Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 5 - Episode 14: "Tomb"

Reviews:

Tomb

Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

There were some fun moments sure but the overall tone of this episode was somber and serious. As I guess it should be for the story line at hand. Yes the villain was really just another krypto freak of the week but yet I couldn't help but be disturbed by him. He had a creep factor that maybe was just a bit too real. At least when compared to Killer Cheerleaders, Bug boys, Bee queens, and fat sucking vampiric homecoming dates.

I was very impressed by the solution Lois came up with when the dirtball tried to get her to kill herself. Throwing the knife like that gave me a moment to cheer in a very tense scene and I was glad for it.

I am still a bit miffed at the continued Lana/Clark yo-yo but at least now it seems to be on more of a downward spiral and we all know it has to end somehow so hopefully we are coming to the final lap on that one. Lex does continue to move in on Lana and I am certain that will be the final break in the relationship.

Alison Mack did a fantastic job of acting this one out. The young lady is a fine actress and brings a real light to Chloe Sullivan that I cannot help but enjoy week in and out. She had more to do this time around and handled it all and then some. Her acting when full-on possessed was fantastic in a frightening sort of way. The final scene with her and her mom brought tears to my eyes and she pulled that one off on almost face expression alone. That scene alone made this episode for me and, added to the previous scene with Clark being the one to convince her to go visit, makes it one of best sequences of the season so far.

I couldn't help but notice Clark was reduced to almost a supporting roll this week but that was ok. This story was focused on Chloe and I think that is an ok thing to do from time to time. I know a lot of Superman fans tune in to see Clark and get a bit miffed when time is spent on supporting characters like this but I think all characters on the show should be developed. Chloe is an important part of this Superman's history. More so than we could have ever expected her to be when the show started. So I for one would like to know more about the character. I was even ok with the fact Clark was really nothing more than a diversion in the final rescue. The spirit in Chloe really was the one to save the day.

I am also very glad to see Clark shouldering the responsibility of the farm and pushing Martha to take the Senate seat. I think this is very in character for Clark Kent. The farm was important to his dad as was the Senate seat. By making sure both are taken care of Clark can give tribute to his father and I am glad to see that happening here.

Anyway. A bit dark but the story worked. I am going to give it an A-. (or 4.5 meteor bracelets.)

Nextweek? Cyborg! I've got one word for that... BooYaa!

Douglas "Doright" Trumble



Tomb

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

MAIN POINTS:

  • Chloe takes a shower, lightning hits the room, she is possessed.
  • The possession is from a young girl's body in the Talon's Wall.
  • The murderer, an orderly, kidnaps Lois and Chloe.
  • The young girl who was murdered possesses the baddie and dissipates.

    REVIEW:

    **Please note, this episode contains no actual tombs.

    Tomb (n.)

    1) A grave or other place of burial.
    (Nope. Can't bury in a wall, and it was not a grave.)

    2) A vault or chamber for burial of the dead.
    (Definitely a chamber, but not for burial of the dead)

    3) A monument commemorating the dead.
    (Nope. Unless you're talking plot).

    Not really that big a deal. Just noticed it as I was starting up tonight.

    This was not a 1 episode. There were redeeming qualities. As usual, they occur at the beginning and at the end of the episode, when nothing about the episode in question is really happening, but rather, when character motion slugs forward to the five minutes of it we get an episode.

    I often wonder what the length of the actual character segments of this show would add up to. If someone were to cut them all together using Windows Media Player or something, it would probably give us a good three or four hours of work.

    Ironically, many of the character moments would directly contradict each other, particularly the Lana and Lex ones. As in, one week Lex would be evil, the next good. One week, Lana would hate Clark, the next love him.

    This is part of why their characters are confusing.

    It's kind of sad to watch a show knowing you're waiting for the last five minutes, and like as not, half the time they suck. Luckily, they're at least paying service to Pa Kent being gone. Unluckily, they're also making Martha out to be a moron who doesn't think it at all strange or even disconcerting that a murderer is seducing her and coming in her back door without knocking.

    But on with the show.

    We start out with a parental discretion warning. I've whined about this before. The last time they did this was when Lionel put a gun to his head and contemplated suicide because he was going to die in pain. Because, you know, that's not something someone might do or something a kid might have to one day confront on their own. Something that parents might WANT to have brought before their kids, given the high rate of suicide in teenagers. Y'know. Especially guys.

    And especially given that they warn for suicide, but not sticking dead maggoty rats in a young girl's mouth and then showing her trying to kiss a boy.

    In this episode, I can only guess that they did the warning for the same reason. Chloe ends up with slashed wrists that, of course, won't scar. Maybe that's what they're warning about. You might just drop dead of incredulity next time you see her wrists, especially when you have friends that have slashed their own wrists and tried to kill themselves.

    Or, as I realize now, maybe the warning is for dropping dead of incredulity when you realize that Chloe's character slicing her own wrists actually makes no sense whatsoever. It's dramatic at the time, but if you think about the episode...IT'S NEVER EXPLAINED. Why would the vengeful ghost want to embody Chloe just to slit her own wrists when her goal is to find the guy who killed her? There's also the cheesy, badly done slit wrist makeup not helping things out.

    It couldn't be arbitrary drama, could it? And arbitrary drama that makes suicide the butt of it's joke? Well, that's just grand.

    Here's a little story of why you shouldn't trivialize suicide, from a guy who knows:

    I took a girl to my prom, one of the only dances I went to as a kid, because she was GORGEOUS. Drop dead gorgeous. I don't know if she went with me out of pity or because she liked me. The reason I don't is because...well...

    We were eating, okay, and I was talking about a friend who was talking suicide. I was talking about how it was frustrating, having all of these friends who talk about suicide (it happens a lot in a high pressure school, I guess, or maybe just happens a lot with kids, I don't know, but it was really common back then). I told her how I never knew whether to go into panic mode and alert parents, a sure way to lose a friend, or to just let things fly, because it was a ploy for attention. Then I made the fatal mistake. I said:

    "You know, I just don't understand suicide. What's better, a sad life, or non-existence? I really think that people who commit suicide just don't understand how good life is."

    She then looks me in the eye and says, "My dad committed suicide."

    I cough up my expensive dinner I was paying for, we go to the dance, but needless to say...I went home alone. I might as well have told her it's down the lane, not across the street.

    The point of this story? Don't trivialize suicide.

    Har!

    Wait. Did I just...never mind. Point being, I just thought of that, realizing that Chloe's character slit her wrists for no reason, and there are young kids dealing with suicide who saw that and probably got inspiration, insult, or gut reaction for it. Either way, it's cheap.

    Start with a shower scene. You know, I saw this Chloe scene, and I was thinking about that big old string of shower scenes we had last season. You remember them? The most blatant was the one where Lana, in a pink/red backdrop, lather's up, luxuriates, reveals just enough body not to get one of those parental discretion warnings, and then BLAMMO! She's got a...ugh. Magical tattoo. I thought I'd repressed that.

    Now compare that to how Chloe's bath is treated. Even though she's lighting candles and trying to relax, the lighting is dull, flat, and very little of Chloe showering is actually shown. It takes place in the dark. Any of you shower in the dark?

    This has to be purposeful...given how much attention is paid to props, tone, and mise en scene continuity on this show (one of the things it gets VERY right), which leads me to wonder, why isn't Chloe treated like as much of a hot chick as Lana?

    Insert commentary that I don't want to get into about the smart chick over the pink froofy beautiful chick. Just of note.

    One could argue that they learned their lesson about how rampant and arbitrary titillation doesn't serve any real story purpose. Uh, yeah. That's it. Tell it to leather pants of Vengeance last week, and ring up the return, 'cause I ain't buying it.

    Lightning strikes in the room where Chloe is IMMERSED IN WATER, and nothing happens to her. Curious.

    They pan back from the curtain, and there's...A FACE in the curtain.

    From start to end, I knew this was another Emily Dinsmore type shows that tries to be scary but really isn't, not in any real way. But I gotta admit, that face in the curtain, which I almost missed, creeped me out.

    They use the opened and closed mirror trick. Sadly, it's become such a cliche that it's not startling or scary any more. That's part of why horror movies tend to fail to scare me any more unless it taps a real, primal fear, like Saw (the inescapable dilemma that will lead to your death or ruination, the core of good horror in my opinion). She opens the mirror, I say, "Ooh. Mr. Boogity is gonna be on the other side, going 'Boogity Boogity Boo!' when that closes." (Am I the only one who remembers that movie?)

    And sure enough, it closes, revealing the girl from The Ring, and I'm not scared, I'm laughing. BWA HA HA HA HA! Complete with the bad stop-motion animation, stolen right from the movie. I was going to ask Steve to put up picture comparisons, but then, when I Google pictured "ring girl" I didn't get what I was looking for, and almost got distracted all the way out of writing this.

    Go on. Try it. You know you want to.

    I half expected her to point and reveal Naomi Watts huddling in the corner figuring out how to sue somebody.

    Point to the creators that they would do well to take: Stop ripping people off. It only makes you look bad and your show suck. How hard is it to have an original idea and present it? Just ask Dr. House, who will promptly hit you with his cane and say, "Look, man, I'm derivative of every medical show ever, but at least I have character going for me. Have a niche!"

    This show's niche? Superman. Clark. We don't watch because we want to know the character of some random boob who walks into their lives that week (that's why they're disposable). We watch to see how Clark reacts to his father dying, his friends betraying him, the love of his life. When that's relegated to five minutes and underserved, so is the show and its fan base.

    Cut to a commercial, and hilarity ensues. There's a commercial for a shower thingie that makes your shower relaxing, apparently, called Sudacare. Good planning, WB! As you relax, await the ring girl.

    AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES!

    We meet Dr. Cydell (sp?), a very serious looking man who seems like he has the potential to either be the freak of the week or a series regular, given that they're sure to examine this "Chloe is nuts" thing over and over again.

    Who knew Chloe had a psychiatrist? But I guess she did. I immediately pegged him for the freak, which is one of the few times I've been wrong barring spoilers in a good long while. It was the turtleneck. Oooh. That just SCREAMS evil. Dudes with turtlenecks are always trying to steal your girlfriend or murder you or play John Denver. There's also the fact that he's a guy who's been around for a while apparently, but has yet to appear on the show (a sure sign of a freak).

