Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 5 - Episode 13: "Vengeance"Reviews:
VengeanceReviewed by: Neal Bailey
Okay! First off, thanks, everyone, for patience with this review being late. I expected to do it on vacation, then I was on vacation, and I said to myself, "You know what? You've done a review on the night of for almost every episode for three years, you workaholic", and instead, I watched Survivor with my grandparents as it taped at home.
And you know what? Survivor still sucks, and isn't half of Smallville. I'd choose this episode over that pablum eight days a week. OH! I'm on an island! OH! I'm all alone on exile island! All I have is fifteen cameras and a medical team if anything really goes wrong. Oh boo hoo hoo, I have to eat worms!
Come chum some of this *$%$, buddy. I have bullet holes in my house and bloodied strangers bursting through my door. I can't turn the freakin' heat on. That's survival, not piddling middle class yuppies arguing over fricking immunity tokens.
But like Hunter Thompson said, gone a year now, buy the ticket, take the ride. I'm not complaining, I love it. I'm just pointing out that if you relate to Survivor as a tale of hardship, you aren't doing hardship right. 0 of 5. My ears bled with the inanity.
BUT, I did eventually get around to watching the show in question. From the previews, I expected one of the more horrible shows imaginable. And I got something that was barely passing. BUT, it wasn't as bad as it usually is in filler episodes. Mostly, you get Lana passive aggression, notably absent here, and more inconsistencies than I can list in 14 pages. Here it's only about 8-10 I'm guessing. Also, though there's no A to B on a lot of the plot, as in the transition from season 4 to 5, it's still somewhat interesting.
I'm surprised. It's still only average, maybe a little below, but I'm still surprised.
We start off with a summary reminding us that Pa Kent is dead, and just how. Frankly, that's more than a little annoying. The wound is still raw. As you'll see if you read the letters, people responded overwhelmingly to the negative on that episode, and the last thing we need for the fresh break is someone repeating the obvious to us. Frankly, it's like this. If you watch Smallville, you already know what happened last week and you don't need a summary you wouldn't or couldn't easily get online. If you DON'T watch the show, you're not going to suddenly start tuning in after five years to see, uh, Zorro woman. That trailer was about as appealing as Survivor.
But the opening scene that followed was rather touching. Clark trying to fix an engine, only to break the wrench. That's one of the key things I relate to quite a bit in any male character. We're taught, as men, to know how to fix cars, build houses, play sports of all kinds, and though the neurosis is the product of the idiot who makes it (me, in this case), I understand that compulsion to learn to fix a car, and how much agony it would be were my father gone. As it is, I pushed myself into construction, a field I knew little about, and though now I'm consummate, without my father and just his simple life's experience, I would often fail. I see Clark trying to fix an engine and I know he's right where I'd be, and that hurts.
The scene with his mother is taught and empty. You can really feel Jonathan's absence. Whether that will continue is a matter of debate and later scrutiny, but at least for now, it's playing right and well.
Clark decided to drop out of school in a rather quick and abrasive way. It's completely illogical. Normally, I'd be harsher on it, but I identify with his decision. To wit, had I not made the same brash, irrational (and da*nably freeing) decision, I would likely not be writing this column today, but rather teaching snot-nosed kids in a way that was anathema to who I really am, by rote.
I quit school a week before I would have graduated, taking a salary for three dollars an hour to learn construction and support myself and my writing. Because of it, and because of how I learned to fix houses on the quick, I'm now writing. Had I been a teacher, I'd have to do less strenuous work, men would not be breaking through my door, no bullet holes in the windows, but I'd be hollow and lost.
Clark's decision is less logical, and maybe more noble, I don't know, depends on how you look at the logic. I see it as he can run home, do chores, and run back, so this isn't really a problem or a factor for Clark going to school. Yes, there are some problems on a farm that take time to do. But not without the back forty, not with super-speed.
Imagine, for instance, fixing an engine. Clark could very likely fix an engine in about ten seconds at super-speed, doing all the things a normal man would do and try in about ten hours.
So did he need to quit? No. But assume you buy the motives, protecting and being around Ma, working on the farm, he did it for a much more selfless reason than mine, so it compels me more. I like it.
Taking Pa's clothes to the homeless shelter was humble and beautiful. I like the idea. I didn't like Clark turning down the watch, that was obviously arbitrary. I knew it would become a focal point of the episode just watching, and I doubt we'll ever see it again, but the whole scene worked very well generally.
Clark's refusal is cold, almost cruel. He's being mean to his mother when, don't forget, last week he killed her husband. I stand by that. Just looking, I can see a lot of letters absolving Clark, but I refuse to believe, even if he THOUGHT he could stop the second death, he didn't immediately cause it and thusly bears the responsibility.
Here's one of the great big sucky parts of the episode. Ma Kent drives ALL THE WAY to Metropolis to drop some clothes off, in a back alley, in the dark, with no attendant, at night.
Uh, yeah. I buy that. It's just like when I feed the homeless by ladling behind my back and dropping it down into their bowls from a rooftop.
OR, you know, she could just run it down to the Smallville Goodwill, which they'd have. Or give it to the homeless, which Smallville would have. 50,000 people, you'll have a soup kitchen.
There's also that whole gas thing. You could say, hey, maybe they're rich now, because Pa had life insurance. Okay. Why's Clark quitting school?
So the thieves appear, throw Jonathan's clothes to the ground (ouch, very hard to watch), and throw Ma into a corner, where she goes OOF! And is out cold. Because, you know, one minor head bump causes immediate and lasting unconsciousness.
"Crazy bitch!" says one of the men. Ah, great. See, that's a quote, so I can pop that in there, but hey, you know what? If I tried to call Lana that in this review, it wouldn't make it past Steve. Why? Because that's not the kind of thing a kid would want to see. Or the kid's mother at least. My point being? Yeah, they're bad guys, but maybe with Schneider gone, more left than just his character in terms of respectability.
Then comes the Maya, swooping down from the rooftops dressed like Zorro. BIFF! She smacks a guy in the chest, and contrary to physics, he flies through the air about 70 feet, somehow surviving, I guess.
When she arrives, I kid you not, they play the Danny Elfman notes from Batman.
Here's an analogy for you college bound hoodlums:
Survivor : Smallville ::
Maya : ___________
A) YOU GO GIRL!
B) LANA FU
That's right. The answer is Batman.
It was so badly comical, I laughed, I really did. Especially when the goon, an actor they must have pulled right off the street, says, "Back off, freak, or I cut her!". If you have the tape, just watch that part again, and tell me you don't laugh. I'm gonna have to deliver it like that to my mom some time while clutching my little brother. She'll laugh too. When I was a kid, we used to have a pimp joke, where if someone was filching on food or movies or whatever, you'd take whatever blunt object was around, hold it to a buddy's throat, and say, "Are you playing with my money? Cause playing with my money's like playing with my emotions! You play with my emotions and I will CUT you, fool!"
Said, of course, with exaggerated lilt and facial expression. It was funny, because anyone really saying it would sound stupid, incredibly stupid.
And they do.
Dig that belt, too. She's got a pirate skull with two swords. Right now, real pirates are weeping over booty and committing suicide. But only cool pirate suicide.
Her subsequent leap onto the rooftops was so embarrassing I weep for the future of wire action cinema. Add in the Batman theme, and I just about wharf. And hey, I like the Batman theme. I'm listening to it right now. This use was blasphemous. When Batman wants to be a pirate, he doesn't put on a pirate belt buckle. Man goes to the south Caribbean, studies pirates, beats all the pirates and sinks there ships, then puts a pirate symbol with a universal "no" on the Batmobile. And whenever Robin mentions pirates, Batman merely smirks in an offhand way and says, "Not a threat any more." before pirate-slapping Robin a good one for insolence. Yar.
How hard is it for them to come up with an original idea? Or at least, to twist an old idea in some way that isn't so obvious it's derivative? Zorro plus Batman plus girl power (also known as the Buffy vote, for those of you in politics) equals good Superman? Huh? There's something to be said for tapping that "not letting anger rule you" thing, but here, it doesn't necessarily make as much sense. I'll get to that shortly.
Lana comes to visit Clark, and...
That sentence usually indicates hilarity ensuing. I mean, you all could probably figure out what I'd say after that on your own. Some derivative of the following:
She said: "Passive aggressive BS."
Clark replies: "Well, you're right, I'm sorry. Even though really, I'm right."
Lana then walks out.
Miraculously, this doesn't happen this episode. She consoles Clark for his loss, and all is well. I expected a pump-fake. Like, she'd suddenly say, "Oh yeah, by the way, your dad dying made me miss Survivor. We're so over!"
I did get ONE really funny bit. Lana says that the muses weren't helping her with her astronomy paper.
Which is funny on two levels, because she's whining to Clark that the thing she lied to him about isn't easy to continue doing, and also because of the fact that muses govern creativity, not facts. It's part of the reason I'm gonna save writing my big epistemology until I'm so old all of the creativity has left me.
She also has a lot of gas money for a poor college student, note.
Clark goes to Chloe for help finding his dad's watch, and she indicates she's found a new vigilante running around Metropolis kicking butt. She's even got a great article out of it.
Clark: "I let my mom go down to Suicide Slums alone, she gets mugged, and you're cashing in on it!"
Key words: "I let my mom go down to Suicide Slums alone, she gets mugged."
Here's me saying the exact same thing. "I let my kid juggle knives, a knife went through his forehead, and you're fascinated by it? How dare you!"
The fault, in other words, doesn't lie with Chloe on that one. It's arbitrary anger for something that's Clark's fault. It immediately struck me as arbitrary and unnecessary tension, which screams scene thrown together to establish a plot end for no real reason. And BING! Chloe runs into the "bumbling" reporter.
At risk of hate mail, pardon, but how many bookworm gals do you know writing news articles who are that astonishingly beautiful? That took me out of the story. It's part of the reason that I like a more human looking Lois. Reporters are generally suit-wearing guys or bookworm gals. Few, if any, are astonishingly beautiful, mostly because, hey, what do writers do all day? Pushups, or sit at a desk? Speaking from personal experience, the only reason I'm not 800 pounds is constant vigilance with the exercise machine and a diet akin to the Matrix paste.
Chloe I can buy, because Chloe's humble pretty in that honest way. She looks like she'd scrub an engine, perhaps, just for fun. Maya looks like if she cracked a nail she'd cry. If she missed Survivor, she might commit suicide.
Lana goes to see Lex, and they have a relational moment talking about Clark's dilemma, and how both of them have lost a parent and thus have something in common. It's a scene that shouldn't have made it in, and an annoying one at that. It's basically a tailor-made scene to show how Lex and Lana have something to relate to each other with, when they really don't, and also a way to show why they're suddenly friends after she almost got killed because of his drunk driving. Now, picture this scene the NORMAL way. Lana bursting in, furious that Lex drove drunk and confronting him about it. Lex having...well, no excuse, making for the first "Lana bursting in" scene in a long time that makes coherent sense.
Instead, status quo and dodging a tough issue that it would be VERY good to cover on a family show. Because, as you may know, family coverup is a large part of what makes drunk driving possible, just as viewers like you and PBS.
Or, hey, instead of just people flailing their limbs and arguing, maybe instead a scene where Clark talks to his mother? I mean, his father died last week, and his mother was just NEARLY killed, you don't think he'd want to cope with her on that and maybe worry about losing his only other adult tether to the world?
Nah, Lexana. Much more important to the narrative, right? Because it doesn't involve character, but it IS so dramatic! MY! Much more important than the reaction of a young man (the main character) to his own mother being beaten into unconsciousness, don't you know?
Lex pursuing Lana Lang continues to have no rationale and falls flat. It's like wire work for plot. Bad wire work.
Chloe and Clark in the Daily Planet again, only now, the masked lady drops in and punches Clark through a desk. Clark flies through it, sits up, and has a conversation with the lady before she disappears into the night.
See if you can spot my three problems with this scene. GO!
You have until the next line.
Okay. First off, she punches Clark THROUGH A DESK, and he just sits up and starts talking to her. She doesn't note this. She doesn't think it odd. In fact, come to think of it, her wrist didn't shatter when she hit the densest man on the face of the Earth. That's one.
Two, I know, I know, it's kind of hard to remember, but CLARK KENT HAS SUPER-POWERS, one of which is X-RAY VISION. If someone in a mask punches you through a desk, you, I don't know, LOOK UNDER HER MASK and realize it was the girl who bumped into Chloe so pointedly a few minutes ago.
Three, Clark can move fast enough to pull a woman through an exploding building faster than the speed of the explosion itself, we were told just a few weeks ago, and yet he can't follow a woman through the Daily Planet building to wherever she's running? I mean, call me crazy, but after last week, we can assume that he leaps too.
Instead of this, the LOGICAL way to continue the scene, we opt for cornball comedy a la what little I have seen of Buffy mixed with Lois and Clark. The bad Lois and Clark. Watch that scene, and tell me you don't see a reincarnation of Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain. Corny, implausible, and forced. Especially given the way the villain just drops down out of nowhere in that ridiculous way. Complete with the Danny Elfman theme again. Ugh.
She gets in a tussle, loses her mask, and starts leaping up the building in VERY, VERY bad special effects work. The special effects in this show used to be something to watch the show for. Seriously. You could watch it just for that invariable one WOW moment in each episode. They're gone, and this scene is a key example of what's replaced it. EVERY effect scene of late, barring the missile, has had rough edges and a rushed, cheap feel to it.
Clark chases her THIS time (sigh), and manages to catch up to her.
Enter the subplot. Lex and Lionel, tussling over how Lionel is moving to takeover Luthorcorp again from his son.
Given that Lionel has no assets, this is impossible, but hey, apparently he somehow got buttloads of more money in less than a year, and enough to overpower Lex in terms of assets and stockholding.
Yeah. I buy that. And oceanfront Utah property.
The MacArthur quote was okay. Douggie is a bit of an odd figure I like looking at. He was a melodramatic drama queen, much like a lot of this show, so I admire the subtle, if not purposeful symbolism inherent in using him. But points off for him not being Greek.
Clark chats with the gal on the rooftop, where she reveals that a heart transplant with a k-freak gave her superpowers. Kind of funny, given how so recently we've seen what messing with a heart means to someone's mobility and life expectancy.
The internet says 4 in 10 people don't survive heart transplant surgery five years after they've had it. Much less strenuous physical activity, but whatever.
We're also supposed to buy that she carries around a kryptonite necklace to remind her of the person whose heart she got. Beyond the unoriginal and already done idea, it doesn't really make much sense in the first place, but furthermore, why encase it in lead? That's pretty convenient.
Her dialogue is pretty stuttered, delivered poorly. You might think, watching this, that they chose her because she's pretty and a former Miss Universe. But that would mean that women get positions based upon their looks and not their intelligence, leading to a society of learned helplessness where people who seek a meritocracy are constantly demonized as misogynist, and I couldn't condone that line of thought.
Cue the commercial and the crappy summary again.
Martha drives all the way to Metropolis (ah, gas) to talk with Chloe about where Clark's been. My next note reads: "Clark has a cell phone (ugh)". Because he does. Alas, she mentions it, and my argument that her drive to Metropolis is totally worthless, because Clark is not answering his cell phone.
Or, wait. Wait. Yes, that's right. CHLOE has a cell phone. So driving all the way to talk to Chloe when you can call her still makes the drive, what?
Stupid! That's right!
Supplies! (Five martial artists spring from the janitor's closet, the real reason Maya changed in a phone booth.)
But no one's surprised.
Chloe reassuring Martha about Clark's actions, and how he's going to be all right, is nice, but also extraneous and unnecessary. It seems, like a lot of this episode, thrown in as filler. The only actual story we get is about, say, 20 minutes. We could have lost Lionel and Lex, Martha and Chloe, Chloe and Lana, and most of the early action with Maya.
Clark goes out with Maya and tries to find the watch. They find one of the guys who attacked Martha, start questioning him (in full costume in front of a bunch of people, who don't react at all), and he tells them to bug off, this despite the fact that she's just recently kicked his butt. Ah, unreality.
So they turn, and start to leave. He immediately picks up the phone. "Hey, boss, yeah, boss, two people who are still within earshot are after you, nyah, see, nyah!"
Clark takes the phone and dissipates, and it's supposed to seem smart and cool. Then you realize, hey, he just let the guy who put a knife to his mother's throat go after he got what he needed to find the bad guy, and he's letting this guy go over a WATCH?
Clark goes to Chloe immediately. "Hey, Chloe, can you check the last number this guy called?"
Look. I don't have a cell phone. Likely, I never will. Even I know you can look at the front of the thing and see the numbers. On my landline I have the last 99 people I've called listed.
Maya changes in the phone booth and comes out, to mild humor. Not much though. The kind where you realize why it's funny but you don't even smile. What I call the "mother" laugh, characterized most in mothers who, when you say something hilariously funny but inappropriate, refuse to laugh out of some misguided desire of false maturity not to have a sense of humor about farts and decapitation.
We all laugh at farts. Some people hide it. Mother laughers.
Hey. You guys. You want some ACCUVIEW?
People on Smallville use ACCUVIEW. They use it while driving their Old Spice Phantom Zone Ford Fusion.
Like Chloe says, quote, "Accuview to the rescue!"
I hate product placement. Yeah, I know, it pays the bills. So TIGHTEN your story (as this one NEEDED) and give them an extra commercial or two. Don't make characters we love shills for your petty crap. Heck, delete one of the two summaries.
What REALLY bothers me about it is that they make such a plot point of it that it exposes a plot hole. By making Maya blind without ACCUVIEW, as she purports, it then makes her leaps to escape without her mask on impossible. Crap.
Chloe pulls up the pizza numbers, and Clark calls him, getting the address. Cool idea, actually, because pizza joints save addresses like that.
Here's where the annoying thread of the show, that Clark needs to move past his anger so that he doesn't become like Batman but instead become like Superman comes to a head. Chloe, Ma, they're both dead convinced that Clark's going to kill somebody because he's mad that his father is dead. The conclusion requires a solid reason, and lacks it.
Why is another matter. I mean, Alicia's killer was right next to him. He MURDERED her. Does Clark kill him? No. Jor-El murdered his father. Did Clark take the Fortress apart? Heck, he didn't even give Jor-El a stern talking to! And yet both of them are convinced (could it be because the main character is a pointlessly homicidal super-powered woman who somehow has never appeared before) Clark's about to start busting caps in people.
I don't buy it. Chloe still starts telling Clark not to go chase the bad guy (huh?), and Clark takes off in anger, giving a situation of tension that is firstly never resolved, and secondarily speaking, arbitrary. Chloe's usually the first one to get on him to go use his powers when he's not ready to.
Clark arrives, grabbing the goon and throwing him up by his throat. This man, held aloft by his throat, now knows that Clark has superhuman strength, but that's okay, because he can still talk while his wind is cut off, so in a universe like that, it's plausible to think he wouldn't notice.
Maya arrives, subduing Clark with her necklace. I've seen, on this show, Clark break windows, use super-human strength, do ALL kinds of things while K is on him. He can't roll three feet and stop her from killing the guy?
That really ruined the scene for me. Maybe if she'd held him down in some way, like with a desk or something. That's the problem with precedent. We've seen Clark get out of worse in an easy way, so now he's guilty of just sitting there while she shoves a knife into this guy's chest, which she does.
She's now a killer, a murderer in specific, which makes her character the VILLAIN. Remember that, because the show doesn't.
Somehow, despite the fact that Lex Luthor himself has trouble proving that Lionel is a murderer in a court of law (a conviction he got out of somehow with money, yeah, right), one low-level mugger knows that he ordered a contract kill and has lived to speak of it before Maya runs a dagger into his heart.
Lex and Lionel banter as Lionel moves in to take over the company. Lex blackmails him into not doing it by indicating he knows that Lionel was in the barn with Pa before he collapses, and telling Lionel that he'll tell Martha if he doesn't leave.
Wow! What great blackmail! If there were any way Lex could possibly know what happened in that barn. There isn't. Will this ever be resolved? Nah. Because that was a pointless distraction filler sub-plot. Know how to spot them!
Personally, I would have had Lex offer to expose either the murder Maya was about to finger him for, or, better, the death of Griff. Or hey, maybe that picture that he showed Jonathan we'll never see again.
There's also that little technicality of Lionel buying the shares and being unable to sell them back without a change of the guard, and the fact that if Lex undermined his position so much that a hostile takeover was viable, Lionel wouldn't be the only one lining up to cream him.
Clark, meanwhile, incapacitated by the necklace, runs into the worst actor ever again. This time, he doesn't threaten to cut Clark, but he does say, slowly, melodramatically, "YOU'RE A DEAD MAN!" lifting Clark off the Kryptonite. Now, half a foot away from it, he is apparently back to full power instantly.
So we end up with Lionel, and the window exploding, and the choking, and the dialogue.
I liked the window effect, actually. Decent. Even the dilemma, to kill again or not, was okay. Clark having to save Lionel has got to suck, too.
She drops him and runs away, and Clark has to super-speed up to Lionel to catch him. It's too far a distance for any human to cover the fast, so Lionel would have suspected something, asked questions, etcetera. Furthermore, they just stand there as Maya runs away. Clark could have made an excuse, gone to the stairs, zip-zoom, went after her. Instead, he just stands there and lets Lionel put a hand on his shoulder and call him son. Well executed dialogue by Glover, and great acting, but it still doesn't change the sensibility of what they did.
What we're supposed to believe, I'm sure, is that Maya was allowed to go because she was trying to do good. But that's not how it works. Clark now should see her as a villain, and she should now be targeted by Clark to be taken in. He just lets her go. This is like letting Jor-El off the hook. No. You kill somebody, Clark brings you to justice. That's how Superman works. Later, Chloe says she quit, and that she's not answering at her home or her cell. But Clark has her HOME number and her CELL number and her ADDRESS. He could go find her. This show indicates he chose not to.
