Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 5 - Episode 9: "Lexmas"Reviews:
LexmasReviewed by: Neal Bailey
Well, this could have been a VERY SPECIAL episode.
But for the ending, it wasn't. For that... it was something else entirely.
As readers who have been with me for a while know, it's usually a matter of about four pages of notes for a given episode. When it's a bad episode, it's more. When it's a good episode, it's much less. If it's a premiere or a finale, good or bad, it'll get more.
This episode got about three pages of notes. Meaning, my analytical eye, the one that's been accused so many times of nit-picking for the sake of nitpicking, enjoyed this show, which goes a long way towards my gut eye enjoying it.
I received a forwarded email from someone. I won't say who, but it wouldn't take a genius to guess, involved in the production of Smallville. That person said that if I didn't like the show, I just shouldn't watch.
People who read this column know a few things. Firstly, that I don't hate the show. If I did, why would I write so much about it? Why would I care so much about the direction it takes? Why would I watch? I don't get paid for these reviews (though some might argue I do it for the attention, I assure you, I'd prostitute myself MUCH more for some attention to my novels. I do this because I love the show and I love reacting to it). Secondly, I believe that people actually come together to either love or hate my review, and in so doing that, I actually drag more people to the show, I like to hope. And thirdly, hey, even assuming I reached EVERY SINGLE person who hits this site in a given day, I would have less than a percent of the people who watch Smallville on a daily basis.
So my response? Trust me. I love this show. And I only want it to be better than excellence, and excellence is what it had. Well, with the exception of season four. But I think everyone saw that.
And anyway, the reason I bring that up is dual. Firstly, because I promised said person that I would point that out (again), and secondly, because I think it's important to note that, especially at the start of what is, and will be, what I consider a positive review, even though, as you'll see, I'll still be poking fun at the inconsistencies, which I always do, even on the shows I greatly enjoy. Why?
Because it's fun to debate whether Greedo shot first, if CGI Jabba should be there, and why the heck they extended the podrace. It may seem like you hate Star Wars, but that is what FANDOM is all about. And it's something creators tend to misinterpret on a whole, I find. I've only found two professionals that I've met who seem to get fan reaction.
So Lex heads into Metropolis with his car to meet up with a guy who can smear Jonathan Kent on Christmas Eve. The reason being, the goon doesn't want to meet anywhere but in person. All right then. That's a bit odd, but okay. It makes sense that Lex Luthor would go out and do stuff on Christmas, because, at least, by my opinion and general comic consensus, Lex is an atheist, a fact that this episode alluded to (Dad won't let us celebrate Christmas, etc). It plays to that subconscious (if false) impression that morality is intrinsically related to Christianity as opposed to ethics, and it's another aspect of the Christ-myth as put into play with Superman that, atheist or not, I enjoy. The idea that Lex is the misguided atheist, the one who does not choose to draw upon the morality inherent in life (IE, that "do no harm" is the common sense rule that good people of all religions and a lack thereof live by) but instead gropes for power, is then stopped by a man of utilitarian morals who may be representative of a perhaps Christian mid-west, but is overwhelmingly motivated less by a secular or non-secular thought and more a gesture of goodwill and peace towards man. The point, to wit, of Christmas, and that part that I celebrate, even though I'm not religious.
The long and the short of that is that I think it's important that Lex be an atheist, because it's symbolically etched in society that atheism can be a component to evil. And it definitely can be, if applied improperly. I don't like the ASSUMPTION that atheists are evil (false), but that's not what's at play here. Lex is an allegory for what happens when a man who is faithless (not just about God, but about his fellow man) engages in gestures of power and ambition.
That's why he's a better Scrooge than Scrooge, in my opinion, and the real strength of this episode.
At the beginning of this episode, I asked myself, "Would Lex REALLY want to ruin Jonathan?" And why? I mean, there really is no reason before this episode ends. Yeah, they're rivals, but he doesn't want to destroy Jonathan. He's his former best friend's dad! But then, by the end of this episode, it's cleared up, and Lex is clearly showing reservations in the beginning. I see this as a preliminary back-up plan that turned into the solid plan, so I don't mind that he was seeking the destruction of Jonathan so much before it made logical sense...because Lex ALWAYS has a backup plan. The Lex I know, anyway.
The music choice was pretty odd. It was one of those cases where they try and put a discordant music with a very serious scene, like, for instance, in Donnie Darko, where they play a soft version of Mad World, and it's really a kind of upbeat song with a sad take. In Donnie Darko it works so well you're almost drawn to tears. Some are. Here, it works pretty well, except they turned the volume on the music up so high it was hard to sometimes hear the dialogue. Which is too bad, because with a little more subtle editing, it might have really worked. But as it was, it was thrown against the wall and almost stuck.
Lex threatens to kill Griff if he doesn't get Jonathan taken care of before the New Year, provided they go into business. That seemed a bit of a harsh step. Lex has always made veiled threats, and now he's threatening to kill someone. Maybe it's just hard to see how Lex made that step. It's in Lex's character AFTER he becomes evil, but really, he's just done a few questionable things and maybe one or two evil things. That doesn't make him NYAH! At least, not yet.
So Lex gets mugged by two of the riff raff from the Joel Schumacher Batman movies, you know, with the stuff weaved into the dreadlocks, looking too hip to be robbers. They take his gear and then, inexplicably, the girl shoots him. Why? I'm not really sure. It's odd, but I'm not really going to complain. I mean, it happened to Batman's parents, didn't it? Although if you're cold enough to shoot a man after robbing him, why stop with a few wing shots? It's the Dr. Evil theory. Put one in the head, don't just assume everything goes to plan. But I guess if they did that, the show would end.
Cut to Lex in his far-flung, alternate future. He's dressed in white, which is both pure and funny, if you think about it. Aesthetically, it works very well in this episode, but I can't help but think, no matter what, Lex ends up in white. When he's president, melting the sunflower seeds and all that, he's in a white suit, recall. Poor guy's just headed for a blood rain either way.
He turns over, and he's...MARRIED TO LANA!
I'm thinking, is this Scare all over again? And Rosenbaum, to his credit, acts suitably startled. But then, Lana starts acting civil, so I guess it's okay he started to like being married to her. Even though, you know, there's no real reason for him to want Lana. At all. I've discussed that enough, though.
She's walking her little boy into the living room, and the poor guy, he's what, four? And he says, "Daddy and me are gonna..." and Lana corrects him. "Dad and I, son!"
You know, I'm the first to be the grammar police. Nothing ticks me off more than when someone writes, "Your retarded." or "im gonna goes oh noe111ssss!" outside of mocking the poor saps who have such stupid grammar. In fact, I think teachers should get a ruler, and be able to smack a kid who doesn't KNOW the conventions (even if he or she doesn't USE them, that's another issue) wherever they want. I'd aim for between the eyes.
But still, not when the kid's 8. When they're fourteen. By then, you should know. When you're eight, you don't hardly even know a subject and a predicate, much less conjunctional pronoun and subject relations.
And it's not like Lana, for all her attention to wardrobe and how she's regarded over her studies, would know much about grammar anyway. I have yet to meet a person (male or female) that preoccupied with their appearance with other people who can SAY a coherent sentence, much less correct one.
Does that mean I'm scruffy? Heh. I've walled myself in, haven't I? Me and the bath will have to take care of that assumption. Stay with me here, folks.
Lex's mom finally appearing was really cool. Although why they spent twenty minutes with bad Santa when they could have had Lex catching up with and learning something about his mother left me confused.
Good acting from Rosenbaum, the whole episode through. Glover as well, especially the cold, dead-to-me father later on. Any episode that focuses on those two actors always seems to work on a lot of levels, script aside. And this one benefited from a decent script.
The thieves boosted a pretty notable car. I don't know about you, but I live in what is affectionately termed a haven for car thieves...and in this city, a lot of what gets stolen are Hondas, or cars that can blend in pretty well. Escolades are right up there in stolen cars, I recall reading, but every car I've ever seen stolen is cheap and beaten up, because they don't draw attention. Like, say, a NEW PORCHE.
I kept wondering in this episode how many KOs I should count for Lex. He keeps wafting in and out. I'm gonna go with a solid one, just for the sake of argument. And heck, Lana DIES. Does that count as a whammy? I say no, because of the hallucination factor. But I want it. I want it so bad that it HURTS!
It's Christmas, but there's still a senatorial race going on. It was put to me in the chat room, did I think this was a U.S. senate seat, or a state senate seat.
I would have to say, I think it's a U.S. senate seat. For those of you who don't know the difference, for shame. I actually asked a few people, in the course of writing my Chronicling the Fall articles, if they knew the difference between a state senator and a U.S. senator. Most didn't know. So if you're in the dark, there are two senators for every state, and varying numbers of representatives based on population. Likewise on the state level, which operates in much the same fashion as the national government.
However, as there are more than 7,500 state legislators and less than a thousand federal legislators. The fat-cats you always see are senators, because they must (and do, easily) raise unholy amounts of money for their campaigns, and there is a ton of vested power in what they do. State level legislators, while powerful in some ways, are not, let's say, Ted Kennedy or Trent Lott.
So let's just say, if Lex were power hungry, and if he had the kind of money he has, the race is more for the federal level. But, contradictorily, generally speaking there is almost ALWAYS a senatorial incumbent, this being Luke Duke.
There's also the question of politics. What are their platforms, how do they differ?
But anyway, point being, all signs point to a U.S. Senate run, so first off, Jonathan could never raise half the money he needs, Lex would cream him, and second off, that means they're starting to campaign for an election that would logically occur in November of next year. But will TV allow it to stretch that far? Methinks we're looking at elections in June, which is all weird.
The doctor wheels Lex down the hall (AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES!), saying, "Mr. LuthER! Mr. LuthER!" twice. (I think this episode holds the record for the most LuthERs ever.
In the future, apparently, Lionel Luthor has cut up Lex's credit cards.
Maybe I'm just blind. I THINK I've been paying attention, I hope, but as far as I know, Lex Luthor TOOK OVER Lionel's cash, his company, and his holdings when he went to jail. How, all of a sudden, does Lionel have any power over Lex? Furthermore, if the castle is now Lex's, and Lionel has to visit, how are we supposed to believe Lionel's still in charge? It's a big plot gap that's been there for quite some time now. It's getting old, too.
The scene with Lex getting in the cheap car is awesome. Rosenbaum's acting, the way he gets in, looks at it like it's a swatted fly or a nun with a swiveling skull...awesome. It's not really consistent with the state of the house (which is, if you look at it, entirely opulent, Smallville poverty at its best), but it's still a fun scene.
Makes you wonder what happened to Lana's snazzy wheels. Must have sold them to pay for the baby! Or maybe Geico finally cut them off, seven years down the line. I know I would.
YOU TAKE THE LOANER! GET OUT!
But, gecko dude, I...
Lex is searching for the tree, and he bumps into Clark and Chloe.
"Hey, Chloe! Nice fake extensions!" Well, okay, he doesn't say that, but he could have. Still, I am intrigued by the Allison with the long hair and the things of this nature.
Clark has become a full-fledged reporter at the Daily Planet...showing that this is a real potential future, at that. Very nice. Along with Chloe's book on LuthorCorp, with an exclusive from Lex.
I can tell you, though, if it took Chloe until she was 25 to write her first book, et-hem, cough cough...well, I just gotta say, whipper snappers, I'm 25, and if you count poetry books, I've now written eight books, with book nine on the way. Of those, five are novels. So...uh, Chloe, why are you so lazy? And who's your agent?
PLEASE! I NEED AN AGENT! THEY HEAR THE WORD LITERATURE AND THEY LITERALLY, QUITE LITERALLY CRAP THEIR PANTS. I SEE WORDS FROM BUNG! What's so bad about doing something good without making money, huh?
Sorry. I was just in a coma dreaming.
