Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 4 - Episode 17: "Onyx"

Reviews:

Onyx

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Main Points:

  • Lex Luthor's evil twin acts a lot like...well, Lex Luthor in the comics.
  • Lionel is back to evil, and he also does a passable Inigo Montoya.
  • Black K is apparently created by adding heat to green K.
  • The Man in the Iron Mask is in this episode. No, he's not fighting The Rock...

    REVIEW:

    This episode was much like the Brian Azzarello run of Superman. First, you're looking at Jim Lee, and you're like, WHOA! What the...what a cool thing that is! Pretty! Neat! Homina homina! (finger to the lips, dibble dibble dibbledy).

    Then the next you're like, "What did he just say? Huh? How the...gah!"

    This episode is like if you took transference, or Red, or any of the other episodes along the same theme (and there have been many) and added the stink of season four to it. The end result is some flash, some crap, and a kind of mixture that is solid at room temperature, but provides no energy output. Like, say, Jello. Rosenbaum flavored, so it's in a really cool looking mold, but at the same time, dude, there are fruit chunks in this mother.

    The major flaws are self-evident. Everyone has already had this episode. The "bad" Clark. The "bad" Chloe. The "bad" Jonathan. The "bad" Lana. The "bad" Martha. No, wait. Sorry. That's my private episode.

    There was even the "good" Lionel.

    The plot has been done to DEATH. DONE! It's over. No more altered personality, PLEASE, for the love of RAO!

    But it didn't have a freak. Oooh! Pretty.

    And it showed some Chloe. Okay. That's good.

    But OH! On the way for a three-pointer, Lionel just turns evil again for no reason. And evil Lex is not really that evil, he's just regular Lex with a little more snark. And a few murders, but they remain unnoticed at the end of the episode, so that kind of negates their efficacy.

    But then there's Chloe actually hinting at the secret.joy! But then a giant metal walkway drops on them, and dang, it's kind of, well, implausibled out of goodness.

    This show was like its storyline, split into absolute crap, and moments of greatness. Then in the end, it came back together, and the result was, well, average. Which is a disappointment to me, because I thought this to be one of the only episodes that I've seen for the final few that really jumped at me and said, "Oooh. That might be REALLY good." I was spoiled by Memoria last year, it would seem. The event episodes are now 3s, and most of the regular season is dwelling near one.

    To be frank, I'm worried for the show, and I think next season might be the last not because of some plan, but because of the way the stories are just generally tanking. I mean, it's like Revenge of the Sith. You say to yourself, how can they screw THAT up. And I mean, it's HARD to screw a great Luthor story up. But they manage.

    A lot of it is dialogue.

    A lot is implausibility.

    Some of it is redundant placing of cast.

    Let us begin!

    We start out with the scene where Lex is trying to irradiate seeds so that he can end the world's hunger problem. The thing is, he's found a way to make the sands fertile with only a few drops of water and Kryptonite. Sounds like a LaHaye plot to me, but then, what do I know about steal-er, plot appropriation?

    The problem is (as we later find out) the fruit tastes bad. Rotten.

    Minor diversionary commentary here...I saw that, and the first thing I thought was, "Ah, America.". See, I love this country. I really do. But I think, in many ways, we are an arrogant people. So much so that it is assumed that if a fruit tastes bad, but nothing else is wrong with it, Rwandans wouldn't kill each other for it. It's like the assumption that just because needles hurt, people wouldn't want their cholera healed or something. I swear, if anyone from the Depression were around right now and in youthful form, they'd have smacked both Lex AND Clark around.

    I tell you, there are people in the world that would KILL right now for rotten tasting perfectly good fruit. And it shows moral ignorance when Lex keeps it for the taste...an American tendency, in my experience. We throw away the crusts; we want disposable brooms instead of being grateful we have brooms. And kids are narcissistic self-indulgences in many cases instead of our hearts and souls. Many exceptions, as you know, but there are many examples, as well.

    But we just don't think that way, so it passes in a show as nothing. Either that or the writers just didn't have the insight to make the apples make you eventually sick or something.

    He pushes the heat in the wrong way, of course, and the blast hits him, and he starts jiggling around and doing the "I've gotta pee and the next bathroom is in Zimbabwe" dance.

    I've noted in the last few reviews how the quality of the special effects have seemed to go downhill, and this is no exception. It looks like one of the amateur effects that I have on one of my camera that I use for my video poems, when you press "jitter", with a little bit of blue coloring thrown in. It didn't pull me out, but it made me think, because we used to have really cool effects, all the time on that show. Now they're often so normal for TV that they pull me right out.

    So he falls over, grabs the doc, and says, "That was 1.22 gigawatts, not 1.21, wasn't it, dopey?" And the doctor nods, and they disappear.

    I start shouting at them, "Dudes! You forgot to put out the fire! There's a fire!"

    And sure enough, there is, and they don't put it out. I mean, I know the doc was hurt, but I'll bet that equipment was worth a lot of money. It pulled me out.

    Then Lex comes around the corner, bad Lex, and immediately, at the same time, me and my buddy Brock (who watched the show with me this week and deserves credit for half of my half-wit) turned to each other and said, "I'm good Ash! I'm BAD Ash!"

    Later, they even give us a "Hail to the king, baby.", though it' s more of a Mel Brooks reference. Very cool geek moments, at that. And I started thinking, okay, bumpy start, but that was neat.

    The good, and then...

    AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES!

    It's bad enough that Chloe and Clark magically appear at Lex's bedside with no real reason, but then Lex has to go and ask why in dialogue. Chloe says, "Uh, I have a friend with the EMTs."

    You know, I know some reporters. In the last few years writing, trying to move up, I've contacted them. Not many have that many sources. It was really distracting.