Martha, grieving in the barn, sees Lionel Luthor.
Your reaction? "AHHHHHHH! MURDERER! RUN!"
Her reaction? Sympathize, talk normally, even be near romantic in behavior.
It would seem, blasphemous as it is, that they're not only making Lex fall in love with Lana, but they're moving towards making Martha and Lionel an item.
Abominable. Spitting in the face of Schneider's character, too. Spitting in the face of continuity, reality, good story, heck, the fans.
She KNOWS Lionel has killed. She's seen Lionel attempt murder on several occasions. When Clark comes home, he's going to tell her how he ordered yet another contract killing.
What will be her reaction? "Well, Clark, thank you for telling me. I'll never see the man again, and you'd better go talk to the police, because you're party to information that could again bring Lionel to justice despite slipping the noose once!"
Instead, Clark will never mention that he knows Lionel was party to a contract killing, Martha will keep flirting with Lionel, and the show will move on.
Ma may take the senate seat. That's interesting. It would mean Clark quit school for nothing, because the farm will fall to pieces. But hey.
Lionel: "Jonathan and I let politics become between us."
Yeah. That. And MURDER. And ATTEMPTED MURDER. And ADOPTION PAPERS. And Martha knows ALL OF THESE THINGS.
Clark is holding his father's watch and looking at it. It's 8:50. I say to myself, "Good moment. But I sense something...as if millions of voices had suddenly cried out in anguish and perished."
Pan to Lana, who apparently, despite not knowing about the watch being missing, hunted down and found it.
Aaaaaaaaaaand SCENE. At least it was brief, and at least she wasn't finding some way to guilt him about not paying attention to her when his father died.
The scene, at the end, with the home video and Clark crying on his mother's shoulder, it was incredible. Just really good work. Why it had to be bookended with such crap is beyond me. Great scene.
Crying. Actual grief. Now here's the real question. Will it continue, or is this a one-stop grief episode that will fade into the past as of next week, where we have, get this, original concept, a guy whose modus is kidnapping and monologueing at young, hot girls who are tied up.
All in all, it had some good themes, but that couldn't cover the crap. Crap with a flowery bow is still crap, and, while viscerally, I identify with and like the idea of the missing father, rage against his disappearance, and confronting Batman's ideals, it made a very small part of a very long episode that, to wit, did NOT include the Batman. Later, exploring these themes might pay off, but let's call this episode what it was. Filler. Not horrible, but then, not even average for a good season.
2 of 5.
SUPER SHORT REVIEW
Arr, matey, there be a pirate belt on this lass! She can jump, she can say a few token spanish words, and she's a former Miss Universe. Don't be askin' for a plot, or we'll keelhaul the lot of you!
What would you do for a watch? That's the thematic tone of this piece.
And one thing I WOULDN'T do is wear it in a dark alley after ladling soup backwards from the top of a tall building, son. (Arm on shoulder).
2 of 5.
Hoooooo boy. There are a lot. Forty, and that's just for publication. Most of these concern both this episode and the last episode, Reckoning, so we'll have a disproportionately long one this review, and a short column next review, unless you write fast. That's okay. Just saying, be ready for the long hall here. I'm in bold, per usual, because it's after labor day.
Oh, and by the way, thanks in advance for not worrying about letters of consolation for the Seahawks losing the Super Bowl. I will, however, accept congratulations for our victory. Why? Because any idiot could see that the ball didn't cross the plane and that wasn't holding. The final score was actually 17 to 14, Seahawks win. It's like Lionel saying he has money, he does. We know the truth. They pasted the Steelers, and hometown refs cheated them into technical victory.
On the ratings on the main page...Steve wants to keep them down. His call, I hear, I abide!
Having had time to cool down, collect my thoughts, and sketch out a plan to finance a new television set to replace the one I put my foot through...I do have a few observations on this episode. I have a feeling I know what you, as a writer, may be thinking: it's a disgrace that writers who know better than to pull a cheap stunt like this have to watch and wonder how the less-competent find gainful employment.
They know better? Actually, I'm just thinking that now, no matter how hard I worked, even given full creative control, I couldn't salvage this series.
-Halfway through this episode, I thought it might be one of the best of the series. The gumption to take a leap like killing Lana impressed me. Clark took a leap of faith telling her, even if it did prove meaningless. Rosenbaum was superb. The tension between Clark and Lex would have begun to burn like the adversaries they eventually become. And then, it all crumbled with the ill-conceived deus ex...um...what's the latin word for "alien-constructed ice fortress?"
Lana. ZING! I'm here all week.
-I cannot fathom why Clark believed that him telling Lana his secret in any way caused her death. You could attribute it to Jor-El, fate, or the balance of the universe, but he had no reason to think it was his revelation to her. The writers basically admitted that his assumption was totally baseless when they made sure he still had to save her life even in take two when he hadn't told her.
-Though the comparisons to Final Destination are justifiable, this episode ripped off more from Groundhog Day than anything else. Clark saw his shadow, went back in his shell, and we'll be treated to six more seasons of this limbo crap as a result. Not that I'll endure it that long. They should go all the way. Next week, Pa Kent will come out of the shower, Duffy-from-Dallas style, and hear Martha tell him about her horrible dream that he'd died.
I'm guessing next season is the last. That was my guess as far back as fourth season, as I recall. But, if the money comes in, they'll go farther. I just know the function of money out to money in fades as X time, and for this show, it seems to be six.
I hope that you do the 100th episode "Reckoning" justice, by ripping it to complete and total shreds. Please fell free to take off any kid gloves you may feel inclined to use because the show is supposed to be Superman related. I'm not exaggerating when I say it has, in fact, ruined the show for me. I honestly can't see myself watching it anymore, which is too bad, because I used to really enjoy the show.
I got a lot of IMs and letters indicating that. All I can say is that I'm sorry. Wish I could change it. And generally, I agree.
PS Why didn't he just open up her purse, and turn off her cell phone?
Or break it. That might help too. Though fatalism argues that she'd have a spare or one would fall from the sky just in time.
Alex Hughes wrote:
Your Smallville analysis and research is amazing! Hey, during your screenings, did you happen to note how many episodes feature oranges or orange juice? It's totally random, but I wonder if there's some significance?
Nope. Actually, I may be blind, but I never noticed orange juice. A lot of muffins, though. I'll keep an eye on that, though. ;) And hey, thanks for calling the work amazing. I don't know what it is, but I think it's thorough. Thank you.
A few episodes come to mind, but i'm sure there're more, yeah? It's been a while, but I could have sworn almost every episode of the first few seasons had someone drinking or slicing or sitting next to big pitchers of the oj.
Season 1 "Stray"
Season 2 "Witness"
Season 4 "Spell"
Season 4 "Unsafe"
Quirky stuff... the "The Official Drink Of Smallville" list.
Interesting. I'd make it a KO Count list, but it's got to be some kind of strange thing. Like, for instance, a lot of the time we see Lana with dangly earrings, but hey, sometimes pop tarts just wear dangly earrings, and I'm pretty sure country folk drink OJ fairly prominently. You watch, I'll get a letter from the Kansas anti-OJ society, but still, good catches. Eagle eyes!
Anyway, again, great site!
Thanks. Steve does the music, I write words. And it's not just me, note. A lot of great people make this site incredible. I always feel bad when someone thanks me, because it's so many people. And if it's one guy, it's Steve.
Neal, I want to rescind my previous guess about the 100th episode score.
I'll need forms in triplicate, and there is a forty dollar fee. Clerical, you understand...
Mainly because you didn't put up a score.
Okay. Fee waived. ;)
A few things I want to touch on. One, we know why Jonathan just happened to show up when Lana died, he was on his way to meet Lionel. Second, by Clark using the crystal to go back in time and make it that everything that happened after the point that he returned never happened (I know what i'm saying isn't worded correctly), wouldn't the crystal be restored as well?
Yes. I would say yes. But then, I don't believe in time travel, because otherwise I'd find a dollar in my desk drawer. Why? Because I'd know that right now, a dollar appearing could confirm time travel, and much later, I could come back and put it in my desk drawer so that I could later plan to go back in time. Because there's no dollar in there, I don't believe in time travel. Bill and Ted do, because they find the keys. Logical.
Next, haven't you given two scores for one episode, a first half and second half? Finally, this show was a 3.25, had it been a 5 and jumped back, what would jumping back be called?
They just call it jumping back, but I would call it a miracle. 3.25 seems generous, but hey, I'm not going to poop in your hat. Who am I to tell you how to like it? :) Thanks for a cool letter.
Shafi S wrote:
Tv deaths are common on tv but making them work is an art. But having a good character die to me is just plain stupid.
I didn't say it better myself.
Having Lana die is one thing thats original. But killing Pa kent thats been done up the woozu. Even though John S was a good (typical) tv parent. But he didn't deserve to die and get kick of the show.
I would have killed him. I just would have killed him in a far better, far more shocking and apt way.
Neal, like my other fellow emailers that write to you. This is the best review post you ever wrote.
Thank you. That's high praise...I really felt that one humming off the keys as I wrote it. But then, I was shaking with anger. Usually I write from a position of Spock-like dispassion.
Jokes aside you told us that supes has a side that no person could have. He can think twice (sort of) in dangerous situations. Thinking about a person's life rather than his own or having someone dead but to save them by killing a person is just wrong. We look at Superman for ideals and sometimes as a role model. But the truth is the writers need to read comics that do support and play a role model to readers.
Heck, even the generic hero code, outside of Superman comics, forbids what Clark did.
When both of us wanted Lana dead well I can't believe it came true to a certain extent. But what got me was that he risked everything for a woman that hes NOT going to spend his life with. How can HE tell LOIS latter that hes supes without getting her killed?
Yeah. I think a lot of it, too, is that I didn't want Lana killed, it wasn't time, but it moved things in a bold new direction. Killing Jonathan was cheap, easy, and poorly executed.
The episode Started really well Clark flying, making a diamond but Lana going over to lex's house to chat with him rather than staying with Clark's family to celebrate his win.
Part of that whole Lana and Lex sitting in a tree phenomena I don't buy.
THat also got me thinking. DOESN"T LEX OWN THE FREAKING TALON? THere celebrating in his own property. Jeez. I thought there farm was HUGE!!!
I can't remember if he does or not. I think he's a partner.
I sort of liked the conversation with Lana and Lois. Because we all got to see that Lois has something for good ole Clark.
Or is starting too. I respect that.
Besides that I'm done writing my 2 cents. Thanks for reading Neal and sorry that this is long.
Long! Hah! Long, in the dictionary, leads to my review and the skirts Dr. Laura wears now that she's no longer doing porn.
P.S well I rate this as 2.5 of 5 because the beginning was good. I liked the conversation with the two LL's (the ladies I mean not LEx and Lana). And the latter sucked. Thanks again, and KEEP ON WRITING.
Like I could stop! Heh. But thank you. I think I'm with you on the rating, after all.
I think the episode should definitely be a 1, because when I watched it, I didn't believe for ONE SECOND that they would stick with anything that happened. From him sharing his secret, making her a ring, his parents being happy, his dad winning the race...I thought, "This is a dream. This is a fantasy that is not true."
And I was right.
Good call. It could also be a one for NOT knowing from the start, and being so hurt by taking such a good story back...either way, pretty lame...
Seth Anson wrote:
I'm currently reading your review for 100th episode of Smallville. About Clark's landing, you said gravity doesn't work that way. It wasn't a jump. It was flight. Just limited flight. Clark flies not because of an ability, but due to Krypton having much heavier gravity and psychokinesis, which is stated on the website. Therefore, he can land slowly if he choses to.
I agree. That's my take on it. Though I believe his flight is four parts density, one part psychokinesis. And gravity doesn't work that way, thus it couldn't be a jump. I agree.
You also asked why didn't he kill Jor-El instead. Jor-El did not kill anyone. Jor-El did not take a life. What he explained to Clark was balance in the universe. For Clark's revival, balance had to be restored. Taking the life of some random person wouldn't work. Doing so, would cause a whole other people to mourn. Limiting to someone close to him, provides a similar loss for a similar group of people.
Right, but if you recall the train of causation, it starts with Jor-El saying that if Clark refuses to do what he wants, he'll set in motion a series of events that will cost a life...so Jor-El is responsible.
Both Lana and Jonathan do not die because of anything Jor-El did. Lana did from being distracted by Lex. Jonathan died because of a bad heart. Jonathan made an agreement with Jor-El to retrieve Clark that caused his bad heart. Jor-El did not trick Jonathan. He knew what was going to be done and the result. Kara noted, they had an agreement. Also, having your entire body chemistry altered obviously comes with bad side effects. It was FAR more on Clark than Jor-El.
That I'll concede, but without Jor-El, the deaths would never have occurred. Even if it was just "nature", Jor-El still created the situation that required nature to assert itself.
Sure, it could be argued that it was Jor-El's fault. Clark Kent did not ask to be revived.
However, he did give Jor-El his word that he would return before sundown. He failed to keep true to that.
By that logic, any girl who I make a date with and stand up should be able to kill my dad.
Even after he lost, his powers, he figured "Oh well. Screw my promise. My powers were such a burden. I don't have to deal with it anymore. Yay!" That's running away from what he has been told by Jor-El, Jonathan, and Martha will be his future responsibility and a promise.
Oh, it was selfish. Does it require murder? I say no.
Jor-El still revived him. You must remember, Jor-El does not follow the hero code.
He doesn't follow ANY code, which is part of why his character sucks. He's already murdered a young girl.
He follows the responsibility code, a code he's been trying teach Clark since season two.
I see responsibility differently. What you're seeing here is negative reinforcement, which a basic psychology course will teach you doesn't teach you responsibility, it teaches you fear and thereby subjugates your true desires. It's much like religion in some ways (and not ALL religion, and not YOUR religion, whoever's going to write me for saying that). You will do as we say, or you end up in hell. You will come back before sundown, or we will kill someone you love. That's not heroic, it's not teaching responsibility. It's barbaric hedonism for power.
He knows Clark's destiny as Superman. He knows the billions of lives he will save time and time again.
I disagree. There's no way he can know this at all.
You have to remember, Jor-El is not a super hero. Smallville follows the movie timeline.
I disagree here, too. In the movie, Lex never really meets Clark, and Lois isn't in Smallville, and all kinds of things. Smallville is its own continuity. And in the movie, Jor-El is a hero. Who does Jor-El kill in the movies? He does the SAME power switch thing, but he doesn't end up hurting anyone.
In the movie, Jor-El is shown as the head of the council. He's a leader. Not a hero. Leaders make decisions for the benefit of the majority, not the minority.
He's part of the council...and I disagree that leaders make decisions for the benefit of the majority. I believe that a true, just, and good leader makes decisions for the benefit of ALL. And if you believe in the hero code, you believe that's possible.
I understand that could be viewed as morally wrong, but any United States President would have done the same.
I agree. But I also contend that no president has ever fully and successfully been any kind of absolute great arbiter of right and wrong. Even Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. It's the Mandate of Heaven idea...and I don't think it correlates to Jor-El, because in this case, he's not really a great leader or a moral arbiter for Clark. He's just a bully.
In addition, you have to remember the hero's code and morals are unrealistic in many ways.
Undeniably. But then, that's why I watch it. I want to see someone in a case where I would take the kid's money and push him down STOP the guy who pushes the kid down and takes his money. It's a morality tale. And in a morality tale, the hero may make mistakes, but he never does what is ultimately wrong. Unless, you know, he plays in the Marvel universe.
Making hard choices make people like that better heroes in someways than Superman could ever be. Sticking to "I will never kill" is selfish. That's something writers have been trying to stray from. Things don't always work out for the best if you choose the morally right way.
It certainly didn't work out better in this case. Clark not only killed his father, but he's now got the overarching guilt of having killed Lana, even if she's back to life. What if he had instead simply not built the Fortress yet? Hard choices don't turn out well in real life. In comics, they MUST.
You gave a good example of Zod killing himself. What if Zod lived, gathered an army, came back, enslaved Earth, and killed everyone who didn't worship him (Almost every hero)? Atleast Superman didn't kill? That's ridiculous.
I agree. Which is why I would further postulate that if Superman left him alive, he'd find a way to incarcerate Zod and/or stop that army. That's how he works.
You also mentioned Spider Man. In the movie, he does not kill Green Goblin. Green Goblin accidentally causes his own death. Spider Man doesn't prevent it or take him to a hospital. Things don't always work out that well. Goblin could have lived and killed thousands of people. Spider Man would have been blamed. Same as when saved both MJ and the people in the cart. If he failed, he would have been blamed.
Yep. He still broke the hero code. That is, to me, the key difference between Marvel and DC. That attitude sank through in Batman Begins, to detriment. "I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you." Pardon me, but BULL*#%$. You're a hero. Heroes save the villains even when saving them would cause thousands of more deaths, because to kill them lowers you to their level.
In regards to Jonathan's death, I think you missed an article about a VERY important agreement. Singer came to an agreement with Gough and Millar to follow the Superman: The Movie timeline. Both parties had a meeting to prevent inconsistences. Singer has stated he's picking up after Superman II. They agreed not to step on toes. If Jonathan Kent remained alive, that would screw things up. In the movie, he dies before Clark goes to Fortress. With that said, Johnathan Kent was stayed longer with the show than he should have. You really should be glad Smallville had him as long as it did.
That's like saying I should be glad if a boulder falls on him out of nowhere just because he was there for a while. Or, to wit, being glad Pete was on the show even though they removed him for dumb reasons. To be honest, and Steve can probably interject here better than me, but as I recall, they just had a meeting out of courtesy, they didn't meet to collude on story. If they wanted to make the movies line up, then what they plan on doing in introducing Zod later this season (so I read) doesn't line up at all.
As for Clark's decision, you cannot hold him to the decisions of the comic book Superman.
They are not following that in it's entirety. That has been made clear. It follows the movie.
I still disagree. It deviates from the movie in many ways.
You have to realize, Clark Kent on Smallville makes the exact same mistakes Superman does in the film. In Superman II, he willingly he gives up his powers for selfish reasons. All hell breaks loose. He realizes he messed up. He can't run away from it. That happened this season with Lana and Jor-El's promise. In Superman I, he reversed time in the most ridiculous fashion I've ever seen. Smallville did this MUCH better. It happened in a way that made sense. Teenage Clark cared more about Lana than Superman does Lois at that point. Both acted in a rash manner. Clark's actions had realistic consequences for it. As big of moron as teenage Clark Kent is, you cannot hold him to a higher level of responsibility than Superman, himself.
True. But I can hold him to the level of responsibility of Superman once he turns 18. And I would argue that the points you make are very different, not the exact same mistakes. In Superman 2, he gives up his powers for selfish reasons, but no one dies. In Superman 1, at least reversing time had some theory (no matter how stupid) behind it, turning the Earth backwards. Jor-El hands him a crystal that changes time in Smallville. I find that more stupid. As for Lana and Clark, in the movie, they're very close and normal with each other. In the show, they're very adversarial in many ways. They're too different animals, and I stand by that...
I totally agree with the review that you gave for the "time-travel" episode. I loved the first half of the show and was actually disappointed when Lana died because she finally understood. The time travel was a joke. It royally sucked. As soon as Lana was back from the dead, I knew that Jonathan would die. I really wish the writers would make up their minds on what side Lionel is on. Even on this episode, all he said was he wanted a partnership. And furthermore SHOW US THE PICTURE. I give this episode a 2 because the funeral scene was done very well. I just wish Chloe would have been closer to Clark since she might also know the choice that Clark made. Clark better be grieving for a long time because if he does not then I will probably stop watching.
Thank you for your reviews. Very honest and refreshing.
Thanks, Syed. Don't take my lack of comments for ignoring your words, I just can't add to them. Good letter.
Chris Ayers wrote:
I wanted explain in a little more detail what happened with John Ashcroft getting beaten by a dead guy, as you mentioned in your review, because it might have some bearing on the Smallville plot.
Coolsville. I wrote about it once, but I forget research after a while.
I don't know what Kansas law states about such a situation (nor do I think the writers care), but in neighboring Missouri, in 2000, Ashcroft was running for U.S. Senate against the Mel Carnahan, the governor of MO. A few weeks before the election Carnahan was killed in a plane crash. It was so close to the election that his name could not be removed from the ballot illegally, and so the new governor promised to appoint his wife, Jean Carnahan to the Senate seat if he were elected, which is what happened.
And it's what happened in the show, too. Good call.
The way I see it, three things will happen on Smallville concerning Jonathan's Senate seat. Either the election will default to Lex, they'll follow the Carnahan precedent and let Martha take the seat, if she's interested, or in true Smallville fashion, never mention it again. I hope that's not the case, but if this show has taught me anything, it's to never keep your fingers crossed.
I'm amazed they got to it again. We'll see where it goes...
John Baker wrote:
I've sent you an email before and we've talked about our opinions on this show a few times.
Yep. I remember the letters, actually.
I wanted to point out a few things that you may fail to point out in your reviews. One, you dislike Lanas character because of how mean she is to Clark even though he has saved her a countless amount of times. The thing is though, you have to judge her character on what she knows. She doesn't know that hes been the one saving her, all she knows is the Clark that lies or runs of to metropolis or the Clark that takes her to a bar and makes out with another girl.
Yeah, but for every one of those, there are three shows that end with her waking up in Clark's arms after a massive explosion, with the kidnappers vanquished and a ton of coal make-up on Tom's face. She has seen him do dumb things, but he's saved her life a lot more.
