Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 4 - Episode 4: "Devoted"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Main Points:

  • Among its many clinical uses, Kryptonite can make pheromone mind-control Gatorade.
  • Clark is a good quarterback, and earning the respect of the team.
  • Lex made up with Clark.
  • Chloe tells Clark she likes him, Clark says he isn't interested (FINALLY).
  • Lana and Jason are headed toward the old expose-ola machine.

    REVIEW:

    I think of all the things that I will remember this show for, when people write me in a year or two saying, "Hey, remember in 404, where the cheerleader and Clark make out?", I'll just say no. But what I will remember is that the show must go on... I guess.

    What I mean by that is that I read that there would be a tribute to a man near and dear to us all, Christopher Reeve, at the beginning of the show. I expected the whole cast to maybe salute the man, or maybe a few words from the producers saying how much he meant to them.

    Instead, the show starts with a very hasty montage of three images of Swann (the character) and the words, "Christopher Reeve: 1952-2004". And at the end of the show, it dedicates itself to Christopher Reeve.

    You can argue that this is a good tribute, and I agree that it's great that they did anything on such short notice, but what gets me (and this is likely the network's fault) is that after that first montage (which seriously, lasts about ten seconds) they cut right to a PREVIEW of this week's episode, right before it airs. So we go from pictures of a man who just died who is near and dear to all Superman fans, straight to TEEN SEX. Yes, we're sorry Reeve is dead, but GET READY FOR A SHOW ABOUT TEENS WHO GET HORNY WHEN THEY DRINK GATORADE.

    I actually shuddered.

    Well, let's just say I'm not a guy who's offended. I just don't get offended. But I do have an eye for when something is in bad taste. I consider myself a connoisseur of pushing that line. That was in bad taste, guys.

    Bear in mind I realize they were not obligated to make any tribute. I realize that. But when I see a show where fully three minutes of it was a comical interlude of Clark sucking face with a nameless bimbo while Lois plays it to comic effect searching for a file she's already seen in brief, well, let's just say I think thirty seconds of that sequence could have been strategically cut to owe the man Reeve a little respect.

    It was extremely off-putting as we all still grieve.

    But that all said, I am here to review the show, less its connotations, so here we go.

    And let me just take a few minutes before we do to say that this show, my reviews of it, the anticipation I feel for shows coming, is all the more lessened with the loss of Christopher Reeve. For who he was as a person, for who he was as an actor, and for how he allayed stupid plots with a truly wonderful storyline. I will miss Swann as well.

    And let me just say that because it should be said at length, before we get on with the fun. The fun will never be the same without Reeve. Hopefully next week the producers will regard that and make with a more thoughtful tribute.

    My money's on not. Because, well...

    The show must go on.

    And it will.

    So we do.

    This episode takes the road that Facade took, exposing us to a really crummy plot with a truly thought out context. In other words, we have a totally unimaginative and horrible device (Kryptonite Power-Ade. I kid you not) leading us through to scenes that are really amazing and unrelated. Lex and Clark coming back together, Lois coming into her own as a reporter and leaving Smallville, and Chloe dealing with her feelings for Clark. We even get a little of the obligatory, "Oh no! Jason, we can't be together!" crumola from Lana and her little McGuffin.

    And to be honest, there's absolutely no excuse for such crummy devices this far into the series. One can argue that you can only go so far with stories before you HAVE to start recycling. I say that's the mark of lazy writing. And I say so willing to back up my words. Give me one week's notice; I will come up with a completely original Smallville plot that has nothing to do with Kryptonite, teenaged homicidal super-villains, or even Lana. Or I'll even take it a step farther. I can start characterizing Lana and make her human, real, not a fake stupid construct designed so that we can oogle her mystery.

    In other words, I don't have pity for the freak of the week device any more. I got an email last week, it said, "Neal, you need to lay off the freaks. It's been here for years, it's the whole premise for the show, get over it." (paraphrased) (I might have just got one or two little syllables there mixed up) (Hey! I GOT THE BOOK! GET ME BACK TO MY OWN TIME!) (If you get that parenthetical reference, you are a complete geek. Buy stock in basements and computers, you're as doomed as I am).

    No.

    No, I won't.

    You know why? Because I spend an hour each week watching this show, 18 minutes of it is crummy ads, and the rest of it is what my time buys me. A show I should WANT to watch. And I know most people can sit back and just enjoy dopey stuff week after week, but then, that's most people. I'm me. I write the reviews. If you think freaks are great, write a review about it. I think they stink. As does Kryptonite as a writing device when not a direct way to counteract Superman's powers (or Clark's).

    And this is a prime week for showing just why.

    Love-O-Rade.

    Kryp-O-Rade.

    Now get this. We've seen this plot a number of times now. First, there was Kyle Tippet, whose handshake could get you to do what he wanted, because he'd been in an accident with Kryptonite. Then there was the magnetic guy who suddenly had the power to make people do what he wanted with his handshakes.

    Now I'm going to the KO Count, which I keep for just this reason.

    Ah yes. Desiree Atkins used pheromone persuasion. And then the computer geek girl who used a computer program (K is not implied, as I recall, but still, it's mind control) to make people do what she wanted.

