Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 3 - Episode 11: "Delete"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Main Points:

  • Strange things are afoot at the Somerholdt Institute. Things involving the MIND!
  • Lana and Clark, via mind-control emails, try killing Chloe for Lionel (presumably).
  • Adam now lives above the Talon, and Lana is somewhat smitten with him.
  • Molly, a crazed IT geek, is behind the emails.
  • Lex taps the evil Dr. Garner from Ryan to help him find his lost memory again.

    REVIEW:

    Blast! You remember that little thing I talked about last week, how a sure sign of a good episode was few notes, and the average was about 3? Welcome back to three land, folks.

    We've hit the CK episode, for those of you who grew up in gang schools. I know. No one's gonna get that. But if you do, good for you. You've lived a little life out there. Let the sheltered think I'm merely referring to an acronym for Clark Kent. Yeah. Clark Kent.

    This episode, on a whole, wasn't very bad, all in all. There were cool scenes, the plot moved forward (even if a lot of it was relationship stuff I don't like. We'll get there), and we even had a nice little cat fight. Intrigue with Lex, actions with consequences for the characters, and a lot of things to stand up for an episode that, if just torn down to its constituent freak parts, would be somewhat lame.

    Elaboration:

    We start with a nice pan down onto the Daily Planet, a good way to begin any episode of Smallville, I guess. Actually, I don't care if they call it Smallville and it's entirely in Metropolis. Already, I have more of a sense of Metropolis as an entity than Smallville, in this show, as Smallville is mainly one street and houses, and we've already seen multiple big buildings and parts of the city of Metropolis in this show.

    At least we didn't have the gaffe that Kryptonsite reported, likely on accident as I recall, that Max Taylor would be a reporter, and not the editor, as seen in the summer bridge pieces, but hey, he doesn't last long either way now, does he?

    He's a bit young to be an editor, if you ask me. Let's see. WB casting director says, "Let's cast a wise old guy, or some young guy?"

    The casting director ruffles a few sheets of paper, checks the demographic, looks at Grandpa farting dust and then back at the man who became Max Taylor, extends a hand, and says, "Come with us, son. We'll make you a star. Just sign HERE. In blood."

    Bingo! There he is. Little did he know that there would be no stuntman for the pencil gimmick.

    Lois Lane is Chloe's cousin. Well, that makes sense. It's cool. It also would seem that Chloe thinks Lois is not interested in journalism. Well, I don't know much about Lois Lane's past, but I do know that it takes an extreme passion for something to be good at it, so it seems off to me that Lois would not be interested. But it's a good way for her to get into the Planet, were Max not, er, dead.

    So if Lois is Chloe's cousin, that means that it goes one of two ways, right? Lois is Chloe's Mother or father's sister or brother's daughter, or Chloe is Lois' mother or father's sister or brother's daughter. Basically, we've gotten nowhere with that. But they're related. So, if Lois doesn't like journalism, doesn't it make it kind of strange that Chloe is like Lois because they're related? I'm confused. But it's good to hear mention of Lois, even if we don't see her by the end of the show.

    Playstation addicted dorks wearing Star Wars tee-shirts? Weeeeeee-heeeeeeel, ex-cyuuuuuuuuse me, lady! I didn't know the target demographic of your show was something to trash upon. Worst. Insult. Ever.

    Lex Luthor, the greatest criminal mastermind of our time, believes that a hot chick can be an IT specialist at face value. Now before all you one hot chick IT types flame email me, seriously, how many IT guys do you know with big rotund bodies, bad complexions, serious addictions to their computers and no discernable attraction to ladies anywhere. I myself can name about ten I know personally. How many hot chick ITs? None. Now this isn't to say girls can't be ITs, not at all (for the love of God what I wouldn't GIVE to spend my time on the line with Microsoft or Packard Bell or whatever computer I have this month that's screwing up talking to a hot chick with a Windows-on), I'm just saying, it's patently obvious that if you see a hot chick near a computer, you check her company pass, Lex. You just do. You check the pass even if it's a geek looking mother, because you're just getting knocked out a bit too often to be trusting.