The Clark that gets married to another girl after 2 shows. You have to look at it from her point of view, she doesn't know hes this amazing person thats always there for her protecting her and when she did find that he was from krytopn and he was honest with her she embraced him completely and was great to him.
Yep. Which is why I want him to tell her, and why I think they should have long ago.
Another point you made in your review was how come Clark didn't take his father to the fortress of solitude, well the fact is they shot that scene and found it to be repetitive and morbid the way it was done, so Gough cut it.
I read that. I disagree with their thought.
One other point I wanted to make was, you consider Clark a murderer knowing someone else will die and you compare him to the comic book SUPERMAN and how SUPERMAN wouldn't trade lana for someone else. The thing is he's not superman, he's an 18 year old that makes mistakes, hes never even worn the cape.
When I was 18, I had a TON of responsibility on my head. The whole thing about Superman is that even as a kid he did the right thing. From day one I've heard the "They're young, so just put up with any mistakes they make" argument, and personally, having lived the life I've led where I easily could have made dumb decisions and ended up with my bags in a twist, I have little pity for that excuse. And frankly, I think Superman, or any future Superman, would too. Someone who has the power to conquer the world but doesn't is a PARAGON for responsibility, and HAS to be.
Everyone, even Clark/Superman can be greedy and wants to save the one they love, sometimes you don't think rationally when a trauma like that happens.
You don't. I don't. Superman does.
The truth is this Clark is flawed, and thats just might be bad writting or it could also make the show more realistic and not some wierd sci fi show were you have this invincible person, you have this man that makes mistakes but one day will grow into the worlds greats hero.
That's Spider-Man, as I see it. Not Supes.
Thats all I have to say and I respect your opinion and review of the show, you made plenty of valid points but I disagree with Lana being the one to die the right thing to do to progress the show.
Although I hope they do use part of the Lex being part of her death in the first half of the show to fuel the ying/yang between Lex and Clark.
Actually one more thing, I love Chloe but she does have to die sometime.
Yep. I think she should have been lost in that explosion. Lois could have taken her place. Much as I love Allison.
She is one of my favorite characters on the show and is more like the Lana in superman 3 were she loves clark for who he is and Superman for who he is but the writers *%#%ed that one up just a touch. I think they had a plan for Lana, but got lost along the way and didn't know how to draw out a relationship for 5 years because making them happy and together the whole time is boring and doesn't have a good arc. I would have liked to seen clark tell her a lot eariler, and in the series finale give her that kiss that superman gives in Superman 2 where she forgets everything.
I don't know. I never liked that kiss. Though if I had it, I'd have used it on many a lady and many a bank owner. It's that age old question, how much money would it take to get you to kiss a fifty year old yuppie and any witness?
I agree with your opinion on smalleville's latest disappointment "Reckoning." It had a good idea behind it, i'm sure, but the path to hell is littered with Good Intentions.
On the march to freedom.
I was so happy with the first part of this episode. I mean FINALLY Clark has the guts to tell Lana the big secret (she practically already knows since like season 2). You have the big love and happiness and all that. You have the being engaged at 18 which didn't bother me because if it's a long engagement then where's the harm?
Depends on how long.
You have clark ONCE AGAIN not picking up on the fact that he's crushing chloe. Other than the chloe bit it was a lot of fun. You have Jonathon winning (seemed nice) and you have Lois saying how great it would be to be Mrs. Kent (it wasn't so much as well placed quip as a hazardous anvil.)
I like that term...hazardous anvil. Poetic.
The part that made me most happy was Lex Appeal Take One : My girlfriend and i were laughing SO much during that scene not because it was funny but because we both were waiting for Lex to go nuts on her. And it made so much sense. Favorite line Lex casually "so after all those times he lied to you you still chose HIM huh.." it was the inflection in his voice. Great stuff and he kept getting more and more annoyed and finally he realized something was up.
Rosenbaum's the man.
I liked how Lex is so close to Clark's secret you can almost hear the sniffing. He knew that the only reason Lana would ever marry Clark is because Clark had finally told her the secret. I liked how Lex went violent. Mind you i abhore violence against people, but it made sense and it's about time Smallville stopped jerking us around. I liked how this might be Lex's defining moment as a villain that go him to go "SCREW THIS WHERE"S MY PURPLE AND GREEN COSTUME!" 5 seasons in and the most evil thing Lex has done is drunk driving (very evil but not eviiiiiiil) and Arrange for Electro and the Dunder Twins to endanger the kents.
I still say that might have been an accident. But I agree. Out with the green and purple suit.
Finally having Lana die was great...this made sense: give a character everything he has ever wanted and then take it away. This became to me something that could make Smallville great again. It would give Clark and Lex that bitter rivalry as Lex became so determined to hurt Clark for "turning" Lana against him. Clark also would find it hard to let go of the fact that it was Lex who caused this.
And then have him watch as Lex bought off the drunk driving charge...think of the possibilities...
But no...no they decide to pull time travel...again. If memory serves me right both times it was to save Lana. I know i've rattled on here a lot so i'll keep this part as short as possible...they make Clark responsible for something as evil as what happened last night. Clark WILLINGLY let someone else die so he could save lana. I know a lot of people are using the "well jonathon had a poor heart" excuse..BULLCRAP! It didn't matter if jonathon was in the final stages of AIDS and Cancer combined you don't force someone to die. If jonathon has willingly given his life for Lana i'd be fine with it. because Jonathon wouldn't have been murdered he would have been sacrificed. There's a difference. This almost ruins smallville for me. To see the Future Superman willing to play God with people's life and then get nothing as punishment but a gentle pat on the back from mom frustrates me. I personally lost someone i loved very much 5 years ago. If given the chance to do what Clark did knowing that someone else would have to die i know i would NOT have done it. If Lana knew, i hope she'd be JUST as disgusted.
Some of us would be, some of us wouldn't be. My character sense tells me Superman would be disgusted by the action.
Anyway i've gone and ranted so if i don't get back this email for a while i'll know why. Anyway i just wanted to say i agree with you SOOOO much. This was the best and worst episode ever. Like the opening line of a Tale of Two cities. And on a personal note, just by reading your stuff has inspired me to become a better writer. I'm actually planning on writing and sending a sample chapter to some publishers this summer. Some of that credit goes to you and these reviews, short stories etc.
Thanks. And hey, anything with "Yes, Publish Me" goes in the next week, barring extreme profanity. And heck, even profanity can be funny when bleeped. Glad to inspire...I wish you better luck than I've had. I have enough envelopes to wallpaper a room.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Arab,
I'm sure "Reckoning" will facilitate a record number of reader feedback, this episode was definitely epic in its culmination and stature. The structure of my feedback will be chronological to your review, from top to bottom.
It did, and coolsville.
Ya know, I thought for a brief moment that a dead Lana could really spice things up. But there's one problem with that. I have two words for you: Uncle Ben. In many ways, Uncle Ben's death was the driving force behind Peter Parker donning the guise of Spider-Man. But an even better example is cemented in the annals of comic book history. I have two more words for you: Gwen Stacy. Before Gwen's death, Octopus was Spider-Man's arch-villain. But that all changed after that infamous fateful encounter with Goblin at the bridge. Spider-Man was FURIOUS at Goblin and nearly killed him.
You're getting a bit too close to my super-secret comic idea.
With Lana, who do you suppose Clark would blame her death on? Considering a certain future arch-nemesis was chasing her down Route 40, and Clark just can't be that naēve, it sort of narrows down the possibilities, doesn't it? It goes without saying that Smallville is unraveling its own interpretation, its own continuity, of the Superman mythos, a messed up one at that but, nonetheless, a continuity.
Yes. It's internally inconsistent in multiple ways. It's no longer a continuity issue for me, it's a story consistency issue.
Still, now Clark becomes Superman because of Lex, because of revenge, or at least that's the jump off point. That is, instead of the Men of Men protecting the world on his own terms, the man that killed his almost-wife is the reason. That's not Superman! Lex is the one who initially had a problem with Superman, in probably every single interpretation of the mythos, not the other way around. However, if Lana did stay dead, from the vantage point of Clark, Lex is his number one nemesis by his own admission and by default, a la Spider-Man and Green Goblin after Gwen Stacy was killed. And as you said (and I quote), "things turn out right in the end. It's why he's not Spider-Man. Spider-Man does the right thing and still ends up walking in the rain." Forgetting the time-warp thing, Clark tried to save her but didn't make it in time. What does that make him?
There's a key point here. It doesn't matter if Clark hates Lex because he killed Lana, or if Clark is a hero because he loses his dad to Jor-El. Both plots don't fit into Superman's essential mythology. You have a point that Clark is walking in the rain in this episode, but the overall attitude is that things will be okay. With Spidey, the general attitude is that he'll continue his battle until he's eventually killed, loses MJ and Aunt May and Gwen, and evil prevails. Superman never really promotes that ideal at all. It's Marvel vs. DC. Both have merits, but there is that delineation.
If that last line doesn't get my point across, maybe the following 4 words will: Thomas and Martha Wayne. The death of Bruce's parents was the reason he chose to fight crime. I can't see any other possibility for Clark to act in the same manner. If Clark pins Lex as the murderer, that's it.
Which is why that's not how I would have killed Lana, had I been writing. It still beats making Clark responsible for Jonathan's death.
Having said that, the death of Lana reinforces the notion that Superman can't save everyone, a lesson he continuously copes with in the comics! [Just in case I wasn't clear, I didn't imply Lana is dead in the comics.] To say Superman does the right thing and never ends up walking in the rain is inaccurate.
Which is why I said he doesn't ALWAYS end up walking in the rain. That's Spidey. Of course Supes has bad days, but he's always optimistic. Spider-Man often flat-out quits and is totally ruined and undone by the people who love him.
In that respect, he is like many superheroes, including The Dark Detective. Their actions, their decisions: Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man, affect those around them and especially those close to them. They are always struggling with the difference between what's right and what's practical.
Yes. But in very different ways. Superman is by far, of the three, the moral superior. All are good, but Superman is the only one who's ALWAYS right.
You may say, though, how come Clark didn't turn all batty when Alicia was killed? I'd say that's a great point.
That's why, at the time, I did say it.
But those relationships are different than the triangle formed by Lex, Lana, and Clark. And to my knowledge, the killer of Alicia is dead. Even if that's not true, I don't think he'd become Superman b/c of a freak of the week. In a way, Joe Chill was a freak of the week' kind of fellow. But I don't believe Superman would be driven by revenge because of this killer. Now if Lex was the killer, it would be a different story entirely because Clark and he have a very long, storied history with one another. Their complex web of lies, animosity, jealously, and comradery between each other and now Lana makes for a more compelling argument than Clark, Alicia, and Alicia's killer.
I agree. Which is why I would have done the scene differently. I still prefer it to the second half.
And as far as Clark choosing one or the other, I totally agree with your point. Even if he knew Jonathan was next in line and his father gave him his blessing to save Lana, Superman would've found a way or at least tried his best. As you reasoned, you [in this case, you is Clark] do the best you can in a way that doesn't make you complicit to evil. You didn't save Lana, but you've seen what happens when someone comes back to life when they're not supposed to. You know Jor-El kills. Maybe it's time to cut your losses. Notice how this quote contradicts the earlier quote concerning Spider-Man. Sure, let's say he does cut his losses. Again, Clark then must deal with the fact that he couldn't save Lana (see Gwen Stacy, Uncle Ben, The Wayne's, Jason Todd:err, scratch the last one).
And even Bucky's back. Oy. Agreed, but still, I think Lex wouldn't have done what he did. It was also a gross mischaracterization. But that's what happens when one week he's evil, the next good, one week a great guy, the next drunk driving. The whole paradigm is screwy.
I also don't buy Clark's logic by not revealing his secret on the second time around. But I'll give it time and hope the writers come to their senses one day. I can see at the end of the series Clark spilling his guts to his Smallville sweetheart, right before he moves on, for good, to the city of Metropolis. Or maybe they continue this in Metropolis in his adult years. Who knows?
They will not change the status quo until the show is over. I'm sure of that.
On a completely different note, I sense you have a lot of issues. Take this line as an example. Lex then TOTALLY destroys his goodness with me, in a lot of ways, by driving drunk and nearly causing an accident. Wow. Smallville Lex has been a saint, compared to his adult counterpart in the many other incarnations of Superman mythology. To say that his goodness has been completely obliterated is a strong implication, simply by this one mistake. That's a lot of pressure, knowing one mistake can cast a shadow on a person for the rest of their days. I understand your friend died tragically.
Actually, it was a friend's friend, but truth be told, driving drunk completely negates you morally with me. That's not an issue, it's just a line of delineation. This line is clearly marked with me. If you rape, if you murder, if you drive drunk, if you beat a child beyond a spank, if you raise a child without having the money to do so, there will always be a part of you that is totally morally bankrupt to me. An issue would be having to smack anyone who does that compulsively. It's not arrived at irrationally, it's not emotional, it's just my opinion.
Using words like evil and villainous are extremely strong words to describe an unfortunate occurrence.
Driving drunk is not an unfortunate occurrence. It's a choice. Outside of an emergency (like a hospital run, when you can usually call an ambulance), it's ALWAYS a choice to drive drunk. It's evil. It's villainous. It kills people. It is the rottenest thing I've seen Lex do on this show. I'm not saying this because I watched a PBS special, and I have friends that do much more than drink, trust me. I'm not a prohibitionist by any means. I do take extreme umbrage with risking the lives of others.
Emotionally, it's heart-wrenching. Objectively, while an utter tragedy, evil and villainous suggest malicious intent. An evil or villainous human being possesses not even an ounce of goodness.
I disagree. Hitler had good intentions. Lex has good intentions. But even so, I would say to drive drunk would require you to have less than an ounce of goodness. I mean, how stupid do you have to be? Let's juggle loaded guns, why don't we, huh? That wouldn't be an unfortunate occurrence. Driving drunk is a malicious act that endangers others. It's no different from throwing knives at people because you think you will miss.
There is no morality underneath; that person has a black heart and does not feel guilty or shameful for their actions. IMO, someone like Hitler is most associated with the devil. I'm not telling you how to feel, Neal, but I'm reminding you the severity of those words. You obviously have a ton of issues to work out, and I hope things work out in that department.
Oh, I do have a few issues. No question there. I don't buy into the consumer mentality, I tend to forget to tie my shoes, I'm a workaholic, I think a lot of people who have it good think they have it bad and that bugs me. I can't make the perfect pizza. I pay more attention to my writing than my dogs. But with alcohol, it was set in stone and simple from my experiences as a child with alcoholics and what they do to families and lives. People who drive drunk are morally bankrupt people without an ounce of goodness who are akin to Hitler. You say that's harsh? I stand by it. Do drugs, get stupid, have fun, but the minute you break my cardinal guidance of philosophy, which is "Do no harm, or if you must, do as little harm as possible", and do it consciously, and do it in a way that ENDANGERS LIVES, including those of children and babies, you're lost to me. Bring out the board.
If that's unreasonable, feel free to write me and tell me I'm full of it, but frankly, I think most people realize how abominable driving drunk truly is.
Oh, and by the way, you missed a goof during the accident scene. Yes, it was tragic, but can you tell me how the hell Jonathan was able to restrain Clark? We've seen what Superman is capable of when he let's loose. This g-d among men was emotionally explosive at the sight of his beloved's dead frail body. No one could him back in that state of mind.
I think it's because when dad speaks, Clark listens. Clark let him hold him back.
One last thing: I understand your plight with Clark choosing to save Lana by possibly sacrificing another. And you said it, a hero will try to save both, given a choice. Did you think for one second that it's possible Clark thought he could stop not only Lana from dying but from someone else taking the dive?
Yep. That's why I mentioned it.
Maybe Clark had the intention that someone else will die in her place and he has to stop it. Of course, he never told the audience this. I think you're insinuating that Clark is an intentional killer. While noble, he still consciously committed to saving one life by indirectly killing another.
Yep. And that's not intentionally killing how?
Maybe I'm wrong, but it's possible Clark interpreted Zod's (it has to be him!) message as thus, "I'll give you another shot to save Lana, but it won't do you any good 'cause she'll just die again. You can't stop fate, Clark. She will die again." Clark being the hero he is knew he had to try something. He couldn't let her just die with that opportunity in front of him. Superman has to battle between what's right and what's practical. In this case practical may be cutting your losses, as you put it. But maybe Clark had no idea that someone else would die; it never factored into the equation. It would be clearer if Clark told the audience how he felt about Zod's proposal.
Yes. Which would require efficient writing. ;)
Thanks, Jeff! Awesome letter.
Seth Anson wrote:
Yeah. Me... again. LOL.
No problem at all.
I frequent the site often and I like your reviews. However, you're taking too much of your frustration on the screw up by Millar and Gough out on the reasonable aspects of the show.
Clark can have sex with Lana. Superman's done it with Lois. Clark is just worried about hurting her. The Kents have known he's loved her for YEARS. As you said, we all wanted to see it. I'm sure this applies to them as well. They want him to be happy. They weren't irate over him having sex either. They know he cares about her. Alicia isn't in the same league. She was fresh out of the mental ward. He hadn't even really been dating her. Clark has been on and off with Lana for a few years now.
Well, yeah. And for me, heck, I'd be hitting the hay in seconds. In fact, that's my basic policy. Two legs? One arm? A torso? Okay! Let's do it! But my whole argument has always been that my morality aside, Superman's stance on sex isn't something that needed to be covered in the show, and now it's taken a definite direction, one many disagree with.
The last person Clark told the secret to was Chloe. She knew, he still filled her in on the details. The only other person he was ever up front with and didn't get caught by until Lana that time was Pete. Pete moved because of the pressure and mostly because an FBI Agent beat him up. He didn't die. Alicia saw Clark use his powers in the elevator. Then, he told her. Same situation as Chloe. Alicia's death had nothing to do with Clark's powers. The killer had no clue at all.
Still, Pete getting beat up was a bad thing for Pete. Bad consequences follow knowing the secret...
"Have Lois and Lana even MET?" I hope this was sarcasm or said in jest, considering you review these episodes. However, they did meet in the beginning of Crusade and have had several conversations throughout the series. Remember the planning for Chloe's birthday party for "Spell"? They're friends. There was no reason not talk to Lois about it. Sure, she's closer to Chloe, but she's friends with Lois too and can talk to her.
I would say talking to Chloe would make more sense. And it was sarcasm...yepper.
Clark talking to Chloe about his relationship isn't cruel. Since learning his secret, she's willing accepted a role in his life as his confidant. She told him she's a big girl and she could handle their relationship. She's also been the person that's has been pushing Clark to tell Lana his secret, almost moreso than Lana herself. She cares for Clark. However, she wants to see him happy, even if it's not with her.
That's not how real life works, though. That's not how women work, more specifically. Hell hath no fury is not a cliché because it's a giant conspiracy by men to make women look bad. A woman wants you and you turn her down, you'll NEVER hear the end of it. Take it from me, if you can believe that.
She's not the jealous high school kid, Smallville version of Josephine Potter during Dawson's Creek season one anymore. She's Josephine Potter during the Dawson's Creek season where Dawson was sleeping with Jen and Joey acted like an adult about it.
Apologies...I have no frame of reference for Dawson's Creek.
She's even stated that although she enjoys being the one he confides in about almost everything and how open he feels around her, that Lana deserves it too. Chloe has told Clark, it's not fair to Lana to be in relationship with him when he won't be honest, (Key Point:) after telling her things will be different this time.
Sure it is, if the guy's nice 99% of the rest of the time. No gal or guy is perfect, it's how much the good outweighs the bad. With Clark, that's a pretty big outweigh.
That's very misleading and unfair to Lana, even if you hate the actress or the way she's been written. Clark has been lying to Lana since the tornado. Clark hasn't exactly made things easy for her to believe he's normal. She's seen and heard too much. She's knows something isn't right with him. Yet she lies to Lex to keep him off Clark's trail.
Lana: "He's normal."
Lex: "Normal people don't come back from the dead."
Perry White's Claims.
The Meteor Freak Killer's Claims.
Clark Superspeeding To Save Lana From Adam.
She Gave Clark The Stone. She Said She Felt It Was Meant For Him.
The Space Ship.
The Disappearance of the Zod Followers.
The Claims from the Freak in "Mortal".
That's an impressive list. Now go to the KO Count and look at the Lana lies that I've just started collecting since this season started (not to mention the four other seasons). They even up pretty darned well.
She knows he's not normal. She's in a relationship with him. She's sleeping with him. He's her first. Clark has asked her COUNTLESS hypothetical questions over the years.. She ALWAYS said she would be around someone who wasn't normal. She still can't get answers from him.
I agree that he should tell her. I disagree that because he doesn't, she has the right to torture him.
Chloe reassuring Clark isn't out of character. She's been almost like a mentor to him since he told her everything. Despite her feelings, she thinks about his foremost. Lana has been the most important woman to him since season one with minor acceptions. Yes, they're young, but they care very deeply about each other. The only thing that holds their relationship back is Clark, himself. She's close friends with both of them. She knows them well enough to believe in them. Yeah, there's fimances too, but Clark can make diamonds with his hands and he pretty much runs a farm by himself. They're not gonna starve. They're not gonna be homeless either, they live in dorms.
I don't believe that male female friendships work in that way. I just don't. I've never had a girl who wants to hear my piddling relationship crap when she was interested with me. Plenty of gals who expect me to listen to them talk about their sucky boyfriend who wouldn't give me the time of day, but never the other way around. It's anecdotal, yeah, but what isn't? I don't see Clark talking about Lana all the time to Chloe as plausible or possible.