    Instead, they ripped off Saw and made it the orderly. Only without the cool twist in the end where it's not the orderly at all.

    How can she afford a psychiatrist while paying for school on a crap merchant's pay with a crazy mother?

    Don't ask such questions. It's Un-American. Where's ignorant optimism when you need it?

    Clark appears, concerned for Chloe's welfare (or so we're meant to think, as he later contradicts this). He learns, to our incredulity (that could be a better title than Tomb, watching this one. INCREDULITY), that Chloe hasn't told her Psychiatrist that she has a mother that went insane.

    So...she's smart enough to get a psychiatrist to deal with whatever made or is making her schizoid because of ole mom, but she's not going to tell him that her mother went crazy because she's afraid of what people will think?

    Now, as I asserted in the letter column last review, I'm equal opportunity for stupid, and I don't just call Lana on this crap. Chloe, WTF?

    Strategy: Don't tell anyone about crazy mother, in the hopes that she won't go crazy. Wish in one hand...this show in the other. Actually, both aren't very realistic.

    Martha, in the house, gets a visit from a real ghoul, in one of the only truly scary moments of the show. Lionel comes into her house, without knocking, and starts hitting on her.

    I've said this before, I'll undoubtedly have to say it a number of times before they lose this sub-plot to return things to the status quo, but MARTHA WOULD NOT LET LIONEL DO THE THINGS HE IS DOING. MARTHA WOULD NOT EVEN TALK TO LIONEL.

    Lionel spurned her dead husband. Lionel threatened to expose Clark's adoption. Lionel MURDERED people, and as of last week, she knows he contract kills. Lionel has placed her in danger several times as his assistant. Lionel, in Clark's body, tried to SEDUCE her before attacking her. She knows this. Lionel attempted to murder his own son, and almost got Chloe.

    MARTHA KNOWS THIS.

    This creep, this hoodlum, this murderer, this magnificent b@st@rd walks into her back door in the middle of the night with no one there but her, and she says, "Oh, hey." And listens to what he has to say?

    If he came in bearing gifts of the like of Old Spice Red Zone, a Ford Fusion, and Accuview in boxes, she still wouldn't let him past the porch without hitting him with the broom and making for the shotgun.

    It's spitting on Jonathan Kent's character. And Martha's, for that matter.

    They're milking Jonathan Kent's death for MARTHA LIONEL CHEMISTRY, and it sucks. It's also, like the stones, a desperate rationale for keeping Lionel around when there's no reason to, just like the stones last season justified Lana's existence despite being utterly useless.

    So why not kill Lionel? Lex is in line to be who he will be. It would make Jonathan's death symmetrical.

    Nah, let's see how this Martha romance plays out.

    Oy! This was a good idea HOW?

    Chloe starts seeing things, and they have to sedate her, at the hospital. This is utterly hilarious, because just after, they pimp ACCUVIEW again. That's right, folks! If you want to see things like Chloe, try ACCUVIEW! That's ACCUVIEW! Did I say ACCUVIEW? That's right. I said ACCUVIEW. And if they give me a dime each time I say it, I will make it every other word in this review.

    Or wait. Maybe I won't, and maintain my integrity.

    Accuview to the rescue! When YOU want to see things! And slit your wrists trivially.

    Aaaaaaaaaaaand...No, wait. I just got a cease and desist. Moving along.

    Lex is looking for Milton Fine. Cool. That's promising. Probably the most promising thing about this episode so far. Why couldn't it have happened earlier? Five episodes ago, maybe?

    Lana walks in, looking for a favor from Lex. And, you know, what a d#ck, Lex gives it to her, immediately offering only the finest care for Chloe, who of late has been treating him like a letch and an exile as well.

    Next week? You can bet Lana will be bursting into the doors saying, "Lex, how DARE you?", but for now, he OWES her this.

    Right.

    Clark, finally with an honestly good reason to be mad at Lex, what with the drunk driving last time they encountered each other that resulted in a dead Lana, simply browbeats him a little and then does something stupid: turns down Lex's doctors.

    Here's the logic.

    "Hi, Clark. It's me, Lex. You say you have a sick friend here?"

    Clark gives a noncommittal grunt that borders on communication.

    "Well, how about I give her all of the best doctors in the world and do my best to heal her?"

    "No! Me heal!"

    "Uh, Clark?"

    "ME HEAL! ME HEAL!"

    Lex walks away, shaking his head.

    In other words, good, REAL, purposeful drama is sacrificed. Clark could have read Lex the riot act for drinking and driving (say Lana told him), and Lex could have tried to make up for it with the docs, which Clark would have logically accepted.

    Instead...CLARK TAKES HER OUT OF THE HOSPITAL INTO THE TALON.

    WHAT?

    WHAT?

    WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? (Embolism and......SCENE!)

    Lois walks in, finds Chloe in the bed and Clark standing there. She says the same thing I would have. "Are you out of your dumb mind? She's stark raving mad, and you took her out of the hospital to put her here so you can watch her?"

    "ME HEAL!"

    Yeah, right, ya Mennonite mook. And while you're at it, try and punch out God.

    Lois, of course, bright as she is (double D bright, some might say, in cynicism) never bothers to ask how Clark managed to carry a sedated patient out of the hospital and get her to the Talon. I do, though. Especially given that, even assuming he can move at superspeed, the police would then come after him later for abduction of the clinically insane, one would assume.

    This means Clark wins the "dumb as Clark" award this week. He's still doing that more often than everyone else, otherwise the award name would change.

    Chloe gets up, surprise, and starts having more visions. She sees the cheesy, horrible stop-motion Ring rip-off girl again, and points Clark to the wall.

    Clark sees the dead girl and does the only possible logical thing. He punches the wall apart with Lois just downstairs.

    This is like Onyx (I think it was) where Clark just rips open a whole wall and shuts down the electrical system before Lex runs in during the space of a few seconds, and Lex just doesn't question it at all. Lois walks up. "Oh, you ripped the whole wall apart while I was downstairs without a sledgehammer or working up a sweat. And look, a dead body! Well, I guess that makes it okay."

    Especially given that Clark didn't need to rip open the wall to know it was a corpse in there...he has X-RAY vision! There's a more strategic way to do this scene.

    Of course, the CORPSE has a kryptonite bracelet somehow. That falls into the category of an impossible anachronism, which I'll cover in a few seconds. But that said, even if it MADE sense...seriously. A corpse with a Kryptonite bracelet? They seriously expect us not to gag and retch at that?

    There's a lot of clay around here in the ground, in Washington. Dig three feet down, you have clay.

    Does everyone make pots?

    More appropriately, there's a lot of lava rocks from Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens. How many people do I know with Lava rock rings, or even Lava rock house decorations? ZERO.

    Apparently, Kryptonite is so miraculous that if you put it on a body before you kill the person, they can then possess other people from beyond the grave and make them avenge you. BUT, not for a long time. I mean, you literally have to wait five seasons of people walking around the Talon for you to make a move. See, it gives you unlimited spiritual power, but you don't begin using it just after you die. Nah, you wait a while. Just cause.

    Or, you know, in the real world, Kryptonite is what weakens Superman. Novel concept, that. But then...

    After exposing the dead body, the next great commercial faux pas happens. Dead body...cut to...

    REESE'S PIECES. Mmm mmm mmm. Who wants some Reese's Pieces?

    At least it wasn't a commercial for wristbands.

    Cue the summary!

    Somehow, in the midst of all the commotion, Chloe has escaped. How she sneaks past a guy with super-hearing is beyond me.

    They call the sheriff (the new sheriff we don't get to see yet, apparently) to come and check out the dead body. Conveniently, the sheriff has no problem with the fact that Clark has abducted an insane person from the hospital, and of course has no questions as to how Clark knows where the body was, making him a suspect.

    Chloe then goes from Smallville all the way to Metropolis, where she fetches a tazer and finds Lana, who's also gone from Metropolis to Smallville to Metropolis (and then later back to Smallville, to passive aggressively chide Clark). Lex has, of course, gone from Smallville to Metropolis at this point, as has Clark, who meets them all there.

    No wonder we need the Saudis.

    Chloe tazers Lex, who doesn't pass out (Curses. The KO Count weeps), then runs away.

    Clark, the man who can run at superspeed and probably knows Chloe's distinctive heartbeat by this time, doesn't chase her. Instead, he later finds a picture of a doctor at the funeral of a dead girl on a computer screen, instantly cross references it to an orderly's home address, and finds him that way.

    Makes more sense, don't you think?

    At the Talon, we confront the most frustrating scene of the show and, shortly thereafter, the anachronisms.

    Lois is in the apartment, likely worried about Chloe, and a guy walks in. He just walks in, looking around. To the apartment.

    You have to go THROUGH the coffee shop, which would be locked. Then up the stairs. Then enter the apartment. Lois sees a man who has obviously done this, walking in, saying little, acting strange, and she doesn't immediately scream and start kicking his teeth in?

    Last week a guy walked into my house unbidden and I nearly shot him. I didn't chat up what the neighborhood used to be like.

    But Lois does. Sigh.

    The man says that his dad used to run the Talon when it was a movie theater, and he hasn't been up there in ten years.

    So here's the anachronism. You can be of two minds. Excusing the bad writing, or not.

    If you don't excuse, like me, you assume that they're saying he was in the Talon ten years ago, as was the theater. This is not possible, given that the Talon was a flower shop 15 years ago (approximately) after the movie theatre closed, until Lana re-opened it five years ago (as I recall). Thusly, if he was there, that contradicts what we know.

    If you DO excuse the bad writing and try and rationalize it, you say, "Okay. Maybe he just walked up the stairs and took a look at the apartment for sentimentality."

    Still doesn't work. Because he still has to have interred the woman in the wall AFTER the meteor shower, meaning he MUST have had unfettered access (to munch up the wall) to the Talon apartment AFTER Clark landed and the meteor shower. Why?

    The bracelet. There was no kryptonite on Earth (nor could there possibly have been) before Krypton exploded, because Kryptonite is irradiated, exploded Krypton.