    EVERYTHING IN THIS SHOW HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE EXCEPT CHLOE TRAIPSING AROUND AS A CHEERLEADER. That's an important point.

    The point being? It's been done. Sure, it's fun to see people doing things they normally wouldn't (Chloe as a cheerleader had its funny moment), but who the heck cares about that when you have the playground of Clark and Lex, Ma and Pa Kent, the tragedy of Lana having to stay in a small town, Chloe as the lover who is jilted. What the heck makes it so that a green rock has to be the device that brings about teen angst? Don't the writers (who obviously have a grasp of teen angst) realize that it springs not from a magic device, but from humanity? If you want to confront the way a young cheerleader can manipulate a whole crew of guys into following her will, I ASSURE you that you don't need to look to Kryptonite. Look to any school. There's a plot for you. Cheerleader starts encouraging the men who are attracted to her into petty theft, drugs, and vandalism. Clark happens upon it and stops it.

    Yeah, so that way there's no special effects, there's no fight scene, there's no cool explosion and there's no frantic make-out session. I get that. But still, I want more than a tired device. The show needs to move on, re-invigorate it, or STOP. And I don't want stop.

    Clark as a quarterback is growing on me. I groan as I write that, but really, his aim is not part of his powers, he's not using his powers to get ahead, and it's not a straight shot. He's having to fight against real peer pressure, and I like that.

    The jock that goes power nuts made me laugh. I've been low on cash lately, but one thing I do have is Doom 3, and I was playing it last night, and I ran out of ammunition in all of the other guns except the shotgun, and I had about 300 shells (it's not my favorite weapon). So anyway, this guy goes running down square little corners taking shots at a guy with the shotgun, and here I am reliving the game in my head... that ever happen to you? This shows you how enthralled by the re-used plot I was. Anyway, so he takes about ten shots with the shotgun, which I don't think can hold that many shells, and then Clark saves the day.

    I'm a hunter, but I use a modern rifle, so I don't know how many shells a shotgun can hold, but I do know two things. One, I think that guy fired so many times that he'd have to have stopped to reload, and two, he's just a horrible shot. At close range with a shotgun, the spray is such (and shooting into metal, no less), he's lucky it didn't ricochet back and hit HIM. And Teague? Teague is TOAST, man.

    Okay. So Clark runs in, dashes in front of the coach and slams him into the ground. I wrote immediately, "That's okay. He might not have seen Clark. Go easy." This is because I also get emails every week saying, "Oh, no. They couldn't see Clark (INSERT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING: Rip that plane apart/take that chopper down/shrug off bullets)!" and I do take that into consideration, so I said, ah, be easy on the guy this week.

    But this week just didn't want to go that easy on me.

    First, we have DIALOGUE alluding to Jason seeing Clark run at super speed (I never saw someone go so fast!), and then later, in the episode, Clark actually tells the ladies that the gun heated up. Did any of you miss that? It stuck out like a sore thumb to me and took my totally out of the narrative. It's toward the end, when Clark is talking to Chloe and Lois about how the heat stops the spell or whatever, and he says, "Ah, yeah! So that's like when the heat from the gun snapped him out of it!" and they smile and nod.

    The counter will invariably be that he meant the warmth of the barrel, but I don't buy that for a second...

    The effect in that scene was cool, though. But I'd trade a cool effect for plausibility of plot any day. And hey, WB, that would save you money!

    In the same scene where Jason describes Clark saving him, he whines to Lana about his rich daddy not supporting him any more, which is why he has to have a job.

    You tool!

    Okay, so here's a character we're supposed to like, a new character. Here is what we know about him after four episodes. He likes Lana. He really likes Lana. His daddy is rich, and daddy won't support him if he's a tool. So he's a tool for Lana, and his daddy stops buying his waffles. Aw, poor guy. Cry me a river, build me a bridge, and have Clark dive tackle you at super-speed over it. And how do they make his character more likeable this episode, or how do they give him more depth? Well, let's make him not only STILL infatuated with Lana, but so infatuated with her that he decides to kill for her (under a spell, of course).

    TOOL! And I don't mean the rocking band. I mean a tool. Like a politician. Like a teen pop band masquerading as punk on a major label. Like a corporate executive. TOOL!

    His character is dead to me, as Chloe was once, as Lana remains. Empty and hollow, like that feeling when you're out of fries but still hungry.

    See? I was just a tool for McDonald's (TM) so I know what a tool is.

    I really liked Lex's role in this episode. It was brief, but it was very well played, and is perhaps what saved this episode from a 1. He redeems himself with Clark (though technically he shouldn't have had to, Clark should have given him a chance to explain in the finale, but that just wouldn't have been dramatic enough) though honesty and killing his exploratory room, and he shows up to kick Jason's butt. That alone almost rates a whole point grade on the show.

    Cheerleaders being insane I can buy, but their power of persuasion and foolishness is such that they don't need Kryptonite to exert their evil influence. Just look at all the girls in the world with low self-esteem because they couldn't be cheerleaders, and guys who are upset because they could never date cheerleaders, only the chunky chick the cheerleaders were constantly ticking off. Cheerleaders are wholly evil. And they're tools, too.

