Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 5 - Episode 8: "Solitude"

Reviews:

Solitude

Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

OK. First of all let me say, what poor placement for the Superman Returns teaser. How could they not know that most fan boys would be on the floor in a puddle filled with absolute fan boy/fan girl joy that they could not (even if they wanted to) pay attention to the rest of the Smallville episode that followed? All I have to say about that is "Thank God for DVR's." Did you know with a DVR you can stop a show, even when live, re-watch the same 2 minute segment 20 times, and pause long enough to let the goosebumps go away before continuing on and watching the remainder of the show? I found out it worked like a charm today.

Anyway you did not come here to hear me going on about Superman Returns or how I squealed like a teenage girl at a boy band concert. You want to know what I thought about this weeks Smallville episode. Well Super Fans, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was a good solid episode that only had two problems.

One. Clark. I love you man, you are going to be Superman some day, but dude, there is absolutely no such thing as heat lightning. People who know what I do for a living know I just get in an absolute tizzy about people getting weather stuff wrong. Yes, for the record, I am a Meteorologist by trade so weather is my life. Anyway Heat Lightning does not exist. It's an old wives tale about how on hot summer nights even though it is clear you can see flashes of light in the far off distance and they are reddish or orange in color. People use to call this "Heat Lightning". The problem is that it is not "Heat Lightning". It is just light from regular old fashioned every day lightning coming from a storm cloud somewhere off in the great distance where you don't actually see the storm. The color of the lightning comes from all the dust in the air you are looking through. This is the same reason sunsets are the color they are.

And Two, was yet another usage of poorly placed pointy objects. Death by impalement on strategically placed objects has returned to the show, just when you thought it was safe to back up into a wall.

So other than the heat lightning incident and the death by impaling I enjoyed this very much.

Prof. Fine somehow infects Martha with a virus created by Zod to torture people who do not play his game. We see Martha get sick and Clark goes to Fine believing him to be someone who can help. Fine uses the threat of Martha's death to get Clark to attempt to destroy the Fortress of Solitude in a plot to free General Zod from the Phantom Zone. Yes. That General Zod.

So there was some excitement, drama, great acting, a good solid main plot, a neat sub plot with Lex, Lois, and Chloe that partially tied into the main plot, and one very important moment in the history of one of the characters we all love.

I am not talking about Lex's journey to become the "Greatest Criminal Mastermind of Our Time" or Clark Kent's journey to become "Superman". No. Today we saw the moment in time where a future was set. Where Lois Lane got the bug that will lead her to her destination in life. The look in her eye as she glances at the Daily Planet logo, the setting in the news room, and the music in the background sent chills down my spine. I knew without a doubt that was the moment where her future as a reporter begins. What made this little moment even cooler to me was the fact that Lois's reporter bug has come about because her nose for trouble has sniffed out Lex Luthor as a villain and she wants to take him down a peg. Tying Lois's future choice to become one of the world's greatest reporters into Lex Luthor's schemes is just an absolutely fantastic choice. Our Lois is not starting small that much is certain.

Annette O'Toole's part of this weeks episode was to mostly lay around and be sick but she really had a moment to shine in this one. The scene between Martha and Clark when she believed she was dying was very touching, extremely well acted by both Annette and Tom, and really showed us why Martha Kent is such an important piece of the Superman puzzle. This is the woman who raised a super man. Johnathan Kent may have taught him to never give up, to do what is right, and strong morals but we can see very well in this episode that Martha is the source of Superman's compassion. Something that is, in my opinion, Superman's greatest Super Power.

Lionel throws us for another loop. He knows about Prof. Fine but we do not know how he knows. He puts Chloe on his trail which, I am guessing, was an attempt to expose Lex's fixation on the space ship and damage his image in the public eye. Still there is more to the story here. There is a big arc building with Lionel. I can feel it. Who is he really? Who's side is he on? What is his plan? What does he know? This episode tells us a lot of what Prof. Fine was up to but now we are left with these questions on Lionel Luthor to replace them. FANTASTIC! What a ride huh? I am enjoying it, that much is certain.

So, in the end Fine's plot is revealed, and with a little help from the ever resourceful Chloe, Clark stands up and stops him. Shortly after Zod is sent back to where he belongs, a pretty cool looking super powered throw-down ensues throughout the Fortress of Solitude between Clark and Prof. Fine. In the end, Fine is impaled on some strategically placed crystals, and Good triumphs over Evil (just the way it should be).

We all know or at least highly doubt that is the end of Prof. Fine. He is a shape shifting form of black ooze and some kind of artificial intelligence. I doubt impalement really would do much to him other than tickle. If it did actually kill that body I am certain there was some sort of download or upload of his program that was sent somewhere. Maybe to his ship which may have cloaked or transported itself somewhere. If his return is to be shown on Smallville or not, remains to be seen but I'd be willing to bet our future Superman has not seen the last of this villain.

I was greatly amused by Chloe's comments about bringing a parka the next time she goes to the Fortress. Maybe Clark will bring a few spares and keep them on hand in a crystal closet or something. Or I guess he could just install a heater. Maybe that will be put in along with the huge round bed with satin sheets.

Lastly, I have to mention how cool it was to see how really ticked off Lex was at losing the space ship. There is real darkness there and I get the feeling Lionel was dangerously close to seeing just how far Lex will go.

So despite the horrible "Heat Lightning" incident and the over use of pointy objects in convenient locations I cannot find fault in this one. Though for some strange odd reason I do have a sudden urge to go out and by a new car. Maybe a spiffy new red Ford Fusion just like Lois had. Yeah, I hear it's a really great car.

So anyway I am going with an A-. Knocked down slightly from a solid A by the two items I just listed above and the shameless and painfully obvious product placement I am pretending to be in denial about. Despite those items this one is a must see for fans of the series. For those who like your Stars I'll call it a good 4.5 out of 5.

The next episode is a Holiday themed one called Lexmas. Could be very interesting. I am looking forward to it. See you then Super Fans!

Douglas "Doright" Trumble



Solitude

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

MAIN POINTS:

  • Milton Fine is actually a...bad guy?
  • Ma Kent is struck by a disease, which Clark has to stop.
  • He does this by trying to destroy the Fortress, and then Fine.
  • Fine gets the Tina Greer treatment (Spike, meet...pole?)
  • For Fine...The system is down! The system is down!
  • (Dancing robots...football!) (More duddle-ut-dums?)

    REVIEW:

    Huzzah? Whuzzah? Wha? Wait a second. I thought the show was tanking. What's going on here? Someone just flipped the switch from the suck to the cool.

    I wrote a review for the teaser trailer which should be going up shortly before or after I write this, a review for the new trailer. In it, I describe how important music is to the creation of writing to me, and thusly informed my experience of the trailer.

    For those of you paying attention, it might draw a decent laugh that the song I started writing this review on was Weird Al's Waffle King, totally undermining any argument I had about the poignancy of music in writing. But that's okay...fixing...

    Randy Newman's "Prolugue 1915-1923" for Bernard Malmud's The Natural. Much better. Now I can avoid the aneurysm one of my readers suggested I'd have when I noted Lois Lane's new Ford Fusion.

    Or, as it shall be known henceforth, the OLD SPICE RED FORD FUSION.

    This is because only the ethereal and mystical OLD SPICE RED ZONE has ever had as much exposure on Smallville, and sad to say, folks, they shilled the Ford Fusion even harder than Old Spice in this episode.

    I didn't have an aneurysm for an important reason. However implausible it may be that an average working dropout kid can afford a 2006 Ford Fusion (and lo, it is), at least in this episode they played lip service to it. "Oh, Lois! It's so great you finally bought your own car with money from your job!". They at least PRETENDED that she was struggling to be able to own it, and coupled it with a scene showing her ridiculed while hard at work, the reality of owning nice things that TV doesn't show you.

    But for the numbers:

    A new Ford Fusion will run you 17,000 dollars.

    And...holy crap! Get this! Kansas is the ONLY state in the union where the minimum wage is less than the federal standard. It's $2.65 an hour! Holy monkeys! That's insane! And they don't get overtime until 46 hours. Somebody get Billy Bragg on the phone and get some organizers to that state, STAT!

    Well, anyway, I won't assume Ma Kent is gonna totally rip Lois off. Let's assume she gives her the average minimum wage, which is around 6.50 an hour. Say she works 40 hours a week, which is reasonable if she's not in college.

    That's 260 dollars a week, or 1040 a month, which is, after taxes, say 850 bucks.

    Rent, at least here, for a cheap apartment, with bills, will run you between 3-500 bucks. Food, if you live like a monk, will cost you 50-75 bucks. If you're average, though, a good hundred bucks. If you maintain a figure like Lois, special food, definitely 125-150 bucks.

    Gym membership, no doubt, with a body like that. 35 more bucks.

    So I'm going to be extraordinarily fair and go average on all counts, which doesn't really make sense, given her clothing and gear. 400 for rent and bills, 150 for food, which leaves her 300 dollars or so spending cash.

    When you're 21-22ish, which I was when I bought my first car, interest rates are insane unless someone cosigns with you. I bought an 11 thousand dollar car, and payments were approximately 300 dollars, and I had good credit for someone my age. After a year I knocked it down to 200 bucks with interest rates.

    A 17,000 dollar new car would probably spot you a 250-350 dollar payment per month at her age. Plus a hundred bucks for insurance, easy, given all the wrecks she's in.

    Let's be fair and say 450 bucks, because she went Geico or whatever.

    That's 150 bucks over budget with NO spending cash.

    So yeah, TV reality and human reality, not so much. But as I said, I respect the fact that they at least paid lip service to the cost.

    STILL, that doesn't forgive their endless, horrid shilling of that car. An ad, a contest, and a whole SCENE dedicated to showing a guard how wonderful the car is (albeit dressed in humor, it was still shilling).

    The car drives up, deposits Martha, and exits, stage left, thank monkeys. We see Shelby (WOOT, finally) Martha's got her groceries, and here comes...well, the LIGHT! The EVIL LIGHT. It hits her, and immediately she faints.

    This is what happens when you don't head towards the light, but rather, the light comes after you. WITH A PLOT BAT!

    SHELBY! Joy! And I had just added him to the MIA. Curses! Now I can't giggle my nefarious giggle updating the KO Count while hoping the show goes off the air as my detractors seem to think I so enjoy.

    Clark is sitting in the barn, and he hears a light, and a rattling noise. It's HUGE, and it's very reminiscent of a bomb.

    So this man, this man who has super-speed, super-hearing, heat vision, x-ray vision, does he look through the walls to see what's going on? Does he speed outside to see what's going on? Nah, he sits there for a good while like, "Wha?"

    It was almost funny.

    Afterward, Clark assumes that Jor-El is behind it. Uh, why? I mean, Martha doesn't know what's happened to her. Clark just heard a noise. It could have been anything. Granted, he's uber paranoid that Jor-El is going to kill someone he loves, but last week, and the week before, and on back to episode three, he hasn't made that assumption before. Seemed a bit off.

    I was REALLY off put by the Lois and Lex scene at first. Mostly because I'm so used to people calling Luthor a snake without really having any reason to that I forgot the man tortured her boyfriend a few weeks back. It's easy to forget, because they never made a point of it, which they should have, which is another problem with inconsistent characterization and continuity. No show references the previous one, really, unless it's the premiere or the sweeps or the finale, and that hurts the show, because we start to see things we don't like on gut reflex. This was one of them...

    But she has plenty of reason to hate him, if you think about it. Her and Clark, maybe. And now, come to think of it, it makes more sense for Martha, Jonathan, and Clark. Though there's no way Clark could really tell Lana without exposing the secret, so her tirade last week was still stupid. But then, if you put torturing a guy who was trying to steal 100 MILLION dollars from you (and heck, I might torture someone for taking that kind of money from me. But then, I'd have already spent that kind of money on helping people out, so bad example) next to the inordinate number of GOOD things Lex does, it still doesn't make him a very big fink. But then, if Mother Theresa broke my arm for being insolent, I might forget the lepers, mayhap.

    Lois says there's enough dirt to create a Texas-sized landmass on Lex.

    Lex says, "There's nothing more valuable than political advice from a muffin-peddling college dropout. Speaking of which, do you have banana blueberry today?"

    Michael Rosenbaum didn't add the groinal thrust, but I think it was implied.

    That has to be one of my favorite Lex moments, simply for the fact that he just takes someone who's trashing him, and instead of expressing restraint, as is his penchant, he quietly loses it and unleashes what he has on her. I respect that, because it's something I identify with. There are a lot of stupid people in life. The urge is to always explode, and say:

    "NO, SUPERMAN IS NOT STILL DEAD."

    "OF COURSE YOU TOTALLY CAN USE SPLIT INFINITIVES AND COMMA SPLICES IN DESCRIPTIVE PASSAGES, YOU PURITAN, AND PEOPLE ABSOLUTELY IDENTIFY WITH ARTISTS WHO WRITE LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE MORE THAN STODGY INTELLECTUAL MORONS WITH THEIR EVERY MARK IN LINE AND THEIR THUMBS UP THEIR BUTTS! IT'S HUMAN! IT'S ENDEARING."

    "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, DO I HATE SUPERMAN? I'VE WRITTEN 350 ARTICLES ON THE BIG BLUE BAS-"

    Well, anyway, you get the idea. Instead, you have to sit there and take it. And take it. And take it. At least, until someone goes so far beyond the pale that it's time to stand up for yourself, because there is a difference between patience and allowing yourself to be bullied by a bas-

    Well, anyway, you get the idea. And Lex performs in high style. Good dialogue, but nothing without the Baum execution. It made up for the Ford Fusion stuff, by and large, with me.

    At the time, I had that gut reaction to Lois arbitrarily criticizing him, but seeing that she has reason now, I feel kind of bad for her. Still, she was being unnecessarily cruel. And passive aggressive, note. If she's mad about Arthur, why not confront him about it? Instead, without letting Lex know what she knows, she sits there snarking at him in a business he owns for something he likely didn't even know he did to her.

    The scene between Fine and Clark was gold, per usual. Clark wants to know what he needs to know NOW, and Fine just pushes him off with the old, "Impatience is such a human trait."

    Thanks, Data. My mom is dying, you bas-

    Well, anyway, you get the plot bat. The strain between the two characters is palpable, and it bridges the complaint from last episode that Clark isn't immediately hounding Fine for Kryptonian experience. It's because Fine doesn't give it, due to his ulterior motive.

