Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 4 - Episode 9: "Bound"Reviewed by: Neal Bailey and Rebecca Cyrus
UH...WARNING (Live without warning?):
Warning. Because the following reviewed show graphically depicted the results and consequences of a sex act, I will be discussing sex in the following. If you're a kid you probably shouldn't read this. I don't want some mother writing in saying, "BECAUSE OF YOU, MY SON HAS HEARD THE WORD INTERCOURSE AND KNOWS THAT IT IS A NOUN THAT MEANS "SOCIAL EXCHANGE; COMMUNICATION".
Seriously, that's what the dictionary says. But anyway, you've been warned, so no complaining. No one forces you to read the following except your own compulsion to view a train wreck:
My, what a lovely tea party.
CRACK CRACK CRACK!
Aw, come on, the review hasn't even started yet!
Man, that's just sad that I went down stairs, pulled out the DVD, and watched that scene just so I could get the codes right.
Sigh. SUCH a geek.
All right, all right. Here's the real MAIN POINTS:
You ever get the feeling you're on board a sinking ship?
I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat, but I know that feeling. I was watching on television all night election night, seeing that failing feeling in a bunch of people. First it was the Bushies, going bonkers because the polls said they were losing in key swing states, then later, the Kerry people, adrift at having failed.
Right now, I feel a lot like that with Smallville.
It's just a general feeling that comes from the episode, that they've gone from giving a hoot to not giving a hoot, and just polluting.
There are many key ways that it does this, which we shall explore shortly, but I'll tell you know, this episode should have been a total 5. It has all the trappings of a show that would. Lex moving toward the DARK PATH, Clark trying to help him but failing, a sub-plot instead of a self-sustained episode, and NO KRYPTONITE!
Problem is, the dark path isn't evil, it's just sex, Clark tries to help him avoid the utter and terrible peril of sex, when there isn't one, and the sub-plot is about as thrilling and exciting as finding a dead woman next to you after waking up from a long night of drinking.
It should have been a five.
It was, the first time we saw it.
Here are the underlying thematic problems of this episode, in a very blatant nutshell:
First, a guy that tried to kill Clark's family not two weeks ago is suddenly more trustworthy than a man who's never done anything to harm his family. In other words, character is inconsistent in many ways, many, MANY ways, and I'll be getting deeper into that.
Second, I have a little lesson in math for you.
Sexuality plus Lana equals: Expression.
Sexuality plus Lex equals: Pig.
Sexuality plus Clark, Chloe, Lois, Lana, Ma and Pa Kent, and Isobel equals: ratings.
Sexuality plus Lex equals: Open condemnation (while ironically still exploiting said sexuality for ratings through an elaborate opening seduction montage) of sexuality in a show that is now almost wholly based in how sexual it can be.
So if you put sex plus Lex on one side of the equation, and sex plus all of the other cast members on the other side, the mathematician then draws a firm line into the middle of the equals sign, because something is messed up here, something is wrong.
And what is it? Well, showing that sex is fun and rules while saying that sex is abhorrent and makes you a fink.
More commentary forthwith.
Third, we've already seen this plot. Thrice.
Yes, Lex once was accused of murdering a bunch of people. First the cop from Rogue decided to look into what he did, in a great version of this episode I liked better the first time I saw it, when it was called ZERO, and then there was that time a bunch of people died at Lex's scientific site, so he was investigated for murder. Now he's being investigated for murder again, combining both plots badly.
And that's just the "Lex as murderer, oh gosh" plot. You're forgetting the murder mystery plot. Who killed Lionel? Except this time it's "Who killed Lex's fling?"
So in other words, other than Run and Crusade, not a single episode this season has not had a carbon copy vision of another Smallville episode folded up within its writing. Now, as any hack writer will tell you, appropriation is the sincerest form of flattery. But sometimes, seriously, you're being paid big bucks to write a show, COME UP WITH A NEW PLOT.
It can be done. I'd do it again and better, if I had any belief at all that they'd let me submit it. But I'm not that foolish. I don't sex it up enough.
Part of the problem lies here:
The WB has changed management from someone who just let Smallville be, to the former producer of Ricki Lake.
So as a new friend pointed out, and as I agree, they're trying to get an OLDER demographic, believe it or not, by adding nudity.
The moral of this episode seems to be that if you use women like a paper towel, it will come back to haunt you, even if you're rich.
Problem is, it's not what plays out in the show, and in real life, it's more complex, and both agents hold fault.
Well, watch the show.
Lex is just standing there, minding his own business, and a girl looks to him, calls him over, puts the moves on him, and has sex with him.
Bango, he wakes up in a hotel room with her dead.
Immediately everyone launches into condemnations, shaming him for using the woman like that, how dare he be sexual with many women, hurting them like that!
Problem is, he didn't hurt this woman. She called him over, started kissing him, and took him up to a room.
And you know what? That happens to rich guys all the time. Hate to break it to you, but a lot of women are so shallow that they will sleep with a man just because he has money. This is painfully obvious to me because I am poor, and because I have rich friends who are uglier than me who get sex all the time from multiple partners. There's no way I could come close to a man with a Maserati in his pocket, a billion in his jeans.
And it's not just girls. Men will sleep with women for, well, existing.
BUT, here's another universal truth I see. When these women pony up to a man who has money, then they have sex with him to be a part of this money, they leave him, and they always say, "What a pig!"
Guess what? A guy is not a pig for wanting to have sex with someone, especially if that someone invites him into their life through seduction, like Lex's gal did. And there is NOTHING in this episode to suggest that Lex tricked the other women in any way save to "Make them believe that he loved them", which is, to some women, simply having sex with them.