Lex hasn't done many horrible things outside of searching for the truth? Did you forget torturing and almost killing Aquaman?
Aquaman was a terrorist. I'd torture a terrorist if he tried to blow up my shed, and I'm not a villain. Now, torturing him for information, that's another article...
Lex wanted to know how Aquaman could breathe underwater. Lex never even saw Aquaman breathe underwater!
That's bad writing, not Lex.
Their interaction was: AC walked in with Clark, yelled at Lex, called Lex a tool, and stormed out. The next scene he's standing by the ocean. He got shot with a dart. That doesn't make sense. Lex never gets the girl? Re-watch "Bound".
Where's the girl now, then? He didn't get her. He had her. There's a big difference. Take it from me, if you can believe that.
It discusses aspects of Lex's life he hasn't told Clark about, namely being a playboy and sleeping with dozens of women, not even remembering some of their faces. Don't forget "Onyx", either. Or, "Precipice" when he attempted to kill the man who was obsessed with Helen Bryce. In "Insurgence", he hired people to steal stuff.
Sex does not equal relationship, and when I say "Get the girl" I mean the happiness and security of a fulfilling relationship, not casual boinking 'cuz he rich.
As for the time traveling crystal, they could have had one on Krypton. The bigger question should be, why didn't anyone use it to save the planet?
It's nonsense he killed Lana? I concur, but you did blame him for killing JK. You can't have it both ways. Both deaths were designed to account for the life that was used resurrect Clark.
Actually, the device is just nonsense. If you accept the device, you have to concede that he killed Lana and Jonathan. That's what we have to go by, and in that, I'm ticked that he killed Jonathan. Is that device plausible? No. But I can't say it didn't happen, so even though I didn't buy it, given that we must, Clark is responsible.
The time travel wasn't done bad. The crystal once touched, teleported Clark to the past. In Superman: The Movie, Superman just zoomed the around the Earth until it went backwards. That would only change the time zones. Nothing more. Superman also did it without consequence. This happened with consequence to teach Clark a lesson he refuses to accept, he cannot have everything his way.
Yeah. But it's still an insta-device, and I think those suck. It'd be like Jor-El having a rock that lets him learn to fly. Uh, what? Yeah, we want to see him fly, but like that?
The Finales of Seasons Two, Three, and Four ALL have something bad happening because Clark doesn't listen. Season Two - Jor-El: "You must come to me." Clark: "No. I don't wanna." Martha loses the baby. RedK Clark. Season Three - Jor El: "Enter the portal." Clark: "No. I don't wanna." Jonathan gets zapped and goes into a coma. Clark Kent "dies" via brainwashing or whatever. Season Four - Jor-El: "Collect the stones." Clark: "No. I wanna play football like muh daddy!" Jor-El: "I'm tired of this crap! Brainac is coming! Choke on that!" Clark: "Aw, crap."
Is that a lesson, or just bad repetitive storytelling?
"Heck, for that matter, why not call our old buddy neighbor down the street who can see people's futures, and see what's going to happen?" Cassandra Carver from "Hourglass"? Bad, Neal. She died when she touched Lex and saw his potential to end the world. Lex ran. Clark thought she finally saw her own death. Yeah, evil Lex. So, evil, he killed someone by touching them. Jordan Cross from "Hereafter"? Still bad, Neal. He could only foresee death. He lost his abilities after he didn't die because Clark saved his life.
I meant Jordan Cross...but you're right. I forgot that. Probably because despite being neighbors, they haven't mentioned him in about a year and a half. My fault, or inconsistent continuity...you decide.
I can forgive Cassandra because it was Season One. Jordan was Season Three. However, you reviewed it.
Well, yeah, but what color shirt were you wearing five years ago? I mean, I'm not infallible. That's part of the reason I get letters. In fact, I HOPE I'm screwed up. Gives something to talk about, anyway.
And her vision from Lex was a big moment for that season. In fact, you said it knocked you out of your chair.
I think you missed the fact that she died because you stated, "I am bothered that Zoe witnessed the super-powers with no consequence, but we can assume that she will not say anything in gratitude, so the issue more or less irons itself out." very close to the end of the article without mention that she died.
No, I know she died. I meant the period of time between the time she finds out and the time she died. Back then, I thought they might only have a few times Clark exposes himself. HAH! Good old days.
I'm done with my comments because while I do enjoy your reviews, I am tired of your unwarranted and inaccurate complaining. I don't know. Maybe you were tired or half awake when you wrote it. Everyone has their off days.
Wow. That's a kind way to say goodbye. But at any rate, if my complaints were unwarranted and inaccurate, your complaints about my complaints were at very least opinion. In terms of said complaints, however, I'd like to think that I have a whole ton of writing to backup my claims in these reviews. You have the opinion that disagrees with mine, and that's supposed to invalidate what I say without presenting cogent reasons? Sorry about that, but I can't address a complaint that isn't explicit, and more importantly, correct in accusing me of innacuracy.
Thank you for a good letter, though.
Daryl Williams wrote:
Maybe Lana's (tragic?) death could have been averted if she had been wearing her hands-free ear phone that we see her using in just the previous epidsode. Maybe with just a little less distaraction she would have seen the bus, avoided the accident, not killed herself and ultimately kill Clark's dad.
Just a thought,
Or, for instance, if she had ACCUVIEW TO THE RESCUE! And I'll bet her corpse would have smelled better coated in Old Spice Phantom Zone.
What to score this episode... Like you, I give it a 1 based on the second half. And.... that's it. The first half doesn't exist.
True enough. Good call.
Okay, in all seriousness, I'm just harsher in my judgment on the first half. Yes, there's forward movement but frankly it all seemed arbitrary to me. Not to mention out of character. Lana's just suddenly accepting of him being an alien? And of him lying to her for years? The girl's not just gonna stop being a passive-aggressive foot-stomper with the snap of a writer's fingers. Or, rather, I guess she is. Or was. All that doesn't exist anymore.
Is that a Ford Fusion over there?
I would have given anything to see Clark confess to her that he inadvertently smote her parents, watch her storm off and fling herself into Lex's arms, finally owning up to her nature, and for Clark to finally start to get over her. But alas, no. It seems we're back to where we started with the pining and the angst.
No status quo change at all. Pretty sad.
So I give the first half a 3, the second a 1, and my real average is 2.
I have to say that I felt exactly as you did about the 100th episode. I wanted it to end at the halfway point. I was devastated when Clark made such a selfish, emotional decision in the Fortress of Solitude. Originally, I was going to write you just the following:
Jonathan is dead.
Lana is alive.
Hope is lost...
That's a good preview text for the next episode, actually.
But, I must be either an eternal optimist or the world's biggest sucker because I think TPTB have an opportunity to take the show in the right direction now. First, they can finally cut "the Anchor" that is Lana from around Clark's neck and let him pursue his destiny. Heck, I don't mind if they tie "the Anchor" around Lex's neck for a while. I think Lex's Lana obsession makes more sense that Clark's obsession ever did. Right now, Lex yearns for respectability; that's why he ran for Senate. Also, Lex wants a woman like his Mom. Lana is considered respectable in the community (although we can debate that here). She looks remarkably like Lex's mom. Everyone talks about Lana as perfect (even though she's not), but if you notice, Lex's Mom is given almost the same reverence (even though we know she wasn't perfect, either). It's all about perception for Lex, and Lana is a prize. I can live with Lex pursuing Lana on that basis more than I can believe Clark can continue an "intimate relationship" with a woman he lies to.
Yeah, but one blasphemes on Lex. LEEEEEEEEEEX!
Second, along with cutting Lana away from Clark, they have the opportunity to let Clark start to see his future not as that of his father (marrying Lana, settling down, being a farmer, etc) but as something different, something bigger and until now never discussed.
I don't know, they discussed it a good bit...
I've stopped dreaming that they will ever write Clark as good as they should or write Lex as bad as he is, but if they make just these two changes the show would not be as stagnant as the past three (or should I say two and a half) episodes have been. Hope you had a good trip to the sunny South!
It was fun. The trees are all the same size, and there were old slave markets. I also saw a dolphin and threw a trident. I don't know where I got the grenade.
P.S. I think you should leave your review as 1st half: 5; second half: 1. Before I read your review the episode was divided into to separate parts for me, so I think you should rate it that way.
I think I'm gonna leave it with you guys. More fun that way, ay least, so far. Thanks!
Allen H. wrote:
In The KO Count, it says that its been 22 episodes and one season break since Alicia Baker died that she's been mentioned. She was mentioned early in the 2nd episode of season 5 right before Clark And Lana attempted to get busy in the Barn. They did the whole "You and Jason?" "No...You and Alicia?" "No...let's do it!" thing. Granted It was Lana but it still has to count for something.
With that column, I need something like what happened this episode. Actual grieving, or at least a sadness someone is gone. Passing mention doesn't count...Whitney should still be on there, I just don't have the nerve to count backwards from the one time he was mentioned. Or find it, for that matter.
The 100th Episode was an emotional roller coaster. I was running through all the possibilites of the death in my mind that were either confirmed or dashed as the episode commenced.
1) I thought it could have been Lana because of the bus. Both times. What would be worse than having the girl you're engaged to get hit by a bus, than have the girl that just broke up with you get hit by a bus. AGAIN. Goes with the whole "you can't do anything about destiny" thing. And seeing Lana get killed twice in the same episode would have been a bittersweet ending to her character. Sadly however Clark went back in time and then stopped the bus the second time around.
Yeah. Actually, I'm more sad for those kids in the bus in retrospect.
2) It could have been Chloe getting hit by the bus while tailing Lana to Lex's or having her car fly off the bridge as in the pilot and have Lex be "the maniac driving" again. Nope she just let Lana go with a big "whoops!" Maybe subconciously trying to kill....no Chloe would never do that.
And hey, she could have ducked into the storm cellar of her car at the last minute.
3) It could have been lois with the electrical zap/head trauma of doom
It could have been anyone else besides Pa Kent and I would have been happy. Now granted, If the man couldnt even punch a guy without biting the dust, then it might have been his time but what do we get in return? Lana. Sweet, No more secrets or lies hypocrite, totally the reason why season 4 sucked, the reason chloe isn't happy , Lana. Thats not even the begining of my anger. Pa Kent died for WHATEVER was on that paper. Do we find out what it was? Of course not. Now TPTB have something else to dangle over our heads for the rest of our season. The office paper of doom. They got rid of the season long mystery of the stones from last year and give us multiple for this year. Whats in the ship? What will Clark do as a human? What does Fine want? Whose going to die? Good scenarios if only we didn't have to be put through the up and downs of the show to find out the answers, which might not even be worth it.
It's called rope-a-dope. And they're getting really bad at it.
There's something else I want to occur throughout the season besides mysteries. Charecter Development. Season long devlopment, not sweeps long. I've read in spoilers that Martha takes over as senator of Kansas. That's what I'm talking about. Have Lionel try to bribe her too, have clark find out how exactly his father died and make Lionel the other major charecter death from being heat visioned to hell.
Where do you get your spoilers? YOU WILL TALK! But then, I agree. Character would really help.
I love Smallville and always will but it needs to step it up or just call it quits and loving the show like i do, it hurts saying that.
It hurts for me to say it too. I don't want it to quit. I do want it to step up. Thanks!
Keith Price wrote:
Neal, I am so glad someone else had the same reaction about the two halves of this Smallville. I was so into the first half hour, wasn't answering any phones, nothing. Then Lana supposedly dies, and the time travel thing comes up, and it was like all the air was gone from me. It was like what just happened? The first half hour was great, the second a total letdown.
Very much my sentiments.
I will not stop watching the show, but I do think the writers or series could've waited to kill off a main player. Just my opinion.
I don't care if they wait or not, so long as it's done well.
If you taped this episode (I did), watch the second bus crash when Clark grabs it. You'll see the bus driver looking in his mirror toward the back of the bus, with the kids in the bus. However, when Clark grabs the bus, you can clearly see it isn't the same person driving the bus, and it is empty other than the driver.
I know, it's only a show, but do the producers care so little that they couldn't have made that scene a bit more believable?
It didn't bug me, but it'd be the pot and the kettle for me to not agree.
What's Lionel got in the picture that he couldn't have blackmailed Jonathan with earlier?
I think it was the pictures of Lionel with Lex's girlfriend from season 2, and the shock at someone that full of dust getting that new hotness sent Jonathan into cardiac arrest. I keed. Glover's my man-crush.
Why wait until the election? Well Neal, just my grunts and groans about the show, which I under-stand is coming back for a sixth season(which I'm happy about), but I am growing so tired of these Clark/Lana games. Get on with it, get over it, or move on. Take care Neal, and catch you on the flipside. Keith
Word. And hey, I'd go a hundred seasons if I could live that long. But debating is fun, righteous, and profitable, should the show actually listen to what their viewers like and dislike instead of remaining insular.
Bruce Kanin wrote:
Sometimes, perhaps most times, you can be painfully right in your reviews. By that I mean: I come away enjoying an episode, and then your review exposes its warts - things I knew were there but that I deliberately pushed away, since I was on an all-out mission to like the episode at all costs.
And truth be told, if you just take it for what it is, you'll enjoy it more. I've never questioned that. I don't do this to other shows I watch. I do it to this show because I was taught criticism of BOOKS, which requires a harsher eye that TV, and I try and bring a literary sense to reviews of something people watch to be not-so-literary. It's a big flaw, but it's also a benefit, I think. Point being, I'm glad as hell you enjoy it.
But you did it again - you were painfully right about "Reckoning", even though I enjoyed the episode.
At the risk of sounding arrogant, heck, maybe that gives it a few more dimensions? Initial impression, critical impression, then consensus? It's something I like to push. You look at, say, a political issue. If you just snap decision it, you're lost. If you say "I'm for the war!" after watching one channel, you're not doing yourself a service. If you watch 18 news conglomerates and read a few books and then say, "I'm for the war!", you have much more peace of mind. At least, I think. That's why I read a bunch of reviews counter to my own and many that are with me. More input could never be a bad thing unless you're being electrocuted. ;) Sorry to bring it down for you, though.
Yes, the first third or so of the episode was a dream-like wonder. And then, the bottom fell out. Yet, I continued to enjoy the show, despite knowing in my gut that when Jor-El presented Clark with that fateful choice, he was in effect saying "OK, 'dad', I'll choose to let someone else close to me per your rules, 'dad' - die".
At least he got to unbutton his shirt and show Schneider chest on the way out. For the ladies. You know?
You know, it might have been better if they didn't have the whole Jor-El silliness in which "someone close to Clark will die" and instead just had Lana lose her near-term memory in the accident (but not die), forgetting about the sequence with Clark in the Fortress, his powers, the engagement, etc. and then let Jonathan die as he did. This way, Clark would have not had to choose - it just would have happened. It would have been a fairly straightforward story - not convoluted as they tend to do.
Or heck, just have the same story, only with Lana getting saved, and at the end, the shock of everything being in its right place kills Jonathan...without Jor-El.
Bottom line: I, too, felt let down when Clark did his Groundhog Day thing to start over. Actually, when Lana died, I did a "yes!" at home - how cruel is that? It was not so much joy that she died, but relief that Jonathan would live. But in the end, I still look back on the episode and will say that I enjoyed it, despite you being painfully right.
If you hate the character, it's not wrong. To take joy in innocent suffering is sadistic. Lana...well...
Maybe it's this, too: I am a die-hard Superman fan. This is the only Superman show on TV. I used to watch LOIS & CLARK, even though it was barely a Superman show. So, I am trying to like it - to see its good points - and gloss over the stuff that doesn't make sense or is even bad. You're not doing that, and that's OK - that's why I keep reading your reviews!
And heck, personally, I tend not to enjoy very pro-show reviews. It seems like shilling, in a way. Even a positive review should see the bad and note it, I think. I'm not so arrogant as to say that because I love Star Wars I don't want to kill Jar Jar. I think you really get it, Bruce.
George House of El wrote:
I definitely agree with you on the entire review, the first half was amazing, and the second half came pretty close to sucking horribly. Anyways, the music on the show has always played a pretty big part, and I noticed a little thing they did with the Scene in the Loft.
they played a song by James Blunt called "You're Beautiful" ( i think that is the name of the song)
anyways, the first time you see the scene in the loft you just here the song goin through the lyrics normally,
the second time that you see the scene, right as Lana walks away you hear the line "'cause I'll never be with you."
I just thought that was really neat and worthy of being pointed out
~G to the El
I agree. That's a pretty neat thing that I missed. I actually didn't like the song the first time they played it, now I'm kind of drawn to it.
Fantastic review for Reckoning, you really encapsulated my and I think a lot of fans feelings with your thoughts on the show's reluctance to progress. I've emailed you once before but I would like to offer my thoughts.
Lana's reaction to hearing Clark's secret seemed strange to me. After the years of deliberating whether or not he should tell her, her pretty subdued reaction seemed to undermine the (literally) years he's agonized over doing so. She just seemed to accept it, unlike Pete for example who acted in a somewhat more realistic fashion. In many ways, although I thought the jump, the music, everything was fantastic I couldn't help but feel already that I was watching a Clark dream sequence, that in the back of my mind I knew something would happen.
That's what happens when they try and do something that takes five episodes in 10 minutes.
Furthermore, Clark sidestepped what I have always presumed was the main reason why he didn't tell Lana before - that the original meteor shower that he arrived in was responsible for the death of her parents. If he was going to just conveniently leave it out (as the episode indicated he did, unless it was one of those important off-air conversations we don't see a la with Swann before he died), then why not tell her years ago?
No doubt. I agree.
I don't want to go into the time reversal bit - enough people have already and you pretty much summed up my thoughts on the matter. You wrote that you were surprised Jonathon showed up when Lana died - thats because he was on his way to see Lionel in the barn, as the second reality timeline showed us.
The death of Jonathon Kent was the worse part for me. It was like 'we've chickened out of killing Lana, but we kinda promised a death, so Jonathon, sorry mate'. A few things here - first, Lionel's comment that the Kents have a secret "we would both die to protect". Why should Lionel care? Is that Jor-El working through him again? With the latter, I probably think I'm giving the writers more credit than they deserve. Secondly, Clark's utterly lame reaction to his father's heart attack really bothered me - he goes beserk when Lana dies (something I felt was really well done), but when Jonathon is in a heap on the floor Clark's prodding him going 'Are you ok?' like he felt a little dizzy or something. Coming so soon after his reaction to Lana's 'death', it came across really poorly.
Agreed. I hadn't considered that.
I think the Lana death, as lame as it was handled, should have happened before Ep.100, and J. Kents death should have had an episode all to itself so it could be treated properly. I thought back to Glenn Ford's death - if they had Jonathon die in a similar fashion in Smallville, I would probably have cried, because as powerful as Glenn Ford's death in S:TM is, we've had 4.5 years of Jonathon being a father to Clark. It could have been so much more powerful rather than the lame ending we got here. I'm going to miss the Jonathon/Clark advice scenes, they were one of my favourite parts of early Smallville. Instead we've got more angst to look forward to. Swell.
And Lana fu! Don't forget that.
Like you Neal, I'm in it for the long haul (even if I have to pop in the Series 2 DVD every now and then just to remind myself why I watch it). Keep up the great reviews, they've become a kind of companion piece to the episodes for me now!
I tend to watch season three on rare occasions when I step back. Glad the reviews help!
Marc Lindenbaum wrote:
I think you are misunderstanding Clark's choice : he's still a young boy about what, 19 years old ? 20 ?
I bought a house in the late part of my 20th year. And I'm not the future Superman. I'm a putz. Age as a way to get out of wrongdoing is just an excuse to me.
When he chooses to bring Lana back, he thinks he can still save everyone, that he can act against Universe's balance. Jor-El tries to tell him that he cannot do that way, but he stills belives he's able to.
And he's wrong...
Yep. That's what bugged me.
And if you follow the path, he saves Lana (how can his shoes remain in one piece ?), and before, he saves Lois too. For his father, he cannot do anything because it was his time.
It wouldn't have been his time, though, were it not for Jor-El, who Clark worked with, which is kind of my point...
Like greek heroes, Clark can fight anything but Destiny. It's his lesson to learn and the final passage to manhood (kill the father to become a man, but there's no time for freudism)
Freud also believed that women wanted desperately to be men. He's kind of a quack.
My two cents...
And thanks for them.
Hey Neal, I wrote to you before about the 100th episode. I wanted to add a tidbit your fellow reviewer picked up on. How do you know his father wouldn't have died the first time?
Because by the logic of the show, that would have upset the balance of nature, and thusly one life would have to be brought back. I don't like the logic, but that's the governance.
The man who claims to be Clark's biological father may be wrong, that Clark cannot stop fate.
Depends on if you're a fatalist. This show NECESSITATES fatalism by its plot threads, ergo he cannot be wrong.
We, the audience, make the assumption that this unseen voice is speaking truth. You said the death of Pa Kent rests on the shoulders of Clark. On one hand, it's possible fate intervened and took Pa Kent before his time. On another hand, Jonathan had a heart condition and that fight with Lionel didn't do him any wonders. I mean, it's not like Lana had a heart condition, right? No matter what, with all those powers, Clark is still unable to cure his father's heart condition. There's nothing he could've done to save his father.
That would be true, if the story didn't intimate directly that Jonathan's death was to balance the till, which it did.
If that fight happened the first time around, it would've been two deaths. If not, well, Clark is not the SOLE responsible person for his father's death, because - as I said - his father had a heart condition.
I never said he was the only culprit. I just said because of his choice, Jonathan is dead. Because of Jor-El and Lionel's choices, Jonathan is dead as well. But it's within Jor-El and Lionel's character on this show to do that horrible thing. It's not in Clark's.
