Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 4 - Episode 22: "Commencement"

Reviews:

Commencement

Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

It's hard to review a cliffhanger. Really it is. For one I really don't like the concept of season-ending cliffhangers. They drive me absolutely up the wall. I don't know who invented it but I first became exposed to them during Star Trek the Next Generation but at this point I don't care who it was. I just think they need a stern talking too. I don't know when Smallville will premier in the fall. Late September or early October I suppose but either one is just a long way off.

But wow, what a cliffhanger. Not as good as Vortex when Clark sped into the tornado but certainly better than most cliffhangers out there. You just KNOW what that Shield shaped crystal is going to build after Clark tossed it. There is no doubt in anyone's mind but still the wait is going to be very long anyway. What about that Ship that Lana found? What could that be? Looks very cool and I am very interested. I am certain it is some big bad for Clark to take on and I can't wait to find out. But I have to wait. No choice. 3 months minimum. Did I mention I don't like cliffhangers?

Ok, Ok. I'll get off the cliffhanger bit but I should mention that I feel it is not exactly right to judge an entire story until it is over. This is only the first of at least two parts so I have to keep that in mind. Any questions I may have may be answered in the next story so I can't judge too harshly on unanswered questions.

So let's just talk about the episode as much as we've seen it. I was very amused to hear Lois having nightmares about the guy in the red cape but I was sad to hear they came up with a get her out of town card for early next season. But I suppose with the Lana/Clark relationship back on for now it is most likely for the best until they wrap up that story line. I did really like her scene with Clark helping him with the tie. The banter and play between the two is always a joy.

Clark's talk with his parents as they packed up the truck and he was telling them he had to try and save the world was great. Mr Schneider again hits a home run with some great lines and great delivery.

Lex was fantastic as well. I love how he's now even admitting to himself he's gone to the dark side. His playing Lana was done very well and the scenes with Chloe just drip with cool evil.

Chloe was fantastic here once again. I really loved how she covered for Clark's breaking into Lex's safe without even blinking an eye. Great stuff there.

Jason is alive already though I guess I should have realized that last week when I wrote he died. Oh well. He was used well here and I am interested to see what is to become of him next season when we find out what happened in the house when the meteor hit.

My only complaint in this episode was we didn't get to see Clark saving more people during the meteor strike. His rescuing of that kid was the highlight for me and I cheered when he sped in to shield the boy. I know he was off getting the stones but I still would have liked to see him do a bit more saving along the way. Still just a minor gripe.

Really a good episode. It have everything one can expect from Smallville and more. I give it a solid A. (or 5 out of 5 for those who like stars.)

Some quick notes on the season now that it's over. Started good with some fantastic episodes. I loved the flying in the opener but was disappointed in the whole "It was Kal-El and not Clark" thing but that was only minor. We have a few average or slightly below average episodes along the way but I think overall the season was a success. The Witch story line was a good use of Lana I think. It kept her involved in the story line but yet allowed Clark to go about his business without having Lana and him interact much. I am somewhat disappointed in Lionel's story this season. I think they could have done so much more with the good/evil question but I don't think we are going to see much more of that. Pity. Anyway, not the best season of the series but I still had a good time with it and I am looking forward to next season.

I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to read my reviews and I doubly thank those who took the time to write me to tell me so. If Steve will have me back I would love to keep writing reviews for this great show next season.

Thanks.

Doug

[Steve: You can be sure Doug will be invited back to review Season 5]



Commencement

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

MAIN POINTS:

  • Clark has united the stones and found the arctic.
  • Lana has murdered Genevieve as Isobel and is on the run for the murder.
  • Lex, fanatically obsessed with finding the stones, kidnaps Chloe and goes to the cave.
  • Lois is leaving the Kent farm, but not before stopping to weep in a lawn.
  • Lionel went coma, and now is seeing Kryptonian symbols, per the reporter.
  • Jason is still alive, and holding the Kents hostage.
  • As odd as it sounds, it turns out Pete "The Boss" Ross is behind the whole thing.

    REVIEW:

    Okay. So that last main point is a lie. But it's funny!

    We have death, destruction, murder, mayhem, whackos everywhere, plague and madness. The army of the 12 Monkeys has descended onto Smallville, and here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

    It's almost a given that a finale or a premiere will have a ton of cool stuff. Why? Because it would seem that television shows in their infinite annoying capabilities have a format that dictates that there shalt be a cool opening, there shalt be a cool finale, and there shall be great sweeps, but other than that, experimenteth and see what stickeths.

    And even as the show declines, beyond that do we have some fun with this episode. There is some really neat stuff here.

    But as is often the case with shows in decline, even their better work has some problems, and this episode suffered from all kinds of inconsistencies, incorrect character motivations, and situations that were, to say the least, implausible.

    I also wanted to take a minute to apologize for the lateness of this review. I know I used to put them out Monday, but you've come to expect them on Thursdays... here's my reason. I went to Star Wars, set the old PVR, and came back to find nothing. No more movie trilogies to wait for save Superman, and no Smallville on my PVR. It's funny, and I wouldn't mention it here if I weren't sure most of you would relate, but when I set my PVR each week to record Smallville even though I'm watching it and taking notes, it ALWAYS works. But the one Smallville that I'm not in the room for in almost two years goes crap up on me. THAT, my friends, is life. If I get in a helicopter crash, I am one dead man. But Lana, on the other hand...

    The show seemed doomed at the start for me. I almost hung my head for the first scene. Lana enters her apartment in the Talon, the one we still have no idea at all how she's paying for. We hear very clearly her nice heeled shoes clicking on her highly polished floor, and then the spectre of Genevieve starts to fade into the foreground.

    "I'll get you, my pretty!" she says, and then Bats start flying out of her mouth. "But not until after I watch the Batman preview!"

    So just for old time's sake, you have a mean old lady who's trying to steal your triforce from you. She's broken into your house and she's standing right next to you. What do you do?

    A) Invite her in for brandy, and leave your computer on with all the data on the way out. No, wait. That's Lex.

    B) Shift backwards, hiding the stone that's in your purse, and listen to her monologue before she tries to choke you to death, like a moron.

    C) Tell her to get out or you'll call the police.

    D) Beat her senseless immediately upon seeing her in your presence, search her wallet for rent money, then call the cops.

    But NO!

    It's like this:

    Genny: "Lana! Gimme triforce!"

    Lana: "Suck eggs, gramma!"

    And then Genny raises the gun to her head. "Gimme triforce!"

    And Lana says, "Oh, okay!"

    Remember last week, when I said that Lionel wouldn't be stupid enough to give Genny his piece? That he'd know she'd just cap him?

    You know, this might get me angry emails, but lord help me, I think Lana's smart enough to make that connection too. She's a mean person, but I don't think she's a dumb person.

    They start to scuffle, and here's another fine case of Lana not using her flung-pu kung fu to kick Genevieve all around the room. COME ON. This is a young woman in her prime vs. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. One sharp kick to the abdomen and her stomach would fall out of her backside. I mean it. Beating up old ladies is easier than stealing candy from a baby. Ask my grandma. Ask any baby I've been around. And I mean, I'm on Atkins. I just do it for fun. Okay. I digress.

    So they start fighting, and Lana begins to LOSE, so she reverts to Isobel. Why? Who knows. I mean, she's been threatened a ton of times in the last few weeks without turning to Isobel, but... oh wait! I know why she did it today!

    Because it's the finale! It's spring! Spring always does this to TV shows.

    She uses the force to call the stone from about a half a foot away. I wanted to just say, "Reach over and grab it, you lazy old witch!", but they wouldn't have the cheesy effect that way. And man, was that effect obvious and badly done.

    And then, forgive me, but it's true. She stabs Genny in the boob.

    I looked at that wound, and I started laughing. I mean, first off, the wound is maybe an inch, two inches deep, it's blunt trauma not stabbing, it hits no vital organs where she stabbed her, and yet Genny just slumps, dead. I mean, she'd at least be making a wet sucking sound and clutching at a punctured lung for a while!

    You see why I was worried? So many things to pull a guy out, even in the first scene.

    Killing Genny removes the tattoo, returns Lana to normal, and theoretically banishes Isobel. I REALLY don't get that. That totally pulled me out of the story. I mean, Lord God I am glad to be rid of this storyline, I never want to see Isobel or Genny or Jason again, but it doesn't make sense. It's not in a logical framework. The reason that Isobel came back, if you'll recall, was to end the Teague line. Revenge for the killing all those years ago, and also to seize the power of the stones. Right? With the death of Genny, she disappears WHY? She has a stone now, so she should be glad to have Lana back. Power, a body, why disappear? You might argue because she has successfully eliminated the Teague line.

    BUT SHE DIDN'T. Jason is still alive, as last episode's painfully ambiguous drop into the water revealed. And even assuming that the audience doesn't know he's still around at this point (and if they don't, I have serious doubts about their fictional intelligence), the Teague line is NOT dead. Period.

    When the tattoo fades, so too does the crummy story, let's hope. But they had to do it with a crummy framework, too. NOT a redeeming end. This was, without a doubt, the worst sub-plot ever in Smallville.

    What a cop-out on the major character death, too. Genny? My God, she was in what, five episodes? Would you call the death of Henry Small a major main character death?

    And then the woman who has killed twice now in self-defense, and been in so many life-threatening situations that a Marine in Iraq would tremble at some of the things she's been through falls to her knees and weeps.

    "I killed someone! I killed someone! In self-defense, yeah, but how horrible! My innocence is tainted! I am somewhat impure!"

    In comes Lex, "Nah. You just stabbed her for trying to kill you."

    Well, okay, methinks. Maybe the show's back on track. Lex action, some motion, who knows. This could pick up. It makes sense that Lex would be trying to find Lana given last episode (it's not one of those, "Hey, I just showed up!" moments that make me want to chew glass), and it's the perfect catalyst for his role in the story, trying to find the stones.

    A bit of a moment to elaborate on that, because right now we know that Lex is after the stones, almost obsessively, and why? For the power, perhaps. Yeah. The power I'll buy. And even to protect the people that he loves. Remember that. I'll bring it back up.