    That's an annoying habit the show has picked up. They take something that the audience might find implausible, and then they talk about it in the dialogue to explain it away, and it only makes it worse because the explanation is so diabolically retarded in capacity for plot that it makes your bile duct shoot acid out your ears and plugs up the works for the next three editions of the New York Times.

    And then we get Chloe ripping into Lex, talking about how he can 't be trusted (SECRETS AND LIES! SECRETS AND LIES!), which is usually Lana's line. And especially rude given that last episode Lex not only saved her cousin's life but also, through secrets and lies, lost a lot of money for Lex. If anything, Lex has been a good guy to Chloe. Lionel? Well, he's been a nasty bag. But Lex? What's he ever really done to Chloe? It's like what Clark has "done" to Lana. SECRETS AND LIES! In other words, nothing that wasn't for her own good and obviously so, but because it suits the purpose of the show for all male characters outside of Jonathan to be amoral scumbags, they play it up. Post-Feminist given, that. And I don't mean the equality brand of feminism, which I love and endorse, I mean the John Brown school of "justice" feminism, where the best reply to antagonism is violent revenge in kind instead of rational purporting. Ergo when a guy tries to kiss a girl he gets slugged because he dares to assert what is, to most men, expression, but a female expression with no logical validity behind it (attacking Clark and Lex when they continually save their lives) because a lauded "you go" girl standing up for herself.

    There's a secret and lie they don't tell you, though. Someone who abuses you but then expects you to treat them like a goddess, male or female, is ridiculous and the antithesis of entertainment.

    To speak of a point already made, I guess, but maybe if I say it again and again it may meet the right ears, to wit.

    I just get angry when Chloe speaks of the "Luthor bottom line" when that line includes the reason her cousin is not in jail and the reason her life has not ended multiple times, and it's considered logical.

    So Chloe all of a sudden wants "corroboration" before she believes Lex. This from the girl who can leap to the conclusion that a girl can control bees if bees suddenly attack people, the girl that believes that, say, if I jump off a roof and don't get injured, it must mean I can fly. The girl whose astonishing leaps of logic have led to incredible discoveries time and time again.

    The make her say that dialogue so that the fact that she breaks off from Clark to show the duality of the two Lexes seems natural, and instead only makes it seem more forced. And it pulled me out of the narrative.

    And Clark, well, I guess he doesn't need corroboration. He just wants to follow Lex to wherever his experiment was. I'm beginning to think the general consensus that this Clark is the dumbest man on the face of the Earth is about right. I mean, what does Lex experiment on? What has he always experimented on?

    KRYPTONITE!

    Daiiiii, yeah Lex. Let's go look at the pretty rocks.

    You okay, Clark?

    Uh, it was the apple.

    No, really, man. It seems you always get sick when I show you kryptonite.

    No, Lex! I just...I...I don't like the post-modern staccato aesthetic of your corporate experimental headquarters. It's making me vomit.

    Uh, okay. Whatever, Superman.

    Gee thanks, Lex. You're a pa-er, what? No! Superman isn't here right now.

    The good thing about an episode devoted to Lex Luthor is that you get to see a lot of Lex Luthor. The BAD part of an episode devoted to Lex Luthor is that you get to hear Michael Rosenbaum and John Glover butcher their own character names again and again and again. I must have heard "Luther" about twenty times this episode. And maybe it's just me (Is it? Someone will no doubt write me and tell me I'm insane. Insane? I was insane once. They made me tell an old joke. It drove me insa-), but I am driven CRAZY every time I don't hear LuthOR. Being a poet, I assign a lot of value to the intrinsic values of a word, and THOR is one heck of a lot more powerful and epic than "ther", which has a much softer assonant relevance with the rest of the declaration.

    Example:

    We're Luthers.

    We're LuTHORS. Say it. Try it. Which sounds more bad@@$ to you?

    The doctor from the lab tells bad Lex that he can likely reverse the process if he can just get access to his notes.

    Ah, good. I mean, I didn't know that undoing unexpected crazed mutations that you haven't even witnessed yet with science you don't completely understand was so easy. But like the doc said, "It's not an exact science." No, wait, that HURTS the credibility of that idea! Curses, Luther!

    But anyway, assume you buy the fact that the doctor could reverse something he doesn't understand (I don't), then you have the fact that bad Lex's response is to KILL the doctor. Now if Lex knew enough to do what the doctor can do, why not do it himself in the first place? Killing the doctor doesn't make sense, especially given the cool, rational, evil Luthor we all know and love.

    And then he just walks out.

    Now here's a little storytelling 101. When you write a story where the events have to be forgotten and lost in the past, especially things that are really big deals, like, I don't know, MURDER, you don't make an explicit point the rest of the show of showing that the room where the murder occurred was being watched by video cameras. And when he used a needle that would likely take a lot of imprints on the plastic.

    That kind of tells you that people will know who killed the guy.

    There's also the matter of the dead security guard. Lex commits two murders, and what, the police just say, "Must have been his evil twin."

    Well then, by God, I'm gonna kill me some people I don't like and blame it on Monkeybella. Wouldn't you?

    "Tu retard."

    Thank you, Monkeybella. I think.

    Then we have Lionel in the house, AGAIN. What is with that? I mean, look, I know it was just last year that Lionel tried to KILL Lex. AGAIN. And I know that he's double crossed Lex for the whole show. Why would Lex put up with this? Is he catching Clarkstupid? I mean, even the GOOD version of the Lex that I know would have liquidated Lionel two years ago. He hasn't even changed the name of the COMPANY!

    "Oh, son, I was worried about you."

    What, there's no telephone? I know Lex has a constant cell phone. Everyone on this stinking show has one, odd for a poor farming community.

    Then we have some COOL! Lex meets Lex, bad Lex drops a sweet intro, then cold cocks himself to the floor. Cool scene. I thought, "Hey, this could get good!"

