Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 4 - Episode 20: "Ageless"Reviews:
AgelessReviewed by: Douglas Trumble
Well now. This was an interesting episode. Taken on its own as a stand-alone episode it was pretty good. Not great, but good. There were some very touching moments and some good acting by everyone on the cast. Each of the main cast of characters except Jason had at least one good moment on screen that was fitting and true to the character. So all and all I was pleased. There was some minor advancement on the main plot of the season and the stand alone story line for this episode was ok.
If I had to make one complaint about this episode it would have to be its similarity to the Ryan story line from past seasons. I don't think it was an exact re-telling of the same story but there were enough similarities to how they were handled. That didn't help this episode since both past episodes involving Ryan are fantastic episodes and still to this day one of the highlights of this series. It's like Peaches and Nectarines maybe. Both are similar and both are very good to eat. However peaches are way better. A second minor complaint would be an over use of poorly placed pointy objects that result in death. Smallville is one town in desperate need of safety classes on how to store things than can impale you.
The best thing about this episode was the great character moments throughout.
We got to see Clark standing up and helping someone in need. I like this very much and it lead to some great scenes with Clark and the baby. God knows I could have used heat-vision myself a few times during the baby years of both my sons. Super speed, super hearing and X-ray vision would help me more now that they are older. There was a very nice shot of Clark on top of the windmill when Evan died. The red of his coat covering Evan as he went nova looked like a cape and gave me a bit of a shiver down my spine to see. Kudos to the FX guys on that one. It was a very nice visual.
Mr. and Mrs. Kent also had some great moments in this one. They have been somewhat lacking in the story line of late so it was nice to see them more involved this time. I really enjoyed how they were used here. Mr. Kent had more to do here than Martha but it made sense because I think the things Clark needed in this story made more sense coming from his Father. That isn't saying Martha didn't have some moments too. The scene near the end when they talked to Clark on the porch was fantastic and I loved how Martha reminded Clark that just because he may not have a biological son he could still be a father some day.
Lex? Well Lex was Lex and he's full on Luthor now. I loved how he played Clark at the end. I think things are becoming way more interesting now that Lex is fully a villain. What dastardly deed will he come up with next?
Lionel? here is an interesting twist. On the surface one could say he's back to his old ways being the villain. But there is a problem with that. Lionel was admitting his love for Lex and while even though he did some evil-like things in this episode one can't but help but notice that all those things were in protection of his son. This could be played out as an interesting hybrid of the "is he evil or reformed" question. Maybe, just maybe he is reformed but is still willing to go dark side to protect his son. Being a father myself I can somewhat understand that on a conceptual level. Though admittedly I would never put poison in someone's wine. I wonder if they plan to play it out that way. I'll judge when I see the whole story but for now I am intrigued.
Lana was well used in this episode. I think Miss Kreuk had some good moments here. I liked that there was no yo-yo relationship talk. Clark and Lana were spending time together as friends and no one had to give an angst filled speech in the loft about if they should or shouldn't date. THANK YOU! She did channel the mom thing a bit fast but no faster than Martha did the day she found Clark so it fit. I also thought it worked because Lana has been burned a lot in the love department and is at a low point in her life. So with that in mind I can easily believe that she would latch onto the unconditional honest love a child brings.
Chloe was a bit underused but she was used well for her part in this episode. She also had a nice moment near the end with her go get 'em speedy line.
I also should mention something that I did have a problem with in regards to this episode but not with the episode itself. Other than maybe 5 minutes of it was nothing more than a filler episode. Now I don't mind filler episodes. Not everything has to be about the Main Season Plot and filler episodes can be very good. Take a series like the X-files for example. They always had a main plot and lots of filler episodes. I wasn't very interested in the main plot of that show but I really loved the stand alone episodes. They were what kept me watching from week to week. So usually I say "bring on the filler!" However that said there is a problem with a filler on May 4th. We're getting close to the end of the season and there are still many questions that have to be answered. The time for filler has past people. Let's get on with the meat here. I fear too much filler will lead to a rushed conclusion. Let us all hope that will not be the case.
I'd give this one a B-. Good for it's character moments and an ok story but it is a story we have sort of seen before and it's filler at a time we should be getting to the main story.
AgelessReviewed by: Neal Bailey
[Editor's Note: Neal, as he is known to do, goes off on a rant at the beginning of this review. A rant that may not be to everybody's taste, a rant that isn't exactly 100% connected to the review of this episode. However it is entertaining reading if you're that way inclined. If not, then click here to skip Neal's rant and read the real part of this review.]
Tonight, a VERY SPECIAL REVIEW!
That's right... Neal's on vacation and filing this review from SUNNY FRANCE!
I have put on my magical earrings and become wholly more sophisticated, well spoken, and attractive.
For that matter, I have embarked upon a new life, a new personality, and there is NO WAY I will be coming back to Smallville any time in the near future.
Except right now, when we proudly present:
JUMP THE SHARK.
Brought to you by Lifehouse, Old Spice Red Zone, the Talon Mix, Verizon Wireless, Diet Vanilla Cherry Doctor Pepper (which doesn't taste that bad, actually), Green Day, Carhartt, Geico, and Steve Younis (the only really great sponsor I've ever known).
Smallville, EPISODE 420 (No, no jokes!), the 86th episode, featuring the 86th freak of the week, otherwise known as AGELESS.
A very, very, very, very special Smallville.
VERY SPECIAL PROLOGUE:
(Imagine me with a deep voice. Even deeper than the voice that you usually imagine me having. Yeah, like, Four Tops low.)
Tonight, Neal Bailey embarks on a very special adventure. Unable to come up with any new ideas at all, he's decided to repeat each and every thing that ever made anyone enjoy his reviews one more time in an attempt to suck the life right out of all the readers. Join us now, as we embark on a spectacular adventure.
And now, Neal Bailey's review, after a few messages from our sponsors.
Hi, folks! I'm Tom Welling. You know me from such shows as Smallville, Cheaper by the Dozen, and the up-coming The Fog. I'm here tonight to talk to you about the process of writing.
(Walks up to a clipboard with a picture of a man at a table with a light bulb over his head, a brick, a roof, sharp rocks, cash, and a bag of Planters.)
Writing is much like television. Trust me. I would know. It starts like this:
(Welling points to the picture of the man at the table).
