Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 5 - Episode 4: "Aqua"

Reviews:

Aqua

Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

Let me start this off by admitting something. I never thought of Aquaman as an A-list superhero. I mean no offense to fans of the character. I just personally never found him very interesting. So he can talk to fish and breath underwater? Alright. That can come in handy once in a while in certain situations sure, but what help is that in the middle of down town Metropolis?

With that said I enjoyed this episode very much.

There was one thing that did not quite sit right with me at first but once I thought about it a bit and then once a few hints were dropped my discomfort diminished greatly. In the end I found it to be understandable in the context of the show overall and used as a nod to something we know is going to happen in the future. I am referring to Clark's initial and almost unreasonable distrust of Arthur or "AC". All AC did was to save Lois and Clark was thumping his chest over it.

At first it bothered me but then I thought about it. Clark has spent years dealing with super-powered people in which only Bart and Ryan turned out to be good guys. I find it reasonable that he would be somewhat distrusting of another super-powered person showing up out of the blue like that. He maybe took his distrust a bit too far at first but I think he learned his lesson once he found out AC actually had a reason for his actions.

Later on when Lois suggests that Clark may actually be jealous I found it to really work well. I actually like the idea that Clark may, deep down in a part of his mind where he isn't really aware of it, know that Lois is the one for him. This hint or slight realization really made it work and really helped to drive home the final scene of the episode which I will get to later.

AC's short lived romance to Lois was OK though I wish DC shows would stop letting other superheroes date Superman's gal. The animated show had Batman dating her for a while and now Aquaman on Smallville. What's next? Hawkman is going to build a nest for her?

OK OK. Honestly I am just kidding. The crush-like little romance was well handled and made logical sense. Lois is attracted to people that are heroes. That much is, and always has been true, so it was not out of place here. I was greatly amused by her giving Aquaman the nickname "Fish stick" and commenting that his choice of colors "looked like Flipper threw up". I think I giggled for 5 minutes after that one. How can anyone blame AC for falling for that woman?

Over all I like what they did for Aquaman. Giving him super strength and super speed in water makes sense and I was glad they avoided the talking to fish power for now. The ability to power up pulses of water was nicely done as well. I rather enjoyed his underwater battle with Clark. What comic book geek does not like to watch a good super-powered throw-down once in a while? One just has to look for all the "Hero A" Vs. "Hero B" discussion threads on all the various web sites around the net to learn it is a popular subject. So Aquaman comes out on top in this one but only because they go at it underwater and Clark isn't exactly up to his Superman form yet. I would not want to bet on "fish stick" in a rematch. In fact I'll bring the tarter sauce.

I did find the plot that Lex was branching out into weapons research a good one. I really like how they have taken the doubt out of Lex's actions and are letting him just play the villain. Clark knows now he is a villain yet he still stands up for him and even gives Lex the chance to prove AC wrong before he takes action against him. As Clark himself says later it is naive, but it is something I can see our future Superman doing.

This idea was expanded even more in the final scene between Clark in Lex. Clark goes in really fired up to chew Lex out again but instead of punching or storming out he stops himself and reaches out to Lex. He was almost begging him to turn back from the path of destruction he is on. I really felt for the lost friendship in that moment. There was a definite sadness over the loss of what the future could have been if Lex had just taken Clark's hand at that very moment.

Professor Fine? Really this episode is just an introduction to him. We can guess from his ominous appearance in the opener that he is most likely a villain, yet we do not see that here. Sure he has a beef against Lex and Luthor Corp but as Clark learns in this very episode that is somewhat justified. He manages to get Clark involved in investigating Lex and I am very interested in seeing where this part of the story is headed. All these years Lex has investigated Clark and then expected forgiveness when he was caught. I can not wait to see how Lex reacts once he finds out Clark is now investigating him. My guess is he will not handle it as well as Clark has in the past. I'd rather bet on Aquaman in the super rematch than take that bet.

Now some comments on Clark through the episode. I like how he is still very upset about being forced to lie to Lana. I still think he should tell her but I am glad to see the show is continuing to show us he is still struggling with that choice. He has to wear a fake patch over his "bullet wound" and he still feels he has to keep his true nature a secret from her out of fear she will suffer if she knows. He is wrong but he has not yet figured that out for himself yet. I was pleased to see they took the time to show that. I also liked how Chloe was still trying to talk some sense into his thick skull. Let us hope the spunky blonde never gives up.

One thing this episode did very well was to drive home the fact that Clark is not Superman yet. From the not so subtle clue of AC calling him "Superboy" to the fantastic and fanboy glee filled final scene with him and Lois in the loft. Clark learned some real lessons in this episode about being a hero in the world. It may take a bit of time for some of the lessons learned to truly and honestly sink in but that is OK. We see in his choice to take the job investigating Luthor Corp that he is willing to move beyond just being a reactionary hero and is starting his journey to be a proactive hero. He is taking steps to be more than just the farmboy that saves people in trouble.

So let's end this review by talking about the Clark/Lois scene in the loft which was a great finish to a really good episode. Really a great moment of the series overall. A scene with Lois that gives us a real good deep look at her dreams and hopes and really drives home the reasons she will fall absolutely in love with Clark in the future. It also reminds us why she is not really in love with him now. He's not that world hero yet. He has not made that leap fully on a conscious level. Sure maybe he has deep down in that same place where he is not fully aware of his attraction to Lois but not consciously. I think this may be where the promise to Lois comes from. He promises her that some day she will find that hero to love, even if that means he has to go and be that hero for her. Let's just say my Fanboy Glee Meter had its needle buried on that one.

So I give this one a solid A (or 5 out of 5 starfish!). Some good fan boy moments, a good plot, no glaring errors or what the heck moments, and a couple of really great nods to the future we know is coming.

So I'll see ya all next week when we see Clark face off against some blood sucking creatures of the night, just in time for Halloween! So make sure to get a little extra garlic with your Thursday night pizza and keep a sharp wooden stake handy. Same Super time! Same Super Channel!

Doug



Aqua

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

MAIN POINTS:

  • Arthur Curry visits Smallville and meets Clark. Hilarity ensues.
  • Lex Luthor takes "AC" captive before he escapes, further estranging himself.
  • Lois Lane has moved back into the Kent's.
  • Lois has a brief relationship with Arthur.
  • Milton Fine, one of Clark's professors, has taken him on as a research assistant.
  • Their research is a book on how bad Luthorcorp is.

    REVIEW:

    This is the part where I turn to the camera, pull my bangs down over my eyes making like I have a blond mullet of hair (IE, my David Spade) and say, "I liked this episode better the FIRST time I saw it. When it was "Run"!

    Which is what Charlie Brown would call "a sarcasm" when you hear it (Watch the Christmas special. It makes me cry), but nonetheless, on the outside, I have to recall that Run was a really good episode. Probably the best of last season next to Transference or the premiere. And in this one, there are no hokey maps.

    But it is, in essence, the same episode, only with a few things that suck the other episode didn't have. Run had a TON of inconsistencies, but everything was very sincere and to the point. This episode had WAY to many animal metaphors, in-jokes, puns, and anthropomorphic humor. It dripped down the whole setup like wax on a candle. I took down a number, but I let a number slip. They pulled at the foundations of this episode much like inconsistencies took what could have been great, Onyx, and turned it into a joke.

    But let's get to the show, shall we?

    We start out with a pretty nice scene, everyone interacting in front of a pool. Reminded me of being younger, when I actually would waste a lot of time instead of busting butt on my writing, but that'll all be okay by me when I have the lakeside house and a Guggenheim. (Har-de-har-har-har-URK! (clutches chest)).

    We see Lana and Clark acting like civil human beings, and yes, there is that little issue of the background, where we see mountains in Kansas and the trees that are indigenous to my state and geographical locale, but I don't care if it's on MARS, so long as Lana's acting like a human being.

    Clark's shirtless, and granted, it's been a while, but the first immediate, glaring hole in the story was no attempt to cover the whole "no scar, I died" thing. (From last ep).

    Oh well.

    Lois shows up. Insert groan. Not because we don't want to see Lois, but we know, from the second she walks up, there's no good reason. The dialogue even addresses that she was supposed to be in Europe for a year.

    This was truly a Worf moment from Insurrection.

    To clue you in, Worf runs the weapons on the Enterprise. He's a Klingon. When The Next Generation went off the air, he transferred from the Enterprise to Deep Space 9 as a ratings ploy or a good plot, depending on how you look at it.

    In the movie Insurrection, however, you still gotta have Worf, so he appears. Picard says, "Hey, aren't you supposed to be on Deep Space 9? How did you get here?"

    And then they get cut off by the action, it's never explained, and Worf is just along for the ride.

    It's played for laughs in the movie, but in this show, it's a continual and repeating cop-out to deal with the fact that Lois isn't really supposed to be there but they want her there anyway.

    It hurts the show. Especially since this episode, like others last season, just push Chloe's essential role into the background and give her three or so lines, and the Kents don't even make an appearance. Why? Because Lois is hotter? It certainly doesn't make plot sense.

    "Why are you here, Lois?"

    "I just asked Ma Kent if I could move in again, and she said yes!"

    Not a good enough reason.

    Cut to swimming, which was neat. Don't know how many of you caught it, but Lois rising onto the dock was a nice little homage to something that came around before most of you yunguns, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, a classic that is a better book than a movie, but still has relevance.

    I don't know how much I'll be allowed to get away with, but let's just say that in the scene homage in question, it's used as an aide to...certain personal negotiations.

    So yeah, what we have here is a typical example of sexual objectification in a show that decries sexual objectification, using a girl that's been revealed as "unclean" the episode after the two pure people throw caution to the wind and have sex.

    But really, under it all, I know sex sells, so I'll roll my eyes and go on. Usually, this kind of thing is really gratuitous and sucks (as I'm guessing next week will, from the preview), but given the reference to an absolutely essential pop culture experience, I'm not too conflicted. It's not like they made her a pole dancer or anything.

    Er...

    Still, it's not as sweeps week as I expected.

    Lois sets up for her dive, does the twist turn super Greg Luganis superplex (can you smell what the rock is cookin'), then hits her head, goes unconscious, and promptly starts to sink rapidly, as limp bodies (even thin ones) do not in water. Reminds me of Accelerate, when Lana just sinks when she's pushed off a bridge into rapids.

    Aquaman comes to the rescue, with some AWESOME SFX. I really did like the super-speed swimming. He pulls her to the shore, and then gives the most awkward CPR I have ever seen. Very clunky, unrealistic, and odd.

    I'm not a lifeguard, but as I recall, don't you try and push the water out before you begin to restart the heart?

    Easy fix, just don't show the CPR, or use a strategic cut. The DP dropped the ball on that one. It seems Aquaman's actor was afraid to cop a feel.

    Then, even though she's just died and been given CPR, they don't rush her to the hospital.

    No squeaky shoes? I mean...this time, it made sense? Concussion? Brain trauma?

    Ah, never mind. He has hot man-boobs. Which they did not hesitate to focus on.

    So I'm thinking, all right. This episode's on the craptrack using the crapomotive on crapatlantic railways and going WHOO WHOO! But it's okay. All was not lost. I took a breath, renewed my faith, and carried on:

    BRAINIAC.

    Oh yeah. Here, I'm thinking, well, even if the mainline sucks, at least we have the sub-plot, which is building to something great.

    Without highlights, Spike actually makes a pretty plausible actor. I thought I'd have trouble seeing him as a professor. Here, he pulls it off nicely, albeit a professor whose dialogue would make even the ACLU cringe and get him instantly fired.

    I went to college, and a very liberal college, and one thing that is a constant is the all-pervasive contempt for, yes, big businesses that destroy the environment. Professors work their butts off to subtly put it into a ton of lessons, whether it's blatant or relevant.

    BUT, they don't open up a class by just harping on corporations they don't like and basically saying that anyone who doesn't like what they're saying are morons. Even my most polemic of professors opened the floor to dialogue and supported assertions with facts.

    In other words, yes, his monologue was dramatic and character relative, but it was another in a long line of forced dramas. Though he does have a reason not to like Lex right now.

    He calls the brain the "greatest supercomputer in the world", a hilarious line if you know Brainiac, but then he goes on to assert that we only use "ten percent of our brains", a controversial and debunked urban myth of a claim that a supercomputer would know with even a cursory examination of our world's database. Or google.

    Looks like the writer only used ten percent of his research.

    How did I know this? Uh, embarrassing, but I just wanted to test the theory, so I researched it a bit about six months ago for a story.

    There's also the fact that he singles out and corners Clark for being late in a college class, something that rarely, if ever happens, especially in an auditorium for a 100 level affair. I had English teachers (much maligned for doing so) who took attendance, but the general assumption is that if you're late for class, it's your loss, and unless you're causing a disturbance, the teachers don't give you crap.

    He also speaks of Lex LuthER. Now, granted, I get flak for noticing that, but in this episode it happened a TON of times, more than usual.

    And when a flunky does it, it's okay. When an infallible computer brain does it, it's especially retarded.

    Clark meets up with him after class and talks to him about Lex. Clark, who apparently thought Lex was evil enough to PUNCH last episode, is now standing up for him with Professor Fine. Fine offers Clark a job, and proceeds to say LuthER and LuthERcorp twice more.

    Cut to more mountains in Kansas. Arthur Curry and Lois, after Arthur Curry says, "Hey, baby. I rescued you. Let's date!" and Lois says, "Sure, ape-man!" (well, it was a little more complex than that), they end up going back to the lake.

    The preceding scene, where Arthur Curry shows up and harangues Lois at the Talon, was okay, but I couldn't help but get the feeling that the whole set-up was that Lois was letting this guy be a jerk to her because he looked good, an attitude I pretty heartily stand against. It's out of character for Lois, per ce, given that if she wanted to be with a good looking guy, face it, she's a military brat. There are hundreds of guys in shape that she could shoot for. It's also playing her as rather shallow.

    Maybe that's how she is on Smallville, to a degree, I just have trouble seeing Lois like that. She's supposed to be the archetype for the ultimate feminist. One might argue that being able to just objectify men as men objectify women is a form of feminism, I guess. It just doesn't sit right with me.

    They end up on the dock, and AC leans in to kiss. She says, "What the heck are you doing?" a clear invitation to stop, and then he leans in to kiss her.

    It's a miracle she didn't slug him on this show. Guess sometimes no means no, and sometimes no means yes... another nice little feminist argument to explore here.

    Before you get up in arms, I'm firmly in the "no means no" camp.

    So they make kissy, then Arthur stands up and gets an ear-ache, because of the sonic emissions of Luthor's fish killing sonic weapon.

    Arthur goes, "GEHAEAAHHEYAYEAHHHAYYYYEHAHHHHHH!" before falling into the water.