    Clark lies in bed, sleeping, and we see lights outside. Clark sits up in bed, starts to pull off the covers. "Oh!" he says, "time for my yearly spring visit from Jor-El!"

    He pads to the front door and opens it, stepping outside, and we see a very clear rip-off of Close Encounters.

    Now homage can be cool every now and again (Godfather worked really well), but the rip-offs are getting old here.

    And hey, even Shelby is there! I'm impressed! Of course, he's only appeared what, two or three times since he was introduced, BUT, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that he's being handled well. That's unexpected, and a big plus for continuity.

    We see the Northern Lights, which are pretty neat, a good foreshadow for the later trip to the middle of the snowy nowhere. I like that.

    And then we see a timeclock. No kidding. A timeclock. Somewhere, somehow, Jerry Bruckheimer is smiling, and Jeff Goldblum has whipped his computer around.

    Interesting trivia. Bruckheimer did Cat People, a certain movie involving the love of my life. I'd recommend it, Gia style, if you catch my drift.

    But that clock, man, gag me. Horrible. Cheesy, it pulled me right out every time that it happened, along with the score. Who's timing the arrival, why are they timing it, why do we see the clock? It's just a crappy way to promote arbitrary tension. But here's a little story secret for you. What's more tense to the audience? A clock that will tell us when the bomb will go off, or the bomb taking us all by surprise and changing all of our expectations? There are people who will argue (especially Hitchcock fans) that the tension is what makes a good thriller. What is missed in this argument is that Smallville is neither a horror OR a thriller, and I promise you, while Al and Miles have my respect, they are NO Hitchcock. The only person even remotely close is M. Night, and even he makes it plain that he is imitating, not creating. Though I love his imitation.

    Maybe it's even just visceral, but I hated that clock, and every time I saw it I wanted to put my foot through the screen.

    The METEORS, on the other hand... awesome! It was the perfect Onyx metaphor. Oooh! Awwww. First the crummy clock, then the cool meteor effect to make up for it. I've read now that the budget has been cut for effects, and next year it will continue to the tune of a hundred grand a show (so if you watched it for the effects, essentially, you're screwed), but this show managed to pull out the meteors at least. There were a few more effects that didn't pass snuff, but I'm guessing they saved quite a wallop for this episode, and it shows, well.

    Cut back to Lana. She's washing her hands at Lex's mansion. Seriously. That's not a joke. She waits all through the ride to Lex's to wash off her hands. And she goes to Lex's. That's what surprises me. Why not call the police?

    Lex has a decent point. Genny is rich, Genny can do anything because she's rich. And usually that's my argument, it really is, but it misses a few things. The first thing being that Genny was breaking and entering, AND trying to kill Lana. Lana should have had marks all over her neck. Granted she didn't, but if the story made sense, she would. You have a woman in a house she doesn't own, dead. What DA in his right mind would prosecute? I've read civil suits from people who break into a house and because there is no warning shot before the homeowner shoots the burglar there is a victory, but that's about all Lana is in danger from. She's not going to see jail time for defending herself in her own house, especially given that the person who could make that happen (if she even could), the rich old lady, is now dead. And especially given the legal team Lex could provide her even in the extreme even that she were prosecuted for defending herself in her own house.

    Again I have to say that mean though Lana is, she's not THAT stupid.

    Or maybe she is. Because the logical conclusion is then that she left the scene and fled with Lex to protect the stone. The stone that turns her into a witch. The stone that just made her kill someone.

    In other words, I don't buy it. But that's the way the narrative went, ergo I object.

    She's still upset about killing Genny, too. Remember the dude she put a pitchfork through? I do.

    She pulls out the stone to look at it again, just to remind us, yes, there are stones and secrets and lies afoot. She doesn't even bother to wash off the stone, either. Lame.

    Lex's security goons come and tell him that they have a situation. This situation is either Lionel at the Talon, or the incoming meteors. Neither make sense. Why? Because the meteor attack is not even known to the public at this point yet, and the other indicates that Lionel is telling the peons that he's broken and entered Lana's apartment and is waiting for Lex there. Why would Lionel do that? It's not smart.

    Lois and Clark and the Kents have a decent conversation about Lois' impending departure and Clark's graduation. Lois makes a comment about having a nightmare about a guy in a red cape. It was a bit cheesy, but kind of funny. I liked it.

    The General, of course, forgives Lois now. And why?

    Because it's spring, silly! The finale! Didn't you know that? Don't worry. He'll get mad at her again in the fall, for the premiere.

    What do you mean, that makes you cynical about emotional departures! Just watch and enjoy it, stupe!

    Or not.

    Lionel is back in fine form, the same character he was a year ago. "For a woman without a heart, Genevieve certainly had a lot of blood!"

    Especially given the indentation in her breast that it came out of, when it came down to it. You wouldn't think she'd bleed that much. Especially given that she's Dr. Quinn. You'd think she could giver herself at least rudimentary medical treatment.

    I don't buy it, because I don't believe that Lionel is evil again. The sub-plot was too poorly executed and too last-minute. It's the same reason I can't buy the current Lana and Clark romance. No build-up. Don't get me wrong, I love Star Wars, but it's the Episode 2 romance theory. Just because two people are pretty and look good together on camera doesn't mean if you put them together and make them say "I love you" you're going to believe that they do, not matter how destined it may seem.

    I have to thusly look at it two ways. In terms of the show as it's been, the framework they've given us, this is not the Lionel it should be. In terms of the show I like and Lionel as he should be, those were great lines, he played a great part. The problem being, in terms of the show that I like and Lionel as he should be, Lionel would be in jail right now.

    Lionel goes on about how women lead him into the mouth of the dragon, ruining his role as the hero with the damsel in distress. It harkens to Naman and Zegeeth, and it's actually very poignant, well written, and surprising in the middle of all of this mish-mash. It took me out of the odd situation and put me back into the story in that good way. Now granted it used to be the exceptions were the odd thing and the whole show was in that good way, but I'm glad to see the mythology and a little bit of Lex's character explored. The part where he is destroyed and evil because he falls in love makes it even better. I have always believed that Lex would not be evil were it not for women destroying his heart. That's my take on the character. He was smart, he was rich, but he could never find true love, because people didn't love him for his abilities, they loved him for his wallet, so he lost his heart, became cold and cynical, and wanted to force people to be righteous.

    Superman, on the other hand, people love him for his abilities, not his wallet, but nonetheless, he understands and is driven by love, so he wants to persuade people to be righteous. That's Lex vs. Superman right there, persuasion vs. force in matters of love, war, and morality.

    To see this brought up in the middle of a show with a ticking clock and boob stabs and murdering teenagers gave me a little heart, that's all. It's surprisingly insightful given the show of late.

    We then have another meteor scene, a mixed bag. It was cool to see the meteors pass and impact the moon, but then, it was also distracting to see none of them pulled in by the moon's gravitational pull. I'm no astronomy geek, but one would assume that a body with even 1/10 of the gravitational pull of Earth would have sufficient mass to pull in meteors that were skimming the surface like a lot of those pictured.

    Then we cut to another rip-off, this time of Independence Day. The techie sitting at his console, which suddenly starts going off. BWANG! BWANG! BWANG! I'm surprised there was no REM in the background with "It's the End of the World as We Know it (And I Feel Fine)". Heck, if they wanted to put their own spin on it, they could even have used "I Am Superman".

    His supervisor comes over and looks at the obvious.

    He says, "Oh my God! It's heading straight for Earth!"

    CUT TO COMMERCIAL.

    And then you think, wait a minute? Seriously? The meteor alarm, the advanced technology, the millions of dollars into the equipment designed to detect objects coming towards Earth, and the dude actually seems surprised (alarms going off and all) that Earth is the destination? Something's weird there, for sure.

    I think he would have been more believable if he said, "Oh my God! Those meteors are headed for Mars and we're detecting it HERE!"

    Or even better, "Oh my God! Those meteors are going out of their way to hit Kansas! What the heck?"

    Then we cut to another scene of great dialogue. It surprised me twice. Lois giving Clark the speech about how he'll likely, at the rate he's going, end up in the bowling club with a little Clark junior, a deputy. And that's about right. That sounds like what would have happened to Superman had he not gone to Metropolis. It's an interesting extrapolation, it takes us a place in the mythos we've not been, and I think it'd make a great Elseworlds story. In fact, I'm gonna write it at some point, if I'm ever given the chance. That just went in my idea file.

    They take it a bit too far, with Lois waxing about how she wouldn't end up a reporter, because she'd end up with a desk next to the biggest bumbler in the building. There's subconscious hinting at the future, and then there's that scene from Enterprise some of you may remember, way before there was a Prime Directive.

    Archer: "We know that some day, we'll have to primarily have a directive that we use to direct us in a prime way, some... PRIME directive, that will some day be a part of our united federation of whatever planets we will come across, at least until the next Enterprise."

    Paraphrased.

    You know, I'm kind of sad, because Enterprise was just heating up as Smallville is cooling down, and yet they cancelled Enterprise and killed the story mid-stream. I worry that this may become Smallville's fate because of the atrocious ratings and budget cuts, and I'm fearful of it. That's why I bring up taking cheese a bit too far. Every little thing matters.

    The crooked tie was great. The punch was friendly, so no problem there, but they've already done it, and AGAIN she doesn't get hurt punching the man dense enough to survive a nuclear explosion.

    If you're not aware of my love for Kung Pow by now, I give up. If you want to continue to get these reviews, no doubt you'll have to see that movie at some point. But anyway, the reason I bring it up is because I came up with another Kung Pow-ism that I'm going to be using. There's a scene where Chosen and Betty are fighting, and Betty turns on the music and begins kicking butt, handing Chosen a PARALYZER! (complete with 1970s sound effect). It's hilarious, because his arm goes limp and he becomes worthless. Good timing by Odekirk. I bring this up because I now reverse the situation. The "chosen" instead becomes the PARALYZER in the following:

    Clark and Chloe are walking up to the stage to get their diplomas together. Chloe turns to Clark and muses, "Lana's never even had a tardy! Where is she?"