This is a man at a table. He has a light bulb over his head. Why? The reason is, because he has an idea. Ideas are valuable commodities, because most people don't have ANY idea! Most people go to work, come home, watch a little television, which is also devoid of ideas (trust me, I would know), and then they do a few drugs, and/or go to bed. Somewhere in the middle, they have children, and like our Smallville tonight, that is a VERY SPECIAL adventure! Trust me. I would know.
So here we are, a man with an idea. Let's use a dual metaphorical parallel to illustrate a point! (Tom whips out another clipboard and sets it next to the other one. This clipboard has a picture of the man at the table, a movie camera, tons of cash, and then a picture of a scythe swinging downward).
There's man one, and man two. Both men start at a table with an idea, a good idea.
Look at man one. Man one. Let's call man 1 Neal Barley, for the sake of simplicity. And let's call man 2 Al Cough.
Both men have ideas, and both men, to put it mildly, know how to spin them into a story. Especially Neal. Neal writes VERY SPECIAL stories. Al Cough writes VERY SPECIAL stories. Both have a knack for making people's grins whiter, their laugh glands runneth, their monkeys clap. Both men are in effect showman, born and bred, and wouldn't feel good in the morning if they didn't have a very special idea and a very special desk to put those ideas down on.
But look! Look here! (Welling points to the brick and the roof on the Barley picture). Neal needs a very special roof over his head, and a very special pile of bricks that one calls a house? What does Neal do? All he wants is an idea, and a ship to steer her by!
So what does he do? He looks at other people. Other people with great ideas. He watches them, and tries to figure out what makes a good writer. People like Greg Ruckeeeeee, Charles Chinaski, Tony Robbins (you know, he writes those girl books), Joseph Hellioner, Hunting Thompson. He sees a pattern in all of the ones he likes. He sees that they were poor, they were hated, and they didn't ever really get the audience that they deserved. But they had INTEGRITY!
And then, here, we look at the other clipboard (Neal steps into the room and looks with Tom). Here, we have man type 2, Al Cough. Al Cough, well, we don't really know what Al Cough's motivations are. All we know is that he somehow took his ideas, and put them in a movie camera (slaps pointer into the picture of the camera) and magically turned them into (slaps the picture of) CASH!
Cold, hard, cash! Al Cough could buy and sell Neal Barley's family, twice!
So, Neal Barley thinks (picking up the clipboard with the money and cash), is THIS what the true goal is? Does this have integrity? After all, without an audience, what is a piece of art? Without money, what is so very special about writing after all? I mean, what is an idea without a price tag attached?
Al Cough had the same idea, concurrently, about a year ago. You see, Al had his ideas, and he ran right through them, zip-zoom! He made a ton of people happy! A ton! And they enjoyed his work, and he made a ton of justified money.
Yes, Neal Barley screams to the screen. YES! THAT is integrity. When you make money because your story is great and because your works are worthy!
So Neal sat down, and he tried his very best to write things that were worthy. He really did. He wrote a novel about a guy who got a whole ton of money, just like Cough, but then went around the United States writing all wrongs. Then he wrote a novel about a hated kid who becomes a leader of the multitudes, leads them to freedom. Then he wrote a novel about LOVE, love, ah love, ye boundless spirit, you wonderful concoction. And then a novel about the end of civilization (but don't worry, there was HOPE even after all of that).
In the meanwhile, he wrote about 1400 poems, he wrote a ton of short stories, he even did his best to get published in a MAJOR ONLINE SITE. And he did! Lord of hosts, he got involved with some cool cats at the Superman Homepage. His numbers skyrocketed! He started getting fanmail! And he felt such a rising connection to Al Cough that he even thought that maybe, if he tried hard enough, he might succeed! He sent out a hundred and thirty different submissions to a hundred and thirty different publishing castle citadels, and marked each letter with pride, good grammar, an intriguing premise, and LOVE, love, ah love, ye boundless spirit, you wonderful concoction.
He then sat back and WAITED. He waited with baited breath. It was time! He would do it with integrity! It had only taken him TEN SHORT YEARS to get to the point of where he could sit and write and not work for about a year. Surely, they could not all say no! Surely, he would win out!
Neal took a very great leap of faith. What is at the end of every leap of faith?
(Tom points to the sharp, pointy rocks).
TRAGEDY. This is the E True Hollywood story of integrity and selling out and fame. And this is the part where we usually cut to commercial. But, given that this is actually already a commercial, let's just cut to something tertiary and intercalary.
In the meanwhile, while Neal started reaching for his dreams, Cough had already met his. He had money. He had a stream of good ideas in his head, and he had whatever project he wanted. Literally. He got Spider-Man 2, and Iron Man.
So what happened? Well, lulled by success, his ideas as realized in his show, Smallville, started to become (points to the scythe on the clipboard) HACK JOBS.
Neal, aghast, turned away from the show and said, "No! No, wait! I had some faith involved here! I believed that if you tried long enough, and hard enough, and you had good ideas, you could keep going forever! You wouldn't have to find an audience! An audience would find you!"
As he said this, he heard his doorbell ring. He went out onto the front porch, and there were 129 letters from 129 publishers saying, "STOP MAILING US. WE HATE YOU, AND WOULD KILL YOUR CHILDREN IF WE COULD. IT IS ONLY THE LAW THAT STOPS US."
"Hmmm." Neal says, closing the door.
The last letter arrives, and lo and behold, it's someone who's interested! He loves the idea, and wants to read it! "Hooray!" Neal shouts, putting the book into the mail (see, when you send stuff to publishers, they don't really read it until they decide if the idea is marketable, even if it's well written, so you must first spend an ungodly amount of postage sending them a request to request a piece of your manuscript before they request that you send a request for them to request the full novel. It's an 87 stage process designed to assure that your story is not only good, but first and foremost (actually, mostly) will make a ton of money for the publisher.). "Hooray! Someone will read my book for what it is, and publish it without regard for the financial potential, and instead the story contained therein!"
And sure enough, the publisher asks for the WHOLE BOOK! Caloot, calay!
A year later, Neal receives a quiet phone call telling him that he has talent, and may be ready in another few decades, but the book is not marketable, because you can see too much of Mr. Barley in the main characters, and that's something that mothers and children are afraid of, and since 60 percent of the book reading public is mothers, and another 20 percent are children, that's not a very good market. Sorry. Not interested.
"WHY!" Neal screams. "WHY!"
(And as he does, Tom points from Al Cough's cash to Neal's cash.)