If Pa Kent didn't have a heart condition, then his fight with Lionel wouldn't have induced a heart attack. It's very possible Pa Kent would've died in his lifetime because of his heart condition, regardless.
Sure. Doesn't absolve Clark or Jor-El, though.
The point is don't assume the man who claims to be Jur-El is honest in his words.
Never have. But then, I wouldn't base a life and death decision on his actions, either.
Dan Fenton wrote:
So, after breathless anticipation and much hype we have the much awaited 100th episode. Great show from start to finish...but when did Smallville become a half hour show??
You turned it off halfway? Lucky son of a...
I think the problem was that anyone who saw the previews and trailers and saw the "death" of Lana had to know things wouldn't be that easy. I agreed with what you had said...there's no way they would show us the real death until they had us tuned in, settled in our seats and enraptured in anticipation.
I feel guilty for the glee I felt in seeing Lana dead...even though I knew it wouldn't last...and when she is brought back to life, ho hum, she's back to being a BICH...but that just goes with the territory doesn't it?
In a strange way, it was odd that Clark himself wasn't the one to die. When we've seen "major" characters killed off (meaning those that are in the credits, not necessarily those of any significance), they are inevitably men whom Lana has dated/slept with (Whitney, Jason)...unless there's something about Jonathon and Lana we don't know about...a little Jona action perhaps??
Ew. Just...ew. For Jonathan.
They borrowed a lot of elements from the past in this episode. Of course, changing Lana's fate was done differently, but pretty much smacked of Chris Reeve's Superman reversing time and bringing Margot Kidder's Lois back to life...Chloe even made the reference to it...of course she's always had beauty and brains going for her...
Yep. Tons of homage. Just less follow-through...
Then of course there was the now she knows it, now she doesn't routine with Lana, which of course pays homage to the Lois & Clark episode Tempus Fugitive in which Tempus reveals the obvious to Lois...but at the end, the memory of the discovery is wiped out...well, until she figures it out again for the first episode of season three...
Just shows that there are very few original ideas left...just different ways of telling them.
I think there are a ton of new ideas, just no one with the courage to try and tell them. Worth in writing is currently based in how much money it makes, and people pay for easy. Hard and strange is new. Thus people won't touch it. I will.
Ideally, not that Jonathon is buried deep in the ground, one would hope that Clark's priorities would change. This isn't high school anymore and it's time to get over Lana (and phase her out for good...hint? Hint?). Maybe Lana decides to change schools and go to, say SMU or BYU or La Universite Du Paris (which she would say in that fast talking, condenscing tone of hers, "I have decided to enroll at LaUniversiteDuParis and go find myself." or something of that nature, "Maybe I'll get a couple more tatoos, meet another psychotic killer, get burned at the stake...again." And then, "Ifyoucan'tbehonestwithme
I understand the reasoning for not killing off Chloe...I don't believe it would have the impact on Clark that either Lana or Jonathon would. Granted, he'd be pretty bummed, but I think this had to be something he would have trouble getting over for the rest of his life...and they did follow Superman mythology...with the exception of L&C...but with a twist...
I also think Chloe has to serve as the Lois figure because we need someone for Clark to feed off of and turn to and...even though she'd smokin' hot...Erica Durance's Lois is not ready to treat Clark as an equal partner and hasn't made the transition to the reporter she will one day become...it would be putting a lot on Erica to have to fill those shoes because you wouldn't get this from Lana for sure...one gets the feeling that she thinks it's beneath herself to get her nails dirty...
So Jonathon had to go and I think we could see it coming...didn't his heart seem a little too weak...didn't he seem a little too vulnerable?? I know the Jor-El factor comes in here, but it kind of point towards a premature ending for Jonathon Kent (coupled with John Schneider's complaints about his character's role during season four).
Yeah. He was critical of the show's direction...
Ah, life goes on for everyone else in Smallville, though, doesn't it??? It'll be interesting the "direction" the show takes (as has been hyped with this as well). It's time for the show to get darker...the real Lex Luthor to shine through (and this means the death of Lionel unfortunately...I say that because Lionel is one of my favorite characters on the show), the descent to evil to begin and the whole "O.C." feel of the show to be replaced with Clark as the man who will one day wear blue tights, a red cape and glasses for the perfect disguise.
I'll bet Lionel survives to the last episode. Oy.
Nice to chat with you, hope you had a safe trip.
Thanks! I did. Twas fun.
I've read your reviews since the end of last season, but this is the first time I've responded (no better time than a somewhat epic time like this). I have looked at posts all over the net after Reckoning and I would have to say that your review is probably the biggest straight-shot at the episode that I have seen. I would have to agree with you in the most part about the episode; the parts that blew really did blow hard. Still, I'd give it a 2.5 out of 5. Now, I have some thoughts and some things that haven't really been touched on yet.
Straight-shot meaning the only review that was mean to it? Because I read a ton that were hard on it...if you mean really hard on it, I'll buy. ;)
It seems like many people had a problem with Jonathan "duking" it out with Lionel in the barn (Get it? Duke? Because he was on... never mind, I'll stop now). I think that it was in-character for him. The corrupt police officer from Rouge. Roger Nixon from season 1. In both of these cases, Jonathan has gotten a little rough with them. He gets physical when anyone threatens to use Clark's secret for wrong. Lionel had it coming; not only was he threatening Jonathan with his son's secret, Lionel basically pulled the last straw. So, Jonathan pushing Lionel around the barn, no, it wasn't out of character.
Yeah, but then, back then, he didn't have a heart condition...
You mentioned about how Jonathan instantly got to the scene of Lana's crash. I think it fit in with the timeline, because Jonathan was on his way to confront Lionel in the barn. In the redo, the camera shows Jonathan drive by Lana and Lex, who are talking in the street. So, in the first half of the show, since Jonathan stopped at the accident and probably would have stayed with Clark to console him, Jonathan would never have met up with Lionel and therefore would not have died, at least not that night. When Martha stated that "A person's heart only beats so many times," she was wrong, Jonathan was not fated to die, Jor-El collected.
Which brings me to a major theme that no one has brought up: isn't it ironic that Jonathan after confronting Lionel? Jor-El had used Lionel as a human vessel early in the season, and although I have reason to believe that he's no longer in Lionel, isn't it interresting that Lionel was still Jor-El's instrument in that his confrontation with Jonathan caused Jonathan's death? Lana's death may have been her own fault, but you cannot dispute that Jor-El had a direct hand in Jonathan's death.
I don't know. Personally, it depends on the show logic you take. I just hate the whole "nature" idea to begin with.
Also, anyone else see how obvious it was that Chloe had trouble lying to Clark when talking about Lana? The first time, it was very much in the open that she could barely get the "I'm so happy for you!" lie out without coming close to tears. They really should continue the Chloe-feelings angle because it hasn't really reached a true resolution.
Not at all. I totally agree. They really need to address that. They won't.
On a final note, how great would it have been if Lana still would have died the second time around? Lana would be dead, and the lesson of the day would be that sometimes you cannot escape fate. In a way, it really is a cop-out having Jonathan die in Lana's place, especially since Clark chose for someone else to die. Killing anyone on the show was a tough decision to make because by the 5th season, every character is established on the show, and every character has a contribution. It'll be important to see what the show does to make up for the loss of Jonathan and his contributions.
It would have been bold. I think they're afraid of bold.
Just a quick note on something you may have mentioned further down in your review and I just missed it. As for how Pa Kent got to the scene of Lana's accident so fast, he was on his way to the farm for his meeting with Lionel. The accident kept him from making it, and therefore prevented the altercation and fatal heart attack that occurred in the second half. Ah, if only Lana had actually died.
True. I missed that one.
Laurence Cohen wrote:
Hey Neal, great work with your reviews.
While I know you wouldn't mind some contructive criticism regarding your reviews, since such criticism might help you grow as a writer, I can't criticize you on your opinions of the show since I happen to agree with you.
Cool. I like praise too. ;) Who doesn't?
I'm sorry. Clark is still an idiot and Lex is still sort of a good guy who is only pursuing the truth with just cause. Can anyone who reads this and watches the show truly say they wouldn't want to find out why the meteors made you bald, somehow have magical qualities to many who are in contact with them, bolster your immune system by 1000% (or whatever it is) and bring alien spacecraft (proving that we are not alone in the universe and an absurd amount of other questions with it on many different levels) to your hometown and planet in general?
(while that last sentence may not be grammatically correct, I've got too much on my mind to stop and proofread at the moment)
Gonzo journalism. Good call. Mistakes are human. Perfection is for morons.
Anyway, this show, to me, has totally lost it. I'm not sure they have a clue as to what they are doing anymore or what people want, regardless of what the ratings say at the moment. It seems as though the creators are so myopic that Carl Spackler (Bill Murray in Caddyshack, who is hilarious IMO...I mention him b/c I just happened to have recently watched Caddyshack again) has super sight and vision compared to them. And while their intentions may be to cater to the fans by giving them what they think they want, I think the opposite is happening. I for one have lost so much interest that the show is barely on my radar anymore. I want to look forward to it every week, but sadly, I'm pretty sure I probably won't miss it when the season ends and ulitmately when the series ends. (if it continues on it current path anyway)
I think about that a lot. Whether I'll be sad when it's gone. I have no idea.
While I can list plenty of inconsistencies and illogical plots and storylines to back up my opinions, you've done the leg work on most, and I've become too ambivalent about the show. I mean seriously...to trade one human life for another the way that Clark does is so ridiculously unethical, amoral, and plain wrong, it's astounding. As you said, it's murder. And certainly not indicative of a Superman. What's more to say...the show has become a mostly illogical, nonsensical soap opera to me that lowers Superman to typical humanity (maybe less so in certain respects) rather than raising him to where he should be as the pinnacle. Again, just one man's opinion of course. Keep up the good work Neal, it is appreciated! Thanks, Laurence
Thanks, Laurence! Good words...
i read every word of your review and agree that we've been totally cheated. we were shown true hope and fantasy. BUT the one thing you forgot was that Jonathan drove by as a ghost during the 'second time around' accident and lana saw...the look on her face was utter confusion. people mistook her for seeing clark save the day again but she was really in shock from the fact that she's been in the same situation before. that she saw jonathan - and we know he didnt really drive by the scene, he was at the talon with clark. so something's up
True. Good catch.
and we can only hope lana figures clark out for herself and reallizes why he was acting funny. we can only hope for a better reason of why they cant be together other than the dreaded "secrets and lies." i think the writers know she needs to know, and that clark will figure out that he can tell her and she wont die b/c of it. she will find out, and i can only hope they planted the seed with that ghostly image. she should come to clark while he is grieving and he should explode. if she leaves his side after all that then she might as well be dead. but if her charcter unfolds as mature and loving...then the series has been changed forever. here's to hoping...
Yes. Here's to it...one episode in, only a little has changed...
You're a genius.
Yep, that's all.
And by "genius" I mean "amazingly hilarious."
I totally just stumbled onto your review for this last week's episode, and it kind of makes me want to go read the other 100, but I think I'll restrain myself. But I'm definitely going to keep reading.
Woot! That's just an incredible letter. Thank you, Rachel. Now, I'll need your credit card number...
In all seriousness, though, that's the most awesome letter I've received in a good long time. Thank you. You will be on the list of those who will be spared when I am king.
Hey dude... Cat again. I know I keep saying I'm going to quit with this show already, but for whatever reason, my friends are still sucked in and talk about it a lot. So when they were all getting their knickers in a twist over Reckoning, I was tempted to see what the fuss was about.
Cool. Good to have you back. It's like crack.
Boy, was that a mistake.
Hah! White pony! WoOoOoOoO! Throw the tape recorder in when it reaches a crescendo.
As usual, I agree with about 90% of the review, and, as usual, my disagreement stems from my stubborn need to defend Lana. Yes, I hated this character with a passion last season, but I sorta view Lana as many different characters rather than one cohesive character. She's whoever they want her to be at the moment. And for most of S5, I did like Lana's Personality of the Whenever-they-feel-like-changing-it. But even so, I can get behind most of what you were saying about how she treats Clark. But saying she caused her own accident? Sorry, but that's reaching. Yeah, she didn't act particularly intelligently, but hey, she's a kid, and kids do stupid things. Even your beloved Chloe does stupid things. When people are scared and panicked and are being chased by psychotic drunk stalkers, they do stupid things.
And whenever they do stupid things, I read them the riot act. Driving with a cell phone into a school bus is no kid's indiscretion. I hear it gets you a cell with bubba at Luthorworth up the pike at Shawshank...
Though it is worthy of note that Laura Bush ran a stop sign and killed someone and didn't get prosecuted, and she went on to be first lady. Maybe I'm out of my mind.
I still don't like the "I'm young so it's okay to be stupid" argument. That didn't pay my tuition.
Of course, I cannot think of a single way to defend her for running to Lex in the first place, so I'm going back to the she-does-what-they-need-her-to-do school of thought.
I can't say I didn't completely predict the outcome of this episode... after a while, you start to recognize AlMiles' pattern. This fits it to a tee. Reset button? Check. Ripping off other shows and/or movies? Check. (Saw the Superman movie ripoff and also an Angel ripoff, but I didn't cath the Final Destination one... *adds to list*). Clark/Lana repetitive angstathon in which no progress is made? Check. When all else fails, blame Jor-El? Check. But wait! Is that the sound of more ripping off I hear? Seems AlMiles decided to do a Lost and ZOMG KEEEEEEEEEL SOMEONE. *insert ominous music* I don't know how active you are in the Lost online fandom,
I watched the first episode then stopped. Didn't hold my attention very well. Seemed all gimmicky.
but there's a a cross-section who feel the deaths reek of ratings stunt, and I have to say I agree, to a point. I'm not averse to character death if it actually *brings* something necessary to the show or to the development of a character. But as Pa Kent's death stands now, it doesn't bring us anything, except to make Clark angst around even more and the rest of us let out a collective groan. That kid's gonna be in therapy till he's 30, I swear.
If he's not in jail or Jor-El's thrall.
And I agree completely on what you were saying about Superman and what his choice would've been. I suppose we're supposed to believe this debacle teaches Clark a lesson. But the problem is, we've seen Clark being taught the same lesson over and over again, and never learning. YES, CLARK, ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES. We get it already. Sheesh.
Hah! So when Lana makes a dumb mistake it's okay, but when Clark does it, you come down on him. I see how it is! Salt! Salt in the wound! How do you like that! Just kidding. In all seriousness, I agree. Clark was a dummy.
And of course, my favorite part is that in AlMilesville, the rift between Clark and Lex does not develop over who they are as people--one being a hero and one being a villain--but over Lana of Troy. Welcome to the L.C., BICH!
Yeah, it's pretty lame.
P.S. The Angel ripoff I discussed earlier was of the episode "I Will Remember You." I don't know if you're familiar with it, but here's the cliff note version: Angel gets to be a real boy for a day, he and Buffy bump pelvises (something they could not do when he was a vampire... hmmm, reminds me of another couple). So later on, Angel discovers that as a human he can't fight the good fight, so the Powers that Be take back the day and no one remembers but him. We end with him still a vampire, Buffy pissed at him, and Angel angsting around about it.
Holy cow, they ARE ripping off Buffy. Actually, I downloaded all of Buffy season one (ER, I MEAN, PURCHASED!) and couldn't get through the first episode, so I deleted it. Ergo no Angel, either. Instead, I read Journey to the End of Night. Good, albeit word-y.
Nick H. wrote:
I am writing to you for the first time (Exciting, isn't it? But wait! There's more!)
Actually, yeah. Thanks!
to express my deepest appriciation for your reviews of 'Smallville'.
I've been a big fan of the show since about the middle of season 1, and an even bigger fan of your reviews. I've often found myself watching the show, commenting on what was good, and what was lacking, only to come online and discover your reviews addressing the very same issues, and elaborating on them much more than I could EVER find the time or energy for. Your style of humour and the biting accuracy of your reviews have kept me hooked on both the show, and on the review page.
Glad you like it. I have books nobody's buying, you know! ;) They're funny, too.
Although I admit to our opinions on paticular episodes being different from time to time, (Onyx, if I recall, I enjoy very much, while you gave it less-than-stellar comments) by and large you've noted what I have about what was wrong with the show, and likewise, what was good. What the creators had done right, and WHY they should do more of it.
Good deal. If we agreed all the time, I'd be worried...
I have so many issues with what they've done with the charecters. Their inclusion of charecters not typically involved in Superman's teenage years was a mighty-fine line that they crossed with the addition of Lois Lane as a regular charecter. Lex Luthor? No problem. It's daring, and interesting. Perry White? It explains Clark's future relationship with 'the chief'. Lois Lane? She screws up continuity by being in smallville. Her inclusion disagrees with so much other Superman continuity that its more distracting than interesting.
Agreed on both counts.
And of course the writing. Oh dear me, the writing! I'm not sure HOW they can continue to screw up Clana story arcs. Your analysis of Lana's charecter is dead on. She's never treated Clark well, and not been nearly as trustworthy, not to mention indecisive and juvinile. She wasn't always such... Hey, I liked her better when she was Whitney's girl. At least she seemed somewhat honest and decent then. Yet the writers continue to ignore all this, as if they don't realize how little sense it makes for Clark to be pining after her for so long. But maybe he's only in it for the sex... Why not? They've already alienated the charecter (ha! Alienated! Superman! I made a funny... Or did you make that joke already, Neal?) in several moral categories, not the least of which has been putting his feelings ahead of his dad's life. Sure, on the surface its the whole 'protect everyone from my terribles secrets' (Like, the fact that he's actually a nice guy who saves the entire population of Kansas on, at a least bi-monthly basis?) but how much more dangerous would it be to know clark's secret as opposed to just knowing clark? Lana's in a dangerous position as it is, arguably more dangerous becuase she doesn't know, eh?
Yes. I think he should tell her, I just don't think she should be SO mad when he doesn't. Or if she is, just break it off for good.
And then of course all the loose ends, the never-ending 'Jor-el' issue... I think it's pretty obvious that this Jor-el IS supposed to be THE Jor-el, though I loathe to beilive it. I just feel like it would have been addressed by now, and that we would've seen the real Jor-el come out and be all 'hey man, I'm your real dad and I won't kill your friends and stuff anymore, ok?' and clark would be all 'Ok.'
It's lazy writing. Yes, even lazier than the dialog I just wrote. The focus of the show is all wrong. Even when the dialog is great, it's just a distraction from the complete ambivalence of the plot. It's like I'm watching 'Enterprise' all over again. Nothing makes sense.
I liked season three and four of Enterprise, but yeah, I agree.
Unless we find out that this is actually 'Bizzaro Smallville'... which suddenly makes mountains of sense at this point in the show. I'd love for the show to get back to the season 1-3 days. Back when a plot was actually carried through, albeit slowly at times. I never thought I'd see the day I'd miss having freak-of-the-week focus... I want to see me some more Tina Grier!
I don't know about that. But I wouldn't mind more Shattered.
Anyway, I'm sure this is all old-hat to you by now. Mainly just wanted to say 'hi' and let you know that I enjoy your reviews, even when I don't enjoy the show. Apologies in advance for mispellings and please continue to write such excellent, humorous reviews. You loose no points for long-windedness to me... the more the better.
Cool! Thanks. I'm not judgemental about spelling unless the writer is critical of me. ;) All the best, and feel free to write in again!
I just wanted to say I liked a lot of what you had to say about Reckoning, I also thought that the first half was amazing, and was infuriated by the second half.
I just checked your KO lists; am I missing a "People who found out about clark and then had their memories erased or histories changed" list? Because I am getting really pissed off at that. If the writers don't want someone to know, they shouldn't let them find out. Or just give clark a MIB blinkie thingie so that their memories can be erased consistantly.
I don't have that, but I do have a "people who know" list.
I do have to say, though, that I found it very contrived that Clark didn't run over to Lana the moment she told him where she was. Yes, she didn't specifically say, "Please come help me," but she did say, "This is where I am" in a voice full of panic and fear. Why did he ask her where she was if he was just going to sit around and do nothing? In any other episode, the next cut where we see clark would have shown him either running to get there or appearing in the trees in the background. But this time, because the writers didn't want him to save they day, each time the camera showed him still at the celebration I got angrier and angrier at his uncharacteristic inaction.
It was strange...
I share your concerns about Jor-El, as well. I love the stories of Jor-El as a hero, and I fear for his reputation. He should be a man (or kryptonian) of unusual passion and morality. Not a cold and uncaring villian.
He's the other half of Clark's good. Jonathan's the passionate, simple good. Jor-El's the cold, logical vision of what's right.
Chris Farrell wrote:
Hey, I just wanted to bring up the whole Jor-El "killing" Jonathon Kent thing. I agree that Jor-El has been the worst thing to happen to Clarks life. He's constantly screwing him over, trying to make him a conquerer, taking away his powers when he wasn't home in time for dinner, I mean, by sundown, etc etc (side note: am I the only one who finds it odd that a being that's been dead for, you know, like 18 "earth" years can take away ablilites that are natural results of clarks kryptonian cells reacting to the earth's yellow sun? Seriously). However, I don't really believe that Jor-El is responsible for Lana or Jonathon's "Deaths". I can't remember what Jor-El said in the episode where he brought Clark back to life (Lord knows I ain't watching it again) but he never said that he himself would take away anybody's life, just that as a result of Clark coming back somebody else would perish.
Which Jor-El did, meaning Jor-El did something that caused another to perish, making Jor-El responsible...right?
Then in this episode when Clark is pleading with Jor-El to bring back Lana, Jor-El actually sounds like a Dad for once and gives him advice to "be careful what you wish for" and "that the universe has a way of balancing itself out", etc. It almost seems here that Jor-El is trying to help Clark make the choice that he should have made which is to let sleeping Lana's lie.