Please, Chloe? I just want to print what I do. That's all.
That's it. Wipe out Jonathan.
Did I say that out loud?
I guess I did. Something about 7 years of serious writing with no interest from publishers gets me going when, like buying an automobile, Smallville makes becoming a paid writer look simple.
See the bone? See the nerve? Here it is, that touches. Ow. Ow ow ow.
I guess if I had mad hacker skills or...ah, heck. Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown.
Cut back to the present. Lionel Luthor walks into Squeaky Shoes, and here we are, thinking it's Transference again. Why? Well, because Lionel acts about as dumb as season four Clark.
He walks into the room where his son is in critical condition (not in a gown and mask, and without any real major medical attention being paid to Lex), and says, "What happened? What's wrong with my son?"
I guess when they called him and told him to come, for some reason they didn't tell him what happened. I can just picture that conversation.
"Mr. LuthER. Please come to the Squeaky Shoes. Your son is in the hospital."
"Why? What for?"
"We'll tell you when you get here."
"Tell me now!"
"No! That wouldn't be suspenseful. And besides, it's Christmas Eve. I'm not even supposed to be here today."
Dr. Scanlon comes in. Mr. LuthER, he says. "Your son has been shot!"
Lionel then furrows his brow, looking right as his son (heck, he can probably see through him to the bed, and there was a nurse pouring water down his gullet that just popped out in a fountain from his stomach, Looney Tunes style), and then he turns and says, "Shot?"
As if no one in his family gets shot at least once a week.
Lionel, despondent, calls Lucas. No, wait. He whips out his ole POWER OF ATTORNEY and says, "We're gonna cut him up!"
The doctor says, and I'm serious, that Lex is paralyzed from the chest down. This is before he's awakened and they can test his feeling and abilities. And this is, of course, not really the terminology they use, as I recall. I worked with a quad for a few years, and I've heard neck down and waist down paralysis bandied about, but chest down? That's kind of jilted.
To say nothing of why, oh, perish the thought WHY Lex Luthor would give POWER OF ATTORNEY to the man who stole his memories, tried to kill him and his friends, is always trying to ruin him, etcetera. Why not give it to Clark, huh? Or Lana? Or heck, even Lucas, for that matter.
Chloe runs Clark down the Daily Planet hallway, telling him that he needs to help deliver presents. Good premise. But then, if you watch, and this is BLATANTLY bad, they walk down the hall, and she says, "You DO run faster than a speeding bullet" while they're about half a foot away from the janitor. The janitor even stops, and looks up, paying attention to what they're saying. That deserves a hearty, three letter WTF?
No one would ask how Chloe got all those gifts out of there? I'm curious.
The scene with Clark blasting from location to location was awesome. Very well done, very cool to look at, even right down to the improvising when he's caught delivering the gifts, and the cookies. Especially crazy drunk Santa on the roof. I liked the camera work there.
I imagined the little girl, sitting there, watching Santa drink while Clark tries to talk him out of suicide. That gave me a little giggle.
Clark goes to try and stop him from committing suicide, and Santa gives a pretty decent speech. The world, look at it. Misery, destruction. He didn't mention war, but that's my primary thought. Clark tries to reassure him, and overall, the dialogue is well written. The music, however. Gol! Very badly, cheesily done. People complain about the soundtrack, and it usually doesn't bother me too much, but I have to say, here it really got on my nerves. Cliched, over-done, and way too loud in the mix.
Back to the Squeaky Shoes, where the doctor again says, "Mr. LuthER", before Lionel sends his son to be lifted by helicopter out, risking his life.
In the hallucination, Lana reassures Lex that he's a good man. Even saying, "You're a good man, Lex LuthOR."
With an OR!
NOW we know why he marries her! She's the only person on the face of the Earth who can say his name right. Except, er, later in the episode she says Lex LuthER.
How hard is that to catch, huh? I mean, if they make a point on the show to grammatically correct I and me in a colloquial use by a child, why not focus a little on adults who should know the names of those close to them? It'd be like if I wrote a book with a character named Neal, but I kept spelling it Neil. Think that would wash? Only on TV, my friends.
Clark runs down the building to catch the tripping, drunken Santa. Neat effect. I wish they'd stayed on it for a bit. But, for what it was, it was really neat. It suffers from the same SANTA IS DEAD! worry that the episode Dichotic had (can anyone still remember that?) in that Clark catching someone falling that distance would still bust all of their bones, per Gwen Stacy. But it's made up for by the fact that he reaches out and catches the booze. I giggled, because I thought, "Oh, Clark, will you ever woo Mary Jane with your new Spider powers?" Holy crap! Mary Jane just turned into an alcoholic Santa Claus! And holy monkeys! He just poked out your eye!
No slash about Clark kissing Santa upside-down in the rain, y'hear? It's Christmas. Think of the children.
The stupid summary strikes again. I'll say no more beyond the usual complaint. If you're going to waste time on a summary, it might be good to make sure it fully summates.
Clark in the far-flung future: "The LuthERs are here!"
I loved old Jonathan. People criticized it, saying it didn't really look accurate, but that doesn't matter. It was a geeky, hilarious, and fatherly look for Schneider. I want glasses like that. I tell you, I haven't made a red cent on any of these reviews. One of you guys send me a pair of glasses like that! Or, barring that, buy one of my books and draw me in a pair of those glasses, huh? I tried the Google ads, and they canned my site because I asked people to click. Seriously, I have made, total, for all of my writing, about 30 dollars. GLASSES! HEED!
Jonathan, in his awesome nerd glasses, greets Lex LuthER. And calls him LuthER twice.
Cut back to the table where they're operating on Lex. His eyes are open as he's knocked out. Creepy. Only, when they're operating on you, they tape your eyes shut so they don't go dry. Or for other reasons, I forget. I just know they do.
Cut to Lana dying, in childbirth. She's lost a lot of blood, so she's surrounded by nurses trying desperately to save her life. NO! WAIT! They just put her in a room to die with Lex and let her expire. Why? Well, if they didn't, she couldn't give a cheesy speech with overwhelming music before she dies, melodramatically.
Argue, if you will, that the reason these inconsistencies exist is because this is a hallucinated future. Then explain how Lex prophecies Clark's sudden and arbitrary shift to journalism after being a jock into astronomy. Go on. I'll wait.
Man, that hospital SUCKS. Never admit me to the Squeaky Shoes. Airlift me to Clown Shoes hospital, please. Poopie trim, spaketh Chris Rock. No ticket.
The nurse tells Mr. LuthER that she's sorry, Lana's dying.
We cut to a scene of Lex coming home to Lionel, begging him for help. It's a great scene, it's a cold scene, and Lionel rebuts him and turns him down. A very cool interaction, especially given that it's the two best actors on the show unleashed again, finally, with a good reason.
Does it make sense that Lionel broke it off with Lex because Lex dropped out of the race? Er, yes, in terms of the show. That's consistent. But in terms of recently? No. Recall, Lionel tried to help Jonathan stop Lex because he didn't want Lex to get power, remember? In the silver K episode. I've brought that up several times now because it opened a huge gap of character motivation.
To make matters worse, Lionel calls a Luthor a LuthER.
Lana dies, and Lex goes bonkers at his mother. "This is my good future? This is my happiness?"
Mom nods solemnly. "Yeah, chump. We all die. It sucks. It never happens at a good time, and life is essentially misery. The best thing you can have is family."
Lex rolls his eyes and says, "SCREW THAT NOISE!", storming out. This is where you're supposed to say, "Aw, Lex, you've got the totally wrong idea!"
I found myself cheering. Yes. Screw that noise! Why is life so miserable? Why do we have to just sit and take it? Why, even when we take the noble paths, do we suffer? Why, when we do our best, do we fail, ludicrously surrounded by babbling successes who intimate that if you were only a little better (read, knew somebody or had the money to support what you do), you could be a WINNER!
I don't want my Lana to die, and as for me I'm sick of following heartfelt potentialities to foregone conclusions of failure. That and fifty sense will get you a kick in the ash as you're cremated.
I cheered. I'm still with Lex. If you know that all of the good things, the very best things in your life, will ultimately end in hurt and destruction, why not go down that other path? What's the point if your pre-destination is always miserable, aching failure.
It makes me eternally grateful that we have no pre-destination and that I'm not a fatalist (In the philosophical school sense, not the "pessimist" sense. Ask your local senator.).
Lex wakes up in bed, aghast, and sits up pretty good for a guy who was just shot so bad that he was paralyzed from the chest down.
Chloe, at the Planet, finishes up her day's work, and gets a visit from a drunken Santa Claus who wants to walk out with toys. She says, "Okay!" and then, when the toys all vanish, she doesn't say, "Man! Someone stole toys for tots! Call the cops!". She says, "It must be the real Santa!"
DEFINITELY the logical equivocating mind of your average journalist. It's why I spurn non-gonzo journalism.
There's a joke about believing in Leprechauns that I could never tell here, it's just too dirty, so I'll couch it in really benign stuff.
Basically, a guy walks into a bathroom and sees a guy in a Santa Claus suit peeing next to him. He says, "Hey, you Santa?".
The guy nods.
"Wow! Can I have a gift?"
Santa says, "Sure, kid. But you gotta let me kick you in the pills."
The guy's brow furrows. "But why?"
"Look, you want the gift, or what?"
The guy considers. "Aw, what the heck. Okay."
Santa kicks him, full on, and as he's walking out the door, Santa says, "Aren't you a bit old to be believing in Santa Claus?"
It relates, for obvious reasons.
To quote what I'm reminded of, the prophet Weird Al from "The Night Santa Went Crazy:
- Down in the workshop all the elves were making toys
For the good Gentile girls and the good Gentile boys
When the boss busted in, nearly scared 'em half to death
Had a rifle in his hands and cheap whiskey on his breath
From his beard to his boots he was covered with ammo
Like a big fat drunk disgruntled Yuletide Rambo
And he smiled as he said with a twinkle in his eye,
"Merry Christmas to all - now you're all gonna die!"
That is one SAD message.
Decent scene with Lex and Lionel. "How DARE you play God with my life?"
This said because Lionel chose a very risky operation for Lex to be party to, in the hopes that he might keep him hale and hearty.
Now, you guys are better at remembering than I am, but I recall, I think it's the operation that made Lionel "blind", didn't Lex do the exact same thing? Didn't we already do this exact same scene, in reverse? Where there was a long-shot chance to save Lionel's life, and Lex took it, and it resulted in Lionel losing his sight? Do I remember that right? If so, this whole scene is kind of ironic and revisionist.
Lex meets with Griff again. "MCLEX!" He says.
Lex says, "Ah, I dunno Griff."
Griff says, "Whassa matter, McLex! CHICKEN?"
Lex scoffs. "NOBODY CALLS ME CHICKEN, GRIFF! Call Flea. Go on. Do it. Liquidate that Kent."
And then, he makes the great point...good choices aren't necessarily what make happily ever after. MONEY AND POWER make happily ever after.
Call me a cynic on Christmas, but growing up poor, I can't help but think that truer words were ever spoken. I've grown, all my life, around good, strong, dedicated family individuals impoverished and driven to alcoholism, addiction, compulsive poverty, and spawning without regard to the offspring's health or security. All done in the name of turning down opportunity in favor of the GOOD, FAMILY life.
The healthy, happy, free people I know, of which I do not count myself, alas, are always rich, powerful, and know people.
Is this GOOD? No.
Is this RIGHT? No.
Is this FAIR? No.
Is this CHRISTMAS? No.
But it is. And it always will be.
Lex is right. Money and power lead to happiness and control of variables. Like whether your Lana lives.
I hate it to my core. But it's an observation that you hate simply because you know it's true.