Money in, money out, I, Tom Welling, explain. That's the way it is, kid. Besides, at least you have audience. Most people lack that. I mean, you've got people who write you every week, people who love the things you love. Most people who want to write have to work the nine-to-five. That's something, huh?
"Yeah, Tom. But I mean, with the show dying, they're not reading as much, there's no speculation. This week I didn't even get enough for Business, and I used to have to cut and choose who went in, because there was so much care, so much speculation. Here. Give me that, you lunk!"
At this point, Neal snatches my pointer.
"Look!" (He slams it into Cough's money). "This isn't right!"
"That's not funny!" Neal says. "I want to write books! Books are an intellectual medium! They appeal to more than sex.and, and... and BOOBIES! There's no comedy! There's an exploration of the human condition! There's a reason for why we are the way we are. There's a look into the perils our souls face in every given day. You can't find that in a kid who ages from 0-80 in one day and then blows up!"
I shake my head and pull the pointer back. But Neal, that's what the people know. It's what they know. They want it. They expect it. You can chide them for repetition, you can point at their inconsistencies. It doesn' t matter. They want something simple that they know, not something complex that solves their problems. They want war, not peace. They want Grisham, not Saroyan. They want an SUV, not a hybrid. They want arbitrary concepts that they can latch onto and run with. Family. Action. Adventure.
Overrated. Here. Look at my biceps. (Neal admires) "Well, they are kind of nice."
Neal runs into the wall, hits his head on it repeatedly, then drops to the floor, sobbing. "No! No! I refuse to believe this. I refuse to believe that we live in a world of mediocrity! I refuse to believe that a man with ideas, a man just as good as any Al Cough, would be relegated to a subtle mediocrity. It's not right. It's not RIGHT! This shouldn't be a world where... where..."
Neal rises, punching me in the jaw, and knocking me instantly unconscious. That puts me at 126,574 in the count! Whee!
"WHERE LUNKS LIKE YOU WHO WERE BORN PRETTY CAN GET ALL THE RECOGNITION IN THE WORLD, WHEREAS THE PHILOSOPHERS HAVE TO SPEAK IN METAPHOR JUST TO GET PEOPLE TO LISTEN, WHERE THE POEMS SIT UNPUBLISHED WHILE JEWEL IS THROWN POETRY BOOKS! It's not right, it isn't."
Neal sits down, wipes his eyes, and breathes hard.
I sit up and put a consoling arm around his shoulders. You know, I may not be that smart, but the idea I put forth can console you. Hey, man. You know? I mean, I can't help what I am. You can't either.
"I didn't write for a week. Not a week. I mean, I had faith, I believed that last novel deal would come through, and now here I am, just doing what I've always done. I want to share the books, man. I want what I have with the Smallville crowd with a book audience. The books aren't crap. I know they're not."
Do they make money?
Then they're crap. Get over it. Write your Smallville review and shut the hell up.
"Jump the shark?"
Yes. Jump the shark.
"But what about the joke?"
"You know, Tom. The final joke?"
Oh. Well, you didn't set me up right.
"Okay. Well, Tom, here's the question. What do you have to say to the fact that you get hundreds of thousands of dollars for being pretty, but I have to toil away for about 14 hours a day for nothing?"
(points to the Planters)
"Ha ha. But seriously. How do I pay the rent?"
You could do like that one guy. He put a picture of a rabbit online, and he said he would kill it if people didn't donate 25,000 dollars to his account by a certain time.
"Good idea. How about if I did something similar, where I promised never to write another Smallville review unless I got, like, a dollar by next week. email@example.com. PayPal."
Wouldn't work. Jump the shark.
"But c'mon, I could extort at least a dollar!"
No, you couldn't. Don't set yourself up for more disappointment. Just do what you've always done. Enjoy yourself, and have fun. Oh, and be sure and repeat everything you've ever done that people like twice, because that's what Al Cough does, and he gets a ton of money.
Whatever, bich. Old Spice Red Zone! Talon Mix! Lifehouse!
VERY SPECIAL REVIEW:
Well, what makes a very special review? Let's look and see at what people have liked about these reviews. There's the courtroom scene. That always goes over well. Multiple choice, that's a blast. Using the word bich so that you can be naughty without being naughty. Monkeybella, but she's pretty new. People always tend to enjoy when you get so mad that you start shouting in all caps. There's the squeaky shoes joke. There's coining new phrases for certain things that happen in the show, like the Clana. There's the huge, mostly anti-feminism in TV rant. There's the Clark's a Big Dumb Idiot. There's the Lana bender (there's always one of those). There's the complaint about poor kids with rich cars. There's the warning bell for Clark. There's... Rebecca? Citation of dialogue. There's the completely unrelated but peripheral tangent (already got that out of the way). There's the cryptic and obscure reference that only two fans get. And best of all, there's the Crapana. If I missed anything, sorry.
Court is in session, and I call to the stand Neal Bailey. State for the record your profession, Mr. Bailey.
Wrong! You, sir, are a civilian! Why, I even hear you accidentally referred to the fourth wall as the third wall in a professional interview.
"Yeah, I guess I did."
Explain to this courtroom where you were on the night of May 4th at 8 in the PM.
"I'm not exactly sure, sir. It was rather incoherent in my mind."
"Aren't you the judge?"
Sustained! Tell us, Mr. Bailey, of your initial thoughts on that night.
"I was worried."
"Worried, your honor. I had seen previews of the show I was watching, and it said that it was to be a very special episode. I had also, just the week previous, declared that the show had jumped the shark. It made readers mad."
Please just answer the question.
"It was an open-ended question, sir?"
I don't remember asking you about my syntax! Tell us, Mr. Barley-
Barley, Bailey, no one gives a crap. Mr. Butthead, please tell us what happened after you started the show.
"I decided that I had to jump the shark. It was a perfect night. The sun was staying out just a little too late, I had a lot of depression going on. I knew it was the perfect thing to cheer me up. And since the show I was watching was infinitely flayable, one of the worst offerings yet, I knew that it was my window. I needed that window."
You need beans, civilian! If I want your opinion I'll give it to you. Do you have any words to say to the court before your sentence is passed?
"I never really saw Paris. That was a lie, up there."
GUILTY! I sentence you to continue reviewing this show, to a life of self-pity and marginal success, and to being a monkey.