I know a woman who believed that I hated her because I forgot to call her one day. And another woman who assumed that because I gave her a ride when she was stuck that I wanted something in return. Another who believed that because I disagreed with her political choices, I hated her as a person.
Emotional beings do that. That doesn't make the person they do it to a bad person. And further, if you think a man loves you without asking, "Do you love me?", your assumptions are your own undoing. And there is nothing in this story to imply that Lex told women he loved them to have sex with them (which would be different) or in any way deceived them to have sex. Moreover, we only use what we have to determine what he DID do, and what we did see was essentially a woman cozying up to him for being rich, as might happen often.
This is a fiction, but it is a fiction that echoes our very lives, and the reality of the matter is that in our culture, when a woman expresses her sexuality, it's a beautiful, sensual thing to be celebrated, but when a guy expresses his sexuality, he's GONE DOWN THE PATH TO EVIL!!!!!!!!!! (with multiple exclamation points).
Now personally, I KNOW there is another side of the coin. I didn't want to get into my own sexual politics, because I don't think it's something that needs to be expressed, but this show forced my hand. For instance, I find it PERFECTLY reasonable to think of sex as a sacred thing, virginity important, and I can see why a lot of people would think that Lex was a fink for what he did.
But the show, conversely, shows the VIRGINAL characters to be skanky, slutty, and otherwise half naked and groping ALL THE TIME, and Lex hasn't laid a hand on a butt in at least a year. So if you want to say that you disagree with Lex's character direction (random sex), conversely, the rest of the characters on the show are JUST as guilty barring intercourse, but the writers don't make a big point of showing how they've all GONE DOWN THE PATH TO EVIL!!!!!!!! (with multiple exclamation points). Ergo why are they not crucified by their fellow characters for being sexual if Lex is?
And get this, I know this is going to sound calloused, but you meet a guy. You have sex with him without knowing if he wants you to be with him forever. I don't recall hearing of Lex making false promises to marry or be with someone eternally with any of these "flings". After you have sex, maybe you want a relationship, but this guy doesn't. He sends you DIAMOND EARRINGS in the mail, which you could likely sell and make a ton of money on, and somehow he's the fink for breaking it off? You can argue he's passive aggressive for not telling the women directly to their face that he doesn't want a relationship, but then, heh, this is case of the week of where you console yourself with ALL THAT CASH.
All this changes if Lex is promising them eternal love, but you know what? Given the way his fling is GRAPHICALLY depicted in the show, and given that that's the only basis with which we can regard his other flings, my guess is that they follow the same lines, and that Lex promised nothing, and the women would have read into what he offered them.
But then, there's the rub. You get the show setting up the divisions. A show about a humanitarian cause, a man who is "good" for everyone, telling Lex that he's a bad person for having multiple sex partners. Then someone who thinks that kind of thing is okay, like me, is alienated. That's not very humanitarian. Especially since virginity is going to play such a big role in coming episodes.
Here's a little chemistry to go with your math. Superman and sexuality, when mixed, do not supersaturate, but rather concoct a rather volatile concoction that when you add viewers to it results in a fiery decrease in temperature AND ratings AND quality.
And not because we're prudes, either, I'm not a prude. It's just because blatant and constant sexuality in a family show is, let's say, misguided?
Here's the point. Say I like being totally sexual and open and virginity is nothing to me. Say sex is sacred to you, and you don't want it violate, and you're against random sex, you think it should remain between a man and a woman in marriage.
Both of us are effectively played for fools and buttheads in this show. Clark looks like an overbearing, judgmental buffoon, and Lex looks like a sexual sadist for sleeping with women because he likes it.
To the show and how it plays out:
The previews were FINALLY right! We have LUST and LIES! Woooo hoo. Just what we needed to get away from the LUST and LIES!
Gee, hot chick. I sure do like your PINK APPLE I-POD.
Thanks, bald dude. I got my PINK APPLE I-POD a while back. I had sex with this guy I was attracted to, and I thought he loved me, but really he just wanted sex. Anyway, I was so surprised that I just went out and bought a PINK APPLE I-POD.
How much is a PINK APPLE I-POD?
It's so cheap! And I hear it makes you friends! Which is a good thing, because I'm so hot, I could never have a friend except Lex Luthor, and I'm so upset I have to totally obsess over one man and try to ruin his life!
That sounds kind of shallow, hot chick! How are we supposed to empathize with your character?
I don't know, rich bald dude, but maybe we can figure it out by making out over my APPLE I-POD's SMALLVILLE TALON MIX trance dance beat, yo!
Dude, hot chick! Where can we find an elevator!
Follow me and my I-POD, baldy! I'll show you how you bad it is to use me by letting you USE ME SOME MORE!
If you insist, hot chick!
The angle on the elevator, for that matter, was a cheap porn flick.
Chloe called it "Solomon King", which I didn't get, and I hate not getting references, so I looked it up. It's a blaxploitation movie, it would seem. Now, seeing as Lex is, essentially, an allegory for THE MAN, which I blatantly poke fun at in one of my comics, I find it hilarious that they use what is likely an obscure reference to a sex scene but instead manage to paint Lex out to be somehow analogous to blaxploitation when he is, in fact, a pasty white dude.
More character misrepresentation, but likely inadvertent.
Now we take another aside. We see Lex, in bed, having had meaningless sex, and next to him is a dead woman with her hands tied above her head, and enough blood about her person to be a failing snuff film.
You're a parent. What do you turn to your kid and say right at this point?
I know what I'd say.
"Hey, son, let's go out and get an APPLE I-POD!"
Then son would look up at me and say, "Dad, what's sado-masochism?"
And I'd say, "Son, it's a neurotic obsession with flaggelation that starts with encouraging images on television and a lack of discouragement of the behavior at home, ergo now we'll be watching Lost."