That's what I call "Character inconsistency".
However, against Jor-El's advice Clark takes the crystal and as a result Jonathon dies. Anyways, what I'm trying to say is that as lame as it sounds it seems that it was a "Final Destination" -ish death, or universe that claimed Lana's and then Jonathon's life. Jor-El didn't put the hit out, the balancing act did.
Which Jor-El caused. Right?
If Jor-El was responsible for Lana's death, then it was only as a result of caring for Clark, which in turn means that Clark is responsible for Jonathon's death as a result of caring for Lana. Anyways, I don't really like defending the "Smallville" Jor-El cause I think he's a bad dude, but I just didn't think he should get the rap for "offing" Pa Kent. Thanks for letting me vent.
Sure...I just don't see it. No offense. But thank you anyway.
So ... "Reckoning". It was ... man, I was so annoyed at the last half of that show. WTF were they thinking!?
(Sorry about the double punctuation, but ... augh.)
The first half was so beautifully acted - Tom's grief over Lana actually brought tears to my eyes, Lex looked really peeved (and hawt ... sorry, I'm an MR fangirl) - although it really had to suck to have scotch thrown in your face, ouch - and they did a fantastic job of getting the audience into the happiness between Clark and Lana when they decided to get married, and then yanking that all away.
One thing I noticed, Lex didn't really look menacing when he was chasing Lana down. He looked like all he wanted to do was talk. Maybe that was just me, though. I didn't see why she was panicking. Either way, she should have freakin' ignored him and watched the !@$@#$@ road. That was my ONLY peeve with the first half of the show.
Agreed. He did just want to talk. That's sensible. Driving drunk? Nary so much. But Lana did cause the wreck.
And then ... came the Cop-Out to End All Cop-Outs - time travel. I really, really don't like when shows/movies use that to try to wring more emotional response from the viewers. *sigh*
Michael Rosenbaum did a great job with the second take of Lana/Lex (What's the abbreviation for that? A LaLex?) - major smoooove points with "I can't" in response to "How can you lie to someone you love?". XD
Lexana. Rosenbaum always does well. I don't like his material, but I always like his acting.
However ... I just didn't feel it from Clark when Jonathan died. Annette O'Toole - definitely. I got teary-eyed as she screamed his name, too. (Man, I sound like a sappy dork.) Lionel walking behind Martha at the funeral - a beautiful shot, hands down. Talk about someone looking uber-creepy. I also liked how they set up the shot with everyone leaving the grave site ... and there stands Clark, alone, over a casket. It reminded me of the episode where he's standing in the circle of gravestones ("Hourglass", if I remember correctly?), but seemed much more poignant in this episode.
Yep. Very well done.
I personally thought 10/5 for the first half, and -8/5 for the second. *sigh* And there was SO much potential, even with all the hype.
Well, looking forward to your next review ... see you around on LJ. :)
Yes! Moreso now, hopefully, since I'm back. Anyone who wants to friend me, it's nealbailey. I'm trying to get into MySpace, but I find it cluttered, asocial, and a bit posture-y. but I'm on there, anyway. I just interact better on LiveJournal.
Charles Blakeney wrote:
One of the things that I have been wondering about was just how much did Lionel give to Johns campaign. Then I got to thinking about this back forty that John sold in the last week. I live in rural Indiana/Illinois were land sales between $4000 and 5000 an acrer for farm land. So this means that he would have sold it for between $160000 and $2000000. So Lionel must give the campaign 2 or 3 times that because John says he will try to pay the rest back later. Seems like a lot for a State race, but if Metropolis is in the vote area it could be I guess. It never was clear wither it was a State or a National race. So we are looking at $600,000 plus of illegal campaign funds. (Since they are hiding who it was from it has to been illegal, not counting any fund giving limits that there are.)
I'm guessing it was national, and either way, I'll bet they don't think we'll put that much thought in. Good analysis, though.
Oy! I just got a call from the NY Times between this letter and the last, about a Superman reference. How's that for odd? It's neat, though, when they call, the caller ID says all ones... 111-111-1111. Like a sports team. Still cool.
Stephen G wrote:
Long time no conversate (I know that isn't a word). I strayed away from reading your reviews for awhile, but I wanted to be sure I read this one for old time's sake on this big 100th occasion.
All is forgiven! Be cleansed! Nah, just kidding.
Thank you for being there for every episode even if we aren't there to read it every week.
No problem at all.
I commend you on your passion to be the best writer you can be no matter where you focus your attention. Whether it's in these reviews, your comic reviews, your movie reviews, your opinion/Controversy pieces on your blog (which I try to respond to but can't seem to get my comments to show up on),
Just fixed that...with the new blog. I think.
your NOVELS, and if I'm not mistaken, your favorite of them all, your Poetry.
The poetry is my favorite. And most people's least favorite.
Which if you haven't read folks, you need to, the man can tell a yarn with the best of them.
Thankee. If I didn't laugh at them, I wouldn't put them up.
I don't always agree with you, more times than not in fact, but you conduct yourself with respect for others, to give you nothing less back is a disservice to everyone.
I think that's all the accolades I can give you Neal, as I'm not the writer you are.
I was once just a fan of Neal's, but I have now come to call him my friend.
And likewise. For those of you who don't know, I got the chance to meet Stephen when he came up from Texas, and we yakked for a good long time, had dinner, it was awesome. He's a really cool guy. And still my conscience:
On to the 100th Review and my points.
"Heck, for that matter, why not call our old buddy neighbor down the street who can see people's futures, and see what's going to happen? Oh yeah. Because there's no continuity in this show."
If you mean Jordan Cross, he lost his powers.
True. I am pwned. I forgot.
"It also again raises the question, why would Lex be interested in a disingenuous lying tease like Lana who's so obsessed with herself that she has to go and tell Lex she's left Clark in person."
Because she has dark hair, Lex can't resist.
I know that one. Hurts...
I don't know where you got that episode description from, but the one you put in your post script isn't the next episode.
Not sure on that one...Pete does the summaries.
I'm not sure that it was even Jor-El who took Jonathan, but rather he just gave Clark the info that it would be someone close to him that was going to be sacrificed.
It seems to be a point of contention. I see it as Jor-El having to take a life based on a decision he made, and Clark choosing which life.
If you go back and take a look at what happened waaay back in S1, when Martha was first affected by Clark's ship, it allowed her to get pregnant.
Then in S2, when she hid the key because she was afraid Clark would want to find out more about himself and end up leaving, and got infected with the Kryptonite spores and got deathly ill, it was Jonathan and possibly Martha who came up with the idea that the ship could save her life. Which it did.
At the end of S2, Jor-El comes to Clark and tells him it's time to fulfill his destiny. Jonathan and Martha both agree that it is up to Clark to make his own destiny.
Jor-El told Clark that if he doesn't start his path now, he will hurt the ones he loves.
Clark decides to destroy the ship with the Kryptonite key which causes Martha to lose the baby.
While Clark is in Metropolis on his Red K binge, Jonathan decides that Clark needs to be reined back in and goes to Jor-El.
Jor-El: I am Jor-El, the true father of Kal-El.
Jonathan: [Still surrounded by the energy] His name is Clark Kent! I am his father, I raised him.
Jor-El: You have fulfilled your function in Kal-El's destiny.
Jonathan: His destiny is whatever he makes of it.
Jor-El: His destiny is too great for you to comprehend. This was Kal-El's first test to see if he was ready to begin his journey.
Jonathan: He's too young! He needs more time!
Jor-El: This phase of Kal-El's journey is almost complete. It will be of no consequence if he returns to you ... for now.
Jonathan: You'll bring him home?
Jor-El: If you want him, you must retrieve him yourself.
Jonathan: I can't. He's too powerful.
Jor-El: Are you willing to sacrifice anything to get him back?
Jonathan: Yes! For my son I'll do anything.
And this is where Jonathan's heart problems begin. That balance of nature and fate can be a tricky monkey.
True. And if they'd played it like that, like Jonathan was dying for what he did in season two, I'd love it. But then, they played it like Lana would die in the natural course of things, and Clark traded it for pop...
I guess technically it could be Jor-El's fault. But as far as it being Clark's I think he and Jonathan and Martha are all equally culpable.
Oh, I WHOLLY agree on that. I just say Clark made the final trigger pull as to when.
I'm still not sure how Clark was suppose to know that it was going to be Jonathan who died, and on the exact same day. And I'm pretty sure Superman will always choose to save the life in front of him if he can, and deal with the consequences after.
He wasn't. My contention is that he'd never accept a faustian bargain, but rather find a way around it. Like, say, take the crystal then blow up the fortress to stop Jor-El from axing his dad.
I don't see this episode as accomplishing nothing. The most important character, Clark, had a huge change in his life, and will now have to live the rest of his life without a father like so many of us. He'll struggle with himself and wonder if he learned enough to become the man that he owes his father to become.
If they keep to that, I'll be glad to concede the point. If it goes back to status quo, nary so much. That's the problem with not seeing the future... ;)
Incredible episode to me, a catalyst for big things to come. Now it's up to the writers to follow through and finish the series off strong.
Thanks for your time Neal.
Heck, thanks for a great letter as ever, Stephen.
Bilal Latif wrote:
At the time of writing, those of us in the UK who do not have the privilege of the wonder that is BitTorrent have just reached episode 4: 'Aqua'. Pretty entertaining, but I didn't like how Lex is just suddenly evil. My brothers wondered what happened to all those dead fish in Crater Lake. I said they should just fry the lot and bung 'em in a paper bag with some chips. Sorted.
I think Aquaman ate them. He's a cannibal. :)
But anyway, as usual I agreed with most of your points. I actually look forward more to the excellent comedy of your reviews than the show itself.
I LOVE that!
While comic cynicism is great, so is a good dose of 'positive outlook', which is why Douglas Trumble's review is also a pleasure to read. Nice balance between the two of you. I don't always agree with your criticisms, or Douglas' (should that be Douglas's? Oh, sod it, I'll just write 'Mr Trumble's') praise, but I'm cool with that since I love to see others' opinions. I think I fall between yours and Mr Trumble's outlook - if it's entertaining, it's fine by me, as long as it isn't completely implausible.
And that's where a casual viewer likely should fall. We try and hit that. ;)
So, yeah, I didn't really like Season 4, heh.
I think the only people who did have backwards heads.
About the Clark and Lana 'consummation' - I agree, it's a subject they just shouldn't have gone anywhere near since it's spilled more maggots than an exploding canned worm factory. However I do think the scene would have been vastly improved if at the moment Lana lifted Clark's shirt, in lieu of the teenybopper track we got, they had started playing 'Jungle Boogie' instead. They played the whole 'pre-marital teen sex' thing for laughs in the next episode anyway; at least this way we get more of a chuckle.
Heck, anything would have been funnier than somber yuppie sex.
I'm just reading the letters displayed after your 'Aqua' review. Andrew Friden has a good point about the show paying homage to (read: ripping off) other shows/movies. Here's what he wrote:
'The Fast and The Furious: A movie about underground street racing(Velocity)*
Nip/Tuck: A tv show about plastic surgeons and beccoming "Beautiful" (Krypt/Tuck)*
Charmed: A tv show about three sisters who are witches in a social dramma (Spell)*
* Smallville Episode'
That's all very true. I also think 'Hidden' was a clear erm. appropriation of the conceit of '24'.
A lot of them steal very blatantly. It's getting worse.
But since the producers seem to be going down this road of 'borrowing' other ideas, here are some of my suggestions:
1) Original Show and Premise: Lost - passengers of a plane crash survive on a deserted island, all the while weary of the island's 'defence system'.
Smallville Title and Premise: Misplaced - Clark goes with Lex on a helicopter ride to patch things up a little. He brings Shelby along. But then it all goes pear-shaped. The helicopter crashes, Lex smacks his head, Clark ends up at the top of a tall coconut tree and is too afraid to climb down, and Shelby is all alone on a deserted island. Inexplicably, Jason Teague's mother approaches the lost pooch and warns of the 'Others'
And giant bears appear and eat Lana?
2) Original Show and Premise: House - Medical drama about a cynical medical doctor who will do whatever it takes to cure his patients, even if it means browbeating them.
LOVE THAT SHOW. LOVE IT. OBSESSED TO THE POINT OF ALL CAPS WITH THAT SHOW. I go through life now asking how House would handle a situation. I hit my mom with a cane! POW! "You're sick!" I said.
And she WAS.
Smallville Title and Premise: Barn - a disgraced, cynically funny medical doctor from Metropolis ends up in Smallville when his car breaks down and he takes a more-than-professional interest in Clark Kent. It all ends with an orgy of butt-kickery of the crooked doc, even if it is very distasteful. But hey, Season 4 would get away with it.
House would kick Clark into next week. I'd like to see House and Lex fence. House loses the advantage with the bum leg, but he'd probably use his cane and psychoanalyze Lex's baldness until he broke down and wept. And by the next episode, Lex would have hair.
House...House just RULES. Thank you, Greg Rucka. I interviewed him and he said he was watching it, so I gave it a shot, and...wow. Amazing show. Should have been Perry.
3) Original Show and Premise: Knightrider - David Hasselhof and his talking car KIT save people and fight crime and stuff. That's really all there is to it.
Smallville Title and Premise: Kryp - in a quirky twist of fate, a state of the art car with Artificial Intelligence is exposed to Kryptonite and gains a mind of its own. We've had freaks of the week - this is Christine of the week. And Pete 'The Boss' Ross could make a guest appearance and use his mad skillz T to tame the steel beast.
As I recall, Clark killed a guy in that episode. In the Knightrider version, we could even put it in the General Lee.
4) Original Show and Premise: Spongebob Squarepants - Popular children's underwater cartoon about a sponge and his starfish best friend trying to avoid the wrath of Squirdward, the cranky neighbour.
Smallville Title and Premise: Redpants - Just for giggles, Lionel is conveniently 'possessed' by Jor-El/Brainiac/Eradicator/MC Hammer again, and for some strange reason starts acting like a complete fool. It's up to Clark, the true sponge of the tale, to set things right, but he ends up striking an unlikely friendship with the jabbering billionaire. Lex is the angry squid of the piece, if only because he's jealous and Lionel keeps offering to shine his head.
Then we'd get a lot of potheads watching...
5) Original Show and Premise: The Flintstones - Everyone knows the Flintstones. They're the modern stone-age family!
Smallville Title and Premise: Luthors - just a day in the life of the Luthors. They could even have a pet dinosaur for the episode, which kind of drips out of the spaceship like Brainiac did. Also, just for this 'very special' episode, they could change the theme song:
Meet the Luthors,
They're the richest guys you'll ever see
Town of Smallville
They're a part of Kal-El's history
With Lex Luthor down the street
Lionel Luthor in Bell Reve
With the Luthors
Have a yabba-dabba-doo time
You'll have a gay old time!
And you could even name the dinosaur L-Ron.
This brings to mind the other 'homage' - the infamous 'unexplained T2 metal-limbed lad' from season 4. I'm thinking, well they did T2, why stop there? There was such a missed opportunity for a T3 reference in season 4. Ok, in T3, the Terminatrix near the beginning tells a lady 'I like your car' before killing her and stealing it. Later on she says to a cop 'I like your gun'. Also for some reason, Arnie's 'classic line' in this movie is 'talk to the hand' which he learns from a male stripper (this alone sums up everything that is wrong with Terminator 3).
Don't forget the part where she enhances her jubblies. That's all I remember about that movie. Except watching government scientist nerds bite it. That was fun. Though I bought it. Can't beat it on a big screen.
Now in Season 4, just imagine - Witch-Lana walks into a janitor's closet:
'LANA: I like your broomstick.
JANITOR: Talk to the hand.'
Arnold: DIE, LANA!
Then they could have a wicked-cool fight, which is wicked-cool by virtue of the simple fact that no-one has ever seen it before - cos let's face it, who the hell HAS seen a witch and a janitor facing off in mortal combat?
A whip-kick fight, no less?
More seriously, it does seem all these 'homages' are desperate attempts by the producers to pander to the dwindling audience members. I don't think they realize the remaining audience members are either hardcore fans of Superman, or of the Smallville series in and of itself. Thus all this pandering and making Lois a pole dancer (if I was a guard in Metal Gear Solid, a huge question mark would appear above my head right about now), is really unnecessary. All the viewers want is good, solid storytelling backed up with a working, sensible logic. It's why 'Lost' and 'House' are so successful. Both these shows have solid frameworks, yet the episodes find ways to have fun while staying within those frameworks. Course, one could argue the meteor freaks constitute 'having fun within the framework', but they're just old now. To borrow the vernacular of your friend, it's getting 'Co-ancient'.
House would have already gotten them off the island and cured the dead people. House could take Chuck Norris with his eyes closed. House is the epitome of bad@#$.
But, if they really want a ratings ploy, they can't do much better than getting Tarantino to direct. Look what it did for CSI!
I liked his work in Sin City.
I actually don't know what the heck it did for CSI, but thinking about a Quentin Tarantino-fied episode of Smallville is just funny. It could have like, five plots, and Tarantino would of course do his own spin on the whole Kryptonite angle.
And it could only end with Lana dying to "Stuck in the Middle with You".
'Okay, so we've had kryptonite freaks,' Mr Tarantino might say, 'but all these guys have just been like, sunbathing, when a fricken' meteor hits 'em in the eye. Next thing you know, they're homicidal super villains. Here's my idea, okay? So, no one has ever EATEN Kryptonite.'
And so one of the plots would be about this weird guy (a Tarantino cameo, naturally) selling 'K-Burgers'.
'CLARK: Chloe, don't eat Kryptonite! It'll kill me! It might even mutate you! Meteor rocks are a radioactive material!
CHLOE: Yeah but K-Burgers taste good. Meteor rocks taste good.'
They could also talk about what they call a K-Burger with cheese in France, but that's by the by. In another sub-plot, after eating a K-Burger, Shelby learns to talk. He reveals to the startled Ma and Pa Kent that he knows Clark's secret.
'JONATHAN: But I thought Clark made a blood-oath never to tell anyone else.
SHELBY: It appears he has broken it.'
One of the other sub-plots could be about Lana going ape on everyone because someone stole her mascara. Now she has a hit list of potential suspects. Lois is at the top of it.
Alas...he HAS eaten Kryptonite (See last season, episode 4 or 6? I don't know. Krypto-Gatorade. Truly sad).
The two face off in the Talon, Lois calling in her private army (provided by daddy), the 'Order 66'. Lana mops the floor with these creeps easy. She approaches Lois.
'LANA: I need my make-up back. I'm the face of Neutrogena.
LOIS: YOU LIE!'
And you just know that the Luthors are perfect for a Reservoir Dogs reference.
You put the lime in the coconut...
Anyway, I think I've spouted enough nonsense. I'm not particularly good at writing very deep and meaningful letters, but hey, all of your other correspondents are, so it all evens out. Hopefully you laughed a couple of times at least. If so, I'll be happy. If you publish this, I'll be even happier.
Actually, I've loved this letter quite a bit. Please write more.
Of course, even if this is published, I won't see it till I reach whatever episode you're now reviewing. Ah well.
That's okay. I'm emailing you now to let you know. MWU HA HA HA!
Thanks a bunch and keep up the good work Messrs Bailey and Trumble,
SCOTTY V wrote:
Neal my boy!
Still kicking, and 7 hours in, baby!
WOW! My first thoughts last week were that I could not believe what I had watched. Was Jonathan Kent really dead? I know that I hoped he wasn't. I had been thinking for quite some time that he'd be the one to go. I actually believed it when the show first started, before I should have had any reason to think it might happen. It seems to me that for some reason all the live action versions of Superman, except for L&C, like to kill off Jonathan - whether he's dead in the comics or not. I realize that some of the time Jonathan has been dead and sometimes not but it always bothered me after the fact that he was killed off in the Reeve films. I believe he might have actually have been dead in the comics at that time but by the time I started reading comics and associating them with the Supes movies, Jonathan was alive and well so I thought the movies had made it up. It just bothers me that film and TV writers sometimes seem to think the only way to create tension is to kill off characters. I don't know if it's because they don't think there's enough natural angst or what but oh well, what's done is done.
Sometimes it's a great way. I think it was done well with Blue Beetle and Max Lord. Jonathan? Not as much.
In "Slumber," when Lex seemingly uses the sword to attack Clark, I'll agree it was very cool. However, had they really done it they really would have changed one of the core elements of the future Lex/Superman dynamic. I realize that this show has already changed some other dynamics but that's a real biggie. Of course, my thought is that they've already taken so many liberties that this is really almost an elseworlds tale anyway. It's really unfortunate that they couldn't keep this series grounded in being possibly the Clark and Superman we all actually know and love.
I never heard anything about two major deaths, but I'll be honest - hollywood ending or no, I would have been much happier with this episode had it been over after the reverse of the first death. I really didn't want anyone to stay dead, even if it was Lana, because in my mind that's not the way it's supposed to be. I haven't yet read any of Infinite, I was trying to wait till the series was over to start, but my understanding is that someone will die and I had been guessing for a while that it would be Pa Kent, since "Returns" has Jonathan dead again, much live the Reeve films (even though there's no need) and so I figured "Smallville" would follow suit. Saying that though, I must also say I definitely wasn't disappointed as you were.
Infinite Crisis might be best read as a whole. I will be buying the trade even if it turns 100%.
I am of course, disappointed that Jonathan is dead but I really didn't think the episode was bad. I actually thought they did a real good job with it, the twist was interesting if fantastic, the acting was very good and it really is a major turning point in the series. For you, it seems as though it was a bad one and I think it was unneccessary to kill anyone yet, but I did think it was handled fairly well. The one real problem being the same issue that continually plagues "Smallville," continuity.