    Clark proceeds to right the wrong of the last episode by telling his parents that Fine is a Kryptonian, which is awesome. Several times in this show you saw them trying to right wrongs from shows past. Shelby, justifying the kids having expensive cars, putting someone who's arbitrarily ripping on Lex in place, and now showing that Clark would talk to his parents about something this important. True.

    Pa's immediate reaction is strange, and important for later.

    "Steer clear of that fella!" he says.

    We-heyell, Jonathan. That's a good idear, ain't it? Especially since Fine might know a way to stop Jor-El, the man who KILLED YOUR UNBORN CHILD, TORTURED YOUR SON, and just generally did a lot of mean and dag nasty evil things.

    Pa Kent then goes off on a rant about how every Kryptonian they've ever seen has hurt them. He is then countered very pointedly by Martha, telling him that they've only seen a few Kryptonians in action, and that they can't judge a whole people by the actions of a few.

    Am I the only one who saw an undercurrent of critique for the American regard of the Islamic and Muslim tradition there? The way that we unconsciously and subconsciously and sometimes consciously pound on Arabs for their Islamic and Muslim tradition when less than a quarter of all Arabs are actually members of the nation of Islam?

    In this case, it's the mid-western values pumping the Kryptonians because most of them that they see "appear" to be terrorist in nature. Am I crazy there?

    As anyone in the US post-9/11 can attest, the urge of the media and America is to profile, (nobility of that notion regardless and not to be discussed here) and I saw a subtle criticism there, hidden in the dialogue, a criticism I enjoyed, because Superman very much believes the best of people, and is loathe to judge anyone based on how they look.

    Subtle, but really neat.

    Mom starts doing the "I whizzed on the electric fence", falling over and clutching her left shoulder. Clark doesn't really do too much about it, even though he has x-ray vision. I think it would have been neat to have him look in the arm, check it out, and say, "Hmm. Doesn't look like usual human diseases I've seen.", especially given that they've established a few times that he has telescopic vision.

    Say it with me, now:

    AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES!

    I realize I do that unconsciously now, and some of you who just jumped on this season have no idea what it means. To clue you in, it's a reference to going to the hospital, something that happens constantly in the show, contrasted with the movie Kung Pow. There's a guy in the movie who everyone hates because he has squeaky shoes, and they make squeaking noise all the time, so they see him and say, "Again with the squeaky shoes!". They also trained him bad. As a joke.

    I like how the doctors just let it go, pat. "Well, she's technically fine, there's nothing we can do about it.". No tests, no observations, no curiosity. Eh.

    Pa pulls Clark aside and pointedly asks if he knows what's going on. Clark doesn't tell him about the whole, "Someone you know will die!" affair. Which is odd, considering he just told his dad something he'd been hiding, and didn't really get in much trouble. And odder still, considering that when he later tells Pa, Pa doesn't get mad. And odderest still because last time he didn't tell his father about what he was doing with regards to Jor-El, he KILLED HIS YOUNGER SIBLING, recall. Or am I the only one that can remember beyond one season?

    And then, the only scene I had a REAL, IE non-surface beef with in the whole lot. Lionel and Chloe in the Planet.

    Lionel is just THERE. Chloe has no restraining order? He tried to KILL HER. The world thought he DID.

    She says, calmly, without a hint of fright, "Mr. LuthER, what are you doing here?"

    Lionel then hands her flowers and says, "Hey, old chum!"

    Minus the old chum part, but Chloe still seems taken in. Is this like one of those, "I know he beats me, but I love him!" kind of things? I mean, what the HECK is she doing even talking to this guy? Ridiculous! And I can't believe the writers are just doing this without any kind of bridge. There's letting go of the secrets and lies because no one wants to see that stupid whining any more, and there's just having Lionel and Chloe friends again after he tries to kill her.

    FLOWERS?

    You know, I saw flowers get my dad out of a lot of doghouse situations growing up, but never ATTEMPTED MURDER! And last time I tried to murder my grandma for being insolent, I not only had to buy her flowers, I had to rub her canker with mentholatum. And old ladies forgive easily!

    Lionel brandishes a paper, exclaiming that Chloe is backwater. Strange. I didn't know she'd written any more than the one article. So now she's not the info line, she's writing articles? They should be clear about this.

    Lionel tantalizes her with a great story, about a guy who can super-speed, a guy who can shoot fire from his eyes. This is supposed to be a great, tense scene, and it is, at least until he says he's talking about Fine. Then you realize that there's no way he could know about Fine's powers at all, really, in any way that Lex wouldn't know, and Lex remains ignorant.

    You can argue he has access to Warehouse 15 and the video cameras, but HOW? He has no money. He has no influence. He was just in prison for murder six months ago, and Lex liquidated his assets. He just got out of the insane asylum. This is crap.

    Even BEYOND the crazy fact that Lionel knows all of this (and how?), he's now working FOR Lex? Last episode, he didn't want his son to come to power (however odd that was) because he felt he wasn't ready for it. Well, what's stopping Lex from coming to power? Jonathan Kent's candidacy and Milton Fine's digging.

    So why out Fine?

    The obvious answer, and what they want to get you speculating, is that this is the Jor-El part of Lionel working to stop Brainiac. If it is, this was not made clear at all, so I don't buy it.

    Cut to an extraordinarily cool scene, making up totally for the Lionel scene.

    Fine explains that Jor-El tortured dissidents, and was a violent dictator. Zod, the hero of the people, tried to stop him, and Jor-El destroyed the planet.

    The funny thing is that this explains all of Jor-El's actions and gives Clark a firm perspective as to why his father treats him the way he does.

    The sad thing is that it's a complete fabrication by Brainiac, and we're still somehow supposed to believe Jor-El saved the people and was a good guy at the end of the show. But it's still a really great deception.

    Doesn't change the fact that Jor-El and his machinations KILLED A GIRL (who killed innocents in his name), KILLED AN UNBORN CHILD, and recently THREATENED TO KILL A MEMBER OF CLARK'S FAMILY. Not to mention he pressured Clark into a three month bender in Metropolis.

    Bruce Kanin, who you may know as a guy whose reviews I read of the show over email, had a few good barbs about this scene. The first being that Clark knew that the two guys who attacked him in the premiere were calling themselves the "Disciples of Zod", right? And if not, Lana would have told him. So why would he suddenly buy Brainiac's tale of Zod's beneficence without question?

    Bruce also believes that the reason that Jor-El is such a mean guy in the series is because of the fact that he's really Zod in disguise. My reaction to that after this episode is that I wish it were true, but I don't see how it can be. Otherwise, why wouldn't Brainiac just plug into the Fortress to extract Zod (who would make it open up if he were Jor-El)?

    Still, I understand the line of thought. Jor-El IS acting like a malevolent and evil dictator who wishes to control the mind and thoughts of Clark.

    It brings up the whole terrorism issue again, as I see it, pointing out the dichotomy between one man's terrorist and another man's freedom fighter.

    The ironic thing is that it undermines the positive earlier message not to judge a book by it's cover. Sorry, Clark. Fine IS a terrorist.

    Still, I like the idea of a villain thinking they're doing good. It gives them a strong and plausible motivation (Hello Vader. Hello Palpatine.).

    Do I like the idea of Brainiac being an Eradicator-like stooge of Zod? I don't, really. I think that Brainiac as a character is an entity that believes itself superior to all, Kryptonians and humans alike. I think they should have made the Brainiac character the Eradicator. But then, they never really named him as Brainiac either, aside from Milton Fine, and Kara was hardly Supergirl, now, was she?

    Word is that Brainiac will become a series regular. I hope not. I really hope not. They're going to do what they did with Lionel and Lois. Take a REALLY GREAT story and, instead of bringing it to its logical conclusion, stretch it for as long as they can in the hopes of mining the one good experience they had with that character instead of using other characters to find new ones.

    Remember when Lionel was just a guest star?

    Remember when Lois was just a guest star?

    Remember when Spike was just a guest star?

    Now, if Brainiac is still around, how much longer do you think it'll take to get to Zod?

    In the next scene, Fine suggests that they hold Kryptonite on Martha's wounds to make her feel better.

    It makes sense. Kryptonian disease would probably be effected by Kryptonite. Question, though. How does a guy who came from Krypton before it exploded know all about the properties of an element that didn't come into existence until Krypton exploded and he (presumably) went into stasis?

    Clark finally tells his father about the whole exchange of death things, and Pa doesn't get mad. He just tells his son to go fix it. Well, that was anti-climactic. And it reiterated something we already knew. Clark could have told his father at any time, and holding it back was just a pathetic way to create arbitrary drama that failed.

    Clark goes to the Fortress to confront Jor-El.

    Jor-El says, "I didn't hurt Martha. You turned your back on me!"

    Which subtly implies that Jor-El did it. But see, that's not how people talk. Especially programmed people.

    In real life, Clark says, "Jor-El, why are you killing my mother!"

    Jor-El AI: "What 'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?"

    And what is this "You turned your back on me!" crap? He was late for an appointment. There's no clear reason for Jor-El to be threatening Clark.

    Lionel walks into the Luthor living room unmolested.

    Lex: "Oh, hey, dad. I know you tried to kill me last year, but hey, I'm sure you're just here to heckle me until I turn my back and say something stern. Carry on."

    Lionel then hints about Warehouse 15, which he can't possibly know about, Lex plays it cool, typical insensate scene with Lionel since season four.

    Cut to a scene that makes up for it. Chloe, in a trenchcoat, following Fine to figure out what the heck he's doing. Which is, if you'll note, Chloe doing Chloe's role, not Lois.

    They've been very good about that this year, and kept Lois and Chloe very distinctive entities. I'm pleased with how they're doing that this year as opposed to last year.

    Clark and his mother sit together and have a firm, loving "My heart will go on" type of conversation. A lot of people say this scene was incredibly touching, as the one where she enjoys the rain in the end. Personally, and I know this is gonna tick someone off, but feh, I found it to be contrived and I actually got distracted watching it because it was a very typical and contrived monologue.

    "You...will...you...must...go...on...without me!" Even though you know there's no way she's going to die. If not from reading spoilers (my way) then from the fact that even if there were no spoilers, you think they'd pass up an opportunity to snag viewers by saying, "TONIGHT, SOMEONE TAKES A DIRT NAP. SPONSORED BY FORD."

    Nay, I say! So all of her lines were weighted by the fact that you know they're for naught. This is much the same problem that comes with focusing any real tension on the fact that Clark is dying. Oh, really? You think he's gonna die? We're supposed to worry about that?

    That's the problem with an industry run on spoilers and commercialism. No drama without you knowing it's coming, and only three times a year.

    DEMAND BETTER.

    There's also the fact that when she said, "You're a man now.", I got all giggly thinking of DVDA's song from Orgazmo, "Now You're A Man!"

    Some of you get it. Others are scratching their heads. That's okay. Use the magical internet.

    You think LIONEL walking in on Chloe was weird, imagine LOIS, instead of phoning, driving all the way to Metropolis to see Chloe.

    What was her budget? Oh yeah. 150 bucks overdrawn each month.

    Add into that, this month alone, five trips to Metropolis. A three hour drive costs, in a luxury sedan, approximately 60 bucks in gas. That's another 300 bucks over budget this month alone. Add the cost of Nicorette in there, girl, you're in collections!

    Now THAT would be an excuse to strip dance I would buy.

    And boy, would I.

    ZING! Here all week. Well, actually, the next show isn't until December, but that doesn't change the fact that I'd pay to see Erica naked.

    Curses! I just said my inner monologue, didn't I? No, wait, that's what this whole thing is.

    To carry on the madness, the reason Lois goes to Metropolis is to further her own passive aggressive ends. Lex Luthor steps on her pride and tells her the truth (dropouts generally end up in crappy, low-pay jobs), so instead of confronting him about it (because she can't), she goes to the people she KNOWS to use sway she personally LACKS to tear him down publicly.

    Which is, let's say, not an example of what a good feminist icon would do in my opinion, and certainly not a character trait I can identify with.

    Chloe: LuthERcorp. X2.

    Chloe and Lois, on Lois's whim to destroy Lex, and on Chloe's trail to find Fine's secret, drive all the way BACK to Smallville, Lex's Warehouse 15 (which must be near Smallville, because there's no way they could have transported it to Metropolis).

    That's another 60 bucks.

    And hey, if you're Chloe, all of the budget numbers Lois had apply, except, of course, there's an extra cost for the big city dorm room and commute.

    Then we cut STRAIGHT to shilling, and it continues for five minutes.

    A gag is when Lois drives up and the guy says, "Nice car!" and she vrooms, and Chloe runs in.

    A shill is when they do the "Nice car!" joke five times, they guy sits in it, says, "My, what an exterior! Kickin' stereo! Look! Places to put things!"

    And then they show the car busting through barricades without so much as a dent in the hood.

    Ladies and gentlemen, OLD SPICE RED FORD FUSION!

    Inept guard: "Snap! I saw you at the strip club! That's a kickin' car, yo! What is it?"

    Lois (VROOOOOM): "It's an Old Spice Red Ford Fusion!"

    Inept guard: "Old Spice Red Ford Fusion!"

    Lois: "Awesome stereo in this Old Spice Red Ford Fusion!" (VROOOM!)

    Inept guard: "That's bouncin'! Kickin'! Sorry. I'm out of R and B words to appropriate."

    (VRRRRRRRRRROOOOOM!) Lois: "An Old Spice Red Ford Fusion, kickin' it with the mad beats of an artist I guess you can't guess."

    Cut to commercial: "WANT AN OLD SPICE RED FORD FUSION? TELL US THE NAME OF THAT SONG!"

    Wicked Games. Originally by Chris Isaac, now by some putz emo kid with his thumb up his butt hoping to capitalize despite his lack of talent.

    Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, that's a cover band. Taking a once-popular one-hit wonder and re-releasing it with minor changes to boost meager album sales...that's desperation.

    But hey, if you want the car, I did the research. The cover is by the band HIM, which created Bam Margera's heartagram. So it's not an emo band, but it is a putzish faux punk poser band with their thumb up their butts.

    Which, you know, is just so uber-hip that my 11 year-old sister wanted one.

    Ah, you know, punk's not dead. But it has sold out.