I can see this fifteen years from now.
"Mr. Luthor! Mr. Luthor! In your new bid for the presidency, how can you reconcile the fact that you are to be our moral compass with the fact that you've been jailed multiple times and were once found in bed with a tied up dead woman?"
To which Luthor replies, "Eh, that's every politician. We get away with anything, you know? Like, I could say that I promise to fix schools, then totally not do that, and I'd still get elected! People are hilarious!"
And then he wins in a landslide.
If my lawyer was like the one in this episode, I would fire her.
Her character was abrasive, annoying, and a silly construct to try and further belittle Lex for having a sexual appetite. Oh, you slept with your lawyer! I'm sure the lawyer must not have been there, because she seems to feel no responsibility for having opened her legs for you. If I were a cynic, I'd say this is a case of backlash cynicism from feminists showing that when a man has sex with a woman and the woman doesn't like how it ends up, that makes the man a scumbag, even though it takes two to tango, but good thing I'm a sycophant who puts all women on a pedestal instead of regarding them as human beings, responsible for their decisions as much as anyone else. Good thing I know my "place".
Clark belittles Lex, "You slept with her, and you didn't know her name?"
I will note that the psycho girl never asked Lex his name, either, did she now? And in fact, pretended like she didn't know, and that was fine by her.
Clark belittles Lex, this from the man who has taken drugs (essentially) and busted up a bar, ran away from home to rob ATMs, worked as muscle for organized crime, and essentially done nothing but belittle Lex for being an honest, well intentioned man for three and a half years.
It's sad, but Lex is less judgmental than Clark, and Clark is supposed to be the good guy.
Again, to character, bad form.
Then we cut from our regularly scheduled programming to an acid flashback to the second worst episode of the series (which is apparently now becoming like the new Kawatchee caves, where the "witch" culture will recur as a theme, god help us) featuring Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, with glowing purple eyes, walking to Lana in the middle of the scene, even though we SAW that scene already, and she wasn't in it.
No... no... no Puritans in 1600 France...no more English speaking in... France... must... stop... horrible... sub-plot. Device... not interesting... not worthy... of... Smallville! Cheesy guest star for bad sub-plot... spelling... doom!
Clark walks in and sees Lionel about Lex's incarceration, to see if Lionel is behind it. Lionel says, no, but I am feeling much better, all cured, and I want to be a good guy, not a bad guy now.
Clark says, okay, how can you help?
Read the last two paragraphs again, please.
I ask, is this to the aid of character, or just bad writing?
Lionel as a counter to Lex in irony, the good to Lex's bad, is a good idea. But the thing is, in order to believe it, we need to have a plausible bridge. Like, Clark just HAVING heat vision wouldn't work. We needed the slow pace of "Heat". For Lionel to become a GOOD GUY, just romping around in Clark's body a bit doesn't convince me. First off, it didn't work with the first guy who took Clark's powers. In fact, as I recall, he tried to kill Clark again, didn't he? Oh yeah. He did. Whoops. I guess that goes counter to this plot and makes it less suspenseful and more just, "Say WHAT?"
Another freaky thing. Lionel knows, has charted, and can list what his son does sexually? I have a three letter response to that. W...T...F?
That's pretty weird there. This from the guy who almost kissed a high schooler being an old dude, I don't find it surprising, but gah. That's just odd.
Two catty women wearing clothes to mask their own self-doubt walk into a coffee bar.
One says, "Lana! It's wonderful to finally meet you. You ARE beautiful!"
Because, you know, we really didn't know that people on this show find her beautiful. Really.
And I don't see the punchline for this one, either.
Take it further.
Quinn: "Did I catch you off guard?"
Pink: "No. No. Yeah, a little."
No if it makes you think I'm presumptuous, yes if it's honest, so a little of both!
More actual dialogue, fitting into the I AFFIRM YOU BUT formula:
"Mrs. Teague, I've wanted to meet you, BUT if Jason isn't ready to be a part of your life, I don't think I can be either."
Wow! So you judge who you like based on who likes you. Vapid!
Genevieve: "Do you recognize me?" (Lana does, from the dream, recall.)
Response: Blank look.
Because lord knows, honesty would crack the Earth in two, Lana.
And then, to close the scene, as if we hadn't heard it enough,
Dr. Quinn: "You are SO beautiful."
Serious, she tells Lana she's beautiful twice.
Cut really quick to the new star on their way out! That's right, CHLOE! Sorry, folks, she's been relegated to the same place Pete was. Perfectly fine as a character, even defined, but she's just not Lana. Sorry! She's gotta have only a few lines each episode, and we'll come up with some silly reason to get rid of her at the end of the year.
I've got it!
We'll go to Metropolis U, where LOIS, the super-hot chick is, and Lana will tag along, and of course, most of the action will still take place in Smallville, but Chloe will be gone. Maybe she'll get that Princeton scholarship Clark lost last week that no one's ever going to mention again, huh? Like the cuts on Jason's face that just disappeared.
Because the moral of this show is that sex is evil if you're a guy, but sex sells.
Clark even snarks to Chloe, "Lex has been with multiple women!"
Ooooh...the evil, evil man.
Alicia, Kara, Chloe, Lana, Lois, Kyla, heck, that's just off the top of my head, Clark. Or rather, his WRITERS.
So I guess it's okay to posture and make out with a chick in a romantic way, because chicks dig that, but you decide to go to plaid, you're a villain.
I see how it is! I get it! They're trying to get the stupid to stop procreating through guilt! To make them think that making out is the only acceptable thing for a good guy to do!
But guess what? It isn't working, so give it up.
