Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 4 - Episode 19: "Blank"Reviews:
BlankReviewed by: Neal Bailey
Well, this was supposed to be the review where I jumped the shark. I know, I basically said that I jumped the shark already, but I really wanted to jump that baby. I figured that since last week I realized (a bit late, I might add) that the show had jumped, I might as well make this review jump the shark, that way the people that stay around are, like me, the real nuts, the die-hards, the people who love going down with what appears to be a sinking ship and hoping that things get better.
But I can't do that until I have a total stinker of a show, because to jump the shark... well, you'll see. But I'm guessing next week I'll have a chance. Just warning you. It's coming. JUMP THE SHARK.
And to clarify what that means (I got a few confused emails), it's a concept. Happy Days was a good, cool show once (like Smallville). Then all of a sudden, the writers started doing stunts to get ratings (A la the nudity in Smallville), and ultimately, it got to the point of where they just plain repeated stories because they had nothing else. Like, Fonzie jumped a whole bunch of cars once in a finale, and that was the cliffhanger. Soon after, predictably, Fonzie jumped a shark. Therefore, when a show has lost what originally made it very good, it has "jumped the shark". A lot of anonymous people on the internet really hate that term, and don't want it used again. But screw 'em. Grow some patience. It's applicable, and it's a frame of reference everyone gets.
And as the show goes, I'm assuming, so goes a large portion of my readership, in many ways. Which I expected a long time ago, but I figure, if it's going to happen, might as well have fun with it.
The show jumped right after Transferrence. Since then, there has not been a single show with the exception of Krypto that rated above average (and chances are, I was a sucker for Krypto because I have real dog issues).
My contention is that shows can jump back. I believe that heck, with three good shows, a TV show can come back to originality. Smallville is not there right now. It's called "jumping back", and it happens. Voyager, some would argue, after Jeri Ryan (others argue that's when it jumped). I think Enterprise jumped back, just in time to get cancelled. Other than that, I don't have a really good frame of reference, because I don't watch too much TV. But I think you guys get the idea.
But with this show, we had an average episode. The kind that used to skate by with a 4 back when it was somewhat of a new concept for this show. The show whereby a freak appears, and though you hate the freak, you see some new aspect of the character being affected by that freak. The problem with this show was that we didn't learn anything new about the character, we just vicariously experienced what it was like for that character to relive the entire show over again. Meaning, what this was, essentially, was a memory show without the clips. "Oh! This is what it was like when I learned how to heat vision!" Diddle-de-doop, diddle-de-doop! (without the Wayne's World hands)." "Oh, this is what it was like when I first found x-ray vision!", only with Chloe along for the ride, which redeems the somewhat shaky premise in ways. In ways.
I say in ways because the freak was so dwelled on in this episode, and such a peripheral part of the plot. He was also not really given any humanity. He was very plot based. I mean, he was just a guy who had something happen to him. Why do we care about him? What's in his character? Nothing. So he's kind of frustrating to watch. He's also a carbon-copy duplicate in wardrobe of Pete and friends in "Velocity" , talk about a way to touch a nerve and a bad memory for me. I think that was Smallville's first one review ever, as I recall.
And there's also the problem you have with any show where you strip away memory. The main character somehow remembers things they shouldn't, and forgets things they wouldn't.
And inconsistencies! My God! How hard is it for an editor to sit down with these scripts and say, "You know, it might not be plausible if _____ happens.". This tells me one of two things. Either they believe we're too stupid to complain (the likely answer) or they believe that this stuff IS plausible and in a rational framework. I think what they think is that the audience should just go along with it. A reasonable request, if the rest of the show were worth it. An unreasonable request when the utility is less than the burden, as it often is.
My personal feeling is that it is the duty of the creator to create something at least passable in terms of plausibility for the reader. Like Superman's explanation for his powers. Maybe impossible, but at least it's a framework. This show lacked that in ways.
I do like my first note, however. "Actual Chloe?"
And that note happens, in many instances, throughout my entire review. "Chloe? Good God, Chloe? Honey bunches of oats, Chloe? Great Caesar's Ghost, Chloe?"
Yep, that's right, it's a whole episode where Chloe appears more than just to say hi and make the conclusion. Now if they could only do a Lex episode where he isn't a patsy to his friends... of course, many argue that Onyx did just that, but seeing as it stopped the next week, that's not much progress now, is it? And is that the fate of this episode? Likely.