    BUT NEAL, WHAT ABOUT SEASON FOUR?

    We do not speak of such things. But even if we did, the only possible way that could have happened was someone having the word and the dictum to go and get K and put it in the statues after 1985. Logically.

    So he puts the Kryptonite in the bracelet, and inters the girl, at the EARLIEST, in 1985. That's when the Talon is a flower shop, and thus he has to have lived there ten years ago, in 1995. When the Talon was a flower joint.

    I'm sure I'll get corrected if I'm wrong, but that seemed way off to me.

    To say nothing of the fact that the bracelet was styled for the 1970s and yet had a kryptonite inlay from 1985. Go figure.

    But all of that aside, Lois just clams up and lets him act freaky before closing the door, not locking it, and then he gets back in silently and chloroforms her.

    OY!

    Chloe-as-Gretchen goes on the rampage, stun-gunning and then clocking the guy in his house. Hearing Lois, she doesn't finish killing the guy, she just goes upstairs, and then gets a one-punch KO. One hit KOs all around folks.

    My note at this point is apt: "How is this forwarding the characters?"

    Lois and Chloe are tied up as the guy threatens them, and he lets loose a shocker. Chloe's mom...is INSANE!

    Lois gasps, aghast! Because HOW in the world could one's COUSIN know that the cousin's mother is CRAZY? That's the kind of thing no one EVER finds out.

    I hear from my mother when my sister chooses the wrong color dress. Family crazies are not only celebrated, they're shouted from the mountaintops, as a warning and as a story.

    He continues, saying that his father used to make the bracelets, and attaches one to Chloe as some kind of death ritual. Whatever happened to the good ole days where a death ritual was dancing in pudding while wearing a bunny suit and a hockey mask?

    I miss the 80s.

    This is where Clark finds the guy instantly by looking at his picture in a news report and insta-hacking the hospital job list. Because if you attend a funeral, you must be the killer.

    Clark is also, though not employed at the Daily Planet, allowed to use Chloe's terminal at night alone when no one else is around. Makes sense to me!

    Lois, goaded to commit suicide, instead throws the knife at the bad guy, where it sticks comically into his chest a half inch. This wound, you'll note, KILLED Genevieve last year. Instantly. Instead, Lois, who is trained enough with knives well enough to throw one and have it hit the mark, somehow doesn't know that throwing into the bone of the rib cage won't do much good and avoids the tantalizing gut throw for reasons unknown.

    One might then argue, hey, that's why Chloe committed suicide. The girl was trying to communicate with her!

    Uh, yeah. I'm gonna get revenge and tell people how I was killed by slaughtering another young girl the way I was. That'll help!

    The guy pulls off the knife, Clark appears, and the bracelet weakens him. The guy one-hits Clark unconscious, then throws Lois onto the ground, where she's knocked out. ATSA lotta KOs!

    Chloe is all that remains, and she somehow manages to touch the guy with the bracelet he was just touching ten minutes ago, only this time it turns him into the spirit form of the girl and he disappears. No kidding.

    Lois and Clark wake up, and they just buy it.

    "Uh yeah! Lois, Clark. I was sitting here, and touched the guy with my bracelet, and he turned into a spirit and disappeared!"

    They don't turn her into psychiatrists after that. They just take her word for it. Even though she wasn't...in...her...body...at the time.

    So what happened was, they wake up, Chloe's tied up and doesn't know why, they're both assaulted, the guy is gone, and what do they assume?

    What the newspaper then prints, apparently, that he committed suicide.

    They assume this with no body.

    And the paper reports on it with no body.

    On the word of a psychiatric patient. With no memory of the guy disappearing.

    Yeah.

    Uh, yeah.

    Check please.

    My next note: "All I need now to make ME commit suicide? One Clana, please." Written in the idle moments between the commercial and the final scene, at 8:50.

    And lo and behold, my wish is granted.

    Lana, walking into the barn. Oh, boy! Will she say something passive aggressive? JOY! SHE DOES!

    First, she walks up with the dangling earrings again. Lord, how I MISSED those!

    Clark: "How's Chloe?"

    Lana: "Okay, considering she was possessed and almost chopped up by an orderly."

    I swear. How can they read these lines without breaking up? That's funnier than Rosen-farts.

    Note the following exchange:

    Clark: "Why didn't you tell me you went to Lex?"

    Does Lana answer?

    Does she apologize?

    Does she ever confront this question at all in the entire 8:50?

    Here's your multiple choice answer, cause I haven't cranked one out in a while:

    A) No.

    B) No.

    C) No.

    D) No, with dangly earrings.

    Time's up!

    Nope! She doesn't ever address the thing she's done, going behind Clark's back with Lex. Instead, she posits her own question!

    "Why didn't you tell me you broke Chloe out of the psyche ward?"

    To wit, a good question, but then, given that breaking her out of the psyche ward in retrospect (no matter how stupid it seems as it's happening) turned out fine and saved Chloe's life, it seems a bit childish to belabor the point.

    So here's the cadence. Clark asks a question. Lana ignores it, and asks her own question that belittles Clark and takes the focus off what she's done. It makes Clark feel like a d*#k for doing what he thought was right.

    Lana then postulates that their recent actions were a "couple failure". When Clark's actions saved two lives and Lana's actions drove a wedge into their relationship.

    She then says, quote, "I love you with all of my heart, but I don't know how to talk to you any more. I guess we all have our secrets."

    Of course, this intimates that Clark hid the fact that he took Chloe from her, something he didn't do. Or she's harping on the "secret" again. Either way, it's more wonderful SECRETS AND LIES, just what we needed, right?

    In point of fact, the only one who had a secret in this scene was Lana. And to prove how wonderful she is for having it, after she says that last line I just quoted, she turns and walks out without the conversation finished, ending communication, belittling Clark, and driving ANOTHER wedge into the relationship.

    Now THAT is what I call the epitome of all that is good in women.

    Don't you?

    It ends on a high note, the only high note. Clark goes to Ma, and remembers Pa, and encourages her to take the senate seat. Nice, albeit brief scene.

    Clark knows that his mom can take the seat, but last episode it was played up as a secret Ma hadn't told him yet. So much for that.

    I did, however, in talking with Steve, come up with another theory about Clark's culpability in the death of his dad, one that surprisingly, no letters came up with. Steve suggests that perhaps Clark thought, when Jor-El said that nature would still seek to find a balance, that he meant Lana would simply die again, ergo he thought his quest only to save Lana. Which, you know, he kind of flubbed, but if you look at it that way, at very least it means that he didn't intend to kill. Still something I say clearer writing or filming could have brought closer to the fray...

    Chloe and Clark look at the paper, which says "Serial killer commits suicide", without a body. The Daily Planet is run by a hack. You hear me, Leia? HACK!

    Chloe then says her mom left her at 12. Apparently, Lois still didn't know she was crazy even though she left that late.

    The Clark Chloe scene, where Clark encourages her to visit her mom before it's too late, is good. And well played. And it doesn't forget Jonathan, even though Jonathan is becoming more of a backburner issue even two episodes out from his death.

    Chloe sees her mom, which is awesome. But they don't show her face? Why? That's not dramatic, it's not arty, it's just frustrating. Show the woman! That just says to me that they don't expect to show her again and didn't want to pay anyone beyond an extra. Lame.

    I was trying to rate this earlier, and I had 2 in mind. And then I said to myself, maybe you need to re-evaluate. Adjust the scale. Because honestly, now what is average for Smallville has been rating a 2. This is because the average, compared to season one through three, is better than what we've been seeing. But, in terms of season four and five, this episode is an average show.

    I'm sticking with this show in reference to the full run, because honestly, I'm not going to lower my standards. If I have to 1 every episode, I will.

    That said, this show was even a little more crappy than average. Unlike last week's redeeming bit, this week's was minor and rushed. I'm gonna give this one a 1.5 of 5.

    And that's nice.

    Next week, we have the Cyborg. The preview made the Cyborg actor look wooden, and stopping a car just ain't what it was in season 3 any more.

    Still, it's hard to screw up "guest hero", so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

    It may truly need it.

    SUPER SHORT REVIEW:

    So many inconsistencies, there's just no way to wrap it up in one witty, pithy little paragraph. Warnings for slit wrists, but not rats. A shower scene without any titillation?

    Fie, the fickle mistress that is anachronism. Lo! The unlocked doors and the easy accessibility of Chloroform! Sweet monkey bippies, the dead who are chronicled without a body! I may haunt this show from beyond the grave.

    1.5 of 5.

    LETTERS:

    I'm in bold, because I hate women.

    James Bond wrote:
    yo dude, what happened? Did you get arrested? Did you have a kid? Wheres the review??

    Yes!

    Actually, I went on vacation...South Carolina. First major travel in 15 years. The trees there are short and of uniform length. They sell kitsch in former slave markets. I saw the house where they quartered the black regiment from Glory. I bought a pirate flag. For this, I make the review late. I gained five pounds in gramma cooking which I am now trying to run off.

    Ric wrote:
    Neal, What the hell happened to Smallville?

    Yes!

    Honestly, I think TV happened to it. Invariably, TV leads to suckitude. It's why I read much more than I watch TV.

    Dave K wrote:

    Hey Neal,

    I meant to write you last week, but I never got around to doing it. I wanted to write to you about the last two episodes. I'll Start with "Reckoning".

    Cool.

    Neal I gotta say I'm surprised you didn't see all of this coming. I did. I saw a preview with both Lex and Clark shouting "Lana!" and my thought when I saw that was "Lana's probably going to die, and somehow be brought back to life, and then someone else is going to die instead. There's no way in heck the creators would actually kill off Lana, they love her way too much. Almost as much as a lot of fan's at this point completely hate her. I pretty much sat on the couch and basically called every moment that happened in the show. "Oh this is the scene where Jonathan dies," so on and so forth.

    I think I had too much wishful thinking. As much as people think I hate this show, I really do want the best for it, and hold out hope that somehow, they're just going to turn everything around with one cool screaming set of episodes. The last two years have really hurt that, but I didn't see how they could POSSIBLY regress with a death.