    "Meet the REAL you!"

    Awesome. I've been wanting to do that since the show started, and the few times we've seen him have been, perhaps, the best moments.

    Then we cut to a scene where Lex is tied up in manacles and then given the old "Man in the Iron Mask" treatment.

    Bad Lex then begins monologuing. Seriously.

    I have determined that there should be a list for this episode. The list of things that could not POSSIBLY have been procured in the near day that this show seems to take place in. Or even if they had a week, would be hard to find. I call this the "Emily Dinsmore" theory of instant improbable prop production. Say it fast.

    Number one is antiqued iron manacles with which to hold good Lex in dramatic fashion. You could argue they were just lying around. Lionel may be a kinky guy. But then, I doubt it.

    So that sucked. But then look!

    "It's good to be the king!"

    All right. Geek points. Maybe we're going the right way again!

    And hey! We see more of Chloe! ACTUAL Chloe. I mean, okay, so it 's hard to buy that she can hack into a hospital's computer, but at least she's THERE!

    7?

    7?

    7?

    What do you mean, 7? "I'm sorry, sir. Craps. The house wins."

    The house?

    Yes, sir. The house of Luther.

    Ha ha, very funny. NYAH! (I sweep the chips off the floor, bounce the pit boss off the roulette wheel, take the money and run, blaming it on my evil twin).

    More like the house of WB, but anyway.

    We all rolled craps, because now even LEX idolizes Lana for no apparent reason. I fricking give up. When's Jonathan gonna try and leave Martha for her? When are we going to see Miles just off camera making kissy faces?

    Usually I understand why people like tart headed women who are attractive. I mean, look at Britney Spears. She's an obvious tart, she's a body they pay to sing. She doesn't write her own stuff, she lip synchs like all the rest of the "pop" morons you see on TV, but I can understand why a guy would have a healthy fascination with her, well, tracts of land.

    But if Britney were to suddenly start walking around and saying "The sky is black!", people wouldn't just go along with it, would they? Maybe they would. Anyway, that's the assumption underlying Lana.

    Bad Lex is, I would assume, the calculating and evil Lex who will occupy the Superman world. He goes for Lois, and that I can see (in the comics), but THIS Lana? Why? What end does that serve for him? What does Lana offer Lex? The women Lex passes off as NOTHINGS and sends necklaces are way hotter than Mrs. Lang, and with his money, he can afford someone a LOT more beautiful. Hate to put it that way, but the truth hurts. And assuming he was an opportunist, the first thing he would NOT do is say, "Hmmm! Let me go get married to Lana!" He'd say, "Hmm, I wonder how much a date with Mrs. Spears would cost?" To bring the analogy full circle.

    But anyway, this is craps. We know it's craps. So we roll again.

    CRAPS AGAIN.

    When it was Lionel, we had the fact that MAYBE, just MAYBE, he attempted to force the kiss on her. He could have had his hand on her throat (though that wasn't made clear). When it was the jock, Lois kicked him for being pushy, but hey, maybe he was a threat, drunk as he was, a person can concede in the most LIBERAL possible world of interpretation where a woman, if even slightly threatened, is justified with all due force.

    But what Lex did with Lana was in no way, in NO way a threat. It wasn't tactful, I will concede. But I've done that same thing. You put a hand to the cheek, you lean in to kiss the girl, and she goes, "God! No!" And then runs to get the fire extinguisher while your heart scrapes around in your New Balance shoes and the door calls to you, screaming, "Craps, buddy! You're out dinner, but you can still get home in time for a Britney Spears video!". You know, because you like her music. Et-hem.

    But I tell you this, I am a man who is against violence toward women. I know it is one of the most pervasive, misunderstood problems in our society. I also know two more things. One: There are many men who are abused as well, who "man up" and just take the beatings. Two: Had a girl behaved as Lana did in this episode, I would have struck back, or, more likely, called the police. Unacceptable.

    That it is shown in a television show as an "okay" thing when a girl who doesn't want to kiss you BEATS you for having the presumption to try, something is wrong in our society. Something is very wrong.

    And the reality is that while this is unfair to the men, it is also unfair to the women, because men who see this show will assume that this is how women behave (and many do), and men who watch this show will think it's not okay to love someone, to desire someone physically, and to act on it. If she says no, fine. Get away. But saying, "What are you doing?" not "STOP!", and then shoving and slapping the bejesus out of someone is not the appropriate response to attempted affection.

    As I have said three times now (and it tires me, it really does, this is totally unacceptable), put it in the reverse.

    Lana comes to Lex's mansion in the grip of some flower fugue, goes over to Lex, caresses his cheek. Lex says, "What are you doing?" Lana says, "Something I should have done a long time ago." And leans in to kiss him.

    He then shoves her away forcefully and slaps her in the face.

    Even thinking about that has you angry, doesn't it? You're thinking, he'd be quite the scumbag.

    Yeah. Me too. But if a girl does it, it's okay.

    And there's a deeper subtext here, too. For instance, what have the writers tried to do this episode? Show how cool evil Lex is by showing him doing the dastardly things that regular Lex would not do. And what are the most evil things they can think of?

    Killing people. Okay. That's good.

    Scaring his father? Well, eh, that's not so bad, but it's okay.

    And ooooh! The big, worst thing you can do on this show. Want Lana for SEX and not PURE VIRGINAL LOVE? How could he? That dastard! (Which is what you get when you turn a man with no father upside down and make him a man with no mother. Get it? I know, I know, too complex. Think about it.)

    You know, it's bad enough that this is kind of the worst thing that Lex could do, it's bad enough that this is just a silly excuse to include Lana where she's not needed, but the really, really stupid part is that this is a scene that, as I said, we have seen three times already. Lecherous guy (who's totally to blame for being attracted to a pretty girl) tries to kiss the girl, gets beaten.