    If they wanted my approval in that scene, they should have played NOFX's "Please Play This Song on the Radio", unedited.

    Inept guard (one more time): "My, Lois, what an awesome, status inspiring OLD SPICE RED FORD FUSION!"

    Lois: "Just goes to show you, doesn't matter if you're sinking into bankruptcy as long as you look RADICAL, DUDE!"

    Then she punches him out, grabs Chloe, and makes for, well, Metropolis again, presumably, because they only took HER car. Sigh.

    Now, this is a VERY SPECIAL indictable offense, because not only does it show that there are only two guards watching after the PRICELESS spaceship, and that an eighteen-year-old can break whatever locks they have on the place in seconds.

    And that one guard on the inside can't even hold onto her long enough to stop her from escaping!

    So get this. Breaking and entering for Chloe, and assault for both of them on the poor guards who were only doing their jobs. Lois gets the implausible one-punch KO, they hit the last number, and move to the road.

    Bad enough that they do these things...but now they have a PAINSTAKING description of the SUSPECT VEHICLE. Dur.

    All of this hides the really cool thing that happened in this scene. Fine materializing, grabbing his evil black crystal, and moving on, so Chloe knows he's a fink. Amazing that with all those powers he didn't see or hear the commotion above.

    Even more amazing that Lex Luthor doesn't have a stinking camera on his priceless ship. Or at least a posted guard with kung fu training. You know Luthor's gotta have some ninjas somewhere. Luthorcorp ninja division, used in dispatching anyone who says the man's name wrong.

    Clark finds Fine in his classroom, which is strange, given that professors get their own offices, but whatever.

    Fine tells Clark he has to destroy the Fortress. Another point where Clark should have questioned, because Fine makes a big deal about wanting to preserve the Kryptonian heritage, and here he suggests smashing about all that's left.

    I wonder, at this point, in the notes, if Clark is gonna kill all the Tusken Raiders if his mother dies. As I recall, Luthor did.

    They head off to the Fortress, where Milton hands him a black crystal.

    I had this insane, giggly thought in my head at this point. I was wondering why, if Jor-El just talks to Clark out of the blue in the Fortress, he didn't say something while Clark was trying to destroy the Fortress, like:

    "Hey, quit it, you d*$k!"

    "Daisy....daiiiiiiiiiiissssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee..."

    "Et tu, Spike!"

    "I'm the Supreme Chancellor! You can't do this!"

    "I'm afraid I can't allow that, Dave."

    "Dori origato, Mr. Roboto. Now I'll never have to meet Lana."

    "This is MY WORLD, Mr. Anderson! MY WORLD!"

    "Why do you do this when you know I'll only kill someone you love for it?"

    "Very well, Brainiac, ruler of Australia!"

    To say nothing of the ENDLESS jokes that I can barely hint at without being beaten to death involving a phallic cylinder and a fortress of contrasting colors and intentions. Is that vague enough? I hope so.

    They all start with, "So a formerly bleach-blond AI and the dumbest man in the planet walk in to the Fortress of Solitude. Ouch."

    This is when the action ramps up, and we get our payoff for waiting through the last five episodes. Brainiac turns the trick, pastes Clark with the K, sets him down, and starts IMMEDIATELY calling Zod. Though it smacked of the overly elaborate death. Let's leave him on the altar and not poke his brains out while he's vulnerable, m'kay?

    There's also the fact that Brainaic, theoretically, if he has biological Kryptonian powers like Clark, should be vulnerable to K. Or am I nuts? And he practically dances with it.

    ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!

    You ba-

    Well, anyway, you get the point. Put up Zod, and then take him away? I'll...I'll...I will NEVER BUY A FORD FUSION NOW! NEVER! You will bring back Zod, Al Gough! Both you, and then one day, YOUR HEIRS!

    I thought we were about to walk into the single coolest Smallville ever, and then...

    LEXMAS.

    KILL ME! Al Gough, you just made Kryptonian Jesus cry.

    Great lines: "Created by Kryptonians, but a whole lot smarter."

    Well, at least that's ONE thing on Earth, as opposed to Kal.

    "You will free Zod!"

    YES! NOW DO IT, YOU...YOU...NYAH!

    "Welcome to our new home, General Zod!"

    YES! WELCOME! TERRORIZE SOME HICKS! CATCH A MISSILE! MISNOMER THE PLANET TO HOUSTON! BLACK JUMPSUITS! THE MARLBORO TRUCK AND THE SPINNING AND THE FRISBEE MANHOLE COVER, BLOW ME A KISS AND THE HANDSHAKE! BRING IT OOOOOON!

    My note: "Woot! Now THERE is my season!"

    Zod's red-eyed face comes close to the portal, starts smiling, and then, well, CHLOE screws it up.

    Chloe, you're on notice.

    A lot of people really crapped on the fight, but I thought it very cool. The Fortress breaking down was well done, and it's obvious they saved up some budget for this one. The fight broke into slow motion a lot, but that's nice. It shows how people would fight at super-speed. There is no co-swinging a tree here, and my note reads:

    "Finally, a good fight?"

    But it was, alas, just a few good, hard blows and then Spike...meet pole.

    Still, we haven't seen anything like that, and it was really, really cool.

    Why does the ship disappear? That doesn't make much sense, really. I'm sure it'll all be explained later. Uh, yeah. Like how Swann got the key. Yeah. Later.

    Then there's Shelby, the aforementioned hokey Marthark, a Chlark, your basic kissy-kissy wrapup section that really could be filled with some more action.

    Lex and Lionel snipe at each other over the loss of the ship. Lex accuses Lionel of bribery though Lex knows he HAS NO CASH. Go figure.

    The first Chlois went well, showing the inkling of Lois's future self emergent, and finally, a reason why she'd want to start getting into journalism. They're handling it well. The line about Lex wanting to rule the world was another cliche, for humor in-joke, but since there's no corollary between being a senator and ruling the world, only the president, it clunks.

    Then the Jonathark, with a complete rebuke of an earlier scene.

    Clark tells Jonathan that he feels bad because he believed what Brainiac told him.

    Jonathan says, it's okay, "I would have done the same."

    But...uh...earlier, wasn't he suggesting not to trust Brainiac in the middle of saving Martha? He wouldn't, and didn't do the same.

    Then the minimalist preview for Lexmas. Lex...twirling a pen.

    Excitement! Almost as exciting as an OLD SPICE RED FORD FUSION!

    All in all, though, inconsistencies aside, there's no freak, no Lana, all mythos moving forward, a decent fight, character development for Jor-El (will this ever be resolved?), and even, you could argue, Lois.

    I can't complain much. 4.5 of 5.

    SUPER SHORT REVIEW

    YES! WELCOME! TERRORIZE SOME HICKS! CATCH A MISSILE! MISNOMER THE PLANET TO HOUSTON! BLACK JUMPSUITS! THE MARLBORO TRUCK AND THE SPINNING AND THE FRISBEE MANHOLE COVER, BLOW ME A KISS AND THE HANDSHAKE! BRING IT OOOOOON!

    (That's all I really care about here.)

    OLD SPICE RED FORD FUSION (wicked games?)

    4.5 of 5.

    LETTERS!

    I'm in bold, because otherwise, I feel naked.

    Juan Ricardo Lopez wrote:

    Hey Neal, again great review!

    The song from the last scene from "splinter"

    Moby - Homeward Angel

    Album: Hotel

    Juan Ricardo Lopez

    (Kalibak)

    Thankee! I've been listening to it since I got your letter last week. Awesome song! I finished my first novel to Moby's "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters". Nice theme for DeNiro, too I think he and Eminem should cage fight. I like both.

    james nechleba wrote:

    neal, this critique...was off, because this episode WAS GREAT. your nitpicks have reached epic proportions of just not being able to hold a suspension of disbelief. yes, lana gets around despite having no income to speak of; yeah, the roommate thing is fishy.

    Wait, so then my criticisms are right?

    I understand what you're saying though. But still, I stress, as I always have, that I can very easily suspend disbelief, I just need a rational, cogent framework. Smallville often fails to offer that.

    this constant criticism of general things that don't truly matter (honestly, how does it hurt the show in the fact that lana goes to see lex, without explanation of transportation? i notice that nobody ever goes to the bathroom too, but you never seem to mention poop)

    It does matter, though, because it pulls me out of the show if I actually sit back and say, "Hey, I don't drive all the way to Bellingham to talk with my friends when I'm angry at them. I call them. This is fake!". If she walked in saying, "I tried and tried to call you, but I couldn't get ahold of you, so I had to come all the way here, Mr. Clean!" that'd be different.

    is effecting the rest of your review unfairly in this case. It felt like you were trying to type up something without truly thinking about it...almost as if you wrote this while watching the episode.

    That's actually the idea. That's why I take notes, so I can summarily go through the episode in order. I've been doing that for three years now. As for not thinking about it, well, that's something a lot of people wish I would do, but I can't.

    clark doesn't look into the box that lana recieves. he just sticks his hand in.

    silver k cut him...but then again, we learn that silver k DOESN'T ACTUALLY EXIST because at the end of the episode, we see Milton Fine draining the silver off the rock back into himself. it was probably a program of his own creation.

    So how did it cut him?

    Fine is a LIAR. he's not a kryptonian; we've seen this from the fact that he emerged as a pile of goo, and stabbed a man with said goo. BRAINIAC is an AI. perhaps in this incarnation, they are taking cues from superman: the animated series on his origins.

    I agree.

    roll with it.

    I disagree. If I did that, my review would be nothing at all. But don't feel bad. People have been asking me to do that for five years now.

    I mean...i know the show was bad fourth season (i'm die hard) but give the writers a bit of credit. Can't you see that Fine orchastrated the whole thing in order to win over clark's trust? GREAT play on power, and i'm sure it will come to a head later in the season.

    Agreed. I loved the Fine thing, I had no problems with that story, really.

    I'm pretty die-hard, too, btw. How many of your friends have written (lord help me) some 700 pages plus on Smallville, not counting business?

    something small...LIONEL never offered mr kent money...he gave jonathan banking slips from lex's campaign; sort of a heads up on what he may be fighting against, or even some leverage.

    I know. I noted that.

    in the interest of injustice of review, i ask that you watch this episode again.

    In fact, it might surprise you, but I did. My feelings are much the same.

    Shafi S wrote:

    Hey Neal,

    I hope you don't get annoyed by thanking you everytime I write. Thanks again

    Nah. Thank you in return, though.

    After watching Splinter I realized well this is not our Superman. And never will be. Well wait In Superman: Birthright graphic novel which I bought (its good sometimes depend on how you look at it). BOth ALfred GOugh and MILES MIller give an intro on the book saying how good it is.

    I imagine they probably would, given their wanton attitude towards continuity. I love the story, myself, but the continuity doesn't fit into current Supes. If they reconcile it, I don't even mind it as an origin. Problem? It's been two years, no reconciliation, and by the time they make it sensible, will people even remember it?

    It got me well thinking. I guess they will maybe that origin to explain how smallville's supes became THE SUPES. Well I guess its me.

    They might at that. I know they just used a piece of it last episode.

    Neal, The KO Count IS ONE OF THE COOLEST AND FUNNEST THING I EVER READ!

    Thank you. That's one of the best responses to it I've ever read!

    Besides my other complaints. I can't to seem to get why can't they get other comic book writers to write the show besides Jeph Loeb. They can get Brian AZZAROLLO (I think I spelled his name wrong. Sorry). Mark Waid or Mark Miller for a nice touch on changing Superman in Superman: Red Son. Hell lets even put Byran Singer into the mix and his writers.

    I can tell you what I think. I think that people who do comics have respect for their art and their work, much more so than TV folk. I say this because there's a heck of a lot less pay in comics, but there's a heck of a lot more work involved. I also say it because if they said, "Hey, Neal. Write me a show." and at the same time, "Hey Neal, write me a comic for ten times less!", I'd go for the comic. And if I go for it, that's the popularity death-mark for serious work. At least, thusfar. Comic work like this? Hey, I can make it work. No one will buy the novels, though.

    Even though I disagree with some of the stuff Azzarello and Waid do, I still regard them with a lot more respect than the guys who take the TV route. TV, to me, is a less serious, less well put together medium for the masses, not the thinkers.

    Loeb is in the unique position of having written movies before comics so I exempt him. Actually, part of what makes him good is the tv showmanship he brings to the literary medium of comics. A rare success, and quite a good one. And to be honest, I think he was a lot of the heart of what made seasons two and three so good.

    And hey, if Rucka wrote Smallville, he wouldn't be writing Adventures, so I'd definitely balk at that, even for a better Smallville. To each their medium, I say.

    Sorry for going off topic besides Smallville. Well James Masters is giving me hope and I guess he is the best villian so far in the show. I can't give Lex any credit yet hes not a meglomanic yet.

    But he's mean to short-order coffee waitresses who accuse him of being dirty!

    Going off topic just this one last time.

    I know the feeling.

    When I was watching Lois and Clark. It got me thinking once again. On how Lana should go. But now I wish her to be booted off in the 100th episode yeesh. Because he can find someone better. IT annoys me that he always has to put lana as his love of his life.

    You think they'll kill Lana? But she's so amazing!

    I also don't get that Chloe is exactly (with a tiny little difference) like Lois if lois wasn't in the series Chloe would be a Lois copy. ANd it makes a person think on how he fell in love with *cough* Lana and Chloe. ANd later falling in love with LOis and ditching LANA????

    Yeah.

    Thanks for reading Neal and putting it on the quotes.

    Any time.

    P.S I dont'get on how people complain on how you write your reviews I don't see anybody body else (besides Doug hes cool I like his reviews too) doing it. Sure the star trek stuff was confusing, but thats how you write Neal you gave it some thought and did it. Oh well I guess everybody is different thanks again.

    Well, here's my theory. There are message boards. There are free websites. Sith rules. If any of these guys want to work to gain the audience I've just accumulated without really seeking it, if any of these guys want to petition Steve to take my place, they can feel free to try. Usually, they just want to write me a mean couple of words, and they never expect me to reply. They don't see me as human, they see me as typed words on a regular basis. They also write before thinking, something that though it seems like I don't do, I really do quite often. Except in writing that last sentence, but hey, I've been writing for seven and a half hours now, I'll have to be excused.

    There's also the prevailing thought (I see it more in America than in my international letters, to be honest) that if you disagree with someone it's a fruitful thing to attempt to write them and tell them to change their mind as opposed to simply allowing their voice to be out there with yours and ignoring it if you don't like it.