    They did.

    Moving along, at the start of the episode, when Lana discovers Clark's secret, I actually thought that Clark asking Lana to marry him was completely crazy. Clark's secret is a much LONGER conversation then we were presented with. Completely missing in it is how Clark got to Earth in the first place. That he came in the meteor shower that killed her parents. Lana should have to take a lot of time to come to terms with what she learns here. Days, maybe weeks! Not the half a day that it apparently takes her, if that. And I think Clark asking her to marry him, is one bomb too many. But I actually don't have a problem with Clark taking that particular action, as much as I do everyone else thinking the action is SANE. His parents reactions to this, is way off the mark as you pointed out in your review.

    Personally, I forgive a lot of the haste if it's real, and if it gets the show back on track. A bad way to do this is like what they did to Jonathan. It felt arbitrary. Lana being told and putting that awful five year "He's lying to me!" plot behind, I don't care if they say it happened IN BETWEEN episodes, as long as it ends. Jonathan's death, however, is much more important.

    I've had problems with the way they've written Martha, as least as far as the whole Lana thing is concerned since season 3. Throughout season 3 Martha was basically pushing Clark towards Lana. "Stop being so concerned about Lex getting his brains fryed, just go find Lana!" I found that to be completely unrealistic. I don't think it's a normal thing for parents to be pushing there kids towards certain members of the opposite sex.

    And yet, parents are a vital and constant influence in that respect. Sometimes it's good, like when my parents instilled me with a healthy respect for sex as opposed to a cloistered fear, sometimes it's a pushy parent moving for babies and marriage before it's the appropriate time. It's a double edged sword. I think Martha is wrong in what she did. Is it in character? Likely.

    It would be more like "Stop thinking about Lana so much, start concentrating on your studies, and what you're going to do with your life," etc!

    Ah, so would I. But we're not typical mid-western housewives, though I've been known to wear a dress and dance while eating ice cream. I also almost drowned in grain once. Okay. I made all that up.

    In season 4, Clark is drugged with Red K, involuntarily. While on Red K, he gets married to Alicia. In the end of the episode Martha is berating Clark for his actions, even though she knows he was drugged, and that his actions were not entirely his fault. Then comes season 5, in the episode Hidden, Lana and Clark get caught trying to sneak her out of the house. But is Martha mad? Nope she isn't mad at all. Huh? Then comes this episode where Martha is saying that she's okay with Clark marrying her and even proud of her. Double huh????

    Yep. That's why I ripped it a new one. Lame.

    Me personally I would told her the secret, let that sink in, and if she even forgives me, which is not a given, then maybe, I would ask her to marry me. But that's just me. Having said all that I was enjoying the first part of the episode. I was happy as a clam that they were actually moving the show along, that they were ending the secrets and lies crap with Lana. Even though I was pretty darn certain that somehow, someway that it was all going to be erased.

    I had full faith it was real. That's part of why it was so crushing when it wasn't.

    My suspicions rose even further when Jonathan won the election. I was very surprised by that particular development, but I didn't think for a second that it would stand. Lana dies and we go to commercial. I turn to my girlfriend, and say "So hmmm....how do you suppose Lana's going to be brought back to life?" And sure enough that's exactly what happened. I was not happy to be right. I was enjoying the episode up to that point, but then I just became really angry.

    Me too.

    I did not understand Clark's reasoning that he couldn't tell Lana his secret. To me it didn't seem like telling her his secret had any impact on whether she was going to die or not. He still had to save her life. If he decided that she was just not trustworthy with the secret, then that makes sense. If that's the case then Lana and Clark should be over for good. If Clark can't trust Lana with his secret then they just shouldn't be together. Period. Clark should distance himself far, far away from her. But then again he should have done that along time ago, given the way she's treated him. And then of course Jonathan becomes a moron, decides to throw down, despite the fact that he has a heart condition, and then he dies. Yippie. My question to you is, why wasn't he going to die the first time anyway?

    I hate this answer, but it's the framework of the show: The balance of nature. Two lives gone in a day would mean someone would have to come back to life.

    Taking care of Clark, after his fiancé dies, would sort of take a place higher on the priorities list then some meeting with Lionel. But wouldn't that just happen at a later time, and wouldn't the result be the same?

    Depends on if you believe in Fatalism. I don't. I believe in infinite potentialities in flux. In one reality, I'm married to Annette O'Toole. Booya, other me! Slap me some!

    I really don't see how Jor-El could have caused any of this. The writers want us to think he did, but this to me seems way out of the influence that a dead man, in a wall, or fortress of Solitude should have.

    Yes. That's why it sucks.

    So In the end what happened in the heavily hyped 100th episode is that Clark and Lana broke up, Jonathan won the election and then died. That's it? This is the best that the powers that be could do?

    Yes. Sadly.

    In the last episode Vengeance I liked the opening scene, and the last scene. Both were extremely powerful. Well acted, and well written. The in between? Not so much. Maya, was way to similar to Batman. They didn't even try to make their history all that much different.

    It was practically the same...on purpose, I'm sure.

    I gotta beg the writers not to pair Lionel and Martha. That would be absolutely terrible for all the reasons you said in your review. I have never given up a show before, well kinda the X-files in it's last two seasons. I watched that only when I knew Mulder was involved. But I am really close to giving this show up. The final nail in the coffin which would tempt me in that direction is if they get Martha and Lionel together. This show has already been reduced for me to a Mystery Science Theater kind of thing. Which is not something I enjoy writing about a show that once held so much promise.

    I've been getting a lot of letters like this from VERY long-term viewers. That sucks too.

    Sorry for this letters length! Thanks for Reading.

    It wasn't bad at all. Thanks, man!

    Dave K

    Paul wrote:
    Hi Neal,

    I usually agree with your reviews, but in the "Vengeance" episode, it feels like you were really grasping at straws to dislike the episode.

    Make your case!

    So, just a little point by point. First, you complain about Maya kicking a guy 30 feet. Well, first, it is obvious she has powers, and second, normal people often get knocked that far without permanent damage in comics, and in sci-fi, so that seems to be a fair standard for a sci-fi show based on a comic.

    It's a standard, I don't know about fair. People regularly get shot six times and live. When it's not a purposeful joke, like in Sin City, I go "Huh?". Just because it's a standard doesn't mean it's cool. Kicking someone thirty feet and having them survive throws me out of a narrative...it's be grasping at straws if I took something that DOESN'T pull me out of the narrative and make a big deal out of it, just because I can as a writer. I don't.

    Next you talk about Lana being a poor college student. What ever gave you that impression? Has she ever even mentioned money troubles? By all accounts Lana should be comfortably wealthy. Her parents died when she was, what, 4? If they were responsible at all they would have had good life insurance. A Meteor shower has to qualify as an act of God, which is double payout, and then all of that money(most likely between 250,000 to 500,000, before you double it, as ten times your annual income is the widely recommended rate) would have been sitting in a bank garnering interest(compound interest, mind you), if not in high yield growth mutual funds. And nobody would most likely be able to touch that money until Lana turned 18. So I would imagine Lana is doing all right.

    The reason that I assume Lana to be poor is because she had to sell her business to go to Paris for a summer, which in reality only costs about 10,000 dollars if you live reasonably. I had a friend that did it for 3,000 in 1998. If you're that desperate for money, you have no substantive wealth. I also base it in the fact that she had to partner with Lex to even buy the shop, something any moron can do with a small business loan and slight capital. I also note that she's in a single parent household, which, historically, is much more impoverished than a two-parent household.

    Also, I've never heard insurance mentioned.

    That's two non-straws, my man. :)

    Back to Maya. She has powers. She can punch Clark through a desk. He may be dense, but he doesn't have his feet clinging to the ground or anything, so a strong blow(say, one that could knock a goon 30 feet) would be able to knock him in the air, and has on many an occasion.

    Not questioning that. Just questioning why her fist didn't shatter.

    As for Maya not noting that Clark has powers, do her future actions lead you to believe she didn't notice? Of course she noticed.

    At the time, it seemed she didn't. No incredulous expression or anything.

    Just as Clark noticed her powers, but didn't say anything. They could both tell, so no need to dwell on it. When a villian is interrupted by a superhero, or vice versa, does he turn around and say "Oh my God, you have Powers!?" Not usually. They usually take mental note and alter their actions in response. Not ask stupid questions like "Hey, how'd you do that?"

    Yeah, but usually both are in costume.

    Then Clark doesn't X-ray through her mask. Hm, perhaps this Clark has respect for privacy?

    Not when someone just punched him through a desk, I wouldn't think.

    So far the only actions she's taken is to save his Mom's life, and try to protect Chloe from, well, him. She hasn't even killed anyone yet either, as far as anyone knows. Superman would give her the benefit of the doubt and try to find out in an honest way.

    I disagree. After a blatant assault on an innocent, I believe Superman would pull the kid gloves off in an instant.

    Superman wouldn't look(unless this was The Question mini), and neither would Clark. I also think it is apparent here that Maya has super speed. She hasn't done anything wrong yet. So Clark hesitates and she leaves. Then once her vision is impaired by loss of mask, Clark can catch up. Makes sense to me.

    Super-speed wasn't really indicated that I saw. When Clark has superspeed, he moves to fast he's instantaneously gone. She actually had to leap away in all instances.

    0 for 3...

    Lionel and his assets. It wasn't long ago that Lex(in the comics) lost EVERYTHING, including the presidency, his company, and his money. It sure didn't take him very long to build the Society, to get back up in the world.

    I don't buy that either, so much. But then, Lex has numerous dummy fronts in the comics, and we've never seen Lionel have one, so Lex has a precedent in comics.

    As for Lionel, he only lost any assets that Lex KNEW about. In fiction, an evil billionairre and his money are never parted for long. Maybe he bought some Google stock when they opened and managed to sell just in time.

    He had cents left in his account, and he lived in the Mansion house for a few months. Why fake that for so long?

    As for the Lex knowing about Lionel's meeting with Pa Kent, that is possible, too, as that meeting was arranged on a cell phone. So Lex may have hacked in, or had someone hack in and spy on his father(or more likely, on his political opponent Jonathan). They may or may not say how he got the info in the future, but you just assume that they won't.

