Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 5 - Episode 6: "Exposed"

Reviews:

Exposed

Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

There is a very interesting thing I noticed in relation to this episode that really has no bearing on how I would place the final grade but bugged me enough to go on a bit of a rant here.

Commercials on TV and some Internet ads for this week's episode focused very heavily on Lois giving Clark a lap dance in a red white and blue bikini and doing an erotic poll dance. This was something that caused me to expect to see a sweeps week skin-a-thon that was nothing more than a gimmick to increase ratings. Something that, sadly speaking, is all too common on all TV networks these days.

Well the interesting thing is the episode really didn't play out like the Ads would lead someone to believe. Sure Lois was forced into playing a stripper for a few minutes of the episode that is true but it certainly was not this erotic skin-fest the commercials showed. In fact I think there was more of Lois doing her dance routine on the commercials than there was in the episode. Sure Lois was in a bikini but it was nothing worse than she had on at the beach in the Aquaman episode. Her dance routine was only mildly gratuitous which in the setting and situation was fitting and certainly could have been played much worse. In fact it was played for laughs with Lois up on stage having absolutely no clue what she was doing. Her obvious discomfort and inexperience in such a situation was shown very well through Erica's acting. During the same scene we also have Tom Welling playing a very uncomfortable Clark which I also found somewhat amusing especially when Clark's discomfort was noticed by Lois.

So anyway I really did not find anything really wrong or overly gimmicky about the scene which was not what I expected after seeing how it was played in the ads. What was in reality just an amusing fish out of water situation played for situational laughs was given a black mark as being nothing more than a ratings ploy. Not because of what was actually in the episode but because of choices made in the advertising of the episode. A black mark in an otherwise enjoyable episode.

The other odd thing about the advertising of this episode is that I did not see any mention of the on screen reuniting of Tom Wopat with John Schneider. I had heard Tom Wopat was going to be guest staring this season but from the ads you would not have guessed it was coming this week. Now I never really watched the Dukes of Hazzard but even I would think that was a bigger deal than Lois dancing in a bikini.

OK no more ranting.

The plot this week was not really a filler episode yet it does nothing to advance the main plot of the season. Prof, Fine and Jor-El are nowhere to be found. Instead we are given an introduction to an interesting subplot that may play out over the next few weeks as both Lex and Jonathan Kent run for the same political office. Assuming of course Jonathan Kent actually takes the suggestion from his friend. This could turn out to be pretty interesting.

We get to see Chloe starting her reporter career answering the midnight tip line at the Daily Planet. I guess she really is starting at the bottom. As a result of this, Chloe drags Lois along on a hot tip that ends in the two witnessing a murder. This leads even deeper into a plot involving Strippers, Diplomats, Senators, and what I guess to be forced slavery. Oddly enough this plot also happens to involve an old friend of Jonathan Kent's, which brings Clark into the investigation. This was a bit of a stretch in the coincidence department but that was just a minor thing for me. It served well enough to bring the main cast into the main story from different sides which helped move the story along.

We get to see a lot of Maggie Sawyer in this episode and we see she has been promoted along with a new hair style that made me almost not recognize her at first. It was very nice to see some serious interaction between her, Clark, and Lois beyond just a cameo or bit part. With the show having a more solid presence in Metropolis one can hope we can see a lot more of this character as the season progresses.

We also get a bit of old school Dukes of Hazzard action which I am certain was a joy for fans of that series. Speaking as someone who knows little to nothing about that show I still found the scenes between John Schneider and Tom Wopat interesting and sometimes amusing. It was nice to see Jonathan Kent was a bit rebellious as a youth and it was amusing to see him bring a bit of that out playing with his friend's car.

We also saw an interesting twist in the Clark/Lex relationship. Recently we saw Clark reach out to Lex desperately trying to help him off the path of destruction. This week it is Lex's turn to play nice and actually give Clark some good sound advice on hero worship and the pitfalls involved. We even see a sliver of the old good Lex when he gives Jonathan Kent some information as almost a friendly gesture of good will. So I was left a bit dumbfounded wondering what exactly the greatest criminal mastermind of our time is up to. My guess is that good will was not as good as it appeared to be. We will have to wait and see how this plays out. I should also note that I found it amusing that Lex keeps his membership card for an underground strip club front and center in his brief case for easy access.

Things heat up quickly in this episode at the mid point. We have a lot of slow build with bits and pieces of the plot falling into place during the first half then suddenly it kicks into high gear just before the mid episode commercial break. The Police raid the club and Lois is whisked away by some guy. Soon afterwords we learn that lots of other girls have gone away with this very same guy, never to be heard from again.

We see Lois in the man's apartment and there are signs this could be a seriously deranged person. My first thought was some kind of crazed serial killer with a red dress fixation. Seems Lois might have had the same thought and soon she starts channeling her inner Jet Li on the dirt bag in a rather well done fight scene. We figure out later that it is some kind of forced slavery racket instead of a serial killer but either way I was "Go Lois!" all the way. The guy certainly had it coming.

I don't know why but seeing Lois do Kungfu works so much better than Lana. Maybe it is more realistic that a General's daughter would have some actual martial arts training instead of just a week or two with a punching bag in Lex's office. Maybe it is the different actresses play action a bit differently. I don't really know but when Lana is spin kicking someone it seems fake but when Lois spin kicks someone it actually looks like something that could knock a guy though his interior decorating. Of course I could just be subconsciously telling myself, "Duh, it's Lois Lane silly." Anyway, I enjoyed the fight scene and Lois really tore the dirt ball up. A cheap shot with a stun gun caused a pause in the action timely enough to bring Clark in to do his Super thing without anyone one seeing him.

The scene that followed was just fantastic and one not to be missed. Clark speeds to the roof, super jumps up with a handy cable to tie up the Helicopter strut as it is lifting into the air. He lands back on the roof and then yanks the helicopter back to the ground, catching it in one hand before setting it down safe on the ground. Yeah the effects in that scene were not 100% flawless. You can tell they are on a TV budget instead of a big screen budget but I just did not care. That was just really cool! To top it off Lois wakes up and takes matters back into her own hands taking care of the bad guys before Clark has to.

Detective Sawyer comes in after the action and we learn the dirt ball has some kind of diplomatic immunity and they have to let him go. Lois takes the opportunity to give him a cheap shot before letting him go which I found very amusing in a low brow sort of way. It could have been simply because it seemed like such a Lois thing to do or maybe it was the smirk on Sawyers face when Lois kicked him. Though it also could have been "well that doesn't surprise me" eye roll Clark gave her afterwords or maybe I just took too much aspirin before watching this episode. Who knows but I chuckled.

The story wraps up with a semi cease fire in Clark and Lex's relationship, as I mentioned above a big hint that Jonathan Kent may run against Lex in an upcoming election, and Clark and Lois ribbing each other as she moves into Lana's vacant apartment above the Talon. I think it'd be amusing if Clark still has that Elmer Fudd lamp when he and Lois eventually get married. Sadly we'll never see the future play out that far but it is a fun thought to play with.

So all and all a better than average episode with a few flaws but nothing that takes you out of the story. A few good action scenes involving Clark and Lois and an interesting set up to a possible multi episode story arc.

I give it a solid B. (or 4 out of 5 Star Spangled Bikinis.)

The advertising department gets a Solid D-.

Next week looks like another nightmare episode. Now that Clark's nightmare of another Meteor Shower came true I wonder what his new worst nightmare is. Tune in next week Super Fans for all the answers!

Doug "Doright" Trumble



Exposed

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

MAIN POINTS:

  • Lois becomes a stripper. Hilarity ensues.
  • Chloe digs deep as an investigative phone operator to solve a murder.
  • Clark finds his faith in heroes shaken when the other Duke shows.
  • Turns out Jack, Jonathan's old friend, likes politics, and strippers.
  • In the end, Lex Luthor saves the day and carries on his candidacy for senator.

    REVIEW:

    You gotta take a deep breath and think a little bit.

    Was that season four?

    NO!

    Was that sweeps?

    Yes.

    In that context, we must purposefully extract everything gimmicky and titillating for the sake of arbitrary story.

    That leaves us with a murder mystery, the bad guy from the first Triple X, and a nice little social commentary on how our politicians are bad examples of heroes, and that you'd be more likely to have success with Lex Luthor being non-corrupt as opposed to a good ole boy.

    Hey, wait a minute...

    We start with the Daily Planet, as with last episode, and it's a nice recurring image. It's nice to see Metropolis playing a larger role.

    It's even nicer to see mistakes made in episodes past rectified. For instance, Chloe picks up the phone and says, "Daily Planet Info Line".

    This is very pleasing, because it means that the plot point that bothered me last episode, that of Chloe just getting a job as a reporter without having the chops or the story, is rectified. She's just a lowly operator trying to work her way up. I respect that. I wish they'd made that clearer last episode.

    Behind her, however, is Lois, who we learn through glaringly obvious dialogue has taken the apartment above the Talon. Why? Well, it's never really explained. It just is. Just like Lois coming back and living with the Kents. It lasted all of one episode, but we never learn exactly why.

    Consider a few salient plot points.

    One: Lois hates Clark. Or at least treats him with contempt. Likewise vice versa.

    Two: The whole reason Lois came to town was to be near Chloe, and in fact, that's where she is, most of the time, when we establish.

    Three: Chloe lives in Metropolis. Lana lives in Metropolis.

    So here we are. Lois moves to live in Smallville despite not really having any reason to (no friends, really, save Clark, no college, nothing, really). Lois lives three hours away from Chloe. Does this make sense? Why is she there?

    At least Lois has a JOB to pay for her apartment with at the Talon. Oy. That's one step over Lana. It doesn't explain her presence, however.

    If you'll note, as a reader pointed out to me last week, Lois, Erica Durance, is in the credits BEFORE Chloe. She's been billed AHEAD of Chloe.

    Her character has no real motivation to be in the show, really, and yet she's taking a solid front to Chloe. She's taking her place.

    This, though I sound like a broken record saying it, is an episode where ALL of Lois's actions could have been taken and carried out by Chloe.

    The key and ONLY difference is that, generally speaking, more guys seem to want to see Erica naked than Allison.

    Is that a good reason to move around characters and a motivation in an episode? I don't think so. TV execs do. It's why I don't write TV shows. It would break my heart to see what could be great polluted, just like that which we saw tonight in many ways.

    But she's there, anyway, stupid rationale or not.

    Chloe gets a call at the Daily Planet Operator station (important, it comes back up later) from a frantic voice saying that "he" is coming to get "me". The anonymous damsel in distress, about to be killed. You know the drill. They even know where she is.

    Chloe decides to go investigate with Lois.

    Pause.

    No police phone call? No call to the man who can bend steel with his bare hands and save lives? No call to a reporter (an action that would likely get her fired)?

    Nah. Let's just, you know, run with it and check it out.

    So they go to find the girl where she told them she'd be, and they're just pat right in the middle of the street when the murderer comes charging down the street in his vehicle.

    Frankly, I think this is a prime example of Darwin at work, given that the girl didn't call for the police before reporters. Shows you the intellect in seeking attention over safety.

    The vehicle smacks into her, runs her over, dodges Chloe and Lois, and screams down the street. Chloe and Lois walk over, and I'm expecting, you know, what happens when you get run over. Mangled body. Missing limbs. Enough blood to fill a few quart jars. A crushed head. Maybe some pleading. Auto-defecation.

    Nah. She's just pretty as punch, all whole, except dead.

    Chloe reaches down, puts her finger on the far right side of her neck (as opposed to next to the throat, where the pulse is taken), turns to Lois, and solemnly declares, in Clark fashion, "She dead!"

    O RLY? Maybe that's because you didn't call the cops!

    Lois solemnly nods.

    Do they chase the killer?

    Do they try and get the license plate?

    Do they do bad fake CPR?

    Does Chloe have guilt for not calling any help to save the dying girl later on?

    Does the killer, who knows Chloe and Lois saw him kill someone, try and mow them down?

    No...they

    CUE THE CREDITS!

    Somebody save me.

    It's sweeps week, so I've decided to do something "very special", just for ratings. It's an experiment, so bear with me. A dramatis personae, before we continue, for those of you who have never seen Star Trek, TNG:

    Picard: Leader. Captain.

    Riker: Right-hand man and advice.

    Worf: Battle hardened war monger.

    Data: Logical, a la Spock.

    Troi: The sensitive one.

    Crusher: The doctor.

    Geordi: MacGuyver. The man can fix a warp core with a wrench and a hairband over his eyes.

    Wesley Crusher: The plucky kid who doesn't know what he's doing.

    Redshirt: The person who walks in front of any of the above to die first.

    Q: Picard's foible. An extra-dimensional imp who can do whatever he wants.

    All right. Engage.

    ESTABLISHING: ENTERPRISE E

    PICARD (VO)

    Stardate -318839.26. (Neal's note: CHECK IT!)

    We are approaching the distress beacon left near the rift in reality caused by Dr. Tolian Soran. Having traveled through the threshold of our rift, internal chronometers indicate that we have been somehow thrust back to the early twenty-first century in the direct vicinity of a rogue telecommunications satellite termed the "WB V'GER" broadcasting from a class M planet stuck in the rift.

    We are preparing to send out a crew to investigate.

    INT: TRANSPORTER ROOM

    The AWAY TEAM, consisting of Lt. Worf and Commander Riker, load into the teleporter.

    RIKER

    Mr. Worf, aren't you supposed to be on Deep Space Nine?

    WORF

    If you were any other man, I would KILL YOU WHERE YOU STAND!

    RIKER

    No. Seriously.

    O'BRIAN looks at them, rolling his eyes.

    O'BRIAN

    Energizing!

    INT: THE STARSHIP ENTERPRISE. EVENING ON THURSDAY.

    CAPTAIN PICARD stares through the viewscreen, watching WORF and RIKER poke and prod the sattelite.

    DATA

    Captain, it appears to be broadcasting.

    PICARD

    Onscreen.

    The SCREEN blips from an image of RIKER and WORF to the scene from SMALLVILLE: 506, EXPOSED. Scene is right after the credits.

    PICARD

    Curious.

    RIKER (VO)

    It'll take us approximately 37 more minutes to discern the nature of the threat.

    PICARD

    Curious. Keep working, Number One.

    On the SCREEN, a COURTESY MESSAGE come up.

    SHOW

    If you're just joining us, Chloe and Lois are investigating a murder.

    PICARD

    Now THAT is convenient!

    TROI

    I sense that you're enjoying the summation.

    PICARD

    Silence, tramp!

    CU on PICARD, who is watching the screen intently.

    We see the scene where JACK, JONATHAN'S childhood friend, comes and meets the Kents. PICARD smiles in amusement.

    PICARD

    Curious. It appears that in the past senators enjoyed Hemis.

    DATA

    Your assumption appears to be correct, sir.

    PICARD

    There's some brown on your nose, Mr. Data.

    DATA

    I do not see any brown, sir.

    PICARD

    Silence, tramp!

    I like the scene. Save it for the archives.

    DATA presses some buttons, saving the scene to the main computer under "DECENT". We can see this OTS.

    WORF beams back onto the bridge and takes his console.

    WORF

    Sorry. I got bored.

    WESLEY

    Aren't you supposed to be on Deep Space Nine?

    WORF

    I moved in with the Kents.

    A WHITE FLASH appears on the bridge, and Q appears. He is dressed as a EUROPEAN SLAVIC MAN in a TRENCHCOAT.

    Q

    No. Wait. That's not right.

    Q snaps his fingers, and turns into Gilbert Gottfried.

    Q

    Not quite.

    Q snaps his fingers and turns into the traditional Mxyzptlk.

    Q

    Nah, that'll get me sued.

    Q snaps his fingers and turns into a reasonable facsimile of NEAL BAILEY, though no imitation could ever quite be so handsome.

    PICARD, irked, turns in his chair.

    PICARD

    What is it you want, Q?

    Q

    To play. I've taken the form of a critic.

    PICARD

    I'm in no mood for games! I'm watching television.

    Q

    Yes, well, curious that you mention it. I've set this whole situation up as a revenge ploy against DC for taking my essential character and making it into a playful imp.

    DATA

    Mr. Q, not to be difficult, but DC's Mxyzptlk character preceded Star Trek: The Next Generation by several decades.

    Q

    Silence, Tramp. I'm omnipresent. I was here before and after Mxy.

    Regardless. Sit with me, Captain. Watch the show. I'll show you the depths of the evil...

    PICARD

    As if I had any choice.

    On the screen, LOIS and CHLOE encounter DETECTIVE SAWYER, who begins to bluster and swagger about how naive the kids are, living in the big city and thinking murder is a big deal. Losers!

    PICARD

    Her attitude is most calloused.

    Q

    Yes, well, Mr. Sophistication, it's a well known fact that cities thought it a badge of honor to be tough back in the day. I think you're missing the point. Sure, it's good to see Sawyer again. She was a major player in an earlier episode, you see. But it doesn't make up for her rationale. Even in 2005, murder wasn't just something a detective could pass off.

    PICARD

    I don't like it. Delete it, Mr. Data.

    DATA

    Sir.

    On the screen, we see JACK regale CLARK KENT with stories of JONATHAN KENT'S misbegotten youth.

    PICARD

    Hilarious! I do SO love a good car chase scene! Especially flying into the shuttle at the end. It also gives Clark a rationale for believing his father wasn't always perfect. To character! Woot!

    Q

    You violated the prime directive with your chase scene! Ruined the sanctity of a developing pre-warp culture! And you made an evil duplicate Data because of it!

    PICARD

    Silence, tramp! The desert filter was awesome.

    Q

    Conceded.

    TROI

    I sense that your enjoyment of this show is growing, sir.

    The ENTIRE CREW looks at Troi and rolls their eyes at her body suit.

    On the SCREEN, DETECTIVE SAWYER enters the KENT HOUSEHOLD

    WORF

    Suggestion, sir. Being a security officer, I know that I have no sovereignty on Romulus

    PICARD

    Your point?

    WORF

    Isn't Mrs. Sawyer out of her jurisdiction in Smallville?

    Q applauds, giggling. He snaps his finger. A new PIP appears on Worf's neckline.

    Q

    Worf, son of Mogh, have a cookie.

    WORF

    That symbolic S shield is still cool, though.

    COOKIES appear next to WORF's console.