By the way, that was a joke, and I didn't mean people who preserve their virginity are stupid. Just that people who believe that sex doesn't exist and that ignoring it can save you from it are.
Lex is burning publicity stills from Smallville when Clark walks in. Clark says, "Whatcha doing, Lex?"
And Lex, to bring back the family quotient, screams, "I'm saving my ass, Clark!"
Though why burning pictures of himself in a house of the girl he's accused of murdering "saves his ass", I'm at a loss. See, if I wanted to "save my ass" when I was found next to a bloody tied up dead girl, my first thought wouldn't be, "Oh, let's make everyone think she wasn't obsessed with me!".
It would be how to prove I hadn't killed the woman. But never trust characters in a drama to be logical. Conversely, never expect me to just sit there and take it when they act like total morons for dramatic effect.
Yet ANOTHER Lois and Clark moment in two phases in this episode between Chloe and Clark.
Phase one: Brilliant deduction that makes no sense at all. Chloe and Clark see that in one frame, the woman has diamond earrings, and in the next, she's not wearing them. But the dead girl WAS wearing another one.
Ergo, the dead woman must be a DIFFERENT PERSON!
Batman, you have a lot to learn from these two.
Actually, there is the Batman movie where Batman and Robin receive a riddle from Riddler that goes, "What weighs six ounces, sits in a tree, and is very dangerous?" and the answer is brilliantly deduced to be, "A sparrow with a machine gun!"
So maybe they took a cue from Batman after all.
Phase two: Romance played for laughs. First, these two people, who were just slamming on Lex for being gratuitously physical, slam around an elevator in each other's arms and almost kiss "recreating" the scene that they so condemn.
We see Clark DEFINITIVELY use his telescopic vision, so we know he has it now. That's cool. Decent effect, too.
Lex tells Clark that he has to choose between trusting him and trusting Lionel, because they're enemies.
Clark trusts Lionel.
Again, I say, W...T...F? Read the above two again.
Look, you remember Shattered, and Asylum? Lex Luthor is accused of being nutso. He's even acting nutso. Consider, even, that this story rips a page from the exact same plot. Everyone is accusing Lex of something, Lex turns to Clark, and Clark stands by his friend even though things look bad.
It was a KEY moment of characterization, and I mentioned it as such, because it shows that even though Lex has failings, Clark will stand by him, even if his family will not.
Now he sides with LIONEL over Lex, and I'm supposed to buy it?
To say nothing of the fact that it was very established that Lex worked to (and attained) the respect of Pa Kent, and now that's suddenly evaporated, and we're back to the season one, "All Luthors are evil" talk he had back on day one.
To plot regression.
Almost to the pain.
So Clark chooses Lionel, and talks with him, and we get such original ideas from Lionel, the man who can quote from ancient texts even I haven't read, and I'm a book geek, and the best he can come up with is "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."
It isn't even "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned for Sega." , which is original and true. It's just saying, "Women get mad if they perceive a slight." Which I just said with more originality than Lionel's cliched phrase.
He then explains that women like diamonds, and that when he wanted a woman to go away, he gave them a diamond. Which is supposed to make everyone gasp, and say, "Good God, what a chauvinist" without conveniently pointing out that the women took the diamonds and went away instead of pursuing the men for more relationship, but hey, women are infallible in this show, right?
Lionel then comes to the conclusion that the girl in the elevator, naturally, killed the girl in the elevator. Clark solemnly nods and goes on the case.
At this point, I actually paused it, slapped myself on the forehead, and said to myself, "Boy, you were reading Joseph Heller this morning, and now you're watching this. You out cho mind, fool?"
It's another Batman movie conclusion.
Here's the really fun part:
So Lex goes to see his lawyer, and she's dead.
And there's the villain, the girl from the elevator. OF COURSE!
She then takes her arm, swings a pistol into the side of Lex's jaw, and knocks him cold. She takes her small arms and knocks a grown man unconscious by hitting him in the jaw. Kid you not. And there's not even a mark on his jaw.
This man then remains unconscious from a blow to the jaw long enough to be driven three hours from Metropolis to his house (assumed Metropolis, because no hot-shot laywer would stick around Smallville, and there are few offices that cool in Smallville, one would assume), and then this woman has the staff help take Lex up, despite being a spot-on match for the woman Lex is accused of killing, and then they just give them a private room.
She then ties him to a chair, and though despite the fact that Lex knows who she is, and she's got her vengeance in hand, instead of killing him with the GUN she had, she decides to kill him by lighting brandy on fire.
Problem is, she covers him with it, then surrounds the chair with it, but when she lights it on fire, it only burns in a circle around Lex instead of doing what it would really do, which is light him on fire.
THEN Clark comes in, throws the girl away, waves his coat around, and manages to stop a flame accelerant with wind by throwing it up onto the ceiling, which doesn't catch fire, leaving Lex tied to a chair in a burned out ring of fire with a knocked out chick nearby and no explanation.
To say nothing of the cheesy effect, which had me going "Weoooooweoeoooooooe!" with the swinging motion.
No way that save could have anything to do with that nearby best friend guy who keeps showing his super-powers, none at all.
Heck, it must have been divine providence, as Lex later indicates half-heartedly.
And then the REALLY great part.
Though Lex has been framed, the charges miraculously go away, presumably pinned on this girl, even though there's no trial, the lawyer is dead, and there's no real reason any reasonable DA would suspect this woman of anything save assault on Lex with intent to murder.
But hey, all the charges go away.
To implausibility, to say the least.
