her leg will STILL be broken! But don't count on it for more than three weeks, eh?

    Lex whipped that poor hunter out of the truck. Lex and the writers underestimate the tenacity of hunters. Right now, that guy is creeping through the brush towards the insane asylum in an inter-season show that we'll never see, where he almost takes out the greatest criminal mind of our time.

    A Don Quixote reference! One of my favorite pieces of literature, and generally I hate big wurd soop! Cervantes rules. Up with Sancho, man, up with Sancho.

    Man, you don't want to make Clark angry when he wants information, do you? I'd call it out of character if he'd done anything really nasty, he just scared the guys though. It flew.

    All except for the bag full of Benjamins part. I mean, he delivered the line all right, but immediately I started busting out with my bad white boy rendition of Puff Daddy, and my fellow viewers didn't need to be exposed to that. They really didn't.

    Puff Daddy C. K. C to the lizz-o, A to the ark-o? Okay. I give up.

    This is the THIRD time in the last year that Lex has pointed a gun at his father, if you count the comics. He REALLY hates his dad, doesn't he? What I want to know is how Lionel figured out that Lex was trying to pin it on him. That was rather cleverly glossed over.

    There WAS the 8:50 moment, folks. Clark and Lana, in the hospital. "You ARE dangerous, Clark!" Until she sees his big muscles and puppy dog eyes in a few weeks. Now, I won't spoil it, but let's just say I know developments for removing the 8:50 moment are there if the cards are played right, but somehow, I still think it'll be there. More on that in eight weeks. I'm going to forgive the 8:50 moment this week for two reasons. ONE, it took place in a hospital, and TWO, it may be the last. Also, it occurred in the middle of such a great, tearing Lex episode that I don't care.

    That's what it's all about, folks. I mean, not Clark, Chloe, Lana, Pete... but LEX! At least for me. A hero defined by his villains!

    What do you mean, Pete who? Oh yeah. Pete. Apparently he's coming back later in the season, but isn't this the first episode where he simply HASN'T shown up? Poor Pete. And he's such an integral character.

    I had a buddy once, he was so close to another buddy and I, we called ourselves the triumvirate. The hive mind. Then a Lana came around, and suddenly, the boy had a curfew, he couldn't stay over to watch Smallville, and he brought Lana over, who promptly got headaches and asked to leave. We never saw him again, and as near as I know, he's now somewhere in another dimension obeying the orders of said Lana. That's probably what happened to Pete. Clark just stopped hanging out with him. For a GIRL! Not that girls are bad, but man, I LIKED Pete! He'll be back.

    Lex goes nuts in this episode. If they never send him insane again, I'll have seen criminally insane Lex Luthor on Smallville. That's all I ever asked for. Criminally insane, mad, screaming, I'll get everyone! Lex Luthor. He knocks his own pop out! One KO for Luthor!

    I'm gonna count this as a jailbird good guy, even though Lex is the villain. He's innocent... THIS TIME.

    I can sleep soundly tonight, having seen this, even knowing there will be no Smallville for 2 months. Sigh.

    A solid 5 of 5. Very well done, and no freaks. NO FREAKS!

    That makes the Freaks based episodes to normals at about 50%. That's all I ever wanted. It was 75-100, now it's 50. Henceforth, barring repeated freaks of the weeks, I will no longer automatic 2 for freaks, I will 3, barring extenuation.

    FIVE of FIVE.

    Well, except for that Johnny Cash bit. It was a little out of place. Neither Clark nor Lex are Goths or drug users, typically, and that's what I associate with NIN (sue me). And I have a NIN album, it's just... it's not mood music for a grief stricken Clark Kent and an insane Lex Luthor, all right?


    Whewie. It's been a long week.

