Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 3 - Episode 14: "Obsession"Reviewed by: Neal Bailey
Okay, here's the preface. First off, no, I am not dead. Second off, no, I have not become so disgusted with Smallville after last week's episode that I have stopped watching/reviewing. Thirdly, I did not answer a single email last week... but I have an explanation. Save that for business, I just wanted to apologize straight up for this review being later than typical and thank you all for your concern. Although I promise, if I die, I' m sure Steve will tell you. Right Steve?
Well, hey, take it as a consolation that even if he doesn't, if you email me asking me if I'm dead and I AM dead, alas, I will not be able to respond. :) I'll just be haunting people and having fun with all the women who rejected me up on cloud nine, assuming I'm wrong about the potentiality of an afterlife.
All right... this episode. Really, I think it was a half and half episode. The first half rocked, provoked some startling characterization, then kind of fell down the boob tube and got trapped in the bra. My reasoning? Not the 17 year-old pseudo porn (which actually kind of made sense, given the plot, and didn't seem amazingly arbitrary) nor the raging Lana passive aggression, but rather that this episode, among many now, has a freak of the week, and one that, at least in my opinion, could have been avoided.
Alicia is like Clark. They meet because they both have powers that alienates them from others. So Clark gets close to her, and Clark gets a little physical with the most straightforward woman he's met.
Then things fell apart. For some reason, Clark, an able bodied male, turned down physical affection, and for some reason, a girl who can teleport, like, say, 55 of her brethren or so, suddenly turns homicidal. Yeah, a previous boyfriend ended "badly" and her parents might have locked her in a little room, but really, I was locked in my room, my first girlfriend ended with me MORE than badly, and though I can't teleport, I did often jump out my second story bedroom window with a crafty sneak sneak escape.
But I'll get to that. Basically, that's why I'm half and half. Why couldn't we simply have Clark fall in love with a girl who makes sense, like Alicia did before her arbitrary character shift, and maybe have an episode centered around the characters we love and how they interact (like say, Lana realizing that she might be losing Clark, or Clark figuring out his sexual independence, beyond cursory dialogue and two terse scenes). Instead, we have an inserted, horrible freak motivation (though the fight was okay. I'll get there as well) and an ending that leaves much unresolved.
So the episode, as it happened:
Clark and Chloe are in advanced economics? Tell me, why is there an Advanced Economics class in rural Kansas? They'd be lucky to have plain old Economics, and at that, the Home kind. Okay, you Kansas people, now you can write me in and flame me. But I grew up in a fairly big city and there was no economics program...
Clark's hair is shorter. Attention to continuity with his hair getting shorter and shorter is great, but how does he cut it? That would be a cool scene to see.
Now, we either have really dumb teachers in Smallville (my guess) or we just have a nonsensical arbitrary plot twist when the teacher allows Clark and Alicia to go alone in the big city on an elevator. That just doesn't happen. Teachers are so afraid of being sued, they won't let you do anything risky any more, much less let a guy and a girl be alone in an elevator, a potent aphrodisiac if I've ever seen one.
And there was room in the elevator, too. They could have squeezed. Eh, that's too nitpicky. But it took me out of the narrative.
It was immediately redeemed when, as the elevator fell, Clark negated a camera. Sure, he's been in a million occasions where he hasn't, but just to see the crew acknowledge cameras, have Clark deal with one, that meant a lot to me.
The stopping with his hand was a cool effect. I just want to know why he suddenly let go, and how the heck the rescue crew got to just that right floor so quickly. And further, how is the hole in the wall explained, or the sudden stop mid-fall, or the fact that in the lobby, they were probably on another camera, or the...
I'd better stop. It was cool.
It's good to at least see a freak we haven't seen yet (at least, on the power front. We've seen the evil chick who loves Clark before, in "Skinwalkers"). But should I make some snide comment about how it's yet ANOTHER rip off of an X-Men character? I mean, we've had Magneto, now Nightcrawler? But will I? No. Because her figure is not that of an elf man, she doesn't spout annoying German, and her tail is one heck of a lot easier to look at.