So we start out this episode with your typical premise. One of the main characters is driving down the road, and something really crazy happens that never happens to anyone else in the town except the five people we care about in the plot.
A baby is being born. A baby that is born super fast.
Lana slams on the breaks, and she's in a car with Clark. Don't ask why she's in a car with Clark, don't ask why despite the fact that they've spent a year hating each other they're suddenly brother and sister (more like husband and wife), just sit back and watch the story, dang it.
And note that Lana, despite having no job, despite not owning the Talon, maintains an expensive wardrobe, a swanky apartment, and a BRAND NEW CAR with money from, what, a mother she's legally emancipated herself from?
Don't know about you, but I got a 1982 Ford EXP when I was a kid. Nothing more, nothing less. And I paid for it myself. Because I was REAL humble poor, not the fake humble poor that passes for this show.
The mom has the baby, and then both the mother, the car, and the surrounding fifteen yards of farmland are destroyed. BOOM! Gone. Never mind that nothing vaporized the time he's with Luthor, or the time he's in the basinet. That's thinking. Stop it!
Clark and Lana go in there, pick up the baby, and instead of checking for the mother, they just stand there, dramatically. Clark, you might think, would run at super-speed to the hospital to save the baby, secret be swiggered, but then, hey. It's just a BABY!
AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES
AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES!
The Sheriff arrives, and tells Clark that the little critter wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for him. Really? What did Clark do to save the baby? Yeah, he was there, but wasn't it Lana driving the car?
CLARK'S A BIG DUMB IDIOT
Clark: (to Pa) "You know dad, I don't think his parents are from around here."
Clark goes into the hospital room, and a baby that has just been involved in an explosion is being held and coddled by civilians. Maybe I'm crazy, but my thinking is that the baby would be, I don't know, in a bed. And maybe, I don't know, have a few IV drips. And maybe, I don't know, somehow need to have an umbilical chord. And wait, perhaps, nah, that's thinking too much. Ah, I'll do it anyway. Maybe the doctors would realize that Lana and Clark were not the real parents and not let them hold and coddle a strange baby that wasn't theirs without supervision in a quiet private room?
I guess they just let them hold the baby because they have paid so much into the institution over the years.
And while Lana coddles the baby, she talks to Clark like he's her best friend, and has been for ages. "Oooh! Look!" she says, "Looks like Clark has the magic touch!"
The only magic touch Clark has for you, bich, is a finger through your forehead and out your corpus collosum, giving Pa a big old wave. THEN you can have something to blame Clark for.
I don't buy this. I won't buy this. Someone on the message board said, "Hey, isn't it great to see Lana and Clark back together?"
Well, let me put it this way. It makes absolutely more sense to me right now if Lex and Clark were to become a couple. Or Clark and his mother.
Because Lex actually has seemed to like Clark, as has his mother, for the last year. Lana has, in fact, seemed to passionately hate Clark over the last year. Oh, not in that "I'm gonna kill ya" freak of the week kind of way, but in the way that if I heard someone talking about me the way that I hear Lana talking about Clark in every episode from 418 on back, I'd say, "Wow. She hates me." And if even in our direct conversations someone was so evasive and hateful, then I would definitely not assume that person was my buddy and then the next week go driving with her in the middle of the night. In fact, I might not drive with her during the DAY. And speaking of night and day, well, we'll get to that.
But at any rate, I certainly wouldn't enjoy having a kid with that woman a week after she's yet again passively blown me off.
But hey, who's watching by now? Really. Sycophants and people who love a train wreck. I'm a sycophantic train wreck. That's my new album. Sycophantic Train Wreck. With title track, "You're Passive Aggressive, So Watch Your Corpus Collosum"
Doo doo wop
Doo doo wop
Skittle de do bop
You are, watch your...
Now Chloe can get 911 calls. Seriously. This has gone too far. Why don't they get HER on Osama Bin Laden, huh?
There are two scenes with Lionel and Genevieve. They both acted extraordinarily well, but with contexts and dialogue that would make one of those world's fastest eater guys puke hot dogs.
And the subject of the conversation? How Lex has one of the stones (he doesn't), and how Genny is going to kill him if he doesn't give it up.
Lionel then says "For shame! No one threatens my son!"
This from the man who was party to trying to kill him, what, about eighteen times? And once so bad that he has invisible dialysis! You know what invisible dialysis is, right? It's like the... oooh! Wait!
NEW COINED PHRASE!
It's a SHELBY! Something that you see once and then never see again unless it moves the plot forward. Like Lex's dialysis! Too bad.
Especially when dialysis affects hundreds of thousands of people and is a very cumbersome, not-to-be-taken lightly proposition.
Well, anyway, yeah, Lionel, we don't buy it. So the scene doesn't work. So despite great acting, it can't be carried. The writing DOES matter.
At this point we finally learn that the baby is a boy (or maybe I missed it, but anyway, it was with the pee that I finally realized).
Oh ho ho! Babies pee! What an awkward moment! I feel that all the trials and tribulations of having a baby were played up to be fun and great in this show. Part of that... well, let's put it in its proper context:
Which is actually a misnomer, considering I'm for feminism, but since the people who hate my take on male and female relations think I'm anti-feminism and anti-women, I'll let them think what they want. After all, this is the review where I give everyone that's ever read what they liked!
Contrary to most popular beliefs, having a baby is a hard, time consuming, financially straining and long-term process that typically burdens the woman more, especially in this society. When we show television shows that have women around babies and happy, we do a disservice to our unthinking public. Why? Because a little girl sees another little girl with a baby laughing, smiling, and having the time of her life, and thinks it's just a great good fun idea to pop out a child because after all, she can do it!
Point is that we get a stereotype, much like the one where it's okay to hit boys who are doing things you don't agree with, that many women (not all women) buy, to their own detriment. It takes time, energy, thought, and a whole lotta... show me, Tom:
(smacks the pointer onto the CASH)
That's right, CASH to raise a kid.
They don't pop up, age overnight, and then blow up. Although if they did, I'd be less against single parenthood, because the nuclear family wouldn't mean too much.
It also hurts the cause of the strong, intelligent woman to have Lana, at the end of the show, say that her life felt like it had no purpose until the baby came along. Seriously? You have no character other than a carbon copy of yourself? Do I even need to commentate on what that generalization says about women? But hey, I don't think any feminists were going to get up in arms about that, at least until I pointed it out.