This is, ultimately, why I love this version of the Scrooge tale. Because even though Lex, walking just hours after his chest-down paralysis (IE, the show was full of inconsistency), this show confronts and regrets, laments a very basic and coarse truth. Scrooge does not learn his lesson. Not in real life, anyway. When you need optimism, break out the Dickens. When you're down, read a verse or two.
But live and learn, know that Scrooge wakes up. Scrooge says it's just a dream. Scrooge then outsources, liquidates his stock before the company crashes, ruining the worker bees, and then Scrooge takes that money and lobbies Congress for his own whacko views to be put into law.
And Scrooge gets what he wants. Scrooge doesn't care about later chains, because when you're rich, and when you're powerful, you don't bat an eye at the consequences of your actions, because you CONTROL them.
THAT is a moral to a story that can startle, scare, and dehumanize me, and yet still cut me to the core.
The mother fades out, and Lex has, quite obviously made the wrong choice.
But in the end, it's hard to argue with his logic.
That's why I give this one a 5 for story, and a one for the setup, but overall, the story is so good, I go with a 4 out of 5.
Not to say bah humbug or anything. Just to say, I like the truth more than I like being coddled and told that everything is going to be all right when it won't, necessarily, turning 26 and realizing that no matter how hard I try, I won't make it as a writer without promotion I buy, an agent I suck up to, and a story that panders to what those with money and power want, not what bohemia tells me to.
You want peaches and cream? Well, the only present for Christmas, the only real gift that I have that isn't money or power, is that ability to decide for myself what my art is, because I don't get paid for it. So bah humbug? No. But do I see Tiny Tim?
And I don't flinch from his reality as Scrooge walks by, laughing.
The only person to ever give me fair shakes in this world is the man I put this byline under. That gives me hope. That gives me my Christmas spirit. And that...THAT is what keeps me going.
SUPER SHORT REVIEW:
LuthER LuthER LuthER LuthER LuthER LuthER LuthER LuthER, oh, you now have a somewhat plausible motivation for villainy. But why must it be couched in chest-down paralysis, walking by people and telling them Clark's secret, and a fat, drunken, disgruntled Yule-tide Rambo? Still, all in all, good nog. 4 of 5.
Well, I wrote ten pages of novel today, ten pages of letters, and now ten pages of review. I'm on to the letters, and now I'm about to collapse. This should, I hope, be very funny. I'm in bold, as ever, because italics JUST won't do.
Stephen Segal wrote:
You sure are taking your sweet aSH pimp time with your review.
Actually, believe it or not, for the last three years, anyway, I've pretty much, without exception, done my review the night of the show or the morning after in a MANIC, crazed fit. Sometimes Steve has prior obligations and can't spend the extremely long time editing my long-ASH review immediately after I turn it in, plus there's also a pretty large time-gap between Australia (where Steve is) and Tacoma, WA (where I am), so that explains it.
BUT, that said, I am extremely flattered that you're excited to see the review. That's an awesome feeling. Thanks. When someone feels called to actually urge me to write something instead of me having to beg them to read it...awesome. Writer's dream, that.
[Steve's Note: To further clarify this delay. With "Smallville" moving to Thursday night in America, and Neal writing his review soon after, it's actually Friday night for me in Australia by the time Neal is done. Strange as it may sound, I do have a life outside the Superman Homepage, and it usually comes to the fore on the weekends. So I tend not to get too much time to get online on Saturday or Sunday (my time), and Neal's reviews do take me at least 2 hours to read, edit and template. Meaning that for Season 5, you may have to wait till Sunday night (America time) before seeing the review on the site.]
Dear Neal: I agreed with your review of Solitude and thought it was one of the best episodes of the Season. I DID laugh my fanny off during the Lois/Ford scene though, just thinking about what you would do with that! You ragged on it beautifully, telling it like it is. (However, Old Spice and Ford are now forever linked in my mind!)
Awesome. I think the new car smell for Ford should be Red Zone. Imagine the possibilities. Although I learned, through sending out Old Spice for the Caption Contest, there are many different Red Zones. Scary. They're all gonna become pit smell hybrids anyway. Why name yellow paint butter? I don't get commercial naming of simplistic products. It's frickin' deodorant!
I wanted to discuss with you Season 5 so far. For some reason, although faring better than last year, the Season seems more disjointed to me. I can't quite put my finger on why. Certainly, I don't miss Freaks of the Week. Lana absences are not upsetting to me. I didn't care for Lex going bad and then back to good ol' Lex again but I wasn't suprised by it. I love the way they are handling Chloe and Lois. What is it?
There is no recurring theme, like the stones...beyond Brainiac. And there are a lot of singular-focussed episodes. No overarching themes beyond Brainiac. Usually there are individual sub-plots that run two or three episodes despite the main background sub-plot (at least in season one through three). Now there's almost a different format to the stories. I'm guessing that's it.
I think it may be two things (at least that I can put my finger on). One is the lack of "themed" episodes this Season. Throughout the show they have touched on "themes" usually, but not necessarily, through the Freaks of the Week. Simple most of the time, but sometimes complex, the themes usually affected at least two of the show's players, moving them forward and/or connecting them in some way. With themes, the episodes seem "tighter" to me, more complete as an episode. I always enjoyed the episodes where Clark and Lex were facing the same "theme" or "issue." Those episodes were used in the past to connect Clark and Lex. Now that the show is moving towards making the pair enemies, they seem to have given up on that idea when, actually, it is the perfect tool to use to forward the separation in these characters. What better way to show Clark and Lex's gradual separation than by having them face the same issue but deal with it in different ways (or even conflict over it).
I can definitely see that.
Doesn't "wrong" really start with bad choices (often taking the easy way out)?
I don't know if it's related to the easy way out. You might argue I took the easy way out of college, dropping out the week before I graduated. But though it was easy to do, it was also the right thing for me. I think wrong begins and ends with doing something you don't believe to be correct. I think EVIL is based in doing what you believe to be right, but being so wholly wrong by everyone else's standards that you pursue it harder than someone who merely perpetuates wrongs. Meaning, Hitler thought he was doing right, murdering people for their ethnicity. That's evil. Wrong is when you say, hey, there's a five-year old with five bucks. I can take it, and the kid won't know the difference. I take it, the kid doesn't know the difference. Is that evil? Nah, not really, because it doesn't hurt anybody, and you'd probably still help an old lady across the street. But it is wholly wrong.
Lex is EVIL, and I think that starts with how he handles things, as you said.
Fathers and sons, mothers and sons, friendship, finding your birth parents, loss of loved one, facing your demons, loyalty, brothers, and heck, even the nature of beauty. I'm not saying that Clark hasn't faced any issues this Season, it just seems like no one else is experiencing the same issues, which makes everyone else seem misplaced or like "extras."
I have long thought the solution to making the show more epic was having him face themes as opposed to powers.
Second, this Season has produced some of the worst characterization so far. Although last Season was difficult in terms of Clark being selfish, wanting to play football, etc., I could deal with that as teen rebellion and lessons learned the hard way. This Season, all three characters (Clark, Lex, Lana) have done things that aren't "right" for the characters and, for that reason, don't ring true. For me, the overall effect is that I REALLY dislike the mediocre episodes, when in the past I was usually able to enjoy something of even some of the worst episodes.
They are very inconsistent with most of the characters. Generally, the best we can hope for is novel scenes. It seems the nature of TV...
Anyway, those are just two of my thoughts. Have you had a similar experience with this Season or is it just me? Would love to hear your thoughts. Keep writing....
Actually, so far I've liked this season, but not for the same reasons as one through three. I have the same issues, but I can just roll with a lack of character if the story drives me, and it often has this season. I will say I prefer two and three to this season, but this one is leaps and bounds ahead of last season. At least, so far.
Supersayian5 aka Kevin Perry wrote:
Hey Neal, I've been reading your reviews since about season three and Like them alot.
I think it's kind of unfair that everyone harps on you about your noticing how tv life is not like real life.
That's cool. Doesn't bother me. But thanks for caring.
But a good way to explain the money thing; Credit cards. When I was in college I don't know how many times I was approached with applications but being the intelligent city person I am I decided against it. These people however are from a place called Smallville and it's in Kansas, that doesn't imply the same type of street smarts that someone who grew up in Metropolis has so they may be dumb enough to sign up for a bunch of them.
Credit is a great way to launch yourself out of poverty, actually, if you use it right. It's the reason I'm not bankrupt right now. Where credit fails is when people use it, and don't have any real plan of how to pay it back. At all. Is that what's kicking Lana and Clark around? Could be. They need to tell us either way to make it believable, though.
Anyway, I liked your review for Solitude except for a few things. Before I mention what I disagree with I should remind you that in the entire history of Superman he has always been reactive not proactive.
I don't know. I tend to see him as both. He'll react to a physical threat, but be proactive with an impending threat. (Meaning, if he sees Ron acting strangely, and turning green, he'll try and get him to STAR Labs.). It all depends. It's hard to say Superman is ALWAYS X.
Now onto the disagreements. You mentioned how Clark just sat still when he heard the boom; when you can move at super speed is ten seconds really too long? You mentioned Pa's reaction to stay clear of Fine and how that was strange, hasn't Pa told Clark to stay clear of any adult male who tries to befriend Clark? He's still being the overprotective parent he's just trying to come to terms with Clark being a "man".
I think ten seconds is...yeah. I was more down on Jonathan because Fine saved Clark the week before, and seemed trustworthy.
I've noticed also how you mention that Clark doesn't use his powers to investigate the world around him as much as he should I think that's because Clark doesn't think like that yet. Remember he doesn't become Superman until 26 so that leaves at least 8 years for him to start thinking like that.
He still has essentially all of the powers, though, and has for years now...I would argue he should be using them for the most part by now.
Now on the thing were Jonathan says that there's nothing the doctors can do That's not too strange because doctors are a little arrogant they tend to think that if their tests say nothings wrong their reaction is "Go home you hypochondriac and try to see a shrink" I mean how many times has Martha been in th E.R. where the doctors say they can't tell what's wrong with her only to have her be all better all of a sudden; they probably think she's kind of a nutcase.
True. But you'd still look for a cure, I think, from docs.
I do believe that everyone seems to forgive people too easily but that maybe a small town thing. Sort of an "It doesn't matter what they did in their past cause they are doing good now"(said in a twangy country accent).
Not sure. I've always been a big city punk.
You are right Clark is too quick to believe Jor-El wants to do him harm but looking at past actions that isn't to far fetched, despite the fact that everything Jor-El "did" to them was technically Clark's fault, cause he never just did what was asked of him.
I disagree. I mean, if I say, "Why don't you kick your dad in the head, and if you don't, I'm gonna kick your dad in the head." Say you refuse, and I kick your dad in the head, is that your fault? Nah. I'm the guy kicking. It's my fault.
I also agree Lois has been on the show for too long now but if the comics can constanly bring up ways that Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne met long before thay met as Supes and Bats than Smallvile can do the same with Lois.
Do the comics?
On the Lex and Lionel thing remember Lex spent three seasons trying to get Lionel's love now that he's got it everyone expects him to just turn his back on his father I don't see it.
Does he have it, though?
Besides, Ive noticed even in the comics Lex is kind of a masocist; how else do you explain a man who constantly does what he does knowing somehow he's gonna lose to that "DaRN alien".
Writing that doesn't really get Lex...heh.
You mentioned that Lex doesn't have a camera on the ship, he does remember the scene where Lionel walked in one of his security people was showing him the video of the ship that went blank. That shows that: 1. He does have a camera aimed at the ship and 2. Brainiac(if that's who he is)used something to the video feed so Lex wouldn't see him exit and enter the ship I'd say every time he went to the warehouse.
Fair point, that.
Besides Noone ever getting into trouble for messing with Lex's guards sets up a pattern that is used in the comics. I mean Lex Luthor's employees always just disappear without a trace and noone asks why.
I dunno about that. Lex's personal trainer disappearing is what originally brought him down in '96.