    This despite the fact that she's been kidnapped about 80 times, gone to France and skipped the first few weeks of school, disappeared innumerable times, taken flower aphrodisiac and played hookey in the pool, been thrown in jail, etcetera. Apparently none of this made her tardy to any classes. Why? Because Lana is SO pure and SO innocent that she can do no wrong. You know what that is?

    Lana grabs the audience, stands them up, raised her arms, and swings out in Flung pu, Kung Pow style. How about another... FETISHIZER! (Seventies sound effect).

    That's what I'm gonna call it when something totally false about her character is mentioned that is said just to make the character of Lana more desirable arbitrarily. FETISHIZER! (Seventies sound effect).

    Ladies and gentlemen, the surviving ten members of the Smallville senior class! They must get a lot of transfers to keep that many people still in the class. I mean, let's see... according to my count, there are 66 people in or close to that senior class killed in the last 4 years.

    The military arrives and cites the "Federal Emergency Decree". Who's writing these titles, huh? You might as well say, "Stop, hicks! We're the Meteor Police and we're gonna rock your world!"

    Why not just have the soldiers stop and say, "Folks, evacuate! Meteors are coming!" and then watch the farmers scream and run. Why try to legitimize the evacuation forces with a dumb law name? Poor writing choice.

    And the time we spend on this, the time we spend on things like the ticking clock, force Chloe to talk at a million miles an hour and Clark to walk away quickly as they speak of her knowing his secret, a sub-plot that is STILL unresolved even though the stinking SEASON IS OVER! How long are they going to drag one of the better things they have going for them out? Until it's worthless, like everything else? I hope not.

    There's also another reason, I suppose. If you watch the scene, the weather didn't cooperate. One minute Clark is standing next to Chloe's car and there's rain all over everything (including the inside of the convertible), the next SECOND everything is dry and Clark is all right. I've included a graphic to illustrate what I'm talking about.

    This is 19 minutes and 4 seconds in:
    19 mins 4 secs

    This is 19 minutes and 10 seconds in:
    19 mins 10 secs

    This happens at least four times in the scene, otherwise I wouldn't have likely caught it.

    The point being? Last episode night magically became day, today rain became sunshine. I know it's hard to get the weather to cooperate during filming, and I know that having a larger episode to make some things might have gotten rushed. I can almost understand that.

    Except for the fact that they're being paid HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS for that not to happen.

    It caused a great subplot to be rushed and done poorly, it caused a continuity gap that pulled me out of the story, and worst of all, it tells me that production values on a show that I once loved for its production values have fallen.

    The focus of this scene is that Lana not showing up for graduation is strange. There is a giant meteor storm on the way that could destroy the whole town, it'll really kill everyone. How about another... FETISHIZER!

    Of course, the logical thought is that if Lana is not at graduations, she's... what? Yes, evacuated. She's heard there's a meteor coming and ran like all get out. Who is the person most likely to disappear when a meteor is coming? That's right. Lana Lang, because her parents (as she reminds us again and again and again and again) were turned into protoplasmic paste by a giant hunk of rock. She even has a name for a rock and the wind that carried it. She named it after her horse, "Lovesmee".

    So what happens? Chloe, Lois, even Ma and Pa point out the obvious, that's she's probably run away. But Clark makes the miracle leap of logic that she's somehow in trouble. BRILLIANT (smacks head). The FETISHIZER numbed his brain. THAT is why Clark has been so stupid of late.

    Clark... Lana is evacuated. (You have no idea how much I wish I could hear that coming from Galactus to Clark. Stupid inter-company squabbles!)

    Read that again. You may get it. I'm here all week. Try the dip. You want your money back? Too bad.

    Lex visits Clark, and this is where the story really started getting wonky and off. There's a meteor storm coming. Lex suddenly wants the truth about the cave NOW. Why? Why not get out of town and figure stuff out later? It doesn't make sense otherwise. Lex has no reason to feel urgency in this situation. The only reason he would is if he thought the stones could stop the meteor shower. But Lex has no reason to think that. And even if he does, he doesn't say he does, leaving the audience without a reason to think he has one. It's not our job to infer the hanging points writers leave in film. I get tired of apologists who say that I should just read between the lines. If you had a book that expected you to read between the lines as to how hero A got to position B, you'd be fuming. I expect no less of any coherent narrative.

    But assume you buy it (I don't). He then asks Clark about the extra room. Lex knows about it, he knows Clark knows about it, Clark knows Lex knows, what's Clark's motivation not to tell him he knows? Of course, he may still think Lex doesn't know that he knows, but I know that AW CRAP. I've got a headache.

    Anyway, point being, what could Clark telling him hurt? If Lex knows about it, he may be headed there, yeah, but I think Clark could beat him in a foot race and be done with his business by the time Lex is there. He could even take the stone and get it out of there, if that's the issue.

    My question is why Lex hasn't broken into the secret room already if he knows about it. It's been a month, and he runs the joint.

    It's arbitrary conflict and tension, and that, as you may know, is not something I like.

    I continue to think Lex is the good guy in this story. He tells Clark he's a great guy after Clark has lied to his face, and takes off to try and find the stones.

    Chloe helps Clark out of the K area and Clark runs away. That means, without doubt, that Clark knows that Chloe knows, at least about his weakness to Kryptonite. Will that be covered next season? My guess is no. If I forget, please remind me, because that's a big deal.

    Clark plugs in the Atari Triforce cartridge and goes to Jor-El land again. Turns out that now Jor-El isn't a good guy, he's a bad guy again. I'm so tired of this, really, I am. Four years of mystery is too much for even my attention, especially when the mystery seems contretemps in general to my understanding of Jor-El as opposed to apropos, like the general depiction of Lex barring the unmitigated horrors of PRE-MARITAL SEX! (See Bound).

    Zelda appears and says, "You have now reached syndication, Link! Instead of repeating this same stuff over and over again, try the Master Quest! Here's a cape and an S and-"

    CLICK! Clark changes the channel.

    "KAL-EL, IT IS TIME TO UNITE THE MAGIC TRIFORCE STONES! IF YOU DON'T, I WILL MAKE LIKE MY CHARACTER IN THE LIMEY AND PUSH YOU OFF A BALCONY. ZOD KONG GOT NOTHIN' ON ME, BABY. I'LL SHOOT LIGHTNING UP YOUR BUTT FASTER THAN THE EMPEROR, AND KICK YOU SO HARD YOU'LL BE PIDDLIN' KRYPTON SHOE FOR A WEEK AND YOU WON'T STOP ROLLING UNTIL YOUR CLOTHES ARE OUT OF STYLE, EVEN ON YOUR HOME PLANET! UNITE THE PLOT DEVICES! CARRY OUT YOUR CLIFFHANGER! Oh, but please don't do it until all of the other characters have aligned themselves into near-death situations they will easily escape. Kirk out."

    Clark nods. Yes... yes! Even though the last few times I've messed with Jor-El I've killed my little sibling to be, gone off and become a rogue in the big city, disappeared for months, and fought my own father to heart disease, why not? Let's put this baby together and see what happens!

    Bang, he's in the arctic, and he actually looks surprised.

    I can translate that cave for you. In Kryptonian, it says, "Anyone who comes in here more than twice is a boob. A boob that deserves stabbing with a blunt short object that will kill them. You can find that object in another room. To get away with that murder, just say the stones are magic and sacred. I recommend getting a tattoo and being passive aggressive."

    Another thing... why didn't Jor-El tell Clark that if he didn't put the stones together, the Earth would eventually be destroyed? You'd think if he were a GOOD entity, he would do that. Because I know that Clark, even if he had misgivings, would put the stones together in a heartbeat if he thought that it would save the world. Jor-El would know that too. At least, the Jor-El I like.

    Another thing I am curious about is how putting the stones together saved anything. Smallville is still annihilated, the strange visitor in the weird ship has arrived, and Clark is stuck in the Antarctic. Are you telling me that having a Fortress is going to save the world? I'm curious how. In other words, the scene sounded epic, but in the context of the narrative it is implausible and ridiculous, to put it plain.

    Then the meteor effect again (still cool) and then the horrible timer (still awful).

    Another critical lapse of narrative is the poorly written dialogue between Clark and his parents right after he returns from the caves. They ask him what's going on. All he says is that Jor-El wants him to put the stones together. Not that the Earth is in danger, not that he can stop the meteors, not that if he doesn't people will die. He just says he has to do it.

    His father then tells him that this is what he was raised to do. One assumes Pa means save people and protect them, but given the previous dialogue, it comes off badly, like Pa is telling him to go do what Jor-El wants him to. Watch it again.

    Here's the transcript:

    "I spoke to Jor-El. He told me I have to find the other stones right now, and unite them with the other one in the cave."

    (That's all he tells them about the mission before the monologue about how this is what he's meant to do.)

    The normal response from Jonathan? "NO! Last time you gave me a heart attack and killed my unborn child!"

    The response in this show:

    "I want you to listen to me right now. All the years that your mother and I spent raising you from a wide-eyed toddler running around this farm to the man standing in front of me right now was for this moment. You do this, son, you make us proud."

    Listen to it both ways. My way, and their way:

    "I spoke to Jor-El. He told me I have to find the other stones right now, and unite them with the other one in the cave."

    "I want you to listen to me right now. All the years that your mother and I spent raising you from a wide-eyed toddler running around this farm to the man standing in front of me right now was for this moment. You do this, son, you make us proud."

    My way:

    "I spoke to Jor-El. He told me I have to find the other stones right now, and unite them with the other one in the cave. He said that if I didn't, the world would be destroyed. I have to save the world."

    "I want you to listen to me right now. All the years that your mother and I spent raising you from a wide-eyed toddler running around this farm to the man standing in front of me right now was for this moment. You do this, son, you make us proud."

    Would have been better, huh?