The freak of the week had a power close to many that have already been around. He was remarkably close to the hypno-powers, in that he makes people forget. He was like Seth, the guy who could touch people and make them forget what they hated about him. But, that said, he's never been explicitly done before. But, that said, who wants to see ANOTHER freak? Not me. And was it necessary for this storyline? Nah. It's just as easy and plausible to have Clark wandering around, doing something, and he gets near kryptonite on accident. Say he's cutting down trees on a far portion of the farm with his fist. He smashes one medium sized tree, walks a few feet away, and encounters K. Uh-oh! The tree is still broken, and proceeds to glance across his head.
No freak. Same story. Equally plausible, if not more so.
First scene, Clark and Chloe are talking about how Clark is thinking of the University of Miami. Within ten minutes, Lana is opening up her acceptance or denial to U of Kansas. Er... something weird here? Isn't it kind of distracting to suggest potential schools when soon after showing that it's too late to apply? It's been a while since I applied, so I could be wrong, but that got me.
Also, hasn't Clark already picked his college? I thought he had. Maybe I'm nuts. Maybe I just don't pay as much attention as I used to, because the show doesn't make it profitable (IE the plots are all arbitrary, not based in great sub-plots, like they used to be).
The dude walks behind the cash register, grabs a fistful of cash, then starts to walk out. Lois says, "No way, girlfriend! Uh-uh! No you di-int!"
Now, pause, and think. Just like with Lucy. You have the power to make people forget whatever you want. Do you:
A) Rob the Talon, a family organization that the whole community loves, of maybe a hundred bucks plus change?
B) Rob a rich dude on the street, because even though he's got feelings, he's still a rich dude, and rich dudes deserve a little suffering in their lives? And you know Lex is asking for it, driving so many cars around.
C) Rob the nameless conglomerate bank that is insured and move to Fiji with Lister.
Yeah. I choose C too. Goldfish shoals and all that.
He waves the magic hand, she forgets, and he walks out.
Yeah, okay. But what about the ten other people right in front of the register?
Clark, being the dutiful good guy, chases after him after Lois figures out what's up, but the guy zaps him so horribly that he can't even remember his name.
The effect with all of the old footage in his head was pretty neat, I have to admit. If you go frame by frame (as Barry pointed out to me) you can see a whole bunch of old episodes. It's pretty neat.
Chloe picks him up and says, "Ummm, I'm Chloe. This is a horse. That's a car. There's the dashboard. No, silly, you don't EAT paper. You write on it! Hey. Hey! STOP THAT! You're not allowed to do that in public!"
And all of this happens, of course, on the way to the Kent farm in Chloe's nice brand new VW. I know it's beating a dead horse, but I will never stop being insulted by seeing kids who are portrayed as poor, humble high schoolers driving around in new cars. Life just doesn't work that way, and it estranges me.
And you're so obsessed with this presence that you almost forget the fact that he's lost all of his memory, and she doesn't even take him to the doctor.
My note? "Uh... not again with the squeaky shoes?"
Of the few times that the squeaky shoes makes total sense, this would be one of them.
The outrageous scene with the door was played for laughs, I get that. But it pulled me out of the story. Why? Because the door opens IN. They even show the jamb. So when the door is ripped off, it should have demolished the jamb. Also, even if you have super-strength, when you accidentally pull a door off, unless you reach behind yourself and hurl it, it's not going to go flying like that. It was distracting to me.
And then, to make matters worse, they play it up for laughs. "Uh, it was some freak wind, Lois!" Yeah. Lois would buy that. And while she's at it, she joins Clark with the IQ of one.
BUT, that said, they somewhat redeem themselves when Lois points out that Clark has had amnesia before. CONTINUITY!
Problem with that being, that was just a few episodes back, so they're reusing concepts, and further problem is, it is a direct reminder of the witch episode, which I had placed in a little box in the back of my "bad" room in my head's house. Now it's back open, the house is haunted, and Ash has to come back to my house to ruin it. That's just not good.
So now Lana, who wasn't going to the prom, has decided not to go to college.
Well, no reason, really. They don't explain it. She just isn't. Of course, she hasn't had a job for, what, most of a year now, and she can afford nice clothes, a flat apartment. Why would she go to school? If she can just magically have money, and if she's not into intellectual pursuits (as is evident), why bother? THIS I can buy. It makes character sense.