Which is, I think, part of why none really trusts Lex anymore. Yeah he helps, but let's face it the real question is why does he keep covering everything up unless he has something to hide, which causes mistrust even in the real world.
Maybe because when he tells the truth, people crap in his hat.
The reason I don't think the Jor-El AI didn't ask Clark what was going on was again because Brainiac was blocking him. Think about it, he's supposed to be highly advanced Kryptonian Tech. If his progam is more powerful than Jor-El's then he could, if not take over, at least block the program from noticing anything amiss. I like the fact that Zod's face looked like Terrance Stamp from when he played Zod. The fight between Clark and Fine was cool but short however I don't think Fine is gone his concienceness may be somewheere else; i.e. eradicator and apparently every advanced AI in the DCU.
Oh, they'll bring him back. I have no doubt.
I think I can explain what happened to the ship, cause it occured to me as I watched the show and I'm a total sci-fi geek. Everyone assumes that Fine hitched a ride on the ship but what if he was the ship. Both the ship and the Milton Fine persona may have been physical constucts of Brainiac, and when Fine was destroyed the connection between the two may have activated a self destruct program in the ship. If Brainiac sent his concienceness somewhere else, say a satalite or something, then when he manages to reconstruct himself he probably wont need the ship.
But I think the main problems of Smallville are twofold. One, people are expecting Clark to act like Superman instead of the normal teen he's trying to be; I think that when stuff isn't happening he really is trying to ignore his heritage.
He's a grown man, though, now. When I was 18, I had to survive, sink or swim, and I did. With the extra responsibility of Superman's powers, and seeing as he turns out to be Superman, I, at least, would assume he'd be most of the man he will become now. He's not a kid any more.
Two, the writers are trying to write Clark as Superman without him being Superman. I think that if they got rid of the no tights no flights rule the writers could make much better stories cause they wouldn't be hindered by what they could do.
In that, I agree. He should be flying. But they won't go there...
Glad you liked "Solitude." I agree that it was way wicked cool.
There's a couple of things that I wanted to point out with regard to how Professor Fine fits into all of this as Brainiac in my mind.
First, I'll share my primary source of Brainiac from the comics info:
This page gives what appears to be a pretty good overview, and a lot of info that seems to fit into what I think Smallville has going on with this character. That said, the info is somebody's perspective overview, and may be flawed in ways that I do not know, since I have not read any comics that had Brainiac in them.
That's mostly Pre-Crisis. Though well informed. I would postulate that Smallville is leaning more towards Post-Crisis, which you'll find neatly summated on this very site...
Okay, so on to the analysis...
You asked: "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?"
And, you also mentioned: "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."
I cannot remember the exact way he said it, but Fine admitted that he was something "OF" Krypton, I believe, when Clark was questioning him during the kryptonite scene. I think he even put a "Fine" point on it (pun wasn't intended, but left in when realized) when he spoke of Zod as being the one true Kryptonian.
True. And likely a good rationale he'd be okay.
It seems the writers were nodding to the idea that Brainiac was created by computer tyrants of a far-distant planet, and that they decided this planet could have been Krypton. It can also be looked at as a nod to the idea that even if they don't mean to say he is from Krypton, that he would know quite a bit about Krypton for having stolen the city of Kandor so long ago.
Sure. Even though that's Tolos, as I recall, in current Post-Crisis, in Pre-Crisis, it works.
He could have known about the affects of Kryptonite on Clark due to having observed him for so long since he came to Earth. Plus, the ship is full of computer electronic gadgetry. It seems plausible to me, considering how often he liked to visit the ship, that he did lots of testing on Kryptonite. It's likely (but of course never stated) that he invented a new strain of Silver Kryptonite possibly in effort to create a mind-control over Clark in order to get Clark to do his bidding in the Fortress. To Brainiac's dismay, he ended up with a psychotic-neurotic Kryptonian mess. Being the superbrain that he is though, he quickly turned this to his favor by "saving" him and thus earning the pathetically foolish Kryptonian's trust - something the emotionally void Brainiac would not have thought of at first. Add a shaft of light, a dash of diseased Martha Kent, an over-the-counter-Kryptonian painkiller to gain some more trust and you get a big blob of emotional Kryptonian-wreck who could be willing to do your Fortress-destroying bidding by his own choice! What could be better? (Al and Miles are like, 'Yeah! That's it! You nailed it! - quick, write that down so we can repeat it later when asked.')
Or, if they'd even said something that thought out in the first place...alas.
As for having powers, I wonder if this is some scientific supercomputer thing he could have done to give himself similar powers to earthbound Kryptonians, which is why Kryptonite doesn't actually hurt him. (I just realized how much you really can explain away with supercomputerness... kind of like meteor showers in Smallville, I guess.)
I can see that, to a degree.
With regard to the disappearance of the ship, it disappeared at the same time as Brainiac himself. If he is indeed a supercomputer with the ability to travel across space and time, then wouldn't it make sense that he have some sort of emergency transport mechanism? A program that monitors his physical status and say, at X% system meltdown, activate super transport and get us the heck out of here, Koko! (aren't you glad Milton didn't have an alien monkey on his back?) ;)
Probably. Heck, you watch. Jor-El will send Koko to bother Clark before they acknowledge that it's really an Earth monkey named Beppo Jor-El just gave brief powers to.
Really the thing that I did have a problem with was the idea that this guy wants to bring back Zod. What the heck for?? Brainiac wants to rule the universe - why would he invite competition? I don't get it. Does he think that Zod will help him rule the universe and create a new Krypton here on Earth?
There is the idea that Brainiac does want to recreate his home planet - that is why he was stealing cities all over the universe as it was. So it makes sense for the writers to say that he would want to create Krypton on Earth if they are wanting to skew him as being from Krypton and not somewhere else.
It's very Eradicator-y. They tried to make the animated series Brainiac in there a bit, I'm sure.
That said, MAYBE it makes sense that he wants Zod to come to be on Earth with him, but I still have a hard time with the way he's played into the story here. Wanna bring Zod to Smallville? Okay... but as a co-consipritor with Brainiac? As someone Brainiac would revere? I don't know about that. Although, I know that in some comics, Brainiac worked with Lex, but I think mostly due to his great desire to destroy Superman. I suspect that if they had ever succeeded, Lex would have gotten popped while his back was turned, but I don't know because I haven't read any of those. For all I know, those two are best buds.
Brainiac, in most senses, just wants to accumulate all of the knowledge in existence and then preserve it.
As for Jor-El, I had very little issue with the way he was played in this episode. I actually respected that he didn't speak up more or intervene when Fine came to the Fortress and had Clark insert the crystal enema. Here's the way I see the conversation:
Clark to Jor-El: You made my mom sick! Cut it out! Take me instead!
Jor-El: No I didn't.
Clark: Yes you did!! You Liar! Give her back to me!
Jor-El: You chose your own destiny when you chose to turn away from your Kryptonian heritage. Now go to your room.
Clark: I'm IN my room!
(Translation - Jor-El: I'm a respectable guy and I told the kid I didn't do it, and I'm not going to argue with him - he made his bed, now he can lay in it - same goes for when he sticks the black crystal in my console. This kid has to learn Kryptonian responsibility and I've tried whipping him and the people he loves and it hasn't worked, so if he wants to tear apart his room and break all of his family heirlooms and destroy the cell-phone I gave him with my number in it, then fine. I'm done with the brat.)
Sure...but with Jor-El's teaching, recall, he also MURDERED a girl.
- - and there's always the chance that moments before the Fortress would have actually exploded, Jor-El might have saved it all - and there's the chance that Jor-El actually WANTED Zod to show his ugly mug back in town so that Jor-El could ram a 15" crystal right (insert painful expletive) back at him.
One other thing I wanted to mention is that while I agree that Lionel knowing about Fine had me going, "What the heck!?" and that it was probably a plot device that would place Chloe in the right place at the right time to save Clark, one COULD reason that it was also a nod to the facts presented on the Brainiac info page I supplied above that Lex spent a long time tracking supercomputer chatter through space and that on Smallville they gave that role to Lionel. (I imagine myself spitting out a bad taste after saying that though.)
I think that covers most of what I was going to mention.
I don't think Lois knows about Lex's torture session with Arthur ("Aqua"), so she can't be holding that against Lex. I don't think Arthur ever told Lois about his super powers OR his ecoterrorism. Clark wouldn't have told her about it, either, because that'd just open a whole can of worms. Lois was mad at Lex merely for being rich and influential (that "owning the government" crack)--while also benefitting from his wealth and influence. She got into college because of him and he's out $50K and a car because of her sister.
I wish they'd told us either way. One line of dialogue...
But I don't think the writers want me to remember all that stuff, just like they don't want me to remember that Chloe and the Kents have NO reason to be even remotely civil to Lionel, or that Clark did NOT "choose" to give up his powers. They need me to believe that Lex is a bigger evil than Lionel, so they have people being relatively nice to Lionel while demonizing Lex.
Exactly. You get it.
And they also seem to want me to forget that Lex was in Belle Reve because Lionel drugged him. But Lois wants to use his mental illness against him and Chloe seems ok with the idea, when she knows he wasn't truly crazy. I wondered if Chloe remembers that her own mother is somewhere in a mental hospital.
Eight ball says...ask again later.
If I hadn't seen season 3, I would have really loved Solitude. As it is, though, it doesn't mesh up with what we previously saw of characters.
I agree, in many ways.
Scott Klein wrote:
Ah I figured it out, how the silver K could have cut Clark, this is all hypothetical mind you. The rocks themselves are not what actually affects Superman's capabilities, the red making him change personalities, and the green weakening him and killing him with enough exposure, it is the radiation that they emit that causes a one of the above effects. Now Brainiac is the ultimate artificial intelligence created by a race of people far ahead of us on the learning curve, or at least thats how the story goes. Fine being a supercomputer and capable of doing things like reproducing(although they don't explain this, he has been show capable of doing it) Kryptonian powers leads me to believe he could control radiation levels in the rock he infected with his brainiac goo(i'm trademarking this Brainiac Goo BTW Neal, in case you wanna use it;))
I've got a quarter! Go for it.
Thus he could make the rock emit radiation that he could tune to a lvl high enough to make Clark vulnerable enough to cut, but not so much that he would be killed. Also it makes sense that Clark would experience all these hallucinations as it would be the equivalent of him being poisoned and going bonkers. It's not a perfect theory, but it would explain the reason why the rock could cut him and why it would affect him without killing him or giving him the trademark stomach cramps, it's just a lower level of radiation being produced by the Brainiac goo, thats all I got for ya, looking forward to the Teaser Trailer review.
Sounds like a good theory. The review may be up...I'll have to ask Steve about that for a link. I'm not sure where it is yet. I've been hustlin' and bustlin' and I forgot to check. What say you, Steve?
[Steve: It's on the same page as Neal's reviews of Bryan Singer's Video Diary Blogs]
In the Superman movies, Clark clearly knows about Zod. When he gives up his powers for Lois, he hears about General Zod in the diner on TV. He looks in horror, "Zod!?!?".
However, in that movie, Zod clearly does NOT know that Kal-El is on this planet, until Lex Luthor tells him so. "The son of Jor-El...here!? It will be our ultimate revenge...kill the son of our jailer..."
So, I don't understand you statement:
"Now, if Brainiac is still around, how much longer do you think it'll take to get to Zod".
Zod won't be around until much later (in that movie, after Clark and Lois get funky in the Fortress). If Zod arrives before then, and he learns about Kal-El's presence on Earth, it will really screw up the continuity. I thought they were going there this week, but they carefully took it to the brink (Zod was almost free), then slammed the door. Very well done.
Sure, but they always change the continuity for these things. I have no doubt, the show goes on long enough, we'll see Zod.
Ok, I busted your chops twice, but I must say I about wet myself laughing with your 2001/HAL movie quotes!!!