I'm supposed to believe that a woman VAPID enough to sleep with a man before knowing his intentions toward a relationship with her (and likely because he had money) is smart enough to plot an elaborate revenge scheme and kill two human beings in order to get to that point? A woman who, by her own admission, CHEATED on her fiance to be with Lex? I'm supposed to buy her moral compass in saying that Lex is a fink? And even if I don't, all of the main characters echo her sentiments that Lex is a fink for what he did.
I mean, say you cut me off and run me off the road. Do I go and confront you about it, or do I kill your mom and dad and frame you for murder?
It's just flat out cheesy implausible. It's not like, hey, I love Lana, so I gotta kill this guy that's in my way. That, at least, is kind of heat of the moment. People just aren't this psycho, and if they are this psycho, they're not that smart.
I just can't suspend disbelief like that.
I mean, I might have been able to, had this show not consistently spooned me stuff like this for four years, but in 75 shows we've had 74 people go homicidally insane. It's wearing thin. Tell a character story that doesn't involve shooting down a certain character type. Tell a story of something we all experience but can't deal with, like death, oppression, hate, anger, and I don't mean a kid who wants to bang a cheerleader and can't so he gets jealous, I mean Clark having a friend who gets cancer and dies, or accidentally hit by a car. There's no human touch to this show any more, it's all powers and sex, powers and sex, powers and sex, and LANA LANA LANA.
Lana, who shows us yet again this episode that two earrings means a new look.
Lana, with such passive aggressive gemmies as Jason opening up to her about his mother, to which Lana says, "Jason, I don't want to pass notes between you and your mother!" After which, and this is NOT a joke, she stands, walks away from him, folds her arms, and stares at the fire. Blaming Jason for something his mother did. Jason isn't even a character, how can you blame him for anything? What does she have to be mad at him about? That he has a mother? Good GOD man! This is just incorrigible!
Last week was one big pants around the ankles-fest disguised as girl power. We got to oogle young girls in S and M outfits, girls with all kinds of power, girls with control, girls who even when they do wrong, like screw up a life (Princeton), don't get any punishment.
This week, conversely, we are shown that it is horrible to be sexual, to oogle young girls in fine outfits and court them to sex them with all kinds of power, control. That when you do this wrong, it costs lives, friendships, and you're a bad, bad person. Perhaps even bad enough to become Superman's mortal enemy.
The difference? One week the antagonist is the over-fetishized female of television, this week it's the often beaten buffoon man of the television. And in the female version, the antagonist is magically a protagonist.
With a straight face, tell me there is no feminist backlash in modern television.
Tell me with a straight face.
One big guilt men for being men guiltfest, and I don't like it.
As Clark says, "The way he treated those women. How could he not care he hurt those women?"
No one ever asked Lex if he cared. They just assumed he didn't because he broke up with them. Maybe he just didn't want a relationship. That's OKAY. It's not villainous to want to be sexual without having a relationship. You may not agree with it, and that's PERFECTLY FINE, but to say through fiction that someone is a villain because you don't agree with their lifestyle, that's just nasty. And to arbitrarily create a construct where such a lifestyle leads to murder or being accused of murder is almost propaganda in its blatant manipulation.
Tell you what. Some girl wants to let me have sex with her because she's rich, and the only consolation I get when I get dumped by her is a fricking watch with diamond insets, the first thing I'm NOT going to say is, "That BICH!"
I'm going to say, "Thank you. Cool."
Lex and Lionel talking. Lionel asks Lex if he can be his father again.
"You've got your health, don't expect another miracle."
Decent line. The best scene of the show. Problem is, Lex has just walked in. How does he know Lionel is cured? Where did that scene go?
I had a psychosomatic Crapana again. They show Clark turning, and the pan is long and dramatic to reveal Lex coming up to see Clark. I was thinking, "No Lana! No Lana!"
Thanks for that.
So Clark starts BAGGING on Lex for having multiple partners, as though we hadn't seen enough of it.
Clark says, "How long will this continue?"
Now, look. Say you're a staunch advocate of virginity until marriage. How would it look if on television, someone (a close friend) went up to someone who wanted to remain a virgin, and, after people harped on that guy for the whole episode for being a virgin, said, "Hey, man. How long is this going to continue? When are you going to just bang around like I do?"
Might be potentially hurtful and rude and cruel to someone who wanted to remain a virgin, right?
My entire point. I support everyone's right to a decision in matters of sex, politics, religion. When a show starts espousing a point of view, it enters the political, sexual, and religious realm, and opens itself to critique. This is particularly important in a show about the ONE MAN in all of literature who stands up for us ALL. The literal America figure who (when it works like it's idealistically supposed to) stands up in Christ-like revelry to love the virgins, the people who love sex, the noble, and yes, even the truly evil. Like people who steal candy from children then kick the kids off a bridge, not a guy who just likes sex, which is, in essence, all guys.
This show, like the one where Lana learns kung-fu with no real point except to show that it's okay to respond to taunting with violence, sends a message that does not forward the mythos of Superman, and I can't stand by it.
Not because I like or am what most would term a sinner, but because I know that Superman stands for everyone, even people who make decisions I don't agree with. And he should.
Clark does not in this show.
To the reason why I watch.
I feel just like Clark with Lex at the end of this show. I think I've expounded my motives fairly. Clark, in this show, has not as much.
I say, "Smallville, it's felt like we're enemies for the last few episodes, not friends."
To which Lex replies, "Neal, don't give up on me yet."
And I won't.
But I am at a total loss as to why in my case, I'm enemies with this show because of bad plot and motives, but in Clark's case, he's ready to declare enemies with Lex because of a sexual choice when this is the man who's going to become Superman, the friend to everyone, we're talking about.
1 of 5.
And to be honest and fair, when I finished this episode, I would have said a 3. But upon critical examination, upon a lot of thought, I realized that the message this episode sends, it's just abhorrent, and the plot is recycled. NOT up to snuff.