Of course, if you bring in reality and point out that she somehow has to pay for clothes and food and her flat, well, maybe she DOES need to go to college. But hey, who am I to point out real life?
For that matter, who wants to keep watching Lana whine at Jason? But at least it appears they are breaking off and he is about to go homicidally insane for no reason. That'll at least end this stupid storyline. But the storyline, such as it is, is still there, so there's no boon for the story there.
"The stones, your mom, all the lies!"
(remind me again what Genevieve has done to Lana?)
"There are too many secrets!"
And this is the answer to the question I keep getting asked, "Just where ARE they going with this stones plot?"
But what about the stones in the above? Well, I have an answer for you. There are three symbols on them, right? Well, they all mean something in Kryptonian. "Lies" is one of them. Put together, it forms a nice little rock that you can put on a mound of ground. What do they read?
HERE LIES SMALLVILLE
You like that? I came up with it myself.
In reality, however, there is a real beef I have with this scene. The most vehement emails I've gotten over the years have been over three things. The fact that I assert that Lana is half-chinese (God forbid the truth), the fact that I think it's not okay for girls to hit guys moving in if the girl hasn't loudly said, "NO!", and the "you're always negative" crowd. This one concerns the violence.
You'll recall I really criticize the three times where women have used violence to prove a point. When Lana punch slaps Clark/Lionel for trying to kiss her, when Lois kicks a guy in the stomach for being drunk and horny, and when Lana slapped Lex for daring to try and kiss her last week.
This episode, Jason GRABS Lana, SHOVES and SHAKES her, and she just stares at him. Sensible to you?
This confounds the message even further. So it's okay to slap a guy who dares to be attracted to you, but when your boyfriend grabs you and is abusive? Just let it happen. Especially when you know Flung-Pu.
You see why I am upset? Maybe you don't. But if you don't by now, there's no way I can convince you.
Chloe and Clark sitting down and talking about why old Clark couldn't trust Chloe, however, is a great, straight application of what I think they were TRYING to get at with the SECRETS AND LIES crap with Lana. With Lana, it's passive aggressive, uncomfortable, accusatory, and just generally hypocritical. Chloe and Clark talking here was really well played. If they can move in this direction, more power to them. I loved this scene... and I haven't been able to say that too much of late. To boot, they're actually doing something with Chloe knowing.
Plot motion? You know what that says to me? Check the timer.
Yep! Finale coming up! Surprise, surprise. Now the question is, where has this story been for the last six months?
Clark remembers what police are, but forgets the home he's been in for his entire life?
Clark and Chloe have a great scene with the x-ray vision, and then he sees Lana and starts spurting fire... I don't even have a problem with that. It makes sense. I mean, before knowing her, he had that reaction before, so it's cool.
I take issue with the fact that he just spurts fire from his eyes and then doesn't really think it's too weird, he just keeps walking towards Lana. Even if he's totally smitten, he just shot FIRE from his eyes. That's enough to break the spell.
It is, just like I mentioned, an attempt to evoke in the viewer the thrill of living through the series again. That joy we had when he first got horny and lit something on fire, the fun of realizing he can see through the locker room to the naked chicks.
The problem? Well, we've already seen it, and here it is deliberately derivative, so it's less effective than it could have been had we learned something we didn't already know about the character.
Another for the Clark is dumb file:
I love that our hero keeps crude drawings of the cave that reveal his secrets around. That just made me bust out laughing. I mean, what's the purpose of that picture? To help Clark remember? Remember what? That there's an extra room? That the key is octagonal? That there was a picture with a two headed dragon in there? A two year old could remember that! And yet here he is, what, puzzling it through by drawing it crudely? It really made me laugh. I've done similar things in construction, but, I mean, it's always for stuff that's hard to remember, like the trig or the number of boards. It's usually quantitative or to visualize. And yet here, Clark has drawn squiggly lines... it's almost as if it's a...
HEY! It IS an arbitrary plot device! D'oh!
Lois walks in on him with these drawings, and they have a "You go get 'em." Pep talk. It wasn't necessary, it wasn't really well written. My guess is that it's because they're paying for Durance, they might as well have a scene with her, even if it makes no real sense.
Complete with the horrible after-school music. Remember how cool the score used to be? Now it's that twangee sound of a hand run along a mandolin whenever something happens associated with the stones, and after-school music whenever anyone is talking. Watch that scene over again, if you get the chance, and listen to the music. Gah.
Clark and Lana, having a crapana at her locker.