No biggie. Thanks!
Shafi S wrote:
Thanks for your quote last time.
Well Is it just me or doesn't Brandon Routh (the new supes) looks more like Superman than Tom Welling.
I can't really decide until I see him in motion. So far, I think both are pretty distinctive in their own ways. I've never seen Welling in a suit.
I wouldn't be surprised if Spike would be a regular. Because Spike is So Amazing.
No comment. Whedon's army is already looking for me. Must... not... mention... very... special... musical... episode!
Well, the episode was intersting enough for Lois to finally look at the daily planet and think I want to work here. But the Ford Fusion really let me down. Trying to make it look like Lois is rich (or may be daddy gives her money) and teh show trying to make it look like the car is cool. I rather look at a Geo Prism.
Personally, I just want a car that gets me from A to B. The day I care what people think about the way my automobile looks is the day I hang myself with razor wire. How stupid and bloody shallow do you have to be to worry about how people judge your mobility over your character?
Now I hear theres a another superhero coming to SMALLVILLE. A nice latina babe who has similar powers to clark. Well I guess she can fight for Female rights and injustice to the poor animals that people seem to run over with their special cars that seem to reappear unscratched.:)
Oh yea Neal, In a recent interview Tom Welling wanted to have Batman on the show even so much he buggs his producers about it. Jeez give him a comic book.
Heck, I think Batman would be cool. Why not start a young Bruce Wayne show? Beats the heck out of AQUAMAN. Gol.
Also why does Lois lives in the coolest *cough* place in smallville the talon. ISn't that own buy our favorite meglomanic Lex LUthor. I guess she is a muffin peddler.
Why is she even IN Smallville when Chloe is in Metropolis?
When I saw the trailer of SUperman Returns. And see young clark flying and jumping around in the cornfield. Why they the smallville writers,producers, STARS for that matter think of that to do.
DIdn't Clark loved to fly and jump around when he was a kid. And Now hes still afraid of heights. Even so the Clark of the show thinks IT was KAL-el who was flying and not him. When does he fly and appeciate it. ANd helps people out or travels the world. I guess its just me.
Nah. It's not.
P.S LexMas IS sO AMAZING.
But...you hadn't seen it yet! Still, I now agree.
Thanks again Neal.
Toby Wilson wrote:
I continue to love your reviews. Sorry I haven't written in a while, but I was completely depressed about Season 4 and decided to step forward 8 months into the future without otherwise explanation in the hopes that Season 5 would be better. So far so good.
No problem. But thanks for returning. And good move. Though really, each episode is that much better having endured four.
Anyways, I love your nitpicking of Smallville because I do it also. I try to explain to my friends how it is that I can complain about a show being unrealistic that has an ALIEN in it. It's all about keeping me in the story! I am pleased that they seem like they have made some attempts to keep me in the story this season.
Cool. I think a lot of people think like I do. I just exaggerate a bit. It's all in fun, not malice.
I read a guy called the Mogambo Guru. He writes a weekly commentary on financial things. I have nothing to do with him, so this isn't an OLD SPICE RED ZONE FUSION moment. His reviews of the economic world, and the actions of the government and federal reserve and such things are very similar to your reviews of Smallville, but they are much more . . . how shall I put it? . . . off da hook! Seriously, if you just went monkeys with venom for Smallville's creators until the guys with the white coats came and carried you off, it would be like Mogambo.
You might be surprised that I do have a gonzo column that examines politics, religion, and naughty things in graphic detail outside of Smallville. I've likely read Mogambo in my research, though he's not on the top of my head. Sounds interesting, though. I can usually pick through the Greenspan-ese fairly well, so dissemination might be worthy reading...
I won't promo his link, you can just Google him to find it if you are interested. (One caveat: my wife is a stay at home mom and a day trader, so we keep up with this stuff. It may not be as funny to you as it is to us.)
I will check it out. Mostly my lack of interest in stocks lies not in the fact that I don't see it as a good, viable thing to go into, but more that I invest my money and my faith in real estate. Historically, the market has a better return, but given that I repair the houses, and turning around houses has a much better return, that's where I'm sticking, at least until I get too old or broken to swing a hammer. In other words, next week.
Keep bringin' da heat on Smallville's writers and creators, and I'll keep reading the best TV show review on the web!
Too kind! Thank you.
Ah, my knight in shining snarkiness! How's it going? I'm semi-up-to-date! AND I have a new computer that I'm going to do great things with. You may have to wait for those pic/sound byte entries, but they're coming.
Cool. I even have a sword. It has a post-it on it: IN CASE THE PEN FAILS.
I think I'll respond to your responses to my comments first. 'cause I can. and only if I "feel the need". ;D
I was thinking the cell phone would be a pay as you go deal.
You know, with all the "threats" to the PTB I've been making. you might think I have some sort of weird violent streak. Can we write it off as severe disappointment with their writing skills?
Why write it off, if you're honest? :)
And I haven't watched the episode yet (bad Sara, bad!!!) but my reasons for that are below.
And it seems that if I write you late, my review is last. which is nice. 'cause I crave attention.
No problem. Names in lights we can do. Text based bandwidth, really cheap. Now if we were to make a movie, that's harder...
Well, in regards to the tanking part, I just want to remind you that whenever James has been on screen. besides the unfathomable "Thirst" scene in Chloe's hospital room. the show seems to shine for you. Unfortunately, unless the PTB all of a sudden go sane, James's character will not remain. Too bad, really. when you think about it.
The product placement in this show is really getting out of hand. And they don't even bother to explain or even lamely explain how all these small town Kansas teens can afford the best and brightest toys our society has to offer. I could just swear. but I'm practicing my refined skills. I guess at least they've got a nominal reason to have the Fusion on the show. They're running a contest where a member of the cast will deliver it. but you can almost guarantee it won't be one of the top three, I'm telling you right now.
It's gonna be the sheriff. You KNOW it's gonna be the sheriff. And they'll actually make it a scene in the show. Watch!
How many times has Martha gotten bathed in a mysterious light? I mean, seriously, people!
I'd like to bathe her in any light.
Clark "heard" a light? Please tell me you're joking! OK, so here's Sara confessional time. I haven't watched really since "Thirst". I'd heard a horrible rumor that they might be doing a Clark-Lois romance and I almost lost my mind. Add to that the morbid certainty that they're going to kill Chloe in Episode 100 and I'm about ready to scream. So I've been avoiding it. Oh, they're recorded on my TiVo, but I have yet to watch the last two episodes. Is that bad of me???
You really think it'll be Chloe? I don't know. I seriously, really think they may be hosing us. They've done it before.
You're not bad for waiting to watch. Heck, I have a whole season of several shows I have been waiting a year to get to. I just always pick a book over TV, it would seem. Unless you're talking Jon Stewart.
I'm actually glad that Lex is starting to hit back. They can't sell Evil Lex if he takes everyone's abuse and still helps them. even if he does have an ulterior motive. Please! I got kicked out of the evil club 'cause I didn't lash out at people like that AND I wasn't trying to help them too. And it is nice to see someone being pissy at Lex with reason. at least a bit of reason. because we don't know if A.C. or Clark told Lois about the torture.
Yeah...one line of dialogue could have fixed it, too.
I'm glad that Martha took the intelligent side. It's been a long time in coming. It really feels like lately if she isn't gasping at the antics of the two men in her life, then she's totally disappeared. You go, Martha!
It is nice that they give a reason for Clark not grilling Fine AND correcting the thing about telling his parents. Do you think they'll start trying to fix all their overly obvious errors?
Hahahah hah hah hah....hoo! Good one! Seriously. I wet myself.
Clark and his x-ray/telescopic vision: I mean, he has those things, but if it isn't the obvious broken bone, would he really be able to tell if something was wrong with her?
Sure. He can look at things on a cellular level. Even DNA. At least, in the comics.
Did the hospital really do that? Oh, I could just scream! Why is it that they want us to believe that the Smallville Medical Center can be top of the line (enough to get Jonathan's organ from a previous episode), but would let a woman go who is suddenly having seizures??? Really? You think that, huh? :D And Clark still doesn't tell his dad? You would think that it was "obvious" in the situation that we now know who the person is the Clark loves who's going to die. Considering it wasn't his choice, why wouldn't he tell his father? Then Jonathan can continue with his "I hate Jor-El" riff and they could live mournfully ever after.
If the PTB had any brains whatsoever, we would never see Lionel and Chloe having a civil conversation. But I haven't always seem much evidence of said brain, so I guess I just have to accept that they're going to do stupid crap like this 'cause they can. They feel no loyalty to the "original" mythos and really just do whatever they want. Whatever. I'd bang my head, but my throat is giving me enough discomfort. I don't need a headache.
I just know the last guy who tried to kill me won't be getting within five feet of me. Period.
And he hands her FLOWERS? Seriously? And Chloe didn't run screaming from a toxin that I would have assumed that was in the flowers somewhere if I'd been her? Oh, dear. And she's writing for the paper now? I didn't realize moving up in journalism was so quick. or easy.
And Lionel (at this point I'm "assuming" that he's still Jor-El in his Lionel disguise) fingers Fine? If Lionel is possessed by the spirit of Jor-El, he would know that Chloe knows Clark's secret. And describing a person with those abilities would immediately get her thinking of Clark, so why would she go after that story? And if she went after Fine, wouldn't that still drag Clark into it? This is just too odd. And I don't buy either that Jor-El would know that Fine is Brainiac. For crying out loud, this is just a simulacrum of Jor-El that's possessed Lionel. OK, I need to breathe. People here are starting to look at me funny as my banging at the keys is flinging the blood from my fingertips everywhere. Argh!
Hah! I'm on page 33 or so for the day. THAT is some sore fingers. It starts when backspace hurts, and then gets to its worst when you don't want a word with q in it so you don't have to reach so far.
So, Fine spills about Zod, hmmm? It does give Clark added ammunition for not trusting Jor-El, but it would seem off to me. After all, how would Fine know about Jor-El in the here and now? Has Clark been talking out of turn??? Kanin had some very good points there.
Agreed. He usually does.
Yeah, I think we name Fine Brainiac because of the mythos AND because that's what all the spoilers said. To me, he's not really acting super-computer-ish. And the Eradicator did think he was doing the best. but does Fine?
Not sure, yet.
I wouldn't mind Brainiac being a series regular in some respects because his scenes always seem to shine (as I've said above). But you're right. He could be a regular guest-appearance villain, but to have him a regular. What's the point of having Lex turn evil? What's the point in having Lex at all if we're going to arrange for other super-villains that he'll fight against? It doesn't make sense. no matter how much I'd like him to continue.
Lex should be a nemesis by now.
Fine's knowledge of Kryptonite is VERY suspicious. I guess the PTB justification is that he researched it. or while tapping into Luthor Corp, found Chloe's Wall of Weird stuff. 'cause didn't Lionel confiscate a bunch of those files?
Maybe. Still, lip service should be paid, I say.
So, are they trying to say that Clark didn't go back to Lionel after promising he would after the resurrection scene? It's very Lex-accusation like. Besides Fine's word, Clark has no evidence that Martha's illness has come from Jor-El.
Yes. Agreed. Strange.
Thank goodness that they're starting to utilize Chloe in her role again! Because the replacement of her with Lois was getting on my nerves. Did you notice?
Heh. You know it.
You know that when I get my butt in gear and watch my recorded Smallville episodes, I'll probably get very teary. But you're right. If we all know that Martha's so not going to die, then that touching moment is wasted. It would be better to wait until the "right" person actually does die!
It's what sucks about knowing spoilers. Less tension.
You know, I've always wanted to see "Orgazmo" from what I've heard on it. It's on my Netflix list, but isn't coming fast enough.
It's hilarious, if you don't get offended. I haven't been really offended by anything other than the PATRIOT Act since I was about 14, so it was a blast.