So in other words, middle class values tell us that families and babies are good. Liberal values tell us that girls are strong and capable, can make it on their own, and should.
When you combine the two, there are essential contradictions. This show does not know how to handle them, in the slightest.
I liked this episode the first time I saw it better. When it was an episode of Star Trek TNG. Troi and a little kid. And then I liked it even better the last two times I saw it, when Ryan was Clark's little kid protege who died horribly.
Point? The story's been done. Done and done.
The scene with Lex and Lionel lacked the usual efficacy and the usual strength. Why? Because, as with Lionel and Genny, two great actors with crummy lines can't save themselves.
They also made Lex do the stop and turn THREE times, and it got so annoying I had to make sure it wasn't a mistake.
One of those stops made it painfully obvious. The second one, where Lionel gives Lex the speech he's given three hundred times. "Son! You know you can trust me! I'd never hurt you! I may be a raging monster, but by golly, I'm your father. I have hair! You know you can only trust people with hair! Trust, me, Lex! Or I'll make you forget things."
Lex stops, actually ROLLS his eyes a little bit, then walks away.
Just like the audience. They actually wrote the apathy in.
And when Lex walks out, he leaves his father, who's tried to kill him, hacked his computer, and wants to steal his information, IN HIS STUDY.
He not only leaves Lionel in his study, if you watch, he leaves him alone in a room with his computer open, and the papers that he was just trying to keep secret from Lionel on the desk.
Good God. I could scream.
The baby grows in the bassinet. It becomes a 7 or 8 year old. As soon as this happened (and I knew the basic plot, but I didn't know the specifics), I said to myself, "You watch. This kid is going to learn to speak in about three hours".
Am I gifted, or what?
As soon as the baby grows, Pa says the sensible thing. He says, "Son, we should take that baby to the hospital where it can get some help."
Wise because they are the guardians of this child, and now they have no child. Meaning, if CPS gives you a kid to watch, then comes over and says, "How's the kid doing?" and you say, "Uh, eight!", they smack you with a fish and take you to jail. Cut and dried, case closed.
It's also common sense. You have a family member who is hurt, you take them to the hospital. You have a family member with symptoms, you take them to the hospital.
CLARK IS A BIG, DUMB IDIOT
"No no no no no no no no no no no!" Clark says, pushing his father aside. "Not MY baby! I've seen what happens when people are strange! I watched ET! Didn't you see that part... Elliot's nose on the glass, dad! ELLIOT'S NOSE ON THE GLASS!"
"Don't son me, you confederate son of a bich! I will NOT watch this boy turn white, not while I've got Reese's Pieces, D***it!"
"Aw, look, dad. He just peed. Cute!"
"He's 8 years old!"
"Yeah, but he's still a baby!"
No, wait. That's not how it happened. He was just instantly mentally 8. Whups.
What has happened to everyone that hides the truth and tries not to deal with their problems through proper channels in this show? An excerpt from the KO Count:
And then, there's the 65 people killed or put into a coma that are directly or closely friends or relatives of the main characters, affectionately known as the "Whammy":
- Greg Arkin (Flattened and turned to bugs, 102)
- Walt Arnold (Self immolation, 103)
- The school nurse (Frozen to death in Cool, 105)
- Jenna (Frozen by Sean Kelvin, 105)
- Sean Kelvin (Frozen in a lake, 105)
- Cassandra Carver (Killed by seeing Lex Luthor's future, 106)
- Harry Bollston (Buried in grain, 106)
- Dustin the bully (Eaten into a coma by Jodi Wilson, 107)
- Jodi Wilson (Blown into a coma, 107)
- Sam Phelan (Crooked cop shot by police, 109)
- Bob Rickman (Shot self, 111)
- Wade Maheny (Crushed by a car, 113)
- Max Kasage the security guard from Club Zero (Killed by Lex's ex-best friend's girlfriend's brother, 114 (No, really))
- Pepper the dog (Immolated by Tyler the ash man, 117)
- Mrs. Sykes (Immolated by Tyler the ash man, 117)
- Frank the produce store owner (Immolated by Tyler the ash man, 117)
- Tyler Randall (Immolated by Tyler the ash man. Why didn't he see this coming? 117)
- Felice (Stung into a coma by Sasha, 118)
- Principal Kwan (Hit by a telekinetic car, 119)
- Mr. Fordman (Stuck dead with Dick Cheney's syndrome, 119)
- Pam (Lex's former nanny, assumed dead, 119)
- Deputy Watts (Went down in a hail of bullet that flew straight at and into his eye, (weird special effect) 120)
- Roger Nixon (Shot by Lex, 201)
- Dr. Hamilton (Of Kryptonite poisioning, 203)
- Troy (Drowns of old age, 206 (No, really.))
- Russel (Kissed to old age by Chrissy, 206)
- Chrissy (Didn't find the fountain of kissing youth fast enough, 206)
- Ryan (Brain problems, 208)
- Mr. Frankel (Shop class teacher killed by the Home Improvement splitso freako, 209)
- Ian Randall (Half the man he used to be, fallen off a dam, 209)
- Kyla Willowbrook (Leapt through a plate glass window, and for once for a character in a TV show, cut her arteries and died, 210)
- Tina Greer (Impaled by a pole, 211)
- Whitney (KIA in Indonesia, doing what, who knows... 211)
- Mike the Bartender (Put in the freezer by Ethan, 213)
- Crazy kid with no inhibitions (Jumped from a concert stage to his death because of Red K, 214)
- Two random kids (Killed selves under Red K influence according to Chloe, 214)
- Martha Kent (Krypto-dust, 216. Don't worry kids, she got better)
- Cyrus Krup (Collapsed in agony at the truth/reality of his heritage, 218)
- Meacham (One of Lex's cronies, killed by Paul Hayden, 219)
- Dr. Walden (Burnt to a crisp by his own krypto-powers, 222)
- Helen (Killed for being a golddigger by Lex Luthor, 302)
- Jake Pollen (shot underwater by Van McNulty, the candy bar, 304)
- Seth (shocked into a coma for hitting on Lana by Clark, 307)
- Lana's Great Aunt (Had a cap busted in her by Lachlan Luthor of Scotland. Heed!, 306)
- Ian Randall (Killed by other half of himself, 309)
- Ian Randall (Killed by super-powered Eric Summers, 309)
- Van McNulty (Candy Bar done in by barbell butterfingers and JTT's machinations, 309)
- Claire Foster (wrapped herself around a tree with Lionel's help, 309)
- Nathan (crushed by a pile of cars, 310)
- Coach Altman (Burned himself to death like the other coach, 312)
- Dante (Got a little 2 fast, 2 furious in the Ford sponsor episode, 313)
- Garrett Davis (Guy took a hospital hostage, got shot in the chest, then wondered why while Clark ran around, 315)
- Dr. Teng (Had a little encounter with Adam Knight and surgical tubing, 316)
- Adam Knight (Had a little encounter with Lionel Luthor and death, twice, 316)
- Dr. Garner (Put into coma by Clark's memory treatment, 319)
- Jeremiah Holscaw (Knocked into a coma when Clark canceled him out at super speed, 320)
- Pa Dinsmore (Had his heart ripped out by Emily, 321)
- Kara/Lindsey Harrison (Vaporized by Jor-El, 322)
- Trent (Terminator got shot with lightning, hit with heat vision, then blown apart (ow!), 402)
- Lex's Lawyer (killed by a jealous ex-lover, 409)
- Alicia (Clark's psycho hose beast who could teleport, 412)
- Dr. Sinclair (Lex's assistant, killed by bad Lex, 417)
- Dawn (kills herself, ironically, while a ghost, 418)
- Tanner (fell on a sharp object, 420)
- Tanner's girlfriend (blew up of pregnancy, 420)
- Evan (blew up, period, 420)
This count, if you'll note, changes to 63 today precisely because Clark kept the baby so long that he got mature and went and killed his daddy. It's on Clark's conscience. Ah, Clark, you so STUPID!