    Then we cut straight to a crapana. Lana is in the barn somehow (I don't know how she got from the Luthor mansion to there, but whatever). She's not even looking for Clark, she's just leaning on a post staring wistfully into the distance. Ah, sigh! My dead parents (seriously, they brought that back to torment us again).

    She gives Clark her stone, the stone she wouldn't give to the man who's protecting her, she gives to the man she's had extreme trust issues with in the past (how many times has Clark's lying been made into an issue, right or not, as opposed to Lex?). Why? Because she has a feeling. She gives Clark the MURDER WEAPON that she won't trust the man who offered her a rich man's legal counsel because she has a funny feeling he may need it. That funny feeling? The feeling that the plot can't move forward unless Clark get's the stone, and taking it from Lana can't be done in this narrative.

    I didn't buy it for a second. It ticked me off, actually. Lex, the good guy in this situation, asks for it and doesn't get it. She gives it to Clark all covered in blood, and all is well.

    I love how Clark doesn't even ask any questions about the blood, either, he just tucks it into his pocket.

    Lana even reveals that she LIED to Clark in China (SECRETS AND LIES!) about the stone, and no reaction from Clark.

    "I somehow know it's meant for you!"

    My stinky hairy geek posterior you do. You know that like I know the TV shows Friends or the O.C. Which I somehow know is not very much.

    And then welcome to the Hallmark cheesy movie of the week:

    Lana: "I love you!"

    They kiss.

    Clark: "I love you too!"

    Lana: "Whatever happens, I'll never forget you!"

    And again I am reminded of the romance in Episode 2 of Star Wars. It just doesn't work, and it never will without the proper setup. Love is LOVE, not two pretty people standing next to each other. You must EVOKE it somehow. And that way is not 19 episodes where they hate each other and then two where they're magically friends again. It DOESN'T work, I WON'T but it, and I do want my money back.

    Cut to the timer (I kid you not).

    Back to Lex, she's about to get on the helicopter with him.

    Lex: "It's best that you not travel with the murder weapon."

    Very true. In fact, it's best that she not flee in the face of murder charges, but hey, who's paying attention?

    Lana (with the patented "I affirm you, but... "): "I understand that, Lex, but I'd rather hold on to it."

    Lex: "Look, Lana, I'll support whatever story you want to go with... "

    Lana: "It's not a STORY!"

    To the man who is saving your life you offer a guilt trip, even when it's Lex.

    I have officially gone from disgust with this character to outright hate. That was the line, right there. I used to believe that they could bring Lana back with the proper characterization and enough work. Now, officially, it is the point of no return. If the show goes on for ten more seasons, I can never like this character again. Too many times has she proven herself again and again repugnant both in practice, writing, and attitude. Done. I wash my hands.

    More illogical character direction. Jason goes after the Kents to get to Clark. Uh, why?

    I understand that Clark is associated with the stones with Jason. But what about Lana? What about Lionel and Lex, who he knows HAVE one of the stones? What about his mother? It doesn't make sense, it's just an excuse to have Jason in the plot and to put the Kents in peril. I don't believe it at all.

    Lois and Chloe go back to get Lana. Why? A phone call from her telling them that she's all right.

    Here's the situation. There's a meteor shower coming for your town. You get a message that says:

    "Even though you won't hear from me for a while, I want to let you know I'm okay."

    And then a little bit of another dude's voice.

    I don't know about you, but my immediate response is that she's in danger.

    NO!

    WAIT!

    My immediate response is that I won't hear from her for a while, but she's okay.

    So Chloe and Lois turn around and go back into the meteor's range to visit Lex and see what's up (dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb!), and they are stopped by the military.

    I don't know how many of you are military folk, but I live in a military town in a military section of Washington State. And when a soldier says not to go somewhere, you do it, or they shoot you. Especially in emergency situations. My own father was the man that, in the event of a nuclear war, would have shot men, women, and children to attempted to approach the military base he was stationed at, no questions asked.

    I don't care if Lois is a General's daughter. If she attempts to bother an official US serviceman in the act of protecting tens of thousands of people in a federally declared emergency, POP in the head with the butt of the rifle, one KO for Lois, and Chloe is in plastic cuffs. End of story.

    To say nothing of the fact that he allowed Chloe to block the other side of the road with her VW in a crisis situation.

    Clark puts the second key in, and though this didn't happen with the first key, putting in the second key starts the shrill and annoying "find the key" sound again.

    Lionel, who has the key, is then hit with the crazy juice that felled the good reporter two years ago and is now apparently comatose with Krypton for eyes. Does this make him the Eradicator? We can only hope. I think the name's too expensive for their new budget.

    Lex, not to be outdone, reaches down to grab the key while it's still going nutty and gets Lextrocuted. I patented that phrase this morning, so no running with it unless you send me a quarter!

    Way to go, bright eyes. That's the electrified fence cow theory, whereas dope A grabs fence B, and then other dopes try and grab and pull him away or see what's going on and get caught in one nice big chain. Cows do it.

    Lionel's on the ground and dying, Lex leans over, and for no real reason (though it was chilling) says, "Dad, you created the son you always wanted."

    Is this the break? Is this what we're to believe causes Lex to suddenly decide to go evil? If so, I'm disgusted. Just last week, if you'll recall, Lex loved his father so much he saved his life, now he's suddenly evil and wants him dead. Senseless. If it's the quest for the stones, I don't buy that either. He can still take the stone and love his father. Of course, if you, like me, think the logical course after Lionel trying to kill Lex is for Lex to hate his father, great. But then you have to contend with the inconsistency of the fact that for the past 21 episodes they've essentially been working together, if not friendly at times.

    Then Lex, somehow nutty, kidnaps Chloe. Why? Because she was there when someone took his stone. Never mind that there are meteors coming. Never mind that he could have taken a stone from Lana earlier in the narrative without ANY effort. Now he's kidnapping for something that he turned down out of honor not half a show back. It's bad enough they can't get continuity straight between episodes, but in the same episode, come ON guys!

    This is the new, improved, EVIL Lex, I guess. Kidnapping Chloe, trying to get the stones without any real reason, just some maniacal and evil drive.

    Why can't he find them after the shower? I still need to know that to believe what he is doing.

    And then the TIMER again! ARRRRRG!

    We see a scene of a dude in a semi truck jumping out of it after it's hit with a meteor, and the truck explodes. You're telling me they opted to BUY a semi, FILL IT with gas, and BLOW IT UP after paying a stuntman to LEAP OUT OF IT for fifteen seconds of film footage, and they couldn't amp up the juice for Lionel getting hit with the stone?

    It's interesting, yeah, but it was also wholly irrelevant to the plot.

    My next note: Where is Clark? Why isn't he rushing around saving people? Of course, he saves the little boy, but what about the guy in the truck? What about the other people? At the speed he can run, he could save a ton of people. But instead, as the meteors are impacting, he chooses to put the stones together? Which might make the situation WORSE?

    The problem with this whole show is not how cool it is. Meteors? Cool. Lex evil? Cool! Resolution of bad plot? COOL! And even Lana and Clark in love and being kind to each other? TOO COOL!

    The problem is that none of it is believable because it hasn't been cool like this. You need a lead up. ABCDEFG makes sense. We have a subconscious desire to enjoy that order. FGBCADE sounds like nonsense for a reason. You have to have a narrative in a particular order. This narrative isn't even that complex, either. It's ABC. They went AZ. Pulled something that was right out into the main narrative, attempted to make it seem normative, and dropped it on our heads in many ways.

    The copter scene had cool effects. I liked those. Why didn't they leave earlier? That held me back. Cool explosions, bad context.

    Where did Isobel go for the crash? Jason is STILL alive. Isobel could have righted the helicopter and presumably stopped the meteors. Oh well. The first place she is sensible in this plot, nada.

    The arctic moments were neat. Not neat enough to make up for 22 episodes of mostly crap build-up, but chilling and cool nonetheless. Along with the key, even. If we could simply eliminate episodes 2-21 and have this season be episodes 1 and 22, only Clark gets the three stones at the end of 1 and we kill the witch stuff, those two episodes would in fact be quite awesome.

    Lana survived a tail rotor being ripped off her helicopter and smashing into the ground? Huh? Life ain't like that, sorry. Even at low levels crashes like that are hard to survive, so I'm told.

    But she crawls out... her makeup is still in place, no broken nose, no broken bones, just a still somewhat bleeding leg and some ruffled hair.

    The first thing I do after a helicopter crash is crawl out and see what's going on, I don't know about you. Or wait, maybe I moan and pray for help because I'm so busted up I can't move.

    But then, a black ship out of nowhere. Who is it? Eradicator? Zod? Jor-El? Non? Mxy? An American spy plane from the future?

    My personal guess is that it is Cornelius and Zira. I would like nothing more than to see Smallville: Escape From the Planet of the Apes. Multiple action figure crossovers, Roddy McDowell, how could it go wrong?

    Now THAT has potential.

    I have an honest curiosity to see who is in that ship.

    We have the end of Isobel.

    The death of Lionel, potentially.

    The end of Jason.

    The end of Genny.

    The potential conclusion to all of the lingering Jor-El crap.

    No more freaks if there's no more high school.

    Lois is gone, potentially.

    In short, Smallville has just, through a crafty finale, pretty much ended everything that has made it bad for the last year. They can either return to the status quo in the premiere, or they can remain stuck in this hole they've dug for themselves.

    Lionel can return to life. Isobel can return. Jason can survive. Genny, well, she's kinda screwed. Jor-El can remain unsolved. They can find freaks in a college somehow (freaks in college! NO!), and Lois can (and will) come back for half of the episodes.

    Things right now hang on a great cusp. This show can jump back, or it can stay gone. That's up to one summer and one group of writers. I am pessimistic, but I have hope.

    In four months, we'll see if that's worth a hunk of CRACK.

    I see all of the inconsistencies, but I see all the cool. This show was very much like Onyx. We see a lot of the things that we really want to see, but it's bogged down by a failure to pay attention to detail, character, proper exposition and continuity. Ergo I was half pleased, half angered, I'm gonna go 3.5 of 5. It was a LITTLE better than an average episode in the middle of the season, and there was some character motion forward.