    Because they haven't, and likely won't. I say anything they don't indicate didn't happen, and if they don't say how he got it, I'm not going to make excuses for the writing and say, "Oh, he could have gotten cell records!" or "Maybe he was lurking in the loft!" That's not my job, as the viewer.

    And you let that affect your judgement of the episode as a whole. Now smallville has precadent, and that may be right, but it still isn't fair to judge things based on speculation of what won't happen in a later episode. For instance, last week you speculated that we would never hear anything of the senatorship again, and you were wrong.

    Yeah, but for that one thing, how many other speculations am I right about? And it'd be different if, when I make a claim like that, I deleted it or tried to hide it. I leave it up, so I can later be judged by it. That's why I'm comfortable with speculation. It encourages a dialogue. Heck! Look how much it made you write.

    I do, however, think it's more than fair to speculate what will or won't happen. Especially on precedent. That's half the fun of watching a TV show.

    On the 4 in 10 people/heart transplant thing: that's true, but how many out of every ten characters in comics or television survive risky surgery? Much less from a probable superpowered person(or at least a superpowered heart). I think Smallville has had enough cameos from Supers and meteor freaks that we can say it's not supposed to be grounded in the real world, like, say, Batman Begins.

    True. Doesn't mean I like it. Doesn't mean I SHOULD like it. Like punching a guy 30 feet. Just because it's done doesn't make it right or lovable. Every year, Will Smith will star in a crappy action movie. Should I just take that?

    On the cell phone thing, I'm with you totally. Cell phones were the worst thing ever to happen to television writers, I think. So much comedy and drama is based on misunderstanding, which wouldn't work if any of the parties had a cell phone, which in this day and age, they do. Take a look at any old Seinfeld. Half of the episodes would never work if this was in a time where everyone had cell phones. but the writers of today should know better, and in a lot of shows have not gotten over the cell phone stumbling block. But when Clark asks Chloe to check the last number the guy called, I don't think he was referring to the actual number. I think he was implying for her to take that number, and use her magic Chloe skills to find out what the number was, in this case, a Pizza place. Most phones only display the numbers, and not names unless you've programmed it in.

    That comes from my ignorance of cell phones. I hate even borrowing them in emergencies. They make my skin crawl.

    Now to the goon, where you complain about the super-strength thing again. Ok, situation: You're gooning it up, some guy you've never seen before comes and grabs you and lifts you with super strength and you can hardly breath. Do you A) remark "whoa, you've got super powers!", or B) do whatever the guy says.

    A and B, actually.

    If you picked B, you chose correctly.

    Cool!

    As for the meteor rock, you got me there, but let's just say that kryptonite could have variable radiation, or something, and this happened to be a stronger batch. Maybe from closer to the planet's core or something. I'm just saying, that's conceivable.

    That's again making excuses for bad, inconsistent writing. That's not me grasping at straws, that's me saying I won't take suck from them.

    For Clark letting Maya go? That's not what it looked like to me at all. She dropped Lionel to provide a diversion and super-speed up. Clark had to grab Lionel and then make sure he was ok, and by the time Clark could tell he was fine, she could be miles gone. She's not answering her phones, because she dumped them and never went home. She called in her resignation and fled. Clark wouldn't be able to find her, what with her having probably miles and miles of head start in any random direction. Clark did not let her go. She escaped. And later when he's checking with Chloe, it gives me the indication that they were both looking. Clark physically, and Chloe with he Chloe-powers.

    Bottom line, she murdered someone, and Clark didn't try to chase her down. That's what I see. Nothing can make me think that he couldn't abandon Lionel and chase after her.

    Now, back to Lionel, and another case of what would you do. 99% chance you already know Clark has powers. He uses those powers to save you. You are the evilest dude in Metropolis. Do you A) Insist "How did you do that? You've got some kind of powers! you need to tell me about that!", or do you B) Mess with him a little so he keeps his guard relatively down, since you most likely have plans for this guy anyway, and you are in complete control of the situation. I'll go with B.

    I would too, if they'd ever show Lionel getting ANY closer to what's going on. It's been five years now. I'm tired of waiting.

    As for Lionel and Martha, yeah, that's creepy. But as far as anyone can tell, Lionel hasn't done anything evil since finding God and being cured in season 4, and most of Martha's experience with him has been as a kindly blind gentleman.

    There's that whole murdering Chloe thing. Don't forget that. That's a biggie.

    and maybe Clark wouldn't take the account ofa two bit goone(who as you said would never be able to get that information) into consideration. though still, yeah, I'd hate to see Martha get close to Lionel, and I really doubt it will happen.

    Keep watching...

    Anyway, hope you enjoyed my super long E-mail as much as I enjoyed your super long review!

    Actually, I did. Thank you. :)

    Be Super,
    Paul

    Likewise.

    P.S. If you dislike Survivor, try watching the season four episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" 'Survivor', where Larry david makes a faux pas when he tries to arrange a meeting between two very different types of survivors! It may tickle your funny bone.

    I have to download that show...er, buy it at some point.

    Jackie Chan wrote:
    Do you think the writers of smallville have ever read any of your reviews?

    If they do, I apologize if I hurt their feelings. I doubt they do. Most writers I meet are loathe to read critical reviews of their work. Me? I love it. Keeps me on my toes and lets me fight a good fight every now and then.

    Because if they just read one of your reviews they would probably realize all the inconsistencies their making.

    Or, more likely, think me a hyper-obsessed nut. They're making money and I can't even find a publisher. I'm okay with that. I don't do this for them. I do it for you.

    I also believe that the reason this show doesnt have any continuity is because the network is struggling and they want to attract new viewers. So someone who has never seen the show could pretty know whats going on with the show.

    That's probably pretty close to what it is.

    It's to bad that the show isn't interesting. I find it amazing that a multi-billionaire like lex luthor can have so many random people walking through his mansion. I really wish the writers had some common sense. I think I know more about the show then its own creators and thats pretty sad.

    I agree. Thanks.

    Hoshi Reed wrote:
    I just HAVE to respond to that woman who seems to think hating Lana is misogynist. I'm female. I can't stand the characterization of Lana Lang as portrayed on Smallville. I'm pretty sure I'm not a misogynist.

    Denial!

    Doesn't she GET IT. NO WOMAN IS THAT PERFECT. It isn't about "if you hate the perfect woman then what about flawed woman" That is a pile of BULL. People are loved despite their flaws not for their perfection. Lana as a "perfect" woman is DANGEROUS in many ways.

    I think if I weren't flawed in many ways, I wouldn't be funny. And I KNOW I wouldn't be a writer. I'd be a doctor. Or a lawyer. But that's its own degree of flaw.

    MANY abusive people have used the excuse "Why can't you be more like..." and they use the fact that no one can ever achieve that perfection as an excuse. (I remember watching some special on child stars and Melissa Gilbert said something about having received a letter in the mail from a fan, when she was young, that wished she could be just like her character in Little House on the Praire because that is what her father wanted, and would beat her because she wasn't)

    I find it very disturbing reading that, knowing that as a kid when I didn't know any better I wanted to marry Laura because I so idolized her character from the Little House books, and thought Gilbert my future wife.

    That's where the flaw began!

    No ONE is that perfect. People are flawed by nature. To forget that is utter Mary Sue or living in a fantasy world.

    Or, shudder to say this at risk of being killed...the American female 50s delusion that has now been forsaken for the betterment of equality? 

    As far as, "this is fiction and not reality" It still affects the characterization of Superman. If Lana is always portrayed as perfect then Clark can never get over her and he will never be faced with the fact that, as the song say: "Sometimes God's greatest gift, are unanswered prayers". In the end Lois Lane, whomever she may be, will be second best and not the true love of Clark Kent's life and therefore his marriage to her in the future isn't the moral high ground of true love but one of regret of what could have been and "Can't have the one you love so love the one you're with" (Which is utterly wrong and degrading of the female in second place)

    And the man, note.

    Good letter. Thanks for defending me. It's too bad I hate women.

    Gina wrote:
    Hey, Neal. Great review, as usual. Even though I've given up the show since "Reckoning," your reviews are far too good to give up.

    Thankee. Kind words.

    My question to you is this: How far do you think they're going to take this Martha/Lionel thing? Call me kooky -- I probably am -- but even though I'm no longer watching, I can't endure the idea. I mean, the thought gives me the dry heaves. Perhaps this is an overreaction; I've been told so often enough. But honestly -- Superman's mother and a known killer? The widow of a loving, caring, wonderful man (and trust me, those are exceedingly hard to find) turning right around and falling for a man who treats women like dirt? And I'M overreacting??

    Honestly, I see it like the Lexana. They will NEVER go anywhere with it, but they'll hint at it to please people who want it and infuriate and get talking the people who loathe the idea.

    (Deep breaths)

    I can't understand why they would even hint at such a thing. I know Annette O'Toole and John Glover are always going on to interviewers about how much they enjoy working together. Good for them. I've had co-workers I enjoyed working with too. But if I ever thought that working with one of them would lessen the quality of the product we were trying to create, I'd ask my boss to team me up with someone else. The same general principle should hold true here. The fact is, the writers' (and I guess the actors') love of novelty, gimmicks, and trying new combinations whether they make sense or not, has wrecked the show beyond repair.

    In a lot of ways, yes.

    Forgive the vehemence: It's partly my Italian temper, and partly just the relief of reading and corresponding with someone who really gets it. If I read one more message board post from one more person who thinks the loving mother and the guy who tortured her son would make a hot pairing, I think I'll be calling Jor-El and telling him the universe needs a balance and he needs to take care of it pronto. (Why is it that in real life, we look down on women who hook up with men who abuse the women's children, but here it's supposed to be an intriguing idea?)

    Dunno. I still look down on women who hook up with men who abuse and men who abuse. Both have a myriad of flaws that deserve condemnation. The men obviously more so. Stance aside, I cannot fathom how it would seem to be entertainment. The only rationale I can come up with is that truly, the writers and even the audience look beyond context (murderer hooking up with housewife) and unconsciously see only subtext (two grieving parents, both of which are old and still attractive).