I loved the first half...quite a bit.
My thought on the whole Clark making the wrong choice knowing someone else would die is that he didn't really know. All he knows is that Jor-el said to him that "The Universe will find a balance." That could mean anything. We figure, apparently correctly, that means another death instead, but I don't think that makes Clark a murderer.
No, but it does make him culpable, and part and parcel to a murderer's actions, Jor-El.
At the time, Clark was full of grief and might not really have been paying attention to the intricacies. Being grief stricken and desperate, he did the only thing he thought he could do. In doing so, Jor-el warned that the universe would find a balance. That's really a generic statement saying that all will be even in the end. For that matter, we might even be able to say that Jor-el had only meant that all along. Not that the construct is evil in taking a life in exchange for Clark's, but that THE UNIVERSE would eventually find a balance because of what Jor-el had done. That that's just the way nature works. The natural way of things. Balance. I still want a better explaination for the whole evil Jor-el thing, but in this particular case, he may not be responsible, he may have just been referring to the natural order of things.
That would mean Jor-El needs another death?
I can see what you mean though about the cheap hack device of Jonathan's death. I don't think I agree completely, but as I said above, I think killing off Jonathan in the films or this show is simply done for dramatic effect and that bothers me. I think the writers need to use their imaginations and just come up with some real plot and drama. We don't need the death of a major character if we get good writing through and through. Problem in this case with the device is that I don't even think we're in sweeps. AND the only people who would have known anything different or special was happening in this episode would be if they are regular viewers anyway. It's like any show that gives major things away in the previews. Do they really think that anyone who's never watched or doesn't watch regularly, really cares if they give away the fact that President Palmer is showing up halfway through the 4th season of 24 last year when we all thought he was done on the show?? Boy did that infuriate me to hear that he was coming. The worst part of it was that I had stopped watching 24 previews because I learned early on that they gave vital things away. But that particular week I went on the "24" chatroom after the show and some idiot complaining about how they gave it away, gave it away in the subject of his post complaining "way to go FOX giving away Palmer's return next week!" Ugh!
Heh. Try being me. I get instant messages two hours before the show's even on here spoiling it, and letters months in advance. Thankfully, I think more is in the execution, and like spoilers.
I loved the first half of the show as well. Though I did notice that Lana was still being a twit right up until they left for the Fortress and then even a little bit after that. LOIS: Does it change the way you feel about him? LANA: Maybe. The whole Fortress thing was great, it brought tears to my eyes the first and second time I watched it. Not sure what you mean by gravity not working that way. Clark did a huge super-leap up to a precipice and landed at the end of his jump. Didn't seem wrong to me. The glowing coal? Not sure what that was about but again, it was so cool that I found it ok. All the way up to the death I thought the episode was extremely well done.
It was slow, and it was also too straight to be an arc. To me, anyway. Unless he was jumping into space.
You never call Lex on the things he does and says that are wrong, yet you always agree with him when he makes statements about Clark being untruthful or sometimes, when Lex doesn't make the statement, you do anyway.
Like here when Lex gets angry and upset that Lana "still chooses him (Clark)" even though he's lied so much. Then Lex says that he'd never lie to the one he loves. That right there is a lie and Lana SHOULD call him on it because Lex lied to her for weeks and/or months just last week about the ship being gone.
That's true...but then, that's one lie to Lana. He lied about the stones, too. That's two. In five years, that's a pretty good record for a guy. But I openly admit I'm Lex biased.
Lex lies all the time about having no interests in anyone's secrets or private lives, about not investigating his friends even though he still is and then about not lying to those he loves while he's lying to their face. Clark isn't really lying about anything, he's just withholding the entirety of what he is and sometimes not even that. If he says something like: "There's nothing special about me Lana." That's just Clark being humble, which he should be.
I had no idea that they were going to the Fortress when she came in with her coat, it did occur to me after she brought up the coat and gloves though. I too have been thinking for while now that he should tell her the secret. Partly because I know Lana DOES know the secret in all canon that I'm familiar with and partly because I think it's time. However, I don't have such a huge secret that I need to be worried every waking moment who might try to kill someone should they find out. Truth is, from everything we've seen with Lois and the Kents in the comics, Clark SHOULD be worried. His reasons for not telling most people is that he's worried for THEIR safety. He's very concerned that they will become the prey of people that will try to get to him through those who know and he's right. It's happened in this series with Pete, Chloe, The Kents and now Lana. Others too I'm sure. It's a dangerous thing and I'm not saying it might not be frustrating to Lana but his reasons are solid and the driving force is to protect others. Lana and Lex however, they lie all the time, for themselves. Clark ONLY lies about his secret or where he's been in relation to that secret. Lana about the ship and the meteors. Lex about the ship and the meteors and practically everything else he's involved with.
I'll say again that I'm not sure it's clear that she (Lana) or anyone else can SEE the laser beam thingy from his eyes. I still think Clark's heat vision is invisible. People may be able to react because they can see the result when Clark looks at something but i still think the beams can't be seen.
I say the heat alone would be visible...but that's an ooooooooold debate. Heh. We have bigger worries now about him showing off his powers.
I think Jonathan's line about not being needed didn't tip me off the way it tipped you off was because, whereas they may use that on other shows when they know someone's gonna die, on this show Jonathan says that sort of thing all the time. He has said almost identical lines many times. In this case, you're right though, as when I watched it the second time I could certainly see and hear and feel the ironic foreshadowing. And this was with me being worried from before I even turned the show on that Jonathan WOULD be dying. I just didn't catch it.
I didn't really think about the Lana/Lois scene. It didn't bother me at all and I thoguht the scene played just fine. I guess if it really seems like we have two characters who've never met that could be a problem but...I'm sure they have. :)
Oh, they have. I was being sarcastic.
It may be obvious to us that Chloe loves him, she's made it very clear to us and to others. But to naive, innocent Clark, I think he really believes her when she says the friends bit and she's just a great and loyal friend who would do anything for her friend. And again, I don't think Chloe's SAID she loved him and wants to be with him directly.
Here again you say: "He gets mad at Lana because she chooses the guy who constantly lies to her (a pretty boy) over the baldie who is nice, honest, giving, kind, a provider, etcetera" and here again I say: "Lex lies and hides the truth the most of anyone on this show about a plethora of topics, aside from Lionel. Clark hides the truth about a secret he has that could endanger multiple people if someone finds out.
Lex's lies are all in pursuit of the truth, which makes them less bad to me.
Lex has shaken both Lana and Chloe on other occasions, when he wasn't drunk and there was no excuse, simply because he wanted them to give him something that wasn't his. In other words, he was trying to steal something he thought one or both of the girls might have had, like a thug mugging someone in the street before a masked vigilante comes and saves the day.
Yep. And that was a sucky thing to do.
I'm not sure why Clark didn't run to her as soon as Lana made it clear that she was being chased and that she was very uncomfortable. It would have been better if the writers hadn't written Clark asking where she was and then her telling him. Once he knows where she is he should be running there and then this whole thing is avoided. Dramatic license and pauses, I guess. By the way, as we see from the second take, the bus driver is distracted and he's the one driving on a side street. Lana and Lex are on the main road and they have the right of way and no stop sign. The bus, coming from the cross street, does have a stop sign and does not stop. Lex does have the presence of mind to stop, but only because he's looking at Lana from the wrong side of the road and is able to see past her and see the bus speeding through the stop sign. Lana, who is afraid of what Lex, who has grabbed, shaken and thrown her before, might be doing with his car. She's then in an accident and I didn't notice the first time through that Lex obviously saw Clark speed up. If I had noticed it wouldn't have mattered too much, because I was pretty sure, at halfway through, that something was gonna change what had happened. Plus I really didn't think they'd kill Lana. (She doesn't die Neal! shrug)
I watched the scene again, both of them, and Lana does very clearly run a stop sign...they ARE on a highway, but highways do have stop signs. Check after she stops the second time around. The stop sign is clearly behind her. I tried to get screen caps, but my program is buggy on me. It's at 31:51 with no commercials.
My primary problem with this whole episode was that I didn't believe, nor did I want to believe that anyone was actually going to die. I kept thinking they were going to get out of it somehow. After all, cheap as it may be, if someone dies in the show and then they reverse it with time travel or a scince crystal or whatever so that they don't die, someone still did die in the episode right? So when Lana died I was absolutely SURE she couldn't really be dead. In fact, before the stupid recap after the commercial, I couldn't even be sure she WAS dead. It looked real bad that's for sure but people have looked alot worse than any real people I've ever heard of who looked that bad and still survived. Then very very close to the end when Pa was having his troubles, I was hoping against hope that it wasn't happening. I hated to see it and yet, like in the Lana death scene, I had only wet eyes at some of the actors reactions. I really thought we'd at least come back to the hospital after commercial.
Yeah. Same here. I felt cheated.
Clark has super-speed. Why wouldn't he have at least ran his father to the hospital right away? As soon as they pull up and see Jonathan struggling, they could have been at the hospital before the guy even passed out. This is a writing thing and I've seen it before on Superman shows. On L&C there was a character called Mason Drake who died when a car bomb exploded. That'd be fine if Clark, who had been dating her at the time, hadn't been a few blocks away and heard the clicking time of the bomb turn on. Clark turns and runs toward the car but runs at regular human speed, just for drama, and so he doesn't make it. But if you analyze, it's like "He's Superman...and he didn't even try! He looked chagrined, yeah, but he's barely jogging!" It's like Jonathan saying a few weeks back that he wanted Clark to go to a good school and then Martha saying they'd never see him if they did. Stupid. Clark can be back to the farm from practically anywhere on the globe in, at most, a few hours. Heck, people drive the 3 to 5 hours back and forth to Metropolis three times a day on this show! If Clark can run there in a second, there's no reason why he couldn't go to school there. And here, in this case, there's no reason for Clark not to run to the hospital with his father. Even if they didn't want to film it or didn't have time, in Martha's "you couldn't have done anything" speech, she should have at least mentioned that he tried by getting his Pa to the hospital and the Fortress but that nothing could be done. Oh well.
The crystal didn't bother me nearly as much as turning back the Earth in Superman: The Movie. I think it's because we know that turning the Earth wouldn't have that effect. It's a scientific impossibility. I read once that Donner said something like: "Hey this guy's Superman, we needed to end the movie with something really massive." That's all well and good but a scientific impossibility? I guess it's probable that any type of time travel or altering is very unlikely, but there have been many books on the subject and many scientific geniuses who state many possible ways that it could be possible. I figure here, this is a highly advanced civilization that COULD have some type of science that would allow them that type of device. After all, they have something like the acquired knowledge of all the universe in the Fortress. Maybe that particular device couldn't even be constructed until after the Fortress was built because it was found out and stored somehow AFTER the destruction of Krypton. Who knows what other secrets are to be revealed in the Fortress over time to come. I just hope that the next time they need it for sweeps or ratings or whatever, that Clark does go there to take out some anger. Though I don't think Jor-el's statements mean what we originally thought they meant, in so far as him being evil. Balance.
I still see that he killed someone to bring his son back, even if his intentions were good.
Jor-el does NOT say directly that "someone else will die." He says, and I watched it twice: "the universe will find a balance." The universe is pretty big and that could mean anything. It could mean: "Good idea my son, and don't worry about it, the universe will find a balance." Clark is distraught and doesn't know what to think, he's just hoping to save the girl he loves.
In this episode, but in the past, he's said people will die.
I guess Jonathan only returned SOME of Lionel's money. I think he even says something like: I'm gonna return the rest very soon.
It is a little odd that Jonathan just hauls off and attacks Lionel. I wouldn't say he has no reason, as I'm sure whatever's on that paper really upset and worried him, but it obviously wasn't a good idea to do it. After all, now he's dead and I can't believe it. I guess he figured since he's been electrocuted, hung from the ceiling, hit with bats and all sorts of things, thrown against walls and crushed by a house after being hit by a meteor, he figured that his heart had kinda bounced back. Who knew?
When I saw Lionel walking behind them at the funeral and then he was just walking back in the next shot I thought what the heck was that?? I think it was an editing error because I don't think it was supposed to look silly. He starts to walk up as if he's gonna do or say something, the shot cuts to Clark and then when it goes back to both Clark and Martha, Lionel is walking back the other way and away after having done nothing. I also couldn't belive that it seemed as though Lana decided, after Clark lost his father, that she was going to be a tart again and only hold Clark's hand and console him for a few moments before pulling her hand away in disgust and leaving him to grieve alone.
Might have been for dramatic effect...
I am saddened that Jonathan is gone and some of the mistakes in the show were very unfortunate. I didn't hate the show, though and I didn't find it to be overly cheap or contrived. I thought it was kindof a neat way to bring an old idea (Star Trek, Groundhog Day, others...) to Smallville and Jonathan's death was still meant to be in protection of his family. Unfortunate in that Lionel didn't REALLY do anything directly to cause Jonathan's attack, which makes it even more curious this week when Lex threatens that he'll tell Martha his father was there right before Jonathan died, but he's still a scum. Ooooh, what a &%$!@*&!!!!
For once, I'm going to write down my thoughts BEFORE I read your review.
I do that. Wait...
One, because I know you're on vacation and two, because I really liked "Vengeance", and I want to get my thoughts down before I read yours. You may say, I don't know, that this was a formulaic episode. If you do, then I agree.
I do. There were decent elements, though. Atypical.
But for me it was the best of the old formula. I love it when they remember that Clark is the good guy. In this show, struggling with his father's death, Clark still comes back to who he is and does the right things. He even saved an enemy. That is Superman. Just a note-on the Season 4 DVD, John Glover talks about how difficult it was to play Clark in "Transference" because he doesn't "emote." They wouldn't let him cry in the prison scene with Martha because "Clark doesn't cry". Knowing that, made me cry even harder at the end - I thought playing the home video with Jonathan saying goodbye felt "right."
I agree. Just a great scene.
Martha was also behaving like Martha in this episode.
Beyond being dumb enough to walk down a dark alley at night...
I've missed them showing the charitable side to her nature. I loved that she donated Jonathan's shirts. I loved that she was afraid that she could not handle Clark's secret alone. I absolutely loved her scene with Chloe at the Daily Planet. (I swear Allison Mack can act with the best the show has to offer!) I'm glad to see Lionel back, trying to take over Luthorcorp now that Lex has lost the Senate race. I have missed him - he is such a huge part of why Lex is who he is. I loved when Lex nailed him this time - I actually cheered when Lex took the Luthorcorp access card.
It was very well done by Rosenbaum.
Even the freak of the week (via heart transplant) worked for me because she was tied to Clark's story because of her loss and her way of dealing with it. I could have done without Lana but at least they didn't show she and Clark wrapping everything up and reconciling. Her actions were reminiscent of her behavior with Whitney (I just hope Clark remembers WHY she stuck with Whitney after his Dad died). The contact lens scene was annoying but thankfully didn't last as long as Lois's new car review in "Exposed." For once, the immediate past was not reversed or forgotten but, by virtue of the story the characters were allowed to be who they should have been all Season. This episode reminded me why I started watching Smallville in the first place. I will ride this roller coaster to the end...
Hold the bars...
Mike H. wrote:
Hey Bro. I've been reading your reviews from day one, and I love them.
I had a question, though, regarding a review from season 2. Every so often I go back and read the reviews on some of the shows I really loved.
"Rosetta" is one that I read often. In that review, you said you were going to try the email addresses that they showed for Virgil Swann and for Clark and you said you would let us know the next week in the next review what happened. I have read the next review ("Visitor") a few times and I don't know if I'm just missing it or what, but I didn't see anything about it. I was just curious to know what, if anything, you found out. Shoot me back a message and let me know. Your welcome to put this in your reviews if you like, but it doesn't really pertain to anything other than my own curiosity. Thanks.
I never did get a response. As I recall, I got it returned...would have been neat, though.
And finally, just as I finished:
There are 315? Just kidding. Hi!
I have to say that I have really enjoyed some of your Smallville reviews, except for a few things about them that tend to bother me. For one thing, you are a Lana Lang hater. For another, you are a complete and utter misogynist.
I am a Lana hater. But I don't hate women. That's the definition of misogyny. A hater of women. Do I think most women are incredibly stupid and not worthy of the life they were given? Yes. But I think that of most men, too. I tend to get called a misogynist because I hold women as accountable as I would hold a man. That's actually equality. I challenge you to show one way that I hate women (over men, anyway).
You have displayed this enough in the past for others to have brought this up already, but for some reason you continually deny being a misogynist.
It's because I'm not one. I love women. I don't like women who suck. But I don't like men who suck. That doesn't make me a misogynist.
You're so adamant about not being a misogynist that I really believe that you don't see yourself as a misogynist.
That's so redundant, I think that's so redundant. And yes. I really am not a misogynist.
I thought I would take the opportunity to get you to see the truth. Since you view yourself as a logician, I will use logic.
Here we go.
Lana Lang is the epitome of all that is good in womankind.
Look, anyone who has read your reviews knows you hate the way Lana is portrayed on the show.
You think she's annoying, fetishized, etc. You hate that Lana is supposed to be the perfect woman, that she's everything to everyone, that she's AMAZING.
That's pretty much how they play her.
Face it, Neal, she IS amazing. She was intended to be. The writers of Smallville decided Lana Lang would be the ideal woman, and that's how she's written.
Well, yeah. That's what I don't like. The fake, impossible, unreal "perfect woman" that the media tries to force down the throat of women. It leads to drama, delusions of grandeur, and an irrepressible need for perfection in idiots.
That's not the epitome of all that is good on womankind. That's the epitome of narcissism. And how does that make me misogynist?
You disagree with the choice, but that's the choice they made. Lana gets to be beautiful, Lana gets to be popular, Lana gets to learn kung fu, Lana gets to be an excellent astronomy student, and yes, Lana even gets her own cellphone.
Yep. And it sucks.
(By the way, I challenge you to find one American girl her age who currently does not own a cellphone due to a lack of money. Even if you did manage to find one, you'd find thousands of poor girls who DO own cellphones.)
Two of my three sisters, a girl I've dated, two girls I want to date but know. And that's just Lana's age group. Outside of that, two of my grandparents. I never said poor girls don't own cell phones. Just that it's a lot harder. It's not as easy and casual as they make it look for Lana.
How does this make me misogynist again?
Is it really so outrageous for the Smallville writers to decide they're going to make Lana a perfect woman?
No. Unfortunately, it's fairly common. It puts exceedingly high standards on ordinary women to be everything to everyone, and does a disservice to viewers, but it's not outrageous. It happens all the time.
And it sucks. Women should not have to hold themselves to an unreal standard. They should have the same standard as everyone else. Men are given the same unreal standards, just in other ways.
If so, then how about this other guy in the series--he goes by "Clark", I think--who's supposed to be the ideal man?
Not the ideal man, but a pure moralist.
He's always so honorable, he's always saving everyone's life, he's always defeating the bad guys... He travels at super-speed! He shoots heat vision from his eyes! He's invulnerable to harm and can smash his fist through titanium!
He can almost take House. I said almost.
Hell, even Lana can't do that stuff! What a ridiculous character that Clark Kent is. Always the hero. You might even say he's fetishized. Face it, Clark, you're SUPER.
Oh, heck yeah. He's an idealized man. Sure. I see where you're going.
Granted, Clark gets superpowers by virtue of being Kryptonian. Then again, the other people in Smallville with superpowers usually turn out being completely evil. Clark gets to be pure, 100% good all the time. Why? Because years ago a couple of guys decided to write him that way.
Yeah. True. I'll give you that. How does this make me misogynist again?
Just like a couple of guys who decided to make Lana pure and good when they created Smallville.
Yeah, but there's a key difference there. Clark is the perfect man not because he shoots fire from his eyes, but because he has power and chooses to do right by it. He's the ideal man not because he's everything to everyone (in fact, he's somewhat despised often by the people he loves for the good things he does). In contrast, Lana is merely regarded as the ideal woman despite doing often horrid or cruel things, without earning the distinction as Clark has.
I will concede the point that both are unrealistic portrayals of impossible human beings. BUT, that said, Clark is a respectable hero figure that does the right thing whenever he can (at least, when written right), whereas Lana is selfish, image-centered, and passive aggressive, and gets away with it regularly. I would latch onto and hate that characteristic in any male character who did the same thing. It's not because she's female. Though I concede and admit her characteristics are envisioned more in female characters than male. That doesn't make me misogynist. It just means I'm observing. If I hated her because she had breasts, you'd have a more cogent point.
And that's why they are meant to be together, Neal.
Where did the logic go?
Clark is a superman, and Lana is a superwoman.
I disagree, for the reasons mentioned above and in 100 previous reviews.
That's why Clark couldn't give up his virginity after a dozen "seduction" scenes--including a summer of being "Red K Clark"--except to Lana. That's why Lana couldn't give up her virginity after a dozen boyfriends--including more than a summer of living with Jason--except to Clark. Clark and Lana are the same.
Clark didn't give up his virginity because Pa would tan his hide and because he believed it wrong. Perhaps Lana did it because she felt it wrong. It's never addressed, really.
But if you want to work with logic, you'll have to explain to me how two people making a similar decision makes them the same. I decided not to be a Zoraostrian. Does that make me the same person as Hitler? After all, he decided to feign Christianity. We made the same decision.
At this point, you may have conceded that it might just be reasonable for the Smallville writers to have Lana written as the perfect woman, just as Clark is written as the perfect man.
But you may now be challenging the idea that Lana--even as written--actually is ideal.
But you'd be wrong. Let's look at the evidence.