Clark: "I'd really like to know what happened."
Lana: "So would I." What, she wasn't there or something? She's even passive with the people who don't even KNOW her yet!
Clark: "It was me?"
Lana: Silence, inclined head, indicating YES without having the gumption to actually just say it.
Here is where Clark, not remembering his morals, smashes her across the room like he did Chloe last episode. Or not.
It was Clark's fault. Totally Clark's fault. Lana is infallible. Totally infallible. You know what? I'm not going to buy it just because it's been a year since we last saw this storyline.
Lana: "I don't think we should talk about this right now." Because as we all know, the best way to solve any problem is to ignore them.
Clark: "When can we talk about it?"
Silence, inclined head, camera cutting away.
God, it makes me angry to see such behavior treated as the norm and beautiful. It's the reason some girls are fruity, and a lot of guys play to this crap. TV tells us that being demure (socially retarded) is hot and mysterious, and that the only way a guy can play to a girl who is beautiful is to play the games she plays and assert that she is worthy of a pedestal. You know what? We're all the same. Mystery is not created, it's granted, and by allowing people to get by with this passive lifestyle and making it what we enjoy in our media, we do it to ourselves. We really do. Even when people like me point it out, nothing is done about it. It sucks. It really does. It makes me furious. Why? Because I want to be honest with women, but shows like this make a direct dialogue generally impossible. And this show is a LOW-LEVEL offender on the scale. Watch something like Charmed or the O.C. If we ignore our problems, they'll solve themselves. That's TV's feminine message.
Then the next great leap of logic: At the Talon, they find a business card the kid dropped, apparently in the process of a robbery. Now, I'm sure something like the Talon never gets business cards, so they come to the only logical conclusion. If you find a card on the ground near where the robbery occurs, it MUST be the robber! Or someone who can lead to him.
Great! Brilliant. Smack!
Okay, Sherlock! How else were they supposed to find the villain then?
Good question, conscience. And for that, I have two answers.
First answer? They weren't supposed to, remember, because there wasn't supposed to be a freak in this episode, because freaks are old. Clark got hit with a tree.
Second, if they had to have a freak, how about maybe when he's leaving, Lois got his license plate number even if she didn't see his face? How hard is that? And that's a simple solution.
At this point, we have an expository scene where the son comes home and we meet the dad. Neither of whom we give a rip about, but if we didn't have this scene, the later, agonizing five minute "What really happened?" montage couldn't happen.
Why would he come home to steal food when he can ride a cart right up to the grocer and make her forget what happened? Because we need suck in this show! It's become a requisite!
Hope he didn't drop a card at his dad's house.
So Clark and Chloe show up at this guy's house and accuse his son of theft. Their evidence? A BUSINESS CARD!
And the dad not only entertains the notion, he tells them about the son's past. Only on TV.
Here's how it would really have gone.
"Yes, hi. Can I help you?"
"Where's your son?"
"We think he robbed us."
"Why do you think that?"
"We found his business card at the scene of the crime."
"Jump in the nearby lake, idiots." SLAM.
So they then hear a nearby motorcycle, and of course, the only possible explanation is that it's the villain on a getaway! THE ONLY POSSIBLE EXPLANATION, Robin!
So Clark dashes after him with superspeed, and overshoots him. He ends up down the road in a cattle field, staring at cows.
And of course, you know, he could have continued the chase, given that he has super speed and that finding a motorcycle even without super hearing is easy, but he realizes something. Cows are interesting! He stares at them, we cut to a commercial, and the villain just gets away.
What? What the heck? Who wrote this? My grandma has more logic, and she thinks bigfoot is real and will one day descend from the mountains and start killing people if we don't take action soon with pitchforks.
Clark and Chloe go to see Lex, and Lex wants to pull Clark aside. Why? Well, to pinch him for info, of course. Why? The times Clark has blatantly lied to him. If I were Lex, I'd do the same thing. For protection for both of them. I mean, Clark has literally beaten the crap out of Lex in agitated states, and almost killed him. Remember? Lex is the only one with a real motivation to figure out this stone mess besides Lana. Lana's doing it the stupe way (If I find the stones, all will be well! So what if I turn into a homicidal witch?). Lex is doing it the smart way (research).
They visit the cave, and Clark points out the extra room. So Lex knows it's there now. Good move. Did this require the crudely drawn map? No. But they riff on it anyway.