    I'm sick of seeing it, and every time I see it from now on, it's an instant one for that episode. I WILL NOT TOLERATE violence, male or female, and I can in no way condone a show that does. Ergo if I see something similar, male or female, instant one rating. Call that harsh, I don't care. I have to take some stances, and one thing I cannot condone is needless violence from who we are told are GOOD characters.

    It is frustrating to me. Truly frustrating. I've seen men beaten, just taking it, because in this society it's not okay for a man to stand up and say it's not okay for a girl to hit them. This show pointed out that "Well, it's okay, if you're Lana."

    It's not okay.

    It will never be okay.

    And hey, get this. Lex threatens to take the Talon away from Lana. You start feeling for her until you remember that MARTHA OWNS THE FRICKING TALON. Even assuming Lex forecloses, it'll take him most of a year. Oooh. Big threat.

    We see Lex with his father, and they do battle. Lex gives him a scar on his cheek with a practice sword that has no sharp edge (they even show the dull part in a really big close-up). Will the scar be there next week? No, I don't think so. Was this enough to make Lionel go evil again? Uh, yeah, apparently. How? Your son finally becomes the fink you wanted him to be, so suddenly you're pals? What a STUPID, FAILED sub-plot Lionel going good was. And now, we are back to the status quo. Now, other than Pete leaving and Lois and Jason coming, the show has NOT CHANGED. At all.

    I cannot express enough how angered I am that I sat through ten episodes of good Lionel for no good reason at all, and that Lex now just allows Lionel all around the mansion. There is NO character dynamic there anymore, it has been completely destroyed by the fact that you're wondering how they can even look at each other, much less talk.

    Lex smacks a girl on the ass as she walks away, and we see the other side of the hypocrisy. Lex is EVIL, so it's okay that he smacks a girl on the butt. But instead of her chastising him, she gives him a look like she likes it.

    Now, I'm of that school, myself. Friendly butt smacking, MWA! (two fingers to the mouth, kissing sound, and pulling them away). But let's look at what it says about story cohesion when you show a man kissing a girl then getting smacked for it, and it's a negative response, and then you show the same man smacking a girl on the butt, and it's fun. Confusing to say the least.

    So non-virginal flirtation is EVIL and leads to beating, but pseudo S and M butt smacking is sexy and alluring.

    Imagine being 14 years old and watching this. Confusing much? Part of my failings growing up was that I learned a lot about how to interact with girls from television and books, because the time I should have been stealing my first kiss I spent reading in a lazy susan alone. So I trusted my media, and this impression it gives is a false, convoluted, and often just plain stupid one.

    This show exacerbated that for me. We, the media culture, continue to wipe away and blur the lines of what proper human communication can be, and the result is that a woman can smack a man and be virginal, but a man can't smack a woman on the butt in a playful way without being a lecherous cad.

    The solution? If you're a chick, next time you see me, smack me on the butt and I'll slap you across the face. The only POSSIBLE solution.

    And then the long trail of suck continues into the barn, where we have the 8:30 passive aggressive moment. Lana, who, last I heard, was at complete odds with Clark (in fact, tried to kill him with a sai and a sword), suddenly comes to him to talk after Lex DARES to be attracted to her and act on it.

    Clark says, "Are you okay?"

    Her response?

    "Yeah. No."

    Yes, and then no.

    Now, all seriousness aside, I wanted to smack her for that. But see, civilized people DON'T do that kind of thing.

    I know a girl who shall remain nameless who actually answered a question I asked of that nature like this:

    "Are you doing okay?"

    "Yes. No. Maybe. I don't know. What?"

    She wasn't even listening, and she answered four times. It was passive aggressive and stupid, so I ribbed her about it for a while. I still do. It was a joke, it was so crazy.

    The woman who is into the horrors of SECRETS AND LIES lies in every other breath she takes.

    Are you okay? Yeah. (LIE)

    Yeah. No. (A lie, and then the truth because she knew she couldn 't get away with her lie).

    Dave Sim would have a field day with this show. I think I've now had enough of one today.

    We don't go a hair further with the stone plot, but Lana is still there why?

    Lana then gives THE SPEECH. You know, the one she started giving in season two every episode, and then just never stopped? Here it is, verbatim, from this episode:

    "You think you know someone, but there's this side of them you never see until it's too late."

    And of course, she's talking straight at Clark. Jason, Whitney, and Adam are conspicuously absent from her virginal concerns.

    And then they try and make Lana seem really nice. Clark says, "You've seen me at my worst!"

    In one episode, yeah. Out of some 83.

    Lana then replies, "And at your best."

    Revealing that the comment about the side you never see WAS about Clark, and that even though she just slammed him, she's still a nice person. At least on the surface, which is all that counts with her character.

    You know what? Clark did the same stuff he did to Lana to Chloe. He lied to her ALL THE TIME. What did she do? Well, she loved him. She realized that he was saving her life (even before she knew of his powers) and fell in love with him righteously. No passive aggression until AFTER he turned her down, and then only for a few episodes. And you'll note I slammed on it then, too.

    Just goes to show you that you only want what you can't have or what's bad for you, I guess. Because Chloe's kind of a nice little lady, when it comes down to it. And Lana, to wit, has added nothing to Clark's story. At all.

    And THEN, we see Clark duped by Lex into going back to the experiment site. "I'd know the real Lex! DUR! Let's go back to the Kryptonite warehouse!"

    "Good boy, Superman! Now smile for the rock!"

    "Thanks, Lex. Er, wait! I'm not Superman! Superman's somewhere...else right now."

    "No, no, Clark! Stand a few more feet to the left."

    "Why, good Lex?"

    "Because I put the rigged trap a few feet back."