    Now I'll get a letter, "Dear Neal: I am a cheerleader and I am wholly offended. Some cheerleaders are articulate AND fashion conscious." I will then send her a dictionary with SARCASM highlighted with whiteout.

    A blond joke and a cheerleader rip. Hoo hah! Stay with me. It's only midnight as I write this.

    Phenylathylamine, I wrote with a paused TV, to research later. I popped it into Google and got two entries. Methinks it be a fictional construct. Okay. Just curious.

    This is the second episode in a row with a fight that ends in, "Pithy statement, BICH!"

    And by bich, of course, I mean Latin for generosity. If you're paying attention, you'll get it. I don't like trite stuff like that usually, but seeing as this one makes me laugh, I'll just say I like it. I wish Lois were the one doing it this time, though. And in a pleather bikini.

    Chloe comes on to Clark while on K-Ade, and Clark turns her down. He doesn't know what's going on with the K-Ade, and he turns her down. Is Clark GAY? I mean, this is Allison Mack, sitting on him, putting her hand...well, we'll stay family friendly (even if the show didn't), but man, you don't just turn down...not if you're heterosexual and not overly fixated with Biblical concepts of chastity...I just...BOOM!

    Great. My head just exploded all over the room.

    Mopping.

    Okay. Back. Anyway, point being, I understand it's a "wholesome family value" to some to put off any physical contact until later in life, but the reality is that people are weak, Clark is weak, and to turn down something like that just isn't quite straight. To put it in perspective, we admire Superman and Clark because he has all kinds of power and won't do what we all would do which is take over the Earth. This shows that he can resist the temptation and weaknesses that we as humans feel, perhaps, but he also holds to his humanity. And I can honestly say that you can still be good and wholesome and enjoy physical affection. But that's as far as I'm going with that.

    He talks to his mother about his feelings for Chloe, and she says, "Be honest." Now get this, this is the first time in Smallville a character has said be straight and honest. At least, to my recollection. Maybe Lex regarding Clark and Lana, but the point of televised drama is exploiting how people feel one thing but won't tell anyone. GO MA! You're still hot, Annette.

    Chloe as a cheerleader was a very Buffy moment. I got a lot of critical mail for a little comment I made slamming Buffy a few years ago, so I decided to watch about 5-10 episodes this last summer to see if I was off. I stand by it. I mean, I know a lot of you like it, and that's cool. I'm not saying you suck or anything. It's just that Smallville and Buffy are two different animals. Buffy is largely (from what I saw) a comedy involving a bunch of stereotypical typecast characters with no predestination and a vampire as kryptonite. But it's focused a lot more on the comedic antics of what happens when X happens to the town. For instance, when Chloe was traipsing about in a cheerleader outfit, I saw a love potion gone awry in Buffy, and it's not to my taste. It's not what I enjoy. Smallville has concrete and serious characters, and the serious direction toward mythology is what I enjoy in the show. When that is forsaken for cleavage, making out, and cheerleader outfit jokes, I get irked, even if it is a bit funny, because believe it or not, I take this show seriously. There is destination. There are few, very defined characters who are less stereotypical (save Lana and Chloe). Again, this does not mean I hate Buffy or think you suck if you like it, to each their own. I'm just saying, Smallville is not Buffy, and if it tries to become Buffy to tap that audience, I think THAT sucks. It is the tale, not the audience that watches it. And if it becomes the audience over the substance, pull the plug and let the beast die.

    To strengthen my point, I'm not sure the Bible would have been a better book if the story had involved primarily Romans. It might have fit the demographic at the time of its creation better, but...

    And then, get this. Clark DRINKS Kryptonite. And he's just got a stomachache. Remember, Krytonite, in this series, when exposed in liquid form on several occasions, has made his BLOOD BOIL. Then he goes out and plays football and gets slammed all around.

    Good grief. That's just really inattentive to pre-defined properties of plot entities.

    So Chloe can join the cheerleaders mid-season, eh? I think there are tryouts, and they occur before the season starts, as I recall, right?

    You can do what I do, and just second guess her and say, hey, maybe she's pulling the Will Farrell from SNL. Oh, you won't let me be a cheerleader? Well I'll just go anyway! But where did she get the outfit?

    And then Jason starts whomping Clark around. It was the beating that would not end. This is a key point where I said, "Some of this could have been cut to give more time to Reeve." Why? Well, PUNCH! PUNCH! PUNCH! SLAM! And then he THROWS HIM OFF THE BALCONY! And then he PUNCHES HIM A FEW MORE TIMES!

    It's like, let's see how much Clark can take before the audience finds it implausible. It reminded me of Kung Pow (one of my favorite movies) when Chosen is just getting punched again and again and again for comedic effect. Only here, it was supposed to be serious.

    Jason looks pretty funny. With his hood up, I got an Emperor vibe. "Young fool! Only now, at the end, do you understand!"

    "But, I'm a nice guy..."

    (Jason scowling) "So be it...nice guy!"

    And then a few more punches.

    Clark reaching for Lex, "Father...PLEASE!"