Heck, even if Clark was right and Belle Reve took him, what's to stop Clark from breaking him out? Nothing!
I learned some things about human development today. I learned that a human being, if of the proper age, can learn to read and speak, even using colloquialisms, in less than 24 hours.
Of course, I'm not going to compare this to what I studied in linguistics, that people who are not exposed to language in their first year never really develop it at all, and that people who do not study over the course of years say things like "Your stupid" instead of "I disagree.", so Evan should be a blithering moron.
And hey, not only does he have time to learn to read, but he's read EVERY book in Clark's room. I didn't know that could be done in a day, even by a speed-reader. But, considering how Clark acts, and considering how he behaves, it's probably like George Bush's favorite book being The Hungry Little Caterpillar. He probably only has the one book, and he probably only read it once, when he was all growed up.
Well, I guess that's bunked by the fact that the kid read the encyclopedia. DRATS! And hey, it sucks, because the Encyclopedia actually tells the kids a lot of things he feigned naivety on for the rest of the show to enhance the cute factor.
For instance, he calls Clark DAD, which even though he's a genius apparently he doesn't know enough to ask. And then he says, "Everyone is supposed to have a mother and father!"
What a nice, idyllic thought. I know he got to windmill, so I know he read about War in the encyclopedia. And I'm sure there's something in there about the human development (you know, with the pictures, that you look up with your buddies at 13 when the librarian isn't looking). And there was probably something about gestation, so the kid might wonder how he got to be eight years of age with parents who are 18. But hey, that's assigning a genius too much thought power, isn't it? I mean, he didn't read a book called PLAUSIBLE PLOT now, did he?
Nor did the writers, it would seem.
And hey, with all that learning, he never thought about the fact that if he gestated in a week, which is our normal nine months, then he should have essentially lived for about 90 months, give or take, but you know, that would be too long for him not to explode before the end of the show. Instead we'll just make it so that one week is to nine months as forty-eight hours is to fourteen years.
NNNT! You FAIL the S.A.T.!
O is for Orphan. He should have read that, too.
So BOOM, that's the last straw. They like him now. Time to take him to the hospital.
Er, no, wait. Lex. Yeah, the creepy billionaire over the medical facility. Makes sense!
"He looks really scared", Lana observes. As she says this, the camera stays steady on the heart monitor that reads "61", as in 61 beats a minute. This from the show that had a heart monitor that showed people who are afraid at up to 200 bpm. And hey, when I'm running, I go up to about 140-160 beats a minute. I consider that excited. When I'm walking at a leisurely pace, I'm at 56. Scared out of my wits.
So get this. If you're rapidly aging, here's your miracle cure. BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT.
I thought that only treated cancers and certain rare diseases. I even looked it up on the Internet and found not even corollary between marrow and rapid aging.
I'm a layman, I admit, but I was curious as to why it had to be just the father and not the grandfather, or the mom's mother and father, or anyone else closely related. It seemed convenient to me.
And then Evan ages again, busts out the pubes, and blows out a few windows. Doctors go flying, test tubes burst, the lights go out.
Lana and Clark go running for the boy, "Are you all right? Are you okay?"
As for the doctors that were working to save his life who are now lying on the floor bleeding out? Eh, who cares about them?
CLARK IS A BIG, DUMB IDIOT
Evan: "I'm dying, aren't I?"
Clark beams, because he realizes the boy is growing up to be just like old dad.
Lana's response: "Evan, don't say that!"
Because as Lana has shown time and again, if you pretend something isn't happening, it always just shrivels up and goes away. Right? Right?
Yes! (Clark says). Trust me, I know.
What's with this "Trust me, I know?" Why do you keep saying that, Tom?
It's in your notes. You'll get to it.
Clark and Chloe manage to secure the phone company records of who was making the 911 call that day. Never mind that the police would be doing the same thing, in fact, forget the police at all, they don't care that a baby was left in the woods. They have jaywalkers to catch!
They come up with a list with about thirty guys on it, and they take off to go and find them all and see if they're daddy. By the time they're done, Evan would be 196 years-old, but-AHT! Stop thinking!
Clark comes across a mechanic, a mechanic that he has no reason to suspect is the father any more than the other guys, and he keeps badgering him and badgering him. If you watch the scene knowing that this is just one man out of forty, and that he doesn't give himself away at all, Clark seems like a really cruel guy to him. Of course, he is the guy, but what if he hadn't been? Did Clark do that to all the potential fathers?
"YOU HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO YOUR FOURTEEN YEAR OLD SON!"
"I'm in tenth grade!"
"Oh. Sorry. I mistook you for a mechanic."
But he badgers the mechanic, and the mechanic breaks down and tells the ultimate story. He goes to a party, hooks up, the girl calls him, and says she's pregnant. He then goes over, and she's three months along. She says it's his.