And Lex talks of Summerholdt, the evil place where he got his memory ganked. Chloe nods and goes to visit, and I realize that the real problem with this episode is that it's just another reiteration of the things we already know. Clark is a good guy. Chloe watches out for him. Lana's a manipulative tart that Clark will eventually get with anyway, and Lex will be forever closing on Clark's secret while never finding it. Oh, and Summerholdt's bad. What about that is NEW, what about that adds to the show?
Chloe breaks into Summerholdt, and when she does, there's no security, at all, despite the highly illegal experiment, despite the guard secretary that later stops Lois and the sheriff, despite the last time this institute appeared, where the building was falling apart.
You'd think they'd get at least a security guard, but NO! Or cameras? Maybe. I'd think they'd at least have cameras in the room where Clark caught the pylons.
Chloe sends Lois a video of them torturing the kid, which I guess they keep just for kicks near the desktop without a password, even though it's illegal and indemnifies them. Ha! That's using the old brain! (Summerholdt joke, sorry).
Clark sees it, and they mention that the accident occurred near Audrey Clearing. AHA! Clark says. That's where he HAS to be (the only possible place!). He then zip-zoom super speeds off. Lois wonders how did Clark disappear? And if I were her, I would too. Which is why the scene stuck out like a sore thumb to me.
There's also the fact that Clark can't remember his own name at first, but he knows EXACTLY WHERE AUDREY CLEARING IS.
A bit strange, y'think?
Clark arrives at Audrey Clearning, and our villain tries to remember what is already obvious to all of us, that the father did it. Otherwise, why introduce the father at all? Dur. So we have about seventy little montages from different angles where the kid tries to remember, and that's when I start screaming at the screen.
"WE GET IT, OKAY? HE'S REMEMBERING. GET TO THE POINT!"
And they do, about five minutes later, after a pep talk from Clark and seventeen angles. And the funny thing is, they never really show the whole scene, start to finish, just the dad holding the gun.
And of course, given that the boy has a shaky, messed with memory, we know for sure that his dad did it and not the kid, right? So Clark just becomes his friend and trusts him, and they ally to go get the dad. Sensible! (In Bizarro world). Me am happy with this plot!
To say NOTHING of the fact that there is no reason at all why the dad would kill the son. Why? Why would he just shoot his son in the middle of nowhere. Go ahead, argue that the son was shot on accident. Then why did they show the dad aiming?
Lois shows up to save Chloe with the Sheriff. And how? I don't know. Imagine the scene. Lois shows up to the Sheriff, who says, "Hey, yer that Lois kid that's always getting in trouble."
Lois: "Yeah, I know, Sheriff. But this time, it's different."
Sheriff (instantly agreeing): "Go on."
Lois: "Well, my cousin Chloe snuck into a professional institute and started rifling through their crap. Now she's disappeared, so I'm assuming they kidnapped her and are hurting her."
Sheriff's brain drops out of her head. Then she nods. "Ah, yes. I see. Let's go!"
Clark and Kevin, the freak, break into Summerholdt through an air vent (no security there, either, I guess), and when they enter a room, there's a bunch of Kryptonite jelly. Apparently, it's so common that it makes a fine jam.
Clark falls over, and says, "Just go on without me."
Instead of Kevin saying, "No, man. You're dying." He goes, "Yulp!" and carries on.
Now, I know that it might compromise his secret, but hey, his secret's ALREADY compromised. Dude saw that Kryptonite affects him. Why not just ask him to drag you five feet and then carry on?
Well, because that requires a sensible story. The separation is arbitrary and unbelievable.
They bust in on the dad, who's really an evil scientist, and he's got Chloe strapped down, ready to be brainwashed. In the... yes... it's real... the giant brainwashing room.
Seriously. How many people haven't changed the channel by this point who aren't reviewing it. The GIANT... BRAINWASHING... ROOM. Who wrote that into the script and didn't immediately thereafter shoot themselves?
So Clark runs over to cross-eyed Chloe, intercepts the beam with his own head, and magically, the beam that takes away Chloe memories gives Clark ALL of his memories back.
WOW! Some logic there. I guess it works different on Kryptonians. In that, when it hits Kryptonians, the plot turns to total pap.
So Kevin saves his bacon (sorry, couldn't stop that one) and yet there are no cameras. Strange. But everyone forgets, and we even get that moment where Lois goes, "Gah! He's super strong! I know he's always been a nice guy and I love him, but now he's a total freak! Whups. I forget."