    And then Lex throws him down the power shaft, and the Empire falls. Go LEX!

    And it was a good use of Lex. That's a good way to get back on someone's good side, saving their life. I liked it.

    The creeping darkness in Lex's mind, the scene in the mansion with the crumpled car, it was excellent. It saved the show from a one. I mean, I resent having to sit through all kinds of numb recycled plot to get to the one nugget of the mythos, but if I get it, it's certainly worth a point.

    I notice when Clark and Lois talk, there is a problem. I have to rewind it to hear Lois' lines again sometimes. It's not that her acting is bad (and we speak that fast in real life, it's accurate); it's just that her dialogue delivery is a bit fast. She's still doing very well, I think. A lot of people don't like her acting, but so far I've been very pleased with her writing and delivery. She's quite human and accessible, and her hotness is not overshadowing her character...yet. It took half a season for Lana too, recall.

    They go to the party, and I thought to myself (gotta be honest), holy cow. This is what would happen if women ruled the world. Dancing hula men, pool parties, and make-out sessions.

    At first, I was like, then who will solve the dilemma of fiscal responsibility, social security, and health care?

    And then I was like, make-out sessions by the pool! To heck with the world!

    So I hereby nominate that cheerleader for president, and I wonder why she was labeled a "villain". Of course, there is the subservient position of the male as the female's hula dancer, but that's essentially the same work dichotomy men are in now chained to a 40-60 year work future, so hey, who am I to complain about a paradigm? GO K-Ade!

    And hey, if I take that position, maybe I won't be the hula guy, but I WILL be the make-out guy. Think of the future, guys. At least, until the monkeys take over.

    I got an email from a reader last week echoing the sentiment of many viewers. They're leaving the show because there's too much of an emphasis on the sexuality of young children. NO! Yeah. I mean, picture yourself as me, a young, healthy, normal (somewhat) 24 year-old dude. Of course I'm gonna like half-naked chicks. But you know what? This is kind of a family show. Two JUST post-pubescent sex scenes in one show, after three shows FULL of naked shower scenes? You're gonna start turning people off. Note it. Mark it.

    And when said sucking face takes up vital Reeve time, even I get peeved.

    Get this, Smallville guys. I want just post-teen on teen action, there is easier action elsewhere. Read into that what you will, but I watch Smallville for the mythology and the American dream, not smut.

    Though I like smut and there is a place for it, it's not really Smallville. It smacks of desperation.

    And then comes a badly executed fight/confrontation with the baddie. First, Lois gives them all a kick (but not a BICH kick), and then Clark uses his heat vision in front of six people to bust a pipe.

    Now mind you, tons of people write me and tell me that heat vision is invisible in Smallville. I say it is likely HARD to see, but not impossible, because heat produced from ANY source causes the air to ripple above a certain temperature, which is what the effect seems to look like on this show. A pipe ruptures after catching fire for no apparent reason above your head, you're not going to say, "OH! That guy has heat vision!", but you're going to know something is up. And if the guy right next to you is saving you all the time, you might jump to the conclusion that he has some power, I mean, everyone else around you seems to.

    The pipe just broke? My monkey. And I don't mean "monkey", I mean a pejorative word for posterior used in the company of longshoremen.

    And if this all happens right after Clark talks about the way a gun that miraculously heated up stopped a guy that was attacking him, only a complete fool would not make some kind of conclusion.

    SLOPPY. Unprofessional. I'm sick of seeing this stuff, sick of cataloguing it. How hard is it to stick on plausibility? Easy fix. One quick blast of heat vision from Clark into all three of them solves them. And since it's "invisible", they wouldn't see it coming, but just wake up all fixed.

    There's also the consideration that when Clark busts the pipes, there's a good chance he scalded the heck out of those kids, but I guess he didn't even care to think about that. Just like Chloe's burns on her hands will likely leave no scar or require any medical attention. FEH!

    So we cut to a Clex, and Clark and Lex are cool again. I like that. It was a great moment. A great resolution. This is the only cliffhanger from the end of last season that has played out well other than Kal-El flying, and that got cut off abruptly.

    Jason lies to Clark about Lana, proving my theory that if it isn't a lie, it doesn't belong on a TV drama.

    And then Chloe tells the truth to Clark, utterly destroying my credibility. I was alone watching this time, and I just sat there and screamed at the screen. It went like this.

    "Uh, Clark?"

    "Yeah Chloe?"

    "I like you."

    "Oh. I'm sorry. I don't feel the same way."

    Only it was more like,

    "Oh. I'm sorry. I don't feel the same wa-"

    And this is where I cut in, whooping, "WHY THE HECK DIDN'T YOU BOTH JUST CUT THE CRAP AND SAY THIS FIFTY EPISODES AGO TO END AWKWARD CAMERA MOVEMENTS TO THE PETTY JEALOUSY OF CHLOE AND ARBITRARY PLOT BREAKS!"

    Et-herm. But at least they did it, and that's plus points.