    "Oh. Okay." (takes a few steps back). "Wait a minute, rigged wha-"

    FWOOOMB!

    Bye bye baby, I believe the line was.

    So yeah, that was about my reaction when Clark was stupid enough to go back to the lab. And then there's the second thing on the list that Lex would not be able to rig up in one day. GIANT FALLING HYDRAULIC PLATFORM.

    Assuming you had the men and the contractors, even if they had the hydraulics in town and the concrete was poured and in place, an infinite number of men could not rig that drop in a day. Period.

    And so Clark catches it on his back, saving Chloe. He actually shields her with his body. NEAT! Said I, thinking that finally Clark would know that Chloe knows, and things would get dramatic.

    Sigh.

    No. Apparently lying under someone who is indestructible and coming out unharmed when a slab falls on you renders you instantly and unexplainably unconscious, and gives you a few major cuts on your face (despite being shielded) that will disappear before the next week instead of scarring you hideously.

    Took me right out. And also revealed to me that none of what happened after this mattered, because Lex learned Clark's secret, and whenever Lex learns Clark's secret, he's going to lose his memory. So I couldn't take things as seriously.

    And it immediately occurred to me that when Clark was put back together, he could remember things. But when Lex is, he doesn't? I could be wrong on that, but you know, it seems really convenient to me. Like Lionel forgetting everything and suddenly getting good. Lazy writing, it seems to me.

    Chloe thanks Clark for saving him. Wow! Imagine that, Lana.

    Moment of good, there.

    Then somehow we find out Lois is staying on the military base with the General? Last episode, she told him to go to hell. I know it's conceivable that she could have made up with Sam, but why are we watching Lana be passive aggressive when we could be seeing that? Such gaps pull you out of the narrative, make you go, huh?

    Chloe: "Let can be devious enough."

    When, Chloe?

    Lex is at the barn, and Clark is trying to tell him that he has no superpowers. How does he do this? By super speeding up the stairs to tell Lex. DUR! Lex may not have seen him, but you know, I've never seen a man scale stairs that fast.

    Then we have two cool lines, "Powers and abilities beyond those of mortal men" (for once, one of the clichs not used in a bad way), and "I AM the real Lex." Both awesome geek moments.

    Then, we hit bad again. Monologuing. Lex, already stricken with the Clarkstupid, starts monologuing about how the other Lex is still alive and being kept somewhere, just waiting to be discovered.

    Very Dr. Evil.

    Would Lex Luthor do that? Not even NICE Lex Luthor is that stupid. You tell Clark, "Yeah, I killed him. He was insolent.". Then Clark gives up and grows despondent, because that's what heroes do when you kill their loved ones.

    But nah, let's just tell the man with superpowers your plan. That's not Lex. Sorry. That's one of the teenage moron freaks I hate seeing every week.

    But then, there's some COOL again! Lex busts out with the Kryptonite ring, and stops just short of some groinal thrusts. BOO YAH, Kent! And he co-smacks Smallville up out the box and into the ground.

    NICE. Very cool. Except for the fact that the ring is the last thing on the list you'd never be able to get made into a ring in one day, but it's made up for by its coolness.

    But then we jump straight to Star Wars. And not in the good way, in the SUCK way.

    "I'll NEVER join you!" (used twice, Empire and Clones).

    And then we jump to cool again. Rosenbaum, rocking the house. He holds up the gun and points to the ring and in perfect delivery, "Yeah! I know about the green rock."

    Beautiful.

    Then "What do you want, Lex?"

    Lex says, "The world! Mwu ha ha ha ha!". Well, okay, I made up the mwu ha ha part, but he did say he wanted the world. Remember Dr. Evil? "The world is mine! The world is mine!"

    I actually laughed at how ludicrous the line was.

    Then the cool again! It was like a studio audience must be in Hell. Look! It's Darth Vader fighting Ash! OOOOOH! But he has to do it with a wet noodle and Vader doesn't get his armor. AWWWWWW. But hey, it's okay, because Yoda's coming in. OOOOH! Unfortunately, he's just the referee, and he's a paraplegic. AWWWW. But wait, here's Lex Luthor, and he's got a Kryptonite ring! OOOOH! But all he's gonna do with it is spout cheesy lines and then get sucked back to being good. AWWWWW.

    But he then does something awesome. He shoots out Jonathan's kneecap! OOOOOH!

    But then Jonathan squats on that knee before they cut to commercial. AWWWWW.

    AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES! (AWWWW.)

    But then, Clark finds the good Lex (OOOOH!)

    And then he snaps his manacles without a key right in front of him, totally revealing his powers. (AWWWWW.)

    Then bad Lex starts talking about Clark's powers in front of good Lex, and starts smacking them both around like wussy punks. (OOOOH!)

    And then Clark blasts the ring with heat vision, bringing them back together. (OOOH!)

    But then they can't remember anything, despite it not making sense. (AWWW.)

    There's also the fact that according to the guru himself, Eddie Berganza, Superman can't heat vision blast Kryptonite without feedback. How do I know this? Well, because I was going to write a story where someone throws a chunk of it at Superman and he uses extreme heat vision to melt it to vapor before it reaches him. So I asked Eddie with our Ask Eddie forum in January of 2004, and here's what he said:

    Neal: I just had an interesting question posed to me by a reader...if someone threw a chunk of Kryptonite at Superman from far away, meaning, so he could see it before it harmed him, and he shot his heat vision at it, would it melt and dissipate, or is heat vision intricately related to his physiology? Since the heat vision is independent of his body, I put my bet on the rock blowing to pieces and dissipating one it reached the chemical gas heat barrier, but I wanted it straight from the man making the decisions...