    FINALE PARTY! (OLE!)

    That's right, it's over! I will finally be likely able to catch up on letters, I will actually remove myself from this faux leather chair and visit upon myself that gaseous ball that appears once yearly in Washington and causes warmth (I forget it's name), and most importantly, I will likely take the time to write my fifth novel, which is hard, but rewarding.

    Crank out the hard Pepsi and snort some pixie sticks! Time to rehash all the stuff I already spent 20 pages weekly for the last year on!

    RE-REVIEW:

    As is the tradition, because people sometimes write me and in vehement terms insist I am something akin to a troll, I give my reviews a re-review every year. This is because some weeks I've done something sad, like beaten up my grandma, while other weeks I've done something happy, like giving myself the "You're the Best, Guy!" award. In other words, mood affects writing, so to answer my "be objective" critics, I take another look at my reviews.

    Here goes! Original ratings:

    • Crusade: 5 of 5
    • Gone: 2 of 5
    • Facade: 4 of 5
    • Devoted: 4 of 5
    • Run: 5 of 5
    • Transference: 5 of 5
    • Jinx: 1 of 5
    • Spell: 1 of 5
    • Bound: 1 of 5
    • Scare: 3 of 5
    • Unsafe: 2 of 5
    • Pariah: 3 of 5
    • Recruit: 1.5 of 5
    • Krypto: 4 of 5
    • Sacred: 2.5 of 5
    • Lucy: 1 of 5
    • Onyx: 3 of 5
    • Spirit: 1 of 5
    • Blank: 2 of 5
    • Ageless: 1.5 of 5
    • Forever: 2 of 5
    • Commencement: 3.5 of 5

    The re-review:

    Episode 1: "Crusade"

    This episode was a solid story in all ways. First Lois, first real flight, and a ton of ramifications dealt with in a fun fashion. Chloe was still dead, even. Things looked great! I stand by this one.

    5 of 5.

    Episode 2: "Gone"

    I gave this a two, I'm not really sure why. Now it's nine months later, and I can hardly remember the salient points without reading the review. But as it stands, what happened this episode? Chloe returned from the dead impossibly, Lana came back from France where she should have stayed, Lois acted the fool, and we had the first Terminator ripoff of the season. I was too kind, likely because it was the first episode of the season.

    1 of 5.

    Episode 3: "Facade"

    Ah, the origin of "bich". This episode was an average freakshow, but it was colored by that Alicia taint, that ability to actually tap into some of what I really like about the show, the understanding of what it's like to grow up, as opposed to fake dilemmas that are manufacture to emulate what it's like growing up. It was fun for me back then, but to be totally honest, I don't have salient points in my head, just a fond memory. That makes it an episode I won't watch again, but one I enjoyed when it was on, which is average.

    3 of 5.

    Episode 4: "Devoted"

    This is a story that was freak of the week all the way. It also had Clark drinking Kryptonite. This was also the first big step toward sexing the show up for ratings, a move that failed, a move that pretty much started us toward Sharkville. It did have a few redeeming moments of youth, though, and I remember them even now, so I stick by my review.

    2 of 5.

    Episode 5: "Run"

    The Flash, handled in a decent fashion. Yeah, he's a thief, and yeah, he's not exactly the Flash we know and love, but like Perry it plays the Clark as redeemer card, so it works well. I stand by my review.

    5 of 5.

    Episode 6: "Transference"

    A good episode to let Tom and John stretch themselves, but nonetheless the beginning of the atrocious "Lionel is good" and "Genevieve Teague" plotlines. In retrospect, for starting these it deserves a smack, but since they didn't manifest in this otherwise just plain fun episode, I stick by my original rating. Out of character romps have occurred too much, but if you're going to do it, this is how.

    5 of 5.

    Episode 7: "Jinx"

    "Watch" "Suck" "Kees". Mxy goes from playful imp to homicidal bookie. Uh, yeah. That's gonna go over well. This was my most controversial review of the year. People really hated me for not liking it. I don't see what's so hard about the concept. They turned Mxy EVIL! Mxy is a catalyst for Superman to find awareness of his own character flaws, not a homicidal bookie! There's the Smallville spin and then there's turning Lois into a whore just to make the plot more interesting. It has a good point, the introduction of Old Spice Red Zone, a now comedic mainstay. But don't forget, it also gave us the biggest cheat of the year. At the end of the stinker episode, it showed that Lex had a secret room full of people. A room that has not been seen since. SUCK (indeed).

    1 of 5.

    Episode 8: "Spell"

    The witch episode, where we see S and M chicks, violence, and mad partying in the week before we have a preaching episode about the evils of pre-marital sex. Also stones, secrets and lies, and a bunch of inconsistencies. This one is the shark-jumper, in many ways, though I didn't mark mine until later. One is too kind.

    1 of 5.

    Episode 9: "Bound"

    In a show that had a motto of "sex sells" up until this episode, we take a step back and show what a fink Lex is for having sex with willing women. Lana, of course, comes out looking roses, while the Rose-enbaum is made to look like a chauvanist for enjoying sex. Abominable.

    1 of 5.

    Episode 10: "Scare"

    Everyone on the show experiences their worst fear. A very Star Trek episode, only they ripped off the Terminator. Weird thing was, it kind of made some sense, at least the last half. I am upset that the plot they introduces with Chloe's mother being Daffy Duck never came to fruition, like the Mxy room, so I'm inclined to knock this one a little down, in retrospect. But just a bit.

    2.5 of 5.

    Episode 11: "Unsafe"

    Another show on the perils and horrors of sex, all in a show selling itself with sex and sexuality. And also, the woman who goes crazy starting at half past the hour starts going nutty at half past the hour, and no one sees it. It's essentially a repeat of the first Alicia episode, and it fails as such. I remember little of this episode save Red Clark, and at that, I remember them getting married and doing things that don't just fix themselves in a week. Ergo I stick with my review. Good concept, bad execution.

    2 of 5.

    Episode 12: "Pariah"

    Alicia manages not to port herself out of a noose, but then, we see Clark suffer a true loss. There's also a little touchdown of continuity, in that we see what happens when freaks are remembered. A good thing, but with enough inconsistencies to bring in the rot. I stand by this one, as well.

    3 of 5.

    Episode 13: "Recruit"

    In which we see the evils of college football, your typical teen drama story that usually ends in the main character trying that beer substance for the first time. Instead, Lois gets a paralyzer and things just go nowhere but down. I can't remember anything good from this episode after the fact, so it's losing its good graces.

    1 of 5.

    Episode 14: "Krypto"

    Yeah, there were inconsistencies, but this episode introduced what is a regularly recurring and neat character, it put the Smallville spin on Krypto without making him a flying dog or homicidal, so I think, in retrospect, I'll probably watch this one again. I'm upping it.

    5 of 5.

    Episode 15: "Sacred"

    This is the China episode. Had a TON of problems, a horrible climax, and a lot of things that didn't make sense. It also had good Luthor dialogue, an homage to Reeve that was fitting, and a little bit of plot motion. But it also had Isobel. And racist depictions of the Chinese. Great! In retrospect:

    2 of 5.

    Episode 16: "Lucy"

    The flight attendant becomes the homicidal James Bond chick who steals cars and gets away with it, along with the awful German freak, the rehash of the old special effects... and Lex playing the piano when he cannot. Not much redeeming here.

    1 of 5.

    Episode 17: "Onyx"

    This was supposed to be the episode where Lex was Lex, where he made sense, fit into his character, where we see the dark side truly emerge. Turns out the dark side is just killing a few people and brashly executing a poorly made plan like a freak of the weak. To top it off, the murders remain forgotten, the Kryptonite ring is gone, and Lex is still a good guy in most respects. Gotta stick with this one. Oooh and awww.

    3 of 5.

    Episode 18: "Spirit"

    My God, my heart just seized when I actually remembered what this episode was about. The prom, Lana and Clark dancing with no reason, "LATERS". To this day, if I hear laters in my dream I wake up screaming, and the person next to me is dead. I hate it when that happens.

    1 of 5.

    Episode 19: "Blank"

    Clark forgets everything, so we tromp through the whole series again thanks to a freak. The good parts of the series are good, but the bad parts really suck, and we also remember what season we're in exactly. It's like rubbing our nose in what we're missing, which sucks. I stand by it.

    2 of 5.

    Episode 20: "Ageless"

    Aw, Lana and Clark have a baby. Hey, wait! Lana and Clark hated each other two weeks ago! And the kid learns to read in a half hour? What the heck? And then he blows up?

    LAME! 1 of 5.

    Episode 21: "Forever"

    A guy who can make people freeze in place? Give me a break. If this hadn't already been done five or six times, and on this show, no less, it might work out. The lone fun is Lionel and Lex, but even that is colored by the incoherence of their narrative.

    Still:

    2 of 5.

    Episode 22: "Commencement"

    Just wrote it, so no change.

    3.5 of 5.

    You'll notice I grade down more than up. In a overall good season, I do just the opposite. Look back. As a whole, a bad season reflects on each individual episode, I believe, and I think that's fair. Sorry if you don't.

    RE-REVIEW TOTALS:

    • Crusade: 5 of 5
    • Gone: 1 of 5
    • Facade: 3 of 5
    • Devoted: 2 of 5
    • Run: 5 of 5
    • Transference: 5 of 5
    • Jinx: 1 of 5
    • Spell: 1 of 5
    • Bound: 1 of 5
    • Scare: 2.5 of 5
    • Unsafe: 2 of 5
    • Pariah: 3 of 5
    • Recruit: 1 of 5
    • Krypto: 5 of 5
    • Sacred: 2 of 5
    • Lucy: 1 of 5
    • Onyx: 3 of 5
    • Spirit: 1 of 5
    • Blank: 2 of 5
    • Ageless: 1.5 of 5
    • Forever: 2 of 5
    • Commencement: 3.5 of 5

    That's an average of 2.43

    MATHEMATICS:

    This is where we average the seasons into perspective and goof with the math.