    People are always saying, "Man, we gotta stop Bill O'Reilly!" (a guy I disagree with on a number of things), but never, in a MILLION years would I suggest that he not be allowed his voice, or write him a letter asking him to stop, no matter how much I hated him. It seems to be unique to the internet, for the most part, in my experience.

    Anonymity helps morons grow bold. And criticism isn't constructive criticism. Thankfully, most people are cool or constructive, like you.

    Shafi S.

    Jim Smith wrote:

    Neal

    Sometimes I wonder if everyone is watching the same show. Maybe the writers are smarter than we are giving them credit for. For me its come down to two things. I am seeing things no one else is or I am an idiot.

    I think that everyone is watching a different show, actually. Meaning, they take it differently.

    You wrote "I'm still grappling with why someone has to die because of the lost powers." Nobody has to die because of lost powers. Someone has to die because Clark was returned to life. Nature demands it, the balance must be maintained.

    That's like me asking, "So, what's God?" and then you say, "God is love!" and then I say, "What's Love!" and you say, "Love is God!".

    Why does someone have to die because of the lost powers? Because nature demands it, the balance must be maintained! My response: Why does nature demand that another being die when one comes back to life? That's like saying every time I use Neosporin someone's cut should immediately fester and get infected.

    Lionel, until its come right out and said that he is not I still believe that Jor-El has control of him. His character has gone to far to the right side of the line even when compaired to his "change" last season. Could I be wrong, sure but I have to see it to believe.

    You are right. They're just being kind of subtle (read, unclear) about it.

    Fine/Brainiac, is not the Eradicator. The Eradicator did not "flip out" until Kal El refused to toe the line so to speak. The Eradicator wanted him to take his place as ruler of the earth. It was not until Clark refused that path that it tried to take him down. I loved that story arc in the comics. But anyway, Smallville. Think about what Fine told Clark in the barn. A few lies with a touch of the truth. "I am here to stop what is coming". As of right now all thats coming is Clarks role as protector, hero, what ever.

    Brainiac took the place of the animated series Eradicator, essentially. That's what I meant. Good call on the quote, though.

    Think about the class room at the begining. This was not about Clark and Lex but rather Clark and Fine. All the examples he gave were people of power that were betrayed by someone lesser than them that craved power them self or just wanted to take it away. Lex could move to New York, L.A. or Boston and he would be powerfull. Lex is already in a place of power. He could never see Clark again yet still have it. He has the money, fame and every thing that goes with it.

    Fine on the other hand. Hitched a ride on a ship from a doomed planet. He is doing all that he can to get in bed with Clark. I am with you in this, I am your friend. Blah, blah, blah, kiss, kiss, kiss. You can guess what he is kissing. In the end, Fine will be the "betrayer" of Clark. Because he wants what Clark has or to stop him from getting everything that is coming Clark's way.

    Agreed.

    As for the powers, I don't think they were true "kryptonian" powers. The splinter was just a small part of Brainiac. I think he was mimicing his powers. The blast from the eyes, shouldn't that have burned up jacket 69 and red t-shirt 107? Hell who knows. Maybe I am giving them, the writers to much credit. Maybe you are right and I am wrong.

    I think it's whichever show you're watching. The one where you don't care, or the one where you do. I watch the one where I do. :)

    Anyway, thanks for the time Neal. I wasn't trying to bash you, just maybe getting you to look at things in a different light.

    No problem. Understood. And thanks!

    Take Care

    Kyle Monroe wrote:

    Just a funny little thing I noticed last episode...when Lex shows Lana Fine's spaceship, he tells her that it is frictionless, he then proceeds to lean against it...now, I'm no physics major, but I believe something that is frictionless would be pretty hard to rest against...

    I think that means that Lex is frictionless. That's his krypto-power. That's why his body is totally hairless. I'm no physics major, but I think two frictionless objects put together at rest would not...HELP! WILL!

    Xalax wrote:

    Hey Mr. Bailey, Xalax once again.....got some things to tell inform you.

    Coolsville, daddy-o.

    I was just reading your review on Splinter when it got me thinking of some things. You wrote about lana traveling back and forth from Smallville to Metropolis and burning alot of gas, which you're right. But what i'm getting at is mess-ups the show gives off. This is something I like to call "Hmmmm". Pertaining to this topic, how far is Smallville exactly?! Everyone in the show always says 3 hours, yet in "Truth" Pete slips and tells Chloe that Clark's running to Metropolis for coneys. Her reply: "You're driving 6 hours to Metropolis for hotdogs?!" Hmmmm.....Guess the show doesn't even know how far Metropolis is.

    I agree. It's convoluted, because they think no one cares. Surprise on them! Some people do.

    Besides that, I thought that Metropolis was like the New York of the Superman universe. Since when is it in the same freakin' state.(Note: If someone was to think that they're not in the same state on Smallville then look at "Exodus". At the end Clark takes the bike and drive down the road that reveals that Metropolis is at the end of it. Plus, Kansas to NY isn't a 3 hr drive.)

    Yepper.

    Getting back to things....lets move on to Lana. Her strange heritage happenings SHOULDN"T be happening. Lana is a Lang, a last name given to her by her actual step-father because remember Henry Small is Lanas' biological father. So here we have the episode "Relic" in which Lanas' great aunt Louisse, who is kin on the Lang side, looks identical to Lana. Not possible since not related. Next we have the infamous Margaret Isabella Thoreau who is of french descent to the Langs. As seen in flashbacks of the past, she also looks identical to Lana. Once again, not possible since not related. After all, Lana's not really a Lang, she's a Small. Hmmm....

    I'm cross-eyed. And I had repressed those memories!

    You know what Mr. Bailey?....Well, you get it.

    Thank you. What's the cure?

    Anyhoo, lastely I wanted to comment on your thought of Brainiac actually being Eradicator....I don't think so. Here's what i'm assuming: Since Dr Fine seems to think that humans are inferior and that kryptonians are superior(keep in mind his plan to turn Earth to another Krypton according to Al Goughs'interviews), I think that Fine is just an artificial life-form who is infatuated with his makers. He was created and devoloped on Krypton so I see him as a Data from Star Trek hind of character. He knows he's really a computer but desperately wants to just be considered a kryptonian, much like Data wanting to be human...And that's what I got for ya...

    I like that idea, actually.

    Oh, yeah before I forget, you wouldn't happen to go by the screen name "Touchdown" on Kryptonsites' message boards do you? Thanks for reading....-Xalax-

    Nay. On Kryptonsite I believe I go under scotttreadwell, but I rarely, if ever post to message boards, for two reason. One, people sometimes consider me an authority, so when I say something, it gets taken a lot more personally or a lot more antagonistically than I mean it to be. Even on this site. And two, because if I had time to be goofing on message boards, I'd be through all of the kind letters I get that don't have "Publish me!" on them. Or I'd be finishing my fifth novel. Or my next comic. Or my audio serial. Or movie reviews for Felix. Or old school reviews here. In other words, I don't play too much. Why? That person claiming to be me?

    Also, any time you want me on a message board, folks, feel free to send me a link. I address posts, no problem, I just tend not to cruise boards as much.

    p.s. As for publishing the letter...i'll let that be your decision. I won't be hurt if you choose not to.

    Ye won't be hurt either way...unless you work for the monkeys.

    Dark.Shingo a.k.a. Anthony wrote:

    First, thanks for posting my mail on the review page. Guess the little check box works.

    More or less. But read the fine print. YOUR SOUL IS MINE!

    One word for Episode 7: I SAW THAT COMING!

    Yes.

    Ok, those were 4 words, sue me.

    ISAWTHATCOMING!

    I mean, you don't have to be genius after Lex says 3 times "i did it to protect you" to know he has feelings for Lana. I saw that coming since the season's premiere (ok, since i'm not up to date with all seasons and all, maybe this happened A LONG TIME BEFORE, but i just figured out).

    Yeah, it's really beating the obvious horse with the plot bat.

    And the emphasis on "I'll die before telling your secret". I almost saw the clouds opening and the lightspot over Chloe, with a premonition-tear on Clark's eye and the rest of the cast waving good byes in the back... ¬¬ Seriously, if they do that, i quit watching the show. (BTW, agree, great shots of Chloe this week. Please, swear she's not gonna use that dress of the last episode again, it was awful and made her arms look so fat.)

    I would put Chloe on the death list before Jonathan. But I don't know.

    To be honest, the first 5 minutes after the end of the show i still was feeling like "ok, things are getting better". But, you know, the after-taste... My subconscious screaming, pointing at the flaws... Cannot hide it anymore. Yeah, the ridiculous explanations for everything that Clark did... Paranoia & superpowers? I wish i could lay my hands on some meteorites.

    That's about where I typically am in the slump between sweeps and finale and premiere.

    My friend watched the episode before i did, so he asked me about silver kryptonite. I was like "well, that used to happen in the silver age, lot of kryptonite colors with silly effects... They did that on the show?". Seeing how they played it... awful. First of all, Brainiac used to be computer-like. No kryptonian. And no kryptonite-generator. And you thougt Infinite Crisis messed up things.

    It's all on the internet. Promise.

    (BTW, it's just me, or Ms. Kreuk lately is not looking good? I mean... she used to be cute. Now there's something on her face, well, i dunno. Maybe it's that i'm so Chloe-centered. )

    I was never really attracted to Mrs. Kreuk, particularly. But then, I can tell you, what attraction I have is almost always negated by pouting, whining, passive aggression, or general stuck-uppedness.

    And, oh, the moment... Clark running at super-speed away from the K. I was like "the hell he never did that before!!!" He's life has been on the edge several times and NOW that he's not in danger, HE CAN RUN!

    [*faint]

    Heh.

    There's this anime series called Saint Seiya. On the very first episodes, their armors got damaged, and to repair them, they need to spend HALF their blood over it so the armor can be revived. Dangerous! The series goes on, and the next time, the armors literaly are blown to pieces. Only a few drops of blood and presto! o.O That's the same feeling i got seeing Clark running away from Kryptonite...

    I've been told to watch that show...never had the time.

    Believe me, i'm losing interest in Smallville. Really! Chloe keeps me going on, but if she goes, i'm gone too. Hard to keep watching if they do awful filler episodes and cheap main ones.

    Have faith. Season four taught me that.

    Any predictions? Read you around, my pleasure as always.

    Thanks. My prediction? For the end of the season: Chloe, dead. Brainiac a regular. Clark and Lana broken up in the last episode, because Lana's in love with Lex for some reason.

    P.S. Neil, YOU are amazing! ^^

    You're gonna throw me down the stairs, aren't you?

    Dark.Shingo a.k.a. Anthony wrote:

    Ow, ow, ow... sorry! My mistake! NEAL, not NEIL.

    And you wonder where I get my Luthor LuthER mania?

    Blame me, sue me, burn me! I'm so sorry. I hope you understand. See ya.

    I do. I keed. I really don't mind.

    Bruce Kanin wrote:

    Re: SPLINTER.

    I didn't notice Lana having NASA-like drawings in her dorm room. Good spot. So we're saying now that because she witnessed the spaceship landing, she's obsessed with Astronomy and such? Well, perhaps if she thinks it's all connected to her parents' death, years ago (per Lex), I could possibly buy this twisted angle. Better than some of the other contrived nonsense.

    She was obsessed...until now.

    It continues to be a pleasure to read reviews written by someone who is a Student of Superman, Star Wars, Seinfeld AND Star Trek (re: KHAN!!!! Or the Jewish version (I can say this as I am of this ilk): KAHN!!!!!)

    I prefer KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANIN!

    Bet the poor red truck is back next week - if the Kents can afford to buy Clark a cell phone, it follows (using SMALLVILLE logic) that they can get him a new pickup truck (OK, insurance will pay for it - the Kents must have the expensive premium options - must be, since they can also afford to PAY FOR PA KENT'S ELECTION CAMPAIGN!!?!?).

    Old Spice Red Farm Truck?

    You mentioned the bit about "no mountains in the scenery". A couple of years ago, I took a road trip to where they film SMALLVILLE, which is in southwestern British Columbia, near Vancouver. If you face southwest, you'll see farms and wheatfields that look just like Kansas. But, oops, if you point the camera east or north, as my fellow former Brooklynites are fond of saying - fgedaboudit - you get the huge snow-capped Cascade mountain ranges and all sorts of alpine forests in view. Ain't Kansas no mo.

    I'm pretty close to there. I and my buddy Will were thinking about storming the castle two or three years ago...one of these days!

    You talk about the final scene, between Clark and Fine. My friend Michael Eichner nicely observed that Fine may not in fact be Brainiac, but the Eradicator. And so do you. And that's OK by me. The Eradicator is a lesser known villain for many Superman fans - let's face it, Brainiac was around in the Silver Age and "modern" ages; the Eradicator, only in "recent" years (post-Byrne). But I'll take him - he's sinister enough for me. A Clark-Eradicator-Lex triangle of good & evil will be interesting - already has.

    I'll take any or all. They're great on this show so far.

    I disagree that the show is sinking to Season Four depths. The illogic and inconsistencies from Season Four are certainly there - but there is still a level of foreboding - not only via "who's gonna die?" but in terms of Fine, The Ship, the Legion of Super-Zods - and also the presence of the Fortress - that make this season still better than Four, and maybe Three. At least The Cave, The Tatoos, The Teagues and all the other nonsense is gone (um, they have "new" nonsense). They seem to be accelerating towards something major in the Superman historical timeline, which is "fine" (LOL) by me. Of course, this show could royally screw things up when they get there.

    At least the nonsense is now awesome nonsense. I actually, having seen this scene, think the show is doing at LEAST season three quality, so far, on the episodes that shine. Four or five good out of 8? Not too bad.

    And thanks again for the reference (buddy). I didn't hit the check box for last week's review - nothing profane or profound to say, but you included me anyway. Appreciate it.

    I include what catches my eye...and you've got a better eye for details than I do. Honestly.

    May the force live long and prosper, up up and away with you, not that there's anything wrong with it,

    Bruce

    Yep.

    Zach wrote:

    Hey Neal,

    Thanks for publishing my last letter.

    Sure.