    Eddie: Remember in SUPERMAN II where Zod throws a concrete slab at him, and it looks like it hurts? That would be the case here. SMALLVILLE also just did an episode where Green K affected his sight. There would be a feedback effect because of this. I am assuming someone with super-strength threw it.

    Here's the link...

    Now I know the comic's different from the show, but hasn't he done this before and had a problem? I can't remember, but the reason I asked the question was, I believe, because it popped up some episode. Someone have a memory for me? Anyway, it was a cool effect, and Lex going back together was better than him splitting apart, but I was still pulled out by wondering how Clark managed it.

    Then we have the cool again, with a Lex line in the loft. "You' re a true friend. Without you, I would have been lost." A clich, yes, but much more close to the myth than "You lie!" or "Strange how people you know can hide things!"

    Which, of course, we get more than enough of the next scene.

    We get a crapana, the dread 8:50 pirate Roberts. Lex goes to see Lana, and despite having been filled in by Chloe (IE, she knows that Lex remembers nothing and did nothing intentionally), he enters, and Lana does the PATENTED turn, fold arms, walk away, pout.

    It's actually an aerobic exercise on the set, I hear.

    And TURN

    And FOLD

    Your ARMS

    And WALK

    And POUT!

    Now WHINE

    And ACCUSE

    Then DO

    What you SAY

    Is BAD

    Your SELF!

    One more time, you're getting good! You GO girl!

    And TURN

    And FOLD

    Your ARMS

    And POUT!

    That's sweating to the extremely oldies. Especially when Lex has explained his actions (something Clark often never gets the chance to do by virtue of the interrupt, the pout, or the snarky comment).

    And then the scene with Lionel.

    "We're Luthors. We're LUTHORS!"

    Except he says, "Luthers."

    Pulled me out of what should have been an EPIC moment.

    That's too bad. But, as you see, the show was like a manic depressive person on speed. It ruled, then it sucked. Then it ruled, then it sucked. Most of the ruling was provided by the Baum, most of the suck was provided by the writer, who gave him piddling, crummy lines and a hack story to work with. Were it not for Baum and his superb stylings, this story would NEVER have gotten off the ground, much like transference. Yeah, there was no freak. But there was asinine Lana, there was a story we've seen too many times to count, and there was a lot of silliness and incoherence.

    But there was also the ROSENBAUM, man. And hail to the king, baby.

    3 of 5. Tragic. It should have been a five. It really should have.

    And you know, when you shoot out someone's kneecap, generally you get arrested for that. And killing two people. That was the biggest hole. You think JONATHAN is not going to press charges? And even if he isn' t, unless they didn't go to the hospital, hospitals are required to report gunshot wounds to the police, and that mean ole sheriff is just itchin' to get back at Luthor. After all, Jonathan is just a good ole boy.

    And next week? "For four years his classmates have been dying to know who Clark Kent is taking to prom!"

    I kid you not. That's what the ad said. Schlub boy Kent, who had a minor burst of football success (which made the other students resentful, if I remember right), is now suddenly the most popular kid on Earth? And also, the implication of more witch action. Lord save us.

    SUPER SHORT REVIEW:

    OOOOH! AWWWWW. OOOH! AWWWWW. OOOOH! AWWWW. OOOOH! AWWW! I AM THE REAL LEX! YEAH! NO. MAYBE. I DON'T KNOW. WHAT? CEREBUS JUST WANTS TO DRINK AND WATCH TV! Smack me on the butt, slap me on the cheek, what does this say about feminism, huh? Who cares? Lana's hot. And TURN and FOLD your ARMS and WALK and POUT!

    CRAPS!

    3 of 5.

    ANCILLARY BUSINESS:

    Wait, WHAT? What are you doing, reading this review? Are you mad! I'm going insane here! Get your booty over to the contest that could nab me an agent and check it out! While you were all waiting for the next Smallville, I got into the sixth round...and in three weeks, I could have an AGENT!

    What does an agent mean?

    Well, it doesn't mean I'll stop writing here, by God. Steve doesn't know it (or maybe he does, but he's too nice and Machiavellian to see it), but I'm so hooked on the fun this site is, even if I become Stephen King I'll never stop writing here.

    What it DOES mean is that my novels can finally be placed in a publishing house without the guy who reads the novels putting his cigar through my forehead and laughing as the men from day labor push me out the door and tell me to get a job.

    If you've ever been enamored of my work, if I've ever done anything to make you smile, let me call in that favor. Please visit this contest, and if you like my work, vote for me! There are two rounds, one ending on the 23rd, which I have to simply not get the least votes for, and then the FINAL round, starting a few days afterward, and if I get the most votes, I win. Simple as that. Less than a month. And I beg you, visit! Because frankly, I'm having a coronary here stressing over this contest, and if I have a coronary, I promise the caption contest will be at LEAST a day late, and I will dwell on Lane for an extra paragraph for EVERY triple bypass I have to go through, you hear me?

    All jest aside, if you would, I'd appreciate it. And if you want, you can vote once a day. I have an email reminder list to make it simple for folks, where you get a daily email from me (for the next three weeks or so is all) and you can just click and vote. To be added, please shoot me an email (bailey.neal@comcast.net).

    Do it for the Godfather! I mean, seriously. You don't his mother to see Sonny like this, do you?

    Besides, if I lose, Rebecca's doing ALL of the reviews, from here on out! LOL. And she LOVES Brian Azzarello. Like TOTALLY!

    Here are the links (LOL (think of the children)):

    http://www.newcamphorror.i8.com/dark-idol/DI-StoriesFrameset.htm for the stories, and http://www.newcamphorror.i8.com/dark-idol/DIVote.htm for the voting.

    WOW, what a month off. Like I said, I plowed through the rounds in Dark Idol biting my nails, and then, believe it or not (shhh) I started a new novel. I know it's a curse to talk about a new project, but hey, I don't care. If I did what everyone said you should do, I would be a newsman right now and more concerned with money and my coat than my prose.