    This season we had:

    5 x 1 of 5s

    2 x 1.5 of 5s

    4 x 2 of 5s

    1 x 2.5 of 5

    3 x 3 of 5s

    1 x 3.5 of 5

    3 x 4 of 5s

    3 x 5 of 5s

    That's an average of 2.63636363636 and on and on. In other words, this was a 2 of 5 season, leaning more towards the 3. Which is better than the re-review above, but still a full point below last year's average.

    Compare that to the last few years:

    Season three:

    2 x 1 of 5s

    2 x 2 of 5s

    1 x 2.5 of 5

    2 x 3 of 5s

    3 x 3.5 of 5s

    3 x 4 of 5s

    3 x 4.5 of 5s

    6 x 5 of 5s

    (3.66 average)

    Season two:

    0 x 1 of 5s, 7 x 2 of 5s, 1 x 3 of 5s, 1 x 3.5 of 5, 4 x 4 of 5s, and 10 x 5 of 5s. 1 x 6 of 5, if you count ferrets.

    (3.76 average, 3.80 if you count ferrets)

    Season one:

    6 x 5 of 5s, 9 x 4 of 5s, 1 x 3.5 of 5, 3 x 3 of 5s, and 2 x 2 of 5s

    (3.92 average)

    What this says to me is that as the show gets older, it is harder and harder to impress, and they are doing less to make the show a morphing, continuing experience. I can only hope next year proves this trend wrong.

    BUSINESS:

    There isn't too much this week. A lot of it is just sheer volumes of things that I had to do for the finale. But don't worry, just like last year, anything I miss will carry over into next year's Business.

    The first thing I have to bring to your attention, a good friend I read regularly named Aelora, inspired to try and bring positive change to the show, founded a site to mount a letter-writing campaign to the the Al and Miles crew. The basic thesis is the idea behind my "letters to Al and Miles" request for this finale (of which I got a nice number of submissions, printed below). If you'd like to carry on through the summer, please visit this site. She has my endorsement, and I know Aelora, she won't screw this up. I'm also going to work with her to try and send the emails to Al personally. We'll see how that goes.

    LETTERS TO AL AND MILES

    These are the contributions I got, extremely well done, one and all. Enjoy!

      Dear Mr. Millar and Mr. Gough,

      I am a long-time viewer of Smallville, who used to wait eagerly for Smallville night, set my VCR if I were going to be on vacation, and howl if something happened to make me miss even one episode. I used to recommend it to all my friends and talk about it to people who had never seen it.

      I haven't been that viewer in a long time.

      What happened? Last Wednesday, I think I realized what made me lose interest in what used to be my favorite show in years. That was the Wednesday you aired Blank, the first episode in a long time that I truly enjoyed.

      Back in the beginning of the series, the show was about a young guy who was going to be Superman some day. It promised to show us how a confused, unsure teenager grew into the Man of Steel. I was eager to see Clark Kent grow into Superman, with the help of his parents and his friends.

      But in the last couple of years, the opposite has happened. Superman is the epitome of honor, courage, and truth. He is very, very intelligent. He never takes a life. He prefers to see the best in people.

      But Clark Kent in Smallville is moving away, not toward, this ideal. He lies reflexively, without apparent reason (see Run, Transference, and too many other episodes to count). He refuses to take responsibility for his relationships and move on from an infatuation with Lana Lang (again, too many episodes to count). He kills without apparent thought or remorse (see Gone). He used to calculate mortgages in his head; now he seems to have the brains of a pitchfork (see Pariah and every episode where he throws someone through a wall rather than exercise a modicum of subtlety). These faults might be more acceptable in the early part of the series. But now, Clark is almost done with high school. Shouldn't he be closer, rather than farther, from the person he will be as the world's greatest superhero?

      But then, last Wednesday, I saw the Clark Kent that I've been waiting to see. He was kind. He believed in people. He tried to deal with relationship issues honestly and directly. He chose to try to help the boy who hurt him, rather than use him as a human bowling ball. He only lied when he sensed an honest threat from Lex Luthor. Sadly, that Clark Kent was also brain-damaged. So I fear that next week, when he has his full faculties back, we will once again be forced to watch a troubled teen with less and less resemblance to the Superman we all were hoping for. What a shame.

      Sincerely,

      Patricia, New York

      -=-

      Dear Al & Miles,

      I want to keep this short, but at the same time I must also establish my credentials. In short, Superman is my all-time, desert island favorite fictional character. I can't explain it, but there's something about the myth that really appeals to me. The alien who dedicates at least a portion of his life to saving humanity from threats both large and small strikes a cord with me in terms of being the kind of person I want to be. The slightly awkward guy who can't quite get his act together with the woman of his dreams has figured into my life on more than one occasion.

      But mostly, there's something about the power at Superman's command and how he uses it to serve, not dominate or control. A reverence for human life above all else. Importance on truth. Devotion to justice. These are fundamental building blocks of his character, morals given to him by his foster parents. The process of learning those lessons could not have always been an easy proposition for Clark and his family, but one that was worth going through today to create the Man of Tomorrow.

      That brings me to your TV show 'Smallville'. Even though I've never met either of you before, I get the impression that you see a lot of the same qualities in the Man of Steel as I do. And you also obviously saw potential in telling stories from his teenage years. Even better than that, you've found ways of making those stories interesting that would never have occurred to me. Introducing Lex into Clark's high school life is one great idea that -- though not created by the show -- has been used very effectively and has resulted in far more entertaining stories being told. Likewise, the creation of the Chloe Sullivan character added Lois-like character to the cast while also giving Clark a primer for his future career in journalism. Clark's relationship with his parents and the values they've instilled in him have clearly had a profound effect on creating Clark as a fifteen year old kid in the first season and a seventeen year old young man now. At once, 'Smallville' embraced modern comic book continuity (no Adventures of Superboy), older comic book continuity (the aforementioned addition of Lex into Clark's formative years) and also created brand new elements (the Lionel Luthor character, Kryptonite as a mutagenic substance). Truly some of the best Superman stories told in recent memory have been on 'Smallville'. I, and many fans, rejoiced.

      I cannot send a missive to either of you gentlemen without commenting on a fairly controversial aspect of the show. Simply put, I'm referring to the phenomenon known as the "Freak of the Week". I believe that the show has been unfairly maligned for this plot device. I understand the need to have "freaks" on the show and as long as they are not used as a crutch (which they usually have not been), I have no problem with them.

      All of this brings me to the point of this letter. This fourth season of the show has not been as entertaining, emotional, psychologically complex or just plain FUN as previous seasons have been. It is my opinion that attention has not been paid to the main plot of the season, the subplots of the season, character motivations, plausible story elements or continuity from one episode to the next. I am not saying any of this to attack either of you personally or the writers of the show. I am simply stating my opinion.

      The ongoing "will they/won't they" romantic scenario between Clark and Lana has tired me out as a viewer. It seems that Lana and Clark have occasional romantic feelings for each other. Being a teenager myself once upon a time, I know how that goes. But I also know that there is such a thing as "history of a relationship". Simply put, I would not associate with someone if I had the type of history with her that Clark has with Lana. There is too much bad blood and too many instances of Lana being completely unfair to Clark for me to be even the slightest bit happy or excited at the prospect of them going on a date. Part of this is, as mentioned earlier, Lana's poorly developed character, but the other part is that this plot thread has been dangling since literally day one and it has gotten old.

      Worse, the subplot of the stones and Isobel the Witch have been wildly inconsistent and have contributed to some very serious low points of this season. It seems that Lana will condemn someone for keeping secrets from her and then keep secrets from them by hiding one of the stones in her apartment. That stone was given to her by Jason Teague, who entrusted the stone with Lana for safe-keeping. It's since been revealed that he's actually evil and he and his mother want the stones for themselves. That begs the question of why he gave her the stones. It then also begs the question of how Lana can chastise someone for keeping secrets when she stages a robbery of her apartment to ensure the stones remain hidden. These are all issues related to continuity problems with the series.

      I've also noticed that characters tend to be rather poorly motivated in a lot of fourth season episodes. In the most recent episode, "Ageless", Lionel warned Mrs. Teague against harming Lex. This is the same man who tried to kill Lex at the end of the third season and again this season when he, for a time, had possessed Clark's body. And obviously both of these incidents occurred after Lionel erased part of Lex's memory in the middle point of the third season. Lionel simply has no credibility here.

      Likewise, when Clark lost his memory during this season's "Blank" episode, Chloe whispered to Clark to be careful when dealing with Lex. Again, this type of warning seems to come out of nowhere since Lex has been nothing but a friend to Chloe so far in this series. He protected her from Lionel's wrath through part of the third season and also helped her escape the exploding safe house. There are more examples besides these two, but for the sake of brevity I will not mention them.

      Finally, I must mention the overabundance of sexual content this season. I must say that as a heterosexual male, I have an obvious appreciation for the female form. That being said (and without putting too fine a point on it) I can see, shall we say, MORE of the female body on late night premium cable television than the WB will likely ever be allowed to air. But beyond that, the sexual content does nothing to drive forward the main story of Clark becoming a legendary superhero and Lex becoming the villain who opposes him. I can appreciate beautiful women, but I watch 'Smallville' for the mythological aspects of the Superman legend, not to see men and women paraded about wearing almost nothing.

      So in conclusion Messrs. Gough and Millar, I do appreciate your commitment to crafting an entertaining television show. However, I feel that this season has hit a lot of low notes. Luckily, most of these things can be addressed during the summer and hopefully rectified in time for the debut of the fifth season. I know I'll be there!

      Best regards,

      Trent Thornton

      Houston, Texas

      -=-

      (From my buddy Felix to me, on the subject, well put):

      It's sad that this show has gone down without a flicker of hope. Whether or not I'll be watching next season, I'm not sure yet. We'll see. I love Superman, I've loved him since I was five when my dad bought me his comic to keep me quiet, and I held this comic in my hands and I read it three times. Back then I never read books, but I read a comic book which introduced me to literature, and superman appealed to me.