    After having mailed my last letter I realized I still had more questions. First, I was wondering why the writers of Superman(probably Smallvile too) could have such a great imagination of coming up with an invincible alien, but continue to use people with the initials L.L. (Lex Luthor, Lionel Luthor, Lana Lang, Lois Lane, Lucy Lane, Lucas Luthor). It might be they just like using the initials, but there are other names out there?

    There is an official urban myth about it, as I recall. You're forgetting Lena Luthor, Lori Lemaris, and my favorite, Lefrench LeLana, who appeared for two or three episodes last season. It's just a kind of tradition.

    Also, just happened to notice from Thirst that Buffy and her crew had tans... I thought, you know, vampires would die if they were in the sun, and even a tanning bed. I've seen some Dracula, and the vampires were pale after one to a hundred years in the shadows (I know Buffy and her slaves have only had their powers for a few years, but that's all it takes to lose some color).

    Awesome catch! I hadn't thought of that. But that's because, uh, they're from bats, not vampires...er...

    True, it could've been that lame spray on stuff, but just doesn't seem to paint the image that they're the undead. I also would like to know from "Hidden" why didn't Lana wonder the following: How Clark was alive, how he got from the hospital to the farm after being shot, and why was he wearing different clothes that were charred (I like how they didn't burn all they way to hint that Clark has that aurora thing)?

    You and me both.

    Another thing, it seems that the writers greatly condensed the distance from Smallville to Metropolis. I thought that Metropolis was on the coast, so how can one travel from Kansas to the coast and back and back again in less than a day without having to explain one's methods of travel to thier friends? Oh yeah, it's Smallville that's why! No one is surprised to see their friend's or loved ones travel across the country to see them without calling and saying so ahead of time (I would be surprised even if they were coming from a neighboring state). Then I noticed a lot of mistakes and had many WHAT moments in "Splinter," I was confused at times to where they were going with the story, especially how Chloe appeared (because this is Smallville and know one has taken Algebra 1 to know how long it takes from someone to go from point A to point B at a rate of whatever) at the Kent's with K in her hand and knew what was going on, and then Clark manages to run by her... not really the first time they messed up, remember when the Zod goon was able to throw a table or whatever to cover up the entrance to a room filled with Kryptonite... still puzzles me.

    You and me both, I say again!

    Then how Lana managed to get to Lex's again and again from Metropolis (Algebra) to yell at Lex... I do believe there are phones in this world, but wait this is Smallville! Don't need phones, NO! Phones bad! Have to travel cross country to yell at someone just to have bad drama. Yes! Bad drama good! Then there's where Lex asks Lana to help him open the ship because she saw it open... It's like me being able to fly a jet with no experience, but I'm able to because I've seen an air show before. If Lex really wants to now how to open a space ship just go to Area 51, they seemed to have been able to, just look at them Stealth Bombers they made after a few decades of Roswell coverups. And of course the appearance of Fine at the Luthor house... HOW did he know where Clark was! And Lex needs a new security system or something because anyone can get in. How come he never has a rush of guards running to his aid? There are a lot of guards (supposedly) there so you think they'd all rush toward the scene of the crime, or maybe they don't because they don't like Lex that much and get paid minimal wage. I did enjoy Fine's display (I noticed after Clark threw him across the room and Fine got up, I could see the actual robot Brainiac face as he used super speed to get up, kinda of like and after image effect), but the Splinter was too big. I also did enjoy how Fine claimed he was a Kryptonian because it could be all just to gain more trust from Clark.

    Likewise. I wish they'd gone a little farther with it, but hey.

    That's all I have to say anyway. I agree to your statement how it already feels like it's mid-season episodes. Substorys are the only thing keeping me in, and just praying that the battle between Clark and Brainiac happens soon. Keep up with the GOOD reviews (Love everyone one of them)!

    Thanks!

    Matt Armstrong wrote:

    Hiya Neal! Even though most of the characters are written to be dumber than a bag of hammers, I did enjoy Splinter. Not IMMENSLEY, but it wasn't as painful as others because of a couple of bits of self-referential humor that took the sting away. What I fear is that, like the FotW, the writers will begin to rely on it to keep people from noticing that the writers are idiots.

    Heh. They're not idiots, they just don't get continuity as well as they could.

    (Pitch meeting: Hey, next week, let's have Clark do a double-take at the mounts in the background and Lex wonder aloud why he doesn't have brain damage when he wakes up from being knocked out! Brilliant! Hyuk!)

    :)

    You pointed out the size of the freakin' rock that Fine pulled from Clark's finger to his should and out through his skin without leaving a mark. I have a theory that Fine gave Lana the Silver K so it would make Clark nuts in order to gain his trust. What we then need to ponder is how long Fine has known Clark = Kal-El (good grief, who doesn't?) and how he could possibly have engineered Clark's exposure to it by giving it to Lana. (Purple crayon?) Seems to be a bit of a Rube Goldberg way of going about it. Fine must want Clark's allegiance for some evil plan... this honestly is what's keeping me going. I hope Fine is a Whedon-esque Big Bad; I figure if you're going steal ideas, steal the good ones.

    You mean like Spike?

    I enjoyed Fine's (albeit hallucinatory) question to Clark: "Do you someone who can track down a license plate number?" Here, I said aloud, " Why, yes! As a matter of fact I DO know someone who can track down a license plate number!" I counted this bit as self-referential humor, especially since it was immediately followed by Chloe "Super Haxx0r" Sullivan jacking on to the Intar-Webs. It may not have been intentional, but I laughed.

    Heh. It was convenient.

    I also have a theory about Lionel. I think he is not just grooming Lex to be a ruthless businessman, but a SUPERVILLIAN. He must be trained in the ways for the dark side, which is why he must run against the good and pure Jonathan Kent for the Senate. He must learn how to CRUSH the good, honest, wholesome, hard working people of the earth, and wear green and purple Spandex! Jonathan, on the other hand, as you pointed out, should know better. Well, he wasn't the SMART Duke, y'know.

    But then he tries to stop Lex...a bit out of character.

    The only thing this episode was missing (besides a coherent plot and character development, of course) was Lois In A Bikini. I missed the Chloevage.

    Ah, objectification!

    Good luck!

    Matt

    Thanks.

    SCOTTY V wrote:

    Hey there Neal. I already wrote regarding "Splinter" but now that I have read your review I wanted to mention a few of your points and tell you what I thought.

    1) I watched the opening scene and I actually thought Lana was doing Astronomy homework. Are you just speculating or is it really clear and obvious that she's somehow tracked the ship? If it is, wow I don't know how I missed it. I was probably talking during the opening scene. All I remember seeing is the POV on a computer screen and then moving away into Lana. Wow.

    I took astronomy, and I never had to chart a decaying orbit. That's rough stuff.

    2) Clark is stupid enough to touch the Kryptonite. Did we KNOW at this point that it was Kryptonite? If so, I wonder if Clark was just shocked to see that it didn't effect him at all. He knows that red K will change his thinking and personality when he's near it. Green will start to kill him he also knows so perhaps the idea that nothing happens at all fools him into complacency so that he grabs the rock. Not necessarily a great idea but I bought his curiosity.

    Good point.

    3) Cell phones. I've never seen Clark have or use a cellphone before now. I'm thinking this entire scene was imagined. I'd like to be able to say that we'll know once we see the Kent truck all fine and dandily repaired next week but we all know that's not the case. The unfortunate thing about this episode, as I already mentioned in my first letter, is that we really have to simply guess what happened and what didn't. I'm going to say, for the sake of sanity, that Clark hallucinated the whole truck accident and cell phone call. If that's the case then the seat belt wouldn't matter, neither would the damage to the truck or the cellphone. Clark never uses or has the phone again so I think that's plausible. Of course, if he whips it out as we move on with the season, that theory will be crap. The seat belt isn't that strange really. I didn't even notice it but if it did happen the way you said: this guy's Superman. He could simply breath and break out of any restraint so that it might not be noticeable that he did anything special to do it.

    You're too kind to the writers...the phone was there. As for the belt, it didn't snap off, it was OFF off.

    4) I'm gonna give Clark a pass on not mentioning his problem as he's under the influence and suffering a hallucinagen sickness. Who knows what he's thinking or feeling or who, if anyone, he's ever really talking to. In fact, I'd really just like to write this entire episode off as being completely in Clark's mind until the very end scenes. From when Clark enters the mansion to the closing credits happened. Everything else, not. Even the scenes Clark's not in! But alas, we probably can't do that. Anyway, here's to hoping after Martha survives next week that Clark comes clean. He can say something like he was so concerned about the threat from Jor-El that he's never said anything because he didn't want to burden his family with worry and concern over who it might be.

    Fair enough. He didn't talk the next episode until later, though.

    5) "I know how to kill you" and "3 people know about my abilities." I can't tell you how quickly I talked about this with my wife. Maybe he could have said "3 people who I want to know, know." Or "Jeez Chloe, I WISH only three people knew about my abilities." But again, Clark IS hallucinating so perhaps he's not thinking clearly about ANYTHING.

    No doubt.

    6) Fine being followed too and why didn't he liquidate. We are told later by Fine that he hasn't seen Clark in a week so we know that conversation never happened. Or that Fine is lying. Either way, since we know that Clark isn't really being hounded by anyone, except Fine, we know that he's lying anyway and that no one is really chasing him. Therefore the point becomes moot.

    Sure.

    7) Jonathan's conversation with Lionel. I would like to be able to say that the show explained away any concerns we might have with this but we know darn well we can't. But since we do know that this is a show about hallicinations, I believe this entire scene was imagined. Jonathan could have been in the barn alone. Or he could have been talking to Martha or a HORSE for that matter. Clark was simply seeing things. In his overly paranoid, hallucinigenic state, he saw Lionel talking to his father when in fact, it never happened. Is this clearly the case? No it isn't but it is a possibility.

    Ah, but the slips of paper were real...

    8) Chloe corresponding with Lionel. She's trying to be a reporter. She's also trying to find out who she can really trust and right now, she doesn't trust either of the Luthors. She might not be giving Clark all the info, but I think she (or the Lois from current comics) will always play both sides when trying to figure something out. Chloe may not be trusting everything Lionel says but any information she gets will be helpful in one way or another.

    Yeah, but you don't play both sides with guys who want you dead.

    9) Clark attacks the Kents. I HAVE to believe this scene was all in his mind. Looks like it probably wasn't but it's the only way it makes sense. He's hallucinating that they're all against him. Because later it isn't even brought up. Clark would be immensely guilt about punching his mohter and choking Jonathan. I think in one of the final scenes in the kitchen Clark would say something like: "But Mom I could have killed you guys" and then Martha would have told him it wasn't his fault. Instead she just says it wasn't nonchalantly and the attack his never mentioned and Clark doesn't apologize. Plus the words that they say to him are off so I would say it's all imagined. Then he superspeeds past Chloe. This again tells me that the entire scene was in his mind. At least in my mind. The show doesn't do a good enough job explaining that away but that's why dream episodes are really rough to do.

    I think it was real.

    10) Clark says he hears Chloe and then Superspeeds right in front of Lana. I think he just says "she's coming," Lana says "who?" Clark then says "Chloe," and Lana looks away, down at a paper in her hand or something and then yes, Clark superspeeds away. I would say she didn't see him directly although he did disappear so yes it would seem strange. But Lana makes a sufficient baffled face before Chloe comes in. The same way Chloe has done for years when Clark would do that to her. As far as knowing Chloe was coming, Clark could just know. Perhaps he knew she was following him or that she was on the way down the hall. If the scene at the Kent home didn't actually happen, which I theorize, then we're also clear on Chloe taking another trip. However, she does mention that the Kents are looking for him in Smallville and that she came to look here. Chloe could have learned about Clark running off and acting weird through a phone call. I know I'm making alot of my own leaps here but the show doesn't give me any definites and I like these better anyway. This could also mean this scene in the dorm ALSO doesn't happen, which would save Lana seveal trips, or that it does happen and Chloe is simply helping the Kents but that the previous Kryptonite scene was still imagined.

    I think it happened. I can't rationalize for them.

    11) Bearing in mind how it later turns out, Lex doesn't question how Clark didn't anything because he was enhanced by an unnatural chemical that others are often enhanced by in Smallville. You also mention that Lex would test it. Lex doesn't have it. Fine took the sliver and the rock and was gone before anyone even knew he was there. Therefore Lex wouldn't be able to test and prove or disprove anything.

    True.

    12) I thought the backround music was really weird. I bring this up because yes I noticed how off it was too. You say you liked it but I found it a little too lilting or happy or electronic or something. It didn't seem to fit the mood or the series at all. I could see it in that end scene of the original Star Trek show where Kirk makes a joke at McCoy's expense and everyone on the bridge laughs as the silly music plays and we pull away from the bridge to the exterior of the sip and...cue credits, but not for this scene in Smallville.

    Heh. I just like that Moby instrumental stuff. I'm weird that way.

    13) Clark lies about the infection burning itself out. Right now it's left as an untruth yes, but at the time Clark figured he imagined that part. This gives further credibility to the idea that Clark could have had several scenes during this episode with people that weren't even actually there. I know he thought he was imagining this because when he talks to Fine later he says: "What are you doing here?" When Fine calls him Kal-El Clark says: "So I didn't imagine that part?" Fine tells him no he did not. That scene is the last time we see Clark in this episode so he could still inform his parents. Also there is something to be said for a hero trying to handle his problems on his own before burdening his weak-hearted father and loving mother with heresay.

    Yeah, but there's also something to be said for a hero not warning his family that murder is on the way.

    14) Fine neutralizes the K. After this scene my wife and I talked about it because I wasn't exactly sure what had happened. My wife suggested her take on it as being something different than what I thought. My idea was, as you suggested, that he appeared to simply neutralize it. The confusion I had with it was that it appeared Fine had sucked something away from the Kryptonite yes, but that his hand had oozified and the reformed as well. Michelle, my wife, suggested her take on it was that it looked like Fine put a part of himself onto the rock and therefore was somehow influencing Clark himself. I'm not sure what this would accomplish for him but I'm also not sure what purposely infecting Clark with something he created would do for him either. It's an interesting theory and course of invents so I'm very interested to see how it plays out.

    Alas, it's just never covered. :(

    15) Not really Brainiac you say? I didn't think of this though it might be cool if all the rumors and slipped ideas weren't true. I could sand it though if he weren't Brainiac, but he has to be since he has the name and all.