On a base level, if you don't think about it, it's more of a three. If you look at it, though (which some of us yet do), you see a different story, especially after so many episodes.
Next new Smallville, in two weeks, it looks like they'll have Lana learning the secret (or is that Clark's fear and a misleading advertisement. hmmm), and Lana kissing Clark again. Wow. Goody.
When you are a girl and you dress up all sexy and tease the boys, it's expression. When you're a guy and you take advantage of that, IE, you want sex, you're a chauvinist pig. At least, in this society. So the writers got together and used that to exploit our ingrained social morals, and the result is an episode that most people will find decent, a good way to stand up for all those poor defenseless girls, but me, I live in the real world where women are people just like me who are just as accountable for their actions as anyone else, especially in the realm of sex, so I give this a 1 of 5, with apologies to Lex for his harsh treatment by a writer with an obvious agenda.
You naughty, naughty people!
We had to start over again. Not cool! I didn't even see the offending statements, Steve yanked them off the site so fast, but given the picture, I can't say I didn't expect it. I had hopes, but I was disappointed.
Now, I know it's hard to suppress yourself. When you see a picture with balls in it, or a picture with a guy cradling the undercarriage of a tractor, you're inclined to make colorful jokes. In fact, do so, in private.
But on this site, if you continue to do so, the Caption Contest goes. And since it's a source of a great gut laugh for me every week, please don't make it so.
And please, don't make me have to use stock silly images, when there are plenty of great possibilities in better images. For instance, I can't put up anything with Christopher Reeve in it, because I honestly have a feeling some moron will clip in with a joke about the guy's death instead of the situation depicted in the picture.
Probation! And though I have a poopy sense of humor, parents do not, so don't make me use the whip!
PS: I have heard rumblings of desires for only one caption per person, mostly because Cyberv posts about a googleplex of submissions each week.
Nope. Sorry. Judgment call. First off, it would be impossible to enforce, second, if it takes cyberv 15 entries to get in the runner up position, so be it. You can all do the same thing. I read all of the entries, so you are all heard.
If you don't like reading down through the entries to see if it's already been done, just fire away. Repeats are fine. And I digest them here for just that reason, so all the really funny ones (by my call) are easy to see.
This week's winner:
Even transformed by black kryptonite, Lana still has black hair, wears, pink, and alternately push/pulls the nearest guy while glancing covetously at Clark.
The runner ups:
Test photos of Trey Parker and Matt Stone's new Superman movie, entitled, "Team Superman: Lego Police."
All: (singing) We're cute! We're shoddy! We got edited by the moddie!
(AND DON'T THINK I WON'T CRACK THE WHIP! If I've gotta be one of the few who decides what's okay to say and what not to say, then heck, we'll at least have strict standards!)
Lex: BWAHAHA! Thanks to my match ray, soon all clothes will be green and purple ensembles! Lois: RUN! Jimmy: Too... late for me... Save yourself...
And the Caption Contest shall face... a CRISIS! Superman: Could be worse. Could be drawn by Liefeld.
As Steel and Superman converge on the nefarious Lex Luthor (and Lois and Jimmy run like wet puppies) Superman's chair sits silently watching his master plan come together.
Comic Book Store Guy: Worst Picture Ever.
(YOU BROUGHT IT ON YOURSELVES, YOURSELVES! ONE MORE "BALL" COMMENT AND IT'LL BE NOTHING BUT STOCK PHOTOS OF LANA IN PIIIIIIIIIINK! SO SWEARS I, THE MIGHTY LORD MODERATOR OF CENSUREVILLE! Oh, for shame, where my artistic integrity hath good. Ah weep, ah weep weep. Worst comment comment comment..ever! I swear, I could put up a picture of Jesus and you guys would think of some way to make a sexual joke, you have any idea how hard it is to pick a picture that won't get me in trouble! :) )
I guess you could say the previous image was re-tractored. BA-DUM-BUM.
(Better! Much better.)
(Superman): "Great Scott! Why on Earth would Neal pick THIS picture??" (Lex): "He figures it's safe--none of us are anatomically correct!"
Steel: I want to be, ow, your sledge hammer!! Lois: Come on, Jimmy, we want to get out of here before the rest of them start singing.
Superman: ACK! My spitcurl's in my eye! Can't see where I'm going! Steel: LOOK OUT! Lex: BWAHAHAHAHA! Feel the wrath of my evil barber, Superman! Dread his perfectly deadly styles!
Lex: "NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!!"
(BWA HA HA HA! I'm so easy.)
Superman: Geez, you milk one tractor and suddenly production values drop like a rock.
[director] Cut! We forgot to put Old Spice in this shot!
The Joker: Where does he get those wonderful toys? Jay: Snoogans!!
Superman: No matter how bad this seems, just remind yourself... Giant Robotic Spider.
All: "My God, Bailey, what have you done?? Noooo!"
(In true passive aggressive fashion, I respond, thrusting out my breasts, "I didn't do anything! You did it to yourselves!")
Do you want justice? Call 1-800-88-STEEL. He's tough, he's fair, and he's the only judge with a steel gavel...
STEEL:U can't touch this (oh-oh oh oh-oh-oh) Break it down (Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh oh-oh) Stop.............. Hammer Time
[Lex Luthor]: "Ha-HA! My Dance-o-matic Ray Gun is a COMPLETE SUCCESS! Now the Hall of Justice will be MINE!" [Superman]: "Great Scott! Can't...stop...getting my groove on!"
Lex: "You will bow down before me, chair. Both you, and then one day, your heirs!"
LETTER OF THE WEEK:
- Got a long one for you Neal, but don't you dare complain because your reviews are way longer! And I'm going to disagree with you on a few points, so eat yer vegetables.