    It puzzles me, frankly.

    As for forgiving vehemence, if you even have to apologize for vehemence with me, then I'm a hypocrite.

    So anyway, I would appreciate your honest opinion on where they might be taking this thing, and if there's any hope at all of their not taking it too far.

    I think it won't go far. But they'll play at it until Lionel is dead.

    By the way, now that I'm busy looking for new shows to occupy my time and attention, I've been taking a look at "House," and you're right, it's good stuff. Maybe you should start reviewing that one too, just for the pleasure of talking about a show that actually works. :-)

    I would...but then, if there's nothing to pick at, the review would be all gushing. Also, there's the fact that I'm a noted expert when it comes to Superman, people even call me about it, but I'm rank amateur in diagnostic medicine, so I'd be lest efficient.

    All the best to you.

    And you. Awesome letter. Thanks!

    Gina

    SCOTTY V wrote:
    Hey there Neal,

    I'm just about to read your "Vengeance" review and I'll start off by saying I thought the show was pretty good. I'm anticipating that you might not have thought so but I could be wrong. My feeling is that yes, I would have rather they not killed off Jonathan last week and failing that, that this whole show wouldn't be wrapped so much in the bad things Clark's done to cause all these problems. Ultimately it just makes our Man of Steel not so much the great hero he's supposed to be but a guy who perhaps dons the tights out of guilt. You and I have discussed this before and at this point I think we have to just count "Smallville" as almost like an Elseworlds tale. Too bad, because I would have loved to have seen a believable scenario for how Clark Kent grew up. That being said, for where we are with this alternate take on the mythos, I think this particular show was pretty well done.

    He's a guilt-monger. It's more Spidey.

    I would certainly agree that covering the drunk driving would be a good thing to talk about and condemn on a family show or any show for that matter. In so far as Lana bursting in and having it be coherent? I can see that playing out slightly differently for your review. I figure you didn't think about what occurred right after Lana's almost accident last week because I'm thinking that if you had you would see how Lana coming in and being, well, Lana would NOT make coherent sense. Lex goes over to Lana and they embrace and he apologizes, if not with actual scripted words - that's at least the feel of the scene. Not to say that people might not bring something like that up in the future in a fight or argument, but in this case, Lana coming in and being all, well, Lana would be rehashing something like that much too quickly after Lex comforted her in her moment of need when once again, seemingly, Clark was not there.

    It still played false to me...

    I will also say I can see no reason, other than possibly teenage girls cooing and ooing and ahhing over Lex and Lana possibly getting romantic, that the writers on this show would do it. We're agreed it makes absolutley no sense whatsoever. It came out of no where, although my sister or someone has said to me recently that he has said to her for several years now how much he cares for her. I say that's different then beginning to feel the way Clark does around her. We can say that Clark's love is irrational young crush type love. The type of puppy love that you've had since 2nd grade that seems to have a refusal to leave you. We know that eventually Clark will get over it because he's destined to be with Lois. Although, I'm a little bothered by the way they're handling that aspect as well. At this point it's almost like hmmm, Clark is only going to choose Lois in the future because he can't have Lana. I hope it doesn't end that way. I mean. I really hope that Clark turns her down because he realizes she's not right for him in the end. Back to Lex. Rich, powerful, confident and even pretty good looking I've heard, would NOT NOT NOT have a need for Lana emotionally. I could see someone like this having sex with lots of women, possibly Lana included, but to be infatuated with her makes no sense.

    And people forget, these are all adults we're talking about now, acting 14. That's kind of sad. Lex of all knows better.

    I didn't remember Clark having a conversation with Zorro girl after she punched him through the desk. I haven't watched it again, but I was kind of thinking Z-Girl super-shoved Clark, rather than punched and that she then pursued his crumpled body and said something like: "You'd better stay out of my business" and then left. But if he does in fact, stand and have an actual conversation with her that IS a little weird. In terms of following her out the window, I know they done this same type of thing on this show before. There's no reason why Clark shouldn't have been able to follow anyone who gets away from him for a moment. In fact, I just read a comic the other day where barrage was robbing a bank and Supes came to stop him. In the meantime Dr. Psycho (or something like that) is controlling people's minds into jumping off buildings and bothering Superman. I thought, oh it looks like they're going to pull a Smallville here. Where Superman is so unable to help himself out of a crowd of un-powered individuals that he lets the villian escape. But no, on the next page, Supes is in front of Barrage. That's what SHOULD happen on Smallville. Sometimes it does too. Like near the middle when she throws Clark and then in the next scene he's up on the rooftop waiting for her. But I've also seen the opposite and we saw it again in this episode. A villain throws Clark or does something and leaves and then Clark goes to look for them and the streets are empty. It's stupid, but it's a staple. I remember that Chloe had just been strangled and slammed against a wall or something so what might have been more plausible would have been if the woman threw Clark and then ran out and Clark immediately went to Chloe who was perhaps still choking or unconscious or something, thereby explaining Clark's reason for not tailing the badguy. Could that have happened to any extent here? I can't remember.

    Pretty much. I tend not to buy that, though. It's arbitrary tension. If it's a distraction, make it a real one. Set the building on fire, don't make Clark moseying just to see if someone who's been knocked out 15 times is okay after number 16.

    Xray vision and the mask? Yes Clark should certainly use that power more often. I would even argue that if Superman were simply laying on the ground with a piece of Kryptonite near him, as he is later in this show, and he was desperately trying to stop someone from killing another person that he could still use his heat vision to melt the blade. In fact, we've already seen Clark break out of a truck where he was bound with Kryptonite to his chest like two seasons ago! However, in the checking to see who she was front, he may not have had the time or presence of mind since someone just threw him through a desk and left. You bring up another interesting point with the leaping though. Maybe when she went out the window, Clark didn't think that she would have any way to leap UP the building, so he looked out the window on the street after her and was confounded.

    Heh. Sounds like dumb Clark.

    I remember reading last season that they needed to cut down on budget. I wonder if that's why the effects have been a little lacking. The Fortress effects in "Reckoning" didn't bothered me as they did you, although I did see a little obviousness in the CG work after the leap, but in this episode, the girl jumping reminded me of scenes from Catwoman. Ugh! That looked like a piece of garbage and this did too. At first I thought well that wasn't too bad but it was.

    It was pretty scary to me.

    I still maintain that Lionel still had alot of hands in different places and that he must have had overseas and possibly even domestic secret accounts and businesses that weren't open to Lex's meddling. It would certainly be better if he would mention this at some point in the writing but it only makes sense. Why would such a careful, calculating man not hide most of what he's doing from his son, whom he doesn't entirely trust to do the right Luthor thing? In fact, I'd almost wager that the only thing Lex has been let in on is LuthorCorp, which is just the public company that Lionel uses for trading and publicity. He's got other stuff going on, you know he does. It's actually proven in this episode when they talk about the new company that he's acquiring.

    Yeah, but they need the A to B of where he got the money...I say.

    I thought the explaination for her powers was ok, considering they're once again mining the meteor freak well. Her heart transplant would be different because it was a superpowered transplant. And who's to say she'll live five years? She could be dead in a week. After all, from later in this scene we realize that the car accident just happened 6 months ago or something! When she mentioned her ballet recital, I thought the accident must have happend years ago, like when she was a small child, but wow, a TWENTY-SOMETHING who was being dropped off by her MOTHER at her BALLET RECITAL! Plus, sure right now she's gained powers from having this radioactive heart, but it will probably kill her anyway...cause it's radioactive. In the meantime though, it's possible that the heart's extra special powers IS keeping her alive. By that same token, it would be very likely that that type of heart would make her worse.

    Or even more likely they don't give thought to such details at all...

    At the gangsite, Clark and Zorro are only in earshot of the phone call because Clark has Super-hearing. Clark tunes into the conversation, which is a use of his powers that could actually be considered smart, seeing as how we've already complained that he didn't use his xray vision earlier. I didn't even think about Clark letting that other guy go. Was he really the guy who held a knife to Martha's throat? Is he the one who told the other fellow to kill her or is he just a guy that has been seen haning with them? Cause isn't the guy she kills later the one who attacked Martha? If it is him then you're right - Wow that's really stupid. Wait, did Clark know that he was the guy? I honestly can't remember what Z-girl said about him.

    The guy they tail is his accomplice. He's the one who threatened to "cut" her. The other guy murdered Vengeance's parents.

    When Clark asks Chloe about the number, I think he means can she check who the number belongs to or where the residence might be.

    Perhaps.

    I knew you would bring up the Accuvue. I've said this before. Product placement doesn't bother me as long as it makes sense. I've seen real billboards for products at football games of all types, so I don't even notice that they're there. Sometimes in fact, I might be more inclined to notice if they weren't there. So the Old Spice stuff has never bothered me. I find it realistic that a school might have billboards of sponsors on their field. The Ford Fusion was a little more obvious and took alot of time away from the story. In this case, witht he contacts, I thought it worked ok because a person would or could explain their sight situation that way and a person could quote the slogan. We know slogans, they're a part of life, and people tend to use them in everday conversation. Oops wait, I'm also on the phone while I'm typing this and I've been told they're not recieving me well...hang on while I ask him: "Can you hear me now?" I've done it, you've done it, we've all done it so it seems real to me. Now the issue of her being able to see without her mask does cause a problem. However, I must have missed that it was the mask and not actual contacts that she put in her eyes. I got the gist of the scene and just assumed she was explaining to Chloe that she must insert contacts when becoming Zorro. Is that not the case? Where they a part of her mask? If they were it really didn't look like they were. The mask appeared to have two open holes for the eyes.

    She said they were part of the mask, as I recall. That's what I based it on, anyway.

    I don't think the woman is ponitlessly homicidal. I think as you do that violence, and especially killing should be our last line of defense, but she only kills one person in this show - the guy who admits to killing her mother and almost killing her in the process. She then attempts to kill Lionel because she learns that Lionel was behind the hit. It's not pointless but it's also a lot less Batman and a lot more Punisher. The Punisher kills for revenge and then later for justice. Now I don't read seperate Batman comics and only know of him what I've seen in the pages of Superman but I can't remember any time where I've heard that Batman's killed anyone. If he had I'd think Supes would take more exception with him then he already does. Therefore we can say that Z-girl is more Punisher because the Punisher kills and Batman does not.