    So we end on a happy note again, with Clark playing football and everyone cheering. It's a good transition, from the angst-ridden and lost Clark of first season, to a Clark finally coming into his own. If this is intentional, it's being done well. If not, it's being done well. I especially liked the little "LuthorCorp" logos on the jerseys. It kind of made you go, "Huh?" in the middle of a happy scene. The prop department and the wardrobe people are really good at that, with colors, symbols, etcetera. Always have been.

    Lex got rid of Lois, as a favor to Clark. That's hilarious! Now we have to know why she returns, seeing as she's supposed to be around 13 episodes. Again we have a perfectly good reason for Lois to be out of Smallville, they'd better have a good reason to keep her around...

    But that ending...

    PUNCH! See you around, Smallville.

    Made me tingle. REALLY great.

    So taking into consideration the horrible devices, and mixing them with the few moments of greatness (saving it from a total 1), I have to stick this one with a 2 of 5. It's close to a 2.5, but not close enough. Really, this is just substandard storytelling on the part of the rationale, though when they focus on the mythos, it's just as good as the first episode in many ways.

    SUPER SHORT REVIEW:

    Okay. Get this. Monkeys are taking over, led by the Ancient Koko. Chloe's a cheerleader, which doesn't fly because the device is lame and overused. Clark and Lex making up is nice, as is a world run by women despite hula dancers and cheerleader bicameral legislature, and remember, if you see green Gatorade, dump it out, pretend you're a slave, and get some nookie. That will save you from complete disaster and net you 2 of 5.

    BUSINESS:

    I have an announcement to make regarding business.

    I'm not getting rid of it, but I am paring it down a bit.

    Here's the deal. Used to be I'd get about 10-30 emails about this column, and that was totally cool for the time. I'd get some suggestions, and I'd put anything cool in the review. It evolved into Business. At that point, it had risen to 50 emails a week. I still put everything in. That became an even longer business.

    By the end of last year it was about 70 emails a week, and now it's up to 100. I'm not complaining, not in the SLIGHTEST, and I still take pride in answering all the mail, as I get it. BUT, it does mean something...

    Steve and I did that poll on the front of the site as a kind of litmus, because I do get complaints that this column is too long. And usually, truth be told, it's 20 pages. And while better than 50% liked this review the way it is, a large number said they liked it, but it was a bit too long.

    And then there were a few people that said they totally hated it or had no opinion. That's funny to me, because it's contradictory. I'm not bagging on them, it's just amusing. Get this. People who have no decision were decisive enough to decide they had no decision (still with me?) and people who don't like what I do here believed they had read and knew enough about the review not to like it, which meant they spent time reading it. Ha! But that's not meant to slander them, I thank them for their opinion. I just always like pointing out the irony of people who don't like something so much they read it whenever they can just so they can know how much they hate it. I used to do that with Fox News for a while, so I understand.

    We got to talking as to what the results meant, and I tried to put my finger on it. I mean, do you take the review and conform it to what people want, or do you keep up your mad self despite objections to poopie jokes and the use of the word "retarded".

    Ultimately we figured that it's all about what makes the review fun. What makes me have the passion for it that's garnered the audience. And to be honest, all of the business is wearing on me...not the letters, but the fact that to disseminate the information and translate it into this column, it literally takes me about 8 hours a week, plus the full day it takes me to respond to most of the email.

    So here's the deal. I'm not killing business, because I know a lot of you like it. But I AM making it harder to get in. I won't just take anything that's true or interesting any more, it has to be NOVEL. What that means, it's up to me. Don't let it discourage you from writing me, because the inter-action is a blast, but I'm going to try and ratchet this part of the article, make it more fun, pare it down.

    I have also, after much thinking, decided to lower the amount of business content that deals with how wrong I am about something. This isn't smooshing dissent, because if you want to tell me how wrong I am about something, I openly encourage you to do so in the comments, or call me a big giant boob on the message board. But here's the deal. I'm a layman, and I'm reactionary. I admit it. I put out stuff that's wrong. Like, last week I said that there was nothing Abby's mom did that could get her sent to jail COMPLETELY glossing over accidentally the fact that she kidnapped and attempted to murder Lois.

    In the course of a ten-page review, such things will happen. If not, the review will lose its off the cuff feel and will get formal, boring, and, well, dumb.

    So what happens is ten people write me and tell me how wrong I am, and I put it here out of humility. I've decided that a discerning mind will realize that if I am wrong, they can know that, or talk about it in the fan forums, and that'll be cool, but business was originally about speculation, and novel ideas about the direction of the show, and I want to focus it more that way...

    So again, to put it briefly, business is still on, but it's going to be harder to get into, and it's going to be less about how wrong I am and more about the direction of the show. I will still respond to all mail, of course, and you can tell me I'm wrong, heck yes, but this is going to be more review and less how wrong I am toward the end...

    Let me know if that's just abhorrent to you.

    But as for right now, I will commence with first the caption contest and then all of those various things I mentioned which I promised I'd business, below!

    CAPTION:

    Okay, you naughty, naughty folks. I am in trouble. You know why I'm in trouble? I put up a picture for captioning involving actors dressed in black with disco balls, and I expected people to make disco jokes and Dieter jibes, not knowing that the immediate response would be "HOW MANY BALL JOKES CAN WE MAKE?"