    I have to open up with controversy... I've been branded this week, and branded often. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, a lot of people think Lana the character is NOT Asian, at all, and have very pointedly reamed me for indicating that her relationship in 1961 was interracial and that people would have noticed this. I have been called racist, shamed, and had nasty words thrown at me by many people. I figured, given my discussion of atheism a few weeks ago, such mail would come then, but not after trying to discuss racism, which everyone pretty much agrees is a bad thing... but then, I'm a simple man. I have very cut and dried views of what is and isn' t, and perhaps I made a mistake in indicating Lana as Asian. Perhaps not. Dean Cain, I've been told, had Asian features, though I didn't see them entirely, but I always thought of his character as white. My point here? If you email me telling me that I hate Asians, I don't understand racism, Kansans don't lynch, Kristen isn't Asian in the show/Asian in real life, or anything in that vein, fine. I encourage dialogue... but I don't plan on discussing Relic's racial issue in my review again. It's a personal choice, largely based in the fact that a lot of people took something rather seriously that I didn't. My job here is to point out ironies, have fun, and try to make you have fun too. If I skirt an issue that allows for racial, religious, or political dialogue, fine, but I'm not going to do it purposefully or continue it if it's obvious it hurts peoples feelings, makes them hate me, or anything in that line. Basically, I fired off my Lana/Asian remark as a simple point viewed in blunt obviousness, and if that obviousness is disagreeable or false to you, abhorrent, or wrong, I do apologize, but please realize it was not meant to be inflammatory and I didn't mean to anger anyone. I have nothing against Asians, Kristen, Kansas, or anyone else you might assume I do. In fact, I pretty much like everyone except the rich, poseurs, and those in power, and that's how any revolutionary bohemian poet should be. So NAH! It's just a review, people. I'm looking for humor and irony, not to present social commentary. I save that for my novels.check them out.

    The point? It's really tangential to the show I reviewed, and though I'm sorry I hurt anyone's feelings as I never intended to, the matter's done.

    Now on with the regular fun and speculation!

    I have a new plan. I get a lot of emails, and I respond to them personally, but I do them in a big line, and I always feel impersonal at times. Even though I read every letter I get and respond to them personally, I want to take it to another level, and make it so that people don't have to necessarily wait a week or five days or until the night of the new Smallville for a reply. Henceforth, I'll be offering an open invitation for anyone with Smallville beefs/business, provided they don't want to simply email me or if they want to interact more directly, to try my screen name on MSN Messenger. And the first message better not be, "WHY DON'T YOU USE ICQ, LOSER?" Because I had an ICQ number in the first hundred thousands, folks. No, really. I did. I'm just using MSN because it's simplest for me right now. My screen name is the name of the first pseudonym I had, a name of what would become my first major character: scotttreadwell. Hope to see you all on there... Steve advises it as better than giving out my phone number. ;)

    But if you're female and you like a novelist poet guy with a sense of humor, or if you're a pathetic whacko with a shotgun who can pretend he's a female who likes a novelist poet guy with a sense of humor (eww), actually, never mind. You're not getting my phone number!

    And also, for reference, my personal site, where I have a list of all the reviews I've done for the Superman Homepage and almost every other piece of writing I do, novels, poetry, comics, etcetera, will soon be moving from to Arrogant? Whatever. It beats convolution.

    Cody Sadler points out the life sized poster of Kristen Kreuk on the WB site. These posters are crazy, and the penultimate teeny bopper exercise, or the exercise of a tortured geek so obsessed he has to have a life sized actor on his wall. That's why I just printed Michael Rosenbaum. Someone get me an intervention! The links are here (Clark), here (Lex), and here (Lana).

    Only one question... where's Chloe?

    Shawn Fuller chimes in with several good catches this week... first, that Walking in Memphis, the Marc Cohn version, is actually OWNED by the WB. It would have been cheaper... but then, they couldn't soak Lonestar's label if they did that. Never underestimate the WB's business model... also, Shawn corrects the false report (based in accident, I'm sure) a week or two back that Lachlan Luthor had no Scottish accent... it's there in the beginning, if you listen for it.

    David DeSomer and Patrick share a good theory why Clark still feels safe running down the road... he has super reflexes, and generally can see cars and avoid them before they even get near him, at near invisible speeds. The reason he failed in Perry is because of the solar flares, but it also explains away why he would continue to run down roads the week following.