    Batman stopped a heart once, but it started again. That's it. No murder.

    I'm not sure if the guy doesn't notice that he's being held up by his throat. I think he may just be scared to death and trying to finagle his way out of the situation that he's found himself in. For example: You see a ghost in your house. It's more likely that you will pee in your pants immediately or at least feel the wind go out of you as you are startled beyond all reason than it is that you'll go: "Hey man you're a ghost, how is that possible!?"

    Heh. You're asking the wrong guy. When I read "pee your pants" I said to myself, "Nah, I'd say, 'Hey, what's your story?'" before your words mimicked my own thoughts...I'm one weird cat.

    As I said earlier on, Clark should have been able to do something about her killing the guy but I wouldn't say he's guilty of just laying there while she kills him. We know that on this show they're very inconsistant and there was certainly a better way to handle this situation from a writing standpoint, but I'm convinced that, bad writing aside, that Clark could not (and really wanted to) save that guy. It was done poorly but that's what they were trying to show us. They really need to think about things they've shown before more often but we all know they don't.

    Oh, I believe Clark wanted to. I just say it's inconsistent when he can't...when before he's done much more under K.

    When Lex mentioned that he'd tell Martha about Lionel's being in the barn with Jonathan on the same night he died, I thought it was odd for a number of reasons. First, I thought that it was actually really bad blackmail because it places Lionel in no danger. Martha could be angry at him, yes, or start asking questions, but Lionel's pretty crafty, I'm sure he could make something up. Besides, and I know they're looking to build a romantic link between Lionel and Martha, if Martha wants to be angry at Lionel, normally and for anyone else, Lionel or Lex would simply say "Oh well, let them be angry then." Secondly, there is no proof that Lionel did anything to Jon that would have cause a heart attack. In fact, Lionel DIDN'T do anything to Jonathan. Jonathan attacks Lionel. Sure, whatever Lionel was threatening this time probably brought stress to Jonathan's heart but nothing Lionel did in that barn CAUSED the attack directly. I'm not absolving Lionel, he's scum and deserving of whatever he gets, but in this case, he has no viable crime to be afraid of. Lex might have known that Lionel was there via a wiretap of some kind. Jonathan called him: "Come meet me in the barn and we'll have this out you scum!" Lionel: "Now now Senator, we wouldn't want the kiddies to hear you speak that way, I'll be right over." Solved. Although you're right, if they never mention it again or come back to it it doesn seem like bad writing or filler. Though maybe they want us to go: "How did he know that?" By the way, when the guy admitted that Lionel put him up to it my first words to the screen were: "You're still alive?"

    Agreed. And actually, I think that Lionel is so obsessed with Martha, he might be paranoid...and Lex was playing off that. I actually bought it. I think he could have crafted his way around it, but then, if he can buyout Luthorcorp without trying, why not simply put it off for a bit?

    I didn't realize Clark had the girl's home information but we could figure he did go check it out. Also that after he was done with Lionel he searched for her. Though she does move fast. After all, Bart outran Clark, perhaps right now she's a little quicker than Clark and can jump better as well. I've read comic book stories where Superman has sympathy for characters who've killed out of grief. I don't know that he's always made it a point to go after them.

    In the bad ones... :)

    I realize Supes would never condone killing but I wonder if, given his current situation with his own father and given that the girl was grief stricken he wasn't too hard on her. I've seen Supes be lenient with this sort of thing before.

    In the bad ones... :)

    He knows the guy she killed was a scumbag, he also knows the guy won't be missed by anyone. Not a reason to kill or to condone killing but what's done is done perhaps and maybe he figures the girl is suffering enough. Think of the Wonder Woman situation in recent comics. WW killed a guy who is not much different than our scum here. The biggest difference is that he had powers and was controlling Superman. WW saw no other way out of the situation and so she killed. Wow. There's a first time for everything. Anyways, I'm sure they're gonna get to it and maybe even expunge it in the Crises, who knows, but Clark didn't "take her in" or fight with her. They've been estranged, sure and he was shocked to tears, but WW is still workin' wit' da' League.

    I'm SURE, had the world not been falling apart around them, he would have taken her in. And beyond that, as we know, she turned herself in, so he didn't have to. Since she left the Hague, he hasn't seen her, so his actions are really restrained to the point of no fault...at least, so far.

    At the Martha and Lionel scene I first almost screamed. Then I was simply disappointed at the direction they seem to be going with this. I suppose we can assume,(and we all know what that does to you and me kids) that perhaps Jonathan left Martha out of the unlawful way in which Clark was adopted. That COULD possibly explain why Martha has alwawys been very sympathetic to Lex and a little in the dark about why Jonathan is so leary of them.

    Unsaid, unknown...for me.

    I also don't know if I remember a time when it was shown that Martha has SEEN Lionel attempt murder. If there was I'm just not remembering. The whole jail thing for killing his parents didn't last very long and the writing and storyline on that hav been very vague and weak but perhaps she actually believes the man has changed since the whole Transferrence thing. Still hard to swallow, just offering up the possibility.

    I can't buy it. And even so, she knew that he hired the Chloe hit...

    Nevertehless, I said the same exact thing during the scene and I said it to my wife. Even if what I said above were true of the Martha/Jonathan/Lionel relationship dynamics, she still HAS to know that he's a bad guy.

    Much more than Lex, anyway.

    So yeah, again to the writers: Try to remember what came before. Of course, Gertrude, after having the realization (with the help of her son) that her new husband (Claudius) has murdered King Hamlet(her original husband) in cold blood (so he could steal his own brother's wife and the crown of Denmark), still defends Claudius when Laertes comes to kill him for the death of Polonius(Leartes father.) So who knows what anyone's thinking?

    I don't like Shakespeare...too much structure and appropriation and hard language. If I'm gonna kick my butt reading hard language, I'm going Dostoevsky, baby.

    I thought the scene with Lana finding the watch was touching...it made me cry. Lana can hardly ever do that to me but it's really the first time in a long time that something Lana did was the right and loving thing to do for the man you supposidly love. Yet, with Neal flair, it still1 bothers you. I'm smiling as a write this. I know Lana annoys you.

    Annoy was three years ago. Now I want a hit on her.

    Heck, she annoys me too and she should annoy Clark and every one else on this show but alas she doesn't. However, in this particular moment, and earlier in the show she acted appropriately and did something very nice and unexpected. Since Martha told Lana about the watch initially, we can figure that Chloe or Martha told Lana that it was missing and that she was looking for it through the whole episode.

    Actually, agreed. I didn't think what she did was possible, but I thought it was cool. And said as much.

    Overall I enjoyed this episode. I thought there were some questionable things and yes, I think the bar for Smallville has unfortunately been lowered, but for what we expect from this show nowadays it was enjoyable. Anyways, we can always hope the new Superman toons and toys and books and comic line brought about by the marketing machine that is Superman Returns will help us in that regard.

    Word!

    Ta ta for now,

    Scotty V

    P.S. - Again you mention Batman at the end of your review. Sure he's a bit tougher and more violent, but as far as I know, he doesn't kill.

    Yeah, just mentioning the similarity.

    Daniel wrote:
    Who is this Lex? In one scene we see him act true to form and blackmail his own father to retain complete control of his company and then are we to believe that he is this good guy who cares a lot about Lana and only wants what is best for her? At the end of Lexmas we see him make a declaration about his own fate, but now, just 4 episodes later, we are to believe that he is still good and caring. I love Lex's character and how MR plays him, but I am starting to really be concerned about who Lex really is. It's almost as if he is two different characters completely depending on context. His motives and his direction is completely unclear. That is not who Lex should be by now.

    I very much agree. There was an arc, back in season one, two, and three. It's been lost for accessibility and status quo. If you had asked in 2000 what a clear direction for Lex is, they'd have one. Now, it'd be very ambiguous and unclear, like Bush talking about the war.

    Captin Armpit wrote:
    I regards to John Baker's email that you commented on in your last review. I think he is a little off. I was actually talking comic books with my brother the night of the Superbowl. The comic book he mentions was with Manchester Black, the psychic who managed to control Superman's thoughts by slowly attacking all the people close to Clark Kent. Eventually Superman's mind was so weak and stressed that he could. (correct me if that name is wrong)

    The name is right.

    Once Superman figured out how this all came about he got all of the people that know Clark to be in one place where he could keep an eye on them. He later realizes that Lois is gone and flies to the apartment to check for her, finding her dead and the feet of Black.

    A comic that, believe it or not, took me half a year to procure.

    Black tells him to kill him, and take vengeance for his wife. He even puts it all together in his head and makes him see how no one will judge him for it. Superman continually says no. Eventually Black realizes that he can't convince him to kill, and kills himself. Now, obviously this is the readers digest version of the story, but the point is there.

    Yes.

    There is no such thing as an adult(whether by age or intelligence)who can't see that there are responsibilities for his actions. Clark Kent at 18 would see this just as well as Superman would.

    A ten year old probably could. That's the audience the hero code was made for.

    Keep up the awesome reviews, cause you keeps it real like that.

    Thankee, Armpit.

    Captin Armpit

    Rachel wrote:
    Ha. Man, I made the letters. Nice. I bet everyone does, but still, it's cool. I'm thinking of maybe writing every week, praising you, so I become your favorite.

    As of last week, you WERE my favorite. Awesome letter. I have two places where I put my letters I get...letters from readers, and "letters from readers (best of)". The ones I look at when I'm down.

    You made the latter.

    I do publish them all, but some make better impressions than others.

    Right.

    Yes.

    Anyways, you're still hilarious, and I love how you totally rip Lana to shreds. Every time you do a "passive-aggressive Lana storms out" scene, I literally crack up. Out loud. And my roommates stare. It's great.

    Cool. :) I burst a blood vessel for each one...

    Okay. 'Til next week. Maybe sometime I'll have some actual commentary on the episode, but I doubt it, since you usually hit the nail right on the head. Or something.

    That's cool. Either way, feel free to write. I'm amazed I haven't gotten any letters with tertiary Smallville involvement by now, given the free license.