And it doesn't work like it's supposed to.
Then in the "oh, everything is okay" scene, Lex lies blatantly to Clark. BUT, in his defense, it was in response to Clark lying to him. So I forgive Lex in this case. Lex has a clear reason for lying. Clark lied to him, straight-up, and Clark's lies lead to him getting hurt. Now if Lex starts giving Clark endless trouble for all his "secrets" and "lies" and doesn't want to talk with him anymore, we have Lana. But it is a normal response to treat a liar with lies. But I don't see Lex adopting Lana's moral high horse.
And then another crapana. That's right, folks, they're back. Apparently, a whole year of her hating Clark and loving Jason only requires two small scenes to completely turn around. One that is illogical (her showing up to dance with him for no real reason), and the other non-sensical (her breaking up with Jason despite the fact that his deceptions have not come to light and he's been nothing but great to her to her face).
And even now that they're back together and magically best friends again (ugh), she's still passive aggressive. And a liar.
He asks her if they were date type plans. What about Jason?
Realizing that admitting the truth will make her look bad, she says, nah, we just wanted to talk. Which is why I got all made up like this.
Cue next week, where Lana and Clark are apparently so mended in their friendship that they somehow have a baby.
The Chloe scenes were great, but that crushing wait of all the logical leaps really ate away at the goodness of the show. And given that it's just the next in a long series of logical leaps that they've thrust on us for years now, what could have been a five show is relegated to 2. 2 of 5.
SUPER SHORT REVIEW
I think that... er... uh... I forget.
2 of 5.
Hey, folks. Sorry business got posted late this week. The main reason was yesterday, Smallville day, I woke up at about 9am, and for those of you who interact with me pretty regularly know that I usually get up around 12-3pm, so I can write into the night without disturbance.
Some of you may remember that last year I mentioned I was working on my fourth novel, and that a publisher had solicited it. True. After a year of waiting, the publisher called me in person yesterday to say no. So irrational delusion, anger, and sadness flew over me in waves (not like the review, which is more of an act for fun with the meat of truth), and I ended up eating can after can of cold ravioli and shortly after I watched the show, I went to bed.
I intended to get up at 9am, and write the review and do the Caption Contest. Instead, I woke up, it was 1pm, so here I am. That's what happened, basically.
If you skim this, please don't miss the end part, because there's an announcement you might not want to miss there. Plans for the finale review and all that.
I've been making a concerted effort to catch up on email, and I'm down to less than a hundred behind.
Brian T writes in from way back with Krypto (when the email was sent, too, my fault) and pointed out something curious that I missed. When Clark is thrown in the truck, he's powerless because he's next to Kryptonite. But later, he charges right in to grab and save Krypto, but no problem at all! Crazy! Scotty V caught that one as well.
Phillip writes in to help my memory out, giving me the scene I asked for last week. Basically, the scene where we learned that heat vision plus K is BAD, he shoots his heat vision to stop thieves, and it hits the Kryptonite and bounces back into his eyes, blinding him. That's the one where he got super-hearing.
Monty wrote in soon after Krypto pointing out (it may have been mentioned, but I forgot) that when Genevieve was talking to Jason about the people Lana was destined to destroy (her line) she tells him that they (Jason and Genevieve) are their ancestors. Then, when you think about it, you realize that you can't be the people you descended from's people you descended from, and it gets funny. JB also got that one, same week.
Randy offers a rationale for Lionel's "good" side. It's to stop Genevieve from reneging on her jail release... for some reason or another. Or maybe the warden.
Rob Adams, longtime friend and writer, points out that it would be nice (and easy) to have Clark hanging up from a conversation with Pete every now and again. "Oh hey, Pete! Mom's home. Gotta go!" Click.
I like that one.
B-Rad, a regular correspondent, writes in with a question that he wants some comments on, and a theory as to what's messing the show around. Here's what he had to say:
- I have a theory on why the show just jumped the shark. It all has to do with storyline. What happened was, that some dumb writer had a "fantastic idea" to get more vewiers to watch the show, adding the Jor-el/stones/Lana/tatoo mystery. No doubt, it did increase the viewers of the show for the time being. This worked perfectly, until the later stages, where they did not know how the mystery was supposed to end!!! This was later met by them having a lack of confidence in themselves. This lack of confidence later caused numerous plot-holes such as Chloe not being dead when millions of viewers saw her being engulfed by a ball of fire!!!!!! This inconsistency was later met when angry viewers called the show, yelling death threats not to do this inconsistent stuff again. Writers then got together figuring out what they should do. They decided that the best thing to do, is recycle old plots while thinking real hard behind the scenes on how to make this so called "mystery" work. This is why we are seeing these dumb shows that have been recycled from original plot lines.