    PICARD abruptly rises, walks over to the helm, and smacks the bejesus out of WESLEY CRUSHER

    CRUSHER

    What was that for?

    PICARD

    Wait for it.

    On the SCREEN, JACK mispronounces the word LUTHOR as LUTHER

    DATA cringes.

    PICARD

    A problem, Mr. Data?

    DATA

    Several, sir. As a computer, I've uploaded most every piece of archaic pop culture ever in my cortex, and NEVER have I seen a name more often mispronounced on a show.

    PICARD

    Get to the point!

    DATA

    Well, sir, beyond that, I find it curious that instead of simply placing a telephone call on a primitive communicator, Detective Sawyer would take her stone-aged "oil car" for a three hour drive all the way from Metropolis to Smallville all for what is, at best, circumstantial evidence that the senator has a girlfriend outside of wedlock. Significantly, a picture of a senator with a stripper does not necessarily imply even remotely that he killed her. It appears to be another attempt to villainize being sexual with women on a show exploiting said objectification. I pity the fool.

    PICARD

    Agreed. LOCK ON ALL PHASERS AND FIRE!

    WORF

    YEAH! FINALLY! NOL'KGATH-GRAK!*

    *Translation: I'm taking your job, Goatee Boy!

    DATA

    I would advise against killing Commander Riker to destroy Smallville, sir.

    PICARD

    HE IS INSOLENT! HE SHAVED HIS BEARD! I TOLD HIM NOT TO!

    TROI

    I sense anger.

    WESLEY

    I'm 16!

    PICARD

    Shut up, Wesley! That's what the slap was for. I'll get the plot bat.

    WESLEY'S voice cracks.

    PICARD

    Very well. Spare him. Spare them both. I feel beneficent.

    And I'm bald.

    Archive that scene, but digitally remove Sawyer's clothes, remove the dialogue, and set it on Risa.

    DATA

    Aye.

    On the SCREEN, PA KENT immediately leaps to the conclusion that Lex has rigged the photo.

    Q

    Curious, isn't it?

    PICARD

    Not sure I follow.

    Q

    I find it curious that though for the entirety of the last four years, Lex has done nothing but give money to the Kents and offer them favors, Pa Kent still thinks he's a fink. Heck, there was that scene a few years ago where Lex got down and dirty doing chores just to show how humble he was. Lex just hasn't been that villain-y to this point in the season.

    PICARD

    Pa Kent was a primitive. He had no reasons to be logical.

    Q

    Agreed. Though sadly, many considered him an intellectual role model. Behaving like this...it would almost seem out of character, wouldn't it?

    TROI

    I sense sarcasm!

    On the SCREEN, CLARK storms into LUTHOR MANSION unannounced and begins hurling accusations at LEX.

    WORF

    AK! That security is terrible! They bring dishonor to their houses!

    DATA

    How illogical to assume that Lex is the person behind the pictures. Back then, though image modification was possible, it was certainly not as easy or as clean as the stripper picture. It appears to be a technique to produce arbitrary tension in a scene that would otherwise lack drama.

    WORF

    IF YOU WERE ANY OTHER ROBOT, I WOULD KILL YOU WHERE YOU STAND!

    DATA

    Yes. Exactly.

    PICARD

    I'll be the actor loved posing for that picture.

    TROI

    I sense a curiosity bordering on lechery.

    WESLEY

    I'm a kid!

    On the SCREEN, Clark sneers and pouts after pontificating about how he's just looking out for a friend.

    CLARK

    In case you've forgotten, that's what friends do for each other!

    PICARD

    Ooooooooooooooh! SNAP!

    Q

    What? WHAT? How many times has Lex been there for Clark? He bought him a truck! He's gotten him out of jail! Heck, later in this episode he-

    PICARD

    Silence! He's giving the boy a pass to the strip club!

    Q (muttering)

    Is that a rabbit over there?

    WESLEY

    Cool! He keeps a strip club membership right next to his computer, just like me!

    PICARD

    SHUT UP, Wesley. I will unleash the targs. They're hungry.

    A STAIN slowly spreads down WESLEY'S inner leg. He whimpers pitifully.

    On the SCREEN, Lois and Chloe worm their way into a strip club.

    PICARD

    Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' 'bout! Engage!

    Q

    You don't find this whole setup a little predictable? Prurient? Designed to titillate?

    TROI

    I sense a similarity to my character purpose.

    Q

    See! See what I mean! I mean, yeah, Jean-Luc, I know it's pretty, but isn't it a bit obvious?

    PICARD

    Boobies!

    DATA begins to smoke.

    PICARD

    STATUS REPORT!

    DATA

    The Chloe Sullivan character has recalled an earlier scene where she was in a schoolgirl outfit. I have blown a pleasure circuit.

    PICARD laughs merrily.

    PICARD

    Dork.

    On the SCREEN, CHLOE and LOIS get into trouble while searching through the cabinets of the RUSSIAN ILLEGAL STRIP CLUB OWNER. The OWNER comes in, and CHLOE pushes LOIS forward, indicating that she is there to strip.

    TROI

    Wow. That...I would be angry later if someone did that to me.

    DATA

    Yes. Most illogical.

    On the SCREEN, LEX and PA KENT argue over the picture.

    PICARD

    Again with the picture? This makes no sense. STRIP!

    PA KENT

    I've never liked you much, Lex.

    DATA winces.

    DATA

    That's cold...even to a robot...dude, that's cold.

    He got their HOUSE rebuilt! He saved their farm!

    On the SCREEN, LEX indicates he's not taking the picture to the press, and he plops down the PHONE NUMBERS indicating that JACK has been calling the stripper regularly.

    Q

    Jonathan Kent, you see, doesn't apologize to Luthor. It creates an odd paradigm that eventually leads to Superman becoming the villain and Lex the good guy, oh, around 2076.

    TROI stands, and prepares to give a monologue. The crew stare at her naughtily.

    TROI

    Sir, I must object! Scenes like this where a woman who is otherwise smart, capable, intelligent, and strong of character suddenly strips down for the groaning pleasure of imbeciles denigrate not only the woman involved but the people watching it for the simple pleasure of arousal, to say NOTHING of the total implausibility of someone who has no experience at all becoming a plausible stripper in under sixty seconds.

    It was a continuing fallacy of the twentieth century to show a character involved in something that they could not do, engaging in said activity anyway and getting slowly and slowly better until a minute later, they were professionals in the field. It happened with rock scenes, strip clubs, and in speeches, and was wholly impossible, clichd, and false. It contributed to the false sense that anyone could do anything, and led to people thinking they could be writers, artists, musicians, strippers, movie stars, anchors, architects, and other things that require a lifetime of effort with a minimum contribution of attention or qualification.

    Furthermore, assuming that you bought the idea that she's a stripper as a part of an investigation, it seems plain that none of the strippers are willing to talk about it, and that their cover is accomplishing nothing. Why would they continue?

    And look! Look! They give Lois a curtain! Strippers don't get curtains! I never...er...

    They don't get curtains! They're comfortable being naked! That's the point!

    The other girls don't have curtains!

    And where did she get those clothes?

    I know it's being played for laughs, but...it's just...it's not funny! It's only horrible!

    Q snaps his fingers. He's suddenly dressed as a WW2 veteran.

    On the SCREEN, CHLOE stares up at LOIS'S body in her skimpy outfit.

    CHLOE

    GOD BLESS AMERICA! TEE HEE!

    The WW2 Veteran smacks himself in the forehead and vomits.

    Q

    That used to mean something, you know.

    On the SCREEN, CLARK KENT encounters the OWNER.

    CLARK

    Lex LuthER referred me.

    OWNER

    Will Mr. LuthER be joining you?

    DATA'S EARS begin bleeding.

    DATA

    MAKE IT STOOOOOOOOOP!

    PICARD smiles up at LOIS.

    PICARD

    Yeah, baby! Take it ALL OFF!

    TROI! You make a better door than a window. SIT DOWN!

    TROI!

    No! I refuse!

    PICARD

    Worf, kill her.

    WORF moves from around the console with a betleH.

    WORF

    THIS IS FOR BREAKING UP WITH ME!

    PICARD holds up a hand.

    PICARD

    No. Wait. I've changed my mind.

    WORF snarls, moving back to his console.

    PICARD

    Wesley, you and Troi. To the death. Slap fight.

    WESLEY begins crying. TROI closes the gap.

    TROI

    Oh no you di-int!

    PICARD turns his attention back to the SCREEN.

    CHLOE

    Dig down and find your inner Demi Moore!

    PICARD scratches his head.

    DATA

    Sir?

    PICARD

    I don't understand. She's not shaving her head and trying to become a SEAL in a particularly cheesy girl-power movie designed to show how evil men are for having stronger bodies. You know, like Enough? Where the solution to abuse is not jail, but murder?

    TROI

    I sense my soapbox being stolen.

    PICARD

    Is Wesley dead yet?

    TROI

    Almost.

    CLARK orders a "coke straight-up on the rocks."

    The CREW bursts into laughter.

    DATA

    My emotions...too much!

    DATA collapses.

    PICARD shrugs.

    PICARD

    I don't care. It was worth it. Good joke.

    Q

    Agreed.

    Q checks his notes.

    Q

    That's odd.

    PICARD

    Explain.

    Q

    Well, when I first watched this show, I have down in my notes "Awkward start to awesome conclusion."

    PICARD

    Your point?

    Q

    Well, I wrote that before I even saw Lois go out.

    PICARD

    What does that mean?

    Q

    It simply means that the scene was formulaic and predictable. And not even that hot, actually, when it came down to it. I mean, Lois just dances a little bit, doesn't even get naked, and walks off stage. How many strip clubs does that happen in?

    PICARD

    BOOBIES!

    Q pats PICARD on the head.

    Q

    It's ironic, you know. I mean, people watch these shows just to see mostly naked women, they buy Maxim to see mostly naked women. Heck, they'll go out of their way to waste their time with half-naked women when for five dollars, the local store carries a Playboy. I mean, not that I advocate that or anything, but seriously, if you're not after a story and just want a hot chick, HECK, the internet...

    DATA starts to rise from the floor.

    DATA

    Interwhat?

    Q

    Silence.

    My point being, when I was a young Q, maybe 14, and I didn't have access to naked women outside of television legally, I suppose it made sense to just look at naked women in the context of a story for pleasure. Honestly. It did.

    PICARD stares at the screen, rapt, a smile on his face.

    Q

    But as I got older, I realized not, nay, as you might think, that nudity was gross or bad, but rather wonderful.

    However, with that realization came an equal love and regard for a good story.

    As such, I realized that they were separate entities.

    Problem being, people will not accept a good story without nekkidness. There came the rub.

    To enjoy a good story, I had to deal with watching serious characters do things that they would never do. To wit, turning Lois Lane, a notable feminist icon, into a pole dancing slut for the gratification of viewers.

    DATA

    You think too much.

    Q

    Yes. Yes, perhaps I do.

    Or maybe...all joking aside...

    TROI looks down and to the side, solemn, her character diminished, but bold new pennies showing on the front of her shirt.

    TROI

    I sense...aw, heck with it.

    Q nods, turning his head back to the SCREEN. The POLICE swarm in, letting all of the dancers go but arresting CLARK.

    PICARD

    That doesn't make sense! Arg! Those pleasure police! They don't know Clark knew the place was illegal!

    Q

    What's his charge? And hey, when police raid clubs, don't they use zip ties to cuff? And since when do they cuff people standing up? Last time I got arrested, they spent a long time making sure I was prone so they wouldn't shoot me.

    PICARD

    Doesn't matter. Lex will get him off anyway.

    Q

    Good point! Why? Because it's what friends do for each other, right?

    Er...

    The SCREEN cuts beyond the commercial to the return, where a SUMMARY plays.

    SHOW

    If you're just joining us: To solve a murder, Lois has gone undercover.

    WORF

    AG!

    So bad!

    PICARD claps, gleefully.

    PICARD

    Tee hee! I REMEMBER that!

    WESLEY

    It's news to me, chum!

    TROI continues to slap him.

    TROI

    Die!

    An EXPLOSION rocks the deck. In a cloud of dust, JAMES T. KIRK appears.

    PICARD

    Hey! I thought you were dead.

    KIRK

    COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!

    PICARD

    Come again?

    KIRK

    It's a COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!

    PICARD

    Talk sense, man!

    KIRK

    I've come...forward...in time...to warn you...

    PICARD

    Spit it out, man!

    KIRK

    This...show...it...purported to...show...Superman...but...Jor-El...is...too evil.

    If I...Had a hammer...I'd...

    PICARD

    How can you even be here, this makes no sense!

    KIRK

    I...didn't get...seven...no...make that...eight...temporal violations...by going back...in time...to see...Marilyn...Monroe.

    KIRK pulls out a ninja triangle.

    KIRK

    BUY PRICELINE!

    KIRK SMASHES the triangle on the ground and disappears in a puff of smoke.

    KIRK (FADING)

    Skip...season...four! Buy...TJ Hooker...on DVD...live long...and prosper!

    Come...son of Jor-El...kneel before Zod!

    Snootchie bootchies!

    PICARD holds his nose in between his thumb and forefinger. He turns to Q.

    Q

    Wasn't me. Honest.

    WESLEY

    Was that Mal?

    WHEDON ARMY

    SHUT UP, INFIDEL!

    On the SCREEN, CHLOE asks CLARK what's going on.

    DATA

    Perplexing. Clark is arrested, but Chloe is not.

    The EAR CAM appears on screen.

    WORF cheers.

    PICARD

    Yes, old friend. I missed it too.

    The SCREEN shows CHLOE in the dressing room, where STRIPPERS continue to primp.

    TROI

    Wait. Why are the strippers still allowed in the dressing room when Clark was just arrested for being in the audience.

    WESLEY looks up from his beating.

    WESLEY

    That is kind of funny.

    TROI slaps one final time, incapacitating WESLEY.

    WORF cheers her.

    PICARD

    Beam him to sick bay. We'll do it again later.

    INT: Sickbay

    BEVERLY CRUSHER stands in sickbay, reading a romance novel.

    BEVERLY

    Boh-ring!

    WESLEY materializes on her sick bed.

    PICARD (VO)

    He got knocked out again. Heal him...or don't. Whatever. I'm busy.

    BEVERLY runs over to her child, concerned.

    BEVERLY

    Did they kill you!

    WESLEY moans.

    BEVERLY

    You're going to make it.

    BEVERLY grimaces.

    BEVERLY

    Ah, hell.

    BEVERLY prepares the pavulon.

    INT: THE BRIDGE

    On the SCREEN, a STRIPPER cracks her WHIP down, bringing CHLOE out of her line of questioning.

    Q (AS NEAL)

    Holy...the whip just cracked itself.

    It's back!

    THE WHIP IS BACK! WOOOO!

    On the SCREEN, SAWYER releases Clark and Chloe from custody. She mispronounces LuthER. She also explains that LEX has released them.

    DATA twists SPOT'S neck in anger.

    SPOT slumps.

    DATA

    What...what have I done?

    Q

    Lex is somehow a bad guy?

    Q snaps his fingers. SPOT springs up, meowing. SPOT meanders to WESLEY'S seat and takes a pee. Q winks.

    On the SCREEN, the DUKES OF HAZZARD scene, where JONATHAN and JACK jump into a replica of the GENERAL LEE and go flying through the air, plays out.

    ALL

    RIGHTEOUS!

    The crew goes around and high fives each other.

    PICARD

    We're going from suck to awesome. ENGAGE!

    Q

    Indeed. I mean, now THAT is funny. Turning Lois into a slut? No. The Dukes flying through the air? THAT I can condone.

    But what about the Brainiac subplots.

    DATA

    Brainiac's my father.

    Q smacks DATA.

    On the SCREEN, the car spins 180 degrees.

    PICARD

    Wesley, make us do that!

    PICARD stares over at WESLEY'S empty seat.

    PICARD

    Oh, yes. Quite. Well, engage manual control.

    A JOYSTICK pops up. PICARD thrusts the joystick to the side.

    EXT: THE ENTERPRISE E.

    The ENTERPRISE spins.

    INT: THE BRIDGE

    PICARD

    WHEEE! YEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HAW!

    WORF

    Agreed.

    On the SCREEN, PA KENT describes JACK as CLARK'S HERO in front of JACK.

    PICARD

    Now that doesn't make sense!

    Q

    Clark has definitely never mentioned his hero Jack before.

    TROI

    I sense an arbitrary way to make a character important.

    On the SCREEN, LOIS walks into the RUSSKIE'S apartment still wearing her negligee. She is then forced to put on a dress by the creepy RUSSKIE, but instead of getting naked, she just slips into the dress still wearing her bra, which shows when she wears the dress.

    PICARD

    CURSES! Fix that in the holodeck later.

    DATA

    Aye.

    PICARD

    Rassin' frassin' inaccurate archaic shows.

    LOIS beats the RUSSKIE onscreen for fully ten seconds before the bodyguard steps in and KNOCKS HER OUT.

    PICARD

    Worf, just for reference, if you ever take that long to stun someone who's kicking the crap out of me, I'll have your butt-likened forehead stuffed and mounted next to all the women who have ever turned a drink from me down. Is that understood?

    WORF

    On Klingon, our butts are where our heads are.

    PICARD

    So?

    WORF

    Just saying.

    The COMM sounds.

    WESLEY (VO)

    I'm not dead yet! I'm getting better!

    A FWUMP is head over the comm.

    BEVERLY (VO)

    Sorry sir. Won't happen again.

    PICARD

    No! Feel free to hit him as much as you want.

    The COMM clicks off.

    A FLASH lights up the deck, and STEVE YOUNIS appears.

    STEVE

    All right. I've had quite enough of this. This gag has gone on for twenty-one pages!

    Q

    They're script pages! Word for word, it's shorter than most of the reviews!

    STEVE

    Still...come on now!

    Q snaps his finger. A DVD of SUPERMAN RETURNS appears in STEVE'S hands.

    STEVE smiles, broadly, pulling out a ninja triangle.

    STEVE

    Right. Carry on then.

    STEVE smashes the triangle and disappears.

    TROI

    His accent is hot.

    PICARD glares.

    TROI

    Just saying. I love Australia.

    On the SCREEN, CLARK finds out where the apartment is from CHLOE and bursts to SUPER-SPEED in front of the entire staff of the DAILY PLANET.

    DATA

    That is a BLATANT violation of the prime directive!