    I can't say I don't relate, though. Women with glasses tear me apart, and bless your hot little hearts.

    Lionel takes back the computers, a "donation". That's not entirely legal, is it? Call the sheriff, hello? I mean, if Bill Gates started taking back Gates grants, I don't think the colleges would hesitate to call the cops. Even Pete, as absent as he has been in most respects lately, would have known that.

    Grrrr... thirty seconds of Pete, at least twenty minutes of Lana. For the love of monkeys, go find a tree and sit with Adam, you pompous whining so-and-so.

    Did you folks see Kung Pow? The scene where Chosen says, "I'm coming!" over and over again, and as the camera pans, he's running towards the camera, but it's farther away, then really close, then farther away again? That's how it felt when Clark was running down Chloe. First, he was five feet away, then ten, then twenty, then five, then ten, then she managed to duck under the truck. It was comically bad.

    But still, a cool idea for an opening. I liked that. Good idea, bad execution.

    I hate the sheriff. I do. Her character is more annoying than a foot stuck four feet up your butt. But she makes a good point in this episode. To Clark: "Your family sure has its way of going through vehicles!"

    Someone watch if I don't and let me know if they have the same truck or a new truck next week...

    Lana says, "Whatever there was between us is gone." With regards to Clark.

    She's a liar. That's contemptible. Why lie? Oh, someone might say, she's just demure! She doesn't want people to see her true feelings because she's just trying to protect everyone. SCREW that, pardon my English. Truth is far more feeling preserving with matters of love. Always. ALWAYS. Contemptible. More on this soon.

    Now, I just noticed something, watching this episode. Clark has a laptop. He had it before, I'll concede, but I just now noticed it.

    Let's see hands. Okay, how many of you are poor?

    Okay, okay. That's a good number of you. Man, the economy must need work. Okay, some more hands.

    How many of you are rich?

    You. You in the back. Can I have a dollar?

    Well, anyway, you who were poor, how many of you had a laptop growing up? Especially those of you who lived on farms and had a nice new truck every other week?

    Hands, please?

    None of you? How puzzling!

    See, I grew up really poor. I mean, poor. Not dying poor, but poor. Know what kind of computer I had?

    NONE! In fact, I didn't have a CD player until 1996. Do you know how hard that was? I got my first computer in 1997, a recycled rebuilt Boeing 133 MhZ, and ever since then, I've earned and bought every single computer that's sat on my desk. Point being? Poor kids don't get computers, except at school. Especially laptops. I know this is a soapbox, but it just infuriates me that as a society we revere money so much that even poor characters have to look rich on television. Why can't Clark be poor and normal, like the other 80% of us not in gates communities or named Gates?

    End rant.

    General Sherman. Interesting paper topic. Knowing Smallville, they likely had a reason related to the episode for choosing Sherman. Any guesses? He was a bad man, to be sure, during the Civil War, but what did he do related to Clark? Brain racking, brain racking.

    No signal. Sorry, folks. Help me here.

    Adam is a stranger. Strangers stick out like sore thumbs in small towns. I went to Orcas Island with my best bud Kevin a few years ago, a very small town, and I was an ALIEN. So Adam, a man of unknown age, can just walk around a public school, post 9-11?

    I think not. I mean, my little brother Alex, he's seven. Seven, folks. He has to wear a picture ID with his fingerprint on it on school ground at ALL TIMES. I disagree strongly with this, but my point is, folks just can't wander round schools no more.

    So explain to me how this happens?

    Now, onto the subject of mind control. First off, it's bloody impossible. The CIA researched it thoroughly and abhorrently with a number of guinea pigs, and it just ain't happening. Sorry. I know, I know, we all want to make our respective celebrity girlfriend of choice do whatever the heck we want, but outside the old noggin, it ain't happening.