This episode, Clark got the "I affirm you BUT" line: "Chloe, I totally appreciate your looking out for me BUT I don't need to talk to anybody."
I think this episode foreshadows some upcoming Luthor plot development. I'll bet that Lionel starts going GOOD at the same pace that Lex starts going bad. And I'll bet that a good part of Lex's downfall will be his inability to accept and trust his father's newfound repentance.
While helping Ma and Pa clean up after the Lionel rampage, Clark didn't sweep up all the broken stuff. (Actors must read stuff like this on fan sites and just roll their eyes.)
The Clana, or rather the Liona, was profoundly sick. Lana describes her jail-bait activities with Jason -- "It's pretty serious Clark" -- and she looks intently at Clark (Lionel) as though gauging his reaction. Sick! Is that just spiteful cruelty, trying to hurt Clark for fun? Or is she wanting to see if she could still make Clark jealous? And that line: "you broke up with me, remember?" She's mad! Does she want Clark back? Maybe just enough to assuage her insulted feminine ego? Is she using Jason just to get back at Clark? She doesn't seem to care much about jeopardizing Jason's job to get what she wants. What else will she sacrifice? The actress played this scene really well. If she and the writers intend for us to hate Lana more and more with each episode, it's working.
Maybe you should stop complaining about Lana. Maybe the writer's WANT you to hate her and hate the way she hurts Clark. We kind of assume that just because the actress is pretty, she's supposed to be a sympathetic character. Maybe she's supposed to be or become exactly what we're seeing: a small minded manipulative spoiled brat, and the very reason Clark gets out of Smallville for good, grows up and becomes a hero.
Anyway, you'll be a happier person if you adopt my theory.
By the way, backing up a show or two, I loved the scene with Lana and Jason in the college dorm room. After that little spat, Jason had that classic look on his face, the look that says "Oh man, I just blew any chance I had for sex tonight!" I'm with you on the illegal nature of the Jason/Lana relationship. Good call also on the effect things like this have on society. I compliment you on that, because I bet you get heat for it.
- The scene with Lionel (Clark) coming on to Chloe poses a direct challenge to all the people (like you, mister) who express disbelief at Clark's willingness to stay chaste even when directly tempted by a chemist, er, cheerleader. I'm willing to bet that no one, absolutely no one, writes to you this week to say, "Dude, there's Chloe with this hunky guy throwing himself at her. How can she resist? Why doesn't she jump him? I mean, we know she likes him, so what's she waiting for?" Well, it's obvious what's going on. Yes, she's in love with Clark and we assume she's physically attracted to him, but she's not idiotic enough to forget the past history and she knows that a romantic or even sexual relationship is going to open up a big old can of painful emotional worms. So Chloe makes the only sensible decision possible and puts the brakes on. Now when Chloe does this, she's just not an idiot. Clark does it and -- whoa! -- what is he, gay? You know, there was a time when men thought that self-control was a virtue, and an attainable one. Now we're all so degraded we can't even believe it of Superman! That's a sorry judgment on us.
- Having read your views on sexism, I will expect a mea culpa retracting the double standard. Or, if you prefer, you can use my back-up theory: Clark's just not sure he can control the heat vision! And if that's the case, we should be praying that Clark and Lana get back together again. Perhaps it could result in Lana being burned at the stake like the countess!
When Lex pulled out the gun on Clark, I wanted Clark to say "Whoa! Lex! It's OK! See? Plaid!"
By the way, Lionel wasn't putting the move on Chloe. He was trying to hurt her as cruelly as he could. He hates her, wants her dead. Seems like Clark is obligated to convince Chloe that she was talking to Lionel at the Torch. Clark has no idea what she might have told Lionel, thinking he was Clark. "Oh thanks for asking, Clark. My dad's doing fine but he's going to stay in the witness protection program till after the execution. No, actually, he's been placed in Central City. The address? You want to send him a note? Oh, that's sweet Clark. Hang on, I have it in my Palm...."
Well, forget the execution. I guess DC-Comics-Kansas doesn't have the death penalty, if Lionel's pal can be serving three life terms for murder.
It was funny to see how nonchalant Ma and Pa are about Clark's powers. "Hey Clark, come lift this tractor. Hey Clark, go put out that fire." Funny, but there's also a darker side. Ma and Pa fret about Clark using his powers on the football team, but when it comes to baling hay or driving fence posts, they're all for it. Handy having a superhero on the farm, and that's just going to make it harder for them to let him go and become Superman. Can the Kent farm even survive without Clark around to do the work of 10? If Jonathan has to lose the farm in order to let Clark become Superman, that's going to be hard on both of them.
But of course, this is television, with no consequences, so I suppose it will never get to that point. I suppose Lionel will take over Clark's work on the farm, like Ma took over the Talon! It seems to me that the writers were more willing to allow long-term consequences in the first two seasons. Now it feels more like standard TV, where everything must return to the status quo before the last commercial. The season three cliffhanger was so great because Lionel and Chloe were GONE. Big change. Then Tasha Yar comes back, but at least Lionel is still dying and/or about to be executed. Oops, now his liver's fine and I expect the get-out-of-jail-free card is coming soon, so where are we now? Backwards about a season and a half, that's where. Is it their plan to just recycle this stuff till the viewers, the advertisers, and the network get tired of it? Or are we really moving forward towards a true Lex crisis so the series can end with a hell of a bang?