      I can't really define nor can I explain why I love superman, and what about him appealed to me, but it did. There's a saying that you don't choose books, books choose you, and I think Superman was my destined role model, the figure I based my life on. The figure in which taught me about good and evil, right and wrong, he embodied everything I could never be. Physically fit (I'm not), strong and invulnerable (I've been in and out of hospitals all my life), with a strong moral center (that I have), this is the figure that surpassed every other literary figure I've come across, and then there was "Smallville".

      I can remember being stunned at the sheer wonder of this show, and how it captured the awe of the Superman universe, and then it got worse and worse, and it seemed as time went on that the writers just don't care anymore. The ratings are down and the scripts are being churned out like they MUST finish this season already. And those of us whom are not willing to accept it are a minority. I'm sorry, but I demand the best for Superman, I demand quality, dammit, I demand that superman be given justice, and the right aspects of characterization that makes him Superman, and we haven't gotten that from "Smallville".

      And then it personally offends me when other fans proclaim "You're not a superman fan if you hate Smallville". That's dumb. And that's wrong. I've been devoted to Superman through the highs and lows, from Electric Superman, right down to Kingdom Come, and for you to question my love as a fan because some of us aren't willing to swallow the incomparable lack of creativity is wrong. How dare you? And then some people use the excuse "Smallville is better than nothing".

      Sure, I wanted chicken, but hey imitation chicken is better than nothing. I need a hundred bucks for heart surgery, but, hey, ten bucks is better than nothing. New York needs schools, well paid public servants who deserve to be paid well, and food for the homeless, but hey, a football stadium is better than nothing!

      Do superman fans sub-consciously think so lowly of this character they're willing to accept "it's better than nothing"? Bulls$#t. We should get it as good as spider-man fan's got with his amazing movie, we should get it as good as x-men fan's got it, d@mnit! We're clinging to this thought that we should settle for Smallville because it's all we have. That's sad.

      I want the best for Superman, I want the best for the character who guided me through my darkest hour, who instilled a sense of hope that some people can still have good in them. I've seen it. Both in you, and my family, and Superman gives me hope, so why should we settle for "Smallville" and its lack of creativity turning the lore to a melodrama whose writers don't even care about continuity, or logic, or characterization.

      For superman, I refuse to settle, and a real superman fan should get the best. What makes Spider-man a candidate for an excellent film while we have to settle for Smallville? It's not fair.

      - Felix

      -=-

      Dear Sirs,

      First off I want to say that I have been a comics fan since I was a very small child. I've always enjoyed the Superman mythos, even though I've always been more of a fan of Clark than Superman. I'm one of those who see Clark as the real person and Superman as the mask he wears. That's why I was so excited to see the premise for the show when it was announced. I've been a fan of the show since the premiere.

      I'm well aware of the sheer amount of work that goes into producing an ongoing series. We have friends that work in both the movie and the television industries; we've seen first-hand just how hard it is. While we may be fans, to you it is work, very hard work most of the time.

      There have been episodes over the last few years that have been amazing. The acting on the show is, for the most part, wonderful. You are very lucky in the cast that you were able to assemble. But the writing, especially this season, has been spotty and uneven at best. It's so hard for me to reconcile that the show that can give us something like Hourglass, Stray, Lineage, Ryan, Shattered, Asylum, Memoria and even Onyx can also give us episodes that don't even make internal sense. Much less do justice to the established characters and storylines.

      Plotlines are introduced, like Lex's poisoning and need for Dialysis, and then just dropped with little or no explanation. It was incredibly sad that all that potentially interesting storyline warranted was a throwaway line in a Verizon post that not that many people will ever see. You've had characters who were seen on the show, Lucas for example, suddenly seem to have not even existed. How could it have made any sense for Lex to suddenly be telling people he has no other sibling? He does. He has a brother who died, Julian, and a brother who is very much alive, Lucas.

      What drew me to the show was the relationship between Clark and Lex. I loved the chance to get to see what made them into the men that they become. Getting to know both the Kent's and Lionel better was an added bonus. You have a wonderful cast of characters, it would be nice to see them all utilized and not see all the focus being spent on one character, Lana. Who, though I like her, should not be the focus of the show. She is at best only a supporting character; she is the girl who is left behind. But instead we keep being given plotlines that force her to the forefront whether it makes sense in the continuity or not. Even at the expense of not progressing what should be the main focus; telling the story of Lex and Clark.

      Has it been your intent to make Clark into such an unlikable character? He lies to his friends even when he doesn't have to. He uses excessive force most of the time with no seeming repercussions. He's become a user who only shows up at his 'best friends' house only when he wants something from him. We are supposed to believe that this is a 'Friendship of Legend' but are shown little or nothing to support it. One week Clark is happy to see or be with Lex. He's believing him and saving his life and you truly believe they care for each other. The next, like this week's episode, Blank, they treat each other like enemies again with no explanation as to why.

      It's no wonder that Lex becomes evil, he's treated very shabbily by those who are supposed to be his friends. And please, show us the things that are supposed to change him. Don't just drop storytelling anvils, like having the dog growl at him because, hey, he must be a bad man, at us. That is a cheap shot and is poor storytelling. Show us the progression; don't just tell us about it. Don't have him doing things like taking an antidote that might kill him to protect his people, push people out of harm's way at the expense of himself and then just hold up signs basically saying, hey, evil here and expect us to either buy or believe it.

      And, I'm sorry, but having a twenty-five-year-old young man have an active sex life does not an evil person make. He had sex with grown, consenting adults. He didn't coerce or use anyone. There are frat boys on any college campus in this country that get more action than poor Lex. That does not make them evil overlords. Having Clark stand there and be holier than thou at Lex after his little escapades in Metropolis makes no sense. And it was compounded even more by having his friend practically tell him he's suicidal and he just ignores it. Heck, at best I will always see Lex as a failed hero. He has always been the one trying to do the right thing, even if his methods weren't the best at times.

      Chloe's attitude toward Lex the last few episodes makes no sense at all. He saved her and her father's life. He protected her all summer, even when he was ill. He put himself at risk to help her cousin Lucy and now all she can do is join the 'Lex is evil' brigade without telling us why? Chloe is such a wonderful character, please, don't make her do and say things that make no sense just to advance a plotline that is full of holes and inconsistencies.

      We were promised a season that would get back to the main storyline; Lex and Clark. Instead we've had the Lana Hour and Lex has been reduced to a recurring character with little or no airtime. Please, move on from the Lana/Clark romance. It is boring and has never progressed beyond moony eyes and push me pull you situations. Heck, I would take a Freak of the Week episode any week over having to see more of that.

      For that matter, Lana deserves more. Clark has treated her horribly in the past. It starts to smack of her being self-abusive for her to keep going right back into something that just doesn't work.

      Shoddy, cheap, weak storytelling is why you are losing your fan base, more and more each week. It's not too late. Please, please give us the show you've promised, that you've shown us glimpses of in the past. Believe me, if you write it they will come.

      Thank you for your time,

      Barbara Staton

      -=-

      Dear Al and Miles-

      Years ago, when I first heard of a show coming called Smallville that would follow Clark Kent's teenage years, I can remember how excited I was. Then when I found out it would also have Lex Luthor added in, I was ecstatic, even though I was disappointed that there would be "no tights, no flights." I could just imagine the possibilities of telling the story of these two comic legends, with good supporting characters. I looked forward to seeing Clark become Superman, and seeing how Lex became as evil as he does.

      The first season began, and while it wasn't really staying true to the Superman story I was familiar with, it certainly had it's good points. While I wanted to see the Lex I knew from the comics, Lionel was playing that role brilliantly, so I could accept that. The Kents were done well, and Lana was a likeable character, even though I disagreed with the choice to make her Clark's love interest.

      But eventually things started to change. Jor-El was made out to be an evil alien, Lex Luthor never began to develop into who we all expected, and the Lana and Clark angle became so painful to watch I literally turned the channel at 8:50 (knowing full well that that was the designated "Lana/Clark" time). Then came season four. The great ending to season three was given a full 180, plots began to be re-used numerous times, freaks of the weeks became so laughable it was embarrassing, and somehow a season-long plot was created involving Lana Lang, witch ancestors, three stones, and Jason and his mother.

      I don't understand. Why were stories created that do not move Clark or Lex forward? Why make fans suffer through a plot involving witches and stones when there's so much else to draw from? Why have episodes revolving around a boy who ages really fast, or a guy wants to collect his high school friends, when they obviously bring nothing to the table? It's been very frustrating, especially because of how great Michael has been portraying Lex, and Tom has been pretty good as Clark as well.

      Obviously the ratings have taken a hit, and some have suggested that the show has "jumped the shark." I know you have moved onto bigger and better things, but please don't allow Smallville to go out with a whimper. Please don't let the series end without delivering on what we all expected from the beginning.

      I know I'm just a normal fan, but I'd like to offer my opinions on how next season should go, as it could very well be the last one. First, Clark needs to develop much more into the man who can be Superman. He needs to start acting like his IQ is higher than my GPA. He needs to show greater moral guidelines consistently. He needs to get over Lana, he needs to develop a love for journalism, he needs to recognize he needs two identities, hence the glasses, and he needs to develop more powers, such as telescopic vision, super-breath, etc. Second, Lana should be phased out a little more, while showing Clark starting to notice Lois as more than a sibling-like rivalry. Third, Lex needs to be driven directly down his path to evil. No detours, no u-turns. What's made the prequel Star Wars trilogy so fascinating for me is watching how an innocent little boy could develop into the evil monster he becomes. While obviously you can't re-create Star Wars, Lex should be treated very similarly. He needs to be evil, and we need a full season to see how and why it happens. My last suggestion is... yes, I know you don't want to hear it... flight, and eventually tights. Why not? As I said before, many believe the show has already "jumped the shark," so what's there to lose?

      I believe Smallville can still be saved, but another season of our time cannot be wasted. We want to see the Clark and Lex that we know, not another season of plots that don't matter, characters that don't make sense, and plot holes that are simply avoided instead of taking the time to explain and make sense.