    This despite the warning that this is a family friendly site.

    Steve immediately put the thumb screws on me and said, "You know what's going to happen to your, erm...uh, spheres if you keep sullying my site with this kind of vulgarity?"

    Well, okay, he didn't do that, but he was put out, and the point is this. There is a disclaimer for a reason, and we are serious. The warnings are about to be handed out. I figured I'd give you a heads-up because this time I kind of left myself open by putting a bunch of big silver balls in a picture (and honestly, it just didn't occur to me, call it editorial oversight, that it would be used to that means, you bunch of third graders!), but I have to admit I see the humor of it. So let's just be cool henceforth, all right?

    So now that I've been a complete bung this week and established that I am a censor in business and a censor in captions (but not really), let me commence with the notable captions.

    Oh! First, I have to apologize to Matt Hinson. It can be interpreted that I was saying that his entry last week was offensive, but I really meant someone who WASN'T listed on the judgment. His caption was quite funny and inoffensive.

    Check the picture for this week's contest.

    This week's winner:

    Krypton1701
    Superman: Last Mime of Krypton!

    Runner-ups:

    Batmouse
    (heavy german accent) Zis iss your hosst Lex Luthor, Zis week on [i]Schprockets[/i], Clark und Laannaa will explain the continuing popularity of the song In Cars by Gary Newwmann, while juggling these replicas of Schputnic.

    The Big K
    General Zod?...Non?...Ursa?....

    The Big K
    Lex: Alright guys. We'll use these to throw at the shark that we're about to jump!!

    Gislef
    If you thought red kryptonite was wacky, wait until you see what blue kryptonite does to Clark and his friends...

    DarkSuperman
    Ladies and Gentlemen...YOUR SMALLVILLE GLOBETROTTERS! ! !

    The Big K
    Lex Clark and Lana Looking at this picture... Lex: I told you we shouldn't have licked that frog...

    humanagony
    The mythos connection is... they all juggle while standing on black and white checkerboards..

    KentClark82
    The public transportation poster advertising "Smallville's" debut on German Television Fhrung 1, where it is retitled "Uber-town: Danger Men!"

    The Big K
    Directors of Smallvile: Now zat ve have high rating ve can make zem vatch vatever ve vant zem to vatch!!... muahahahaha... [CRACK!] Indiana Jones: I hate Nazis!!

    dmaxwell99
    National Geographic Commentator : Here we see Clark Kent, in his abstract years. He would be seen later melting watches.

    drdarthdoom
    ...And I hear Disco is making a comback!

    arm123
    This December . . . You will believe a man can bowl.

    levantine
    Clark: I am as happy as a little girl. Lex: Now is the time on Shprockets when we dance.

    Kryptonite147
    BEHOLD: The cast for ZOOLANDER 2

    Terminal
    Clark, Lana, and Lex became doused with Kryptonite and turned into... beatniks!

    Trixcy
    All three: ::silence:: ::keep same pose for another second or two:: someone off-camera: Psst, guys, you're already on. ::silence:: Clark (suddenly, in a tough manly voice): Welcome Earthlings! off-camera: Cut!!!

    All in all, great entries this week! It gets more and more entries by the week, you guys are making it a blast! Check out this week's for more!

    Now, onto the main business:

    I came up with the solution to the Jor-El speculation. Jor-El is gonna come out of the cave after Clark completes the triforce in a trucker cap with Britney Spears and scream BOOYAH! You just got punk'd!

    Joe Kabana saw that symbol on the wall in the first episode too, before Lana saw it in a picture...I was just late in getting to his email.

    He also thinks the triforce will lead to the Fortress of Solitude, which I think makes some sense.

    Stephen G points out (first) that the crash in the first episode goes to Geico. I had missed it.

    He also points out that it's not the Loeb bridge Chloe crashes on in Truth, it's the Coughlin's Bridge.

    Wayne had the letter of the week, with:

    I think we're missing something here, just a feeling after watching parts of the episode a couple times, and something just 'clicked' in my head (bear with me).

    1) The messages Swann has received just don't seem to have the same vibes as the stuff we've heard from Jor-El... they're less harsh, less arrogant.

    2) Swann somehow managed to get the key last season. Someone is helping him, but he doesn't seem to be a lackey of Jor-El, so who DID give it to him?

    3) Jonathan, Clark's adoptive father, is used by Jor-El and then 'put away' because of his interference with Jor-El's plans for Kal-El, but for some reason he's not killed outright.

    4) Margo Kidder, an associate of Swann, shows up, not only in possession of Black Kryptonite, but somehow knowing this will 'break the spell' that Jor-El has laid on Clark. They also know about the "Crusade" (presumably Kal-El is supposed to conquer Earth to save us from ourselves). Who told Swann this?

    5) "The only thing stronger than a father's will... is a mother's love". We don't hear anymore of the conversation, and since this was spoken to Martha, Clark's adoptive mother, naturally we are led to believe that SHE is the one being referred to (and in a sense, she is, because she goes to the cave).

    6) The moment Jor-El's hold is broken and Kal-El becomes Clark again, Jonathan wakes up from his coma, thus allowing him to guide and influence Clark (again, which will be contrary to Jor-El's plans).