    Lois stands there, watching, not helping. Way to repay the favor, babe!

    Arthur manages to get to sea after buzzing the weapon, but not before hurting himself. The fish nearby die.

    Why Arthur survives when it kills the fish? Well, that's up to you.

    We learn that Lex has produced a weapon for the military, and spent a hundred million dollars doing so.

    Apparently, Lex Luthor has now, very suddenly, changed from a scientist creator to a military creator, like a lightswitch, and gone from projects designed to help people to projects designed to kill people.

    To further the fun, now he's not only making weapons, but he's testing them at a public, populated beach, when there's no reason if he spent a hundred million dollars to hock up a sonic missile he couldn't afford another thousand bucks to hire some schmoes to tow it out to Metropolis harbor.

    Or at very least make sure no one was around when he was testing it.

    I don't buy the transition, frankly, though I am torn by the fact that I do truly enjoy seeing an evil Lex. A little transition, other than one episode (Mortal) might have been nice. Actually, requisite.

    Lois and AC, post Luthor attack, pair up in private. They start flirting again, and start getting ready to make out. As someone in the chat put it, they put a very Fantastic Four spin on this. This isn't Namor, is it? But at any rate, the whole scene, and my thoughts about it, are summed up in the dialogue:

    Lois: "You don't even know me!"

    AC: "What's there to know?"

    Positive role models of the sexual world, UNTIE! (Please note, misspelling intentional).

    Mills Lane, in the background, spits to the side, looks at the two airheads, and says, "Let's get it on!"

    "But I didn't order a pizza!" says Aquaman.

    Then it's on. Great relationship values there, pard. This show's really hitting a home run in that regard.

    Chloe and Clark, meanwhile, investigate the heck out of Aquaman. Because in any OTHER show, some kid starts acting crazy or fruity, they just wait until they do something dangerous. But hey, if AC is hitting on Lois, he must be evil. They've used that "Clark doesn't trust him because he's with one of the ladies he knows" mantra to death.

    Cut to Chloe's one contribution to the episode, the impossible computer trick.

    "I wonder if he has a crimina-"

    "Why yes, Clark, in fact he DOES have a criminal record!"

    Hacking into criminal records, yet another indictable offense. Doing it instantaneously? Priceless.

    Chloe would give Angelina Jolie a run for her money as a master haxor.

    In the Talon, Clark comes up and really, without much reason, just starts ripping AC a new one because he has a criminal record. He trusts and has faith in dudes that just attack him out of nowhere, but somehow he knows that Arthur is dag nasty evil? Why?

    Arthur gives a great backstory, a pretty accurate and old school mom-as-mermaid, dad-as-lighthouse-guy. It was awesome, and probably beyond the swimming the closest to the actual Aquaman we get. The actor who played AC did an extraordinarily good job, but he wasn't given a whole heck of a lot of character to swing from, bro.

    Clark to Lois, "Something fishy about this guy."

    Oy.

    Arthur: "Guess I'll just swim out of here."

    Oy.

    Clark meets Arthur at Crater lake, and here we have the first really cool scene in the episode. Arthur swims into the Luthor facility, Clark follows him, and chaos ensues. More mountains in Kansas.

    Clark stopping the bomb was awesome. Following Arthur and doing battle was also pretty neat. I don't agree with the specifics on the beats, but I do think that it was still a lot of fun.

    For instance, now we see that Clark can breathe underwater and in space (last episode), but there's no real acknowledgement of that, which is weird. It's almost a new power, when you think about it.

    There's also the fact that Arthur makes a REALLY big point of a cool build up to his volleys, and a man with super-speed can't dodge that? I don't know that I buy that.

    And finally, when Clark is hit and knocked out of the water and onto the sand, yeah, it's an awesome effect, but Clark fell from the stratosphere last week and just got a little dusted. He acts like he's been sucker punched by Doomsday before they cut to the commercial.

    Another thing that's just REALLY getting on my nerves is the whole "cut to a commercial" and buy your way out of a fight scene.

    Onyx, Clark was facing Lex with a gun, they cut to commercial, all was well. Last episode, they used that device likewise.

    This episode, Clark and Arthur have come to blows, and when we come back from the commercial, Clark's just back at the barn?

    Uh, Arthur can't go faster than Clark. Assume Arthur swam across the lake at superspeed and ran full bore into the distance. Clark would be able to catch him in a second. Assume Arthur just stayed under water. Clark would wait. This man just tried to BLOW SOMETHING UP. That's a terrorist act. You think Clark's just going to let him go? Just assume he won't go back and try and blow it up again?

    Clark talks to Lois in the barn, and mentions that he found this secret Luthor lab with Arthur and that Arthur was trying to blow it up. Lois isn't going to ask how he stopped the bomb? Or how he got into a Luthor lab?

    Or, like me, ask why a hundred million dollar sonic missile doesn't have a video camera on it?

    Nah, she won't ask about that. Instead, she bites into Clark for interrupting her date by suspecting Arthur. And how dare he, I mean, after seeing him with a bomb and all.

    That's the problem with making Clark magically suspicious. When he's right, the other characters then pretend that he's wrong for even MORE arbitrary drama. So instead of the "I instantly suspect you because you're dating (Lana/Lois/Chloe/Pete/Shelby)" we instead then revert to, "Well, Clark, if you're questioning the obvious villain, it's just because you're jealous he's dating (Lana/Lois/Chloe/Pete/Neal)".

    Then Arthur Curry sneaks up on a dude with Super-hearing. Clark's talking to Lois, and then turns and is like, "Oh! Aquaman! How did you get here? I didn't know you were here!"

    Then we enter the BRO ZONE.

    What's that? It's like the Old Spice Red Zone, in that it's repetitive, is shown constantly, and is annoying, like someone putting a wet finger in your ear.

    "Uh, you shouldn't have stopped me from bugging Lex, bro, because you're just not all into the situation, bro, and you need to know the facts, bro."

    Suddenly, Arthur Curry has become the villains from that phasing episode, where every third word was bro. Granted, he only says it five times (I counted), but he does it five times in about twenty minutes of show.

    What's the problem with bro, Neal? I got asked. I know people who really say that.

    I do to.

    They don't save people's lives. They're not particularly intelligible. And they tend not to have environmental agendas while being a superhero, bro.

    I know people who have had sex. Really! I do! Doesn't mean that arbitrary insertion for character identification makes sense, bee. Yo? Dig? Know what I'm sayin'? Bra? Dog? Word? G? Fool? Dude? Homie?

    Because sometimes, when you randomly interject lingo for the sake of being identifying, it marks you as a writer who doesn't really know the subculture, or, at very least, if you do know the subculture, you don't know the character involved.

    Imagine Hal Jordan spouting "Dude" all the time. Doesn't mean it's impossible, just, well, an overtly forced step to personalize the character. Especially if he doesn't start using the term until the episode is half over, and then rampantly. My guess is that this was written in two halves by two differing people, at least the dialogue.

    I was going to prove my point by ending every sentence in this review with bro. When I knew that would get me killed, I figured I'd just notate my intent to do so.

    STILL. The Aquaman actor manages to pull it off, play casual, and act his way out of a wet paper bag, which is rare with a physique like that, male or female. I have to commend the actor for a superb job given what he had. The words did not give me a character. His presence, and his acting DID. I rarely note the acting any more, but that was a stellar job, I thought, given the premise and the material.

    No one notices the dead fish. No reporters, no media, nobody, even though it kills a whole boatload of them in what appears to be a rather popular lake. I...see. Especially given that Arthur would likely go to the media and report it. Or Clark. But instead, they'll just go shout at Lex. Yeah, that's the ticket, Picasso!

    Arthur calls Clark "Superboy."

    Oy.

    Did I mention that this episode has too many puns and little references in it to make them plausible? Yep. I did.

    "Boy scout, let's go see cue ball."

    OY!

    And then bro again.

    Arthur then does the LuthER thing again. As do many this episode.

    Shouting at Lex, AC says, "You're a real tool, Lex!"

    And then we get the Lex, "Oh no you di-int!" look. And my note is, "I had the Aquaman liquidated, you little (expletive deleted), he was insolent". This, of course, before knowing what would come later.

    Then, Lex, who has previously been pretty forthright about what he's doing even if Clark finds it a bit off, makes up a lie. Lex just turns that corner to complete liar without a real buffer.

    Mountains in Kansas again, as Arthur shows up to again attack Lex's sonic missile. Clark knows he's going to do this, as he just told both Clark AND Lex, but for some reason, Clark, who can move with superhuman speed compared to AC's slow normal human walk, neglects to follow the man who just tried to attach a bomb to a research facility and is now angry.

    And, to top that off, not only does he beat Clark there, so does the kidnapper Lex hired to tranquilizer dart AC! Because as you know, we all keep people to kidnap other people instantaneously on hand with tranquilizer darts at the ready in specified locations.

    Or not.

    Still, they had to get AC from A to B. I know why they did it. I don't like it.

    ENTER TITILLATING MALE/MALE BONDAGE SCENE!

    Or, as they like to call it in sweeps, the suspenseful climax.

    I know that when I catch bros coming after my experiment, when I tie them down, the first thing I do is take their shirt off and tie them into a pseudo-sexual postion. Don't you?

    You don't?

    Wow.

    Well, okay. I don't either. Unless I'm begging for ratings instead of trying to tell a good story.

    Lex states his reasons for tying him down, "One, because you called me a tool."

    That's right! That's what I'm talking about! It's Austin Powers all over again, in two respects:

    1) You're wondering why he doesn't just go get a gun and pop the guy, or heck, just turn him in to the cops.

    2) You see Lex in his prime, and even if it makes no sense, you make cutesy faces and say, "I can't stay mad at you! Lookit that punnum!"

    Like, for the life of me, I can't see how Lex went from wanting to save Lana to reveling in torture in three episodes, but I also can't help but enjoy it, in much the same way I'd imagine that some people don't care HOW Lois got into the bathing suit, if she does, they forgive all.

    It's a weakness and a flaw in my review, but hey, I'm entitled. After all, before this, I have never made a single mistake, unless it's been tied shirtless to a table. And even then, I cry, "I regret nothing!" as my skin turns blue.

    Lex, walking around, monologuing: "I have a thirst for knowledge, one that never seems to get quenched!"

    Well, that sure sounds like a villain to me. No, wait! That sounds like me! Great Rao, I'm a tool! Hypothetical syllogism, I'm a tool! (Have your parents look it up for you). If me, then Lex. If Lex, then tool. If Neal, then tool. Ask Brainiac, for crying out loud, must I hold your hand!?

    "Mr. LuthER, the military goons are here!" on the PA.

    "Up here, I'm the shark!" says Lexie, before disappearing to mwu ha ha.

    Oy.

    Clark B and Es for the second time this episode, this time to rescue Arthur instead of stop him. Bro again.

    Lex sees the two contrails, and his project is ruined. Though Clark and Arthur are the only ones who knew about it and wanted to stop it, I'm sure he'll just assume that they're not both involved, of course, the greatest criminal mind of our time. No concern from the man who just lost 100 million, nor any major investigation.

    And he wouldn't dust the lab for prints and cross-reference them against the time Clark was in jail.

    And of course, he wouldn't guard that hundred million dollar device with a camera.

    And of course, though all this happens, Clark will in no way suspect that Clark is Superman later.

    Bro again, and then the "Junior Lifeguard Association", directly referred to as the JLA.

    Oy.

    This coupled with the fact that they already did this scene with the Flash, you start to gag a bit.

    "Stay super, bro."

    Kill me, bro.

    Oy.

    Aquaman and Lois say their goodbyes. My note: "Give me an Aquanois over a Crapana any day of the week and twice on Wednesdays".

    Lois: "The shark-infested ocean of romance.".

    Oy.

    Forgive me while I travail the fish-smelling tripe depths and leagues of the underwater smelt that is my writing life and ascertain, as an octopi launches ink into the muddy waters that hold trout to their life, that people, real life people, don't speak in corny metaphors relational to their recent experiences.

    Note that I don't say, "My review yearns for more clarity as I swim in the Nielsen beleaguered waves of my television fury."

    Even in print, where you can pay attention to the words easily, that sounds stupid.

    Lois laments, about a guy who can save the world (bro): "How am I ever going to meet someone like that again?"

    Clark, having saved her life in half of the episodes last season, starts thinking about the most recent issue of Maxim that he might give her a "sonic laser weapon" likened heat-vision colonic irrigation.

    No Pa and Ma Kent, but we do at least get Martha, ie Annette, pleading with us to give to the Christopher Reeve Foundation. For ten seconds, bringing the sum total of time dedicated to the most inspirational actor ever to play Superman in a series that regularly takes and appropriates from the series he stars in a sum total of thirty to forty seconds of memorial in two years.

    I brought that up in chat, and it was suggested that if they gave more time to Reeve, they'd have to cut back the show.

    Two responses.

    1) If they can put a fifteen second spot in the middle of the episode to tell people flipping around a portion of the story that is readily discernable to anyone with ten percent of a brain, they can punt five of those and do a nice little tribute that means a lot.

    2) They don't have to kill some of the story. They can kill one ad. Doesn't make business sense to the WB, but it might make some human sense, wouldn't it? Money is their bottom line. My judgment and actions hinge on something different.

    Even so, I didn't hate this episode. As I said, it is inconsistent. It has some incredibly hard to conceptualize things, but there was decent Lex, a superhero guest star, a cool fight, a decent premise (even if the particulars kind of fail), and I think this episode just trounces most of last season, so I'm gonna give it a little better than average, a 3.5 of 5.

    I said to myself, as I got to the end, "Wow. Three of four episodes were really quite good. Maybe the show is back?"

    And then... the preview. Or, as was put by my buddy Noah in a ytmnd (the first, I might add...get cracking people):

    Yes. That's right. ANOTHER Lana bad girl body possession so we can make her naked episode. Not only an homage to Buffy, a show I have...let's say issues with as it relates to Smallville (namely that Smallville is not and SHOULD NOT be Buffy or likened to it in narrative, they're completely differing stories), but plainly planning to rip it off to exploit the guest star.

    Noah puts my reaction plainly and expertly.

    He also produced a second, about the bondage table, very cool and funny.

    If you guys don't start producing these, I'm gonna start making them myself with stick figures and audio recorded through a bad mike. Last warning!

    And thanks, Noah. You just helped me leave 'em laughing.

    SUPER SHORT REVIEW:

    The dictums of logic state that something fishy is going on with a hundred million dollar's worth of faulty construction of underwater rigging. I would recommend, to the average bohunk in a shady and somewhat arbitrary relationship based on platonic looks, not to get tied down on the tables of eccentric millionaires who like to take shirts off and blow things to pieces from three miles away. Also: The Junior Lifeguard Association? Not so much. But ooh! Bad Lex and Aquaman good. 3.5 of 5.