    Yeah. It was never really covered, oddly.

    Have a good one,

    Scotty V

    Likewise.

    Scott Klein wrote:

    "Also, Fine as a Kryptonian is a bit off unless, as I'm now suspecting, he's not gonna be Brainiac, but instead the Eradicator."

    Or perhaps he just lied to Clark to get closer to him, it seems from the preview for next week that his ultimate goal is to manipulate Clark into A. Handing over the keys to the Fortress of Solitude, or B. Destroying it and whatever remnants of Jor-El would still exist to help Clark battle the evil supercomputer. I don't think they're setting him up to be the Eradicator at all, I mean just look at the things he does, how he manipulates towards an ultimate goal. The Eradicator never manipulated, when it assumed the role of one of the "four" Supermen it simply did it's thing, it didn't try to trick people, or manipulate them towards not trusting friends and family.

    I meant pre-reign Eradicator...where he tries to make Clark think he needs to be the Nietzsche style Superman.

    Brainiac, however, does. Like in "Our Worlds at War" when he manipulates them into giving him the power of Imperiex and tries to destroy Earth and Apokolips to "upgrade". All these questionable character traits are part of Brainiac and not The Eradicator. Granted at one point the Eradicator did try to change who Clark was, but as I recall there was a mind control gimmick or something of that sort, not subtle manipulation.

    Yeah.

    Obviously the silver kryptonite was never real kryptonite to begin with, it was just a rock with some Brainiac goo turned solid on it. This is why at the end of the episode, Fine changes it back to a normal rock and reabsorbs the little bits of him back into his hand(not something the Eradicator would or could do if I'm not mistaken).

    I'm not sure, actually.

    In short, I don't think there is any trick going on here. Brainiac set Clark up by sending that rock, he's testing his nemesis since this is their first encounter. There is no, and never was any silver kryptonite in Smallville, Brainiac made a fake rock(which still doesn't explain how it cut Clark, or affected his mind) and at the end, after he's achieved his mission and gained Clarks trust by exposing his "secret" of being another Kryptonian(Also Brainiac was a Kryptonian Computer, doesn't that make him Kryptonian anyway, granted not genetically, but as a sentient computer from Krypton wouldn't that entitle him to some claim of Kryptonian heritage, so why the skepticism?) he has Clark where he wants him, trusting him, even though he will turn out to be one of Superman's greatest foes. I'm just curious in this show Neal, why you would assume Fine was telling the truth, or at least not bending it, and jump to a hasty conclusion that he's not longer Brainiac and instead a more obscure character that most people in the demographic would not know that well outside of the Death of Superman series.

    I guess I should have clarified that I meant he is ACTING more like Eradicator, and that he will play that role, as opposed to acting like Brainiac, which is traditionally the borg in one body.

    Great review as always, I just felt compelled to comment on the whole Silver K and Brainiac being kryptonian criticisms, because they do explain the nature of the Silver K, and Brainiac is Kryptonian.

    Thanks!

    Kevin wrote:

    Just a couple random thoughts I'd like to toss out...

    1) In my opinion, the greatest travesty in Smallville in thus far, in terms of continuity, is the miraculous healing of Clark's gunshot wound this season. Many things can be explained away, but not so with this one.

    It's pretty bad.

    For example, we could say that the "police" who immediately arrived on the scene when the black spaceship landed were actually employees of Lex. It stands to reason that given the resources and interest that he has, that he could have assembled a team to go and recover the ship. It could also be explained that the government was trying to cover up the discovery of the ship in an X-Files/Area 51 type of scenario.

    Many similar stretches could be made for various situations that have arisen in Smallville, but for Clark to be shot, be seen in the hospital with said wound, and in the VERY NEXT episode be gallavanting around at Crater Lake with NO SHIRT on and no wound was absolutely idiotic.

    Yes.

    2) Regarding the life that was exchanged for Clark's. I'm reaching here, but I do have a novel concept that I'm going to mention. But, first, there are some people that we'll have to rule out. Ma and Pa Kent certainly aren't going to be dying any time soon, and Lois is safe. This leaves us with the following possibilities: Lana, Pete (not likely) or Chloe. Although Chloe isn't really doing anything noteworthy, she is currently filling the Pete roll. Besides that, she's already "died" on the show once. It's simply seems improbable that Pete will be brought back to the show just for him to be killed off...that really wouldn't serve any purpose as far as plotlines are concerned, and since this is supposed to be someone Clark loves...I don't see it.

    That leaves us with Lana. But, will they really go as far as to kill off her character?

    It would be bold. They have not been bold with anything save killing Chloe. I don't believe they will.

    What if they already have?

    What I'm referring to is Thirst. Lana DID die in Thirst. What if it's revealed that Jor-El found a way around the requirement that someone's life force be exchanged for Clark's?

    Maybe. But I doubt they'd be that smart about it.

    David Khattak wrote:

    "David, face it, you're amazing"

    My god, thank you so much for tha-

    Wait....are you saying I'm a vacuous Lana-bot, trying to be frumpily casual in my geeky anaylsis of the show whilst competing against your other letter writers to win a place as your "rite on" right hand frat bunkmate?!

    Nay! I am merely sharing a comraderie in our mutual hatred for Lana while tossing you a compliment.

    As for a frat bunkmate, for that you have to bring me Al Gough. But not dead, just mostly drained.

    ...and...I won?! [sniffle] Hurrahs!

    You're awesome. I concede.

    I haven't watched the last 2 eps. Yep, pole dancing in Us flag pantie[DUBBLEYOU]ho[ARRRR]es doesn't get the blood racing as much as well written 25 year old bald guys semi-flirting with their farmboys over Indian caves

    and other dark spaces.

    You're forgetting the island.

    That means this and Lost (though I'd never liked Lost; too X-files rehash than attempt at storytelling] are now part of my experiemnt of reading the highlights rather than subjecting me to Lana-talk or Jungle Hide&Seek.

    Until I see a "kick-BUTTONIA" review to an ep I realy couldn't be bothered. I admit i'm intrested in Brainiac/Eradiacator/ET/Mr Dreyfuss's intentions.

    Interesting plan...but bear in mind, I'm not always right. I think.

    But, with this latest episode, it shines as an example of a writer getting the "opportunity" to go crazy and write a skittish "paranoid" storyline. I wonder how much they'll commit themselves to the various revelations in the weeks to come. Or are we in another snowglobe?!

    [Writers shake it]

    [As snow settles he begins making notes]

    "I see...I see....a fiery young woman....dancing round

    a pole...."

    And Bob Newhart.

    honestly, as you ponder, and I splutter, how can these writers spend so much time writing and miss golden opportunities to further the story?! I'm afraid i'd class myself as amateur amateur writer (but if I had someone like you to write the words.... well I'd avoid doing a "lucas" but anyway!) but if it went back to a proper forntline throughline.

    Even CSI style which infuriates me with it's simplicity -

    ("Hmm, loks like an Afro-Caribean youth was here. Hey, that guys mouthing off. I'm now going to pout and say things like "blood stains tell no lies"")

    Which is why I generally abhor TV.

    - episodes that realized they're 19 year olds and should be in search of their origins/futures. They could even, shock horror, get ironic in an amateur sense by showing how Clark is looking for his past, whilst the humans around him are looking to their futures!

    Also, why don't we see Clarke checking out his new ice palace (cheap jokes about "heh, CG costs too much" aside); is it because you can't get cable at the north pole?!

    It's because it wasn't the last episode before break yet. Sigh.

    [Clark pops a few beers in the snow outside/Sunny D for the PG-13 crowd]

    [Comes in and begins cutting fake diamonds from his father's heirloom and selling them to the Canadians as a mark up]

    The show seems to be becoming so utterly fractured. Too much "right, now we're in Lex's mansion where it's all going off, and now in the barn and now in the Talon...er...what other sets have we...er.... oh Lionel's office!"

    And we're all talking SO dramatically with our backs turned!

    [Lionel's office]

    [Chloe and Lana's beds in the corner and remnants of their slumber party [purer-than-thou thus acts like naive schoolgirls] with My Lttle Pony lying about]

    "Hey, isn't that nice LuthORcorp sold their HQ for apartments?!"

    It feels like it's so impatient to rattle through the plot that it can't let a scene 'settle', though in Aquaman, despite some frenzied goings on it was a comparatively 'calm' episode not flitting around with *quite* as more inconsequential episodes such as

    Buffy's "Supes up" ep.

    Yes.

    That one nearly gave me an epileptic fit with the amount of chasing about the locations! Desperate to establish the never-to-be-seen again expensive frat-house set and goings on in Kanasas/chloe's dorm, and all the while lighter-than-air "you're fantastic" musings!

    Which still raise bile.

    honestly, the writers have forgotten what it's like to be 19! I suggest they based Lana on Paris Hilton... I'm wondering if there is any way to refute that! Oh god... it actually feels so *right*!

    Only Paris Hilton has a job on the Simple Life.

    -Unlimited wealth

    -Stuck up

    -Purer-than-thou (well...Mr.PhoneCamera might have something to say)

    ARGH! What next?! clark becomes her stupid vacuous suitor?! [gulp] Wait...

    Yepper.

    Anyway, as you know, when you're 19, yes you can still be slightly OTT and sometimes still childish in some of your decisions but really, university, well here in the UK anyway, is a serious affair and by that time in your life you're just about mature enough to be acting a hell of a lot more seriously than these Smallville kids are getting on.

    When I was 18 I wrote my first novel, moved out, and I'd had a job for 6 straight years. I was working 60 hour weeks until I left for college, and I worked for four of five years of college, incurring debt the one year I took off, the only year, I might add, since I was 13.

    You can very much be mature at that age. But I agree, most aren't.

    As you say, who do you know who has a friend who was a witch/vampire (two ridiculous "magic" beings that hsould never have entered the "universe" of Smallville) or one whose got a job in a major newspaper (granted that was sort of addressed but the hiring was..unusual) and one who caused his mother to miscarry, come from an alien planet, have a friendly 25 yr old sponser but RAILS against them all (lying to parents, hating Lex etc etc) yet puts up with a female-chauvanist and doesn't look into his ice castle

    unless it has cable?!

    Just my buddy Clark, but he's...HEY!

    [sigh]

    All thoughts drummed up by reading your colomns.

    Neal, face it, you're amazing!

    Thankee-sai!

    Definately wasn't being snarky, in case it came across that way, when I mentioned the "Msg 1 of 1082" commment!

    Just making sure. I am extraordinarily paranoid and angry at myself for how long it takes me to get back to folks. I justify it with the "Well, you gotta write a novel!" excuse, but it's still a sore spot.

    It was a [rather flat] joke, so apologies.

    I'll forgive you for that if you forgive me for treating you like Lana. ;)

    On another note, the horrible idea of "sweeps" in the US sends chills down the spine. I'm unaware of anythign like that herein the UK and thank god!

    It sucks. And rules, alternatively. It's weird. You'd think they'd just expect tv to be good all the time.

    Surely, instead of measuring viewing figures over a condensed distorted period of time in the TV calandar, they should jsut analyse data throughout the year like here?!

    Great minds.

    It serves to affect quality as writers either pile in to flesh out storylines, or par them down so viewers can be picked up easily.

    Smallville obviously falls in the later unfortunately and having just watched Batman Begins I just wish they could do a re-reboot of Smallville!

    Wait fifteen years.

    I'm guessing you could always add one point to your scores if you think about the show as brand new to the post-OC crowd....

    Generally it's a rule that the newer you are to the show, the better it will seem, because of no basis of comparison.

    Anywho, I think, as we flounder between measuring the various Shark-Jumpings we've been served with recently, it'd be a GREAT time to hear another fan-story from

    you. Okay, it's more involved than just putting in the request and you firing one off (!) but in about 4 weeks, when I begin forgetting Smallville's even being aired in the US I'm sure you, a person more clued in and head-scrwed-on than other viewers.

    Okay. But bear in mind I'm on hour 8.5 now.

    Clark is riding the tractor in the field when the tractor collapses. He gets out, examining it. Pa Kent comes over to examine it, and they realize that it's broken. Clark suggests he go get the part, but Pa Kent tells him they haven't got the cash.

    Inside, Ma Kent is crying as they walk in. The bills are due. There's no cash.

    Focus on Clark's face. He's thinking.

    CREDITS.

    Clark runs to Chloe's dorm, where she's up to her nose in homework. Clark explains the situation. Chloe offers to get Clark on the Planet staff, but he declines, wanting to earn what he gets for himself. Chloe hugs him, he departs.

    Outside, we see him looking around to make sure the coast is clear. He listens, and we hear the sound of spraypaint, and a FWOOSH!

    Clark super-speeds to a lab, where he finds a group of kids releasing animals and spraypainting messages on the wall. It's group of domestic terrorists.

    They laugh at him, toss a few flashbangs his way, and run out the door. The place is already coated top to bottom in gas, and the lab explodes.

    Outside, Clark pulls debris over himself and lays down to wait for the police so as not to expose his secret. He uses his telescopic vision, however, and gets a good look at one of the culprits.

    The next day, Clark is working in the field, listening as before, then tilling by hand, taking up great gouts of land with his bare hands.

    He stops, hearing someone coming. He goes to investigate. It's a nice car. The leader of the gang steps out, walking over to Clark.

    Clark asks how the man found him, and he holds up the school newspaper, explaining that Clark survived the accident with only minor injuries.

    The man explains that he knows that Clark knows what he did, but there's no evidence, they destroyed it, and he has an alibi. He also explains that he believes he is doing right, stopping animal testing. The only tie is Clark.

    The man explains that he is the rich son of a senator (say the other senator for Kansas), and can do certain things if he talks. Chloe? Dead. Martha? Dead. Jonathan? Dead.

    So he suggests a truce. He'll anonymously pay for the damage, and give Clark a hundred thousand dollars, in exchange for Clark keeping his mouth shut.

    He pops in his car and drives off.

    Clark tells his parents, who stand on principle that he has to go to the police, no matter what the threat. Clark points out the cash would save the farm, that the man is repairing the damage, and that maybe they'd be taking resources from a villain.

    The Kents stand firm. Clark grows angry with how hard it is to do the right thing, and wonders why the rich are allowed to be evil while they have nothing and have to be good.

    Pan to Shelby.