    My guess, is that the hidden patron of Swann, the one whose "mother's love" is pitted against the "father's will", and who is going to turn Clark/Kal-El from a stern, uncompromising god-like alien ruler, to the more 'human' hero we all know and admire, is someone we have yet to meet and hear from directly.

    Her name is Lara.

    Interesting speculation there... time will tell.

    Phillip points out that people suck on cigars for the taste. I didn't know that. I've never smoked.

    Daniel McIntosh brings the French for "the heck", which he thinks is "la sacre".

    Steve Crow laments (as do I) that Lionel's murder trial was short and not shown. Lame! Court room drama could have been MUCH better than K-Ade. He further wonders how the confession taken in an inadmissible format convicted him.

    Kevin Heacock theorizes that Sam Lane wasn't using the helicopter to do whatever he wants, but rather to protect a federal crime scene. Still, to me, that's the duty of the ATF, the FBI, or the CIA, not the military, unless he's National Guard and it's a declared emergency, which it wasn't. And hey, even if he was assigned that task, why would he ATTACK them instead of try to arrest them?

    Graywolf proposes and GETS a new KO Count column. Stupid uses of Kryptonite. Look for his addition in the KO Count.

    Henry Jones Junior actually took the time to write out the text of the Sherman essay Clark was writing. I'll include his typescript and commentary, because it's apt, and I've already got into enough trouble flapping my mouth about Sherman:

    ..Anderson. Filling quotas for Kentucky volunteers was extreme
    rman told the Secretary of War Cameron that if he had 60,000 men,
    hen Cameron returned to Washington, he reported that Sherman
    er one of these newspapers even went as far as saying that Sher
    us writers have always declared that he was crazy. Due to the pre
    Buell believed Sherman of his command and Sherman was
    ari, newspapers and gossip continued to harass him with reports th
    the harrassment, bbut not mentally incompetent. Halleck, in a letter

    It's a direct correlation to Lex Luthor at that point in season three. He was going after Lionel, guns blazing, was declared crazy, was relieved of his command, and says flat out to Clark in Whisper that people are talking about him all over town, post Belle Reve, and how hard it is to prove that he's not mentally incompetent.

    True, Henry Jones. Or should I call you...Indiana? CRACK!

    Dan Mohrmann shows me an even more pointed critique of Lois and the credit aspect. I missed the fact that Chloe called her IN college three years ago, and if she was in college, that means she was already attending! Ergo she could not be sent back to high school.

    Leigh points out, in the spirit of "Amazonian Princess", in the premiere, there's a headline that reads, "Queen Industries CEO Missing".

    Last week I mistakenly attributed a credit to Bill Abraham to Bill Albanito... the reasoning is, I got an email from Bill Albanito and Bill A., who was Bill Abraham. He deserves his credit, so I grant it! And believe it or not, I get people with the same name, so try and use first and last names, folks! I know it seems odd, but here's a good example of why one would. I'd have never thought that could happen in a million years, but it did!

    Bill ABRAHAM furthers his commentary with a jibe that if Abby got super-hot and came back to school ready to rock, why would she go with the guy who treated her the worst? Why not get his best friend and make him jealous or something?

    Stephen G comes back with the fact that the foundry where T2 got taken out was the same foundry with Bug Boy in metamorphosis (Stephen has EAGLE eyes), but then, when Clark walks in during Metamorposis, the nearby Kryptonite really hurts him, whereas in Gone, it doesn't phase him at all.

    Here's a great quote from Shawn: Black Kryptonite has one of the scariest and most dangerous powers of all: The Power of PLOT.

    Yep. It's just what you need when a plot is just completely hard to get out of. Black K.

    Conchi from the Dominican Republic also says you can suck unlit cigars for flavor. Refer to George Carlin for further commentary. But hey, cool to hear from the Dominican Republic! Glad to hear you're reading there, guys!

    Stephen G, back again, is one of those folks who think I read too much into Clark's using powers in front of folks. He writes:

    You had gotten away from getting so worked up over things that can be so easily explained in your previous reviews, but then came your latest one. Clark's actions are so obviously not seen by anyone and therefore shouldn't raise any alarms so bad it's not even funny. Clark tells Lois to run and we see the helicopter that General Lane is in fly by, and he can't keep his eye on her and Clark at the same time. So if he is chasing Lois, he is obviously watching her and not Clark. Clark takes care of the two soldiers after him, which can definitely happen if Lois can take care of one. And why would anyone see him use his heat vision, I don't believe anyone can see the rays, so no flags there. And if the helicopter was on the ground below the high corn, it is possible that the occupants couldn't even see Clark. So suspension of belief isn't even called for on this occasion. And I don't recall seeing a helicopter crash. I saw one make a hard landing because it's engine was overheating. But hey, you're friends with an Army General, so I saw it as you did. ;)

    And that's fair. Still doesn't excuse his carelessness, at least, to me...

    Bruce Kanin, of the legendary Non-Letters to DC, writes in pointing out that Jason never came back with his surprise! He just left her there! After she got all ugly and everything! What a...