    CHLOE picks up the phone.

    CHLOE

    Chloe Sullivan.

    DATA smacks his forehead.

    DATA

    She's the operator! She doesn't answer with her name.

    PICARD

    Stop thinking, Thinky McThinkerton! You'll enjoy it more if you don't think.

    DATA

    Sir, experience dictates that enjoying something that doesn't make sense leads to dangerous social-

    PICARD

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBIES!

    CLARK pulls out LOIS'S new passport from the printer.

    PICARD

    Pause. Magnify.

    The ID CARD reveals that LOIS'S new name is MARGOT NEILL.

    ALL

    AWESOME!

    Q

    They misspelled my name.

    ALL glare.

    On the SCREEN, CHLOE indicates that she doubts that they'll smuggle LOIS out of the country by plane, and miraculously deduces that there is a HELIPAD on the roof of the building CLARK is in.

    DATA

    Ye gads! Even my sensors aren't that good!

    WORF

    Tactically, it does not make any logical sense to try and smuggle a hostage out of the country by leaving via a helicopter from Kansas. A helicopter could not even make it the distance of two cites.

    PICARD

    THINKY MCTHINKERTOOOOOOOOOOOON!

    CLARK hangs up on CHLOE.

    TROI

    That was rude.

    WORF dumps a tub of rancid eggs on TROI.

    WORF

    So was that.

    ALL laugh.

    PICARD

    Now you'll have to change clothes!

    TROI glares.

    TROI

    You are prurient!

    PICARD

    Thank you! I pride myself as a thespian.

    DATA'S pleasure circuits overload as he pictures Picard as a thespian. No, wait.

    CLARK rushes to the roof, goes into another SUPERJUMP, hooks the helicopter, and pulls it down.

    WORF

    AWESOME! I need jump jets and a grapple hook.

    PICARD

    What for?

    WORF

    Er...never mind.

    DATA

    Isn't he exposing his secret to anyone watching from the surrounding buildings and, logically, anyone in that helicopter, by snatching the vessel from the sky almost instantaneously when the hook, which he hastily explains kept them from leaving, is slack on the ground? Lois didn't ask Clark how he did it later?

    PICARD

    I'm sorry, what?

    Did you not see that jump?

    DATA

    Never mind.

    DETECTIVE SAWYER indicates that the villain is the SON OF A DIPLOMAT and therefore is subject to diplomatic immunity.

    PICARD frowns.

    PICARD

    A relative to a diplomat can get away with anything?

    DATA

    Not actually, sir. In fact, diplomatic immunity applies only to-

    PICARD

    Put my brother onscreen.

    DATA (sighs)

    Aye.

    PICARD'S brother, ROBERT appears in his farm clothes with a bad Scottish accent.

    ROBERT

    Ah, ye, with ye'r high an mighty starship, callin' wee ole me.

    'ooo ye think ye are, mista BEEEG Shaaaaat Starsheeep cap'n?

    PICARD

    Yes, well, good news. I'm making up for all that.

    You have diplomatic immunity. You can do anything and get away with it. Just found out.

    ROBERT

    Anything?

    PICARD

    Anything.

    ROBERT

    SHORN BEGORA!

    PICARD

    That's irish!

    ROBERT

    SHUT IT!

    ROBERT pulls out an axe.

    ROBERT

    Rene! Heed! Get in here, now!

    PICARD

    Wait. Aren't they dead?

    A FLASH, and KIRK reappears.

    KIRK

    Yeah. I did that. Sorry.

    A FLASH, and KIRK disappears again.

    Back to the show.

    DATA (sighs)

    Aye.

  • CLARK appears in front of LEX. All is buddy-buddy again.

    WORF

    UNACCEPTABLE!

    PICARD

    I concur. This is...impossible. They were just mortal enemies.

    LEX begins to speak about KING DAVID

    Q

    What the...

    Okay. Let's be fair. I LOVE the book GOD KNOWS, by Joseph Heller. Fine contemporary commentary. And it even relates a bit. But is this show trying to be serious and literary after exploiting boobies?

    PICARD

    Boobies?

    DATA

    True dat, Q.

    On the SCREEN, JACK talks to CLARK

    JACK

    Even the best heroes are far from perfect.

    PICARD

    Excellent. Just the excuse I needed!

    JACK explains that he will not be prosecuted because he was cleared of murder.

    WORF

    Bologna! Er, Klingon bologna! I was once photographed with a stripper, and though I was cleared in her murder...

    PICARD

    Diplomatic immunity!

    WORF

    ...yes, exactly. Though I was cleared of her murder, the papers still had a field day with me. People don't judge things based on evidence! They use intuition and-

    PICARD

    BOOBIES!

    Q

    Quite.

    CLARK has tense scenes with both JACK and JONATHAN for the next five minutes.

    PICARD

    Isn't this a bit...I don't know.

    TROI

    I sense slash.

    WORF

    I'll gag her.

    PICARD nods.

    On the SCREEN, LOIS makes a joke about not wanting to walk in on LANA and CLARK having sex.

    TROI MMMMMMPHS against her gag.

    PICARD

    Good idea. She'd probably just spout something about trivializing sex on a family show, and we don't need the hate mail.

    Pause. Magnify.

    On the SCREEN, we see that the SILENT FILM FESTIVAL is still going on at the TALON.

    DATA

    Man, that's getting old. And I'm a robot!

    PICARD

    Magnify again, this time on the news article.

    The NEWS ARTICLE grows on the screen.

    Q

    Hmm. The guy got arrested by Interpol. Makes no sense at all.

    PICARD

    But some cute little references to "aliens" all through that article.

    The PREVIEW airs.

    PICARD

    Hey, I remember that! I saw it in the last season! It was called Fear!

    EXT: THE SATTELITE.

    We see the CORPSE of WILL RIKER. Next to him is a pitchfork, and spraypainted on the sand next to him: YOU MESS WITH THE GOATEE, YOU MESS WITH SCOTLAND! -ROBERT-

    INT: THE BRIDGE.

    PICARD

    Offscreen.

    Well...that was...

    Q

    Yes. Something best left to its archaic roots, though with some entertainment value. Not a total loss.

    PICARD

    Why did you show this to me?

    Q

    One part torture, one part introspective. I just don't want you to ever be like that.

    PICARD

    Lana wasn't in the show.

    Q

    A point. But nonetheless, neither was Ma Kent. The subplot that's made the last few episodes so great is just...gone! This was just an excuse to see Lois naked.

    PICARD

    AND WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT?

    Q

    I see that my voice is lost on this ship. I leave you to your business.

    Q snaps, and disappears.

    PICARD farts.

    PICARD

    Right. Set course for Risa. ENGAGE!

    1.5 of 5. Point five for the leap, and the Dukes. That's all. Otherwise, sweeps trash.

    SUPER SHORT REVIEW

    I researched stardates, Klingon weapons, Picard's brother, methodology used in lethal injection for a stupid Wesley joke, and you expect me to summarize all that in one pithy sentence?

    Okay.

    Boobies, bum arrests, false Lexcusations, General Lee, dead Wesley, Q who, and a Scotland in a Riker tree.

    1.5 of 5.

    LETTERS!

    I missed Scotty V's letter a few weeks back because I accidentally missed the "Okay to publish signal".

    Just as a note, if I haven't replied to you with haste, it's because I respond in public faster, but it doesn't mean I'm ignoring you, promise.

    SCOTTY V wrote:

    Before we get started, I need to make it clear that I really, really, really enjoyed this episode. Like your review partner says in his review, I too never really thought of Aquaman as being too relevant. I mean, he's the savior of the sea. That's really great if you're a fish. However, I think it was really neat to add the super fast swimming here and the power to control water. My memory tells me that Aquaman never really had that power before, although I think it's a good one and it gives him a little more relevance in the real world, as opposed to the underwater one. If he does and always has had that power, then a slight apology from the V-man to the water-guy is in order!

    I'm not sure. I'm not a big Aquaman fan, generally.

    I thought Clark's "let's go to the opening credits" line was great. "He can swim faster than I can!" Who cares about swimming, you say? Sure, it's not always important when it comes to superheroes, but the line was very dramatic and a great way to Flash to the opening credits. I love AC and Clark's relationship throughout this episode. I will admit I was saying to myself, why is Clark being a big rooster toward the guy? After all, he seemed like a heroic good guy. Clark was suspicious of him for no reason I could think of. Again though, I guess some of his suspicions ended up being warranted when he saw AC planting a bomb. Although AC had good reason, terrorist type acts are questionable to say the least. I would say that our Clark, much like the Superman of the future may be developing one of the powers we don't usually speak of. Danger sense? Intuition? The Clark of the future certainly has hunches about people and situations that often turn out to be correct. Two episodes ago, it was a correct hunch about Lex, even if he did jump the gun a little before being sure. A rat is still a rat. Here, his intuition about AC is also correct, even though Clark later agreed that something, although not terrorism, needed to be done.

    Sure. But then, Clark might do something more smart, like alerting the media.

    I thought the JLA (Junior Lifeguard Association was also very funny.) At first, I had a problem with Lois and AC having a romance although it turned out ok. The biggest problem I had was that later on, up in the Watchtower or the Hall of Justice or whatever, Aquaman can be like "I had her before you!" I was simply thankful that they did not have sex. I was hoping the entire time that they would not. Gladly, they didn't and the kisses weren't too bad. The other issue though, came to my mind in the final scene with Lois and Clark. Various writers have mentioned it before on the creative teams for the super-books. The idea that Lois could be viewed as kind of a gold-digger in that she only wants to be with super-famous, super-powerful, super-influential Superheroes. I never really thought this was the case. I usually view her infatuation with Superman as a natural occurrence, kind of how it occurred here with Aquaman. It's probably easier to fall for someone who rescues you and pays you a lot of attention. It was done very well on Lois and Clark, in that she initially had that infatuation but then started to fall for Clark, the man. When they do it that way I think it works best and it doesn't paint Lois in a bad light.

    It all varies. Some argue they were too purist in that incarnation. One thing I do see is that Lois is not really that dumb to just fall for a hot piece of man-meat.

    All in all, this was a great episode. Back to form with the premiere. Perhaps not quite as cool as "Arrival" but certainly of the same quality, which makes up for the previous episode. Not sure about the vampires next week, though I do like that they have Buffy's nemesis from a show about vampires and demons saying "Clark there's no such thing as vampires!" Very cute and a nice nod, though I never did get into Buffy, it still works. Looks like we'll now have Clark investigating LuthorCorp. Before I even read your review, I'm sure you're going to bash Clark for doing what he always yells at Lex for, though it's not the same. Lex has been investigating Clark and the Kents. That's spying on a family, a personal, private thing. Clark will be investigating, and writing papers on a business - public domain - that has possibly been indulged in some questionable practices. Clark has witnessed now, not only Lex kidnapping someone and almost thirsting AC to death, but also the weapon that was hurting the environment and Lex had no care for the consequences of that.

    Agreed.

    Finally, I have to add that now we may be in danger of insta-evil Lex. This is the first time, though certain things may have been implied about "making people disappear" and Lex taking care of people who cause him problems, that we've actually witnessed Lex kidnap someone and torture him. Seems like a big step for no real reason. Shooting a dart into someone, taking them back to a lab and strapping them to a table and then mocking them as they dry out and come close to thirsting to death is definitely a HUGE evil step. Perhaps too large, I might say. It does however, seem like Lex might try and repent again. He was definitely affected by what Clark had to say to him, you could see it in his facial expression. So perhaps he will look to make up for it and try to stay away from those actions in the future. Should that be the case, I think this could be ok because it's in character for a guy that will become the Lex Luthor we all love to hate and perhaps it was just a few missteps that got Lex, who often tries to be a good guy, on the wrong path with this one.

    And alas, he just flipped back to semi-good last episode. Oy. And fully good this episode.

    This is a little off the subject of this episode, but I'm interested in everyone's take on this. In one of the early episodes of the first season, Lana says she loves Clark's loft. Clark then tells her that his father built it and that his father calls it his "Fortress of Solitude." Now, in the season premiere of this year, "Arrival," we hear the voice of Jor-El tell Clark that he is in "your Fortress of Solitude." While I'm sure the writers and creators don't actually have an explanation, I wonder if we could settle on one for ourselves. If the title of Superman's haven is the FOS, where would Jonathan have come up with that name? It seemed perfectly reasonable to me that Clark might use that name for his base of operations in the future as a tribute to his father or simply because he thought the name was very suitable. However, if the name comes from Jor-El and Krypton, why would Jon coincidentally use it for the barn loft? Could it be that Jor-El, who is apparently watching Clark at certain times during his life on Earth, (even tough Jor is long dead) took the name because HE liked it when Jonathan said it? I guess what I'm looking for is a consensus, if anyone cares. Let me know what you all think. First off, do the creators even have any idea? (I don't think they do) Second, did Jor-El use it because he knew Clark would have an emotional connection because it came from Jonathan or is it just a coincidence? Third, if you guys have your own ideas or theories on what it might be I'd love to hear them.

    I don't think it was that complex. I think it was just a mistake.

    Just started reading your review and the first two things that stand out to me are these. First, I personally thought that this was a very different episode than run, other than that it co-starred another hero from the future. AC is doing things for good, albeit it a bad way. Bart was doing bad things for no other reason than increasing his own wealth. It turned out in the end in both episodes that Clark had a positive influence leading both these future heroes to be more heroic. In the case of "Run," Clark learns that it's ok to have fun with his powers, although it didn't really seem to stick with him. In "Aqua," Clark learns that perhaps the entire world, including the natural environment needs to be paid closer attention to. He also learns that perhaps, as Doug said in his review, heroes sometimes need to be more proactive. Second, you say they don't mention he whole "scar and I died thing." They do not mention it but Clark is wearing a patch. At least to this point, we might assume that he is avoiding very intimate contact due to his "recovery" and "healing." But at least it's not just gone and unquestioned. He has the band-aid and therefore at least it looks as if he might have an injury.

    I did miss the bandage. I don't mean all the salient points are the same, just that the "hero comes to Smallville" formula was repeated.

    I checked your link leading to the myths page about the ten percent of the brain. I don't have a problem admitting that I had no idea this wasn't true. At least now I have doubt. Reading that page was very enlightening, even though I don't think that page alone gives any hard evidence. The author makes claims that he or she wrote and possibly got from real scientific sources but unless we all go out and read those books I don't know what we'll ever know for sure. Then, even if we do read all the info available, who knows who is right or wrong? Myths are certainly suspect. However, scientists make theories without any hard proof all the time. I tend to favor the reasonable educated guesses though, so I'm at least intrigued by the fact that something we've talked about in my family for as long as I can remember is probably not true. I honestly used to attribute people like Einstein or Bach or Shakespeare and possibly even Stephen King to the possibility that they had been somehow granted the use of more of their brains. That ten percent of the brain that was unused and hard to tap into. I would sometimes think that perhaps flight or telekinesis could come from those parts, though I admit that was wishful thinking.

    I think it's wishful thinking. People want to believe that for some reason we're as stupid as we are as humans for a reason. Sadly, it just falls to choices, generally.

    In so far as the AC, Lois thing, I did mention it above but I notice you say he's being a jerk to her and I didn't see that. It seemed to me that he was being a guy who liked her and was interested. That's not being a jerk. At least I didn't think it was. If you're being lecherous or perverted, yes but here no. Lois was also attracted to him and I believe there are a number of reasons.

    A good distinction. And let me make it clear that I, personally, have no problems with surface physical relationships out of context. I'm involved in a few. What gets me is when they indicate that LOIS, a model for feminism, would be.

    Whether we men objectify women for beauty or whether women do and feel the same for us, almost everyone I know enjoys looking at something that's nice to look at. They play that with Lois on this show and they played it on Lois & Clark. Doesn't necessarily mean she's shallow.

    Further, if that's the truth, why isn't she falling all over Clark?

    I personally love pretty women but that doesn't mean I'm not looking for more on a serious level. Lois also finds it easier to fall for him because he rescued her. Sure, Clark has rescued her too but she already had an established adversarial, if not sibling like relationship with Clark. Plus, if we're talking about something that makes Lois look bad, the worst thing in this case is that she speaks of her attraction to super-type men at the end of the show which DOES make her look shallow or like a "gold digger," as I stated earlier. Clark could be considered as only good for her once she finds out he's Super. Of course, when it's done correctly, as it was in Lois & Clark and not in the Superman films, we see that Lois actually does fall for Clark, the man, before she finds out the secret.

    Again, I must mention that we could look at Clark's distrust as a form of intuition or "something's up" hero sense that he, and other heroes, do indeed seem to have.

    I don't think that's a hero sense...I think it's bad plot sense.

    I didn't watch the shows again, but do we really know Clark was breathing in space or in the water? I said last week, maybe he was just holding his breath.

    It's not clear, which is why I wanted elaboration.

    In terms of the attacks from AC, Clark seemed to be waiting to see what would happen. It also could be a lot faster than it looks. Since Clark does mention that the guy is faster than him in the water. Also, since the first attack didn't do much, Clark might have thought the second would be weak as well. Clark did fall from space last week, but perhaps we are seeing here that AC's power over water, sometimes considered to be one of the most powerful forces on Earth, is such that it IS like being suckered by Doomsday (though of course not quite.) I didn't think about Arthur's escape, though I simply assumed there was a connection to the lake with another body of water. I wasn't really remembering it was a lake though so I'm not really sure that's plausible.

    Sneaking up on Clark COULD be that Clark wasn't really paying attention. He does need to activate the super hearing, otherwise he'd hear everyone's conversations, sex acts, farm machines and animals and he'd never get any rest. OMG, the bro thing was really, like, gag me with a spoon, ya know! (Please understand this sentence was purely for the sake of comedy and I would never say those words or type them from the heart.)

    I think that the hearing thing is plausible. I just list it because it's funny.

    Lex has done the lie thing about his operations on other occasions. "Clark I don't know what you're talking about." When asked about the villains from "Mortal" for a recent example. Or that he'd never investigate Clark's family again. There are others. I see similar conversations in my mind though I can't list them out of memory now. Clark stays behind with Lex and then probably hopes to run into AC later. I can go with the idea that maybe he thinks AC, who is now his partner, will wait for Clark to act with him, rather than rush right off and do what he does. Perhaps Clark shouldn't think that, but he is overly nave and trusting, as is pointed out in this very episode with dialogue. In so far as the guy with the dart gun, (and I've already said above that kidnapper Lex who tortures people with glee seems a bit too instant) I thought they were trying to show us that Lex had been monitoring AC's activities for a while. Wasn't Lex watching a blip of AC trying to interfere with the device? I may have misunderstood.