    Then there's the issue of suspension of disbelief, a requisite of good TV enjoyment. I am very lenient. If it were magic, I would let it go. But apparently, just by reading an email, people can be made to kill other people? Nah. And the argument even further attacks itself when Adam tells them that people can't kill themselves, because the brain triggers a survival mechanism. Read up on hypnosis, monkey brain. It's basic philosophy and physiology. With the power of suggestion, no one can be made to do anything they're not already impelled to do in normal circumstances. And I don't mean kiss a rug or something within the realm of plausibility one might do for a crowd, I mean axe murdering your best friend. Otherwise, we'd just email all the terrorists to whack themselves and it'd be done with. Don't think the United States wouldn't for a stone cold second.

    So for me, suspension of belief must be based in a semi-plausibility, and here, it's just lame. So it didn't sit with me well.

    Lana goes nuts and uses her mad Kung Fu (according to Lex's chronometer of a few months ago that he had his ECT at the end of the show) approximately two months after having a leg broken so badly she had to have pins inserted. That makes about no sense. But hey, I'll just assume that because of Adam, she pushed herself beyond belief and REALLY REALLY healed herself enough to know Neo style Kung Fu again.

    Chloe throws a horrible, predictable punch, and clocks the "MUST KILL!" Lana on the head. This counts as a very obvious time Lana fails to use her Kung Fu, even while using her Kung Fu. It took me out of the show. It did.

    So okay, she and Chloe had a cat fight. I didn't hear any cat sounds, there was no slapping or clawing, their clothes remained essentially intact (despite getting wet) and no one clearly won, because Adam stepped in. LAME cat fight.

    Which brings me to another, strange point. Adam shouldn't be in the school wandering around anyway, how the H(#$ did the man get into the girls locker room, where the girls are showering, to kick Lana silly? And how is Adam's Kung Fu better than hers, seeing as HE TOO was in physical therapy, and in fact, was STILL RECOVERING?

    I guess I'll forgive it, since I saw Lana kicked around for being a dip.

    (Preclude that last little thought with the fact that I hate violence against women, so I don't get angry emails. I really do. It's just I want anyone as annoying as Lana, male or female, to have the bejesus kicked out of them regularly in fiction, where it hurts no one save literary critics who always equate a woman being hit with other, more sinister things. Sorry, you few. God, I hate having to disclaim simple humor.)

    So anyway, we didn't even get a KO out of the whole affair, as Lana just rolled over and said, "Hey, what happened?"

    And lookie here. Lana went after someone with an axe, beat the crap out of Chloe, and a stranger she invited into the school beat the crap out of her, and all she gets is suspended? Sorry, folks, but an axe means assault with a deadly weapon. I know, because someone has come after me and been charged with assault with a deadly weapon. It's really a big deal. It's also a weapon in a school, which means expulsion.

    If I went after someone with an axe, know where I'd be? Federal PMITA prison. And you'll catch that reference if you've seen Office Space. It's the place Zamir is afraid to go for certain reasons.

    Lame! LAAAAAME!

    A villain called Brainwave. Well, okay.

    Adam knows how to track a computer mastermind by tracing her email IP. Well, sure, that makes a lot of sense, assuming the computer mastermind didn't use a simple tactic that even I know about, called a dynamic IP, which changes every time you log onto the internet, as I recall. I used it when some maniac threatened to find and kill me a long time ago (Don't ask, long story. Nothing Superman related, but quite an adventure). Basically, there are static and dynamic IPs, as I understand it, and one can be traced, the other cannot. Either way, if they tracked the computer that easily, she's probably not that good with IT. Which means she's a horrible liar, or they're just extraordinarily good. Both took me out of the episode.

    Adam corners Lana, after being nice to her and having great chemistry for a while, and she doesn't kiss him. What's the bloody deal here? She's 17? It's not having sex? For the love of monkeys, she's such a bloody shrill, immature piece of attention grabbing mutton leftover!

    Adam then puts it best in this, the first 8:35 Alana moment this episode, telling her he won't become one of her neuroses and walking out. Way to go, buddy. If you didn't screw it up soon after, but I'll get to that.