And we wonder why the guy tried to dodge responsibility WHY? I mean, think about it. You meet someone at a party. Have sex. The next day she's three months pregnant. Do you:
A) Tell her to go jump in the lake, the human gestation period is three months, and I got it on with you last night, lady, so you are egregious in your assumption of my patriarchal owing to you. Besides, I'm in tenth grade!
B) Take her to Jenny Jones to have it proven in front of a live studio audience.
C) Run. Run from Smallville all the way to Sunnydale and never look back.
D) Admit that the baby is yours, take the mother in, and then run like Satan himself has a coca-cola enema and is chasing you for a cathartic bulimic purge at the first sign of dilation!
Speaking of endless repetition... how many times are they going to use the heavy bags carried like they're nothing bit. I mean, remember when we first saw it, how cool it is? How about something else to do while Pa and Clark are talking. Like, I don't know, having him use his heat vision to repair a fracture in the head of the tractor, or bending a whole bunch of pulled nails straight with his bare hands to save money on nails. Or even better! Using his fingernail to turn nails into screws. How awesome would that be? Nah! Toss the bags again.
Right after he tosses the bags, Lana and Evan both sneak up on the dude with super-hearing again. I swear.
ACTUAL QUOTE REFERENCE
They have a conversation about meeting his dad, and Clark advises against it. He says, "Biological fathers don't always live up to their expectations. Trust me. I know."
OH! So THAT'S what you mean, Tom!
Well you know what? Saying something like that in front of Lana, who has no idea that you even know who your biological parents are, is kind of, I don't know, not only stupid, but it pulls you out of the scene when Lana doesn't say, "Wait, what?"
It's stupid, Clark!
"Trust me. I know."
And then Clark tells him not to go, so Evan says "You're not my father", and stomps off. Apparently Evan also read the Encyclopedia entries for "Step-child", "adolescent", and "total p!ss@nt".
Somehow, don't ask me how, but somehow, Clark doesn't immediately go to the dad and wait for the kid. The dad who, incidentally, is somehow still in the garage after dark despite seeming neither dedicated to his job nor particularly happy to be there. The kid has enough time to get there (despite not knowing where it is) and "accidentally" kill the dad in such a pathetically contrived way that I laughed when the guy died.
A small puncture wound, and he's dead as a doornail.
I guess the kid didn't read P for Pulse, A for Ambulance, or P for Phone. Either that, or he's a bigger p!ss@nt than I thought. And given this show's penchant for people to go homicidal without reason, it's not beyond the pale.
"Trust me, I know."
SHUT UP, YOU!
So I guess the cops don't care that the dad is dead and the suspect is blown up. Do they ever conduct investigations in this town? I'm starting a new KO Count column, "Indictable Offenses". This week, we have the "murder" of the father, the loss of the Kent-Lang baby, and in Onyx, we have the two murders. Send in more if you can think of any.
Lex and Clark likely left footprints at the scene of the crime. And Evan's footprints? Probably Clark's borrowed shoes. And who showed up to yell at Tanner earlier?
BING! BING! BING!
That's right! Clark!
Apparently the marrow only works if the donor is still living. You'd think they'd try it anyway (couldn't hurt) with the dead dad, but maybe that's just logical ole me.
Evan comes home to Lana, and what does Lana do? Lana turns and yells at him.
All right, man, Lana, are you so upset at the dude who's only going to live for three days that one of his memories has to be you YELLING at him for going to find his dad? How about being a HUMAN BEING and realizing that if anyone is evasive and runs away from her problems, it is YOU. And when you're done, give the kid a flash, huh? He only gets to live another few hours, and he's 14.
Nah, bet you wouldn't do that, because he's telling Clark all these SECRETS and LIES about you, huh? Like the secret that earrings don't make you French, or that just because you're 18 you're in no way a fricking ADULT! I've known 30 year-olds who can't balance their checkbooks and 12 year-olds who can raise a family.
You know which one you are, Lana? You're the one that never finds out, because you're so afraid of the truth you never examine who you are as a person.
It's dark out when Evan goes out to find his father. It's dark out when Lana and Evan talk. Evan urges Lana to take him to the windmill. It's urgent, because he's about to blow up.
Then, the next scene, it's daylight. I kid you not. At least 8 hours have elapsed. Clark talks with Chloe in the Torch, and they can suddenly find every grid that's fluctuating with a keystroke.
Really, it's just too much.
Clark then disappears at super speed right in front of Chloe. Granted, she knows his secret, but he doesn't know that. Does he even care any more?
I mean, night to day, and no one notices? Is anyone paying attention to continuity any more? At all?
They're up on the windmill, and Lana and the boy are standing right on the edge. You know, where you can see people coming up the ladder.
Clark arrives at super speed, grabs Lana, and tells her to run. Of course, Lana knew she had to run before, but decides not to. Now she suddenly decides to because Clark is there to take her place as she runs for freedom. Makes sense, doesn't it? Because it's logical to let two people die instead of one, so long as there is someone there to comfort the dying one.
Clark stays up top, and comforts the boy, and the boy blows up, becoming an old man. Lana runs for her life and manages to escape, and as Clark bears down, we have the one redeeming moment of this show. His coat, spread wide, over the boy, looks exactly like a cape. It was so well done, I got goose bumps. How that makes it into an episode like this is beyond me, but it's there, and it's worth something.
Where is Lois in all this? She lives there. So does Shelby. I guess they just didn't show up, huh?
Then we have the Crapana, yep. It's back. And it's here to stay. The previews show Lana and Clark getting back together, and the general demeanor of the show is aiming that way. It's just what we need, right? All of the crappy subplots, PLUS the absolute worst part of last season that we thought we'd gotten over. Sensible!
She points out, as I mentioned above, how pointless she was without a kid, and they talk about what Evan was feeling when he blew up.
D is for Discorporate.
Then we have the scene that could have been great if Dr. Quinn hadn't blown it.
Lionel poisons Genny to get her to give him the stone, and she just sits at the carpet and holds her hand out. She didn't really sell it, so I didn't buy it. It looked like a lady sitting on a carpet mocking poison.