    It requires more thinking than the viewer should have to do...

    Was AC's shirt off when he was getting ready to dive into the water perhaps? Before he was shot and kidnapped? I don't remember.

    As I recall, no. Either way, leaving him strapped down naked...obvious.

    The JLA thing wasn't exactly the same as the one in "Run" and I liked them both. In "Run," Bart says: ".start a club or a league or something. Here they don't mention a league and the letters, which correspond to something this AC might say, simply happen to conveniently match with our JLA. It was cute. Of course, I mentioned this above before I read the review.

    When AC leaves, he again goes via the lake. Another reason why I thought there was a connecting body that he swam to from there. Perhaps even an underwater connection that only he knows about? I know it's a lake but.

    Or just cheese writing...

    Ok Neal, thanks for reading. Later,

    Scotty V

    No problem! Thank you.

    abbie wrote:

    Neal,

    Excuse my language but what the WORD THAT RHYMES WITH GOOGLEMAMMYTUCK was last episode doing on tv? I take this show very seriously and to have the writers and al and miles accept storylines that mutilate any progress the show has made from the blackhole that was season 4 is very insulting.

    It was better than this week's...

    Is there anything we can do to get through to the smallville team and possibily suggest that they get back on the track season 3 was going? 4 was bookended with greatness but why do they think they can tell the trials of clark kent and his growth into superman by having silly, contradictory and disasterous episodes such as thirst? AND TO HAVE CHLOE GET INTO THE DAILY PLANET WITH A SORORITY STORY ON VAMPIRES is the ultimate soured icing on the cake. What can we do? Who do WE write? I have a few specs that, might I say, would rule and be great for the show. I have ideas, I have love for the show that apparently the creators lack.

    I can't give out my sources, unfortunately. But let me just say this. I don't think they care what their loyal viewers want...their primary financial concern is hooking the sometimes viewers. That means they'll go with what sells rather than what should be.

    Oh, and after this EXCREMENT episode they had the BASKETballs to air, a marvelous montage of what smallville is all about ends the episode to the tunes of the new Metroplis soundtrack. Huh? Squeaky shoes, Whip, old spice, whatever you want to call it....I was KO'd. How can one night of smallville be so bi polar? I couldnt turn off the TV fast enough or throw my remote to the floor.

    It did cause many paroxysms.

    Cant wait to hear from you. You should have just posted your review immediately last night with a big fat 0 with a statement that you were too broken hearted to waste your

    time writing about this one.

    I've often considered doing that. And one day I might. I find goofing around more rewarding, ultimately.

    Talk later,

    Abbie

    Thanks.

    Will wrote earlier to suggest he saw Batman in Thirst. Here's his proof:

    Will Sabel Courtney wrote:

    I'm attaching the pictures that prove my point about Batman's shadow. Let me

    know if you don't get em.

    WiseJoeyD wrote:

    To truly subvert the typical review prose, I've decided to begin my interpretive thoughts early....like 5 minutes-into-the-show-early. I'll be interested to see what you extracted from this exciting attempt at Buffy Mark 2!

    Three pints of blood. And not in that, "I'm getting necked by a hot chick vampire" kind.

    Also, with so many thunderous cliches so early on I thought, what the hey, let's just subvert things (like Lana stay clothed and any gender of nipples not assaulting my fragile sexual identity).

    Hmm....so far so good...a Chloe ep....but wait....a few problems:

    Carie Fisher, bitter for not getting her turn on the turn table and wind machine decides to out-pout the other female leads in the opening scene whilst also hitting the nail on the head when playing badly written "don't give me those puppy dog.....oh what the hey, have my holiday home in Malibu!" parts.

    I liked her better as a nun, but she works here.

    Extremely bad lingering camera move down onto the "hot pool action". The shot tells us nothing we haven't already seen and even pauses inexplicably before travelling labouriously down onto our hot little uni orgy. Psst. Producers? if you want to get the bang for your money, film the writhing woman bodies preferabbly horizontal and not from a camera posessed by the spirit of Hugh Heffner.

    He's not dead yet!

    How come it sounded like dubbed porn when the guy opened his mouth?!

    Sweeps.

    Surely the stereotype of BASKETballsy editor, randy delivery boy and plucky "you're in my head!" narration mean only one thing....it's going ot be an ep that's really just been a literal visualisation of one of Ms Sullivan's succesful Daily Planet stories.....if it is, then it'll be like that one with the nuclear bombs (a missed oppurtunity a bad Superman IV nod! "Oh my, that'll come back to bite me in the BUTT..."). Namely that it's main plot will be POOP and there'll be a nice subplot...possibly about why using a laptop on your lap in bed makes you infertile...I can only hope!

    Infertile, or at least in-character, perhaps.

    DC (publicity@dccomics.com) wrote:

    Neal,

    Some friendly advice: If you stop taking the show so seriously and maybe you'll enjoy it a little more.

    Qualifications for a hilarious email?

    1) Short.

    2) Poor grammar.

    3) Condescension.

    4) Stating the obvious.

    5) From an anonymous source.

    CHECK!

    In response, however, I will simply state what I've already stated a hundred times or so. If critics weren't critical, they wouldn't be critics. The Germans just stopped taking things seriously and enjoyed WW2. I find something noble in dissent and dissemination. If you don't, my reviews are likely not for you.

    Plus, I take you a little more seriously if you sign your actual name. You know mine.

    Matthew J. Theriault wrote:

    Concerning Lana's interest in astronomy, it seems likely that this was sparked purely by her experience with the crashed Kryptonian spacecraft. If that indeed is the case, it then makes sense for her to apply to Metropolis University as late as she did.

    If they actually mentioned that in dialogue, I'd probably agree, but it isn't even touched upon...

    Personally, I would have had Lana pegged as a political science major or art perhaps.

    I'll get shot for this, but I see her as a psycho-analyst, and a mean one.

    Chloe is undoubtably a journalism major, but there is no indication that Clark is as well. He will probably become one soon, but for now remain undecieded.

    It would be interesting to see him start out as something less predictable, such as criminal justice or agricultural sciences before making the switch.

    Yes.

    TRA wrote:

    Hey, Neal - Glass half full girl from last week is EMPTY after this Thursday night. I think TPTB should have promoted this season not, as "Everything you've waited to see," but "Everything you've already seen in Season 4 done over and still lame!" If you're going to repeat a season, why Season 4? Everyone agrees it's the worst Season ever! I'd settle for Season 3 repeats myself.

    Or at least a similar stream of plots.

    How about this: Lana is given doses of a drug secretly by Brainiac. She slowly starts to go insane. She tries to build a spaceship because she has to go stop the aliens and the meteors that come with them. Clark tries to help her but needs Lex. This time, Lana puts the smack on Lex and Lionel puts Lana into Belle Reeve. Clark tries to bust her out but gets into it with some inmates from the past. Oops, the power goes on and off and just the wrong time so that Lana's therapy goes very wrong. Lana loses her memory, thinks she's still a cheerleader, starts wearing her Kryptonite necklace, and decides to stay in Smallville forever to wait for dead Whitney to come back to her. Brainiac tells Clark I didn't do it and you've got to get over her anyway. Start thinking about contributing to the world you live in. Lois and Chloe agree. Ma and Pa say "MOVE ON." Clark does. Life is good in Smallville! Yep, I'm up for some serious Season 3 remakes.

    That is...complex.

    On the other hand maybe the real point to Season 5 is this: If you participate in bringing the future Superman to sin, you lose the ability to talk, lose all of your own personality, what little of there was, so you have to lie to the future Superman and leave town. However, once you get to the big city, you're turned into a vampire and forced to lead a half-life. Even when you're saved by the future Superman, you still live a half-life, as evidenced by the fact that you are forced to say the most stupid, inane things over and over and over again. (Ooh, biting you made me feel closer than ever to you, blah, blah, are you buying that crap?!)

    I don't blame Lana. I blame the writers.

    Anyway, I will be tuning in next week, just to see Lois, even if she does go undercover in a "Gentlemen's club." At least it could be a decent mystery story. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    But not the legs! Oy.

    Jeff wrote:

    I've been DVRing (I don't own a TIVO, thank you very much) Smallville; so, forgive me for not discussing the latest episode this week. Then again, I'm not even sure what is your protocol for feedback. In any event, let's not waste any (more) time and jump right into it from the ground, up (a cryptic reference to Back To School with Rodney Dangerfield - look it up, people).

    I don't own a TiVo either. I almost did, then I read they let the RIAA push them around a bit.

    The protocol for feedback involves leaving a goat, money, and praise on my doorstep, and then I shout at you for three days, and then you can become a part of Project Mayhem.

    PS: Loves the Rodney.

    It's interesting, no, how we compare Superman, the comic character, to Superman, the TV character? Ostensibly, there's NO perfect way to mold what's left of Smallville into a logical, plausible past for the most recent treasured Superman comic book continunity. On this time rail, perhaps the Lex of the future not only vows to destroy Superman, but prove once and for all that Clark is Superman. Even in that regard, the characters and their stories must be believable for this universe to gel.

    Agreed.

    Let's take good o' Lex LuthER ('cause I know you hate that so much), as the prime example. Future Lexy is destined to become Superman's greatest foe. But Smallville has done a subpar job at it. Now we're supposed to believe Lex is evil? I know Michael is a talented actor, but I simply could not believe Lex in Aqua for a second.

    I believe it, mostly because the Baum is so good. But I don't believe the motivation.

    [BTW, the writers gave a little shout out to you in one of the last scenes with Lex and Clark. Clark said something like, "I guess I am naive." Clark is a little dumb and they provided the proof, an admission from Clark Kent himself! And wasn't it strange that Clark made a hissy fit when Lex lied, and Clark does it all the time, yet you don't see Lex getting all huffy puffy, now do you?]

    Heh. Shout out to me would be a "Neal Bailey" on a list of freaks, or a "Neal Bailey" alias. They don't know who I am. I'm pretty sure of it.

    The fight that ensued between Aquaman and The Man of Steel was also not believable. Aquaman is faster in the water. Huh?!? And since when does Aquaman have the strength of Superman? He winded ol' Supes. To make matters worse, Clark's barrage of offense did not even phase the fishman! This is the guy that, along with Batman, can single-handedly take down the JLA!

    Yeah.

    And probably what peeved more than the fight was Clark's sense of trust towards Aquaman. I could be wrong, but did Clark, in some way, provide proof to the audience, with his own eyes, that Lex was building a destructive military application? I seem to recall Clark neutralizing the C-4 explosive, battling a hostile Aquaman, and, later, Aquaman pleading Lex is up to no good without a shred of evidence. I realize Clark should be a good judge of character, but he even admitted in this episode that he's naive. And how long has he known Lex for, compared to Aquaman? For petes' sake (yes, the one who moved), Clark defended him in the opening, even though their relationship is quite complex and hostile. Why would you take Aquaman's word when you barely know the guy? Maybe this is Batman talking (my FAVORITE and #1 hero), as well as a true New Yorker, but I don't trust anybody until they give me a daRN good reason.

    Agreed.

    Let me close out with the pre-marital sex discussion. None of you readers, to my knowledge, and also you Neal, have ever brought up this perspective? What if Superman never existed in the 30's? What happens if he was spawned out of 9/11 or some other relatively modern socio-political-economical tragedy, say, no earlier than the sexual explosion during the 90s? What type of characteristics would Superman possess? Sure, the superpowers would be sweet. But since Superman would be a product of the sexed-crazed times of the 90s, which still continues to this day, maybe his or her creators would grant him pre-marital sex priviledges and still envision him as the ultimate human being.

    I know this may sound hard to believe, but everything we're doing now sexually, with the exception of increased single motherhood and certain sexual practices among teens involving non-intercourse sex, were around in the 30s, just not talked about as much.

    I don't believe that Superman COULD come out post 1970. The reason being, people just don't buy any of the new heroes. The old guard are the old guard because they were there when comics were new. There will never be another Superman. Only whatever new icon comes from whatever new media we come up with next. The internet will spawn the next great Strong Bad. Superman just is what he is. The what if becomes irrelevant, because he MUST be in context.

    If he were a grunge kid, yeah, he might be sexual. But if he were a grunge kid, he'd also not be a moral arbiter. He'd be apathetic.

    You see, Neal, it's about perspective. I understand your point of view. Superman must be a representation for everyone, not just one persons' beliefs. But don't you agree that human society, as a whole, dictates what is good and what is not?

    That's a complex question. Depends on if you mean pragmatic or philosophically. Often, society dictates "a" good, but not what history will prove to be good.

    Let me be more concise, as the philosopher inside me could write a book on said question.

    Exactly.

    Superman's characteristics, his qualities, are upheld by the highest degree a humane society can offer; that's the theory.

    More a utilitarian society, but yeah.

    But it's possible that society can change tomorrow (in theory) and agree, as a whole, pre-marital sex is okay in everyone's book. Then someone like me may come along and say Superman shouldn't have sex before marriage, upon which your response will remain unscathed. You'll probably say that the Earth's population accepts pre-marital sex, insomuch that it's a high honor and quality among the "saints" of the world (this is the bizarro world spin) and therefore Superman must adhere to this standard, as well.

    Actually, no. I believe pre-marital sex is just fine. I don't believe Clark would wait. But that's the point. I wouldn't put my political or sexual beliefs on Superman, a universal anyman, nor should any other person denegrate the anyman with their own specificity of belief.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is Chloe has the most gorgeous blue eyes I have ever seen. That shot of her in the opening credits is mesmorizing. I'd take her (and she's smart, yay!) over any actress who has appeared on Smallville.

    Likewise. Booyah.

    Later,

    Jeff

    Thanks.

    Shafi S wrote:

    Hey Neal,

    Before I start I like to thank you for putting my quote in your review.

    Any time. Thanks.

    I was thinking on what to write about thirst. Well nothing came to mind, instead how they are ruining supes with having vampires killing pizza boys. I guess they had this episode because of Halloween.But I don't get why is Clark going to kansas state instead of Met U. Didn't he go to Met U in the comics.

    I believe in the comics he traveled the world from 18-22.

    One question came to mind. How did Clark get the job at the Daily Planet. In Smallville he befriends Perry White but didn't everyone like Chloe had to start from the basement.

    The big Superman story got him on. Like Watergate. With tights.

    I miss the comic relief in the show. Like Pete or some guest on the show Clark had to save. Jeez the comic stuff really made the show bearable now its to a point where I do want to watch Everybody Hates Chris without changing back to our greatest *cough* show.

    I never did like the comedic aspect that much. I love Everybody Hates Chris, though. Great stuff. VCRs are magic! :)

    Oh well, I still can't think of something thats intersting. But thanks again Neal for reading.

    Shafi

    Thanks for writing.

    Anthony Robles wrote:

    With episodes like this one and "Run" I look at them not as a Superman fan but as a fan of hero making the cameo. That being said they really did Aquaman right.

    I know it is pretty clear there is a formula taking hold; Each guest superhero flirts with the woman in the cast who shares personality traits with the woman they will eventually fall in love with later on ;the Flash flirts with Chloe, who is an open-minded truth-seeker in the same vain as nearly every speedsters' paramour(Barry&Iris and Wally&Linda) Lois is a strong-willed, take charge kind of person similar to Mera.

    Another reaccuring trend is Clark versus the guest hero at their own game. While there was no doubt that the Flash would beat Superman in the race I was concern when I heard there was going to be an underwater battle between Clark and Arthur I was nervous. Aquaman has been the butt of many jokes and that is what I feared this fight was going to be. Thinking back I don't think that DC would have allow this story to take place if that was the case. My only complant is that the fight seemed squeezed it for the sake of having a fight. Still glad they had Arthur win, after all he is King of the Sea.

    The final reaccuring trend is allusions to the JLA before they leave. Check.

    (I am holding my judgement on Brainiac until I see more episodes with him.)

    It was decent...thought a bit contrived.

    So now the big question: Who is next to make a pre-costume appearance?

    1) "Smallville" started out as planned Pre-Costume Appearnce (PCA for short) of Superman on a show that was going to be a show that was going to be called "Wayne" starring a young Bruce Wayne. As time went on the focus shift from Bruce to Clark and the rest is history. Still the writers want to have Clark crossing paths with a young Bruce Wayne (hopefully acting like Bruce did in "Dual Identity").It would be cool and would most likly called "Wayne".

    2) The writers also have wanted to tell of PCA between Clark and the Amazing Amazon, Diana. I don't know how they would work this but I would watch.

    3)My personnal choice; the Martian Manhunter. J'Onn is older then Clark (give or take a THOUSAND YEARS) and is definitly more alien. Combined with the fact J'Onn likes to impersonate people in law enforcment and government positions. It would definitly work and break the formula before it becomes a cliche.

    4)Patrick "Eel" O'Brain after he gets riddled with bullets and doses with chemicals but before he becomes Plastic Man. Why? It would make a more convincing arguement for a fight between him and Clark when Chloe and/or Lois does a backround check and finds an actual rap sheet! Plus Plas would flirt with Chloe, Lois, Lana, and Martha. A great PCA choose that will never happen.

    These are my chooses for heroes I would like to see in the future.

    I want to see them all. The more the merrier, so long as they get them decent.

    P.S. Read the DC Comics guide to Writing Comics by Dennis O'Neal

    Psssht! I've read it three times. Good book. Though since there are no real script standards, it gets frustrating at times.

    Shalamarke wrote:

    Hey Neal, Shal here again.

    I just wanted to apologize for being a little cranky last week. I don't have a better explanation for it than I did then. Though I do want to say that there is no need to express that you are sorry for making me angry. I was battling a decision whether to be angry based on your review, and that day, the little cranky red guy on my shoulder won. Nevertheless, I can own my own anger and you owe no apology.

    I apologize nonetheless, and stress that you owe me no apology likewise. The free exchange of opinion is what motivates my life. No apology necessary.

    I find it interesting that this week, I got through your review very easily and actually read it more closely than I have in a long while. I found your comments a lot more solid and entertaining. I actually wondered if my comments helped with that. Then I read down to where you responded to me and found out that no, my comments probably had very little affect. So now I'm really confused about my reactions to your review. I guess I was just really unforgiving last week and feeling much more easy going this week.