Is Lionel behind the elevator malfunction? I would say he has to be, but we may never know. If not, I find it extremely odd that the one with two people in it would snap and the other one with a few bajillion folk in it would not.
I thunk an interesting irony. Lana has a business. A cornerstone of the town. But she's not in Advanced Economics. Hmmm...
Alicia and Clark talk the next day, and we have, for the second time in two weeks, mountains in the background. Well, heck, maybe somehow Clark rids Kansas of them before he leaves. Yeah...
So here my note says how very cool it is that Clark has found a girl that is like him, a freak, who also feels misunderstood, and what good directions there were to go with that. Well, okay. It worked for half the episode. And I also wrote that it was already done in "Skinwalkers", but Clark doesn't even think about the girl he loved in that episode out loud, despite the fact that she died in front of him. What a punk!
Adam's diary was pretty sparse for a genius of many things. You could argue that he was trying to protect Lana and Clark, but why would he write things down when he could just talk to or email Lionel fairly anonymously? Paper trails are bad for Machiavellian guys with long hair and no conscience. It was like, literally:
DAY ONE: Clark is bad. Lana is good.
DAY TWO: Why is Clark always around?
DAY THREE: Lana is weird when Clark is around.
I got a laugh out of it. I also got a laugh thinking of those people who write me and say that because Lana doesn't SAY she's feeling something it isn't patently obvious, like the fact that she's uncomfortable around Clark. People actually say that she's not. But the diary made it pretty bluntly clear...
Now Lana was wishy washy this episode. Half of the bad, half of the good. First, she wised up and whuped that Landlord hair right back around (WH-KSSH!), kicking that bum out for being weird. Alas, any directness she thereby promoted, however, was extremely undermined by her indirect approach to getting the dirt on him (sneaking around in the dark instead of just insisting he tell her or be evicted), and also her reaction to Clark getting a date, which I'll get to.
I found it weird and a little bit of a logical leap of assumption that Lana immediately thinks because Adam is writing about her and Clark that he's spying. There wasn't enough logic for her to make that assumption yet. I mean, heck, what do you journal about? I write about my day, then I talk about the people around me, when I DO journal.
I empathize with her having a bad renter, however. My big gambit to write and not work (which has been paying off to the tune of 8,000 pages, so far) was financed by a second rental house, and I have had two just horrible renters in my first two years. The first was a month late practically with the rent each month, and his excuse was always, "Hey, if I'm your friend, I should be able to pay late. Be a friend!" Not comprehending the fact that if I didn't get the money I went under, and the other renter, the one leaving this month, decided that it was okay to let off two bug bombs in one room without blowing out the pilot light, opening a window, or hey, even informing the other two roommates, who were in fact home and promptly sickened by the poisons.
She could have bled from her eyes, but that would have been relieving compared to trying to convince my other renters she was not killable. My point? To evict either of them forcibly does take 3-6 months, and if they are deadbeats, you won't see rent. It really stinks. So I feel for Lana. Still don't like her methodology, but I empathize.
To a point.
I note with dismay her attitude despite there being "nothing" between Clark and herself by her own admission, when Alicia reveals that they have a date/time to meet.
She says, "See you at 7?"
Clark turns to Lana, who's become tight lipped, and says, "We're in the same econ class."
Lana then purses her lips and walks away without saying goodbye.
I blame Clark for not telling her that wasn't cool, was passive aggressive, but really, Lana's true with the fault on that one. I'm sick of her acting like a spoiled brat. It's even worse when they tease us with her being direct, normal, like she used to be, then making her petty jealousies of her own design bite us in the middle of our entertainment. In case you can't tell, my mad-on for her petty jealousy has now far surpassed the mad on I had with Chloe for the very same thing, because at least with Chloe, she kept telling Clark she liked him. Lana's just being an
EXPLETIVES DELETED FOR YOUR PROTECTION.
And it happened later in the episode, too... I'll get there.