    Dan wrote:
    Neal,
    This is my first letter, and first I want to say 'thanks' for the reviews.

    You're more than welcome. Thanks for the letter.

    On my campus, the cable channel doesn't do WB (nor UPN, leading me to believe there won't be much chance on that cable network for my Smallville or Veronica Mars fixes when they merge.)

    Try bittorrent. Er, I mean, FILESHARING IS WRONG. I'm telling Sony!

    I'm not patient enough to wait for the DVD, so to keep up for those times someone brings us a VHS, I read the reviews to fill in the middle episodes. I'm glad you put the time into them you do - it's certainly 'edutainment' for the casual Smallville fan.

    Coolsville, man.

    I read your P.S. in the 101st episode's review and swung by the KO Count, and while I was skimming it, I think I spotted what you were hinting at: Zeus flipping an SUV. Let me say, as a classics-minor C-student and therefore expert on the subject: Zeus doesn't flip anything, he co-flips it.

    BOOYAH! Good answer. And you are correct! It's right there, clear as purple crayon, under Greek Myths:

    512, Zeus once flipped an SUV while running from grey-eyed Athena. In Reckoning, so does Lana!

    I wrote that after being up all night, and it sounded funny, so I asked Steve to put it in as an experiment. My plan is, for the finale, to muss up the KO Count by adding a new entry for each of the episodes, and having people ferret them out. The person who finds the most would get a prize of some kind...

    Waddaya say? Crazy?

    That aside, I also wanted to throw out something I thought of reading the whammies. Lana's listed in the double-whammies now while Ian Randall claims the sole triple-whammy. Lana had another time-traveling mishap with death, I thought, when in 'Crisis' she got the wrong end of a shotgun. Counting the time-travels and her vampire initiation, she might be worthy of sharing Johnathan Taylor Thomas' throne at the triple-whammy. Plus, she's still alive afterwards, meaning she may one day climb to the Quadruple-Whammy! Sky's the limit.

    That's TRUE! Sold! You got it. She's a triple whammy. But then, seeing her die in bed is also a whammy, come to think of it, so she's the first QUADRUPLE whammy.

    I'd also throw Cyrus from 'Visitor' in 'Kryptonian wannabes,' simply because, well, his faking heat vision was quite the trick.

    Agreed, and done.

    Anyway, keep up the good work, and watch out for Grey-Eyed Athena!
    Dan

    Word!

    SCOTTY V wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    This is directed at Lanafan315.

    What? In my column? How dare you? We shall continue, but only in the interest of science. Kidding.

    Wow kid, what are you thinking? I get teh impression that you really like Lana. That, of course, is fine and is your opinion. But that you would go into this long dialogue about how great she is and how horrible Chloe is is crazy. Neal's a Misogynist because he doesn't like Lana? I'm not into Lana's portrayal on this show either. Yes, I'll concede she's very pretty. Kristin does a fine job looking good and saying the lines she's given. But the character of Lana is an inconsistant, whiney, biotchy little snot who complains about secrets and lies, secrets and lies while all the live long day she tells lies and has secrets!! The true character of Lana in the Superman comics is just fine, but the way she's written on this show is simply horrible. The writers TELL us Lana is perfect and loved by everyone just because they make it so, not because of anything Lana actually does to earn it.

    (whistles and twiddles thumbs with a dumb smile)

    I personally like Chloe better and would choose Chloe in a heartbeat because she is someone that I could see myself getting along with. She's pretty, yes. But not so pretty that she thinks she's entitled. Chloe is also intelligent, spunky, witty, friendly and helpful. Chloe DOES try to get teh story or the scoop, that's true, but very often it's due to her desire to help the community, be it Smallville or Metropolis. Chloe is also a very true, very good and very loving friend. She wants to be with Clark even though she knows he doesn't choose her. She's content to be on the sidelines or be a third or fourth wheel and yet chooses to be a confidant and mentor in many ways. Chloe is willing to listen to Clark and in fact, when Clark's advice seeking will hurt her the most, Chloe sucks it up and still tries to help him. Sure, like anyone, Chloe has made mistakes and done questionable things in the name of a broken heart in the past, but she's over that now and often she's apologized. Don't know that I've ever seen Lana do that.

    (nods with approval)

    Of course, when Lana ALMOST apologizes, like a few episodes ago, it mainly serves to show her in that unnatural perfect light again so that some audience members can again say: "Gee, Lana's perfect." It's artificial and unearned. Lana has really done nothing to earn the "perfect woman" score that the writers seem to want her to have and yet don't justify. Chloe is a flawed, imperfect person, as we all are, who strives to do right, help her friends and the community and is pretty darn cute to boot!

    (Todd gives a long-distance five)

    You have challenged and I have answered the call. I would easily and in a Flash (Copyright DC comics - a Time-Warner/AOL company) choose Chloe over Lana and I have.

    Woman hater!

    Scotty V

    Aaron Thall wrote:

    Greetings, Neal, from your fellow caption contest judge (plug plug)!

    Tomorrow! Tomorrow! Stop the beatings! ;)

    I thought I should point out a few things you may have missed with last week's episode.

    Coolsville.

    First of all, Lana's a criminal.

    Agreed. Now what did she do?

    Think about it. She bought Jon's watch from a pawn shop, KNOWING IT WAS STOLEN. That means that not only did she purchace/recieve stolen goods, but she did not report them to the police like a good citizen. Arguing that the watch may not have been reported stolen doesn't work, as I'll explain in a bit. But as far as not reporting that the pawn shop was guilty of recieving stolen goods? If she had reported it, she wouldn't have the watch because it would be evidence.

    That sounds like an indictable offense for the KO Count to me.

    Second, where was the media coverage? If you forget that Martha would be huge news as a real witness to the existence of the Angel of Vengeance, she would STILL be big news as Martha Kent, wife of deceased inbound Senator Kent. If nothing else, there would certainly be a Paparazzi following her, looking for a new angle on her story. So where were the photographers? How could she, without any effort, ditch the media altogether and go to a dark alley alone?

    Watching Lana, because face it...she's amazing!

    Now, here's where it gets interesting: Even if there were no paparazzi, Martha's mugging would still eventually become big news. Why? The offer she was given about becoming Senator. Word would easily leak out sooner rather than later, her injuries would become a point of speculation, and the mugging story would get out, including the watch. Which would make it's theft reported. Which brings us back to Lana not reporting the discovery of evidence and buying stolen property.

    Give her the electric chair!

    Now, as far as Lana finding the watch without Clark telling her about it, that wasn't necessarily a mistake. Between Martha, Chloe, things that could have happened between scenes, and the fact that Smallville itself isn't that large a town, word of Martha's mugging would reach her quickly. Now, the odds of her FINDING the watch without at least several hours of phone calls are slim, but hearing about it? Not really a mistake if you think about it.

    True enough.

    If nothing else, all this makes the slippery slope of Smallville's 101st episode a lot harder to stand on.

    The fighting 101st!

    Your co-conspirator,

    Aaron (CyberV) Thall

    Thanks, man.

    Michael Herrick wrote:
    Apart from the lousy story, insipid character and wire work that would embarrass Mary Martin, my main complaint with "Vengeance" is that it is disrespectful of the Superman story. Can I take a moment to explain and complain?

    Yes!

    My main beef with today's popular entertainment is that it's obsessed with cause and effect, usually psychoanalytical cause and effect. I don't always enjoy the back story on an interesting character and I don't always want to know how he got that way. Sometimes I prefer him to be completely irreducible -- Lex Luthor tries to destroy Superman because he's Lex Luthor. That's just who he is. I don't necessarily want to see an explanation of the cause, whether it's hair-loss in a science experiment or some bizarre Oedipal power struggle.

    I am of two minds. When it's an action film, be as irreducible as possible. When it's a literary story, make it extrapolated and add character dimension. When it's Superman, it can go both ways well, but only one or the other. The problem with Smallville is it tries to do both. And fails.

    So as you can see, Smallville is already walking a line for me and it's easy for them to slip up and annoy me. But I can easily forgive the cause-and-effect obsession when it's really well done. Put Rosenbaum and Glover together in a good story and I'm just going to love it and artistic principles can go hang.

    Agreed.

    Well, there's nothing like a good Smallville, and "Vengeance" was nothing like a good Smallville. The writers delivered a cause-and-effect story that's downright disrespectful of Superman's character, history and creators.

    Go on...

    We're so used to the idea now that we forget how cool the "secret identity" idea really is. It's a fantastic concept and it drives some of the best Superman stories and a good deal of Smallville. Clark was awfully clever to come up with that idea. In fact, he's brilliant and, what's more, he's the first. He's the one who dreamed up the whole idea of a secret identity, he's the one who had the gall to pull it off with a pair of glasses, he's the one who invented the mild-mannered act, and he's the one who realized that working at a newspaper would be a great cover and a big boost to his real vocation.

    Yes.

    Clark is the man who invented these ideas. Clark didn't just invent Superman, he invented The Superhero. Everyone else comes after, takes up Clark's original idea and puts his own spin on it. But no one really goes beyond that first, brilliant idea that Clark had when he tried on the glasses the first time.

    Yep.

    So for Smallville to come along and tell us that actually Clark stole all these ideas -- every one of them! -- from a freak of the week Miss Universe -- well, I am now, finally, speechless with dismay.

    It's a lot like...BIRTHRIGHT!

    By the way, I mentioned it in an email but didn't see it on your page. Maybe I missed it, but I'll repeat... In Fanatic, Lex mispronounced Thucydides. He said thoo-sih-DIE-deez. Moron. The real pronunciation can be heard here. Since the quote is almost certainly fake, they should have attributed it to Plato. Anyone can pronounce that. You can file this in the "Somebody smack me" section of the KO Count.

    No kidding. Pretty sad. Oh! That's another one I forgot. When I want heavy ready, after Dos, I'll go with Greek Myths. Love 'em! Part of the reason I enjoyed Rucka's Wonder Woman, I imagine. And, well, my second book.

    That's all for this week, all! Take care! One more week, then 6 more weeks of winter and no Smallville. Gah!

    Neal



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