    I understand. Heck, I might have been kinder to season 4 had I not lost two dogs that year.

    All of the points you addressed were sound and well presented. The only one that got to me a little bit was the criticism of Gough and Millar for shorting the Christopher Reeve foundation. Your argument lost credibility with the misspelling of Reeve's name. It's a common error, and it's probably as annoying to me as the pronunciation of "Luth-ER" is to you. (by the way, Marsters managed to get one "Luth-OR" out of his mouth, and I had a glimmer of hope that he had corrected the issue. Alas, not.)

    I did screw that up. Mainly it was fatigue. These things...they take a long time and a lot of effort to write, and by hour 6 I start losing the ability to check myself up as closely as I like. I'm usually the first to point out Reeve/Reeves.

    But the criticism, I believe, still stands, even if I made a mistake in leveling it.

    Looking forward to next week.

    Shalamarke

    ("shal-uh-mark-ee" while we are on the topic of name pronunciation - Steve missed it on radio Kal once - not that I expect anyone to get it based on how I spell it)

    Gotcha.

    Jim Smith wrote:

    Neal

    Due to my local WB channel having the broadcast contract with the Detroit Pistons, this weeks Smallville was pushed back to Saturday. Yet I went ahead and read your review anyway. My thoughts, I am going to watch it anyway. Why, just for the Lex/Fine stuff.

    Thank you!

    Yes, I am going to sit down to the plate of garbage that is Thrust, errr...Bust err what in the hell ever it was called and eat. I was in the Army and if I can stomach an MRE how bad can this be? Don't answer that. Just when you think the show was off to a great start this year they toss out something like this. I knew it was going to be bad from the previews so its not like I am shocked. Just disapointed. Kind of like finding out my dad started smoking again after giving it up for years. I hate what he did but I still love my dad. I still love Smallville, even after all the garbage.

    I may be the only human on Earth who likes the taste of MREs. But then, they're so fattening, I only get one every now and again. GOOD, though. I like the idea.

    I love Smallville like a kid that keeps running away and coming home. You don't expect what you did when he was five and cute, but he's still fun. And he mows your lawn sometimes.

    CeeBee wrote:

    Hey Neal,

    Okay I'll quit bugging you every week but I wanted to mention a few quickies.

    Bug me all you want. That's why I do a letter column.

    Chloe changed Buffy's name from Sanders to Saunders. That's why everyone still refers to her as Buffy; Chloe didn't make up that part.

    Ah! See, that was unclear, but that makes sense. Still odd.

    In the Smallville universe, Luthor is apparently pronounced Luther. With rare exception, every character has pronounced it with an ER. Just try to take it as the sign of an alternate "reality" so you don't stroke out halfway through a review someday and leave us all hanging.

    Never!

    While I sympathize with you on the frustration of seeing someone achieve their writing dreams relatively easily, look at it this way: Lana learns perfect kungfu in one lesson. At least Chloe took a few years to get to the *beginning* of her dream. If Lana had waltzed in there, Kahn would have given her the keys to the executive washroom and a front page byline, not sent her to the basement as an unpaid intern. Compared to how things usually get done in this "reality", I think Chloe's struggles are realistic and, yes, poignant.

    I don't know about realistic...but par for this universe, yes.

    As for how Chloe knew about "future superheroes" and the Daily Planet, I firmly believe she was speaking from the future. She's narrating from a time when Clark *does* become a superhero. I don't think even wild conclusion-jumping Chloe would be able to see Clark-as-he-is-now as a future superhero. Goodness knows I can't, and I'm an omniscient viewer!

    Unless she dies soon. Mwu ha ha ha! Actually, I don't know if she does or doesn't. Just sayin'.

    Bruce Kanin wrote:

    Neal,

    Your review of THIRST struck a chord like not before. I'm a budding songwriter - just submitted 21 of'em to Uncle Sam for copyright so I can test the market - but I already have a sense - just a sense - of what NO feels like. Not the gut-wrenching NO that you described, at least not yet. But I can feel it, smell it (and it stinks!) and see it on the horizon. You mention Gordon Lightfoot; OK, I'll say "Barry Manilow". Still there? He did a song called "God Bless The Other 99" about rejection and how it "builds character". In the end, I was happy that Chloe got the job, but it was too easy.

    Let me put it this way. I have enough letters sitting next to me on my desk right now, rejections, to wallpaper my office. And I will be doing so the first minute I am not writing. It'll be a while.

    Anyway, it's writing like this (your reviews) - along with the pure enjoyment of taking in your unique perspective on what I guess is still my favorite show on TV (SMALLVILLE, with BOSTON LEGAL a runner up) - that keeps me coming back.

    Thanks.

    And now back to our show. Perry White not there yet? But he'll be there soon. And once he's there it'll seem like he had been there forever. In fact, who knows? Maybe he IS at the Planet, just in a different capacity, waiting in the wings. Or maybe he's editor of their Gotham City branch right now!

    Or the Daily Star...

    Re: Brainiac needing a fart joke for being too serious. Hey, SMALLVILLE isn't BLAZING SADDLES! But imagine if CLARK at beans.

    His farts would end in -ER.

    Re: Lana getting Clark's powers. Totally makes sense to me. She sucks his Kryptonian blood. The Silver Age had a story in which - Lana Lang - gets Superman's powers from a blood transfusion (in fact, on the COVER of that story's issue, Lana, in bed with a transfusion, uses her HEAT VISION!). I rest my case. Doesn't make the vampire plot any easier to take, but I'll "buy" this part. And she wasn't affected by the "K" because she's not from Krypton - and she only drank a little blood. I know, I'm trying real hard here to make excuses for the writers...

    Heh. I still say it's impossible. If precedent were dogma, Superman couldn't sneeze. The world would crack.

    Re: Other superheroes showing up on SMALLVILLE. I hope it continues, but in moderation. And if Bruce Wayne shows up, I hope he and Clark don't check out a future-predicting time-scope and say, "Jeepers, there we are - the World's Finest team". Aw, this great site says it all: http://www.nationallampoon.com/supermanisadick/002.asp

    That's an ADULT link, kids. Don't blame me if you click it and mature.

    Great points about continuity vs. the comics. They've blown it. They may recover in time for the sequel TV series, METROPOLIS - though how people won't know Clark is Superman is beyond me.

    Thanks for the kind words in your review, as always - getting to be a habit.

    Cheers,

    Bruce

    Ah, one of these days I'll sneak up behind you with a 2X4. But not today! Mwu ha ha ha...

    Steve Crow wrote:

    You left out the funniest thing of Thirst in your review. The bit which Michael Rosenbaum deserves an Emmy for, for being able to say with a straight face.

    Vampire Bats. In Kansas. In a cave.

    Kryptonite gas. I rest my case.

    Dan Fenton wrote:

    Neil:

    Haven't written since the summer and wanted to see how Smallville season five started out before chiming in with some thoughts on the matter.

    Coolsville.

    As we can all attest to, those of us who watch Smallville as fans of the show and not merely because it just so happened to be on the television when we turned it on, Season four pretty much totally sucked. Too much Lana for one thing. Secondly, there was too much Lana.

    And thirdly, there was too much Lana.

    As I have probably imparted on you in my previous emailings to you, I pretty much don't like Lana. It has nothing to do with Kristin Kreuk as a person. I think she is an attractive woman but I find her acting extremely wooden.

    I think the acting does the best with what she has...but what she has ain't much on paper.

    I am at somewhat of a disadvantage, being up in Canada with Basic Cable, so I don't even get to see the shows you've reviewed until the following Monday. Nevertheless, I often find the reviews more entertaining than what ends up on the screen anyway and can shout, "NEIL WAS SO RIGHT ABOUT THAT!!" regarding every little nuance and nitpick that shows up (shock though I was about that miss regarding the bandage Clark wore at the beach but...holy cats is Erica ever HOT!!).

    I need to make a website to tell people how to get these episodes. Problem is, I can't legally publicly condone downloading shows. Email me. We'll talk.

    Sorry, that's been coming out a lot since I saw Aqua last week. Tape n save til the Season Five boxed set comes out. Erica riding a pole at a strip club? Is any guy going to miss that? Well...no...but...

    It was kind of sad.

    What the heck does any of this have to do with the legend that will be Superman? Couldn't such plotlines easily be transferred to shows such as The OC, or, in the nineties, Beverly Hills 90210 (such Shannon was a b****, but she looked great at the beach).

    I don't know. It's like with Lana. I couldn't get over how mean she was.

    I've not complaining, per se. If they want to show Erica in all her glory, I'll certainly watch, but it'd be nice if they built a great story around her great....

    Alright, focus now!!! (Sorry, I've already worn out the Aqua tape).

    Heh.

    Where have we progressed in Smallville land? I think the first four episodes show that the show still has some legs, some staying power, as long as they don't go off on some totally stupid tangent. We see Clark as a mortal, and liking it, til he gets shot, of course.

    We see Lana and Clark together like they've never been apart, like there's never been a Jason Teague or a Whitney Fordman or even...what was the name of that psycho twerp she had living at the Talon....? Ah, who cares, the point is, they've pretty much glossed over the past four seasons by making these two all cutsie pie and...

    Oh, gawd, they actually DO IT????????????????????

    Yes. Alas.

    Y'know that kind of pushes the boundaries in a most distastful way. I only hope Shelby covered his eyes as he cowered in the corner. Pretty inevitable that Clark would take advantage of his mortal status ("Oh, geez wizz ma and pa, I'm only human, after all.")to conquer the fair Lana...a far cry from Dean Cain's portrayl of a Clark/Superman not sure of his...uh...capabilities in L&C.

    (Uh, Dean, it's Teri Hatcher....doubts or no doubts, I'm going in....)

    But I digress.

    It's a worthy digression.

    What exactly is the problem with Chloe?? Has she got two heads?? As I've said before, she seems to be the Betty to Lana's Veronica. Archie always had that itch in his loins for "Ronnie" but Betty was the true babe...blonde and sweet and decent and kind...that's Chloe in a nutshell. How many times has Lana showed up to help Clark out of a situation? How many times has Clark turned to Lana for help. It's always Chloe.

    Unfair analogy. Archie wants Jughead. We all know it. But I'm with you. I prefer the Betties of the world. Less uptight.

    We know that Lois and Clark eventually get together but I always thought of Lana as a high school romance in the scheme of things. Well, they're not in high school anymore. Logic would have it that Clark would move on during his college years and unless you're going to bring in another female character (or bring Alicia back again), Chloe would be the logical candidate. It can't be Lois yet and the sherrif probably doesn't swing that way, so...

    Which brings us to the next subject. Lex Luthor's journey into evil has begun, but there are bumps in the road, the willingness to help Clark out even now, even if he shows more reluctance these days. There has to be a point where he totally turns. I'm hoping the Brainiac factor will help seal his doom as a normal, functioning, morally upright human being. The sooner the better. We need the evil Lex and we need him now.

    I think they should have plotted it. They obviously didn't set enough landmarks.

    As for the whole Clark Kent/Lois Lane thing and the question of how Clark will conduct himself when he finally reaches the Daily Planet. I want to say first that I always respected Christopher Reeve's portrayl of Superman but I never cared for his Clark Kent. I thought it was very 1930s, this fumbling, bumbling ill dressed wimp who threw himself at Lois Lane's feet (and we're tlaking Margot Kidder...the least appealing Lois Lane in history). I think the Dean Cain's Clark Kent was more in step with modern times and such (though conversely his Superman would have been whipped easily by Reeve's...and I'm a big L&C fan saying that).

    So I don't see Tom Welling playing the simpering Clark Kent...it just doesn't fit. With Reeve, it was almost as though Clark was born the day he showed up at the Planet (yes, despite that other actor who played the younger Clark and then went onto bigger and better things later on in his career). In Smallville, Clark has depth of character, and thoughts and ambitions and such, and the only thing now that I'm wondering is...will Lois be fooled by the glasses when she sees him there after knowing him for several years??

    Nay.

    So, someone Clark loves will die in the 100th episode. That leads us to conclude it would be one of the following:

    Chloe - Probably the front line candidate because of her character not being part of the actual Superman mythology.

    Jonathon - Will he do the Glenn Ford thing and collapse in a heap at the farm? How many more lives can he have anyway? And didn't John Schneider make some references as being happy with the way his character was headed? (Tho I don't recall the show being titled The Kents).

    Martha - She seems to be at death's door a little too often...the body can only take so much. ("Oh, Clark, it doesn't look good for Annette O'Toole", "Geez, what is it THIS time, papa Duke?")

    Free of the death knell would seem to be:

    Lois - D'uh. You can't marry a dead woman.

    Lex - Nobody's going to kill Superman's greatest villan.

    Which leaves the wild cards:

    Lana - It IS supposed to be a high school crush. She has outlived her usefulness and the only time she does anything worth half-noting is when she turns into a witch or a vampire...there's not enough depth to her character. Maybe then Clark would finally move on....eventually.

    Lionel - Say Clark sits down with the guy and finds out he isn't such a bad guys after all and strikes up a bond. Lionel becomes a mentor, a father figure if you will and takes a liking to the Kent boy. Then, ont day, just as they're realizing their mutual admiration for each other, Lionel is struck down by Jor-El.

    Pete - Clark sees a letter waiting for him on the kitchen table. There's been a car accident and Pete didn't survive. Clark looks at the letter, confused for an instant then, oh PETE, the black guy that used to hang around. Yeah, yeah, terrible. He was an okay guy, after all.

    Or...

    A loved one dies, but Clark is able to turn back time, against Jor-El's advice, and bring the person back to life a la Chris Reeve. The great tease, like wedding number one on L&C.

    Only time, I guess, will tell.

    I have a sinking suspicion that no one will end up dead.

    Meanwhile, Erica is straddling a pole at a strip club...

    Gotta go...The Duke Boys are headin' this way.

    Sincerely,

    Dan Fenton

    Burlington, Ontario

    Canada

    Thanks!

    Mr S wrote:

    Hi,

    I know it. I finally know it. The moment that the show jumped the shark for me: Lana being smacked down the stairs and breaking her neck and every other bone in her body....and then getting straight back up.

    It was a fun image, though.

    First off, I have read all of your Smallville reviews and thoroughly enjoyed each and every one. For the most part I agree with your episode scores including Thirst.

    Thank you.

    So, Lex explains the Vampires coming about as the result of Kryptonitized(tm) Vampire Bats. Well I'll accept that, after adding a bunch more FOTWs to the count(sigh). I'll even accept that this somehow made them immortal, not that Vampire Bats are. Man now that's my kind of 'disease', makes you stronger AND immortal. Pity it doesn't raise an infected persons IQ while it's at it.

    Though I want a vial of that "instant-nyph" property.

    Even after accepting the above it can't explain how this disease can bring Lana back from the dead (is she even dead in the first place?) and MEND every broken bone in her body. Huh?

    Her neck, back, an arm and a leg all looked very broken, and yet this 'disease' repairs them perfectly with ZERO side effects even after Lana has been cured. Like I said, my kind of disease.

    Oh, what's that noise?

    Ah, it's just those monkeys over there hitting random keys to write the script.

    Well paid ones, too.

    These events just threw me out of the show completely. No amount of suspension of disbelief could keep me interested in wanting to continue watching now. Not even the scenes between Lex and Fine could hope to save the show, in my opinion.

    Yeah, but consider...things change.

    How about the hired goon following Fine. Fine ends up at the 'Secret' Laboratory where his ship is, I assume he had to get past security using his powers. Now, I don't know much about the comic Brainiac, but how did Lex's thug follow him and slip completely past security too. You'd think someone would have noticed that two guys had turned up in front of the top secret ship. Wait, I'm thinking again, how dare I.

    Thinky McThinkerton!

    So much for jumping back. It all seemed so promising, just when it looked like TPTB decided to start a fresh to put behind the travesty that was the majority of season 4, they do this. No matter what's ahead, for me, this was just too absurd.

    Goodbye Buf..er..Nip/Tu...er..fast and th..oh wait...what show was this again?

    Keep up the good work Neal.

    Mr S

    Thanks!

    Evan wrote:

    Neal,

    I think you were a little easy on the episode. Honestly I had a .5 rating prediction going into the episode and then a 1 when I finished because of the Fine/Luthor scenes.

    I'm saving the .5 for when the show ends with Lex and Clark hugging as the sun goes down.

    Evan (EClarKent)

    B-RAD wrote:

    Hey Neal,

    Remember me?

    Acourse. Your name references a hilarious movie that I love.

    Thanks alot for posting that goof I gave you last season. I just wanted to write and say that every time I see one of those goofs that I'll e-mail you. I'm sorry to say however that Smallville so far this season is not really one of my "top favorites" these days. I'll still watch it though (unless they invent something like a different color kryptonite). I still like Lana so far this season. I hated her in season 4 but I think you oughtta give her a chance. Still, I like it when you bash her. So anyway, just a note to say that whenever I find errors or goofs I'll make a note of it starting next episode because I've always had a knack for this type of thing.

    Until next week.

    B-Rad

    Awesome! Keep 'em coming.

    Angelo wrote:

    Neal, you constantly complain about how Lana is never reprimanded for her actions while she is possessed by a witch or turned into a vampire or things of that nature while Clark always is whenever he isn't being himself.

    Yep!

    There is a simple reason for this, when this happens to Lana all the characters know that she was possessed.

    Not always. Heck, not most of the time. And truth be told, Clark's friends know when he's being possessed as well, even when he doesn't say why.

    In Thirst everyone knows and understands that she became a vampire and in Spell they all also know that she was possessed by a witch. The difference with Clark is that noone knows his secret and Clark never tells anyone that he was on things like red kryptonite or that he was actually Lionel in Transference. Since Clark never tells anyone around him about these things, all the characters think that it was actually Clark that was in control when all those things happened.

    I don't necessarily agree with that.

    I also wanted to tell you that I enjoy reading your reviews for the most part but I am always disappointed that you take minimal plot holes or mistakes from an episode and let them overshadow all the amazing events that happen in it. I noticed this specially with Hidden. In my opinion it has been the best episode of season 5 with so many amazing things packed into one episode but yet you let the mistakes with the dumbass kid at the missile silo, Chloe's clothes, etcetera have as much weight as all the good things about it.