There's also the fact that while this would have been cool last year, now it just doesn't make any sense. It's like, well, Lex and Clark as a couple (don't kill me, slash people. I'm not saying it's not possible, just less likely than vanilla, okay?). More likely, but it doesn't make sense. So Lana hates Clark for 20 episodes. What happens? She immediately starts liking him and gets back with him two episodes before the finale. No real reason. It's more sensible for Clark to be with LEX. Or even Chloe. Lionel has a change of heart in the beginning of the season and becomes "GOOD". He's either playing at it, or it's sincere. We see nothing to indicate playing at it. In Onyx, Lex smacks him around a little, and apparently smacking him around makes him completely evil again (NNNT!) and just three episodes before the season ends, we have it confirmed when he poisons Genny.
Now it's a cool idea for the scene, but I was just wrapping my head around good Lionel (even though I NEVER bought the concept as feasible, and Glover never played it palpably). Now he's suddenly evil again, without reason, but there's no consequences for the murders he perpetrated (in fact, they're forgotten), he's killing people again, and he's concerned for his son's welfare?
It killed what could have been a good scene.
The Ma, Pa, and Clark conversation was good. It actually explored a bit of the mythos, what it's like to have a super-powered son. The problem is, in the midst of all the inconsistency and crap, it's largely lost, and will not be remembered.
Lex "straightened things out" with CPS. How, exactly?
You leave a baby with a family. The baby blows up.
SHOUTING IN CAPS
HOW DO YOU STRAIGHTEN THAT OUT WITH CPS? YOU DON'T "STRAIGHTEN OUT" A BLOWN UP BABY! YOU DON'T EXPLAIN AWAY A LOST CHILD! YOU DON'T SHRUG YOUR SHOULDERS AT IMBECILIC PARENTING! YOU DON'T JUST SAY, THERE WAS NO LIVING BONE MARROW! THERE IS NO WAY TO STRAIGHTEN OUT A BLOWN UP BABY!
(TRUST ME, I KNOW!)
Er, forget I just said that.
Lex gets information that can advance cancer research "hundreds of years" somehow with the piles of blown up equipment and broken glass. I don't know about you, but my assumption is that with the mapping of the human genome and with gene therapy (if the NIH ever gets its butt in gear) we will solve and cure cancer sometime in the next fifty years (and that's generous, it'll probably be quicker). So to advance hundreds of years threw me off. Sounds implausible. I just can't see a world with incurable cancer a hundred years from now. Not if we've managed such scientific marvels as meat on a stick, the disposable cell phone, and the fart-stopping underoos (They're real. I've seen them).
And then, just to show how evil he is, after Clark leaves, he decides to release the findings... LATER! DUN DUN DUUUUUUUH!
If you're going to start arbitrarily making Lex evil, you might as well go bigger than waiting to release beneficial medical information for a while (heck, drug companies in the US do it and we laud their business sense). Or, for that matter, do better than having him lie to Clark about not knowing about Clark's previous lies (the map last episode).
I'm even more riled up because the aide called him "Luther" again. I got letters telling me I'm a moron for caring about the pronunciation of Luthor. Okay. Guess I am. I stand by my belief.
And then, the PREVIEW! More witch action next week, and then a finale with Lana leaning into Clark and saying, "I love you!", and the promise of "A fate sealed!". At least until the agents arrive in the next season's premiere, eh?
The only thing that could have made that preview better was Chloe screaming "Girl power!" Pete riding by in a race car, or maybe the return of the bumble bee freak from Drone. I keed.
And the only thing that could have made this story better was plot, plausibility, depth, characters we could relate to, good effects, fun, or heck, even a solid moral that made sense. BUT, I did like the little coat over the body thing. That's worth something. 1.5 of 5. A very special something.
OBSCURE REFERENCE FROM MR. GLASS:
Summary on being a writer, as perceived by me, the invariable conclusion one comes to in finding direction in either money or integrity. There is the temptation to be a hero or a villain, and the only thing desired is to get up in the morning and feel like you were doing what you were born to do. That man called money, he's your friend, he's your nemesis, and what are you? Sometimes you smile in the wheelchair, sometimes you fade to obscurity. Sometimes you leave a mark and do that right thing. But we all do what we are born to do, no matter whether that path leads us to sharks or regard. To that end:
- Tell me something, David. When you woke up this morning, was it still there? The sadness? You know what the scariest thing is? To not know your place in this world. To not know why you're here. That's... that's just an awful feeling.
I almost gave up hope. There were so many times I questioned myself.
But I found you. So many sacrifices, just to find you.
Now that we know who you are, I know who I am. I'm not a mistake. It all makes sense. In a comic, you know how you can tell who the arch-villain is going to be? He's the exact opposite of the hero, and most of the time, they're friends, like you, and me. I should have known, way back when. You know why David? Because of the kids.
They called me Mr. Glass.
Si vous avez obtenu pour sauter le requin, vous pourriez le faire aussi avec quelque style. Commencer l'augmente avec une tirade d'apitoiement sur soi-même, le remonter dans une critique de vos propres ventilateurs, et votre alors mouvement sur à un solide rouant de coups de l'épisode sous la main pour les sycophantes et les gens de train-démolit qui sont calmes autour de vous écouter. Etre drôle, être très drôle, parce que même si vous êtes totalement déprimé, rien ne peut faire vous vous sentez mieux que singes, le rire, et la sensation que vous pouvez calme écrit, même si le monde de publication ne voit pas cela. Oh, et Lana ? Elle vraiment suce. Et pas dans une façon très spéciale. 1.5 de 5. Yours, Monkeybella.
Like, my GOD! I don't know what Neal's whining about. This show was totally awesome. It's so great to see Lana and Clark back together! I can't wait to see if they'll have a kid together, LOL! I think that if we can just get that nag Chloe off the show, and maybe bring Lucy back...
(steps coming down a corridor)
Hey...hey, what's that? LOL?
(Neal Barley comes swinging around the corner with a baseball bat.)
FWAM! FWAM! FWAM!
Cerebus HATES the word LOL!
As I mentioned above, I've been in a big funk, so I didn't get too many letters answered this week. My apologies. There is also much less Business than there used to be because of speculation, so I won't fudge it. You've already read twenty pages, so I might as well be honest about it.
Dark Idol starts again this Saturday, and if I win, I get an agent, and start down that path towards a book again. If you want on the mailing list, please shoot me a letter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, you can definitely check out last week's business, which went up late for much the same reason, and a lot of folks missed it. It has finale info (IE, what the finale review will need from you guys to work), and it has some cool speculation.
More next week! And don't forget to check out the KO Count!
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