    He super-speeds off to the fortress, where he sits, thinking. Jor-El speaks to him, asks him what's going on. He explains. Jor-El relates that the prosperous always torture the weak, but the poor always have integrity. Jor-El suggests seeking an alternate solution, that things are not always as black and white as they seem.

    Clark goes to the mansion. Lex lets him in. They glare at each other. Instead of hurling an accusation, Clark says he's come to understand that there are shades of grey to situations. He explains that he just sees Lex acting in a way that's not right, even if he feels his actions are appropriate. They talk about AC. They talk about the ship. They talk about several things that never get talked about, and put Lex's position into perspective.

    Clark tells Lex what's going on without naming names, and says, "Part of the problem with us right now Lex, is that I can feel I can come to you and ask, "What is this guy thinking."".

    Lex tells him sometimes it's better to take the cash. Sometimes it's better to make the ends justify the means. He says that he only knows what the guy is thinking because of the fact that he's a realist, whereas Clark is an idealist, and pragmatism, while nice and shiny, often fails in the face of real-life problems. Lex suggests that it's clear as crystal. He has to take the money and end it. The brat son of a senator is going to go on doing what he's doing. The farm will either survive, or fail no matter what, so better to spread the Kent goodness. Lex then offers to pay for the farm, if Clark feels he really can't take the cash.

    Clark stands up, tells Lex that he hasn't been listening to what he's been saying, refuses the money, and leaves.

    Clark calls the man from the terror group and says he's coming to meet with him.

    He goes to the man's penthouse apartment as women and friends are leaving. There are drugs about, and the place is tricked to the nines.

    Clark sits down, the man sits down across from him, and smiles, like the cat that caught the canary. Clark wipes the smile off his face by telling him that he's not taking the money, and that he's turning the man in.

    The man threatens Clark's family. Clark explains that threats don't change what he's done. He stands to walk out. The man sits, staring for a moment, and once Clark has a head start, gets up to chase him out the door.

    The man begins screaming about Clark's naivety, about how he doesn't know what he's just done, how evil will always triumph because good is dumb, you know the drill.

    Clark's forehead furrows as he hears a click, and as he turns, he superspeeds to stop the bullet, but he's unable. The villain from the terror group collapses in a pool of his own blood.

    The gun rattles to the floor. Clark looks up, it's a plain, ordinary woman.

    She explains that she's ready to go to jail, and that she couldn't stop herself from taking revenge on the man that destroyed her life's work at the college.

    Clark walks with slumped shoulders to the Kent farm, at normal speed.

    Inside, Martha and Jonathan reassure him that he's done the right thing, and that he has no fault. They also explain that the community, earlier in the evening, donated what was necessary to keep the farm afloat, mostly because of Martha's volunteering at the Squeaky Shoes Hospital and other good deeds.

    In Lana's apartment, she wakes up, suddenly. There's a black form standing above her. "Everything he loves." It says. "Everything he loves."

    Lana screams. The silhouette dissolves, and it's not the goon from the terror plot.

    It's Brainiac.

    That's one episode. Light on the SFX? Yeah. Less goons being thrown around? Yeah. But it's a moral development for the character, and it straightens up a lot of crooked lines in the progression of story. Overly rich characters, Lex and Clark at odds and then friends, and a villain that really occurs in life.

    Regarding them I do find it perplexing (though not to the extent of berating them for their views!) when people praise the show for some of it's more riseable efforts. but then, it's not the most important thing in life so I think I'll go on with life, only really looking back to Smallville round about the release of Superman Returns (who thnks they'll then bother with decent mythology-talk?!)

    I think it'll be awesome.

    As always nice to read someone who has well spoken views on a collaborative piece of entertianment that is tarnished beyond belief...

    Eh, I still have hope.

    Danielle wrote:

    [/Napoleon Dynamite] Yesssssssssss! [/end Napoleon Dynamite] "The Anakin" ... I am totally adding that to my personal lexicon! /m^_^/m I haven't gotten a chance to see the Season 5 episodes yet - my husband has them, but I was finishing Season 4 (*siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh*), and then we moved, so I've been waiting for things to calm down before I watch them. These reviews are, as always, highly entertaining, though. And any episode with Princess Leia in it is one I have to see. :) Thanks again for the weekly dose of snark ... an essential part of anyone's entertainment diet. :)

    Thankee. It's what I do for fun when I'm not writing serious, serious stuff.

    By the by, I don't know if anyone's ever clarified this ... but how in the world can Clark see Metropolis from Smallville? Isn't Metropolis a coastal town? Is there some Sea of Kansas that I totally missed in geography class? (Yeah, I meant to ask this awhile ago ... sorry about that.)

    Look! A rabbit! Actually, it's just crap.

    Faithful and Entertained Reader,

    Danielle

    Thanks!

    (p.s., I don't know if you read any webcomics, but if you do, you might get a kick out of http://www.dominic-deegan.com ... puns, wit, and a disgruntled oracle - what could be better? Well, besides *good* episodes of "Smallville" ... )

    I'll check it out!

    Chad wrote:

    Hey Neal,

    I have been reading your reviews since season three, and have enjoyed them alot. I like your writing style, funny stuff there. (BTW, I like studying other's writing styles, because I also am trying to be a writer.)

    Thanks! But if you want to be a writer, I would advise not studying me. I'm pretty marginally successful, and not in the areas where I put the most effort.

    Also, know that if you want to learn to write, imitation is the quickest way to lose your voice. Just do it! You can, it's innate, it's easy, and it improves with practice, less with mimickry.

    A couple of things though about this episode that made me decide to finally contact you myself. (Usually I agree with most of what you say, and shrug off the rest as a difference of opinion.)

    No prob.

    First, the Brainiac being a Kryptonion. So far they have been making it seem that Brainiac is trying to get Clark to trust him over anyone else. First he made the Kryptonite and sent it under Lex's signature. That's fine, he doesn't want Clark to trust Lex. Next, I don't think that the Kryptonite cut him so much as Brainiac made it to inject Clark with the sliver, once a Kryptonian touched the rock. Also I think he told Clark that he was Kryptonian as a trick. You figure with a intellect like Fine has, he could emulate Kryptonian abilities so he could make it more believable. My theory is that if Clark thinks Fine is Kryptonian, he will trust him more than his friends or family. This was re-inforced (for me at least), with the conversation he had with Fine at the end of the episode. This obviously is just my theory on the Brainiac story so far. It is just a ploy for Clark's trust.

    Makes sense to me.

    The other thing is I totally agree about the fact that Lana seems to be able to buy and do so many things with so little cash. They should just end it once and for all and say "Your check from Nell came!" or something like that. It just irks me.

    Even that would make it all right by me.

    BTW, I also think Fine was behind the truck running Clark off the road.

    That's be cool!

    Other than that, I enjoy your reviews. Keep it up! I look forward to it every week.

    Until the next time Lana says SECRETS....or LIES!

    Chad

    Thanks!

    Adam H. wrote:

    Neal-

    Greeting again, Neal. As always, I appreciate the reviews.

    And I appreciate the letters! :)

    What's the over/under for when Lana starts accusing Clark of lying again?

    Oh, give or take a few episodes. No odds, because it's 1:1.

    I had similar thoughts about the Eradicator, but I really hope that's not where they're going. We need a major villain (as you pointed out, Lionel is no longer that... could he still be influenced from the Jor-El thing?) and Brainiac could be a good one, and he can offer a much different view than a Lex, or even a Zod can. Plus, I really can't see a complex character from the modern mythos such as the Eradicator being handled very well by the writers.

    Yeah. I was likely wrong.

    You seem to be hung up on the fact that he's from Krypton, but I seem to remember a similar origin for Brainiac from the cartoon series (or he was at least on the planet when it blew up) and it seemed to work reasonably well. Assuming it is still Brainiac, though, I hope they have him stop this nonsense of trying to be good, and just have him be evil. Have him team up with Lex, as that always seems to happen in the comic... with each having their seperate agenda of course.

    Less hung up that he's from Krypton, more that he seems to be Kryptonian in body. Meaning, he can shoot fire from his eyes, but he's not vulnerable to K?

    Speaking of Lex, you made a great comparison to "The Lost Hope." It amazes me that everyone just automatically accuses Lex of being behind everything because, like you said, it's right there in purple crayon. The absurdity is, that in this film, it's the villain making these assumptions and being led astray, but Smallville's trying to make it work the other way around, where the supposed good people are falsely accusing. It kind of disappoints me, too. Lex is supposed to be evil, pure and simple. Sure, he still sees himself as being good, but he's not supposed to be like Anakin in Sith... we're not supposed to sympathize with him and say, "dang, they sure should've shown him a little more trust and care." Lex's story isn't a tragedy.

    I think it is, but in this show, I believe it isn't. I believe it becomes a tragedy in Metropolis. Here, he's just a rich kid.

    Perhaps I missed it, but I haven't seen you discuss Jonathon considering going for senator. Am I missing something, or is this absurd? Where I'm from, a farmer like that wouldn't make the school board, let alone have any shot at the senate at age 40 with no prior experience. Seems a bit far fetched.

    It does to me, as well. Especially considering we haven't seen any campaigning. Probably for the finale, even though elections are in November.

    I also might have missed it this week, but I don't think you mentioned YTMND. I take it nobody's making any. Well, I'm going to try, as my buddy and I are experimenting on how to do things, but we're not the best, and not the most creative, so we'll see. I was wondering if you've made any and know any tricks, like where to get good sounds clips and such.

    Nobody has been making them, alas. I want some!

    I get my soundclips and pics with google, and Barbarosa is a good gif editor.

    Thanks again, and laters.

    -Adam H.

    Thankee.

    Faisal Ali wrote:

    Hello Mr. Bailey,

    I really enjoy reading your reviews of smallville. It's the little things that count, and you catch 'em whereas most people never even notice.

    Thanks!

    I did notice something about this past espisode, "splinter", that I think you missed. When Clark is cut by the silver kryptonite, it appears to be just a scratch. But we later find out that it was a whole splinter. What gives? Well, I don't think it was a splinter. I think it was a piece of Brainiac. What if he is some sort of morphing computer? After all, the first time we see Brainiac, he morphs from that black liquid into Spike. Also, if you'll remember, at the very end of this episode, it appears that the silver coating of the kyrptonite blends back into Brainiac's body, leaving behind a worthless chunk of rock. If this is the case, then the size of the splinter is perfectly reasonable. Not only that, but it means that Clark was being controlled by Brainiac, not infected with some strange disease. And lastly, it also means that there is no such thing as silver kryptonite. It was a part of Brainiac.

    Makes sense to me, in retrospect.

    Just my two cents!

    Keep up the good work!

    Faisal Ali

    Thanks!

    W i l l o w wrote:

    Hi Neal!:

    Hello!

    Thank you for the point out with your "STAR TREK - STRIP-FORMAT" thingy, and of course if I was confused, it was just me. I was really was just skimming through it, thinking it was a very short and momentary paragraph only to find out its actually the entire REVIEW. Not that it matters that much to me, I just went back to re-read it, I am no longer "confuse-ed"!

    Cool!

    ONTO MY LETTER:

    I honestly don't understand why their starting up the whole Lex/Lana relationship ploy. This is the kind of thing you leave to Rabid Lex/Lana fangirls to write up fanfiction to further amuse themselves, but alas, it turns out the writers figured it would be a good idea. Honestly, I thought it was absurd that they revealed Lex's affections toward Lana. Even more so when he said "I can't lie to you anymore Lana,"; I expected this to follow: "I've loved you ever since I laid eyes on you." Lex stepped forward closing the gap between himself and the young woman before him. Lana edged back, her eyes wavering with uncertainty. "Tell me you feel the same." Lex grasped her shoulders lightly, a small smile playing on his lips. Lana shrugged his hand off her shoulder, uncomfortable with his closeness. "I'm sorry Lex, I love Clark. Nothing will ever change that." I was gagging in my seat. On top of that, why would he show her the Ship? It seems awful "un-Lex" like, not to mention this plot would go nowhere and put Lana back into the "Secrets! LIES!" thing you love to comment on. I stick my spiteful tongue out at you writers!

    Yes. Or rather, whoever came up with Lexana.

    The Clark gone crazy was actually entertaining for a little while, the "Silver K" ploy -not and how it had gotten into his blood stream coulda been better utlized, despite the fact that I'm tired of Krypto-rocks already. It would've been more logical to say that particles of the silver-K got into his blood stream, enough of it to cause its crazy-effect. And I do Remember seeing the episode "Shattered" and "Scare" now that you mention it. Despite the slightly "ohh, this is actually interesting" atmosphere that managed to capture me, I spent most of my time laughing at the exploits of the characters as well as Clark, who walked around scratching his ears and the back of his neck. His hallucination concerning Lex speaking to a audience you cannot see, and then the Krytponite gas chamber made me roll my eyes. I couldn't even pity Clark. As time dragged on, I began to get bored by Lana's constant coming back to SMALLVILLE and accusing Lex of lying to her because she finds Clark in a distraught condition. How much gas is she burning in that Family sized Van of hers?

    Enough for the Valdez.

    That silly sound effect that indicated Kryptonite is in the area really messed up the scenes of Clark Delusionous attacked. I would've liked to more if there was no sound indication of Clark's Delusions, thus giving it a more of a reality based sense. Especially When Jonathan said "Your just a thing I found in the corn field," - the sound effect messed that scene up, a scene I was expecting to be the best part of the episode if it were written better and perhaps allowed to drag on if Clark decided to not believe his father with his usual "No! I dont believe you!" response, and Jonathan saying "Believe it Clark--- [insert more hurtful-ness here]." Never happened. I laughed at the paragraph you made when your commented on Chloe storming into the house waving the Green K in her hand at Clark. "Booyah! How you like me now son!?" or something in that order, cracked me up so.

    Cracked me up, too. Any time I can, I say something completely out of character in real life. Keeps things spicy.

    As did your response to peoples questioning your mood when you write your reviews.

    It's the only place I try and have tact, actually.

    The only good part of that scene - Martha's appearance. Yay - she's not AWOL anymore (I shall not mention the other), Clark knocking her across the room (wouldn't she be killed if Clark meant to do that?), and Chole telling the Kents about her knowing of Clark's secret.

    Oh, she'd be dead. But then, pass the hallucination card. I'll take one.

    When did Brainiac become a Kryptonian? I thought he was an alien of a different race or a planet-destroying machine that worked for Krypton in SUPERMAN:TAS' case?