    LETTERS!

    As ever, I be in bold, yar.

    Paul wrote:

    Neal,

    I believe last night's Smallville set the odd precedent of having three good episodes in a row. But it also left us with the mystery of which of Clark's loved ones will die in his place? Some say Jonathan, some say Chloe.

    But nay, I know the true answer. As we all know how much of a bastard Jor El is, it's obvious. He's gonna kill the dog. Who else would make him more of a jerk? Mark my words, Krypto's days are numbered.

    Aw...well, it's not like anyone would notice he's missing of late.

    George wrote:

    Hey Neal,

    once again I write.

    I do believe that Clark flew in this last episode instead of Jumping. (which would mean a KO Count update if I am correct)

    It is my thought that when he went to stop the rocket it was him flying, and this is why;

    1. The ripples, just like the ripples around him when Kal-El flew in the premier of Season 4. You could say that his jumping could have cause the ripples like that, but we've seen him do at least two very large jumps and they didn't cause ripples (He jumped off the Daily Planet Building and onto that Moving Semi).

    I still say jump, and I explain this point by saying he's never jumped this high, or this hard, and it might cause ripples akin to flight's takeoff at high speed. Like because it has two pieces of bread doesn't mean it's a sandwich, even if it's close. Mostly because he didn't hover, he didn't control it in any way that a jump wouldn't be controlled.

    2. The way that Superman has always described his flying is just him willing himself towards something. I think when Clark saw the rocket he need to get there so bad that a jump turned into him flying just from his strong need to get himself there. I also think that he might not have realized that he was flying since it happened all very fast.

    I agree it's likely similar. It's definitely as it was on purpose, to hint at it.

    I don't know, just an Idea. I Tend to ramble alot at 2:25 in the morning after working a 13 1/2 hour day. I do agree with your review completely. 2.5/5 is a fair score. I'm just hoping they pull of this Aquaman thing better than what i have imagined.

    I think they did. And believe-you-me, I relate to that long work day. Best with it.

    Keep up the Good Work

    ~George

    Thank you.

    vrook wrote:

    i stop readin your smallville reviews since season 3 or 4, i just saw the 1 for mortal. its getting longer and longer every episodes. eventually it will be so long that you wun be able to finish when the next episode is aired people will stop reading. you shld make a poll to see who actually read your review from start to end.

    Or, I could instead simply gauge my review and how I write it based upon the general reaction, which is mostly positive.

    Or, I could refer people who want a shorter review to Douglas, who does an excellent one.

    Or, I could take advice from people who regularly read my reviews.

    I'll pick one and get back to you.

    CeeBee wrote:

    Hi there...

    About "Mortal": Why is a lack of security at the plant in any way suspicious to Chloe and Clark? Do they not have any memory of the past four years? You can break into Luthorcorp, the crap factory, and Lex's mansion easier than ripping open a bag of Ruffles. It's supposed to make us think that Lex orchestrated the whole plot but come on. There's a reason fandom has a long-running joke about Lex having no security. He gets beaten up in his own house ALL THE TIME.

    We do not speak of these things! Heh. Hey, honestly, why don't you just sit back and enjoy the show? At least, that's what I get told. My reply is much the same as yours.

    About "Hidden" (and sort of "Mortal" too): Why is Clark saying he "gave up" his powers? He didn't. Jor-El took them. Clark at no time made that decision.

    People tell me there's a sunset scene I missed. I'm not sure why. I do know, with the attention I pay, taking long notes, if I missed it, appropriate attention was not drawn to it.

    I agree with you that the sex issue should never have been addressed. If they really wanted to see the pretty leads in the sack, they should have kept it to dream sequences or standins, like that horrible 1961 episode. But what I find truly deplorable is that the writers (and therefore Clark) think that being mortal automatically made him honest. They're saying that a "lie of omission = truth". I'm tired of the double standard that the "hero" can lie freely and the "villain" can't. Clark can beat someone else up for looking suspicious, but if HE acts suspicious, people have no right to question and/or investigate him? Come on, writers! That's no future Superman you're making!

    I can't add to that. It's perfect.

    Bruce Kanin wrote:

    Re: HIDDEN

    Hey Neal,

    I'll stop thanking you for including my letters only because it will get monotonous, but THANK YOU. It's cool that you do that.

    Oh, it's okay. It's all part of my hidden database I'm planning on keeping of people I can get close enough to turn into OMACs. I'll be the green eyed Neal.

    Your rating of HIDDEN is probably right, even though I had the audacity to rate it an A MINUS. The reason for my euphoria is that there are so few vestiges of the horrible fourth season so far in Season Five. (Plus, the part where Clark leaps or flies up to the missile was a YEAH BABY scene that us Superman fans could die for.)

    Bruce is referring to his Smallville reviews that he distributes to a few folks, very fine work. If you want in, and Bruce, if you don't mind me publishing your email, he's one of my go-to guys for a look at how I might think about the episode immediately after it airs. He's one of my reviewing sources, one of my more objective voices. And just a nice guy.

    I was actually with you, Bruce, in the "WHOA!" when he leapt the missile factor. And a few seasons back, a good subplot would have covered a bad main plot for me. You've nothing to be ashamed of! :)

    So, I don't mind overlooking some Milky Way-size inconsistencies and plot holes. I should care about this stuff, and maybe soon, I will, again. But for now, I'm happy to be entertained, with my brain parked somewhere nearby but not firmly in place.

    Take care,

    Bruce

    Exactly. Thank you.

    TRA wrote:

    I agree with you again on Hidden, a mixed bag of goods. However, the more I think about it, the more I believe that it was NOT Jor-el in Lionel's body. I think it was Brainiac. As you said, when has Jor-el ever taken over someone's body? Also, when has Jor-el ever been affectionate with Clark? The dialog just didn't seem right for the Jor-el that's been established so far. Additionally, the writers give themselves an "out" if it is Brainiac - he may be lying. (Especially if fans throw a fit over losing a beloved character). Possible?

    Very much so. Though I don't actually credit this show with a plot THAT deep...if you're right, I'll eat a Smallville crow.

    Additionally, do you think Clark was saying to Chloe that he made a mistake entering into a sexual relationship with Lana? I agree with you that it was a mistake, but does Clark recognize it? If so, will he either tell Lana or end the sexual nature of the relationship? I think he should do one or the other or both, but it will never happen. Too bad, because how Clark handles things from this point could really develop his character. Oh well, I still keep tuning in to see ....

    I don't think they'll ever address it again. I think it was a lead in to sweeps ploy.

    Bronson Graham wrote:

    I have read your review for this week and let me say, simply fantastic. However there is one thing that is bugging me. The missile scene. In Crusade when Kal el takes fight the ground shakes, moves, whatever. This is similar to what happened when he went after the missile. In season 4 when he saves Lois and Lucy in that diesel he jumps off the bridge onto the diesel and the ground is perfectly normal. So what is your take on it when you look at it that way. I trust your opinion that is why I am writing to you. Thank you
    Bronson Graham

    Thank YOU, Bronson. My answer is the same as above. I think that it's just the physics of it. The higher you jump (assuming you have the power to do so), the most the thrust impacts the ground below you. If he jumped a few hundred feet higher, it would destroy the ground. I think the reason it did that when he flew with Martha was because he took off with such a high rate of speed. Had he just started flying at normal speed, no such displacement would occur, I believe.

    Thales Gomes wrote:

    Hey Neal, I really love your reviews, they always make me laugh but I have to say that I disagree with you, to me smallville continues in the same path that it was in season four, bad stories with twist that make absolute no sense and to me this flaws are unforgivable because the writers are paid good money to do their jobs, I mean Clark losing his powers, the InstaEvil Lex, the stupid way that he got his powers back, the whole plot of the last episode is dumb and it makes everyone who watches the show dumb too, come on, I'm not from the USA and I can't believe that it would be so easy to hijack a nuclear missile and fire it, specially if you are a 18 year old kid with no training except watching your dad work and I don't even want to get started on the open way he uses his powers, he came back from the dead in a public hospital without any scar, how on god's name he is going to maintain a secret identity? But I digress, the reason I'm writing this is just to give congratulations for the great reviews and ask a question, I remember that Lex, when he was poisoned by his father (and he still let him in his house, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb), had to have his blood run through some machine ever 24 hours or he would die, did they forget that or it was addressed in some episode and I miss it, because to me it looks that they forgot and that's a big plot hole.

    I can definitely see where your frustration comes from. They've definitely made a mess of consistency. My response? I agree with you, largely. When they introduced Lois at the beginning of season four, I said that I could no longer review this in the context of Superman consistency, or the reviews would be twice as long as they are now. So when Clark does something that would ultimately reveal his secret, I poke at it, but I don't essay on it, as I once did.

    I don't think that the people who watch the show are dumb, but I do think that someone who just accepts this as canon without considering the ramifications is not the same kind of viewer I am...is that unfair to say? Likely those people don't read this review anyway, though.

    Sorry for the long letter.

    Ha! Never apologize for being kind enough to write me. It makes my life, man, people enjoying what I do.

    Keep up the great work and I'm sure you will get a book deal or even better, DC is going to hire you to write comics.

    Thales Gomes.

    Heh. I have a thermometer in hell, and I am watching it for signs of coolness. But in all honesty, I believe in myself, so I think I'll survive. Especially with friends like you, man.

    Aaron Keel wrote:

    Hey Neal!!! Great review as always man!!! I just had a couple of problems with the episode. First of all his whole death scene was really bad. They worked on him for maybe a minute to try and revive him, that was sad to say the very least. I work in a hospital and when somebody codes like that it is work for a minute and then give up, especially considering his age and the better chance of him coming back. So my boo goes to Smallville General for being so quick to let someone die.

    They DID leave out the "It's getting dark...so dark!" dialogue, though, they get some credit for that. Thanks for the kudos, by the way.

    The other problem I had was that when Clark shows up at the farm after he disables the nuke his clothes are burned and singed. Now I may not be a genius but I'm pretty sure that cotton and any clothing fiber for that matter would burn up in the Earth's atmosphere in about a second. Yet Clark shows up slightly burned, what's up with that?

    That's the whole Byrne AURA theory that many aren't familiar with. The idea is that Clark has a very small aura around him that protects his clothing and is the source of his invulnerability. It's why his cape tatters but he never has his underwear blown off exposing his nether.

    The whole episode seemed rather forced in my opinion as you said in your review, although I did like the part between Clark and Jor-El/Lionel. Also Clark might have forgotten about the nuke considering he just came back from the dead, he's in the FOS, and Jor-El has inhabited Lionel body. That's a lot to wake up to and wrap your brain around. I did like the scene at the end between Lana and Lex where Lex is pretty blunt about what he thinks about Clark. Rosenbaum continues to be the best actor on the show by far and doesn't get enough credit in my opinion. Keep up the great work Neal!!!

    All statements I agree with. Thank you, Aaron!

    Tom wrote:

    Hey, Neal. Lately you've been talking (and sometimes complaining) about how Lana can afford that apartment AND her designer clothes. And frankly, I agree. She doesn't have a job, and yet she can somehow afford a VERY NICE apartment, designer clothing, furniture, and food. And it wasn't until I was watching some past episodes in seasons one and two when I came up with a few reasons how she manages to do so:

    1. Lana emancipated herself from Nell. Maybe Nell is sending her money

    2. He may not be on the show anymore, but maybe Henry Small is sending her money.

    3. Nell AND Henry are sending her money.

    4. Lana is using the money she made from her partnership with Lex when she ran the Talon. (Most Likely)

    Anyways, figured I'd at least give you something to ease your mind about the whole "Lana Lang: No job, no money - fancy apartment, fancy clothes" issue.

    Peace out,

    -Tom

    Thanks, Tom. Now, I can't wait for them to get around to the three seconds it would take for Lana to utter a line that would justify any one of the above plausible assertions!

    SCOTTY V wrote:

    Hey there Neal.

    Dum....de...dum...dum. Don't worry. That's not me saying this episode was, how do I say it, dumb? Oh no, I'd never say that. However, parts of it were. Too many for this 5th season that I have such high hopes for. I noticed today that the review is finally online. I assume the delay is due to the problems of the site but I always wait to write you until your review is up. I haven't yet read your review, and before I do, let me just give you my overall impression by discussing my largest beef with this episode and Smallville in particular. I won't even discuss the obvious problems. (How did that kid get into and activate a nuclear missile??) The whole missile thing ended up not being THAT bad, once you get past the impossibility of it all and was somewhat redeemed by Clark's stopping of the missile later, even if the in-space effects looked a little weird.

    Agreed.

    No, the most glaring error, nay travesty, that Smallville has perpetrated here and over the last, let's say three years since they didn't really mention Jor-El or Krypton till season 2, is the whole Kryptonian arc. I realize that in the comic world, there was a period of time, fairly recently (and it may come again with he whole crisis thing) in which Clark learned that Krypton was not what he thought. Not a place of Justice and peace where people loved and cared for life, but instead a place of science and logic (much like another prosperous race you and I both know that lived a bit longer than the Kryptonians) where science and the propagation of the species were priorities much more than love or emotion. Then, as the comic arc went on, Clark discovered (I think over about a year or so real time) that the above was not the case and that his parents on krypton did love each other and did love their son, enough so that they sent him, out of love, to Earth.

    In the case of Smallville, if the way of logic and survival of the species at any cost is the Kryptonian way, and if emotions are considered weaknesses and there is no love, that may be fine. What I mean by that is we may like it or not (I don't) but if that's they way they're going, I can at least say it has been that way at various intervals in the comics and that it could be interesting. However, I cannot see why Clark from Smallville would ever, ever under any circumstance, wear the symbols of Krypton, operate from the Fortress, accept Jor-El and his Kryptonian heritage and speak of his birth parents. Why would he do this? The only reason we can believe, from Smallville, is out of fear. For you or I, for other humans, and yes, even for Clark in some circumstances, fear can be a very strong motivator. It even makes a lot of sense.

    I don't know if I see that in Superman. But I know what you're saying. They probably ARE going that way.