    This brings me to an important question. Everyone wants Clark to get with Lana, and Lana with Clark, etcetera etcetera to oblivion. I do as well, but simply because it's what happens in the comics. I have no other real reason. She's really cruel, out for attention, and, for my money, not as intelligent, intriguing, or generally much of a friend, like Chloe.

    Yet, I suggested a poll for Steve on the main site that offered three options for Lana, continuity aside. Death, removal from storyline, or that you liked her how she was, and an overwhelming majority went for keeping her how she was.

    So here's your chance to tell me why. I can't come up with a SINGLE redeeming feature that would make me want to date Lana other than her beauty and the fact that she's a good businesswoman. Other than that, she's been nothing but cruel, self-serving, and attention craving in her dealings with Clark.

    That's how I see it. Now, I want to be proven wrong. This week, anyone with an idea counter to mine email me with some backup. Tell me how Lana is really good to Clark, and why she should get him, because of the way she acts, with a little backup from an episode. I WANT to be proven wrong with this one. Seems to me, she just treats Adam and Clark like garbage, and I'm so sick of it I want an enlightened perspective here. Results in next week's business.

    It's good to see Somerholdt again. Good continuity there, and one of the major plusses of this episode. I would say that Lionel is involved, but I'd like to know how. He should be, as they're trying to kill Chloe, but how? I wish that had been elaborated on more.

    Poor Max. A pencil to the ear. I don't think it was deep enough to affect his hunkish good looks, so why did he die? Surely there was nothing in the brain there? Well, assuming there was, as he is the editor of the Planet, was that deep enough? I wouldn't think so. Any brain surgeons want to step up and call me wrong? Why not just stab him in the neck? Then we would have had a cool gushing blood shot. I mean, if you're gonna kill a guy with a pencil, why go in halfway?

    I mean, why not use one of those huge, unmanageable pencils from the early nineties you couldn't sharpen without a Crocodile Dundee knife?

    I was waiting for this next observation for two weeks. Lex gets a visit from Clark and Chloe, and he's drinking, yes, orange juice.

    Lex is on the wagon. I KNEW the great set people on this show would make some kind of gesture like that about the brandy. I have never really, barring badly done CG or stunts, had ANY complaints about the art department. The best on television, in my opinion. But then, I don't watch too much TV. Still, I have in the past.

    Ear cam again. Why? Well, because I guess Clark squinting and looking like he's listening taxes Tom too much. Aw, come on! I guess they just need a cool effect. I keed.

    Okay. Now we're back to Adam again, who walks into the Talon and apologizes for being truthful with Lana. Brutally truthful. Why? Wuss. Though he does get a good barb in about her "hurt little girl facade".

    Then he tells her she is an amazing person. HOW?

    I challenge you to prove Lana's worth! The gauntlet is thrown down, oh fans!

    A pretty face does not a good woman make!

    Now here's another crazy oxymoron of ideals. Molly, the freak this week, says that she didn't feel normal growing up because she was talented with computers. But see, that only goes so far. You know, and I know, that a person who looks good, and I mean GOOOOOOOOOD, like our dear Molly here (my e-mail's on this review, dear actress who played the part), have little to no trouble fitting in even if their hobby is eating children. Tell me of a beautiful person you know who had any trouble fitting in. Particularly female. Good luck. See you when there are no men left on the planet.

    Okay, we already established, at least, I already established, that an email hypnotic command is impossible. Now Molly sends one to Jonathan and Martha, and it works on both of them? First, each person is so unique that even provided such a thing to work it would require years of research and a personally tailored program. So it wouldn't work on both of them. But, even assuming it did, what, they both read email at the same time, and one wouldn't snap the other out of it?

    Crap! I'm sorry, but it was lame.

    One redemption: I'm gonna count them as both getting KOs. Pa is out for a good few seconds, and Ma is out for even longer. Longer than Lana, anyway.