So really the only reason why Lois would go to Metropolis and pick up Chloe to drive back to Smallville and Warehouse #15 is so the guard guy can drool all over her car. Which is a FORD FUSION!!! I've seen pictures, and I never would have imagined a guy going practically non-verbal about it.
Even a Ford Exec.
I've been pretty pissy lately about the remakes of songs. I didn't realize that artistic talent plateau'd at some point where all the old stuff had to be redone. I mean, the least they could try and do is be "Weird Al" funny with it!
I want to remake "Do You Love Me?" really slow and cynical. I think that'd be cool. I'm learning to play the guitar right now, and it's one of my high priorities. Stupid sharp notes! A pox on them! Here is a chord. Here is another chord. Here is a third. ME MAKEE MUSIC! Sharp this!
I've been wondering about Lex's lack of cameras on the ship since the first time Fine skewered that guy. Let me see. If I had a clandestine alien space ship that I'd hidden away for research, I'd definitely have all the security my money could buy. which is a dead bolt. but we're not talking about me. We're talking about Lex LuthER!!!
Really? Fine made a big deal about the preservation of all thing Krypton (Eradicator) but then wants to destroy the Fortress? And Clark doesn't make a peep, huh? Riiiiight! And what do you think the black crystal was? It can't be black kryptonite, right? What else would destroy the Fortress? (Good quips, by the way.)
Fine/Brainiac (do they actually use the name?) "pastes" Clark with K? Como? I guess we could say that Brainiac wouldn't be vulnerable to kryptonite because he's not a Kryptonian. he's a machine. And he calls Zod? He couldn't do that through the ship? But the leaving Clark is such the Dr. Evil villain-type thing to do. Oy!
It has to be in the last ten minutes, and in a dramatic locale. Never mind the realities!
(I'm not looking forward to "Lexmas". I've read the spoilers and I've seen the pictures. Would it save time if I just vomited now?)
It was much better than I'd thought. I thought it would be a Lana is great love-fest as usual.
Chloe's on notice, hmmm? (Ooooo. Think I peed my pants a little with that belly laugh.) How did Chloe get to the Fortress? Did Clark show her the special buttons to press to enter the portal?
Bears are on notice too. I'm totally with Colbert. I was hunting a few years back, and I walked through some fresh bear poo, and I thought it was right nearby, I don't think I've ever been that scared. And I had a gun. But oh! Yeah! Special buttons. Nah, she just ported...uh, yeah! Can you tell I'm wearing down?
And they really destroyed the Fortress? Do you think they'll rebuild?
I don't think it was totally destroyed. Just weakened.
I'm worried. I'm still going to watch them. but I'm worried. It could just suck. or it could be good. I guess I can wait and see, but the holiday reruns are totally getting on my nerves!!!
I want 12 good episodes in a row, once a year. Have for a while.
Hasta! Have a good turkey day!
I really did. Thanks.
Hi again. Thanks again. The checkbox keeps working! (Ok, i won't worry about my soul, as long as you give me a 10-day warning before taking it away, ok?)
Ah, you can have it back. I only play God with my characters. Those poor fools.
Let's move on:
Before i start with my comments about the last show, let me say one or two things that's been around my mind in the last week. I've been nurturing myself with a heavy dose of comics, past and present (Identity Crisis, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Superman: Red Son, Superman: Secret Identity, Superman: Birthright, Infinite Crisis, Superman - Batman), specially some works by Alan Moore (Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, the other one about his birthday, etc.);
For the Man Who Has Everything.
i end up loving Moore's work and noticing that they keep forgetting the basic rule: "If it's not broken, don't fix it". Didn't like Crisis on Infinite Earths too much; lot of characters, some interesting development, some bigger flaws than the existing ones (at that time). But i liked the Superman figure, all the time. Now they do the same thing (as long as i'm reading, please, i want to be wrong about this one) One of the better parts of CoIE was Earth 2 Superman. Now it looks like he's gonna be the mad one. Please, let me be wrong!
When Crisis wasn't deviating into obscure characters, I loved it. Part of what makes Infinite better, to me, is that it's all pretty self-contained.
Sorry for the kinda-off-topic, but i needed the background to show some points. Writers like to portrait Superman as naive, all the time. Smallville is not an exception. I know this is part of the mythos, but being naive is not always close to being silly, clumsy or stupid. I'd like to think i'm kinda 80% naive, but that doesn't mean i'm blind. Maybe a young Clark Kent, living in a small town, who doesn't watch TV or read the News (as far as i can tell, other than the school's newspaper, i don't remember Clark being curious about the world) could be that way. I liked the Rebirth comics, when he's going around the world, learning. I think that was good writing, about a person (or super-person, whatever) that goes around the world, opening his mind, learning, growing. Maybe it's too soon to show those traits on the young "Smallville", but at least, they should do more than hinting this or that. I want character development, really. I don't like when they do this kind of "winks" of Louis becoming a reporter, or Lex trying to get in a position of power, because is just "fan service". I think you got the point.
I do. And I agree. If I were running the show, he'd be traveling the world right now.
After 4 seasons, i'd like to see true characters, getting more than a glimpse of what they'll become. The questions remains: How Lex became the mischievious (did i spell it right?) enemy of Superman? How is that Clark decided to go on with the costume and became a hero? How he forgets Lana? What happens with Chloe? I mean, somehow i know it's too soon to see radical changes about all these things, but then i think in my own life, how things have changed in 1, 2 or 4 years and then i find the flaws. People forget about important things, all the time. Yesterday friends are tomorrow's foes or vice-versa. Everything changes. Pantha Rei. So, how's that Smallville remains "almost" the same after 4 years?
Necessity. If they change it, people will run. People like things they know. Also, because they said they wouldn't. I think both are silly reasons.
I know, it's a TV show... Not a book, not a comic... (BTW, regarding your comments about TV-Comics, i'd like to know your point of view about Joss Whedon, moving from TV to Comics)
I like Whedon's Astonishing run. I don't like drive-bys. I think he should have stayed on longer. That's the problem with tv-geared writers. They set big things up, but they never follow through. J Mike is an exception. But then, he didn't write for TV either, he wrote for literature, to my mind.
Ok, back on the topic... :P
First of all... I'm not sure if i'll get used to the rollercoaster way. After going down and down, suddenly they go up! Wheeeeeeee! 'Bout time, ne? Now, to add some novelty on my redaction, i'll do the "I liked / I didn't like" list:
I liked: Chloe (as usual), Brainiac, the Fortress, the betrayal, the effects, the speech between Ma Kent and Clark (i'm an easy-tear boy, i'm sorry), Lionel, Lex vs. Lois and the glimpse of Zod.
Easy-tears are forgivable. Being a Spock has its detriments.
I didn't like:
- Clark telling lies (again! God, someone DESERVES corrective measures!
- The coat that Chloe wears when following Brainiac (come on, i thought it was a joke or a homage to Inspector Closeau, until i saw it was not a full coat. Her dressing crew hate her.) The fact that if she followed him to that place, didn't she see how he managed to get into a Lex property past the security? big hole, no explanation. Nobody ever asks why he's going there.
- The daRN Ford.
- The fact Brainiac ask for Kryptonite to ease the pain on Ma Kent and both being in the room and not a slight proof of being affected (but i think Clark can outrun Kryptonite now, right?).
And run right past it, apparently.
- The speech Clark gives to Brainiac, "You were talking about Zod, not Jor-El!" Gee! You spent almost the entire day believing him and suddenly you realize ALL in 5 secs? And they say Batman is the world's best detective... O_o And don't forget he seems to buy that Brainiac has a crystal (grey/black, not a clue, isn't it?), a weapon. If i was him, i had to question this Kryptonian about what he did or how he managed to get a hold on that BEFORE doing anything. Ok, his mom is dying, he gets desperate... "Yeah, i'm gonna plug this black device, that comes from Krypton, into that device, that comes from Krypton, althought everytime i get to use a Kryptonian device, something bad happens! Who cares, my mom is dying!". Yeah, that sounds right.
Sounds like a finale!
- What happens with Brainiac? I mean, getting impaled, ok, that's gross... But then again, he can become liquid a-la-terminator. So? Some explanation, please! Ok, maybe the crystals (nice self-defense mechanism, even if it took like half an hour to get activated) de-synched him or something. Anyway, too easy.
None forthcoming. Eight ball says "Ask again later".
- Oh, yes, almost forgot. So Clark runs to the Fortress, begs for his mom life to Jor-El, Jor uses the infamous Bart Simpson line, "I didn't do it" and Clark just goes away?!? I mean, no "Father, i know you serve the dark side" or "I know about Zod" or "Who the hell is General Zod?" I mean, he blames alien-daddy (not that he doesn't have reasons) and directly jumps into action BEFORE trying to understand what's happening??? I thought he's going to be Superman someday, not Ghost Rider.
Well, that's all for now. Thanks again for your time and for the reviews. Have a good time!
P.S. I heard some rumors about "Batman" on Smallville. What do you think? And yes, i think Lana will end with Lex and that really tear the remains of the friendship between those 2.
I don't see it happening. I want it to. As for Lana and Lex causing the split, I agree. It'll be hard to like it, though.
Jonathan North wrote:
I don't know if you remember but I've e-mailed you before.
I do. In fact, I am surprised all of the emails I can remember when I can't even find my keys. It's just the fact that each one is so cool to me.
Love your reviews. I look forward to them almost as much as the episode.
(Even more if I know from spoilers that the episode will suck... [Spell, most of Thirst])
Wait until the very special musical. You know it's coming.
Anyway, just wanted to write about a couple things I noticed in Solitude. Jor-El tells Clark that "Even you cannot alter destiny." But it was made very apparent that he CAN alter destiny. There was a whole episode made to prove that point. In Hereafter Jordan can see the person at the moment of their death, but if Clark does something to them or for them, the future is changed. There are only two explanations for this. #1 Bad Writing, and #2 Jor-El is lying.
I go with one. :)
My thinking is that Jor-El is Lying because he's not Jor-El, he is Zod working with Fine/Brainiac to get out of the Phantom Zone, and that the Caves and the FOS are both portals to the Phantom Zone. That's why Zod can speak to Clark though them. Fine's speech to clark about the evils of Jor-el describe whoever is in the cave exactly, but the description was a lie, and fits Zod much better. Saying all that though, I guess I'm still more inclined to believe that bad writing is at fault. The scenario above is giving the writers more credit than they have earned as of late...
Yeah, and plus, why would Jor-El make the fortress if he's Zod, when Zod needs the destruction of the Fortress to emerge?
Also a small goof with Chloe and the key. Why does Chloe have the key at the end? It's pretty clear that she let go of it as she was taken away, just like Clark did...
Anyway, that's just my two cents. I could be wrong. Keep up the great work!
Sounds good to me. Thanks!
Michael Kalvig wrote:
I really liked your article and as a true Superman fan I would like to point out to the readers that every actor who has played Superman was casted as an unknown. No one new who Tom Welling was before "Smallville." Christopher Reeve was in one move before Superman. Dean Cain was in a few minor rolls before Lois and Clark. This is the way it will always be and the choice of Brandon Routh as Superman seems perfect. Could you really imagine Nicolas Cage playing Superman?
I can. It's scary. But as I recall, wasn't George Reeves a veteran actor? At any rate, mostly you're right.
We've seen Spiderman, Batman, Hulk, Fantastic Four, Punisher, Catwomen, X-men in the theater's. Isn't it time that the greatest of all superhereos be seen again on the big screen, I can't wait to see it and will see it the first day.
Oh yeah. For my mind, give me any superhero over another Reese Whitherspoon romantic comedy that makes me want to kick midgets.
I'm writing in response to your review on "Exposed" and I have to ask what the hell episode were you watching?
First of all your "review" consisted only of that silly little Star Trek parody which I couldn't even stand to finish.