    Many people work because they fear that if they don't, they will starve. This in turn, as time goes on, begins to apply to their families, their homes, and their luxuries. People fear that they will lose everything if they lose their jobs, so they work. Our penal system is based on the same principle. If there were nothing to fear, people wouldn't work; instead they would steal what they needed. There are many people, criminal and others, who would probably have killed by now, were it not for only fear of punishment. That's why the system sometimes works. In Clark's case, whether it is real Clark (actual comic Clark) or Smallville Clark (some weird variation) fear is also a primary motivator. He fears that harm may come to those he loves so he doesn't reveal his abilities or double life as Superman. The same secret is hidden because he doesn't know how people will react, what he will lose or who he chooses to tell might chose to tell themselves. These are all good things to fear. However, unless they change something as they move on in Smallville, unless they show us something we've been hoping for, (that Jor-El is really a Brainiac manifestation of the technology or Zod or some other alien influence or a malfunction of some kind or anything but the real Jor-El) Smallville has created an unredeemable change to the mythology that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    It could be not fear, but pragmatism. That's how I see it. Superman is a guiding light for the working poor because he stands up for the little guy, and says, "Don't fear...believe!". That's how I see it, anyway. Jor-El is an opposing force to that in this comic. Obviously, he fears injury to his loved ones, but he's motivated by his overwhelming pragmatist outlook. He believes that since he believes in himself and people, he can find the best in them.

    So far, Jor-El has forced Clark to take extreme measures to protect himself, his freedom and his family. Those measures caused the death of a baby that was the only possibility for his mother to ever have an actual birth child of her own. Then, good ole Jor forced Clark away from his family and those he loved. Clark, feeling that he could never stay away without being under the influence of Red, used the ring and it was Amok Time in Metropolis as a criminal. Next, we find that our papa figure CAUSED Jonathan to have heart trouble and we all assumed that Jon would be dead before the show ends it's run. We then discover that dear old dad kidnapped a small, helpless, female child just so that he could hold her for 15 YEARS in order to use her against Clark in the future by pretending she was a lonnnnnnnnnnnng lost cousin. The "voice" constantly threatens Clark and his family, takes his powers away, calls him weak and now has directly stated that the life of one of Clark's loved ones will be taken because Clark was spared. (Not to mention all of this from a man and civilization that his been dead for at least 15 years, not even taking into account the whole light years and space travel thing - it could be hundreds!)

    Yes. That bad.

    Why, I ask you, should we believe, at least at this point, that Clark would EVER accept all of this? The Clark, the Superman I have known my entire life never would! I haven't given up, because they could still have a plan, one that we've mentioned, but given the Smallville track record, this seems unlikely. If it were me, I couldn't even see not destroying the Fortress and forsaking Jor-El and my Kryptonian heritage forever. It would take a miracle, a HUGE turnaround for me ever to see it any differently, were I Clark.

    Yes. I don't buy it either.

    He's already said unbelievable things to this horrible presence. Things like: "I know there's a lot I can still learn from you!" Like what? How to kidnap children and force them to stay with you for fifteen years just so you can provocatively bring her to me naked and convince me to forsake my REAL family? The family who has loved me and raised me? Would he ever wear the symbols, speak of Krypton fondly and operate out of the Fortress of Solitude - the ultimate reminder of his horrible birth world? Yes. In Smallville the answer is yes. So far, the only thing we can believe is that Clark, our beloved, favorite fictional character, will become Superman, savior of the world and great hero, out of fear. It's the only motivator we've seen for him ever to do the things I mention. I will concede that he has always been a hero. Long before he discovered the whole Jor-El thing. But he still always speaks about how he hates it, how he wishes for mortality and a "normal" life. So at this point, Smallville wants us to believe that he will finally accept this responsibility out of fear. And it makes a lot of sense. Fear that Jor-El will kill more members of his family or force him to do more horrible things. Yes, it makes a lot of sense. But it's not Superman. Clark is not forced to become Superman out of guilt or fear. Clark does not cause Lex to become evil. Clark should never feel as if he is the reason so many people have died or been hurt and Clark should never be guilted or frightened into become Superman. As we have seen, Clark helps people. Clark IS a hero. Clark should and would eventually choose to become the world's greatest hero. But it should never be due to the reasons Smallville gives us.

    I don't see it that way...yet. They may go that way. And if they do, I'll crack the internet in half. Bendis joke.

    It is a shame when the most absurd plot flaw, such as a young man high jacking a missile silo and then launching against an American target is actually almost forgotten when the overall repercussions the choices made by writers, creators and producers is considered. It is a shame indeed. I can only hope for the extremely unlikely. Don't change things with this iconic character anymore than you already have people at Smallville! Make this Jor-El thing a mistake, a misunderstanding, a malfunction of futuristic technology that has sat idle for too long and perhaps been tampered with. Make it Zod. Make it Brainiac. THAT would make sense. I know it's been mentioned already. I know the possibility may not be YOUR original thought. But use it. You will be forgiven for not thinking of it because it's better than what it appears you've come up with. Finally, if I'm wrong and you've planned the whole malfunction or evil thing all along, I'll be apologetic and thrilled beyond belief! Just do it! (Can you spot the product placement?

    Brain flakes?

    Now that I've ranted about the worst thing this episode continues to represent in Clark's life on Smallville and beyond, I shall read your review and for your sake, I hope to write much less in response to what I read.

    Heh. Don't sweat it. I read fast.

    Here we go with the sex and the Christ and the Catholicism again. Neal, I was baptized Catholic, and I received all the sacraments. I was even married in a Catholic church for the sake of family (mostly on my wife's side) and because we thought it would be nice. However, neither my wife and I are practicing Catholics and I'll tell you why. I'm sure you won't be able to reprint this on the page but, caution be BUNNIED, the Catholic faith-

    Well, no, I can't reprint that on the page, alas. BUT, I can say that I agree.

    What you all think that means I agree with, well, have a guess, or write me off print, I'll tell you.

    I LOVE to have sensitive discussions, but I do that on my private site, not here, because this is an all-ages site.

    I will say that I do have my beliefs about sex before marriage, but I wouldn't push them on Superman, even if I think it better for all involved personally, for reasons elaborated on in triplicate.

    That being said, I'll reiterate what I typed to you last week. Clark is in love. Always has been. He did use protection and we know that if it failed Clark would do the right thing and help take care of the baby.

    Can of worms, table for three?

    He'd probably even marry Lana. Heck, he wants to anyway. If our guide to morality or ethics comes from one particular religion, one that HAS SOME PROPERTIES, then I would say that we are strongly devout believers in that religion. If we portend not to be, then how can we say that Clark or Superman shouldn't or wouldn't have sex with someone he loves, has always taken care of and watched out for and is in love with him. We might say that sex would be too important and personal for someone of Superman's character to have sex with a hooker or a stranger or just for kicks and I think even the just for kicks part is still only human. Obviously Clark is not human, but there are enough similarities that Clark would still be susceptible to the same urges and desires. He has resisted them, for the most part and is finally having relations with a woman (remember they have waited till they are considered adults) that he cares deeply for and is in love with. This, and only this, is the only pre-requisite I think would matter. Unless we say that Clark is most definitely Catholic or some other similar religion or even Christian. I realize you mentioned the American west and the likelihood that the Kents would be, but perhaps they've simply decided to live their own lives and not judge others? Those are the Kents I remember. And religion to me is simply a way to DO CERTAIN THINGS between peoples of the world. Think about the things that have occurred throughout history in the name of religion. Superman is above all that STUFF. Therefore, since the Kents are Clark's moral compass, the Kents are likely above it as well. Not that they don't believe in a higher power or in doing the right thing and in being good (which are all supposedly in line with most religions) but they don't have the need to be OF A CERTAIN PERSUASION? Would Superman believe that? I think not. So if we're going to hold him up to the one sexual standard of A RELIGION, then we'd need to hold him up to the others and therefore Clark and the Kents would believe anyone not believing what they believe was worthless and going to some version of GEHENNA. Religion and judgmental beliefs imposed by society and hypocritical idiots (for the most part) have no place in the life of Superman. He's said as much, so there should be no difference here.

    Very difficult subject to talk about. I will simply re-state what I said before, that I believe personally that there is nothing unhealthy or wrong with pre-marital sex using protection and before marriage, and I would even go so far as to say I disagree with some of the methodology used by some societies and religion to stifle personal sexual expression.

    I will also reassert, however, that in the case of Superman, I believe my opinion doesn't matter worth a hill of beans in terms of sex or politics. I do not want Superman to be only mine. I want him to encompass the faith and trust of all the worlds. That means he doesn't say, "Ketchup is evil", because people who like Ketchup will then not be under Superman's care. And he doesn't say, "Sex before marriage is cool as long as you really love each other!" even if I do, because then Superman is not iconic for people who believe morality springs from sexual fidelity, a prospect that I do not begrudge anyone. We all live our own lives as we wish to unless oppressed, and it's THEN we need a Superman mentality to step in.

    Last week, if you remember, saw the Kents smiling and smirking over the prospect that Clark might have finally been getting it on with his and their favorite girl next door. So, if anything, I found it out of character for what we know of the Kents, only by what we've been shown, for them to be angry with Clark now. I know the Kents as non-judgmental folk who love their son and want for him what he wants. Now that he is an adult, they would be happy to see him doing what makes him happy. That doesn't mean they'd necessarily want him having sex in their home right now, although eventually many parents accept it. It has more to do with being responsible about it, making sure you love your partner and know what you're doing and understanding what the implications might be than it does with religion or anything else.

    To you and I, yes. But not to everyone...an important fact.

    Just a small break in the action to remind you, although I'm sure you know, none of this is personal and I'm not calling you names or arguing with you or anything. I know you think of these things too and I know you've mentioned you don't follow any religion specifically, which I must admit is another reason I find this stand of yours so strange. Anyway, I enjoy the discussion and my thoughts are just my thoughts.

    I never take anything personally any more...if I did, some of the emails I get would really, really tear me up. It's something you learn as you grow into being a writer. Thick skin is important in a public figure.

    My stance is immaterial to my beliefs. If I wanted to promote a character who espoused what I believe, I would, rather than impose it on Supes. And I have! Many times.

    I must mention yet again that to Lana, and now to Clark, Lex is not a friend. He is a guy who, while maybe not evil or a villain, has been snooping around and putting other people in danger. He's grabbed and thrown Lana and Chloe to the ground. He's attempted to trivialize Lana's ordeal with the space people AND he's stolen the ship for his own curiosity. Finally, he released last week's villains from Belle Reve and put them onto Clark so that he could try and prove, once again, that Clark is something more than what he says. Again, Clark DOES lie about his abilities. But he always has. It's a staple of the comics. No one gets to know the secret unless and until Clark decides they can OR they discover it on their own. Lex covered up the murder because it's helpful to him. He's glad the Teagues are dead. Things couldn't be better on that front. Saving Lana from the investigation was just a way of rewarding her for doing what he might have liked to do himself if not for, imagine that, fear of what might happen if he did. He risked the Kents' and Lana's lives for his obsession and I'm sure Clark told Lana all about it. So it would only make sense that she would continue to not trust him. He was violent with both her and Chloe trying to get what he wanted AND he put all of their lives at purposeful risk just to try and prove a theory. Is he a friend who should be trusted? I think not. Is he a total enemy or villain? Not that either. Rather what he still should be: a guy who tries to do the right thing, until his obsession or something he wants gets in the way and then, when that happens, overcompensate on the goodness out of guilt to try and make up for it.

    This is more plausible, and after this episode, I think I'll start ignoring the slam transition.

    When I first saw Clark die and Lionel wake up, break out of Belle Reve and the show go to commercial, I thought: "what in all of purgatories, hypocritical, judgmental places under the ground where it's hot just happened!!?!?' I was so hoping that they were hearkening back to the episode in Transference where Clark and Lionel switch bodies. I thought maybe something that happened in a decent episode in horrible season four actually meant something. Maybe Clark, who apparently left something of himself behind in order to affect Lionel's morality, at least for a little while, had somehow transferred himself to Lionel again. Knowing that his body was mortal and dying and knowing that he had switched bodies with Lionel once before, I was kind of hoping that Clark somehow tapped into that portion of himself he left behind and saved his own essence, as well as got his powers back because he had the powers when he was in Lionel in Transference. But alas, instead we get the apparent spirit of a guy who's been dead for at least fifteen years and doesn't exist somehow taking over Lionel. It's still kind of a cool new idea and it could be argued that it's the technology of whatever was programmed by Jor-El that is at work here and not actually the spirit. At least I think that's supposed to be the idea, but there still seems like an awful lot of conscious thought on the part of said technology. There was in the Chris Reeve movies too and I never got it there either. Another case for the coolness and believability of showing us at some point that Brainiac, an artificial computer intelligence from Krypton that CAN take over people's bodies, was in charge of the technology. A super-computer, like Brainiac, could almost certainly tap into Kryptonian technology from afar and bring it to life. This could have been going on since season two when it first awakened. I'd like it. Go with it. Only problem there though, if I remember correctly, is that Brainiac was responsible for allowing Krypton to be destroyed. He knew about the fissures destroying the planet, but wouldn't co-operate with Jor-El when the scientist swore it was happening. So why would Brainiac care to recreate Krypton on another planet? Maybe so he could be ultimate ruler and god-like figure instilling fear (here we are again) in the puny people.

    I hope. I still say I don't think it's that advanced.

    In terms of Jor-El doing this now and why not before my thoughts are, if it is Jor-El, Clark has never actually died before. Perhaps the technology is somehow in tune with the Kryptonian biology, although Clarks supposedly human now and therefore not made of Kryptonian DNA so there goes that theory. But maybe it only activates when the son, whom it's clearly in contact with, actually dies. A failsafe if you will. One that apparently is non-existent in the missile subplot of this episode. Or, with the Jor-El we've come to know on Smallville, the suffering is probably an expected part of a Kryptonian's growth and that helping his son prematurely would foster weakness so until it's necessary as a last resort, as in death, Jor-El wouldn't interfere.

    Why one of Clark's loved ones? Why doesn't it make any sense? There is no explanation and it wouldn't happen. Unless they are going for the non-emotional Kryptonians, the ones that would punish disobedience by doing something like that. Not because it HAS to be, just because he must be taught a lesson. Just like the lesson teaching this "Jor-El" has done in the past on this show. Or it could be that Brainiac is in control of all this and he's trying to scare Clark into cooperation to get what he wants. I would like and buy that.

    I wish...but I think nay.

    Stopping the missile was really; really cool and I mentioned it above. But now that I'm reading what you thought of it, I'm surprised you didn't mention the effect, particularly in space. You've been hard on the effects since the new season started and continuously mention how disappointed you are that the budget has been dropped. I don't know that Clark was breathing in space. He can hold his breath for a while. If his lung capacity was the same as ours then any villain could just trap him in a bubble or vacuum and not need Kryptonite at all to destroy the Man of Steel.

    That's a comic book debate in an amalgamated continuity...I wish they'd elaborate for us. I actually didn't see any bad effects in the missile jump.