    Now, have you ever had hay bales dropped on you? They're heavy. HEAVY. They would really hurt you. Bad. Clark, while de-powered with Kryptonite, and Pa, while prone, had a stack of hay bales dropped on them. They would be hurt. They weren't. Lame.

    See business for the rest on this one, but hey, the Silent Film Festival is still on! Good attention to continuity.

    Holy cow! Did you guys see what I saw? Clark with a little romantic tension with Chloe? You know what that means? Now we have three distinct kinds of dramatic, pseudo romantic adolescent blather fest types for the show. The Clana, with Clark and Lana, the Alana, which we had this episode, and the Chlark, with Chloe and Clark. We had an 8:50 Chlark today! Oh, the agony! But at least they're diversifying.

    Lex XX. The man has twenty fine cars. Ah, to be Lex Luthor. I want his suit. Or at least how he looks in it.

    Molly has vanished, this is interesting and good. Lex is benevolent, yet again. I know where she is, too. With Lucas. Hoo ha! Zing!

    Well, it looks like Lex may get his memory back. That subplot alone kills almost all of the glaring inconsistencies of this episode.

    And though I have been very harsh on that front, I must emphasize that this episode had a lot of amusing things, a good number of creative leaps that most episodes take, and a great subplot with Chloe, Lex, his memory, her life, and the finale in mind, I am sure. Will we see Chloe's death? Lionel's death? Lex's memory return? Spoiler haters don't flame me, I've heard of none of those things, but they just seem a natural progression, and all start here. So despite the many flaws, I have to say that the subplot balanced things out, making this episode an average 3 of 5.

    And hey, I know how to bring Lex's memory back. Just like in Johnny Dangerously. Hit him with a stack of newspapers, and his memory returns, but he's blind. Then deaf. In-joke. Sorry. I love Johnny Dangerously a farging lot. Why? Because it has a good moral: Remember kids, crime doesn't pay. (Then he gets in the Rolls) Well, maybe a little.

    And next week, we have a bit of a letdown... Pa Kent is KOed in the preview! So what do I do, add that to the KO Count today? I'm so confused! Eh, I'll wait.

    And look! I mean, I love Trek as much as the next geek, but we've gone and chased it off to 9 O'Clock! Now I can watch both! Woo hoo! Good move, UPN. And good show, Smallville, to allow such a thing to happen.

    BUSINESS:

    Wow. Good week, bad week.

    Good week in that I did something I never expected to. My private writing site, www.nealbailey.com, reached not only 800 hits (which, given that it started getting about 30 hits per month a year and a half ago, is no small cookies) and exceeded its bandwidth. I never expected that, and I know that a big part of that is curious people who read my Superman stuff here who wandered over, and I just wanted to thank you all for that. This whole reviewing experience has been amazing, and it just keeps getting better. I get letters in languages I don't even speak now, and I'm just awed by this whole thing. You guys are opening up doors for me, and I owe you all.

    Further, the IM thing is going well also. I've made a number of friends and garnered some great business stuff.

    For those of you who have tried to reach me on AOL, Yahoo, or MSN and failed, the reason is likely because I set my status to away, not because I am not there. Seeing as this has become a problem, I will simply leave my chat program on at most all times, and remain there in status as opposed to away. If I do not respond, it's not because I'm not interested in what you have to say (In fact, quite the opposite. I answer EVERY email I get.), I'm just not around. This way people who have tried to catch me will not miss me.

    And now the bad! It seems NO ONE, not anyone, decided to write a counter review, a review review, or anything of that like at the thread last week. Well, you win some, you lose some. I will simply take this to mean that none of you believed you had any chance of blowing away my bad self! Or, the more likely, you just didn't have enough time to devote to such a darkish obsession as I do. No show of hands on that one...

    But being a man of constant ideas, most crummy, but one of five good, I have come up with another idea...

    I get a flood, literally, a flood of email just after an episode. And a lot of IMs, now that I released my IM info in the last few reviews. And really, after a show, if you check Livejournal, a lot of people are on there, typing away, about the show. I propose a chat.