    Okay...you can say that, but if you don't give examples, I can't address them. That's part of the problem with NOT listing little details...

    I look forward to reading your future reviews,

    Angelo

    Thanks!

    Scotty V wrote:

    Well well well. So we finally have a Halloween episode on Smallville, eh? I actually didn't mind this episode as much as I thought I would from the previews. One interesting note though that I have is about the Lex/Clark dynamic. Clark went back to Lex this week to get info on the dreaded THX 1138 file. I know the THX isn't really there but I thought it an interesting number to choose considering a computer intelligence is telling Clark about it. Lex tells Clark that he does have the cure for the virus and gives it to him. The thing I find a bit off is that Clark knows that Lex was involved with kidnapping, torturing and holding AC prisoner last week, doesn't he? Not to say he wouldn't seek out the cure but I don't know why he would end the episode with Lex on somewhat friendly terms if he really knew Lex had done that. I guess we could argue that he didn't know but it was the same lab and Lex made it clear that he was working on something.

    It's just bad continuity.

    Obviously the Vampresses in this episode were very campy and corny. Over the top in fact, but other than that I actually kindof liked what went down. The best thing I can really say is that the trend still seems to be continuing this season. The trend where we actually see forward motion of plot and characters in every episode. We may not be able to count on it for the entire season, but already it's been a staple in every episode so far. I've talked to a few people who watch the show who didn't even realize Fine was the same guy from the premiere. I told them I thought the show's creative teams actually planned it that way. That unless you had read that Marsters was playing Brainiac and that you knew he was the Professor, the creative folks would rather it be a surprise. I also still have many people in my circle who thought Marsters was Zod. This is another supposition that I think TPTB wanted us to have. I personally would rather not have known, although it's pretty difficult not to. I'm really surprised there are folks who didn't find out. They tell you int he TV guide and it's all over the internet. You know, sometimes I hate the information age.

    I have never seen a Smallville episode since season 2 without spoilers...it's too bad.

    All of the inside jokes for Buffy fans must have been nice.

    Unless you wanted to watch Smallville...

    I like the ones I caught. "Clark, there's no such thing as vampires." The fact that the girl's name is Buffy and just the whole tone of the show itself. I'd be interested to hear if there was any other dialogue or inside jokes that were more aimed at actual viewers of Buffy that I may have missed since I did not watch the show.

    I've heard a few.

    I just read your review. lol. hahhahahahahaha! I LOVE your reviews! This review pointed out to me many things I weren't thinking about. I actually thought it was an ok average episode that was simply for fun and not really meaningful. It was also an episode for Halloween, in which we needed to have Vampires for fun. These girls are the villans so I think it's ok that their sexuality might turn people off. Just their attitudes and the fact that they're the villans turns people off. We're never supposed to like what villans do so I think that's not an issue here. You and Steve have a point when referring to Clark's sexuality, I concede, but not when referring to villans.

    I was still turned on by them. That's not the point, though. The point is that using the prurient crap to sell Superman is kind of like selling Bibles with Jesus ducking a missile on the cover. Does it look cool? Maybe. Does it miss the point? Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe.

    You also mention that Lana suddenly wants to save Clark. I think it kindof works like your mind uninhibited. Like they said with Clark on the Red K. A part of Clark actually wanted to say and do those things. I don't think that means Clark really wants to be a villan or be mean to Chloe like he was in Metropolis, but something inside him supposidly yearned for that freedom. I can see that since so much responsibility is being thrust on this young man. In this case, the same sort of thing happens to Lana and she tries to fight it at certain points. Although, since we're all human, the overabundance of freedom and the feeling of power she gets overwhelms her...mostly.

    Or maybe a part of the script is just convenient for the writers as opposed to coherent...

    I think Fine showing up at the hospital was covered a little better than you said. He did say, when Clark asked him why he was there, that he was visiting a sick colleague. Still very convenient, but not necessarily unbelievable that he would walk by the room on his way out and notice Clark. Also, if it were a complete lie and he were simply following Clark around, that's ok too because he is a supercomputer and he knows who Clark really is AND he's trying to phase out Luthor for some reason. I too thought it was strange that Clark and Lex were on speaking terms again, although Lex did supply Clark with the antidote. Was it just me or did what you called Brainiac's tentacles look alot like T2's from the second episode of last season. I know they're never gonna talk about him and I know they're not connected, but I thought it really made it seem like that guy and this guy must be somehow related. Of course, they're not, because that would mean that guy was a guy from Krypton but how would that make sense. Ahhh who knows?

    Later,

    Scotty V

    Makes some sense. Still too convenient for me...

    Gary wrote:

    I read all your reviews and sometimes I wonder if your to busy looking for all the stupid stuff that bothers you to actually listen to whats happening.

    Never! I am flawless! I am a machine!

    Just kidding. Yeah. I miss stuff sometimes. We all do.

    You had 2 things in the Thrist review that you missed and thought they were stupid for not explaining when they clerarly did and said it out loud. First Prof. Fine being at the hospital had nothing to do with Clark. He said he was visiting someone he works with, not sure why and it is pretty conveinent but they didn't say it had anything to do with Clark so your argument about being close to Clark has nothing to do with it, and then the other thing is Clark didn't let all the girls go, LuthorCorp treated them, Chloe says everything that happened to everyone when they come back from the last commercial.

    Okay. That's two. Out of how many complaints? Also, how much of that is my stupidity, and how much of that is because the purveyors of the media didn't make it more explicitly clear to someone who was even paying total attention, as I do?

    A couple of things I don't understand is one like you said nobody noticing Buffy being gone but see was totally immolated and there is no trace of her so nobody would know it was Lana and like Lana all the other girls probably coviently forget most of their time as vamps so people would probably assume she dissapeared or something.

    No problem there. Didn't say anyone would know it was Lana. Just that she killed someone without having a problem with it, and that there would be an investigation.

    But the thing I really don't get is that one Chloe said she had eye witness reports and CDC accounts to back up her story, wouldn't the CDC and government be pretty interested that LuthorCorp was involved with the whole vamp thing and didn't do anything until now and that the meteor rocks have the abilitity to change people and shouldn't Chloe have had some sort of proof like that in the past or at least had to say something about the meteorfreaks in all her torch articules, wouldn't somebody be a litttle suspcious of a bunch of people getting powers and going crazy and hurting people and then going the belle reeve.

    Yes. Thus the KO Count.

    But aside from all that stuff that I guess you have to deal with just like alot of stuff that in comic and superhero cartoons that happened and don't seem to make sense in the real world but are ok because they happen in a universe where people can fly and have all sorts of powers,

    It can still be made coherent by good writing, I firmly believe.

    I was wondering why Clark wouldn't be upset at Lex for not doing anything about Buffy this whole time and knowing it created vampires and ended up hurting Lana, Chloe all the other girls that got turned and Buffy got killed even though she started off innocent and got bit by the bats, Lana killed her but she could have been cured before if Lex knew that she was in the cave with the bats.

    That would require continuity! Heh.

    Anyway I got rambling but I think when your watching you should get over the stuff you have been complaining about for tons of reviews and actually pay attention to whats happeing in the episode and just try and relax and enjoy it, I know they mess up on some stuff and make some stuff chessy or there are inconstistensies and they should learn to fix them but once the episode is on tv you have to just enjoy it for what it is or go crazy analzying every stupid little thing they do wrong.

    Not to be rude, but didn't you just NOT enjoy my review because you picked it apart and noticed every little thing you thought I did wrong?

    You have to see that irony...

    I know I see alot of stuff but I know if I tried to come up with story for something like this alot stuff would be worng and I would have a damn hard time coming up with stories in the first place even though I know alot about the basics of superman.

    Exactly my point. There are people out there who would have that hard time you speak of, but nonetheless endeavor and strive and work their butts off to produce something WITHOUT a lot of failures. I believe they should have Superman, not the people who just do "their best" and give up.

    Every fiction rough draft I produce has errors. My final drafts are either perfect to my judgment, or I don't release them. TV consciously allows flaws because they know they can get away with it. It's why books and film are far superior. They care more.

    Though I would also think a whole room full of good paid writers would be able to look at the script and see all of the stuff that fans can see that are wrong.

    Heck, look at what just I can find!

    Maybe they need people on the staff to point out stuff like that.

    I work cheap. They never call.

    Anyway i just thought I'd tell you the things you've missed, I've seen you do that in other reviews to being to busy critizing the sex, or lana, or something in the main polt and then you miss what they say to explain things. Well, thanks for your time and sorry to get down on you.

    I never criticize sex! Only the trivializing of it and its consequences. :) That aside though, don't sweat getting down on me. Thank you for the letter.

    Val wrote:

    Hi Neal! I came across your reviews recently and I must say I find them entertaining and very well done. This is the first time I'm writing in; I apologize in advance if this is a bit long.

    Thank you, and no apologies.

    About the latest episode, Thirst:

    I'm very glad that someone finally acknowledged how strange it was for Chloe, as a high school student, to have had her own column in a major newspaper. I thought the whole scene with Kahn was excellent, and I love that they had Princess Leia in it! An inspired choice.

    I've always liked Carrie Fisher. With you.

    The entire Lana - sorority - vampire aspect of the show sucked. The whole play on the Buffy theme was cheap and unnecessary, the shots of the bikini clad girls in the pool with the pizza guy were degrading and disrespectful, and Lana just gets more intolerable with every episode I see her in.

    I've never been of the mind that if someone wants to show what they have it's degrading and disrespectful. What I find degrading is when that's used to exploit characters that aren't supposed to be bastions of sexuality, like the Superman cast.

    I sincerely hope her genius for getting into life-threatening situations gets her killed, sooner rather than later - but no, Clark is always there to save her, and gets nothing but suspicion and accusations in return. Sigh ... And so, after having spouted so much drivel about not going to college and making such a big deal out of it, she suddenly wants to go, and lo and behold, there's actually a decent college that will have her at the last minute! And despite all her insistence on honesty and openness in a relationship she didn't tell Clark she was applying to Met U although it would have pretty serious consequences for their relationship! Clark: Why didn't you tell me you applied to Met U?

    Lana: Because I didn't want to get my hopes up (LAME!!) ... I applied so late, I didn't think I had any chance.

    Clark: You're right, I'm amazed you got in too! And thanks for not telling me, I probably wouldn't have known at all if I hadn't happened to drop by. And what's with the sudden turnaround and making life-altering decisions without consulting the most important person in your life?

    Instead ...

    Clark: Lana, you're so amazing; the university should bow down and praise the Luthor for the great privilege you bestow by deigning to grace it with your divine presence (or words to that effect).

    And as you so correctly pointed out, Lana the artiste wants to study astronomy (something which actually requires brains, which she has shown no evidence of possessing as yet) and is suddenly so clear about her academic goals!!

    Very true. All good points.

    Incidentally, why has there been no more talk of the Clark and Lana sex issue? Have they just decided to forget about that aspect of the relationship? Also, why still no Jonathan, Martha or Lionel, especially the latter? Storylines involving whether or not he's still possessed by Jor-El would be so much better than this Lana nonsense.

    Oh, they joked about it this episode. Oy.

    More positively, I adore James Marsters as Brainiac/Professor Fine. Although I'm so used to thinking of him as Spike, I have absolutely no problem buying him as a college professor, minus the peroxide and British accent. Loved him lecturing about the Roman Empire and the morality of a civilization, himself looking a bit like what a Roman emperor should have looked like. I agree with your take on the scene with Fine lecturing and Lex lurking in the background ... truly brilliant. The look they exchange is priceless. And then Fine draws Clark into the arena, and the three of them form a triangle of power; you can just feel the menace dripping from Fine's prophetic words. In fact, in my opinion, all the scenes so far involving Lex and Fine have been terrific, my favorite scenes so far from this season. There's something both exciting and terrifying sbout watching these two masterminds fence with each other. And then the inevitable let-down ... cut to the vapid vampire sister with the annoying perky high-pitched voice ... ughhh!

    They're what are keeping me going. They help me survive the vamps.

    (By the way: why is Lex always either drinking Scotch, or playing pool, or shutting the lid of his laptop as Clark barges into the room? I think it's unfortunate that the writers stereotype the character in this manner. I don't really mind him doing any of this stuff, he's Lex and I can forgive him, but I still find it odd. About the alcohol, doesn't he qualify as an alcoholic since he's always pouring out the stuff, no matter what the time of day is? How come Clark never scolded him for that back in the days when he was still the best friend and self-righteous critic?)

    You know, speaking as the survivor of an alcoholic household, I can say with certainty it all depends on how you handle it. I know people that drink every day and are normal, non-alcoholics. And I know people who drink once a week who have a big problem. It's all relative.

    But you're right, arbitrary character devices grow old fast.

    More positives: loved Clark-as-Zorro and Chloe-as-naughty-schoolgirl - they've always made a great team, and they're a lovely couple. Lana as bloodsucking vampire with pointy canines dripping gore, catwoman moves and weird facial contortions - a world of bad. What colleague was Fine visiting in hospital when he just happened to see Clark, and what are the chances that they'd be in the same hospital at the same time? Still it was worth it just to hear Marsters say: "Clark, there's no such thing as vampires!" a line which made me laugh out loud because of how strongly the moment brought into mind Marsters playing Spike.

    So Chloe and Lana are going to be "under the same roof again"? Poor Chloe! Besides being in love with Clark, she's also been a loyal friend since he told her his secret; now she's going to have to deal with Lana being all complainy about how Clark doesn't tell her stuff, boo hoo. And next week we're to see Lois (probably again with minimal excuse for her presence) pole-dancing half-naked.

    Ah, yes. The sad part of the season rearing its head. Sweeps.

    I don't approve of how this show treats women now. Lana is always forgiven for acting like a slut and trying to kill all her friends when possessed/turned into vampire, but Clark never is for his behavior under red kryptonite.

    That seems to be, to me, how they're treating men that sucks.

    Personally, I think anything that's biased towards one sex or the other without a good reason sucks.

    So it's not ok for a guy to be a jerk, but it's fine and even laughable for a girl to be a jerkess?

    Welcome to my world. Honesty is not rewarded if you're a guy. Promise. I am living proof of that. Honest writing doesn't sell. Honest speaking makes you a misogynist.

    Chloe, the strongest and I think most interesting female character, is sidelined far too often in favor of Lana-centric storylines or scantily-clad cheerleaders/sorority girls as in the last episode. The storylines with Lois have so far been mostly incoherent or just plain stupid. She appears with no good reason for her being there, bickers with Clark who's always uncharacteristically mean to her, then disappears again for a couple of episodes. I still like the character, I like her independence and I think the Erica Durance does a good job, but the show isn't doing her justice by showing her off in a bikini, making her fall for a guy who wears orange and green (and not much of either) and says "bro" every second sentence, or by making her strip and pole-dance. If those were essential to the development of the story ... but you know that they're just thrown in to attract a certain viewership.

    Yes. I very much agree. And heck, beyond Chloe, it's even taking from CLARK's story, the focus of the show.

    Television shows can be intelligent; every once in a while you come across a show with potential - but then it gets cancelled like Firefly, or gets dumbed down because of the supposed need to pander to viewers who are perceived as idiots with the attention span of 2-year-olds. I prefer to believe that viewers as a whole - at least those who watch a show like this - are more intelligent than the producers give them credit for, and would much rather watch an intelligent show with a well-written, consistent plot, than trash. Or am I being naive?

    I watched Firefly, and I noted that it had a few flaws, but by and large, it's excellent. I believe firmly the reason TV sucks is not a lack of passion to do well, but because we demand 20-30 episodes a year instead of 5-10. If we had five Smallville shows a year, each with the budget of four episodes and written over the course of two months each, ALL would be masterful.

    But there's no ad money in that. At least, in theory. I think a good enough story would draw more ads, but I'm a freak.

    Anyway, please let them bring back Lionel soon, have more sinister Brainiac + evil Lex action (LOVED Lex as torturer in "Aqua") and more Princess Leia. Also more Chloe, less Lana!!

    So long,

    Val.

    Thanks!

    Joe Slavin wrote:

    Hey Neal,

    I've been thinking about the Lana having so much money issue, and I'm not sure if this has been covered or not but maybe her parents left her a lot of money when they died, I know that they were young parents but maybe they had a good life insurance plan.

    Perhaps. But no one's saying, so it's only a maybe.

    Parker wrote:

    This week, it seemed to me that the writers were purposely doing every single thing you don't like about the show. Several Clanas, squeaky shoes, exaggerated pronunciation of LuthER(in the hospital scene), Lana acting ridiculously hypocritical and self-pitying, amnesia, "laters", k-freaks of the worst kind, and well, you know the rest.

    It feels that way on my end, too. Contrary to belief, I don't just watch the show to hate it. Why would I? My criteria are pretty clearly defined.

    The Pizza Delivery scene was so much like Rob Cordry's bit on The Daily Show I began to laugh. Unfortunately, it came out as more of a dry heave.

    Yeah. And Rob Cordry makes me want to keep watching. That was a GREAT bit.

    Maybe this was actually some sort of flush, to get it all out of the writers systems and now the rest of the season will be gold?

    I know, I'm an insufferable optimist.

    Yep. Set up for a fall, too. I know the feeling.

    A few things in particular stuck out to me about this episode. One is that it would be a crime to cast anyone other than Allison Mack as Harley Quinn if they ever include her in the Batman Begins franchise.

    Good call.

    Two is that at Kansas U, Lex misused the term "libel", and Prof. Fine corrected him improperly. Looks like neither the greatest criminal mind of our time nor the most advanced computer ever built can step to the intelligence of a mild-mannered high school student such as myself. The word they were looking for is, of course, "slander".

    Spider-Man saves us once again! True.

    I also noticed that in Fine's lecture, he actually said LuthOR. I thought it was too good to be true, and alas, I was right. He went right back to "er" minutes later, and continued for the rest of the episode. As usual, one step forward, five steps back.

    Someone else pointed that out to me. And it's there. Just goes to show, he's not doing it purposefully. It's an error.

    I loved the cape and mask dialogue. References like this have been corny and stupid for the past while, but this time it worked really well. One of the highlights of the past few seasons to me.