So you're telling me you didn't even read it, but you're taking a dump on it? Okay. That's gonna lend you credibility. But just as an experiment, I'm gonna read the rest of your letter before I judge it, because that's the smart thing to do.
Second you complained about the Lois parading around in a stripper's uniform when it covered more than most bathing suits these days and she barley danced around at all.
Can I watch your sister or your mother dance in that outfit? Didn't think so. Because though it doesn't show breasts, it's still arbitrary titillation. And anyway, it doesn't matter if she remained fully clothed. They made Lois Lane a stripper. That's detrimental to a feminist icon. One of the GOOD ones.
Though I will admit the whole on Clark's lap thing was unnesscary but its the WB you shouldn't expect much.
Au contraire. I will expect nothing but excellence, or I'll yell about it. With so much good media out there, there's no reason why if you're getting paid what these guys are you can't come up with better.
I never saw any mention of the senator's hero speech and how this is part of how Clark learns he has to be humanity's example as Superman and never letting them down.
Because, as you said, you didn't read the review. Sigh.
Also I beleive Chloe mentioned to Lois as they arrived at the shaddy back alley that "How am I supposed to make it as a reporter if I don't get a story?" or some crap like that; thats why they didn't call the police or any other reporters she wanted the byline for for herself.
And that's a good reason why?
Off topic as to how Lana can afford college, what I am about to tell you is not a fabrication, lie, tall tale, or falsity of any kind my friend Billie Ray Pierce who applied several weeks before this term started (thats a girl by the way I live in the south) through FASA pays $53 a semester, or even a YEAR I am not completely sure, to go to Peace College in Raleigh. She is that poor yes, AND my 9th grade English teacher got married in college making his income $0 and he and his wife went to college for FREE. It is not hard anymore for the lower income to pay for college those who have trouble are the middle class in debt types (like me) cause we don't keep any of the money we make.
That's tuition. What about 250 bucks a quarter for books, 4-5,000 bucks a year for rent, two thousand in utilities, maybe a thousand in food if you eat ramen, and then tack on a nice new Ford payment.
I had to have a full-time job even though most of my tuition was aided by FAFSA. It's not that easy if you're doing it all on your own.
Also as to her keeping an apartment with no income I ask you did she sell or give up her half of the Talon she owned? (if the answer is yes ignore this next part)
She sold it to Martha.
It is my understanding that if you own ANY part of a piece of property you can stay there rent free?
Sometimes. But she doesn't own it.
Whats the logical frame work for this you ask? We all know she owns half the Talon we didn't need to be told again!
Plus she probably had a surplus of cash as she worked a managment postion at a very successful coffee shop while living rent and board free at Chloe's house. She most likely ain't poor.
I live in the world HAVEN for coffee. And trust me. Coffee merchants aren't making bank unless they roast.
"A few lines of dialogue could have cleared this" you may say, no cause we already knew all of this.
Uh, no, we didn't.
When you see something like this that pulls you out of the story why can't you just make your own thoeries that please you and move on like everyone else?
Because I'm a reviewer. A critic. We criticize.
I end this letter stating that I truly loved "Exposed" as it showed the way Clark must present himself as Superman to be the world's greatest superhero and show humanity the way. Sweeps trash is the very last thing I would call it!
Well, good for you. But opinions and disagreements aside, I promise, you've gotta present an argument even your opponents would accept to be persuasive, which involves fewer logical fallacies, and notably, actually reading that which you're criticizing.
They did it to Spike when he was Spike, too.
Great actor. Great character. Great story arc. And then, it all went to crap, with writers straining credibility to keep a popular (read: muchos fangirl-os) character around, long after it stopped making sense.
DaRN shame, that.
I never saw it, but I'll take your word for it.
Jeremy Perron wrote:
I first want to say that I love all of your reviews and view points on the series. I agree with you on just about everything.
I was wondering if you use to read the letter columns in the back. I use to read them all the time (now just read your reviews). Anyhow I why I am emailing you is this remember, when the letter columns often times had regulars that kept writing in and getting published? My favorite was Joe Frank, remember him? I used to love his letters and I wish I could have heard his thoughts on Smallville. Do you know what happened to him has he ever written your site? Anyway I just wanted to share some nostalgic memories with a fellow fan.
I've never talked to a Joe Frank, but I know my favorite part of comics is often the discussion of them as opposed to the read themselves, so letters being gone just kills me. It's why I love Bruce Kanin's Non-Letters to DC's editors (in protest for the letters having their plug pulled by a cheap DC).
PS I wrote in myself once and won the Baldy.
Congrats! I have yet to get one. Steve got one though, right in a comic! Very awesome.
Samuel Makepeace wrote:
Hey Neal, still catching up, I'm onto Season five now and just watched Arrival.
Before I get to that, I'd just like to say that I am SO incredibly relieved that Rebecca was just "somewhere in the back of [your] mind actually". "Is that how a warped brain like yours gets its kicks?" by torturing the brains of innocent readers?
I was actually trying to torture the people who told the critic not to criticize. But alas, no one got mad, they just laughed. Like with my novels!
hehe, nah, in all seriousness, I was more relieved than annoyed and yes I did kick myself for not getting the joke earlier. Well played.
Cool! Glad it worked.
Anyway, I know you don't take corrections anymore but I noticed in your Arrival review you said that it was nice Lex had the key because he's never had it before. Lex was the first to have the key, if I remember correctly Clark stole it to put it in the ship and then blamed its loss on the tornadoes.
Actually, I DO take corrections now. I just didn't want to disseminate it myself. Feel free. Lex did have the key...you're right.
As for the episode, I'd just like to point out two nice little things I noticed.
1) In the Fortress of Solitude Clark says to Jor-El "I know there's a lot I can learn from you" which (again if I remember correctly) is exactly what Lex said to Lionel in a much earlier episode (though I can't for the life of me remember which one, anyone? It was around about the time he accepted coming back to Luthorcorp)
I seem to recall that, yep.
2) This gave me a tingle, watch the special effect of the phantom zone portal again as it Clark gets half inside it. The edge of the portal is several rings that rotate over one another in much the same was as the shield around Zod and his disciples in Superman 1 and 2 (at the begining, when they're captured by the Kryptonian council). I just thought that was another nice nod to the movies.
Definitely. Loved that.
Thanks, Sam! All the best.
Jules Brice wrote:
Hey, Neal, Jules in Costa Rica here.
I don't think we'll be seeing much of season six after this one. In fact after reading what troubles they've gone to for "Superman Returns" I believe Smallville will kick the bucket this season. The episodes are full of so much prescience along with omniscience (translate: cheese with fanboy material) that it actually makes me sad.
Me too sometimes. I don't think it's getting cancelled, but who knows. Welling just made some oblong comments, maybe he knows something we don't.
Where are the original story arcs that took us into a haven of probabilities that could do so much for the show? Answer: the corporate wheel is turning and we're going to make a big buck out of everyone, especially the Die Hards.
To wit: Why did the Smallville producers go down under? to make sure their story did not clash severely with the money grind that is a Superman movie.
They don't disrupt the status quo very well.
Why is Lois in Smallville? because Lois is part of canon and canon is what people will know, and the previous art that has been created which expanded Superman's universe must be in line with current canon.
Is "Superman Returns" an absolute truth? it is now, and comic creators, writers, series creators and fans must fall in rank with it or else. Plus a lot more that I just don't have the heart to sum up.
I'm less pessimistic, but I hate the idea that people can't figure stuff out on their own. Even if they can't. I don't pity ignorance.
Am I disheartened? Truly I don't know... ask me again after the WB and Superman-cum-FOX and X3 dust has settled.
Likewise. I think X3 may be shaping up, actually. I was worried because of Knowles, but the preview turned it up. That's why you should never listen to internet nerds and always judge for yourself. Even me.
I have enjoyed season 5. In fact I have been putting this season against my knowledge (and heretical hypotheses(?)), and up against other shows I have enjoyed in the past (Babylon 5, Firefly, and the original Galactica [I'm going to get flamed for this] as some of the sci-fi ones, Moonlighting, Seinfeld, Airwolf, Quantum Leap, and Knight Rider as some of the so-so [that will definitely earn me more flames]. But Season 5 is a re-structuring so we can have 22 episodes and finish with a bang. They're going the right way about it, but the outcome still isn't Superman.
Agreed. I loved Bab, Firefly, and I have yet to see a single Galactica. Loved Leap when I was a kid. I have yet to see a single Seinfeld (and I'm not the lesser for it).
Holiday shows don't cut the cake, even if they're filler episodes. Vampires? Clark as Santa? What's next? The Kawatche caves in Thanksgiving along with a Kryptonite enhanced wing-flapping Valentine hunting down the Easter Bunny?
Just so we can get through sweeps and kill Chloe off so her spirit can reside in Lois and Clark can kiss everyone to forgetfulness? So we can be ready for the movie in summer? I hope not.
We shall see...
I don't buy this Brainiac... call me what you will, I just don't get a Kryptonian supercomputer obviating simple things like leaving a key to the fortress back at the caves, or luring a naive (I can't remember ascii code for the I with two dots over it) kryptonian to his safehouse and ignoring humans that could (with a little suspense of dibelief) creep up on him and fling the ONLY piece of kryptonite that he brought along far away enough from his potential enemy (not to mention that the fortress protected itself from Chloe the first time, so we know there's SOME AI that know when foreigners abound [I watched that episode avidly and I saw the fortress lashing out against her] and it should have known about Prof. Fine) Heck, I could buy Aquaman swimming his way through rivers and lakes with a pit stop here and there to get to Smallville from Miami. I just don't understand pithy mistakes like that unless you believed yourself to be a God which Brainiac shamefully didn't because he was in it for Zod. Stoopid, your name is Brainiac. And maybe you'll return because you were big with the Buffy crowd (I'm gonna get flamed again).
Shhh! The Whedon Army is listening! But at any rate, there were some bad things in terms of A to B, but generally, at least it wasn't STONES and SECRETS and LIES, I guess.
In my opinion season 5 rocks with little shingles swaying in the wind, but I have the honest opinion that this is it; no shark swimming in these waters (well, maybe Lexmas, but hey, I like Rosenbaum-centered episodes). We'll just have to see and I hope I can turn some day to my friends and say: "THIS is the season 5 DVD set, enjoy as much as I have, because it went out with a bang and tied everything (I still feel the Emperor should have expressed to Anakin that he was his father, and R2 should also have had his memory wiped because he could have confided in 3PO at any point in time in the 17 YEARS that go by between Ep. III and IV, but hey, that's just the Star Wars geek talking) together so we can enjoy another four Superman movies.
Actually, I see Palpatine as subtly indicating that his master influenced Anakin's birth...but that's me. As for R2, I agree.
Anyway, I hope for Smallville, I just hope nothing seriously bad happens to the main characters (or nothing we don't know but can clash with their original stories) other than what spoilers and foresight (does that one even work) can portray. This IS one heckuva show, and it would be a pity (and a waste) to throw it all away for the major big bucks that the movie will reel in.
Agreed. Heck, if anything, Superman will draw more viewers to Smallville, I would think.
I was going to put in a lot more, but I sighed and resigned. I'm still a Die Hard whatever they shuck my way. Just a little sour. Not bitter, mind you. I hope everyone that reads your bit can understand and not be a critic about it (hmmm, I remember days when I asked you to take a different stance on your reviews) without realizing that big bucks will do the talking anywhere, regardless of what we the Die Hards and we the Geeks, and we the ones that get the original Shuster and Siegel message: Even an outsider can find good in this world, and fight for it for the betterment of mankind.
Yes. And hey, to be honest, most first letters are telling me how to change, but once I get a dialogue going, most people are really cool about it. I don't want anyone to agree with me, per ce. I just say what I think. If you agree, cool. If not, go ahead and try to persuade, but don't get mad when I don't instantly bow...otherwise, I'll end up taking everyone's position. But hey, reading this letter compared to OTHERS I've received from people who don't even read the review before crapping on it (many, actually), I'm encouraged. Thanks!