    My Dad has often said that the air thing is stupid and that Superman doesn't need air. I think it's been shown that he does breathe but that he needs less of it than others. Which brings to mind the whole invulnerable thing. How can you be invulnerable if you can drown due to lack of air? Or when Chris Reeve's Superman says he eats "...when I'm hungry," which implies that he could get hungry and therefore starve to death if he didn't eat? But I know I've seen Clark eat in the comics and I've seen Superman wear an oxygen mask in space. The food could be just a pleasure, the mask in space, not so much. But in this case, Clark could just be holding his breath. The cold may not affect him because of his protective aura, otherwise we could say the same about the Arctic or why doesn't flame burn him. As far as the landing, by the look of his clothes I'd say he just crashed.

    The comic line is that he doesn't need food, he needs dreams, he doesn't need air in space any more (he used to), and the invulnerability is potentially removable by a number of factors.

    I had a different reaction again when Lana came in to yell at Lex. First off, people have been known to come back after being declared dead. Doesn't mean they're aliens or meteor freaks or even abnormal. It may be unlikely, but you even stated the whole ordeal only took a few moments. A more likely response might have been "normal people don't disappear into the Arctic" or "Normal people don't vanish from a hospital room after being declared dead." Especially from Lex, who himself has been through so many things that normal people wouldn't survive. And to reiterate, Lex is STILL trying to prove something that really isn't any of his business. Lana no longer trusts him, due to HIS deeds and he was willing to have them all killed last week. Clark's actions SHOULD HAVE proven that he was normal and SHOULD HAVE made him feel terrible for what he'd done and you still defend him. Nevertheless, none of this explains Lex's lack of security.

    Or that he's suddenly "normal" by Lex's standards after immediately walking to his place after being declared dead and getting into a fistfight.

    I don't know that Lex really knows that the Kryptonian words are associated with Clark. He assumes that they are, but Clark proved last week that he bled when punched at that he wasn't special. This week he did one better, he was shot and died. You might argue that he came back to life but I would say that his heart just started again, which has happened in real life. Lex, in the case of Lionel, is obviously lying and being duplicitous as the Luthors are. Lionel probably knows a little more than he's saying or he forgets everything and doesn't even realize that he was in a catatonic state and at Belle Reve. Lex, who doesn't want to remind his father that he knows everything Lionel has done, acts stupid and lies and pretends that he's happy to see his father.

    Maybe. Didn't seem like that from here, though.

    On to Clark and his injury. From what I've seen, Clark will continue to wear his patch and not show the scar. He will tell Lana that they can't get physical while he's recovering and later, he will say that the surgery team did a great job with fixing him up sans scar, something that does and can happen. She could even say "Wow, no mark at all. That's great work." But it's still not impossible to be and it couldn't be proven. This of course, does not explain why Lana doesn't wonder about his clothing or where he just came from. Will they cover that? They probably won't, it will likely be forgotten. Would be nice, though to see Clark and the Kents concoct some sort of story. A foreshadow of them helping him with the secret identity down the road. Although on this show I guess Jonathan won't even be there to protest because they look to be killing him off again. You can also decline further or any medical treatment so yes, while the hospital may want to see him, Clark doesn't HAVE to go back.

    Yeah, and then he sits on the beach naked with no scar this week. And if Clark DIDN'T go back, it would be mighty suspicious. Especially after dying. In a small town, that'd get around fast.

    We could say that if Clark is willing to have sex with Lana that yes he should trust her enough to tell her. There are a few problems with that theory. Clark didn't really trust Chloe, she found out on her own, like Pete, so Clark didn't really have a choice. He told her everything because he didn't want to continue the lies once she already knew AND he didn't want to be associated with the meteors. In so far as telling Lana, he might still be afraid that he'd lose her, plus he knows that knowing the secret is dangerous to those who know and are close to him. This is the primary reason that Clark has always held his secret to himself. Too many people in on it means too many people in danger.

    He's told people who didn't sneak it out of him, though. There's no reason not to tell Lana.

    Definitely a lot to be wary of in this episode but hopefully they will follow the "this is not really Jor-El" ideas that we've all expressed. Well that's it for me. Talk later.

    Scotty V

    Cool. Thanks, Scotty!

    Sam wrote:

    Dude.

    Duuuuuuuuuuuude.

    Bro?

    Okay, I get what your griefs were with "Hidden". Well, most of them anyway. But all of those reasons don't really matter when you look at the episode as a whole. And despite a really great review, I feel obliged (as a person who absolutely loved "Hidden") to tell you what I think you got wrong and what you missed:

    Okay. Fire.

    -Lana/Lex. Over the last few months I've been watching the whole series in chronological order (I go on the treadmill a lot, so this occupies me), and if anything, the writing staff has always been firm in who Lana hates and who she loves. Yes, sometimes she has no reasons for these feelings, but it almost always is grounded from episode to episode. And starting in "Commencement", once she realized Lex was really after the stones and not interested in saving her, Lana has hated Lex. That's reason enough for being PEE PEED at him. And how Lana has an apartment? Who owns the Talon? Lex and Martha. And despite her hating him, Lex loves Lana. And Martha lets Lana MAKE LOVE TO her son. I could see why they let her stay there.

    Yes. But they do not state this, ergo it could be a million other things JUST as plausibly. It's the writer's responsibility to make it coherent. And I'd say Lana being consistent in hate is immaterial if she doesn't have a good reason. Might as well watch people hit themselves in the head with bats in a way that's consistent. It's still dumb.

    When I'm on the treadmill (got to 5.1 miles in an hour this week, woot!), I watch Cops. Why? Because someone's ALWAYS running on Cops, and, this is true, when they're running away, when I get tired, I say to myself, "Well, think about it. This isn't so bad. You're not running HALF as fast as that poor hick, and he's only got one leg!".

    -The Morning After. I actually really enjoyed this scene. The show has never really managed to treat sex the right way, but this was a tremendous improvement over "Unsafe"'s little speech from Allison Mack at the end. From the beginning Martha has been very pro-Clana, and even though I'm sure she doesn't totally approve, she's been portrayed in the series as a more modern thinking woman and, when it comes down to it, she didn't want to embarrass her son in front of his girlfriend. Also, if there was a nuclear bomb about to destroy your town, would you ignore it to yell at your son for having sex? Exactly. Wait, I hope you said "Yes" to that question...

    Immaterial again. The show has an obligation to show the ramifications to this action, it's a very serious issue. Ignoring it by using a device, I still contend, is cheap.

    -The nuclear silo situation. I can't argue with most of your military knowledge, but I think that it worked for one main reason: It was a huge threat. Nothing's scarier than a nuke in the modern world. What better way to debut Clark's powers again. And we know that Gabe's dad was crazy- why wouldn't he tell his son how to work a nuke?

    Because, uh, it's a NUKE? You don't tell a teenager how to use a nuke! I don't trust a teenager with my nailclippers. They'll find a way to turn it into a water pipe and get it pregnant before telling you that they hate you and stabbing you with it. Blasted kids.

    -The Best Subplot Ever. Well, since "Lex is crazy!!", anyway. You also can't complain about Jor-El's magic powers- it doesn't seem like he's trading life energies from a loved one and using them to create Clark, it seems more like an added punishment to Clark. Would that electric beam of death from "Covenant" seem like a magical way to kill someone? Not really, the caves are a computer system for all intents and purposes.

    Oh, you'd be surprised what I can complain about...

    -Lionel as Jor-El: Seriously, I think this is one of the smarter ideas they've had over the last few years. Yeah, I get Big Jor could've done this earlier, but there's an amazing wealth of possibilities that have been untapped by Lionel being possessed by Jor-El. Lex and Clark now have the same father! Does Lionel know, or is his body really just being used by Jor-El? Will Lio-El use his powers to help people, or just to speak in a British accent (by the way, John Glover nailed Terrance Stamp's inflection)? Most importantly, I think the most touching moment of this episode had to be Jor-El telling Clark something, something I don't think he's ever told him before. "I will always love you." And hugging him! Jor-El's not a bad guy anymore, he's just a father who's trying to raise the best son he can. And, after years of kidnapping blonde girls and inducing heart attacks, Jor-El's finally revealed in his true colors, as a loving father.

    So, we should just accept that inconsistency without question because the scene was touching? I agree with you about the potential though.

    Anyway, I think that 2.5 is a ridiculously low score for an episode that, despite some plot holes that drive particular people crazy, achieved so much more than it was expected to.

    -Sam

    That's cool. That's why I'm publishing your letter, because I don't mind differing opinions. If everyone agreed with me, the streets would flow brown with monkeys.

    W i l l o w wrote:

    Dear Neal Bailey:

    First and foremost, does anybody not notice that Shelby/Krypto has gone AWOL since the first episode of this fifth Season? This, my friend is very annoying. Aside from Jonathan, and my constant "benefit of the doubt" toward the show, Krypto is another reason I watch this show at all. Because I know they're gonna play the Lex/Clark as enemies thing all wrong with more unneeded drama, and stupid reasons to get mad at each other. Clark's transition of the Man of Steel is going down the drain with the remnants of any hopes of good writing in an entire season. But that's asking too much from a dribbling Teen-Drama. Did the Wonder Twins in "05.02: Mortal" kill my favorite non-white furred/capped crusader Golden Retriever(?)- or something'? I want Shelby back, right now. Sigh, discrepancy. I really had to agree with you in your review of "05.03: Hidden".

    I notice that Shelby is gone, definitely. I feel your pain...

    You pulled up a lot of mistakes and problems, that weren't noticeable to me at the beginning (mostly because I was thinking aloud "That's it? That's it?!") Over and over again, alongside with "Please no "ER" scenes" in which they cry out what happened to the patient and his injuries with the corny BMG music blaring faintly behind them (BIFA! BAG HIM! HE'S CODING! GET ME THIS NUMBER OF CCs!). I laughed at the simple fact that the announcer decided chose, "if you're just tuning in, someone close to Clark plans to destroy his hometown" over "Clark Kent has just been shot!" {Chloe screams in BG}. I did notice the "24" countdown time that kept jumping back and forth through time. But honestly, I think SMALLVILLE is taking cues from Jhonen Vasquez's "INVADER ZIM" with inconsistencies, only ZIM doesn't take itself seriously like Smallville does and Clark isn't hiding under the guise of a human being with apparent Green skin, has a Robot named GIR disguised as a Green Dog and Clark Kent isn't shouting "I AM ZIM!" or "FOOLISH EARTH CREATURES, I AM ZIM!" -"SCIENCE!" and "SILENCE GIR!", with Lana, Lex, or Chloe as the character Dib, the UFO freak that tries to reveal Zim's true nature to all his friends who think Dib is crazy. Then again, INVADER ZIM is alot more entertaining than SMALLVILLE with silliness.

    An interesting comparative analysis...the only question being, does Zim have a shark tank?

    I really didn'tlike this episode because the main plot was absolutely stupid and takes from the episode when Alicia Baker kicks the bucket via a good ol' fashioned hanging. Only this time the kid's not a Meteor Freak with sandman powers, but a murderous teenager with means to destroy the world or Smallville in this matter, all because his father was a freak and them some. The best part of this episode would've been when Jonathan was gonna chew Clark out (because Bludhaven knows I've been waiting for this to happen), maybe Box his ears in for having pre-marital sex (this seems to be quite the topic) and then chew him out for trying to say that he was pot calling the kettle black because his parents did it under their roof. That small moment would've been priceless if it was not for the expectant bad-acting response from Clark if the scene had been allowed to go-on before Chloe entered. I really didn't like the fact that Martha was trying not to smile at her son and Lana when they got caught, it was like she was saying "Good on you sweetheart, I'm so proud of you!." Why wasn't she flaming with fury like Jonathan? Alas I digress.

    No. You fume righteously. They dodged the subject and cheapened the dialogue that resulted from it.

    And despite the fact that Chloe says that some kid is gonna blow up SMV, I - the parent- would've been skeptic, thus ordering my son to stay put or "face my wrath" as well as Chloe, then go inspect this by any way possible. But is Smallville, unlogicalness is the law and order of this show.

    True dat.

    Not to mention that I guess Jonathan would be smart enough to not to brush this aside since he has been in the middle of some freaky stuff concerning his son --usually getting the crap beat out of him--. And what's with his hair?; Its like someone combed it with a wavy-comb. It isn't like anything I see in the theme opening (FYI; If you mute it and play either "The End of heartache [RESIDENT EVIL VERSON]" -Killswitch Engage- or "Vermillion" -SlipKnot- as the theme opens, it'll sound so much cooler than Remy Zero's "Save me." Just because of the songs openings) Honestly, someone needs to comb his hair in the right direction for Hiram's sake. And what's with Tom Wopat making a rumored appearance? Why not Daisy Duke too? Or Renee O'Connor and Bruce Campbell(?) "EVIL DEAD" Guy?

    I save my muting and song changing for Wizard of Oz! As for Daisy Duke, it depends, the old horrible ditz or the new horrible ditz?

    I'd much rather see your alternative. Bruce Campbell coming in, shoving Clark out of the way, and then having a 40 minute fight between his chin and Lex's head.

    [And despite what other might say, Clark had no right to Punch Lex in "Mortal." (Not that Lex did, but 'eye-for-an-eye'). He was simply speculating that Lex had let them go, that he put his family in danger for his own selfish needs. He was one breaking and entering into Lexcorp via help from Chloe, so how is it that he's the one to be mad? Clark's lucky he didn't get arrested. Now if the Villain had absentmindedly blurted out "Your bald friend, got us a get out jail free card to whomp your tail" then I would be convinced that Lex put them up to it. Other than that, I rest my case. I'm still wondering where Brainiac is after the first appearance in the first episode as well! Give me James Marsters or give me Star Wars-woman or Lucy Lawless. She would've made a better Daily Planet Reporter for Chloe to meet than she.]

    I wholly agree with you. I take a strenuous stance AGAINST trivializing violence as it pertains to hero characters in anything save comedy. (For instance, Kill Bill is obvious satire, so it doesn't bug me. Gore fascination films that fetishize it aren't to my tastes.)

    The Lionel/Jor-El escape from Bell Reve (Reeve?) scene was KUDOS cool, but it did leave me to wonder why the psychiatrists didn't come looking for him one second after that. The Government is partial to losing nut-cases and wouldn't allow them to stay loose unless it meant they wanted bad press.

    Agreed.

    Lionel is poor, where'd he get the money to spring a new suit and a trench coat to boot?

    Uh, Lana? Look! A rabbit!

    Lastly, why wasn't Lana [after hugging and rejoicing Clark's living self] questioning Clark about his physical condition, the missing bullet wound, and his disappearance from the hospital. Why didn't she follow him up to Loft like she usually is doing. And wasn't Chloe freaking out like most people do on TV when she killed that kid, why didn't COPS question her about how things went down?

    Look! A rabbit!