    Now, what could've been one of the best moments in ages, Brainiac and the ship, fell pretty flat in my eyes. I was preparing myself for some chills when it showed him touching the ship, but found the outcome to be really anti-climactic. I wanted to see some sort of psionic attack, or at least real metal tentacles suck out the guy's mind or something. We've already seen the liquid metal guy with knife-hands, and even then it was stolen from T2. It was cool, but it could've been a LOT cooler.

    I still liked it.

    Chloe's last line didn't make any sense to me. "Up up" means she wants to move up in the Daily Planet, but "away"? Why would she want to move away from the biggest newspaper in the country? I hate it when they do this, and hope the audience will be so swept up in the fact that it's a classic line that they won't notice that it doesn't make sense in that context.

    Likewise. It's hit and miss.

    Anyway, second only to Lucy(ptoo!) as the worst episode ever. We need to see a Lex/Fine centric episode fast.

    Great review as usual and the best of luck,

    Parker.

    Thanks!

    Brian Teufel wrote:

    Just read your Thirst review, and I agreed with you on most points. The one thing I think you were off base on was calling out Millar and Gough about the time dedicated to selling the new Smallville soundtrack vs. what they did to honor Reeve's foundation the previous week. In all honesty, the executive producers of the show have VERY little to do with either one of those. The WB promotions department is the one responsible for putting together the soundtrack piece, and they dictate where it airs. I'd also assume they were the ones responsible for the spot about Reeve's foundation. The Smallville people have next to nothing to do with things like that, the bad posters, and even the trailers we see. I agree with you it is pretty egregious the way it was handled, but I think your pointing the finger at the wrong guys.

    Actually, I wholly disagree. The credits show the producers as "Al Gough and Miles Millar". I believe that if they wanted to, they could make pretty much any change to that show they wanted. And even if they couldn't, they're responsible for it by putting their names on it.

    Just as, and I hesitate to say this, but it's true, ultimately, Steve's got the brand on this review, even though I write it. He ultimately says if it stays or goes.

    Smallville is widely recognized to be Al and Miles's production. They take the responsibility for how it comes out. Good and bad.

    The user from the unknown... Ok, Anthony... ^^ wrote:

    First, i would like to say i TOTALLY agree with you. Chloe IS the hottest girl in Smallville: the one with brains (compared to the others, at least) and the look (and the unexplained income, too). I wish we could see some more of Allison in the future... No, wait, that sounded... oh, well.

    I forgive ye!

    For the first 10 minutes of the episode ("Thirst") i thought it was a fake story that Chloe was making up as an horror tale for Halloween. I'm still suffering for what should be called a bad aftertaste of watching such an awful episode. Just when one is hoping they really got ahead from season 4...

    At least there's half good in there somewhere.

    So, what's next? Lois strip-dancing? The not-official Duke's return? More awful episodes? I hate fillers. Suddenly Clark forgot who's gonna die, he's all happy, yadda, yadda... Am i the only one believing that they're getting so confortable just hinting subplots in every episode that *perhaps* they end up leaving the subplots as subplots? I really hope they're not.

    It's been working for five years now. Why would they stop?

    I'm kinda fearful Smallville may be cancelled someday and they leave all the questions unanswered, like how Lex is going to forget everything about Clark later and what happens to Chloe and Lana and how faithful they'll be to the comics and all. I've been wondering, since i've heard a rumor that in the latest comics Lex says once he knows Clark since childhood, if there's a hint in the comics that Smallville is kind of "official". Since everything went "Crisis" on DC, i'm disconnected of every title, that's why i'm asking you.

    Don't fear. Know. If there were money in it, shows would go on forever. All end because of some extenuating factor, not because the story is over. Same with comics.

    As for Lex knowing Clark since childhood...I direct that one to Mark Waid. I'm sick of making excuses for him to confused fans.

    Thanks for your reviews, it's really a wonderful experience to read them everytime. Read you around!

    Anthony

    Likewise! Thank you.

    P.S. We only need Wonder Woman and Batman so we can do a kind of "Young Justice League" episode! (-_-U)

    Cool by me.

    Apex wrote:

    Neal,

    Thirst. Yeah. It was that terrible. I mean we all knew it would be. Well I just wanted to point something out about these "non mythical" ( as Chloe tell Leia) Vampires. Yeah Chloe?! What about the whole Lana's legs and neck broken and her being fine?? You know to show us she was "Immortal". Kryptonite Rabies my @$$!!!

    Not to mention Leai should've read the first few lines of her story, and ejected her out of the building (via one of those Evil Leader/Boss buttons that drop the floor out from under their underlings/hero, or shoot their prey outta the room with the gigantic spring under their seat).

    Agreed.

    Matt Armstrong wrote:

    I have to admit I didn't even bother watching the show this week. Has it jumped the shark for me? I don't know. A friend invited my wife and I to dinner and her smoke alarm went off constantly while I was there. There was a fire truck. I think I had more fun than I would have sitting in bed and watching this episode. But here are a few pithy comments in response to the review anyway:

    Three naked sorority chicks answer the door?

    Q: "What kind of note do you take for that?"

    A: How about, "Dear Penthouse, I never thought it would happen to me..."

    Heh.

    - If you don't like watching snotty rich kids in power living it up, you must not watch much TV (I know I sure don't, and that's just ONE reason). I find the best anitdote to that sort of thing is CSI: or Law and Order, because (no matter how unlike real life it may be) those people usually get what's coming to them.

    Actually, that's exactly the reason I don't watch much TV and instead read.

    - Your comments on the misandry on this show are well-founded, however, it's not as though it's not present in every other poorly written, unfunny, unimaginative show on the idiot box (which covers an awful lot of the line-up, dont you think?). This is not to say that it's OK, since everybody else does it. This is a prevalent attitude in Hollywood, spreading its taint into all popular culture. I should write an essay about it sometime, but I think you've pretty much covered it with regards to this show. Solidarity, brother!

    Which is exactly why I keep bringing up the point. It infects even shows with potential. On normal old shows, it's more understandable.

    - Buffy SAUNDERS? Like, "We wish we could write as well a Joss Whedon, but since we can't, we'll rip off his ideas." I see this as further evidence of Smallville's (and Hollywood in general) condescension toward its audience. We are apparently not smart enough to figure out how poorly written the show is, or the clever references to Buffy The Vampire Slayer, so it must be made blatantly obvious for us to get our tiny little minds around it. I can only imagine the Smallville brainstorming sessions. "Well our audience is really stupid, so let's have Erica run around topless for the first five minutes to draw them in. An intelligent, thoughtful plot will scare them away." Hey... do you think they will?

    Sounds par for the course.

    Where was I? Oh, yes, I was being insulted. An offshoot of this condescension is the two-dimensional characters/inability to consistently write the mains. The writers are either unable or unwilling to explore character motivations AT ALL. The sorority girls are the perfect example. They're stereotypes of sterotypes, for cryin' out loud. Like these guys watched a bunch of movies that depicted the same stereotype of sorority girls/popular girls. They could've been cardboard cut-outs and have had just as much personality. We also have such short attention spans that we need a summary halfway through the show because one hour is just too long to sit around and... ooh! Something shiny!

    Agreed.

    - A buzzer ended the class? Does that mean it's time for recess? I call dibs on the swings!

    I want to talk to the principal about why I'm still being corralled when I'M the one paying for the education.

    - That was one ATROCIOUSLY horrible hiss, let me tell you. I can just imagine the director. "With more feeling this time, Kristin!"/i

    No, no, "Once more, with ifeeling/i!" /Buffy reference.

    I caught it, actually. We're one year away from the Smallville musical. Mark me.

    - Could she even puncture Clark's skin to drink Kryptonian blood? She would've broken a fang! And would Clark have been able to penetrate her skin with the needle if she had gained his powers? Maybe it's like K, and it just does whatever the writers want it to do so they can move the plot toward its inevitable inconsequential conclusion.

    - The mechanics of vampirism depend very much on what canon you follow, but I think what we need to remember here is that vampires are NOT REAL, and therefore I am prefectly willing to leave the whole "how one becomes a vampire" thing up to writer's interpretation. Oh, yeah, I said it. *bobs head*

    Likewise. Just another factor.

    Neal, face it, you're amazing. Thanks for the recommendation on "Cat People", by the way. Annette O'Toole in the swimming pool. Rowr.

    I'll buy that on DVD before season 4, no doubt.

    Good Luck!

    Matt

    Thanks!

    April wrote:

    Dear Neal,

    After the travesty that was S4, I have stopped watching Smallville. However, I continue to enjoy your reviews, so thanks for bringing some humor and snark into my day!

    Ha! Told you folks people do that. Thanks, April!

    Sadly, we must agree to disagree on Chloe. I am just not seeing the Chloe that the internet fandom sees, you know, the sexy, gorgeous, intelligent, talented, fascinating, well-acted creature who Clark must be blind and stupid not to worship, It is with surprise (and a little disappointment) that I have watched one reviewer after another jump on that bandwagon over the last two years - you were the last holdout!

    I never held out. I was always there...except for season two, where she was nutty for a while.

    Yes, the actress is indeed pretty, but dude, she is no hottie on the level of Erica.

    True. It is of note that I tend to have my attractiveness in women enhanced by how I feel about their attitude and personality. I don't like women like Lois or Lana. I love women like Chloe.

    Furthermore, the character grows ever more implausible. People complain about Lana being the "Mary Sue" of the series, but for me, that title goes to Chloe. It is beyond ridiculous that she can trace credit card usage, pull SEALED Luthor medical records, hack into government networks and google solutions to all mysteries in about 10 seconds. Not to mention that Kryptonians with super strength merely knock Lex over, whereas she manages to KO him with a little shove against a cave wall. And of course, your personal favorite, getting a job with the legendary Daily Planet!

    Yep. And I harp on that whole techno-savvy. One important thing though...her flaw there does NOT impact how she interacts with others, as does Lana and Lois's.

    I also hate the way she tried to badger Clark into telling her The Secret, and I cannot respect her rockstar groupie attitude towards his superpowers, nor her undisguised self-satisfaction at being in on The Secret. No doubt she fancies herself as Robin to his Batman, or "the woman behind the (Super)man". To me, it often seems that she is all about getting the credit for the headlines, rather than seeking the truth and using the power of the press to better the world, like quintessential Lois. That is why the rumors that Chloe will somehow become Lois Lane distress me greatly. I suppose it would indeed be a clever twist, but one I don't ever want to see. What's your take on this "Chlois" theory, Neal?

    I say Chloe is Chloe and Lois is Lois. I do agree that when she goes nutty for a story over sensibility it sucks (I called it in this episode, too).

    The writers do seem to have pandered to the internet masses - Chloe is now the best friend, in on The Secret, the one who keeps telling Clark to seek a greater destiny, has a job at the DP, is able to call for his help from afar and is the only character who repeatedly has Lines of Great Portent like "up up and away", "superpowers", "superhero" etc. I am bracing myself for when she bugs him into being the world's saviour instead of Samllville's (for her own increased gratification, of course), invents the "Superman" alter-ego, designs his costume, comes up with strategies for outwitting criminal masterminds, and reminds him to eat his vegetables. Ultimately, SHE will be the real Superman, in the Fortress of Solitude behind a bank of computers montiroing world affairs, and Clark merely her super-powered minion!

    I don't know if she's that pandered to. Lois has top billing, and even in Chloe-centric episodes she's second fiddle to the mains.

    Steve Crow (Gislef) wrote:

    Oh, two other things:

    1) Clark's talking to Chloe on the phone. He's in Smallville, she's in Metropolis. She gets over hear and a _second later_ he's there. It's about 180-200 miles between two cities, three-hour drive and all. He does it in a second. So...Clark can travel at Mach 680?!? Wow.

    Kind of scary.

    2) So how did Buffy & Gang cover up their killings for six years?? Judging from the one murder (pizza guy) and one attempted murder (Lex and Clark), they just go around grabbing people without any concern for high-profile the target is or whether anyone will miss them. No offense to sorority girls, but it looks like Buffy and her posse would have trouble finding their nail files, much less planning an elaborate cover-up and concealment of bodies for even a week, much less six years.

    Like, oh my god, stop thinking! Gol!

    Just thought these were amusing.

    Thanks.

    Sara Nielson wrote:

    Hey, Neal!

    I can't f***in' (can you tell that I can write "DARN" and "hell", but that's the extent of my written swearing?) believe I'm so far behind! So I'm going to start with "Aqua" and go from there... even though you heard a lot of my "Thirst" comments first hand. (You know, I think I may have just realized that "Smallville" uses a lot of one word titles. Doesn't say much for my observational abilities, does it?)

    I also figure that I'm not going to worry about whether or not you put my letters in. While I do like reading your responses, they take sooooooo long to read!!!

    Just a miscommunication...fixed! As for the cursing, it all depends on context. Even on TV. Sigh. Me? I think all words are sacred. But I'm a weirdo.

    Aqua:

    It would have been a better episode if they'd let it warm up or something. But then I feel that way with all the introduction of other superheroes. They just throw them in and say "hey, these are the people you're going to form a team with later, but you're going to start out not quite getting along, okay?" It would have made me feel better about Lois falling for A.C. and it not just being a savior complex. But maybe that's just me...

    Not pool... Crater Lake... (Of course, I've never seen a lake look quite so blue, but who am I to pound at inconsistencies... oh, right.) (On a second note, if this is actually formed from a crater due to the first meteor storm, how could Clark swim in it with all the kryptonite that should be in it?)

    That one gets brought up a lot, actually. Gets me, too.

    I agree with you that if he was in a recovery room they should have had the chest cracker out to get at the bullet that pierced his lung or stick up said lung.

    You know, Erica's a pretty girl and an okay actor. I could see why they'd like her to play with them. But it doesn't make sense. There's no true reason why Lois should always be in Smallville and always living with the Kents! It's driving me crazy! (Long walk, short pier... but still!!!)

    I have many reasons, all of which suck.

    Lois's part in this show (other than the cheesy line at the end where Clark's commiserating with her) could easily have been taken on by Chloe. They're totally underusing the character for no apparent good reason. Is it because she's the one who'll die? I have no idea, but it's still PEEVING me off. Lois SHOULD NOT be there and the PTB should be shot... or at least kicked in the shins a little...

    That's my line. Totally.

    A.C.'s intro was nice. I agree with you that the superspeed swimming was extremely well done. I also noticed the pathetic attempt at fake CPR that only seemed needed to jiggle Erica's breasts. Hmmm... I didn't take drowning first aid... which you would have thought would be in a first aid class in Washington, but I digress... but my first aid instructor said it was more urgent to keep the blood flowing than worry about the immediate air flow. Maybe the pressure on the chest does help push out the water? As I've never drowned or been with someone who drowned, I have no idea...

    I could be wrong on that one. I don't know. I just know I'd try and clear the lungs with breath before chest compression.

    squeak squeak... Yep, no one even suggests she go to the hospital and then, doesn't she have a cheesy band-aid on her forehead to say "yeah, I did hit my head..." Oy!

    Heh.

    Super computer... Tee hee! Ah, yes. The initial lecture seemed... overly critical of Lex Corp. I mean, lots of people hate Lex and his company, but it's supposed to be a history class here, Spike! (And I miss his fake English accent... but then I have a thing for accents... mmmmmm!) I guess I didn't mind the late lecture, but the lost line made me giggle. For crying out loud, Clark could have put on the superspeed, gone invisible and checked out every class in campus in less than 2 minutes... and that totally doesn't address his x-ray vision...

    I think the Luth-ER thing is because he's trying to do some sort of weird accent. I've heard James Marsters talk normally and this is like he's trying a weird mid-West accent... that none of the other characters even bother to attempt. Oh, well...

    I didn't like how easy A.C. had it to get Lois to go out on a date. And he was being jerky. You could tell that he thought he was being smooth, but he wasn't. Of course, I also have an issue with his lingo, but I'll let it go... Letting... it... go... clunk!

    I believe A.C. didn't have to get to sea... the testing was done at Crater Lake, right? Lois was a total lump and even I would have jumped in and started looking for him. And I guess I assumed that being a superhero, he's stronger than your every day trout.

    Agreed.

    The "Lex is now evil" thing is a sub-plot that they could have explored further in the first FOUR seasons, but they decided that he'd be mostly good... mostly good... mostly good... SUPREME EVIL!!! All in one episode. Grrrrrrrr... It's irritating me... and not in a good way.

    Agreed, in depth.

    I guess with the relationships we have to give them that they're at least being consistent... I guess...

    I have found it supremely interesting that Chloe can add super hacker to her resume... Oy! You know, I've been working with computers since I was young (does VIC 20 mean anything to you?) and still I haven't figured out how to hack. Am I just slow? Which could be it, but they make hacking seem sooooo easy!

    I probably could have been a hacker if I wanted to. I just don't think it's as easy as she makes it out to be.

    I guess the PTB is trying to infer that Clark is somehow jealous of A.C. because of his interest in Lois, which is inexplicably reciprocated, because they're going to hook up in the end. I don't buy it. I don't buy that he's all "Lois needs to leave 'cause I hate having her around" to "but I have to protect her from the evil He-men in the world." Oy squared!

    I agree that the action scene (finally!) was good. It made me happy. Charred Clark. Swimmy A.C. I mean, how much better could it be? But I don't think it's the Clark "breathing" under water or in space. It's the indefinite holding of breath. But you're right that they should address it... but maybe it's not an exciting enough superpower. After all, there's no real reason for him to go around holding his breath.

    Just back at the barn... AND talking with Arthur. What? No grudges about knocking him out of the water? No "hey dude! If I'd been normal you would have killed me!"? Seriously! (And he should have been able to dodge. After all, he shouldn't be that shocked about meeting someone with superpowers!)

    Duly noted.

    Although, to be honest, Clark was suspicious of A.C. before he saw him with the bomb...

    "Magically suspicious" just made me start to hum the jingle in my head... Oh dear...

    The "bro" bit needs to be... Well, whoever wrote it needs to be shot multiple times. Seriously! Are they trying to infer that he's a college boy in athletics and that's how all college boys in athletics speak?

    Shoot him twice for me.

    You know what's funny about the guy who played A.C.? I wasn't prepared to like him. I was shallow and didn't thing he was cute... and his beady eyes totally put me off. But I warmed to him around the time he and Clark hook up... I mean pair up... I mean work together to confront Lex. Right.

    I liked him, just not his writing.