    Long story. Check the Who's Who for the comics version, and you got TAS right.

    I certianly hope he's just lying to gain Clark's trust despite his mistrust of other Krypto-people so far. They better straightens this out. As for Mr. Fine knowing about Clark's origin, he could've examined ---just maybe---, no, wait a minute . . . The Ship was gone when Clark got to the crash Site in "Arrival." There so goes my theory! Spoot! So yeah, there are a lot of confusing things about this Subplot (how did he find out Clark's a Kryptonian, his birth name, and that he was volunerable toward Kryptonite?) - but at least its interesting so far. I loved the X-ray vision Close up on Lana when Clark came up on her just before it went back to normal vision.

    Yeah. It was neat.

    All in all, the best of this episode was the Milton Fine/Clark Kent interaction at the end of the episode. Hopefully, next weeks episode is much better (although it does make me think "Jor-El" has returned and plans to kill Martha, thus bringing up the "Someone you love will die" consequence). We shall see.

    W i l l o w*

    Twas! Thankfully.

    Owen Pearson wrote:

    Neal,

    Normally I just let stuff in Smallville slide and my wife and I make snide comments during the show. Then I'll read your review and get out some frustrations vicariously (loved the ST:TNG thing by the way). But there's a couple things this season that I can't get out of my mind.

    Glad you liked it. Onward!

    First, back to the first episode, with Clark losing his powers. Okay, he had until sunset to get back to the fortress, right. Now, mind you, this takes place at the end of May, following right after last season's ender. So, when the sun goes down in Smallville, he has HOURS(!!!!!) to get back to the arctic before it goes down there!!!!!! DaRNit! The earth is round and has a tilt!

    Good point.

    "LIAR! You will not take Galileo from me!"

    I have a whole article on that on my personal page, actually. Turns out one in five Americans believes that the sun goes around the Earth. Not a joke. Scary.

    Okay, then there's this (and last) week. Jon K. vs Lex L. for the Senate. In an odd numbered year? No wait, the election is in January. JANUARY?!? I've got an idea, let's screw with the political process for arbitrary drama! Besides which, why does anyone care if Lex becomes the junior senator from Kansas? Why would Lex even want it? The only time I bought Luthor running for public office was in JLU. He even acknowledged that he had more power NOT being president. He was just doing it to mess with Superman. 

    My guess is that the election will happen in spring. Mark me. Heh.

    Okay, my ranting is complete, for now.

    You keep writing, I'll keep skimming when I'm supposed to be at work!

    -OP

    Nice. And if you get fired because you're reading my stuff, I will send you a complimentary Old Spice Red Zone.

    Hi Neal,

    As I'm sure someone has already told you...the music you heard playing during the scenes between Lex and Lionel was Moby. I know we spoke earlier about the music in Smallville, Moby has been incorporated into at least three of the episodes thus far. I remember in season two, the episode where Prof. Walden wakes up and searches for Clark, Mark Snow (music coordinator for smallville; also used Moby in X-files episodes) beautifully edited the lryics from a Moby song into the relationship between Lex and Clark. Well, maybe one day you'll see that episode again. I actually saw him live when he came to San Diego, great concert. You want "Play" if you're looking to listen to him, the song from last episode was from his fourth (I think; anyways most recent) album.

    I actually have Play, and I Like to Score...I've been a fan for a bit now.

    Farewell, Patrick

    P.S. Perhaps in your next review, if you read this in time, you could clarify who or what the eradicator is. And does it make any sense to you that Johnathan could consider running for senate? I mean, the finances of the farm, no political or social positons held etc...

    Good call. The Eradicator can be explained here.

    Sara wrote:

    Hey, cutie. How's it going? So I thought I'd e-mail you about your review for "Exposed" before I delve into "Splintered"...

    No problem! Hey, she called me cute! And she's SEEN me in real life. Booya, son, how you like me now????

    So, I have to say that the TiVo gods were against me the day "Exposed" was televised (or maybe with me?) because instead of recording Smallville, I got... DR. PHIL!?!?! I was so PO'd I thought I'd put my foot through my TV. But since I'm spending big $$ on a new computer, I'll wait for the expense of a new TV. I figure I'll read your review and get the jist of it... and feel like I was there! (P.S. Writing this in the Superman Homepage e-mail area, so any typos are just going to have to be dealt with... mainly by me when I read your review where/if this is featured...)

    Ah, don't worry about it. Teh intrenet is full of that kinda thing.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm VERY glad we share quite a few opinions of Smallville and Lois... Erica's a very nice girl and I know that she has quite the fan base, but SERIOUSLY!!!

    Yes. Seriously indeed. She's hot, I give her that, but that only goes so far.

    So the soon-to-be-murdered chick was able to find the change (assuming she didn't have a cell phone with her) to make a call and called... THE DAILY PLANET?!? Seriously? "He's trying to kill me..." and she calls the PLANET??? If you're afraid of being murdered, you dial the free 911 call! If there's someone out there that didn't know that... well, I feel sorry if there's ever an emergency in their vicinity.

    If I know I'm gonna die, I call a 1-900 line. Might as well die happy.

    So, the caller gets mowed down, while in the middle of the street... talking to Lois and Chloe. Riiiiiight... Did Chloe try to take down the license number using her usually keen observation skills? And why were they meeting in the middle of the street? And why would the car bother to swerve? If you're going to kill one, what's wrong with three? (Oh, my head... I need a couple of Advil... OK, I'm good for about five minutes...) Maybe the extra bulk of two more girls would have ruined his tranny or undercarriage or something. I mean, I'm not a mechanic, but I know hitting things with your car is a bad thing.

    Yeah. A lot of problems there.

    I was going to leave the ST:TNG bit alone other than in regards to the episode... but I just wanted to say that if O'Brian was there, the crew shouldn't have made a big dif with Worf being there. After all, O'Brian was there since the beginning of DS9... :D

    True, at that. But after Deep Space Nine, uh, look! A rabbit!

    Told you I was no real Trekkie.

    So, Sawyer drove to Smallville?!? To talk to Luke Duke? How did she know he was there? Or was it to talk to the Kents 'cause they know Luke? Ack!!!

    Might be just so that she could have more screen time.

    I think the Clark-storming-into-the-Manor-and-yelling-at-Lex plot device is getting REALLY old! If I were Lex and had someone only coming to talk to me to yell at me, I'd totally have his name on the "Do Not Admit Under Any Circumstances" list! AND YET, he keeps helping Clark, but the PTB want us to beleive that he's totally evil now?!? ACK!!!!!!

    Or at least make him yell into an intercom.

    And Chloe giggled at Lois's strip tease? Por que? Was she mocking her for having to strip... considering that she made her do it?

    I cannot comment on that matter. The food is good here. Chlois? (BLAM!)

    ::slumps::

    OK, I can't deal. It makes me glad I missed it!

    Sara wrote:

    Hey, cutie! (Oh, just for the big FYI, I'm big into endearments. You're just going to have to suffer through them! ;D)

    If you call me cute, it's no suffering. I've been busting butt on the treadmill for just that reason. 6 miles in an hour merits humility with cutie. Or is that hubris?

    I'm back. I know you're excited. So, I have a thing about the silver kryptonite. I write fan fiction when I need something fun, but relatively brainless to do (i.e. I don't have to develop characters and locations 'cause they're already done for me) and I did some research on kryptonite. According to Wikipedia and the Superman Homepage, silver kryptonite was a hoax perpetuated by Superman's friends in honor of the anniversary of him coming to Earth. Yes, it's the "Silver" anniversary, but really! I can't believe the PTB couldn't do some sort of rudimentary historical research. It took me all of 2 minutes. and that was because I couldn't spell Wikipedia!

    Yep. I knew about it going in, actually.

    They are really pushing this Lana is really a bookworm deep down thing. She, as with everyone else in this show, has an obsessive streak. We all know this. But to say that she all of a sudden has the know-how to portray the decaying orbit of a ship? And how would she know that's the reason why the ship came tumbling down???

    I think it's less everyone, more the gals. They really make the gals "everything to everyone" because, I'm convinced, that's what they think girls want to see. A girl who can do it ALL! The reality being, not showing women as human just leads them to have an obsessive streak. Irony?

    I know that Chloe offered Lana room at her dad's house (and have you ever wondered why the Sullivan's were living in a small apartment when it was the SAFE HOUSE that was blown to bits? But I digress. as usual), but I don't think they're that great of friends. After all, friends don't steel friend's crushes. And Chloe liked Clark LONG before Lana "realized" she did.

    Yes.

    So the silver K came to Lana? Really? From Lex? And supposedly Clark and Lana are still together? Well, unless it SAYS it's kryptonite, why wouldn't Clark touch a big silver rock? Maybe it looked cool. Or maybe it's the Sleeping Beauty theory where he just couldn't help himself.

    I think it's because there were, uh, magnets in the rock. And Clark ate, uh, metal!

    It is suspicious that Clark drove to Metropolis, but wouldn't Lana be suspicious if he didn't have it? And was that really all they did before he started driving home?

    Hmmm...

    Man, that truck of theirs is put through the wringer so many times. How can they afford it? And their insurance? No wonder their farm is having troubles! But I have one point about the cell phone. If Martha is anything like my mom (slightly overprotective) then she could insist that Clark bring the family cell phone to Metropolis in case something happens like the truck breaks down or something. After all, while Clark could carry the truck all the way home at superspeeds, he'd probably be caught and they're cautious about that sometimes. And no cops? Really? How interesting.

    A fair point. Hadn't thought of that. But then, how can the Kents afford a cell?

    Clark, normally, would have told his parents. And he didn't? I mean, I can see (sort of) keeping the old "someone you love is gonna' die" bit away from them, but this?

    Agreed.

    Isn't it interesting how there are a ton of geologist in Smallville? They all know how to render kryptonite down to liquid form and into a form that wouldn't necessarily be immediately fatal. Man, the government's gotta' get down there and take advantage of all that brain power. Oh, wait. That's right. None of them realize that Clark's "special". OK, down one million brain points for that one.

    Apply heat, laugh, and pour it on whatever you need converted.

    You know, that's an extremely good point. Lionel tried to kill her multiple times. but now she's blithely corresponding with him? Que? Como? What the ****?!? Even if Lionel did pull out the "I'm Jor-El" line, we could then up the ante to over three times he's tried to kill her. Why in the world would she want to write to him. have any contact with him at all???

    And then this episode...

    Lana went to visit Lex.? (Sara picks up her jaw that dropped straight on the floor. She tries to go back to typing, but discovers she's going to have to pick out her response now because a hand is needed to keep her jaw in place.) And there's absolutely no bad blood between them? Oh, this ain't good!

    Yeah.

    I knew from near the end of Season 4 that they were going to do a Lex/Lana romance angle. Oh, I could just kill them! Why would Lex stoop to dating this impoverished college girl who has nothing going for her other than her intense ability to be passive aggressive? Grrr.

    She's amazing.

    And he took her to the ship? After she just threatened to huff off? So now Lex is Lana-whipped and so is Clark? Oy! Someone grab me a cool towel. My migraine's cropping up again!

    As is mine.

    Lionel came and talked to Jonathan?!? And Jonathan let him?!? Seriously? No, really. Seriously?!? I suppose I'll take it if it's all Clark-hallucinations, which would explain why everyone's accepted Lionel because he knows that Lionel is Jor-El, but that doesn't explain the Chloe e-mail thing. Hmmm.

    It was very convoluted.

    And you're right. Lionel doesn't have any money or power or anything. Unless he somehow convinced Genevieve to name him as the next in line for her money if her entire family dies within one week of a meteor shower. :D

    I figured. I know Lex wouldn't give him cash.

    Chloe knows "somehow" that Clark's going off the deep end and comes to help? And he can super speed past her with kryptonite? Is he wearing his iron GrrrAnimals? And she tells Jonathan and Martha? Wow! I wonder how they reacted.

    They probably said, "OW! MY HEAD! OW! OWWWWWW!"

    He used his powers in front of Lana? And she doesn't call him on it later? What?!? Does she just assume that a sliver of some random silver rock that we're told is silver kryptonite can imbue such awesome powers?

    Don't make me point to a rabbit!

    So, I'm guessing we're supposed to realize that Brainiac (aka Milton Fine) sent the rock to Lana, aren't we? And isn't it nice how everyone's sooooooo understanding now, but in a week his butt is grass again. (Trying my best to make it so you don't have to edit me. ;D)

    Yes, and thank you.

    I actually peeked at that last bit and I thought that was a bit much as well. At least Alison played it with wide-eyed sincerity. I don't know if I'd be able to do that. I'd be pEEVed if they wrote me out of the show.

    Yeah, likewise.

    Clark lying to his parents seems to be the byword for this season. Anything that he can keep from his parents (I almost put "honestly keep". tee hee) he does. Why? No reason. He just does. If they try and pass that off as him rebelling I'm going to bust some knee caps. I'm serious here, PTB!!!

    I will provide the snub pistol.

    And why doesn't Clark ask Fine why he created such a substance in the first place? Or how about how he knows all this stuff about Earth history in an instant? Or what about the whole flap about him being the last son of Krypton. Are they trying to infer that Fine's a hermaphrodite???

    Is he?

    What? You don't like aquamarine?!?

    I love aquamarine go-gurt. I hate aquamarine Kryptonite.

    You think Fine's going to be the Eradicator? Seriously??? That'd be a twist. considering all the hype was about Spike being Brainiac. Do you think they'll totally kill him off or just make him disappear for a little while?

    Actually, I think he'll serve the Eradicator purpose. The Nazi Kryptonian force.

    Is Aquaman really getting a spin-off? You know, I used to like the WB. I really did. But it's gone so trivial that I can barely stand it! Maybe the actor will do well. Or maybe they'll just give him 7 episodes and then cut him off like "Birds of Prey". (I really liked that show.)

    I didn't like BOP, but I would prefer it to Aquaman, likely. He TALKS to FISH!

    Why not a young Bruce Wayne, since that's what they wanted anyway? Not like there's not enough interest right now.

    Well, I'm off again. Maybe I'll even get around to watching the episode before reading your review... Wouldn't that make sense??? :D

    I hope.

    As for me, I'm off for the better part of a month.

    Thank you all for an incredible start to another year, and feel free to shoot it with me through Lexmas!

    All the best!

    Neal



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