    Cody Sadler looked up the real information about Crater Lake and it's visual representation, with regards to the Kansas prairie comparison. This is what he had to say, verbatim:

    Kansas' largest mountain, Mt. Sunflower, is 4,039 feet. The elevation of one of the peaks of Crater Lake, Mt. Scott, is 8,929 feet. The lake itself is I believe upwards of 5,000 or 6,000 feet. Problem! Soooo, we'll assume this is just a coincidental name and that this is not supposed to be a close relative to the real Crater Lake. Quick question: Wouldn't the impact of the meteor strike cause a deep depression, with relatively high ridges around the crater? And why couldn't we see these surrounding peaks around the lake in "Slumber"? Just thinking out loud here... One more fact. Crater Lake, the one in Oregon, was actually caused by a volcano, Mt. Mazama, imploding on itself and causing a massive crater, which filled up with water over time. I'm assuming since Smallville's Crater Lake was created by a meteor strike that maybe some of the traits that the real Crater Lake has would not apply to it. Traits such as elevation, water depth (1,932 feet deep, deepest in North America), and ridges surrounding it. ;)

    Good observations.

    Bill Albanito points out the dialogue of the week for Magnetic:

    Seth: We'll be together forever. [Ditches Lana] Sheriff: Lana Lang, you are under arrest!

    Kevin Heacock and Alex Gaona both correct the fact that it was the lever, not the Ferris Wheel that Seth moved. I STILL think he coulda lifted that car... grumble, grumble.

    Dave Johnson wrote me and reminded me that HE is the man who came up with the 8:50 moment. Mucho credit! And thanks for the concept.

    E L has an addition to the mad Kung Fu column, pointing out lightning fast that Lana didn't stop Lex. Admittedly, Lex trained her, and likely could beat her, but she didn't even try, she just said, "Trample me, horse-y!"

    Matt S. asked whatever happened to the emails I sent to Dr. Swann from Rosetta... no answer, alas. But someone did tell me I was from the planet Krypton on the street a while ago...

    Matt also points out that Lionel was going to research the bugs in the cave that popped Chloe and Pete... whatever happened to that? Clark was all around, but no scientific equipment...

    Adeylan showed me a really neat site that shows how Relic is actually almost SPOT ON ripped from a Buffy plot in a lot of ways, right down to the title of the Buffy episode and a song used in Relic: "I Only Have Eyes for You."

    Patrick also notes that while I berated Clark for not telling Lana his secret after seeing her told by Seth, Seth might have made her think ANYTHING was cool, and she still could freak when Clark tells her. Using his, uh, magnets. Yeah.

    Charlie Blakeny points out an irony in my mentioning that Marvel should sue someone for Magneto Seth, in that (in his words):

    Cosmic Boy from the Legion of Superheroes has magnetic powers and predates Magneto by a few years, so it looks like they are ripping off DC this time. I did some checking and Cosmic Boy from the Legion of Superheroes first appeared in Adventure Comics #247 in 1958.

    Good call...

    Scott Judd corrects my Last Son of Krypton link from last week... apparently it was the wrong one. The real on is here.

    And finally, Steve Sanders chimes in double quick as well with a translation for Lex's new asylum (Which I gripe at for not being Arkham. How hard, to secure such rights? How hard!?). Belle Reve means Sweet Dreams, in French. I took two years of French, I shoulda known that one, but I am uh, tres stupid-ament? Alas.

    Like the old Simpsons joke: Me fail English? That's unpossible!

    See you all in eight weeks, and thanks for your patience with that long opening paragraph...

    Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Funky Kwanza, Super Chanukahs, and for all of you out there celebrating Arbitrary Gift Giving Day with me, uh, have a good time around the Arbitrary Gift Giving Day Tree! Peace on Earth, good will towards men, women, AND freaks of the week. May the spirit of Santa infect their decrepit homicidal Grinchness!

    And don't forget, as ever, the KO COUNT!

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