So Clark has the same broke down truck made whole again to take Alicia on their date, and when they arrive, the date is in Clark's barn? Bold man! Last time I suggested a date start in a place that is (I think) a bedroom, I was smacked in the head. The sad thing is all I wanted to do was play Monopoly. The funny thing is I ended up doing so... with myself. And it sucks bargaining with yourself for Park Place because you KNOW you have Boardwalk.
But the date went well, was well-written, interesting, etcetera. Good stuff. At least, until she tries to kiss him, and he turns away.
To use the lingua franca colloquial between my younger betters and myself, I will now postulate, WTF? Who turns down a kiss from a chick?
Oho, say the more sensitive folk in the audience. He wants to get to know her before he gets physical with her!
To which I say, oho! Maybe. But only on television, baby. ONLY on television. And when it's on there, I ain't buying it. Not like Crest. No no. I ain't buying it.
A seventeen year old boy (and pardon my body French here) who has been let's say physically frustrated by a certain hot friend of his for the better part of three years would be about ready to blow apart for a kiss. In this, the show is outside of the realm of believability, at least for me. And before you go writing about how he's being a nice guy, I KNOW that. I respect that. But I just don't see it as realistic, even for a boy who likely respects his parents wishes as much as Clark would. I base this not only in common body sense, but the fact that when she shows up soon after, he barely hesitates when she climbs on top of him. Why shame young men for wanting to be physical on television if it's in their character? I read with disappointment the unwillingness to confront sexuality with Clark on behalf of the producers. We can have death, violence, destruction, and even the occasional allowable curse, but the thing which we must all come to terms with, our own sexuality, is off limits when it pertains to a role model for a lot of young boys, Superman? I'm not suggesting Clark "take" her, I'm saying what's wrong with a kiss? To me, it beats her climbing on top of him.
And Jonathan doesn't help matters. I saw her in Clark's bedroom, she climbed on top of him, and the voice in my head went to Dennis Hopper.
"A hot chick just teleported into your room and climbed on top of you, hot shot. What do you do? What DO you do?"
No, wait. "Speed" was last week. But anyway, the point being, you do not attempt to grow a brain.
So Jonathan busts in, gets angry, and prepares to bawl out Clark for getting some. You'd think, with all the whining about Lana, Jonathan might give the old thumbs-up then back slowly out of the room, whistling the theme to the "Dukes of Hazard". But NO.
I see this, and this is my commentary, I see this as another continuing abstract of how horrible it is to most people to be normally physical and male in this country, and I don't think it something we should be reinforcing, any more than we should be inclining anyone of any sex to adhere to any particular given stereotype. Just make people like people are, I guess. And we don't do that. We make male buffoon characters and women who live to be beautiful, neither of which really help us all come to terms with the particulars of reality. And I strongly believe that it is why, when I'm in public and I make eye contact, no one looks to me. Our interpersonalities are based in a world that is fictitious and idealistic, and the way we regard others is tragically flawed by our own self doubts instilled by television.
But I do so love a good fart joke, and TV is full of them, so I' ll lay off it henceforth and forth, twit.
I'd just like to hear from all the guys who turned down their first kiss because things were moving too fast, and I'll be waiting all of no time at all for the zero emails that arrive. Cynical? Perhaps. Realist? You bet.
"The Boss" Ross talks to Clark, appears for his requisite three minutes, at very least acknowledges his role in last week's fiasco. His role is negligible, worthless, but he does have a fun dialogue point.
"Later, stud!" He tells Clark. Clark gives a bemused, "Yeah." Sincerity in its only place with regards to Clark's sexuality this episode.
Clark says, "We need limitations. We need boundaries." About their physicality. Okay. From a guy? All right, call me a chauvinist, but I firmly believe outside of the ostentatiously religious in this new millennium, most guys don't want limitations and boundaries on physicality. Limits on commitment to a new relationship, perhaps. Clark's dialogue just sounded stilted and off. "Things are moving too fast!"
Boy, hate to be so blunt, but he didn't even get to second base. I'm sure Pete sat on his lap once or twice on accident. This girl sat on him, kissed him, then Pa Kent came in and killed things. Seventeen year old boys don't say "Things are going too fast!" When you kiss on the first date. I know seventeen year old girls who say that (largely, I concede, because of a male's pressures for physicality), but I've never heard that from a guy. Not a young guy.