    I also spent a good deal of time going to Oregon and chatting at length with Greg Rucka, and I have a 12-15 THOUSAND word interview that I will likely be releasing in the next week, along with a companion piece, an interview with Karl Kerschl, which he was kind enough to agree to. Keep an eye out for that.

    In short, a series of stories and a series of extra-brainicular activities impeded my ability to answer letters. The more I work, the more I get responsibilities, but the harder it is to keep up. I love it. I had 175 emails to answer yesterday, and this morning, it was at 100, so I have a business section, for sure, but I'm sorry to those of you who are STILL awaiting a response. It will come, by Monkeybella! I am doing my human best. And my monkey tertiary minor effort.

    If you would like to interact, though, my IM services are still the best way to go, and I also play me some World of Warcraft every night after I finish my 12-14 hour day at about two or three in the morning. The server is Stonemaul, and the name is Chinaski (Get it? Sigh.) Let's slaughter murlocs and chat the 'ville, huh? Influence me! And hey, sometimes I'm even on during the day.

    I'm sorry I missed the chat last night. After the show I was overtaken by a large orangutan with a midget on his shoulders singing the oompa song, and since I can't help but follow a midget singing the oompa song (They're like the fricking pied piper, swear to God) I found myself drunk and disorderly somewhere in Federal Way picking food from dumpsters before being taken into custody and released to my computers stewardship. And by then it was 9:15, so I just started the review. Sigh. Sorry.

    BUSINESSO DEL MAINO:

    In Pariah, Dave Bratton found (as I was about to mention above, before I realized that I'd be stealing his thunder) that Chloe has officially taken the role of Lana in the Superman mythos. The girl who loves Clark, knows his secret, and gets left behind when he goes off to become Supes. Which is strange, because while that should be the main plot, it is, in fact, a subtle and hardly used background plot. Disappointing.

    I also noted that Lana, while not employed, somehow is managing to pay for her apartment. How? Well, likely the same way she ran a business without any knowledge or adult inclinations. On her looks.

    Gislef points out that in "Sacred", Isabelle says that she comes out when Lana is harmed. So where was she when Sand boy was choking her to death?

    David Khattak says that when Clark is in China, facing Isabelle, she says that he was more powerful the last time she faced him. Really? I thought he just went after her with a gun that they easily took away. Puzzling.

    Marc Nunes has one of my own patented multiple choice questions:

    So if you were Clark Kent and your girlfriend phoned you and said she was in a car and the car had no brakes you would:

    a) Watch from distance as the car goes and collides with some debris (while you have superspeed and do nothing ) and only than grab it in mid-air? b) Run to the driver's door, open it (Rip it off, whatever...) and save her? c) Step in front of the car and try to stop it before it collides with anything? d) Phone her back and say ... "Well, teleport outta there!"?

    Imagine you were bone-headed enough to choose a) ... 1- You have earned the right to a bruised girl friend, because going to full stop like that has got to hurt. 2- You have just destroyed the car, because you DON'T HAVE TELEKINESIS (unlike Superboy) and you can't possibly catch a car like that without leveling it (Remember the bus that Clark stopped?). Oh, and Airbags anyone?

    Great points!

    C. Bowland writes in and points out that in mostly Catholic France, Isabelle would most likely be taught Latin, and Latin is, across media, a typical incantation language.

    Conceded. But how does she know modern English? Huh? :) Just kidding.

    Look what I found over the break! An article on K-Site with an interview from Al and Miles. For the full article, click here, but here's an excerpt I found telling:

    On Clark and Lana having a relationship: Millar: "If you look at the Clark/Lana relationship, it's actually extremely destructive for Lana. Going out with Clark, it's really pretty horrible for her, falling in love with someone who can't tell you the truth and you know that they're hiding something from you. There's a lot of angst for Lana that is pretty damaging. Why does she take it from him? You look at the reality of it - his lies, constantly changing personalities...." Gough: "It's a relationship where they seem like they should be together but Clarks' not capable at this point in his life of making sacrifices that he needs to to be with her. And now, we've introduced Lois and seen the moment where he meets the woman that he will ultimately end up with, who can frankly roll with the punches of his crazy life."

    Yeah. Going out with Clark is so horrible for her. Him saving her life all the time. And he never tells her the truth. Well, okay, he tells her the truth in all things except one, but that's never telling the truth. Why DOES she take it from him.

    Because if she didn't, she'd be dead? How about that one? And tell me, what sacrifices does Clark have to make to be with her?

    I know what he must do. He must sacrifice his part on the show. It will now become Lanaville. And then, finally, she will be ready to CONSIDER a relationship with Clark.

    Anyway, I throw this in so that you know where the fetish comes from. Maybe I missed a few seasons in there, but I don't think I did.

    Irwin Santos has a great daily newsletter, he's written me about Superman and we've yakked back and forth, and he's just a pretty nice guy all around. He showed me one of his costumes, and helped spread the word about the review. Thanks for that!

    Shalamarke wonders what happened to Geoff...it wasn't covered. Agreed. Strange.

    Laurence Cohen points out that Clark catches the car, then just drops it and runs away without looking for Alicia (kinda weird, huh?) Further, a most cursory examination with x-ray and hearing would have revealed Chloe ten feet away. Convenient.

    Stephen G writes in with a few really great Greek Myth references. Without him, that whole column would be bupkis. He's got a really great eye, and I owe him an apology publicly because I've missed a few of his messages over time, on accident. Sorry, Stephen, and thanks! Here 's the new ones:

    In 401, Lex references the library of Alexandria. In 106, young Harry says to Zoe, "It's Euripedes. The sins of the father are visited on the children.". And finally, in 414, one of the dogs is named Hercules. Good stuff!