    And why does somebody always have to die because of Clark's problems concerning JOR-EL (not that it makes any sense)? On a final note, the guy they've got playing AUTHOR/AQUA MAN looks like some beefed up football jock playing with a short neck. Not to say that he'll suck, I hope he doesn't. Until Next Time.

    I was surprised. I thought he did okay.

    Someone has to die, because without death, there'd be no time clock or arbitrary drama.

    W I L L O W.

    Thankee.

    Antonio M. Figueroa wrote:

    After reading your episode review for "Hidden" the only thing I can say is...do you ever get tired of bashing Season 4?

    You can ask that. My answer is no.

    What, exactly was your problem with it?

    If you click on the Smallville section of the website, and then the Reviews, and then any of the 22 links to my 15 page reviews, I elaborate in strenuous, arduous, mellifluous and tendonitis inspiring detail.

    It was MUCH better than any of the other seasons!

    Glad you liked it.

    Season 1 was a decent intro to the series, but 90% of the episodes sucked.

    Sorry you hated it.

    Season 2 was pretty boring other than a few good eps here and there (namely "Heat", "Red", and "Exile"). Season 3 the show got much better, but still had a lot of boring episodes.

    You should write reviews!

    Season 4 had ONE bad episode, and that was "Krypto", the single worst episode in the entire show. "Crusade", "Gone", "Facade", "Devoted", "Run", "Transference", "Jinx",

    "Spell", "Scare", "Unsafe", "Pariah", "Recruit", "Sacred", "Onyx", "Spirit",

    "Blank", and "Commencement" were all FANTASTIC episodes.

    I'd have to see your criteria for fantastic before I could evaluate that statement.

    That's 17 out of 22. In other words, Season 4 is the best Season so far. Will 5 surpass it? Maybe. But you can't go on bashing Season 4, because if Season 4 was bad, that would make 1, 2, and 3 absolute garbage.

    Actually, I can:

    The constitution of the US, amendment one:

    Amendment I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    I am sorry, however, if it bothers you. I can reassure you with the fact that there are many other sites on the net with positive views of season four.

    Jorell Rivera wrote:

    I think that a new category in the KO Count should detail all the times a main character has killed someone, and never faced any consequences whatsoever on "Smallville". Lana has killed two people (Genevivue Teague in "Commencement", and one of Morgan Edge's bodyguards in "Phoenix") Lex killed the journalist he hired to spy on the Kents in "Vortex" . Chole killed Gabriel in "Hidden", and don't forget all the times Clark has let a meteor freak die in the middle of a fight. We all know that Superman would just stand and watch as a giant pile of cars fall on his adversary("Velocity"),or freeze when his enemy impales herself("Visage"),or standby as his nemesis is killed by a giant piece of metal falling on him("Metamorphisis"). Maybe in Chuck Austen's mind he would.

    Chuck Austen Superman would have popped your head off for saying that!

    Tell you what...you give me episode numbers and an explanation in another email, I'll pop it in. And thanks!

    james nechleba wrote:

    hey neal,

    though i thought this week's episode was more deserving of something of a 3 or above rating just because it seemed like a tight action sequenced episode that only felt forced for me at one point (stabilized clark opening his eyes and looking at lana before dying). I have something that i'm not sure if you missed! have you noticed that these three episodes have been relatibly the REVERSE of superman I and II? in the movies, the linear plot is that clark stops a nuclear disaster, starts a relationship with lois, loses his powers, gets into a violent mortal scuffle (truck stop guy), regains them, then fights zod's baddies. in smallville, clark fights the kryptonian baddies with his powers, loses them, starts a relationship with lana, gets in a violent (lethal) mortal scuffle (teenager nuclear engineer), regains his powers, and stops a nuclear disaster. weird, huh?

    Very weird! I don't even know if it's intentional, either, but there's a definite parallel.

    in addition, is it ok if i make a suggestion of perception?

    Frankly, it's okay if you suggest anything. It's an open forum.

    it only sticks in my head due to the frequented response of last weeks letters. it's obvious that there is a parallel to the story of christ, but i'd like to point out that no one, not ANYONE knows what happened with jesus from age 12-30.

    Oh, I'll bet Jesus knows. But he's not telling, I agree. At least, not yet.

    what are these years in connection with superman, then? so i think allusions to the story of christ are ok, but they don't have to follow to a T. remember, this guy is not superman yet...which means he has some ways to go before he solidifies his status as the man of steel...pun intended.

    And if I may be so bold, that's where Christ and Superman differ. Christ is a story of moral infallibility and the ultimate sacrifice in its name, and Superman is the story of moral infallibility in the construct of a never-ending battle. Superman doesn't die, not ultimately.

    Sara wrote:

    Hey, Neal! How's my favorite Smallville reviewer?

    Could be better, could be worse. Could be rich instead of beautiful, but that's how it's always been.

    As you can see, I'm making the effort to have this done through official channels. It had to happen sometime.

    That's cool. I'm much slower with personal letters, as most know, and for that, I apologize.

    I'm going to start out by saying that I found that I had a really hard time with this episode. The waking up together brought up the question as to whether this was their first night together or what. And was this to just have confirmation that they were sleeping together? If so, they really must think we've got some screws loose in our brain pan.

    Among other faults.

    OK, now my exhaustive comments on your review: (You'll have to let me know if you want me to cut back on some of them.)

    I cut nothing save repetition and things that would get me angry calls from soccer moms that do not police what their children read.

    I agree with you that the show hasn't jumped back as of yet. I was excited for this season because of what I'd read on the WB site (well, sans the Lana-sex thing) but I really feel like they were focusing too hard on the "Clark is normal so can sleep with Lana now" storyline. And are they saying that the only way the two of them can be together is if he's normal? What a crock! OK, still reading.

    Agreed.

    The beginning scene rankled. Gabriel was/is/was an ineffectual villain and looked like a total pansy. And the military guy turning the key because his friend was in trouble? If those are the type of guys we have in charge of our military silos, we're in super trouble. (Get it? "Super trouble"? Hee. OK, not funny, but still.) And Gabriel killed them without so much of a blink or a shaky weapon. That so didn't go with his character development later in the scene.

    Yes. Agreed. Very bad.

    The possibility for the countdown was because he wanted Chloe out of the way so she could tell his story. And it's lovely (please note the sarcasm) that they were so close, but we've yet to have seen him during the entire four years prior. OK, so we didn't see every moment at school, but with all the time we've seen them at The Torch researching stuff, you'd have to assume that we would have seen him at least once. Kinda' like that photographer from Season 4. Ugh!

    Yes. Or any of the freaks, pretty much.

    And the countdown. Have you noticed that three of the last four (including the Season 4 finale) have had countdown type plots? Is this going to be their failsafe plot mover???

    Seems so.

    Your presidential scenario actually made me spit water over my work computer. Have you no shame??? (hee hee hee!)

    Some people say I have no conscience. Other people say I have no shame. I just know one thing: I know my monkeys.

    What you see as a potential liability, I see as an opportunity to be fired and begin your life in bohemian revolution. Viva la children of the revolution!

    Chloe's new digs. I didn't even notice. Is that bad? Or are you just looking too deeply??? :D Of course, I did notice the stupid things she had in her car and wanted to laugh that she was going to make the trip with her top down. You know, so everything could fly out.

    It's constant, but I only notice it when it's glaring, as her new phone was.

    Ooooo! I didn't even realize the construction was apparently completed on the Kent house. And isn't it interesting that they just made the house back exactly the way it was? Don't you think that they might have made it even better for them? I mean, there was severe structural damage. It should have taken longer. unless they're trying to say the barn raising was at the beginning of the summer and the summer flew by because now Chloe's packing up to go to Met U. I suppose that's their justification.

    I'd have added secret passages. Being a construction worker, I have a plan for the house I'm going to build for myself, and there are already three secret passages, a two-story swing over wrought iron death spikes, a couch that has a hydraulic press slide leading to the bathroom, and a chain winch lift bed that raises three stories into the air, with a rope ladder for night pee breaks.

    Yes. My rebuild would be substantively different than the Kent's. But then, I'm cool. They're pragmatic.

    The Kents catching the lovahs was sweet, but it should have been done better. I had to laugh that Lana ran out of there like all the hounds of hell were after her, but there should have been more things discussed. Especially when Clark pulls out the "I'm an adult" line. That's your stereotypical older teen thing to say. Then why couldn't Jonathan have shot back the "While you're living under my roof." line? And why did the conversation totally stop with Chloe's appearance? Why didn't they at least say, "Chloe, could you give us a minute here?" Then she could have totally gone into the weird phone call. And as much as I like seeing Tom Welling's chest (and you like seeing Lana's shoulders), I just think this part of the plot that they've been doing is unnecessary in the extreme. I'd like to know what demographic they're going for there.

    The "we're not paying attention" teeming masses. Of which the audience is a large part. You guys are special. You read.

    I don't know. If there had been flying cats, it might have made the show better. After all, we've seen Krypto. Maybe now Chloe should have Sparky (that was the cat's name, right?)!

    Beppo or bust, baby.

    I agree about the Lex thing. You know, as soon as I saw Lana walk into her apartment (since it had nothing to do with the plotline), I knew Lex would be in there. It doesn't seem that is a good plotline. And why would he just hang out and then reveal himself. If he was really sneaking around, he just has to hide behind the sofa and wait for Lana to take her inevitable shower or bath. I thought it was a really stupid attempt to forward the ship plotline. And when you were talking about Lana's drawing being very unnecessary and bizarrely strewn about her apartment, I totally flashed onto Clark's nonsensical drawings of the cave. Ugh!

    SECRETS! LIES!

    I thought the Sheriff going into a silo was retarded. Maybe if she was in charge of one task force of her own men while the military's doing the rest. They just did it for the "dramatic" effect of the guy coming in and saying there are 15 silos.

    Yeah. It sucked.

    Gabriel's house: I have a huge issue with this. Gabriel apparently, at this point, had a huge Wall of Weird. Did he ever help Chloe with her research? If he did, once again, why have we NEVER SEEN HIM BEFORE?!? The only explanation I have for Chloe and Clark not being questioned is they could have made an anonymous call. Of course, then there fingerprints would have been on the scene. but they could have possibly explained them away 'case Gabriel was such a close friend of Chloe's. (The timeline totally drove me crazy. Like last episode. They really need to stop doing those types of storylines. There not really feasible for a genre like this!)

    Look! A rabbit! With a machine gun! We can't stop here! This is BAT country!

    Lionel & Lex: I thought this was interesting and can only explain the drawing as the stereotypical psych treatment of giving patients crayons. but for Lionel, only black ones 'cause he's a bad boy! That was a good forwarding of the ship plot. especially after the scene with the ship and Lex starting to lose it. It made sense. What didn't make sense about him throwing Lionel around is that Lionel's under 24-7 surveillance per Lex's instruction. Wouldn't the orderlies or doctors do something about the "abuse" of one of their patients???

    Nah. Lex is rich, remember? An orderly who makes five bucks an hour will see a rabbit with a machine gun for five minutes for fifty bucks and the Kelly Brook Maxim. Lex points, "I kissed her, dude. Look! A rabbit!"

    The thing with the "Help me, I'm in a ditch" seemed waaaaaay off. Seriously! (Hopefully they'd done some off-screen character development for Chloe and him where she'd bust her car for a puppy.) But I did think it was nice of Clark to push the car actually in a ditch. Of course, then to have him just walk up with a guy they know is armed 'cause they saw the dead dad isn't moronic! But I digress. And you're right, if they can call the military up from some distant base and check a silo within 15 minutes of the first call, they should have at least been able to narrow it down enough so that Gabriel wouldn't have been able to leave or at least never been able to get back in!

    Cool.

    I thought the thing with the coughing blood was a little early. even if it was a lung wound. But maybe I'm not so hip on the medical process. Maybe it's totally possible. Maybe it would have been more possible if the shot had been higher up like you mentioned.

    It seemed a little low, too. I'm a reviewer, not a doctor!

    I'm assuming the summaries bug you as much as they bug us. I suppose their technically for someone that looks at the clock, goes "OMG, it's 8:30 and I'm missing Smallville!" and turns it on. Of course, all the previews were about Clark getting shot, so they shouldn't have been surprised. But I again digress. (Redundant summary? Tee hee! Too true!)

    I understand why they do it. I resent that the audience is so stupid they need it.

    And isn't it interesting how Clark gets to the hospital so fast that they have no problem with the timeline! Maybe it was one of the military guys running around in a panic that saw him and called the ambulance. Hmmm. That would take too long. Oooo! I know! They were on the road from Gabriel's house that goes directly to the hospital, so the ambulance was on it's way back from picking up the Colonel. Wait. They'd have to do a CSI. Too much time. Maybe it was on the way to the house? That might work.

    Commercial break fixes all!

    I'd forgotten that the target was moved to that silo. Interesting. And Chloe's somehow safer there??? I pretty much wrote off any sense being made of Gabriel (I can't call him Gabe 'cause of Chloe's dad. who's constantly missing during these crisis moments.) taking over, targeting and setting off a nuclear weapon. There's absolutely no way they can make sense of it. I'm serious! Even if they spontaneously said he was a computer genius that could hack his way into anything I wouldn't buy it. (Oh, wait. They did try to allude to that when they said he'd help Chloe with the Torch's IT problems. So why didn't she use him while researching stuff? Why didn't she use him to hack into LuthorCorp or other places? Grrr.)

    No comment. Nothing to see here. Actually, I just agree.

    Lana's hospital scene almost made me vomit your aforementioned blood. You should know by now that she's not my favorite character, but this was too much. "Clark's the only one that could make her happy and she's known that since she first saw him? When they were in grade school? The writers should have a mandatory timeline plastered on their cubicle walls.

    I would.

    It's okay to miss some things, but since this is so integral to both their characters. I had the problem with Clark as well, but at least he showed having feelings for her from the beginning of the series. And also the whole thing about him going flatline and Lana still watching. I liked how the nurse or doctor asked how she got in there, but why didn't they bother to slam the door shut on her nose? The thing with the bullet. Maybe it was a through and through? But he had no scar for them to try and operate. You know, try and repair the perforated lung that they'd mentioned two scenes prior.

    The bit with Lionel. Well, I thought it was kinda' cool. But it would have been nicer for my peace of mind if he'd done that when he'd first been shot. Then we wouldn't have had to worry about him actually dying or the problem with the ambulance or the issue with the timeline. Of course, then we'd miss that fabulous Lana confession moment and seen her worst nightmare (apparently) come true.

    Yeah, next to someone saying she has zits or is wrong. Or not pretty.