I like the irony of Lex asking Clark his secret, when Lex has done the same thing recently, meeting a girl and having things go fast, about a million times. I wonder if that was accidental or purposeful. It was kind of jilted like things got after this point in the episode, so I couldn' t tell with finality.
So because Clark won't go to second base with her, she suddenly tries to be married to him, beat up her family, rearrange his room, etcetera? Sorry, but that's right where the episode headed down the tubes. It makes no sense. I know without that development there would be no villain, but why not have a plot about Clark confronting his physicality, sexuality, perhaps his relation to girls other than Lana? Why orchestrate a villain? And besides, this has already been done in two respects. "Hunger", with Pete's Glenn Close, and "Skinwalker", where Clark falls in love with a girl because she's different. I wouldn't mind more on that rap, but criminies, why'd she have to suddenly go nuts? That plot device is crippled and old, it's more than past its time in the "Smallville" mythos, and it is as of now another official one point docking offense. It's just ridiculous.
The lead stopping the krypto power makes sense, and is actually pretty cool. I like the touch.
Is it just me, or when the sheriff appears on the screen do you all hear the sound Jason makes when he walks on screen in a Friday the 13th movie?
CHEE CHEE CHEE!
POH POH POH!
HAH HAH HAH!
Some of you know what I mean. I used to do it when a teacher I didn't particularly like entered the room, and they never got it. Now it haunts me whenever the sheriff comes on screen. Ah Ethan, I miss ye.
My next note is so random, I'll produce it verbatim:
Clark gets rid of his mad stalker gal in one episode, but it takes Lana six for hers, and he's not even that interesting...
She gets a BIG Kryptonite hunk for short notice. I forget who mentioned this (and my apologies) but someone noted over the chat programs with me that Kryptonite is really rare in Superman's future universe. Like, IMPOSSIBLE to get a hold of. Luthor can't even get it, and he's mega rich. What will happen to all this K? And why is it so easy to find? And given that it is poisonous to humans, why is everyone not getting cancer?
When Alicia corners Lana, she says, "What is it you have that I don't have?"
And I figured it out. Alicia was direct, normal, loving, and civil (at least, until the whole nasty I'm gonna kill you business) while Lana's secret is passive aggression.
Come to think of it, Clark has a secret, Lana has a secret. There. They're even. Now stop whining and make with the lip locking sans a shark!
Lana gets a KO. They didn't even TRY to make this one make sense. She hits her head on a banister and crumples, all pretty. Man, that's getting old too. Make that SIX times Lana has failed to use her mad Kung Fu skizzils to save herself from impending doom.
Clark covers the K in lead paint, an innovative approach. I am pleased. Redemption!
And covering Alicia in paint led to a really cool effect. Or should I say, lead?
Or shall I be PUNished in the PUNsylvania PUNitentiary if I do that?
Which leads us to the end of the episode, at least, 8:50, and my absolute favorite moment of any episode, the Clana. So far, of the five episodes with Adam, we've still managed to have 3 Clanas. Marvelous. WHEN, GOD? WHEN OH WHEN WILL IT STOP!???
And not only is it rather silly, it's also Lana being passive aggressive again.
She visits, asks to come in, then thanks him. He apologizes for getting involved with Alicia. She bugs him about his secret again, a secret he keeps to protect her. To top it off, Lana trusts the word of a psychopathic lunatic about his secret and his love for her over Clark's. Top it off with Clark coping with this co-dependent passive aggression fest by lying to her about loving her (Clark doing the same stuff Lana typically does) and then Lana punishes Clark for not bending to her will by leaving without having dinner in a huff.
God, I just love watching people be petty. It's so wonderful, enthralling. I like it much more than seeing an interesting concept, like two people who think they're freaks falling in love and learning a little something about themselves.
And then we hit the subplot, late in the game. A cool subplot. So Adam is like the little girl, dead and then brought back, and according to the preview, thanks to Clark's blood! Nice. That almost redeemed the complete lack of subplot. But not totally. Dr. Teng was cool. The ending rocked.