    Will writes:

    When the jock started hitting on Abby, i just started laughing. Out loud. It was so absurd... when was the last time you saw a jock being that open with his feelings? He suddenly starts opening up to her, and Dr. Phil was nowhere in sight. I half expected Oprah to walk out of nowhere and give him a car.

    That's just funny. Further, he commentates on serotonin:

    Just so you know, serotonin does affect the nervous system and is believed to be a cause of depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental conditions; however, it cannot enter the brain directly from the bloodstream. Too little of it causes mental illness; too much can cause (according to Wikipedia) "headaches and dizziness, vomiting, coma, death, and a painfully engorged phallus."

    Insert your own joke here.

    That's almost not family friendly, but hey, it's a definition, not a phallus joke. It's like a dam as a holder of water. And it's STILL funny. Eh, I don't know. I have no good line. But you all have a conscience, so you should know better!

    A piece of commentary. A lot of people wrote me asking why Chloe was all jealous at the end of last episode. I didn't see it, really. Just a second of her looking down. That looks sad to me, and that's a reasonable emotion. When she hides her feelings and acts like a tart, that's what gets me. But this week, she was totally honest, so don't worry, folks!

    Sherry writes in to say that people can re-enroll in high school, and that an affair with an older guy teacher isn't so implausible. True. I just submit that it isn't something we should promote on family TV.

    Dave Bratton indicates that Jason could be 18 or 19, because sometimes coaches aren't accredited. True. Doesn't change the fact that he's a faculty member boinging around with a student, which is naughty!

    Michael Jones writes in and notes that attraction to adolescents is ephebophilia, not pedophilia. For the record, I knew that it wasn't pedophilia, that was more a joke, but I did learn a neat new word, and now we know what the Lana fetishists should call themselves. Lanaphebophiles. Even saying it is fun.

    Sam actually thinks I gave too HIGH a review for "Facade". That's a rare email message, there. Usually it's people who want higher ratings.

    He writes:

    For putting Clark on the football team alone this deserves to be less than a 4. I'm built perfectly to play football, but I don't because I'd much rather waste my brain cells on less trivial things. Clark shouldn't be a football player, especially now that Lois is around. What, so he was a star quarterback or whatever when she new him in high school but then he shows up in Metropolis wearing glasses and a dressed as a nerd at the exact same time Superman appears. To borrow your evil standardized testing format, if you're Lois do you:

    A) Become suspicious that the good-looking football player from your extended Senior year in high school is now dressed as a nerd.
    B) Not mind anything and let the upcoming Crisis on Infinite Inconsitencies deal with it.
    C) Smile and move around in slow motion while some annoying Avril Lavigne song plays in the background.
    D) Hop in the shower, start kissing your cousin Chloe, make some more sexual jokes and bow down before the evil network executives.

    He's got a good point there. He also saw Lois and the car wreck in the first episode that I missed.

    He also has a great quote on the ads:

    "Thirst" instead of "Devoted" for the commercials? Do the people at WB really think that a kryptonite filled water cooler is an appealing premise for a TV show? Then again, it could make for an interesting third season of "The Simple Life."

    For the record, I can't think of anything that would make a show about rich stick thin prissy heiresses poking fun at the working class poor entertaining. Even a kryptonite truck dropped on their prissy butts.

    Aaron Keel is the guy that pointed out that I missed that Abby's mom kidnapped and attempted plastic surgery. BIG miss on my part.

    I got quite a few letters this week with new KO Count column ideas, inspiring a new rule. If it happens EVERY episode, it's not eligible. For instance, a few people suggested "Times Clark wears red and blue". That's every episode, so there's no novelty to it. And it's also not odd or inconsistent.

    Patrick Mattauch writes in about the first time Clark meets Lois being Lois saving him as opposed to Clark saving Lois, and shows that it was actually Superman saving Lois, but Clark meets her at the Planet.

    Unusual Gent also points out that college education is not requisite for an assistant coaching position.

    He also points out how Abby should not be guilty of attempted murder, because she did drug the guy, but then, when you see yourself as ugly, how many of us suddenly scream and run into the road half naked? That's just bad judgment, not malice on Abby's part.

    Further, Unusual points out that Clark's Christ-like ability to forgive is integral to his character, so it stinks that he doesn't forgive or at least talk to Lex. I agree, which is why this week's resolution was so important to me.

    Finally, Gent notes that Clark's number on the team is an 8, which looks like the El symbol. Neat!

    Tim O'Brien has a moment from last week that took him out of the story. Lois leaping up, saying she's going to expose Abby's mom just didn't wash, because what could she expose her for? To publish on the procedure, she'd have to have FDA approval, so she has to be working within the confines of the law.

    Further, even forgetting that, let's say you want to shut up a bold reporter. The only way to do that is by making her ugly, right? Through plastic surgery?

    Uh, yeah.

    Tim also postulates that schools these days just don't have room for giant wardrobe warehouses with perfect lighting that aren't being used. Lame, I agree.

    And that's it! Don't forget the KO Count, and eat snacky smores!

    And as a final note... all of you get out there and get ready to VOTE. Or I will smack you all. Even if you disagree with me, which is impossible.



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