Everyone who knows Lana on a personal level has more or less the same reaction: love. Clark loves Lana. Lex loves Lana. Sorority girls who knew her for only a few minutes loved her. Countless Krypto Freaks of the Week loved Lana. She even turned one into a lesbian. Jason was willing to give up sex and move from France to Smallville just to be near her. Clark would rather have a normal relationship with Lana Lang than have extraordinary superpowers. Lex can have his pick of, let's say, a LOT of women. He became enraptured by Lana instead. Even the fiendish Lionel Luthor found himself drawn to Lana (in "Transference"). No one has a bad word to say about her. You get the picture.
Yes. And I agree.
When that many people react the same way to Lana, it's probably because of Lana.
I disagree. I think it's because of bad writing. I could write a hundred scenes about someone saying how well my books sell. Doesn't mean they sell.
How many women do you know who can get this reaction from every person they come across, male and female alike?
Only very pretty women. And that's only most of the time.
Only Clark can get nearly the same reaction: all of the women love him, all of the men want to be his best friend, even Lionel thinks he's extraordinary and apparently wishes he were his son. Then there's the evil Krypto Freaks who are drawn to destroy him.
Right. But then, that doesn't change what I said above. People idolize Clark because of the good things he does, the lives he saves. People idolize Lana because she's pretty. That's not the same. You can argue that Lana does all of her good works off screen, but what good is that to proving your point? She could be slapping puppies offscreen for all we know. All we have is what's in front of us, and that's Lana being a pain and annoying but still being beloved of all, and Clark being a hero and being beloved of some. They're hardly the same on a fetishized level.
I'm not saying everything Lana has done has been perfect. Sure, she's told a fib here or there, or perhaps overreacted in some situations.
I have a list of many of them in the KO Count. Pretty much pound for pound she's lied as many times as Clark, but Clark's lied about one thing, his secret, and Lana's lied about multiple things in many varied situations. Not just a fib here or there or overreaction. It's every show, practically.
She's shown us her vulnerability.
Now, see, if you're going to make a logical case, you'll have to use Occam's Razor and speak plainly. She's not showing her vulnerability. When I sit on a couch and make people fetch and carry for me, in a sense, I'm showing my vulnerability. What Lana does is manipulate people and be a pain in the a$$.
The same goes for Clark, only more so. You revel in tallying Lana's lies, Neal--and many of those are quite a stretch--but how about Clark's lies? You'd run out webspace if posted a list of those. Clark lies. A lot.
Citations? That's part of logic, too. If you say something, you have to back it up. What has Clark lied about beyond his secret, or lies directly related to the secret. (Like, instead of catching the bomb, he says, "I must have fallen beneath the blast radius counts as a "powers" related secret).
He has good intentions, but it still has the unintended effect of hurting the people he loves. Clark hurts Lana, and the expected result occurs.
Whining, passive aggression, punishment, and denial of affection? That's not the expected result when Lana slights Clark.
Yet Lana has been extraordinarily patient. When Clark hurts her for the umpteenth time, she removes herself from the situation.
That's (translated) folds her arms and walks out of the room, closing off all communication and ending any hope of reconciliation because she's angry.
You call it passive-aggressiveness, but what do you expect her to do, pretend it doesn't bother her?
No. I expect her to do neither, because both are immature and childish. If someone has a problem, the appropriate and rationale and idealistic thing to do is to confront them about it. Like, if Steve says, "Neal, don't say *%#, for *$#%'s sake! They'll crucify the lot of us!", I can either pout and stop talking to Steve, I can pretend it doesn't bother me, or I can do what we did. Talk about it, figure out a middle ground, compromise, remain the best of friends, and move on with life. That's what adults do.
That would be passive. Lana communicates her feelings and removes herself from a hurtful situation. That's assertive, not passive-aggressive.
Okay. Logic starts with defining terms, so I'll appropriately define passive aggression as I see it. Any act that DEFERS communication and makes the agent it's directed at feel bad for something he hasn't done or should have done (divining, if you will) while making the agent committing the act look better in the eyes of any viewer without having actually done anything.
So when Lana says, "I love you, Clark, but if you can't tell me your secret, we can't date." (stomp, fold arms, walk out, etcetera). To some, that's Lana communicating her feelings and removing herself from the situation. I find that very euphemistic. On a logical level. I see that she's making herself look and feel good by saying that she loves Clark even though she's treating him like she'd treat a common thug, while at the same time causing guilt in Clark by punishing him with a lack of a date contingent on him completing or divining the action that he cannot possibly, telling her his secret.
But on a more basic level, closing communication in any way is an act of passive aggression. How many times has Clark stomped out on Lana, compared to vice versa?
You always defend Lex when he tries to get at the truth behind Clark's lies, but when Lana tries to get the truth from Clark, you attack her.
Yes. Because of the methodology. Lex says, "Hey, Clark. What's up with this?" Clark says, "Uh, nothing dude." and Lex has to end the conversation. That's passive, but it's not passive aggression, because he's not making Lex feel bad for trying to find out, or to make himself look good. He's just doing what he has to to maintain his secret, a necessary lie. But when Lana tries to get the truth from Clark, she often engages in manipulation, lying, stomping, whining, etcetera, see past reviews. It's a wholly differing relationship.
The only difference I see is that Lana patiently tries to persuade Clark to be honest, while Lex employs the most unethical means at his disposal to dig up the truth himself. Spying, releasing homicidal maniacs to attack Clark's family, creating dossiers on the Kents, whatever.
First off, he didn't release the maniacs definitively (it's left open to interpretation in the episode, frustratingly), and spying and creating dossiers are essentially the same thing. Assume I concede both. Lana Lang's created dossiers. She's still doing it.
Assume even further the ratio is ten to one, Lex is doing far more than Lana. He's a villain. If you're trying to argue that Lana is less of a villain because the villain does things like she does, you have a very tough row to hoe.
Yet you are far more sympathetic to Lex Luthor's response to Lana Lang's.
I am, because of the way Lex Luthor handles Clark's necessary lie. He's much more adult about it. When Clark finds out Lex is spying on it, Lex doesn't say, "Well, you should have just told me, this is your fault!" (fold arms). He says, "Sorry, yeah. I did a bad thing. I was just trying to find the truth. Will you tell me the truth?
And then there's the sex. When Lana Lang's a virgin--despite living with an older man--she's ridiculous and unrealistic.
Yes. Very much so.
Then, when she wants to have sex with her boyfriend who hasn't had sex with her in months for no apparent reason, she's a sex-crazed whore.
No, she's not. I said they wrote her that way for one episode. And you'll note, I was criticizing that as being not in her character.
And, to wit, I'd have had no problem had she jumped in the sack with any previous boyfriend. When you jump in the sack with Supes, that raises whole new issues. I have no problem with virgins or whores. To wit, I would postulate that all men are whores, so any man who objects to a promiscuous woman is a jack$#@.
Lana can't win with you. Whatever she does, you'll criticize it.
Thus the title, critic. But I will do the same to all the characters. Problem being, when I criticize Lana, she comes up wanting.
Lana Lang has a cellphone, that's ridiculous and unrealistic.
And when Clark Kent had one, I ripped him a new one, recall.
But I bet if Lana Lang had a scene where she explained to someone, "I don't own a cellphone because I can't afford it", you would immediately say that's totally unrealistic and she's being self-righteous.
No. I'd think that was awesome.
And passive-aggressive, naturally.
And where would I get that?
And moreover, you've accused me of being a misogynist, but not a thing in this letter has proven me a misogynist. A hater of Lana Lang? Maybe. But that means I hate ONE WOMAN, not WOMEN, and assumes that I hate Lana. I don't. I dislike her character direction in this show, but I love the character of Lana Lang.
Bottom line is, the people who inhabit Lana's universe universally love, admire and respect her. She's got to be doing something right there.
A lot of people were and are beloved of Hitler.
And when you compare her behavior--objectively--to that of the other people (including the idealized super-man), Lana looks pretty good.
I disagree, and I have yet to see a rationale for this in the above.
So I think you'd have to agree that there is a solid foundation for calling Lana the epitome of good in womankind.
No. That's an equivocation, completely illogical, and false. I don't think any one woman is the epitome of good in womankind. I don't think Lana's even in the top 10,000 of this generation. Heck, my mother's ten times the woman she is, and my mother is as passive aggressive as the day is long. It's how I got such an eye for it.
And if you hate that, if you instinctively detest everything about the super-woman, it can only be because you are a misogynist.
That has to be the most illogical thing I've ever heard. Even if I hate an absolutely perfect woman, how does that make me a misogynist? I hate Brad Pitt because he can get chicks based on his looks. Does that make me a misandrist? And for those of you who don't know, a misandrist is someone who hates men. Most people don't know the term, because when a woman hates a man or calls him inept or treats him like garbage, it's okay, but any time a man criticizes any woman, he's instantly a misogynist.
And I still stand by: I am not. I love women.
If you hate the perfect woman, what hope is there for a flawed woman? If you hate a woman who's beautiful, what about a woman who is repulsive? If you hate the intelligent, athletic and morally pure Lana Lang, how do you feel about the lesser mortals? You must hate them too. Hence, misogynist.
Actually, you remember that character called Chloe? The one I love because she's got flaws, is human, and fails pretty regularly? How about Ma Kent? A woman many would say is past her prime, who I love because she seems intelligent, experienced, wise, and sexy? Or how about the girlfriends I've dated over the years, who many would describe as overweight, too skinny, nerdish, or unfeminine? Don't get me wrong, I've dated some tomatoes, but if you knew me at all (which you obviously don't), you'd know I love women of many shapes, forms, and constrasts.
What I resent, and strive against, and fight, is the arbitrary, dangerous, and altogether destructive notion that women should be perfect, are perfect, and deserve to be worshipped simply for being what they are. If that makes me a misogynist, you've won the argument.
You haven't won the argument.
Based on your reaction to the personification of the perfect woman, I think the only way I can even imagine you reacting in a positive manner to a woman on Smallville is if she somehow degrades womankind. In other words, if there were a woman who represented everything vile and ugly in womankind, you would enjoy it because it justifies your misogynism.
It's misogyny. And to be honest, I prefer a woman who farts and spits over perfection, yeah, but that's not misogyny. It's a preference.
There is such a character. Her name is Chloe Sullivan. It's been pretty well established in the series by now that Chloe is supposed to be the embodiment of evil. The best demonstration of this was in "Rush", the episode where several of the characters were released from their inhibitions. There have been many such episodes, and you get insights into what really motivates the characters' "id". We see that all of the characters go for the things they find most pleasurable. Clark gathers a bunch of material things, Pete takes risks for excitement, Lana flirts with Clark, Jonathan is unusually amorous with his wife, etc.
And how many times over the years have I said I'm beloved of Chloe? Seriously. Have you read my work?
Only one character breaks this mold. The first thing Chloe wants to do is go to the Talon and make out with Clark in front of Lana so she can hurt her. That's it. Everyone else wants something to make himself happy, but Chloe wants something to hurt someone else. Chloe thrives on hurting other people. That is the definition of evil. It's interesting to note that the one person she wants to hurt more than anyone is her "best friend" Lana. It makes sense. Lana is the epitome of good, and Chloe is the epitome of evil. Of course Chloe hates her.
Chloe's evil? Now you're really reaching. Chloe makes out with Clark once, when Lana and Clark are not dating, and she's the epitome of evil? That's the DEFINITION of evil? You must have looked up the definition of evil in the same dictionary where you found the definition of misogyny. Chloe was evil for about ten episodes in season two, and if you go back and look, I said her character was dead to me until she started acting like a human being again. Not because she was female, but because she was a git.
Unlike the chaste Lana Lang, Chloe has sex at age fifteen with "Jimmy from the newspaper", a guy she barely knows and never sees again. All while supposedly in love with Clark.
And? Are you suggesting promiscuity makes one evil? If so, we have a vehement disagreement. Either that, or I'm one evil SOB. (cheap porn music plays).
Even when on Red Kryptonite, Clark wouldn't betray his love for Lana. Chloe throws her cleavage in everyone's face, even at the Daily Planet where she's supposed to be a serious journalist.
Where has Chloe's cleavage gained her a significant advantage at the Planet? Furthermore, for every time Chloe's had a boy attracted to her, Lana's had eight, and you know it.
She enjoys nothing more than getting a scoop to satisfy her own ambitions, regardless of how it affects other people.
That's a character flaw. I'll grant that one. But it's not evil. It's hedonistic, but it's a natural part of writing. I can attest to that. That's male and female.
She started by putting up "freaks" on her Wall of Weird--talk about taking juvenile gossip to a whole new level. How would you like to have your picture on the Wall of Weird at your school?
I've told everyone I know, if I get put in a wheelchair for trying to run across the freeway, you're entitled to laugh and observe. We note the strange because that's a natural human thing to do. To deny this is BS PC posturing. To ridicule without reason or because of difference is horrible. But Chloe's column wasn't "Why freaks should go home", it was a chronicling of the weird. Much like Hunter Thompson.
And Chloe proceeds to abuse her power of getting other people to reveal their secrets. And when she gets a phone call that should be directed to the police, or at least someone not tasked with the tip line, Chloe decides to own the story herself. Who cares if other people are in danger when Chloe stands to get her own byline?
And, if you recall, I called her on that.
And Chloe is certainly the most hypocritical person in Smallville.
When Clark and Lana start dating, Chloe makes it obvious how irritated she is, and then refuses to express her feelings honestly.
Yep. That's when I was harsh on her.
But isn't Lana supposed to be the passive-aggressive one?
Yes. But not the only one. By far the worst offender. When Chloe is passive aggressive, I call her on it, and I challenge you to show me a time I haven't.
Chloe will never be happy for her "friends" Clark and Lana, even if they get engaged. Why? Because Chloe is the epitome of evil, and the union of love between good people like Clark and Lana is inherently loathsome to her.
I still don't see how you've proven her to be the epitome of evil. And I still don't see how Clark and Lana are united in love. If anything, their relationship is a dysfunctional, on-again/off-again failure. And that whole "good people" thing may not apply to Lana.
And further, I challenge you to show three times when Chloe's been upset for Clark and Lana's relationship succeeding in the past year. There have been two I know of. When graduating, she got a melancholy look, and last week, when she found out he was engaged, she got teary but didn't say a thing. Is that the epitome of evil?
Naturally, we're all supposed to believe that Clark is being insensitive to Chloe when he discusses his relationship with Lana.
Yes. And I do. He knows she's loved him, and it's rude to talk about loving others in front of someone who loves you.
Even though Chloe is supposed to be a trusted friend who shares his secret.
Even though guy/gal friendship between near lovers don't work that way.
As I recall, Chloe blew off Pete when he revealed the exact same feelings to Chloe that Chloe has for Clark. We're supposed to feel sorry for Chloe? I don't think so.
She didn't blow it off. Pete was under the influence of a mental command, and he never went any further with it. I'll bet had Pete stuck around, they would have dealt with it.
And so it is. Lana Lang represents the best of women, and Chloe represents the worst. I would challenge anyone to think of a logical basis upon which someone could prefer Chloe to Lana, other than misogynism.
That is one hilarious postulation. I would challenge anyone to think of a logical basis where misogyny is the only possible label for someone who prefers one female character over another.
I think I'll be waiting for a while.
In my humble opinion.
And I'm thankful for it. Mostly because I hate women. But really, in all seriousness, I'm not closed to this dialogue. Feel free to bring it up. And thank you.
I will point out that the above was not a very logical argument, however. I do respect how impassioned it was, and loved hearing and responding to it. Feel free to write again.
Okay! On to next week in just a few days.
This is the longest review ever, mostly because of the letters...the meat itself was smaller than typical. Thanks to all who sat through it, and feel free to write fast...we won't have much for next week if you don't. Then again, that could help me get to the backlog.
Either way, good day, sir! 8 and a half hours and I'm up and out to my usual business of hating women! All applications for the He-Man Woman Haters club will be accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Guys only, unless you're perfect looking women who spit.
In which case, nice shoes!
PS: See if anyone can find the KO Count flaw. It's a little theory I'm testing for my finale review plan...enjoy!
VengeanceReviewed by: Douglas Trumble
Special Notice: If you have trouble reading this review might I suggest Accu-View Contact Lenses. I hear they are just the best thing ever for the eyesight impaired. You just can't go wrong with Accu-View.
Now with that out of the way onto the review...
First of all let me say what a joy it has been to watch Tom Welling's growth as an actor through out the 4+ years this series has been on the air. I've seen some powerful moments from the man throughout but none that lasted an entire episode like tonight. Tom Welling nailed it this week from start to finish. The grief, anger, or just dull sadness that Clark Kent was feeling was just dripping out of Tom's performance and it really, truly sold this episode for me.
It was an interesting choice to bring in a costumed vigilante to show Clark Kent's version of "Vengeance". I think this was a neat idea. Yeah I know in the end she was just another Krypto Freak of the Week that went a bit nuts but at least this time her motives for going Batman on the world were something we as DC Universe fans can relate to. She crossed the line sure but how many times has Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent stepped up to that line? What sets those two apart from all the other would-be superheroes out there is that they never cross it. This girl did cross the line and we see how that affected her in a bad way. Hopefully we'll see more of this character somewhere down the road. The best thing was what stopped Clark from also crossing that line. Hearing his father's voice and remembering the values Jonathan taught him made him make the right choice. All I have to say about that is Awesome!
Clark has learned a very important lesson on his journey to be the worlds greatest hero.
There was one moment in this one that really was a fanboy/fangirl "Wow Cool!" moment. When Clark told Chloe that he wanted to find a way to use his powers to help people but still be who he is. This is a very significant thing for two reasons. One; it confirms that Clark does plan to use his powers to help people. He's just working out the how right now. Two; I think it will directly lead to the reasons he does not wear a mask once he becomes a public hero.
I rather liked the Batman-esque music score they attached to the Angel of Vengeance. A neat little touch to set the mood of the episode right off the bat (slight pun intended). Also kudos to the FX people once again. The gal jumping up the building was a pretty cool effect. I just wish they would have shown Clark super jumping to the top of building in a single bound to pass her up.
Clark dropping out of college to help his Mom on the farm just makes complete and total sense. There is nothing wrong with taking a semester off to deal with such a loss. Even if his Mom really doesn't need or want the help, Clark needs the time for himself to heal. It sounds like actual farming might become a thing of the past on the Kent farm anyway. It seems Martha will be the one to take Jonathan's place in the State Senate not Lex as I wondered last week.
Speaking of Lex. We did get to see some of the real reasons Lionel was trying to sabotage Lex's campaign. It wasn't some tough fatherly love. It was simply a way to make Lex look weak so Lionel could regain control of LuthorCorp. Honestly I found this to be a more believable motive for an evil Lionel. Lex turned the tables on him a bit, delaying that regaining of control but I am not so sure Lionel is willing to just give up. By the way, how creepy can Lionel be? The dirt over Jonathan's grave has not even settled and he is already trying to move in on Martha. Dude. Do you have no shame?
I for one kind of like this idea. Not because I want Lionel to hook up with Martha. No, I like it because I know it is one thing Lionel will never win and I can not wait to see how Martha puts him in his place.
The man will lose to his son, and he will lose to Jonathan even from beyond the grave. You can imagine this might just set the evil you-know-what off the deep end. Lionel off the deep end could be rather scary when you think about it. Especially when you consider it is pretty obvious he knows or at least correctly suspects what is different about Clark. Notice tonight how he never questioned how Clark got across the room so fast? Speaking of that I found it very creepy as well how he thanked Clark for saving him and called him son. Makes you think he is looking to replace Lex with someone a bit more powerful as his heir. John Glover really does know how to play a great villain. Even Super Blonde shouted out "What a creep!" during one of Lionel's moments this week. It takes a lot for the Mrs to get all riled up at a show like that so you know John Glover is doing a great job selling Lionel's creepiness.
There was one downside to this week's episode. Two weeks ago I thought there was just no way on God's green Earth that they would be able to continue the Clark/Lana angst yo-yo. Yet thanks to a Kryptonian Flux Capacitor they found a way to drag the relationship out even longer with even more yo-yo action.
ARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGG! WHY WHY WHY? Please Smallville people just end it. Please? Pretty please? This is why I hate time travel. That is why I will probably never travel to Australia. I know right now it's already tomorrow there and that just creeps me out. Bad things happen when you travel in time and your name is not James T. Kirk. All it takes is stepping on the wrong bug and next thing you know California is gone when you get back to your own time. It hurts the brain to even think about it. Extending the Yo-yo past its due date is just another reason to show why time travel is bad.
Ok I admit. Lana searching the pawn shops for the watch was a very nice thing for her to do. Probably the nicest thing we've seen her do on the show. I also know that she sort of broke up with him the day his Father died and sometimes it's just best to leave that kind of thing on the back burner until Clark is ready to discuss it fully. Still, the yo-yo must stop. Please Mr. Producers. I'll buy a set of Accu-View contact lenses if you end it.
Just a side note about the product placement. Shows like this cost money to make and in order to get good stories with great effects then they have to make money so I am ok with it. Yea it was obvious and maybe a little cheesy but if it pays the bills and keeps the show going I'll live with it.
I am going to give this one an A-. (or 4.5 Angelic Avengers) It would have been a solid A but that whole yo-yo angst ride knocks it down a part of a grade.
Next week looks like Clark will be taking on Smallville's version of Freddie Kruger. Could be interesting. I noticed the parental warning on the preview. Looks like I'll have to tape it and watch it when the Boy wonder is in bed. I don't mind that so long as we're warned ahead of time. I am glad to see they took the time to do so.
See you next week Super fans!
Douglas "Doright" Trumble
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