The preview had Clark telling Chloe about his blood. Danger, Will Robinson!
All in all, the episode wasn't bad. I'm royally sick of Lana and her crapolio, I'm royally sick of teenagers up and becoming psycho because of exposure to radioactive rocks and encounters with Clark Kent, but some interesting issues were explored, some interesting sub plots were revealed, and there was more good than bad, overall, despite a really bad turn towards the end.
I'm going to say slightly above average. 3.5 of 5.
Here's the part where I explain and apologize profusely for my lateness. Basically, here's the deal...
I am applying/trying to get my comics published, so I'm pouring a LOT of energy into my projects. My deadline was the 20th, and me and Alessandro, my pencils artist, went down to the wire. I even had to overnight an entry, plus I'm preparing for the Emerald City Comicon, where I hope to peddle my wares to unfortunate editors. This means a lot of editing (and I am a fanatic for my personal writing editing) and a lot of preparation, which alas pushed off me answering ANY letters this week, including my closest friends, including any and all business. I have the two items from chat, but unfortunately, because of this project, I didn't get others done. To top it off (not to burden you with personal problems, but) I had to sell a vehicle to continue writing and not working, I finished sanding my floors in a bid to refinance sooner for a bit more luck, all in all, I was busy beyond words, and just now, Saturday night, am I sitting down to do anything of real worth this week save that comic setup.
BTW, if you draw comics, drop me a line. I have a few projects, if you like having fun in Superman style stuff. More fan interaction that way, anyway, and I tend to get a good reaction from Supes people.
If you're interested (I've mentioned it before, but just in case you're interested, as I blew a lot of you off for it), tomorrow, Sunday morning, I will be posting my completed Superman comic in its finished entirety at www.nealbailey.com. That comic basically shows what my team is capable of, and The New Patriot is our project. It's all there. If the site is down, I am in the process of restoring my overused bandwidth (and bless whoever's doing that).
I also missed the chat, for which I am duly sorry. I was up and down the coast making desperate arrangements, all of which are now taken care of. Next week, chat is on, I WILL be there, and I'll spend an extra long time in the Superman Homepage chat room to make up for my discrepancies. ;)
So to all of you who wrote me letters, I will be responding over the next few days, and next week's business will break the bandwidth of THIS site... well, okay, that's not possible, but it's an okay joke.
Instead, I will now issue a rant.
I haven't spoken with Steve since last week regarding the Leukaemia drive, but people, people, people, there was only 180 bucks in the coffer last week. That means in the good two to three weeks we've had this drive, for people with CANCER, for blimey's sake, you all have ponyed up, assuming the typical 4,000 daily unique visitors to the site, about .003 cents a pop. .003 cents. Now I'm an English major, not a math major, so that might be off by about a point or 8, but I divided 180 bucks by 56,000 people.
I'm shaving my head. I'm putting up my ten bucks. Some of you can half that. I know you can. This is a GOOD cause, curing cancer. Think of the pop you bought today. Five of those is five bucks. Send in some cash. Bid on the auction. I know some of you have more than you need. I need more than I have, but I'm throwing in. So I KNOW you can.
There. Now I'm as guilty as Smallville... you ask for entertainment, sometimes you get passive aggression. You come to me for a review, I ask you directly to contribute money to a cause. Well, okay. If you give to the cause, feel free to call me anything you want. Seriously. You come to this site because you like Superman. Superman would do his best to find a cure for Leukaemia, I honestly believe. In fact, I believe it so much, as does Steve, that we co-wrote and created a comic about cancer a long while back. Check it out. If you like it, don't pay me, pay a place that will help out kids who are sick.
You can go back to buying Britney Spears, Rancid, whatever pleases you and I won't say a dang thing afterwards. Buy SUVs and cell phones, if you must. Just do the Jerry Lewis thing for me, this once.
For those who have to face death sooner than one might because of bad luck, genetics, things beyond their control.
And next week, we will be back to business as usual.
And don't forget the KO Count. Lana's making waves!
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