    When Chloe and Gabriel were struggling for the gun and he got shot (I thought for a moment of being worried for Chloe, but then realized that could never happen. because then Clark couldn't worry about her dying. Oh, wait. He's not. I'll get to that later.), I thought it very convenient. I mean, then we don't have to worry about another wacko in Belle Reeve.

    Or a dangling plot. Thus the whammy. Cheap solution to a more complex problem.

    I agree with the determination that "Someone Close to" Clark "Will Die Soon". 'cause of Clark's "decision" to "disobey" Jor-El. (And did you notice the glow during the hug? And why did Clark hug the guy that's going to kill someone he loves? And why did it change from someone close to Clark to someone Clark loves?) It does feel like it's supposed to be some sort of magic that Kryptonians can do and it totally defies belief. And you're right. It's not like the Jor-El we know. Maybe Jor-El realized Clark responds better to the touchy-feely (oh, dear.) and so modified to go with it. I still don't buy that it's actually Jor-El. And if Jor-El can take over another person and have all the requisite Kryptonian powers, then Krypton wasn't actually destroyed because all of their people could take over Earthlings. which would make them more powerful than they are now. Hmmmm.

    It's all henky.

    The rocket bit was cool. I found it humorous that he managed to make it past each Stage that drops off just before it does so. In regards to the icicles. Let's say that it's because he's a solar battery so is able to generate heat. and the breath thing. He holds his breath? I mean 'cause he's definitely not "breathing" up there.

    Lotsa theories...one line of dialogue could fix it.

    The Lana scene was another vomit inducing one for me. Why, oh why, did no one say anything? What didn't Jonathan say, "Go reassure her, but we're going to talk about the sleeping arrangements later, son."? I mean, they're happy he's alive. We're all happy he's alive 'cause otherwise it would have totally jumped off the mythos of Superman and it would have ended the series, but still!

    Cheap way out, I agree.

    The thing about the showing he was a hero. Well, let's just say that he's not getting a lot of opportunities to show that, if he was "normal", he would still do what he knew was right and would still help his friends. Instead, they say that he's a whiney baby that would only help people if he's invulnerable. Let's look at "Superman II", shall we? He totally did so when he was stripped of his powers. Are they saying that this Clark is too much of a mama's-boy wuss that he won't do anything? Grrr. Oh, and at this point I had to look at my clock and say, "There's 15 minutes to go? Que???"

    Yeah. I think even human Clark is better than that.

    That commercial was totally gross. I know what they're trying to say, but eeeewwww!

    I even agree with the message, and I'm not grossed out. I just think it funny that one can put cat vomit in your mouth and try and make out on tv, and yet showing someone contemplating suicide, a reasonable human dilemma, needs a disclaimer. The FCC and its methods are, let's say, something I despise.

    The Lana thing was sooooo unnecessary. It was only to plant the possibility of Clark lying to Lana again. Of course, he could have said "I opened my eyes and you were there and then I woke up somewhere else. I have no idea how it happened." Which is all total truisms! I'm so irritated about that scene that. well, I'll leave it alone.

    Okay.

    Lionel coming back. was just weird. Why did he need to? Is it to be closer to Clark? But why when we all know there's handy dandy burning capabilities he can invoke to get Clark to come to his side. Oh, and don't forget about the ear ringing. (The forgetting scenario is very funny. They're making a lot of mistakes to stay true to the mythos. Gosh, I love that word!)

    The trusting Chloe thing is, in my opinion, is that he's "protecting" his loved ones from prior knowledge of their potential death, but since he doesn't "love" Chloe, he has no problem telling her. Is that why they changed the phrasing???

    It could be that. I think it's more they're winging it.

    OK, so I'm done with the episode and if I want to comment about the letters, I'll just have to send another e-mail 'cause this just hit five pages in Word!!! Ay yi yi!!!

    Sara

    Pffft! Five pages? I eat that for breakfast. This review is already at page 38, and I've only been working for five and a quarter hours.

    Laurence Cohen wrote:

    Hey Neal,

    First thanks for the reviews. Second, as I believe i've mentioned to you before, I agree that in the Smallville world Lex in many ways is a good guy and for the most part still is. I've seen many people write that you take his side to often, while railing against Clark, but I think your points are always backed up well.

    Thank you.

    WE go into this entire series, knowing at least two basic truths. 1. Lex=bad 2. clark=good (while there is of course more to it than this, for simplicity's, humor me) While WE know this, the characters of Smallville should NOT, and thus should give him the benefit of doubt. Of course I don't see this and I have just another reason not to like the writing and the show in general, but I digress. (of course I still watch it hoping for better, but maybe i'm just being masochistic here) Anyway, I think, therefore that anyone who knows the mythos is biased toward's this end and tends to overlook the facts, which the way I see are as such: Clark has lied to Lex from the beginning; from the pilot! Lex hit him in his car and he survived unscathed and logically seeks the truth thereafter. Of course, Clark didn't know him from a hole in the wall and rightfully leaves out the finer points of the accident and reveals nothing of his abilites. That's all fine and dandy, but if it were me in Lex's shoes, I still like to know what the hell happened.

    My take as well.

    The search for truth should not be what makes Lex evil as the writer's seem to suggest. At the same time, obsession and disrespect of another's privacy, whether friend or foe can lead to evil tendecies, which is where Lex falls short I believe.

    Ditto.

    But Lex's obsession really only grows when he's constantly given half truth's, illogical reasoning, and outright lies by Clark et al. Don't know about the rest of you out there, but that would really URINATE me off too. Now faced with this possibility from someone I know and someone that becomes a friend like we're led to believe in this show, I could either walk away from the friendship and situation entirely, (basically just stop asking how and why, which is what I would probably end up doing) or stand your ground and continue searching no matter the cost; (while not truly evil, it's seriously misguided in my opinion when it intrudes on others without their permission) which is where I think Lex would go.

    Frankly, I'm afraid with how much I sympathize with Lex in this regard. But he is not wrong for wanting to know the truth.

    Blame for Lex becoming evil now falls, at least slightly, (maybe more) on Clark's shoulder's.

    Yes. They're going Spider-Man, blaming the hero for the villain.

    And this is where I think the show fails miserably. This should never be part of the equation in my opinion.

    Agreed and disagreed. It depends on how they ultimately use it.

    Clark may fail at turning lex to the good side, but he should never be seen in any way, shape or form as being part of the reason why Lex turn toward's his darker side. And for the last 5+ seasons, this premise seems to have been followed, whether it was unintentional or not.

    And that is the context in which I agree.

    Sadly, this leaves me with a show whose foundation is made up of playing cards. It may look nice at times, but apply a little pressure (thought, bad plots, conjecture, illogical reasoning, non linear processes, jumping to conclusions, misunderstanding, etc., etc.) (hey sounds like real life sometimes...haha...except for the A-b-g-s-d-Z line of thinking) and it comes crumbling down. Even though I disagree with many of the show's ideas and additions to the mythos, I would at least accept them if they had logical, reasoned framework, which I think they certainly do not. No matter that Jor-El may in fact turn out to be the Eradicator or some other plot hole, Clark losing his powers sight unseen is so ridiculously stupid, it's astounding.

    Even to the astoundingly stupid.

    Even the show acknowledges that he gets his powers from the sun, (due to his Kryptonian DNA) so unless the sun has been extinguished and or his DNA has been changed entirely to that of a human's, he cannot possibly lose his powers entirely. (granted the writer's could have at least made it slightly plausible by having Jor-El state that his DNA would be changed if he disobeyed, but I guess that's asking too much) Since the writer's did not, how did he lose 18 years of stored solar energy in the blink of an eye. Way to cater to the cro-magnon set people. (maybe if they keep dumbing everything down, we'll have reverse evolution and revert back to apes. Actually, that's not fair to apes) (nor to those who don't believe in evolution...to each their own as the saying goes on this and any other theory or belief)

    Preaching to the choir. Ook ook.

    Anyway, in this particular episode as soon as I saw the time clock, I started laughing because I knew that in the real world, (or Jack Bauer's) there was NO way that what I was about to see could realistically happen in 1 hour. Much less with a 17/18 yr old kid and I say kid with emphasis because while 18 may be a societal cutoff point, we're still very much kids I think....which is neither a good or bad thing, just my viewpoint and while i'm sure we could expound on this point alone ad infinitum outside of this context... (hell i'm 30 and still very much a kid in certain respects)

    Likewise. And that's a good thing, I think.

    Again, anyway, I can only assume the writer's want everyone watching to just accept everything because we're already accepting an invulnerable alien who will one day fly. To that I say phuey. (in much more colorful language in my head) Here's a concept, think as rationally as possible and add irrational superboy rather than as irrationally as possible and adding superboy, which to me is the case. Also, if Jor-El truly is the one and only, then the writers have really screwed up his character. Is he the nice guy who helps and thinks of others like on his trip to Earth in the 50's or is he some megalomaniac intent on forcing his son to do his bidding no matter the cost. (hey sounds like Lionel) It makes it very difficult to watch when you strongly disagree with such easy basic tenets. As for Clark waking from the dead, since the doctors actually signed off and (I imagine) called his time of death, wouldn't it be world news and make every medical journal that he miraculously resurrected? Where's the news reporters and scientists looking to test said miracle boy...oh yeah, this is TV and like you said, there's a rabbit. Well I guess i'll just pretend i'm Titano and watch the moving pictures and pretty colors. (sorry titano, you deserve better)

    Thanks again Neal,

    Laurence

    Thank you, Laurence. It astonishes me, the difference between a comic audience and a TV audience. Comics, you're expected to figure out the context, tv, they expect you not to get it, care about it, or remember it to you, so they hand you it, spoon feed it. That's why Jor-El is inconsistent. They care more if he's interesting as opposed to accurate or compelling.

    Joe Slavin wrote:

    Hey Neal,

    I was just wondering if you were going to add Clark jumping up to grab the missile to the KO count, I know that it wasn't a real flight but you counted when Clark jumped over Pete to dunk on him and also the time when Clark jumped from the Daily Planet to the LuthorCorp building

    I did? Checking...Ah! I did.

    Thinking, I now remember why. Both involved a sustained hovering horizontally that gravity would not allow. They even slow-moed it for this purpose. So I think that at least akin to flight, whereas the missile was very much a jump straight up to me. You can call it a flight if you want, though, I won't complain...

    Actually, I WILL make it a flight, because even if HE doesn't fly, he does fly ON THE ROCKET, make sense?

    Andrew Friden wrote:

    Neal,

    Hey man good to be reading your reviews again. I have been so busy for the past year I havent gotten to rant with smallville about you and now were in a new season. So lets get to it, and the first order of business is my proposition for a new KO count.

    KO Popular mediums that Smallville has mimicked for "publicity" when it should have been focusing on story

    The Fast and The Furious: A movie about underground street racing(Velocity)*

    Nip/Tuck: A tv show about plastic surgeons and beccoming "Beautiful" (Krypt/Tuck)*

    Charmed: A tv show about three sisters who are witches in a social dramma (Spell)*

    * Smallville Episode

    Interesting, but then, that's most EVERY episode. ;)

    next order of business, season 4 SUCKED

    Yes.

    okay ive always been a person who says write your own stories but if your gonna write your own version of someone else's, it doesent have to be better, just treat it with the respect its due. Listening to the commentaries and extras on the SUPERMAN THE MOVIE DVD made me just love the entire cast and crew, not because they were respecting one of my favorite stories, but the fact that they didnt want to do anything that would damage it and tried to stay as true as possible

    unfortunetly smallville didnt happen this way

    i can look past him knowing lex and lois early

    i can look past chloe and lionel being invented for the show

    i probably would learn to adjust if even if the show was going nowhere beacuse of the great conversations between lionel and lex throughout the series and jonathan and clark because we can at least have the illusion that the characters are inspired into who thier going to be.

    but i cant stand is the whole FOTW type deal, i mean really okay once i understand possibly kryptonite could have a strange reaction with someone and give them wierd powers that rival superman, but i mean how many people are we gonna see have them?

    It bothers me too.

    and all the stuff about the Teagues, you wanna introduce new characters fine by me but why make one of them in a relationship with lana, i mean pete would be a cool choice, it would add a whole new dynamic to it but it would be more or less part of the normal story, and the fact that jane seymour is some kinda witch or some EXCREMENT is just so darned riduculous. When i saw season 4 opener i thought one of the stones was in the coffin lana touched and thats why she had a wierd reaction to it and blacked out her memory for 12 hours because she of course is not kryptonian, but the fact it was just a magic switch that turned her into uber sorcress still makes me sick

    Likewise.

    the opener also left my appetite whet for at least a 9 episode story arc about lois and clark getting to know eacother while they look for chloe through the season

    she was back the next episode with a terminator 2 villian to boot!

    Without the Arnold cool factor.

    well season 3 acutally had plot to me. Sure it was slow moving but i mean things were advanced, we had many good stories going on all in the end going to mythos for the most part. I enjoy season 2 episodes the most because we see things like clark finding out he is from krypton and lex starting lexcorp as an anti-thesis to his fathers company setting a stage of akwardness which would bleed well into the whole lex tried doing the right thing but in the end he is not to be blamed for how he developed, and thats what i love its called STORYTELLING

    Season 4 we had crap and im sorry

    Don't apologize. It's true.

    I get so pysched when i saw previews for Season 5, i was like okay, he looks like hes in the fortress, hes flying, that he and lex will have thier fall out (hopefully when hes superman so it sets the motive for the lasting grudge with eacother later) and most of all, to see superman acutally fly

    first episode of season 5 well what can i say, it began where we left clark in season 4 finale, and i know you all love CGI or whatever it is but just the fotress forming was so cool to me even if it didnt look all the way up to snuff

    It was still cool.

    cue to a pullout of the completed building standing thier in all its glory and i think FINALLY PLOT PROGRESSION and then the priceless look on Tom Welling/Clark's face as it zooms in to him i go "woah" thank you for such a beautiful scene and it continued onward and jor-el in his monotone voice speaks "one journey is over, another is about to begin" and i think okay so the first 3 seasons for the most part jor-el was secretly trying to help his son because he knew he would do great things

    he said as much in the movie in a conversation with wife Lara

    and then we go to the new starting sequence which made me think it was more movie then TV

    i do have a few quibbles like the with it, i mean i thought clark was FINALLY gonna listen to Jor-El i mean the dead guy has only been asking him to since the end of season 2. The way he promised him that if he could save chloe that he would come back. Also i hated the fact this was the last time we saw the fotress for the episode. I mean im bothered by how sincere clark sounded and i thought hey maybe jor-el will teach him new tricks like frost breath and flying since hes gonna be learning anyways but oh well no such luck,,, yet

    Clark only listens to Jor-El in sweeps, premiere, or finale. That's the rules!