    You know, I work for the state government (shhhhhh!) in the Spills division and we're always getting calls for fish kills or other things. I couldn't believe there wasn't a governmental environmental agency that wasn't concerned about what was happening. But maybe it's just where we live... Hmmmmm...

    Ah, it's all over the place. You can't get away with stuff like that.

    I would like to know how A.C. moves so fast on land. Because I can only assume that Clark drove them to Lex's... so he didn't have a car. Are they trying to say by the non-appearance of Clark that he stays even longer to argue with Lex? Or did he leave already? They don't give any indication to where he is...

    Ah, inconsistency!

    Did you notice the infrared computer screen had going on? Was that to let us know that Lex knew that A.C. was near the secret lab? (And I never realized how many silos and underground lairs there were in Kansas. Guess it's not as boring as I thought.)

    I almost choked when Lex said his reason was the "tool" comment. Seriously! I think he needs more shock therapy in Belle Reeve... Dude! Bro! Seriously!!! It was very stereotypical bad guy where they have captive, proceed to start torturing him and then leave... 'cause there's "no way" he can get out of there. (And what was with the "I'm sure if I give you this water you'll have no problem breaking those bonds" comment?!? Why in the world would Lex think A.C. was superstrong in water?) And what was that scientific chick injecting into A.C.? Was it some sort of superstrong saline solution that would absorb all the water in his body? (And didn't you think it was a little tired with how much water that boy drank?)

    It was totally henky.

    And isn't it nice that a lab Clark's never seen before is so easy for him to enter and disappear from without notice?

    Yeah, I was also a little annoyed that they just assume that Lex won't put two and two together and go "Ah ha! Clark!"

    I actually nearly peed my pants with the JLA comment. I didn't think they were going to abbreviate it at first, but Clark took care of that.

    I agree about the Aquanois (love that contraction) over anything with Lana. Could they please get her out of the story? Please? PLEASE??? I'm telling you, if I ever go into acting, I want Kristin's agents!

    I think it's less her agents and more her two biggest producer fans.

    They really should give more attention to the Christopher Reeve foundation. Did they do it at the end of this episode because it was an anniversary of something? Maybe they could do it at the end of each episode? That would keep the word out there. It's not that hard, people!

    Or just once for more than ten seconds.

    I promise that once my computer is back up, I will spend significant time making ytmnd's... Seriously...

    Please! Such untapped potential.

    So, I was re-reading the letter you posted in this one and can I just say I seem to have a problem with "there", "they're" and "their". I kept wanting to edit it... Grrr...

    Most people don't really catch the fundamentals of grammar any more. I've learned not to let it bug me except when I'm doing it. You're better than most!

    OK, so I leave the letters alone. Just not going to go there...

    Thirst:

    We'll see how much I have to say since we did watch it together...

    And we did. Twas fun!

    What? No mention you watched it with me??? sniff... Nah, just kidding. There's no way I'm gonna' get all pissy. That's way too girly for my taste. Whoops! Am mentioned. OK, I'm good! ;D

    Acourse!

    Technically, as an intern, she should be getting paid, right? I know you liked the ripping Chloe a new one scene, but I felt bad. However, I do not have the stack of rejections you have because I have yet to be brave enough to submit it for consideration.

    It's less bravery, more stupidity. I should know better by now.

    Perry should be at the Planet by now. Maybe he is and we just don't know it. I'm curious if they'll be able to keep Carrie Fisher...

    I found it interesting that he was willing to give up a more prestigious education to help his parents... It kinda' moves Clark forward as the self-sacrificing hero... not fast enough for my tastes, but there all the same. We all know, through 4.5ish years of Smallville that Lana is selfish, demanding and spoiled rotten. I find it interesting that Nell could possibly help her do all the things she does. Although Nell had somehow insinuated herself into the Luthor household when Lana was younger... owned a flower shop... and apparently semi-easily half-purchased the Talon. But Lana's an emancipated youngster. She shouldn't have any dough. I find it very distressing that in this day and age, they don't bother to address these pertinent issues because it would possibly slow down the storyline... No wonder so many people have entitlement issues!

    And the feeling that they can be everything to everyone, when they can't.

    The astronomy thing made me want to hit something. And I agree with it meaning that she wants to be the everything to everyone and cover all the sympathetic bases type. For me, it just made me want to see a surprise freak of the week come out and cap her BUTT.

    I found it very "interesting" and scary that they couldn't seem to figure out that Chloe couldn't possibly know all the "events" even if Lana and Clark told her every dirty detail (which Lana says she can't remember). She should have just left it out. If they were trying to say Chloe pulled the name out of her BUTT to protect the "innocent" when neither Lana or Clark's names have been changed... You know, whatever. This wasn't my favorite episode, but I'll keep reading your review and we'll see where we go from here...

    Lionel's disappearance (considering he's supposed to be so interested in Clark's life now...) is just another way of showing that they don't care about a line here and a line there that would make it all better. Maybe you and I should apply to become writers. We'd be so much better than the trash they have currently.

    People suggest it to me a lot. But I don't tend to push towards something I don't think I'd get, generally. TV writing is just not my style. I do comics, novels, poetry, short stories, and reviews. Alas, none are profitable, but I can live with that.

    I enjoyed the Lex/Fine scene, but in some ways I felt that it wasn't necessary. Was it to show that Lex was aware of Fine's investigations? Was it in reaction to Clark saying the Fine had said all these terrible things and Clark had defended him? I don't know, but it's getting to the point where I'll take a well written and filmed scene and it makes up for part of the sucky (please excuse the pun) vampire episode that so wasn't necessary.

    I just liked the banter.

    I know you're surprised with James's performance, considering he came from Buffy. I'm sure it's making all the Buffsters go wheee! I'm just enjoying it because he's finally starting to show his age, i.e. wrinkles and such.

    As am I. Oy. I was 20 when I started reviewing this show! Now I'm in Depends!

    The ripping down of Chloe's stuff TICKed me off beyond all measure. Okay, so she had a FEMALEDOGy roommate... who hasn't? But Chloe should have kicked her butt and told her to stay on her side of the room. The other thing is... didn't Chloe take down the WoW when she found out about Clark? Am I imagining things? If she took it down for a purpose, why would she put it back up? And why wouldn't she know that WoW stuff isn't going to be print-worthy at a national paper. I was glad she got the internship, but if she had just tweaked the article to show corruption in the sorority and its parallels to society, it might have been good enough. But I digress.

    I just had World of Warcrack flashbacks.

    I don't know why the PTB continues to keep Clark in such a dysfunctional relationship. It doesn't make him more accessible. In fact, it just degrades the character. And without a doubt, they are going to have Lana break up with Clark this next time instead of the fully justified other way around. Grrrr....

    Yep.

    Don't worry... We'll get larger Brainiac episodes soon. I've been reading up on my spoilers...

    I was also curious how Chloe could possibly have deduced the vampire thing. After all, Lana was in full sunlight and we should all know by now that vampires can't do daylight... which makes me wonder if/how the sorority girls go to class. If they don't go to class, how can they maintain their sorority?

    A rabbit!

    I gotta' jump back to the Lana death scene. If we were watching "Death Becomes Her," she would be dead for all eternity... Or do they fix that after Clark gives her the serum. Oh, wait. Jumping ahead.

    I also loved the speeding into the room moment. Very classic and well done. Considering this episode, it was surprising.

    I thought the reason for no mask was that he kept setting it afire with his heat vision...

    Depends on who you ask...Byrne or old school.

    Chloe did look hot in the costume. Much better than Lana's cat, but I'm prejudiced.

    Likewise.

    If we're looking at Chloe's motives for distracting Clark, I'm saying it's cause she didn't want Clark to be in pain... and she thinks Lana's not acting like herself. But then if that's the case, Clark should/would forgive her because of same said reason. Hmmm...

    Yes.

    And personally, I don't get the whole Chloe/Lana continued friendship thing. Lana's the reason Smallville lost its hero. Lana knew perfectly well that Chloe had a SOMETHING-on for Clark and yet has made up to him what? Two, three, four times??? Lana's a FEMALE DOG and doesn't deserve the friend or boyfriend. (Wow! I don't have an issue there, do I?)

    We share it.

    Clark's disappearing act: At least he had his mask on... right?

    When I saw Lana's "bloody" mouth, I immediately flashed to when Buffy (the real Buffy) made snarky comments about "fruit punch mouth". It worked enough to make me smile...

    Was Chloe on a respirator? Where was I? Did I blink and miss the tube? Dude!

    I didn't see it either.

    The Fine scene... other than the funny "There's no such thing as vampires" line that made me giggle... was totally unnecessary. They just needed Clark to get specific information that what? He couldn't have gotten in time? It didn't make sense to me.

    1138 is a Star Wars reference? Do I have to re-watch the movie or would you just tell me? ?

    In most of them there's a reference to Lucas's first film, THX 1138. It's also where the name of the sound style came from.

    Wasn't the reason that Lex helped was 'cause of Lana... 'cause you know the Lex liking Lana plot twist isn't over...

    The whip scenario... ADORED IT! Oh my gosh! Nearly peed my pants at work. Not a good thing Neal, but totally worth it! After all, Adam didn't have all of Clark's powers and they were dosing him with a synthetic version of his blood... But maybe that's just me...

    And the whip is back, too, thanks to this episode.

    I guess we can possibly assume that Lana got Clark's super-strength and super-speed with the heat vision and that's how she got Clark to the sorority house.

    If only she could get his humbleness.

    The amnesia thing was such the biggest cop out for "I nearly sucked you dry there Clark and killed the leader of my sorority but I don't remember much so I'm not responsible for any of it." And the comments about what she felt when she sucked Clark's blood... If I hadn't been at your house, I would have vomited. I swear. It probably would have brought up some blood from the ulcer I'm developing because of Lana-centric storylines. And the worst thing is that Clark buys it and all is supposedly well. I cannot adequately express my anger and disgust at this whole thing. Can I borrow your bat?

    Next time you can vomit. I have hardwood floors (sanded em myself), it cleans up easily.

    I'm so glad you agree with me about them undervaluing Chloe because she's not as "pretty" as Lois and Lana. I really don't understand how this Lois is supposed to be an ace reporter. I don't know why Clark is still moaning about Lana. You know, I don't watch drivel like "One Tree Hill" and "Everwood" for a very good reason. I don't like stupid teen dramas. It's not realistic. It's not helpful. This doesn't even forward the plot. I'm thinking they should proverbially nuke the Lana and Lois characters and just have Chloe take over. But maybe that's just me. Oh, I know what it is. They're going to kill of Chloe and Clark will realize that he's loved her all along and can only love another like her. Lois will decide that with Chloe gone, she is morally required to follow her path in life. And Lana will get stabbed 100 times by a streetwalker for looking at her wrong.

    Yep. And, I mean, there's a difference between shafting someone because they're ugly, but Chloe? I mean, that's gorgeous. It's not the "OPTIMUM" as they show on most shows, but to me, that just means there's a chance she might not be a totally snooty bich.

    Cat wrote:

    Hey dude, I know I'm probably too late to make it into your letters, but I'm always a bit late, and I found I just had to respond to the "Thirst" review. It's Cat again, the one who writes random e-mails once in a while. Heh.

    Yes, I know ye.

    Against my better judgement I have been watching this season, mostly for the point-and-laugh-and-write-snarky-reviews aspect, and I have to say that it delivered. I missed the first few eps but decided to catch "Aqua" cos it sounded so bad, it was good... well, no. It was just bad.

    Thirst, however, brought the funny to a whole new level.

    In more ways than one.

    I always enjoy your reviews, despite the fact that you seem to really love Chloe and I absolutely despise that character on a level that defies words--like worse than your Lana despising. OK, well on par with it. I just skip all the Chloe-yay parts. But the rest of it I like. From that glorious opening paragraph I knew this Thirst review would be golden, and for the most part it was. Had me laughing. Although, I'm a bit disappointed you didn't catch the blatant Veronica Mars ripoff.

    I've only seen one episode, alas.

    I don't know if AlMiles were trying to be cute, after all the hoopla that the Veronica character *seemed* like a knockoff of Chloe (although anyone who watches VM agrees it's *Chloe* who's the bad knockoff of Veronica). The shots of Chloe in her room with the laptop eerily mirror shots often taken of Veronica while she narrates her "mystery of the week." And ummm... there was an episode in which Veronica goes undercover in a schoolgirl outfit to check it out...

    Didn't know that...

    So anyway, I wanted to share some comments I jotted down while reading:

    Lana instantly changes into a vampire. Of course, changing into a vampire usually requires a little bit of time, but hey. And usually, becoming a vampire doesn't really change your personality. You're just the same person, only you can't die and you have an unquenchable thirst for blood.

    Buffyverse theory dictates that one *does* change upon being vamped (and I mentioned the Buffyverse b/c this episode has ripped off BtVS in so many ways, why the heCK not). In "Lie to Me" Buffy specifically tells Max--er, Ford, that when you become a vampire a demon takes over your body, remembers your life, but is *not you.* However Buffology also dictates that vampires are demon/human hybrids, not humans infected by some batcave or something. To become a vampire, one dies and remains dead, and you can't say "oops! Clark needs a girlfriend" and undo it with meteor juice. And on that note, I realize this whole paragraph is proof I have too many thoughts.

    It sounds a bit complex for me. I like it nice and simple with vamps.

    5) Lana just murdered a human being. MURDER. Buffy may be a dag nasty vampire, but someone's gonna look into this, and you think the vampire sisters are gonna stand up for Lana, or point at her and say, "Uh, she killed her!"

    See, this was where TEH STOOPID finally fried my brain. Can't say it's the first time they've done this though. Hello, Tina Greer? And supposedly someone else died in S4 at Clark's hands but I didn't have it in myself to torture myself by watching that season in its entirety. But back to Thirst, I suppose we're supposed to condone it cos Lana's "not herself" and Buffy's a Big Bad Vampire Bitca. But see, on BtVS (yes, here comes the Buffy reference again; blame AlMiles or whoever wrote this wonderful piece of Emmy fodder) we don't care when Buffy stakes a vamp, cos they're DEMONS! Well, demon/human hybrids, blah blah. We *know* they're not human, and they're soulless and evil, that's my point. But by not making the girls *real* vamps but rather living humans with a kryptodisease, they're introducing a whole other level of messy double standards that continually keeps tripping up this whole episode. Vampires only "live forever" b/c they're *dead.* So kryptojuice makes these girls immortal ageless beings? Then why is it Clark, who actually *is* Kryptonian, still ages? I really need to stop applying earth logic to this damn show. I only watched for TEH FUNNY, DANGit! Logic doesn't make it funny anymore!

    Yep. But then, I don't watch for the yuks. That's the Daily Show.

    The only thing that saves "Thirst" from being the worst Smallville episode of all time is James Marsters. He plays the most delicious villain (in more ways than one, hehe) and I did enjoy the Lex/Fine scenes. It looks like they've finally found a villain worthy of examining.

    Agreed.

    But they'll probably just botch it like everything else they do.

    I hope not.

    Ahh yes, and I would be remiss if I did not mention KK in the catsuit. See, I didn't notice AM's Veronica knockoff outfit b/c hello, KK in black leather! I am a completely straight woman but dayum. Love her. Too bad her character sucks.

    Yes.

    That said, I'm sorely tempted to watch Alias and save my TiVo space for something more thought-provoking and interesting, like America's Next Top Model or The Apprentice. Although I'm sorely tempted to watch "Exposed" to laugh at it... it might even surpass "Thirst" as the comedy hit of the year. But then, Thirst at least had KK's catwoman outfit to make up for teh stoopif. I find the prospect of ED doing a striptease more painful that hot.

    Watch Everybody Hates Chris if you can't watch Smallville. Or, like me, watch both.

    I think I'll leave my glasses off for that part.

    Looking forward to the next review,

    Cat

    Thanks, Cat!

    John Garcia wrote:

    I am a new visitor to this website and I was reading your KO count and the section He did WHAT with Kryptonite? And he's still alive? You complained about Clark having Kryptonite strap to his chest because it would have killed him. In the first episode didn't Clark have Lana's Kryptonite necklace on for hours? Wouldn't that have killed him?

    Yes.

    That brings up another point why doesn't Lana have superpowers from wearing Kryptonite or why isn't she dead from some kind of Kryptonite sickness?

    Not sure what you mean.

    Just observations I have had after reading your reviews.

    Thanks!

    Mark Palenik wrote:

    I promised myself I wouldn\'t bother you with e-mails twice in. . . well, my life really, but there's one point I really want to make because it bothered me a couple of seasons ago, and it bothered me in this episode again.

    No prob.

    First of all, though, just to make myself look erudite, I want to cover some other things. Johnathen Kent - I always suspected that he was really just Bo Duke in disguise and this episode just confirmed it. Metropolis PD badges have the Superman symbol on them - no wonder clark chose it - it's so inconspicuous they'd never be able to ascertain his identity (with it being similar to the Smallville high crest, the symbols in caves, and numerous other things). And finally - what's with all the gratuitous sex? I mean, it just seems wierd at this point.

    It sells.

    But the issue I really wanted to get to is the part about the helicopter. Clark managed to hold a helicopter down using only his body weight. This is physically impossible, no matter how strong you are. There's no reason that a helicopter would be able to lift you if you're inside of it, but not if you're holding onto a cable on the outside.

    With Clark it's possible because he's super-dense. I've covered this one before with the whole Byron issue. I didn't like that episode because a normal human with extraordinary strength pulled a heli down. Clark, on the other hand, is super-dense, therefore I think he can feasibly control MUCH more mass than someone with just super-strength.

    "Well, maybe Clark was subconsciously causing himself to fly downward, thereby making himself heavier," you might say.

    No. I just think he weighs one whole heck of a lot.

    And I would say that's a perfectly valid theory, except for the fact that a few seasons ago (I don't remember the season or the episode), we saw someone else do the same thing. In the episode with the kid who turned into some kind of adrenaline pumped up monster when sunlight hit him, we saw him yank the helicopter with Martha Kent in it down to the ground. *He* most certainly couldn't fly.

    Yep. Byron.

    Now, I know there's a lot of pseudoscience in Smallville, but this just bugs me. It really annoys me that the writers would make an incredibly stupid mistake like that, then think it was so brilliant that they just had to do it again in another episode.

    Likewise. Only this time, I actually don't mind it, for reasons aforementioned.

    Thanks, all!

    Neal



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

    Back to the main TELEVISION page.