By the way, if it's not to much to ask, could you post my theory on your next review? I want to get some feedback from some readers. Laters!
And by the way, last week I got more letters that ended in "Laters!" than I even got sum total people complaining about Lana this year. That frightens me. Good joke, though.
Jack Woodrup has a good question. If Jason was bad all along, why in the world would he give Lana the stone when they got back from China? Doesn't make sense, I agree.
Bill Abraham had a TON of great stuff that it took me too long to get to.
First, he points out that Pa Kent recovered miraculously from the dog bite Shelby laid on him pretty quick. Apparently it went through the bone, and you don't just shake that off.
Another point: How did Clark get his passport so fast? It seems like he's never left the country before (referring to going to China).
Further, how did Pa and Clark know that the girl last week would just leave instead of jumping into Pa's body? Then bam! Look. I have Clark's weakness and I'm free to do whatever. Laters! (Gah. I hate even making that joke).
Michael Herrick has a GREAT point. When meteors impact Earth's atmosphere, they get hot. SO hot that many vaporize. Why is all of the kryptonite green instead of black then?
Andrew McBride noted a few things. First, at the prom, given how many people have died at Smallville High, you think there'd be at least SOME tribute, huh? But even better, when the girl who just died (the freak) goes up and gives a speech about herself, the crowd bursts into laughter in her memory. Kinda cruel for a small town, huh?
And also, if you look at the yearbook in that episode, we see a picture of Clark in the 2001 yearbook. The 2001 yearbook is released the summer before Smallville started. Count backwards. Bad prop!
Paul Neu finds it funny that in Krypto the doctor said he'd never seen a dog bite through solid bone before. Dogs everywhere are perplexed as they chew on their bone. He also wonders why Pa didn't get rabies shots, why the sheriff wasn't looking for the dog, where the public warning was.
He is also upset that with the super powered Rot that could kill kids on the loose Clark chooses to save Shelby and then not hunt the evil dog down. Odd.
LETTER OF THE WEEK
This one really made me laugh:
From my review:
- She takes the axe and pops open a pipe... and out of the pipe comes... OIL. Because you just know that schools need the bubbling crude in mass quantities. Or maybe they really don't. Yeah, I think I'm gonna go with that.
- Dude it wasn't oil. What black, gooey, flammable, and liquid gets mysteriously drained into nowhere everyday? IT'S THE GREASE FROM THE CAFETERIA!! U went to high school you know the food alone could kill a horse so think of the disgusting grease its cooked in. I'm surprised the stuff didnt eat through the floor. She should have just put it in the punch and knocked off every body at prom. Oh and Lana didn't want to go to prom cause unlike when she was in 9th grade and was all Suzy High School her life has turned to crap and all the abandonment she feels makes her not the type to go to prom. That and I think her and Jason are over so she didn't have a date. Maybe I don't know.
I've always done something crazy and different at the end of each year to commemorate the end of another Smallville season. I have a few things this year that I'd like you all to send in and comment on.
This year I have three ideas.
Agree with me or not, the general consensus for the fans is that this year is the worst year yet. A bad year for Smallville is a good year for most shows, but the decline in quality is palpable. I believe that at very least, it's destructive to the fan base.
Ergo, I want you all to write letters. Passionate, inspired letters. Not to me, but to Al and Miles. I want to see if I can find a way to express to him exactly what is bothering the fans in honest frank terms. That doesn't mean curse them out. That doesn't mean saying "your retarded" and signing your name "mxyzptlkisnothomocidal4764". It means writing an honest letter. I'll pick all of the ones that are well done and not crude and send them to the pair if I can, or at very least publish them here. Be honest, but also be nice. That's the first idea.
Secondly, a lot of people have yelled at me in email for daring to suggest Jump the Shark. They hate the term, they don't think it applies, or they agree totally. (Always the more frightening prospect). At any rate, what do YOU think? Tell me when you think the show jumped the shark, or if you think it hasn't, and why. I'll put a thesis on it and a bunch of your letters in the last review.