I have hope that the series is still going the right way, and the producers just need to milk the cash cow and stretch out a few more seasons with Spock's Brain episodes. I think we have to accept reality: the good stuff is funded by the bad stuff, supported by dim bulbs who actually buy the crap they see advertised on TV and rate episodes on the Baywatch scale. The dim bulbs don't complain (too much) when the Superman mythos is advanced, so maybe the true believers shouldn't complain (too much) when the cheerleader chemist straddles the groin of steel. Ain't capitalism grand?
This week there is not much business.
I am intolerably behind, and I hope to use these two weeks to catch up.
The long and the short of it is, as you may or may not know, in June, my dog died of renal failure. It hit me pretty hard, so I got a puppy to make myself feel better, to have a new friend.
We just started bonding a few weeks ago, really, and he was still naughty often and well. He got out, ran into the street, was struck by a car, and the end of the matter is, now he's dead.
So I couldn't answer letters, I couldn't talk Smallville, I couldn't do most anything for days. It was a real struggle to even write this review, to be honest, but getting back to life is helping. So I don't have much, but what I do have for you, here it is:
Drachasaur, in chat, pointed out that Chloe is essentially playing what was Lana's role in the comics. I find that curious, and quite astute. Really, Chloe pines for Clark, she's intelligent, but she can never have him. It's kind of odd.why they went the other direction with Lana is unclear.
C Bowland writes in pointing out why Clark ends up with Lois instead of Lana, important reasons. One, Lois can talk with Clark about her parents, and how they died. She got over it. Her parent died when she was six, whereas Lana's parents died when she was maybe 3, which makes it harder on Lois, Lois is more emotionally stable.
Also, Clark doesn't feel responsible for Lois' mother's death, which helps.
Timothy Dayspring has the following:
- I seem to recall that in a previous episode, they mentioned that the witch lady had died as a witch but had been buried as a saint (her tomb was in a church, right?). This makes no sense. Even if we were to assume that the angry mob which burned her were protestants, why would she have been found to be a saint? She obviously made no attempt of pretense to be anything other than an evil witch. Furthermore, sainthood is a complicated process (it's a lot more streamlined then it used to be however). Anyway, let's assume that she was canonized shortly after her death, that would mean that the process was still long and required a lot of evidence. She was obviously not martyred. There would have to be witnesses testifying about her saintliness. And more to the point, the Catholic Church holds that they are incapable of error when naming someone a saint. So not only does this episode contradict HOW canonization occurs, it directly challenges the notion that the process is infallible (granted, that may not be such a big deal to non-Catholics, but it's one thing for a character to say they don't believe in it, it's a far different thing to have a show PROVE that it's false).
Paco Garcia wonders how Clark and Flash can run so fast, so far, without going through a lot of shoes and constantly eating to restore their metabolism (like in a recent issue of Common Grounds, which I recommend, the issue is covered...)
Rob Adams has a good point. Though they didn't SAY Mxy's name backwards to get rid of him, they did use what CAME of saying his name backwards to get rid of him. I missed that. But it's still just Obi-Wan Kenobi's Jedi Mind Trick with a bad accent to me, not Mxy.
Also and finally, many have written me asking why I didn't harp on Jason for never appearing again when he just ran off to help Lana last episode. I had no reaction until Rob provided one... he went to that wardrobe closet to get that surprise from Facade, of course! He'll be back... some time.
As will I, in two weeks, maybe with a surprise... maybe with freshly healed cuts on my face. I'm hoping it's a surprise, though.
Don't forget to check out the updated KO Count.
Smallville: BoundBy Rebecca Cyrus
You know, I think this episode ranks right up there with the best episode so far. Really.
What more do you want from Smallville? There was no meteor freak, which was what seemed to bug most people, and there was no crazed nudity. All in all, this was a pretty great show.
You can't beat an opening like that. Lex, arrested for murder, and a dead woman on his hands, and all of his years of womanizing, from way back from when he was a kid, finally starting to catch up with him.
It's got all the elements of a good thriller mystery, leaving out Ashley Judd. You don't know who the villain is until literally, the last minute, and then it's not who you would expect it to be, the woman from the beginning of the show.
I got to see Lex making out, which was nice. I have a thing for elevators, so it was just crazy great! LOL
And they teased us with Clark maybe getting together with Chloe again! That's so bad! I want Clark to just get over it already and get back with Lana. All she's waiting for is for him to stand up to Jason, then they can be together. They're running out of time! I mean, high school is almost over!
So I say, if he can't be with Lois, and if he won't be with Lana, let's see him with Chloe, why not? They had so much tension in that elevator scene. Really, they did, it was well done.
I also liked seeing Clark using his telescopic vision, it was pretty neat. He hasn't used much of his powers lately. Last episode, it was the heat vision, this episode, the telescopic vision, but seriously, are we ever going to see him use super-hearing again?
Or flight. I hope they do flight again soon.
I like the new character, Guenevieve. I watched Dr. Quinn when I was a kid, and I always liked Jane Seymour. I think she'll make a great character, and her and Lana were positively catty. We need a good catfight, we haven't had one since Lana and Chloe went at it a while back.
I don't know why Jason thinks that his mother is evil. I haven't seen anything to suggest that yet. But then, there was the dream. The dream pointed out that she might be evil, and she had pink eyes, which was the same pink that Lana used when she was the witch, so maybe Guenevieve is a witch too. We'll see.
I liked the fire effect, too! It was so cool!
I think Lex will likely learn a lesson from this. I like when he was talking to Clark, how Clark still had faith in him, even though Lex had obviously screwed up. Well, this is why he's Superman, he made Lex feel better, he tried to make Lex a good guy. We all know Lex will end up the bad guy, but still, it's great to see them still trying. My guess is Luthor will go bad soon, I hope! :)
Well, I give this one an easy 10! Totally entertaining, and hey, it's LEX! You gotta love Lex, LOL! Laters!
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