      So please, isn't it about time that the true Superman fans were given what they've asked for?

      Sincerely,
      Adam

      -=-

      Dear Mr. Gough and Mr. Miles,

      I am speaking as one of Smallville's devoted fans. I have watched every episode and have never been as addicted to a TV show as I am to Smallville. My family and friends also have watched the show, some from the beginning and some jumping in later on. Sadly, over the last season, I have found myself trying to convince people to continue watching when before they were as eager for the next episode as I. My sister no longer watches at all and some of my friends have become just casual viewers. I love this show and it has so much potential, but for some reason, this season has not reached it.

      The most consistent complaint that I hear is the lack of continuity. Each episode seems completely severed from the last. While each individual episode may be enjoyable, it lacks something if it doesn't fit into the context of a larger story. The two most glaring examples have been Lex's dialysis treatment, which was never mentioned after the season premier, and Alicia's death, which Clark seemed to have forgotten by the next episode. In addition, Clark and Lex's friendship seems to be strong in one episode and filled with suspicion and anger the next. Likewise, Chloe goes from trusting Lex with her life to finding every action of his suspicious. This lack of continuity was not as noticeable in the earlier seasons.

      The focus of the show has also shifted. The show began as a story about two friends: one destined to be a hero and the other his enemy. This story has been forced into the background in season four. Lex does not even seem to have as much screen time this season when he should be at the forefront of the story.

      Instead, the story has focused on Lana and her tattoo. While I understand that Lana is Clark's love interest, there should not be more focus on her than on the friendship between Clark and Lex. I will not discuss the problems with the character of Lana, as I am sure that you are aware of the complaints. In fact, while I recognize these flaws, I still enjoy the character in many scenes and I like Kristin Kreuk in the role. However, whether Lana is a good character is not the issue. The fact is that Lana is not the focus of the show and should not be made the focus. The show needs to find a balance between the love story and the story of Clark and Lex. This season, that balance was lost.

      The main story arc should further develop the relationship between Clark and Lex. This season, the relationship has remained stagnant in favor of stories about Lana. Let Clark and Lex interact more. Their tragic friendship is the main draw of the show. The most moving and memorable episodes of this show have been about Clark and Lex. Think of "Shattered" and "Memoria" of last season.

      Let the other characters have more to do as well. Let Chloe get over Clark and have a boyfriend. Lana has had Jason, Whitney, Clark, and even Adam. Let Chloe have one boyfriend; a new character or maybe even develop a relationship with Lex. Let Clark's parents do more than worry and lecture. Let Martha interact with Lionel again or let Jonathan try to overcome his prejudice to Lex. Whatever direction you choose, please remember that the fans love all the characters and want to see them all have important storylines.

      Please understand that I am writing this letter because I love this show and I hate to see it not reach its potential. I assume that you and the crew behind Smallville care about it as much as I do. If so, please do not let the quality be as low as it has been. You have some amazing writers on your staff who I know can come up with better story arcs that tie the characters together and develop over the course of a season. The plotholes and discontinuity that have plagued the show this season should not be in a show of the quality that Smallville once was.

      Regardless of what happens, I will most likely continue to watch Smallville until its end. However, I want to love the show as much today as I did when it first started. So please, bring back continuity and return the show to its original story: "a friendship of legends." Season five can be as good, and I believe, even better than the first three seasons.

      Sincerely,
      Anne

      -=-

      To Whom It May Concern:

      SUPERMAN is one of the ultimate myths created during the twentieth century. Everyone, no matter race, creed, or standing in life, can relate to a guy who because of his differences doesn't fit in. The fact that he is, in fact, a 'super man' imbued with powers normal humans could only dream of having, endears him all the more.

      Yet, and unfortunately, with this season, Smallville's decline has been marked. The reason for this downward spiral can be attributed to the inconsistent plot arcs and the dependence on story lines not really fundamental or important. I am writing this letter in hopes that Smallville can capitalize on some key aspects the writers and producers have missed out on.

      You need to expand Lois Lane. She is the key to the show's success!

      Instead of adding, and in some cases compounding what is wrong with the show, with continued creations of more super-powered villains. The relationship between Clark and Lois segues a much-loved arc that the 'mythos lovers' will allow and is palatable to current and future viewers.

      Seriously, you need more reality to the show, and a good love triangle, or triangles could provide that!

      The inevitable love/hate/indifference between C. Kent, Lois and Superman is fertile ground. Clark , as he is portrayed in the series, is a growing boy with hormones and powers. The writers of the show would be better served in presenting his transformation, complete with faults and deficiencies, than in highlighting new 'freak of the weeks'.

      There isn't a need to recreate the wheel here folks!

      Only LOVE for what is known will make you fight for its continued survival. Of course, this doesn't have to be based on just love of a person. However, the story of Clark Kent's transformation to Superman should be based upon some aspect of this premise. There has to be some portion of this fundamental desire driving Superman's inevitable creation. Anything less is faulty and not worth viewing.

      Seriously, a 'simple' man's need to put on a cape and fight for what he believes is right cannot be explained away with something insubstantial!

      You've already done a great job establishing 'freak of the weeks' and where they come from, but what this season has lacked is the human element inherently necessary to any story involving Superman. Questions that make the mind wonder have been absent in season four, and if you continue on this path. They will be lacking in season five to.

      There are no other reasons greater then love that are worth fight for!

      In addition to expounding upon Lois Lane, you might also want to expound upon the other loves in Superman's life. For so great a person must have many. Jonathon and Martha Kent must paramount in some arcs, and even in some cases take center stage. Lana, her love life should be included, but not so much as it overshadows the main story line. In addition there should be other people, whose main goal is not served as a offset to Clark's tremendous powers.

      Lastly, it should be LOVE that Clark fights for...not just what he feels is important, but what all humanity feels is important. This...is what makes a man, or woman, a super being!

      I hope you take this letter to heart and recognize that even if you don't it will hit your pocket book eventually because if you write a bad show it will always be a bad show with your name to the credit...and people like me will eventually turn it off for good. BUT...WE WILL REMEMBER!!!

      Best of luck in your endeavors,

      S. Brown

    -=-

    LANA SECRETS AND LIES:

    My second task was to have you give me times Lana lied. Only two people, two brave souls, dared document, the noble Twikidee and the amazing Sara Nielson! They come up with a literal TON!

    Twikidee's:

    In 'Metamorphosis', she tells Lex that Whitney was with her before the football game when he was really tying Clark up in a field, but Lex knows she's lying.

    In 'Cool', she doesn't tell Whitney about going to the concert with Clark.

    In 'Stray', she tells Ryan that everybody has secrets, and when he asks her what hers is, she won't tell him.

    In 'Heat', she admits to Clark that she hasn't been honest about her feelings for Whitney.

    In 'Duplicity', she tells Nell she stayed at Chloe's and Chloe has to lie for her.

    Also in 'Duplicity', she hides the truth from Nell about how she really feels about Nell's boyfriend Dean.

    In 'Dichotic', she doesn't tell Chloe that she's dated Ian also, eventually admitting that she hasn't been honest with her.

    In 'Suspect', after she sees Clark and Chloe making out, she lies to Chloe that she didn't recognize the girl.

    In 'Exodus', she lies again to Chloe and tells her that she and Clark are just friends.

    In 'Magnetic', she tells Clark that Seth is headed to Grandville when she knows he's not.

    In 'Hereafter', she keeps Adam's destructive nightmares a secret from Lex, only admitting it when he calls her on it.

    In 'Velocity', she agrees to keeping the fact that Adam is dead a secret.

    In both 'Obsession' and 'Resurrection', Lex asks her if there's something she knows about Adam and she denies it.

    Sara's: The most obvious times Lana has hidden the truth or actually lied: Season 4

    Crusade: When Lana runs back to Smallville, abandoning Jason, because of a freaky-deeky tattoo.

    Facade: When Clark walks in on Jason and Lana. didn't she pass it off as just welcoming the new assistant coach?

    Lucy: Duh. When she pretends to Jason that she doesn't know where the stone is or when she ransacks her only impossibly lovely apartment and pretends it's been stolen.

    Lucy: When Lana pretends that she's glad the stone is gone, but really she's just hidden it from Jason to fulfill her own wishes for it.

    Blank: Lana refuses to talk to amnesia Clark about their relationship at work, but then heads to his house that night to do that very thing! Ugh! And then when he asks her point blank, she's all "It's not important. sigh" Season 3

    Phoenix: When Clark says he knows she'll never be able to handle the truth and they can't have a relationship together she meekly acquiesces, but the entire season she's still trying to get back into a relationship with him.

    Sara also came up with a TON of new indictable offenses! Check them out in the KO Count.

    JUMP THE SHARK:

    Only three people had Jump the Shark moments. Shalamarke, Sara, and Shal's friend.

    Shal's was Jason just appearing at the Crosby murder scene. Her friend's was the prom, with the jumping bodies.

    Sara goes with "Blank" with the following rationale:

    "As much as I enjoyed the Chloe/Clark moments, the whole amnesia thing has totally been done to death. It was like they were trying to orient a whole new audience to Smallville by going over each ability with a fine toothed comb, but not even in a very believable setting. That's when I think the show jumped the shark."

    Good reason.

    I tend to say it's Spell, but I do believe that the show can jump back. Nothing wrong with that.

    In conclusion, somebody shoot me. I started this at 9AM on a Friday, and here it is almost 7PM. Another year, another monkey gone. Here's hoping next season's is incredible.

    That's 35 pages and 17 thousand words for you. If you can get through it by next fall, I'll be back!

    If you need something to do this summer, when I'm not writing, I'm still playing World of Warcraft. I'm on Stonemaul, and my character name is Chinaski. We can slaughter wholesale. If that's not fun for you, I have a ton more work on www.nealbailey.com, and another weekly column, but a word of warning, it's not for the squeamish or easily offended.

    All the best, and have a good summer! See you in the comics!

    Neal



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