    The Superman Homepage has a planned chat time at 8:30pm to 9:30pm Eastern time every week, and I went once, a while back, but since I've moved to Tacoma, I've had a class in clay and ceramics once a week I go to, so I miss that date. From now on, starting next week I'm going to jump into the Superman Homepage chat program at approximately 9:00pm Pacific after each new show (which is late for you folks on the other side of the country, sorry, but I want to know the episode before I talk about it), and all goes. We'll try that instead of the reviews of your own, but I figured I'd ask Steve to try one more week of the message board reply thing just in case you were all sleeping last week. Put me to shame!

    Try that thread link HERE.

    As for the Chat Room, you'll find the link on the front page of the Superman Homepage, down the left side.

    Now, onto the email I've been sent:

    Eric Sherman notes that Clark starts to tell Lana that he really missed her and wanted to be with her last week only AFTER he went blind. Hmmmm... that could be taken several different ways.

    An anonymous source, along with Jeff Spruiell point out that after Eric traded powers last week, his glasses would have made him blinded or at least they would have been unnecessary. Oops.

    Also, Jeff further points out that if you extrapolate the trade of powers, perhaps Clark has a better way to help the world than to be Superman... if trading powers with someone makes them gain his physiology, and Superman can heal almost any internal wound, shouldn't he go around changing bodies with people with AIDS, or even, perhaps, as an extension, let's say Christopher Reeve. That would be cool. Alas. Truth is stranger than fiction. But it's a good thought. I know I would go straight to Chris.

    Then every dying child I could find. Touching observation.

    Finally, Jeff asserts that perhaps JTT absorbed his twin. I didn't see it though, so I'm gonna assume dead. But a good point.

    Anonymous further notes that the FOTWs letting the Kryptonite roll all over the place was not really smart, for a guy Yale bound. (Think he'd make a good president?)

    Jason O'Neil points out my already mentioned above "Silent Film Festival" at the Talon the week of Clark's sight loss. That Lana... she's just CRUEL! Just a note that he found it before me, folks. Good eye. Er, ear?

    Cody Sadler notes, as I did not at the time, that Raybans got a free plug last week. Wonder if they got paid for that one. I hate advertising in shows. I know it's necessary, but did Ma Kent really need those Cheerios, and did Lois really have to smoke? How mature. How lung buttering mature.

    Matthais Lang (winner of the coolest name for someone to write in this week) thinks that Ma Kent saying that Pa Kent handcuffed the doctor was illusory. So okay. Maybe it was. But the pacing and editing made it hard to discern, so my criticism stands at its awkwardness, but good eye, Matthias.

    Rob Adams offers a plausibility scheme for the arc welder fixing Clark's eyes, odd as it seemed. First, Kryptonite, which CAN hurt Clark, scarred his eyes, but the welder, which can't hurt him, merely burned off the dead (and thus unprotected by Clark's body) scar tissue on his eyes and made him see again. I'll buy it.

    He also postulates that as Kryptonite originally was non-toxic and became its varying kinds of K (red, green, gold, and all the others) through passing through space gas, who's to say that hit by electricity, it can't gain some magical cell transferring property. Okay... conceded. In the SILVER Age! But this is Silver hybrid with modern age! So you're half wrong! Or half right, and I'm half wrong. D'oh. Never mind. My eyes have crossed.

    Scott R Jones notes, as I did when he said it, that no one really noticed how different Clark looked with glasses. The writers dropped the ball there. Maybe have Pete go, "Clark, is that you?". Sigh. Lost opportunity.

    And finally, the best catch of the week... Pete's mom is Sisko from Deep Space 9's wife in the show... for those three of you out there like me that saw a few of those episodes. I noticed last week, but I didn't figure enough of you would catch on for me to make that reference, but Mike, a reader, proved me wrong. Good one!

    So alas, I am out of material after a scant 4,800 words, and I'll leave you with a recommendation to hit the thread I mentioned before and the KO Count, newly updated. Have a good week, and please, please, please, tell me something redeeming about Lana!

    Neal



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