    Lastly, Parker Johnston wrote in with an extra KO for Lana! In Obscura, the kidnappers break in, and then we cut to a commercial. She wakes up tied up in a carnival, so the KO isn't shown, but it's there. Good catch!

    LETTER OF THE WEEK:

    This one's from Jeff, and it's pretty darned good. It was sent a while ago (my fault) so "last week" is "last month". Don't blame him.

      I'm surprised you didn't notice how calm Alicia was this week compared to last week. Last week, Alicia was hysterical. She wanted to marry Clark. She wanted to run away to California. Of course, her hysteria is only enforced by her love for Clark. At the end of the last week's episode, she seems to accept that things can never be the same.

      Fast forward to this week, and Clark and Alicia are boyfriend and girlfriend, with no clear explanation from the writers as to how this transpired. Alicia acts more calmly, for it appears that she has Clark attached to the hip, not needing to worry about losing him. Later on, Clark begins to seriously doubt and totally mistrust her. Ya know, if I were hated by everyone and the one person in this world who can understand me is beginning to lose faith in me, I wouldn't be so calm. What happened to moving to California, Alicia? It's as if you repressed your emotions and used logical analysis to see the world and Clark, effectively stepping outside of the box that is life. Maybe she is depressed and quietly accepts her outcasting by the community. But I really don't understand why Alicia did not act more emotionally towards Clark's doubt in her words. I wanted to see some freakin' tears, yelling and screaming about why she is innocent. Instead, she just runs away, not defending her beliefs to the person she loves and who is challenging her.

      And then she gets hung. Sigh. It's what happens to all the women in MY life, don't know about you.

    (California?)

    And that's it! Come visit the Smallville chat next week after the show, and feel free to shoot stuff my way! And VISIT THE DARK IDOL CONTEST! Or, LOL, else!

    URK! (Clutches heart) That's one more paragraph!

    Man, it feels good to be back. I miss this. You all take care!

    Until next week!



    Onyx

    Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

    To properly frame my review I need to explain something. I like the Good Guy. The Good Guy's story interests me more than the Villain?s story so as you can imagine this may affect my review of this episode somewhat. Now I understand that Smallville as a show and it's concept is such that the Journey of Lex to the dark side is almost as important in the scheme of the show as Clark's Journey to the Cape. I get that, I understand it, and I appreciate that. However given a choice I'd rather watch Clark's Journey more so than Lex's. That's just me.

    So with that in mind I did like this episode for the most part but not as much as perhaps I should have. The deep look at Lex's dark side was good. The Evil that is in him is rather scary and they did a good job showing that. I was shocked to learn that Lex had considered getting rid of Chloe and Clark before. It could be Evil Lex was lying about that but something tells me that isn't true. I also was surprised to see Lex go after Lana. I suspected he had some feelings for her but the brutal way he went after her was down right low and villainous which was the point I believe. We're seeing Lex Luthor un-plugged and it makes sense that he'd be doing things even the Future Lex we know wouldn't stoop too.

    It was nice to see Chloe and Clark working as an investigative team and I thought that was neat stunt with the ceiling falling on them and breaking over Clark. I was also nice to see the Black Kryptonite again and it's interesting to see that it was actually something made on earth from the green Kryptonite. This Leads me to believe that it was something Swann Developed before his death. Now the question is; was it to help Clark get rid of Kal-El or to help Kal-El get rid of Clark? Something to ponder as we come down to the season ending stretch.

    Most importantly for this episode I think it was very well played by Mr. Rosenbaum. He really did a fantastic job of playing slimy Lex and good Lex as almost two different people. Plus I really liked Evil Lex's Line "I am the villain of the story". I loved that and Mr. Rosenbaum's delivery was so perfect it sent chills down my spine.

    One story line that I felt was really advanced this week was Lionel's but not really in a good way to be honest. It's just, I guess I was hopping for more of a shocking twist from the whole "is Lionel good or bad?" thing. Instead we have the fact that he was good but Lex kicked his butt and re-awoke the bad. That's ok to a point and I am interested to see what Lionel is going to do now that he's Evil again but I really was hoping for a better pay off there. I suppose it is possible that Lionel is playing Lex, going back and forth to try and throw him off balance, which could be interesting if true but it didn't really feel like that is what was going on. The seasons not over yet so there may yet be a twist coming so I still have some hope. I'll hold final judgement on that for now.

    I have some other questions and complaints with this episode though that bring my final grade down.

    How is it Lex remembers what Good Lex did during the split but not what Bad Lex did? Sure perhaps he does but he is not admitting it which is a neat thing to consider but as a viewer I can only guess at that rate now and honestly I doubt it to be true. Another big question I have is how is it there are no charges being pressed against Lex? Even if a Jury/Judge believed the whole split thing they would still have to conclude that it was at least part of Lex that killed the doctor and shot Mr. Kent. At the very least he'd be re-evaluated for a psychotic break.

    I can understand the Kents not pressing charges since an investigation could come too close to Clark but usually when someone shoots someone else, charges are pressed if you want them to be or not. Plus the doctor was Murdered. Things like that are not just dropped because someone claimed to be split in two. Yes I could, as a fan, conclude that there is video showing Lex with Clark at the same time there is video of a Lex "look-a-like" by the doctors room. This could be evidence used along with Clark claiming that he was with the real Lex to prove he didn't kill the doctor but what about shooting Mr Kent? It's just something I thought was a bit weak, story wise, so I am pointing it out here to be fair.

    Over all the episode didn't suck but there was not much there to wow me either. Lex's line about being the villain is really the only thing I can seem myself remembering about this one years down the road.

    So I was underwhelmed with a few questions on the plot so I think I'll give it a C+.

    Doug



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