And FINALLY, the FUN part of the finale.
Lana is obsessed with how horrible people are for telling secrets and lying. I want you to send me the most obvious times in your reckoning where Lana has hid the truth or lied. This can be a basic way (like telling Clark that she only came over to talk last episode when she really came over to date) or it can be more succinct, like an implication through passive aggression. I want to compile a list and put it into the KO Count.
Those are your additions to this column this year... how well they turn out depends on YOU! Get cracking!
And be ready for me to jump the shark. Soon. Don't forget the KO Count! Newly updated!
BlankReviewed by: Douglas Trumble
This wasn't a bad episode. It wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be and it certainly wasn't as good as it could have been but it wasn't bad.
Clark loosing his memory is a story that was done very well on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. In fact that was one of my favorite episodes from that series so "Blank" had a lot to live up to. Knowing that beforehand I may have had too high of hopes for this episode. Add to the fact I was very disappointed in last week's episode and you can see how I may have set myself up for a let down. Thankfully I wasn't totally let down but I must admit this episode was not as good as I thought it could be. I'd even go as far as to say this one was slightly above average but I still hoped for more than that.
The set up was very good. How Clark lost his powers was fitting to the theme of the show and it worked well. I really liked how Chloe stepped in and protected Clark and helped him understand he wasn't a normal boy. I loved the scenes between Chloe and Clark that followed and I was honestly touched by Chloe when she admitted to Clark that he hadn't trusted her but she was still keeping his secret. It really drives home how good a friend Chloe is to Clark and makes me hope he will realize that some day. It was also interesting to finally hear her theory on why Clark was different. Sure it was what I expected but still nice to hear.
I really liked how sneaky Lex was in this episode. Taking advantage of Clark like that was very Luthor of him and I had a lot of fun yelling at Clark to "watch out!" during the cave scene. Even better was near the end when Lex actually went as far as to steal Clark's drawings of the cave. This could lead to Lex finding the artifact Kal-El hid in the cave so it's an important plot point to keep in mind for the remaining episodes. Lois and the Sheriff catching Clark doing his super thing was amusing and it did work as a device to show that the boy with the memory powers was a good kid after all. Plus I liked the stunt where Clark caught the transformers and tossed them aside. I also like how they didn't just cop out and use this scene to erase Chloe's memory of Clark's powers. I admit I feared they would take her memories once the plot of the show began to take shape and I was happy they did not. I am interested in how it'll play out now that Clark is almost certain she knows something. I think it is cool they left some doubt in his mind so he can't just come out and say it yet.
Where things fell apart was the background info on the Boy with Memory powers. The problem was we never really learned why or how this came about. Maybe we did but it wasn't clear and I missed it. From what I could gather, the Dad shot the brother and then used his job at Summerholt to erase this from his other son's memory. Then he implanted false memories to make the other kid believe he was the one who shot the brother. Ok, so, was the shooting an accident or on purpose? I never got that. If it was an accident then why did he have to blame it on the other kid? If it wasn't then what was the motive? I feel like I missed a minute or two of the show? Perhaps I did and simply need to re-watch it but I feel reviews are more honest if written on first impressions so I am doing that now. Also there is some discrepancy with Summerholt. I was always under the impression that Summerholt was in Metropolis. But this episode made it clear it was located at least in the same County as Smallville since the County Sheriff seemed to have jurisdiction there. It's a minor thing sure but something that stood out to me.
For once we have a Lana Clark Yo-yo that worked. He lost his memory and it made sense that he'd have feelings and not know about the problems with asking Lana over for a chat. I also liked how in the end he stood up and said he wanted to make it work. However that said, I feel strongly that the show needs to choose. Either date or not date. They need to pick one and just go with it and I hope this is a sign that they are picking one. We'll see. It worked this week because of the memory loss but if they drag it out next week and start the yo-yo up again I'll be very disappointed. I should also point out that no mention of last weeks prom dance was made at all which increases my belief that last weeks episode was shown out of order. The dance at the end of last week's episode would have been more fitting if the events of this episode had preceded them and John's rapidly healing gun shot wound would have been more believable. At least when I get the Season 4 DVD I'll have to remember to change my viewing order.
So in short I think the episode had some real good points but some parts of the plot fell apart towards the end. I'll give it a B. Above average solely for the Chloe/Clark scenes and the scenes with Lex being a Luthor. Beyond that there was nothing ground breaking or wow inducing.
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