    But him leaving her up thier in alaska to race back to smallville, i mean chloe seemed very stabilized they coulda been out of there in a flash but nooo.

    I do like Lex i mean i imagine the blow of seeing clark just up and vanish with a flash of light, means thier whole friendship that lex was now honest with clark that he would feel betrayed. i mean like things like this have happened before like i think of LOTR and how gollum is acutally Smeagol and becomes good because frodo is so nice to him. But then Frodo inadvernatly betrays him and as such Smeagol reverts to evil. At least thats how i remember my good pre-crisis comics when they talk about why Lex and Superman hate eacother, about how they were once friends and worked together until Superman made a mistake and inadvertantly screwed lex up for life and so Lex declared him a sworn enemy at that point.

    I'd pay to see Lex eat a raw fish and call Clark a "hobbitses."

    I felt sad that john glover got 3 lines but then those were all he needed for this episode. I mean his eyes bugged me out when i saw how blue they were.

    Jonathin at the end of the episode seemed like he was thinking almost like he knew something he wasnt saying. Like when he made the deal with Jor-El to get superman like powers back in season 3 under the guise to get Clark back into town.

    and whats with the key being left in the table in the caves, now granted i didnt expect clark to be teleported to where the fortress was suposed to form, but i would think he wouldve pocketed after he was done talking to jor-el in the finale as he ran around trying to unite the gems of power or whatever.

    second episode of season 5 i only got to see the last 10 minutes of but i did like lex/clark punchout brawl

    third episode of season 5 was half good half crap

    We agree.

    i wanted to see clark's human journey go more i mean in spider-man 2 peter parker goes on a journey to realize that hes both extraordinary and ordinary and that he has to be the one if not for the little guy at the ballgame cheering. but clark has his powers back and i was teased by the whole missile scene. The dramma was great but when i first saw it i thought he flew. I mean to me it seems like thier going to fast. Like they crapped out on season 4 so now their packing the stories into season 5. Thats not bad bad but if a story explodes before it even leaves the hangar it just leaves you saying. Okay thats cool untill people got hurt.

    And about Jor-El poessing people, i think he could only do that because the crystal super charged lionel but as you notice the glow left his eyes when jor-el poessed him, ovibiously using up the powers that were in lionel and thus returning him to normal.

    I do think it is an interesting concept to add to the show of how to restore natural Kryptonian powers to one who has or had lost them that thier must be a human saccrifice. I do not feel it was explained right in the show like the whole nature balance thing makes no sense because clark wouldntve died if jor-el hadnt taken his powers anyways.

    Yes.

    i mean people, save the whole "For everything in nature there is a balance" speil for when Lex and Superman are batting heads or better yet Superman and Zod are going at it and clark is wondering why he isnt the only survivor of krypton i mean someone you love gets saccrificed okay if you need a human transfusion fine but if you really wanna help your son, youd take out one of his enemies, not like someone who means something,

    unless jor-el was a spiteful whiny cry baby which to me Jor-El always seemed like a misunderstood prophet at least to me, he seemed smarter then the average Kryptonian, so why be so cold blooded.

    I did enjoy Lex yelling at the scientist i mean i can just as easily seing Evil Lex of the future shouting the same thing, word for word

    It's a cool thing, and also an inconsistent thing. I too am conflicted.

    Okay the no scar thing bothers me more then you could know. I remember when i was first getting into the show back at the very end of season 2 start of season 3 and hearing about an episode where a young Clark Kent got the superman S burned into his chest now that was BEAVER CONSTRUCT awesome and i had to give it a chance. I would think it would be a scar hed carry his whole life. Which is another thing to, okay he came back to life for all intents and purposes and yet no one wants to investigate to see if the bullet is still in his body?

    I hated the kid launching the nuke, yeah sure great homage to SUPERMAN I and i liked the aspect of Clark not doing smalltime saving anymore of people in danger but the entire town, soon he'll move up to the world hopefully, but the idea some 19 year old kid could launch a nuke at smallville i mean there wasnt even an attempt to shoot it down, i mean even in the movie they tried, word for word this scene

    Generic Militairy Guy: (lex's twin missiles go shooting across the country on radar) can we shoot them it down?

    Helpless Aide: No sir, these warheads have the new low level avoidance system

    and now for my closing thoughts of this letter im gonna talk about next weeks episode "Aquaman"

    ok i loved seeing the flash in smallville, the whole different value systems, both clark and barry are good people with good hearts but we see the difference between them to but they develop a freindship cause they know in the end thier paths are gonna cross again but to me, this is a story of Superman, im not saying it cant happen but i am one of those people who never liked team ups like i never saw what batman could do that superman couldnt do 100 times better except perhaps entering a room with kryptonite, ill acknowledge that their in the same world and universe, but unless something big that threatens all life as we know it, then i cant see superheros needing to team up. Im a purist and i say a story called smallville which is said to be about the man who will become superman its just an akward thing. Now if this show was the origin of the formation of the Justice League that would be a different thing but then we would have a major overhaul of the series itself.

    But right from the get go I hear the narrator utter "A new hero is making waves" and some guy super-swim out of there and then i hear in my brain clarks voice from last season "theirs a guy who can run as fast as i can" and i think of how misplaced this episode was,

    then life gives me this blow i hear clark on the tv say

    "theirs a guy who can swim as fast as i can" and my heart jumps and i say NO NOT AGAIN!

    It was pretty much the same concept, yep.

    now the scene with lex torturing aquaman looks cool but like i said before i am a purist a story about SUPERMAN's origin shouldnt be bogged down with introducing all these different heros, i can see this young version of Clark meeting a young Bruce Wayne in passing, perhaps the young Wayne just comming out of a meeting with the young version of Lex Luthour as a tip of the hat to the universe they exist in, but not devote time out of his story for others.

    I like guest stars. I just wish they'd change the format.

    Now it sounds like im bashing but if i write a show called "The Flash" i could use that episode from smallville as a development episode for The Flash as a person, but unfortunetly this doesent work both ways.

    I think smallville could become something great again if they can get thier act together, they ovibiously have an imaginative staff, so why not use it for something

    They do. Just not everything we wish it could be. And it never will be...it's impossible to be fully pleasing. Doesn't mean criticism is invalid.

    to sum up,,,,,,,,,

    Smallville has potetional

    Seasons 1-3 were more or less preety good just needed to move the story quicker

    4 CRAP!!!! IT DIDNT HAPPEN IT WAS A NIGHTMARE IT WASNT MY FAULT!!!

    5 Needs to move the story a little slower so it has time to develop

    its salvagable................

    -Andrew D. Friden

    I agree.

    Scott Klein wrote:

    Hey Neal, been a while since I messaged you, but I figured since I noticed this one in advance I'd give you a heads up, in regards to Aquaman appearing in Smallville. Keep in mind I am basing this off what I read from the News section of the website, so they may explain this one, but I doubt it. Arthur Curry is Aquaman, and in the preview for the Episode it says they are ata summer beach party at "Crater Lake" which I assume has to be in Smallville. Problem is if you read the comic books and specifically the Graphic Novel "Strength in Numbers" the fourth in the revived JLA series, Arthur Curry, Aquaman specifically states that he has "Never been this far inland before." When he goes to Smallville to meet with Superman and Batman about reforming the recently disbanded league. Granted they can't be expected to follow the comics to a "t" but what the heck is Aquaman doing swimming around in a crater when he is from the oceans? What he just hopped on a bus after climbing out of the Atlantic or Pacific without any form of surface dweller currency and took a trip to the heartland of America? Then he just hops in the lake and waits to make a dashing entrance? If crater lake is formed by meteorites of Kryptonite, shouldn't Clark feel the effects of it? And since the meteor rocks are known to be irradiated you would think officials wouldn't want people swimming in a lake formed by the meteors, and Clark should be smart enough to steer clear of a lake that is potentially full of Kryptonite. Also, in the previous episode Chloe is packing and ready to go to Met U. but this week everyone is going to a summer party at an inland lake(once again how did Aquaman in his his first appearance make it so far inland?). Is Chloe taking summer classes before her first semester? Who does that? The only freshmen I know that go to summer classes before the Fall semester in their first year are the Learning Center kids, and given Chloe's track record she doesn't exactly fit in with the learning handicapped. It just seems odd that she is leaving so much earlier than everyone else. Anyway, just thought I would bring that up so you can be watching for some explanations as well, looking forward to next weeks review.

    Scott

    I don't know about whether they were getting ready for school yet. I will say that I'm not too worried about comics to the show continuity with Aquaman (I mean, they made Flash a thief!), but it's still a cool thing to know that I didn't know, and thanks!

    Ray wrote:

    Neal -

    I like your reveiws mostly - you don't let them get by on half, especially when you've seen them do so much better.

    Nor should I! I think that's why people tend to enjoy this, even if it is long.

    Obvious plot holes in "Mortal" like the time clock and that no kid is going to get into a nuclear silo, well - yeah - forced drama to try to move things along. But sometimes it seems that you are so busy dogging them for bad story devices, that you miss some subtlety - and for me - some fan boy moments.

    Sure. I do. No debate there. Critical analysis stifles casual enjoyment, for sure.

    First and foremost that you can't seem to let go of is: CLARK IS NOT SUPERMAN. Clark is a teenage boy, raised as a human child, by good and loving parents, who also have taught him (out of nessesity) to lie/hide his true self from people. Quite a contradiction to live by: TRUTH, Justice and the American way . . . except you have to lie to people you care about. For good, rational reasons, but it is still deception. He is still growing, learning. Character is something that is developed, you're not born with it, and Clark is no execption. He is going to make mistakes in judgment. In this series, he is being raised in today's world (heck, even if it were the world in that last 30 years) he is going to be moved to make love to a girl he has been in love with since he was 7.(Especially when he is now a 'normal' mortal, and can't harm her) I would make the humble suggestion to lay off that Clark makes relativley normal adolecent decsions, and allow that he can still grow into Superman.

    Nah. I had to be an adult when I was 14 because of a series of circumstances. Superman has one HECK of an extenuating circumstance that makes it so he NEEDS to be a full grown man, and immediately. He can crack the Earth in half. I believe that it's not FAIR that he has to be who he will be now, but it is as it is.

    SECOND: Lionel was zapped by the stones at the end of last season - perhaps THAT is how Jor-El placed some of his essence within him. A stretch? Maybe, but I got that idea easily enough.

    Sounds plausible.

    THIRD: The life for a life thing - Jor-El/Lionel explained about 'cosmic balance' which is what I said to my girfriend when SHE said "why does someone have to die because he got brought back?" So - your questioning is not your alone, but I told her "cosmic balance" before it was mentioned on the show. (I like the idea your fellow reviewer had that perhaps it is whatever life force that Jor-El has left that is truly used to bring him back . . .they may make it lame, but we can give it a few episodes to see how it plays out.)

    I don't know. It would REALLY have to have a better reason to make sense for me.

    FOURTH: FANBOY ALERT!!!: When Clark walked out from behind whatever it was and called to Gabriel - - and got shot: PRICELESS SUPERMAN MOMENT! I refer to the numerous times in the comics that Batman tells Superman that he needs to use his head more and not just storm into situations because he is SUPERMAN! They were confronting a kid that took over a missle silo (I know - ppffft) shot his own father and is planning on nuking Smallville. Why didn't he sneak up on him? Because SUPERMAN doesnt think like that!!! Perfect character moment.

    Maybe...or maybe not.

    FANBOY ALERT 2: The 'force waves' from his Flight in "Crusade" were there when he jumped up to catch the rocket!!! He Flew. Period.

    I disagree, for reasons mentioned above. The downward pressure required by Newton's third to jump that high would ripple the air and the ground, I believe.

    ON YOUR SIDE: I think the writers know he should not lie to Lana, that's why Chloe tells him not to - so I'm gonna hope it's more character growth rather than bad plotting. They do have the problem of forgetting what happened in previous episodes so: how did Clark disappear from the hospital and come back to life; how did Lionel get out of Belle Reave; how is Chloe dealing with shooting someone (didn't seem to faze her at all at the end of this one)and you totally got this one: How does Clark explain to Lana that they can't sleep together anymore? And - why does Lana have the med file . . .it would make more sense for Clark to confront Lex, yet AGAIN, about snooping into his life. I know, Lex is just curious - but Clark HAS saved Lex numerous times that he knows of, and several that he doesnt' know of. If Lex was a true friend, maybe he really would just leave it be . . .but, of course, his character is also developing . . . and we know that he becomes LEX LUTHOR (emphasis on "OR"!!!)

    Amen! :)

    This episode did fail on some points, ones that you pointed out very animatedly, but the way of thinking that 'THIS IS SUPERMAN' doesn't allow for Clark to grow into being Superman. Krytonians aren't perfect (hello . .planet blew up) and humans?? So - how is Clark supposed to make the right choice all the time? What would be the point of the show if he was already Superman? And what would Superman stories be if he ALWAYS got things right? It's his attempt to always do right that make him that Iconic hero - and his ability to be Clark, a flawed regular guy from Kansas, that helps him maintain sanity . . .

    Clark even fails as Superman. My point is that he would not make certain failings, even at 14.

    As with all reviews - - just MY point of view.

    And well articulated ones! Thank you.

    Parker wrote:

    Sigh, this season was looking so promising.

    Was? I haven't given up yet. ;)

    First I'd like to say that this "Hidden" was the first time in about 5 episodes when I absolutely agreed 100% with every single thing you said about the episode.

    That's the mind control cheerios. But thank you.

    Secondly, I'd like to point out a huge plothole I noticed. Chloe finds out that there might be a nuke headed for Smallville. Who's the first person she goes to? Clark. Seems to me like she's forgetting someone. Possibly....HER FATHER?!Does she even care that he's going to be killed?

    Heh.

    Did she call him and tell him to leave town and they just didn't show it? Probably not, because there's no way he'd just pack up and leave by himself and just let his only child stay behind.

    Gabe is with Henry Small somewhere safe and warm.

    They've pretty much just written him out of the show, which is both sad and ridiulous at this point. It's never even been touched upon as to where Chole and he live, and what he does for a living to support both of them.

    Yep. Poor guy! A crap merchant lamented.

    Michael wrote:

    Neal,

    People mentioned that Lionel was carving a Z for Zod in the floor. I

    didn't see that, but super chick had a Z in the Lana location. See

    screen grab.

    Of course, it's not really a Z, like the S isn't really an S. It's a

    Kryptonian heraldic crest that just happens to look like a Z. I guess...

    --Michael

    Tattoo

    I will look at the z...I will look at the z...

    Thanks, everyone! Next week, we may jump ANOTHER shark!

    Neal



    Back to the "Smallville: Episode Reviews" Contents page.

    Back to the main TELEVISION page.