P.S (only one, this time, I swear) That seems like a good MSN nick... given my status here in Costa Rica... I think I'll take it.
Go for it. Mine is an epigram from a poem I wrote: "Somewhere deep in rage I write, long of heart and short of night)
Hello, I am writting this letter with due respect and heartful of tears since we have not known or meet ourselves previously I am asking for your assistance after I have gone through a profile that speaks good of you.
Spoke good? Of me? Who sent you this! Do go on, please! I am now enthralled that you are heartful of tears!
I want to find out if it's possible for you to deal with individual as to investment.
Uh oh. Is this Scientology?
My dear i will be so glad if you can allow me and lead me to the right channel towards your assistance to my situation now.
Follow your nose!
I will make my proposal well known to you. I would like to use this opportunity to introduce myself to you. Well I am Linda Sokon 22yer old girl from Liberia in west Africa,i am a daughter of late Dr Tunde Sokon
Oh yeah! From Birthright! Clark tried to save you, but you...no, wait!
My late father was the personal advicer to the former head of state president Charles Taylor who is now in exile, before the rebels attacked our house one early morning killing my mother and my father.
If you work on the Death Star, you've gotta know the risks associated. Blasted left wing militants!
It was only me that is alive now, and i managed to make my way to near by country, The main reason why I am contacting you now is to seek your assistance in the area of my future investment and also to help me to transfer the money that he deposited in finacier company over to your possession.
You mean...you want to give me money? So that I can help you with investment? Holy cow! That's...well...wait a second! I dropped out of college! What are you smoking?
the amount is (US10.5 Million dollars) he made this deposit some years back,the money was deposited as a family tresure which i am the nest of kin.
I had a nest of kin in the backyard. Raid took care of it, after much of the rock throwing and the stinging and the cursing failed. (US10.5 million bees)
I am now asking you to stand on my behalf as my partner, and in time of claiming the money and investment as well.
Hmm. I'll think about it. What's my cut?
I have made up my mind to offer you 25% of the total money, while the remaining will go into a productive business for me or you take me as your daugther to manage the money,
Deal! All you have to do is bring me the money in small, unmarked bills. I'll even get over the fact that I'm 26 and you're 22. You can even call me dad when I say "Who's your daddy?"
As I have mention earlier I will make the procedure to this transaction to be well know to you. Pls attach your direct and full contact address as you reply to me. please contact me with this e-mail addrerss so that i will give you the full information.
Okay. Just go to Nealbailey.com. All of the information is right there, clear as crystal. But first, you have to forward my books on to ten other people, otherwise your head will explode.
Thanks and God Bless you,
I didn't sneeze. And hey, what does that have to do with Smallville?
You'd think the scammers would have more common sense than to waste time filling in feedback forms for columnists. But hey! It's fun for me. And if you email them asking them why they like to scam, it'll be fun for YOU too!
Mark Palenik wrote:
What can I say? Is Lex' mom retarded? You don't show Lex a future where everyone he loves dies if you don't want him to turn evil, I mean, that was just poor planning.
They should have held a meeting.
I'd just like to ask, is the choice he made really the wrong choice? True, it may caust Johnathen Kent the senate race, and bring him some temporary humiliation, but he did it to Lana's life. He sacraficed his own happiness and future to save the woman he loves. That actually sounds noble to me.
See the above.
The lesson that Lex espoused at the end, I think is the lesson that anyone would have taken from the situation. If it were a twilight zone episode, everything would be going really well in the beginning, just like it did, then at the end he would learn why the happy life he has is not all that it seems, and in that would be the lesson. In this case, that lesson was "if you don't have money and power, or the respect of your father, the people you love will die." So is it any wonder he chose the path he did?
Not to me.
Of course, there were other outs, but rather than it being that Lex was too greedy or lazy to explore them, I think the writers were just too stupid to see them. I mean, Lionel told Lex that he didn't have the money or power to save the woman he loved. But Johnathen Kent is a senator. Surely he must have some money or power, or could have helped Lana somehow.
Or heck, the doctors could have KEPT WORKING instead of abandoning her to die.
Maybe Lex is actually condemned because he should have realized that now that he knows the future, and knows exactly how and when Lana will die, he could actually stop that from happening if he wanted to, and didn't have to go back to his old ways just to keep Lana from dying. Maybe spend that Christmas in Metropolis, rather than with the Kents. But in reality, I don't think the writers even thought of that.
Lex seemed extremely likeable to me in this episode, and so did pregnant Lana, actually. There was, however one point, when Clark opened the door for Lex, when he said "guess what", or "hi", or something, and I could have sworn the next words out of his mouth were going to be "I used to ET-HEM your wife".
And on that note, I think I've run out of things to say.
And that's good, because the FCC is gonna hit me with the ET-HEM stick.
Hector Izaguirre wrote:
First of all, let me start off by saying that I love reading your reviews!
Good start! Thanks!
Lex-Mas. Okay, where exactly is Grandville? You may have covered that in previous reviews, but I'm still pretty new.
Nope. Never heard of it.
Why would Lex travel to Grandview to meet with Griff only to walk away to think about the proposal that was made to him? I would think that if Lex made the trip to Grandville, it would be for more than 2 minutes and surely to give to go ahead to polute Jonathan's reputation. Lex went out there because he had a purpose.
It was pretty abstract, I agree.
I see that Pa Kent is sporting the cool hair style in the first few minutes of the show. Love that hair. Good senator hair. He must be using the expensive fancy hair products. You figure they can afford the fancy stuff now that Clark is sporting (still sporting, I guess) a fancy phone.
I like the glasses.
Nice Chloevage in this episode. Nuff said!
WORD! Marry me, Allison! Or at least abuse me.
Anyway, was the first doctor that Lex had been in previous episodes? He seemed familiar. How about the specialist that he had? Litvack? Is that a name in Superman comic books or movies?
No, but he has been on before, I think.
I thought it was kind of cool the way Lex would communicate with his mother. He always had his back to her except for their final scene. He finally faces her only to wake up in a hospital. And what does he do? He turns his back on her by becoming Evil Lex LuthER! Kind of ironic, don't you think?
No Muffin Peddling College Drop Out in this episode. However, Santa Claus made a special appearance. Can't wait to get my Red Zone under the tree.
Drunken thieving suicidal Santa. Billy Bob, eat your heart out.
Look forward to reading your review. Your reviews always make me laugh and most of all, they make me think about stuff I should have picked up on. Thanks! Keep up the good work.
Feel Free to Publish if you'd Like!
Awesome. Thanks, all! Don't forget to check out the update KO Count. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Super Kwanza, don't burn your fingers on the festival of lights, or as we say in atheist-ville:
Live long, live noggy, and if you're poor, pray for coal.
Merry Lexmas, Charlie Brown.
LexmasReviewed by: Douglas Trumble
Well let me first start out by saying, any story that can successfully place Lex Luthor into a beat up station wagon trying to fight with a child safety seat will get an extra bonus point in my book.
This was a good story. It could have been a bit better and there were a few items that just didn't quite work with reality but I am not talking about the things you might think.
Let me just get the bad out of the way now before I start getting into the great.
First of all again we see an issue on time in a hospital just not making sense when a person is shot. We saw questionable timing earlier this season when Clark was shot but this time it is even worse. Lex is shot on Christmas Eve some time after dark. Sunset is during the mid evening hours in Kansas this time of year. So let's just for the sake of giving them the most amount of time say it was 5:30pm when Lex is shot. Now Lex is shot, brought to the emergency room, moved to Metropolis via airlift, has spinal surgery, and then is up and actually walking around the room sometime before sunrise the next morning. I know there has been evidence in the past on this show of Lex having healing powers due to his exposure to Kryptonite so I can believe he is standing 13 hours after being shot, but only hours after having surgery on a blood clot in his spine? Ummmm. OK then.
It didn't ruin the story for me but having Lex still in bed at the end would have at least removed most of the questions from that.
The second thing I had problems with was Lex's vision of the future. Not because of what was shown or how it was done. I loved it except for one thing, it just wasn't real and we as Superman fans know it. This was based on one simple scene that could have easily been fixed to let us know it was real.
Why not make this a real possible future instead of a delusion in Lex's mind? It works both ways except for the inclusion of Clark and Chloe. All the producers/director would have had to do is switch Chloe with Lois and put a pair of glasses on Clark and that vision of the future would have become as real to every fan of Superman as it was supposed to be for Lex. By having Clark without the glasses and implying Clark is working side by side with Chloe at the Daily Planet we all are reminded that this is just a future Lex is dreaming up based on his own knowledge of the present. Simply including those two things about the future we know that Lex would not, could have made this vision work on a whole other level.
And why not do those? They have a Lois on the cast and a pair of glasses would not break the budget. Heck they could have borrowed a spare pair of mine for free. I would even pay for postage to Vancouver. We have a story involving a magic person dressed as Santa Claus? So why not just make the visit by the Ghost of Christmas Future real as well?
This was a missed opportunity for sure.
Anyway enough of that. I do not want anyone to get the idea that I did not enjoy this one. I did, very much.
Lex's vision was great and touching, up until the end when it started coming undone, but even that worked on the level it was meant to. We have what amounted to the Ghost of Christmas Future in the form of Lex's mother visiting him first and showing him a possible future. In this twist on the story the possible future is happy at first, that is until the Ghost of Christmas Past in the form of Lionel comes and turns things for the worse. All this works to cause Lex to make the opposite choice that Scrooge makes in the classic story. I think this was really a clever idea and, other than what I said above, it was nicely done.
The acting was great all around but this was especially true of the work done by Michael Rosenbaum. He managed to pull of a good honest man while still showing enough of the Lex we know in Smallville to make it feel real before twisting back into the evil Lex we have been seeing as of late.
Chloe talking Clark into delivering presents across the city was great and I absolutely loved the scene were he was super-speeding around Metropolis. I almost fell off the couch laughing when he ate the cookies left out for Santa and then got busted by the little girl. I liked how he stopped to help the drunk on the roof, though admittedly I think they could have included a bit more of that talk. Still what they did show was great. Clark did not just grab him and bring him down even though he could have done so easily. Instead he sat down and tried to talk the guy down first. Something very mature and wise for our future Superman. The FX shot of Clark running down the wall to catch the falling St. Nick was very nicely done as well.
Santa turning out to be "real" at the end was neat. Sure, one could argue that it is a bit on the silly side but it still worked in my opinion. What is "real" in Smallville's world anyway? Maybe he was just another Meta-human that could teleport all those presents out of the room and deliver them using his powers the same as Clark was, (insert shrug here) or maybe he really lived at the north pole and had reindeer waiting outside. Pick which one works best for you. They both work for me.
Finally I like to mention the few tidbits we got on the season running plot. Johnathan is gearing up to take on Lex in a run for State Senate. We see now for sure that Lex is going to play dirty to get it but we also see that Martha is not exactly keen on the whole idea. This leads for some interesting drama coming up this season. We get all this and we also learn that our favorite Krypto predecessor Shelby likes cookies. You just cannot ask for more than that.
Anyway, a few problems but still very great. I have to deduct a bit for the issues I said above but I still can't bring myself to grade this one any less than an A- or give it less than 4.5 Christmas tree toppers.
Next week is a "Smallville Movie Event"! Looked like a repeat of the premier to me but hey, that can be an Event! Man I just love the WB advertising people. From the people who bring you such great tag lines as "Krypt Tuck" and "Good Sex, Bad Lex" now bring you the super gala ultimate colossal showing of a repeated episode that was shown only two months ago on this very same channel! Tune in next week Super Fans. Same Super time, Same Super channel.
Douglas "Doright" Trumble
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