Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 5 - Episode 17: "Void"Reviews:
VoidReviewed by: Neal Bailey
That wasn't so bad, actually. Usually, a Lana-centric episode will make me kick my puppy, and my puppy doesn't deserve that. But all in all, not so bad.
There were some critical failures, and there were a lot of bad, bad things (there always are, now), but there were some actual, really cool character moments here, and there was also advancement on a sub-plot I enjoy.
An episode like this, which goes halfway to excellence, serves to antagonize, because you realize that every episode COULD have stuff like this, they instead just take it down a notch into kitsch and stolen ideas and kryptonite. Key moments of the Lex mythology, Clark realizing his destiny, and, well, Lana making people almost die so that she can get a drug fix (without context). Put against each other, you see what could be, and that hurts.
It used to be that a benchmark episode would step it up and show us what Smallville is maybe every four, five episodes. Now, like last year, we've had a few really great shows, but nothing to write home about. It's a downward spiral, with the odd truth that this season beats the heck out of last season. You wonder, they came back this far, with the show in jeopardy, why not try and come a little farther instead of relying on, say, a crappy Joel Schumacher movie plot that requires you firstly to believe in an afterlife and secondly believe that people can repeatedly and safely be killed and brought back.
That said, I have two and a half pages of notes, which either means I was really lazy last night (nope!), or this episode didn't have too much that stuck in my craw. I got the feeling, going through, that none of the scenes had too great of an inconsistency (beyond the obvious, continuing problems I'll mention not specific to this episode), that everything was just going through the motions. Every scene beyond the hallucinations/deaths were plot related, not character related, and a good story, a story you're enthralled with, makes the plot driven by the natural tendencies of the characters. Lana isn't a junkie, and has never been played as one, so it's hard or just ambivalent to buy anything that springs from it.
A counter-example, and what I think would make a good story, is the whole Star Wars trilogy. If Luke had come to fight his father by any but the most serendipitous of reasons, the father revelation would be lessened, or mean nothing. As it is, it's powerful, because however improbable, one kid just followed his heart (his character) to his own father, only to find out that he's a twisted, corrupted version of himself, a version he may yet become.
They sacrificed plausibility in Star Wars for something epic (I mean, both were named Skywalker), to a degree. Here they sacrificed plausibility so they could repeat a plot that's been done three times and show just how wicked Clark was for breaking up with Lana. Look! She turned into a junkie! And how could that EVER be her own fault?
The episode also has a failing in that it's, as I said, something that's been DONE and DONE and DONE. Take each character, show them X hallucination or effect (in an attempt to show character), and let the fans "ooh" and "aah".
First Hourglass, where we see what will happen to all of the characters later in life. Then in Fear, where we see what all of their worst fears are, one by one, before ripping off Terminator 3 blatantly. Also with that kid who sees what will happen in people's future, the "new next door neighbor" we never saw again. And now, this episode.
Oh, and for those of you watching... yes, they did cut two minutes out of this episode again. Not only is the quality diminishing, so is the size of the show. Is the extra money giving them better effects and writing? I certainly hope so, because otherwise, it's taking from the show to line the greedy pockets of people taking money off our icon.
The show starts off with something that made me groan. Lana, reaching into a box, pulls out a big handful of cash. The last of her gas money, I guess. Given that she's been attending a major university for a year with no noted job, you gotta wonder where the heck this is coming from. Especially with all of that gas spent, but more on that later. Two thousand bucks, "The rest of her savings," she notes.
And what does she take this money out for? Well, apparently since she broke up with Clark, she's become a junkie (rake your hand across the slide guitar to make that sound they make before commercials) FOR DEATH! Bad enough that it's a ripoff of a movie, but it's a ripoff of a movie by the single worst enemy of comic book film on the face of the planet, Joel Schumacher. You ever seen Flatliners? It was a big film at the time. Is appropriation okay? Yes. Is straight ripping off a plot a good idea? No.
Like the time when Pete became an instant car junkie in what is, easily, one of the single worst episodes of the series. Where Clark essentially kills a guy and gets away with it. Remember? If you don't, consider yourself lucky.
It's the quintessential "What happens when a character becomes a DRUGGIE and goes OUT OF CHARACTER." It's used in most every crappy series as a way of showing the moralistic error of drug use in all cases, and how one should never, ever, in a million years ever take any such risks, because you're instantly addicted, financially ruined, you no longer wear make-up (SIN NUMBER ONE!) and you try and murder your friends, like the public service video Hunter Thompson sees in the middle of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
In other words, like the one that goes on and on about how evil Lex is about having sex, it's a way of showing how truly puritanical Lana is by making her act the fool before T straightens her out.
Chloe finding Fine worked for me. More insta-computing with the face enlargement, but that was really the first second in this show that I cracked my knuckles and said, "Okay, this might be something. Is it anything, Paul? Will it float? May we look at your pictures?"
Lana shows up, and she's brought along her junkie friends. One concept I never got from this episode is how the heck dying and coming back to life suddenly turned you into a junkie. I mean, it's not like crack, where your brain craves more and you HAVE to find a fix, biologically speaking. It's more like, say, pork rinds. As some of you know, I like pork rinds. I would go without makeup, spend my savings, and probably kill Clark for pork rinds.
No, wait. I have pork rinds when I can afford them and when they're easy to find because they give me pleasure. But let me tell you, I don't wake up with the cold sweats at night thinking PORK RINDS!
When something is pleasant, but not biologically addictive, it takes literally YEARS to become psychologically addicted to the point Lana is in this story. Like, say, sexual addictions or LSD or pot. And even with those, most people, if it's adversely harming their life, can drop it unless they're critically self-important and indulgent.
Okay. That's Lana. But still, it takes years.
Lana, coming in junkied out (a premise already hard to believe, but which everything in this episode stems from), tells Chloe not to worry about anything, she's okay.
"Chloe, it's not like someone died!" she says.
Now, first off, that's coming through the writer, so it shows me several things. First, woeful ignorance to continuity, second, a poor choice of dialogue given how angry Jonathan's death has made a lot of fans, and thirdly, on a subconscious level, it's dismissing Jonathan's character death and contribution to the mythos. Just in general all bad. Strictly through the character lens, it also shows Lana to be an unmitigated, insensitive dumb@$$, but that's already pretty well established in continuity. I wonder if Jonathan would say that had she died?
She's also screwing up my whammy count. How many times has she died now? Oy. At least three this season, that I know of.
The focus of this episode is how CLARK breaking up with her (for her own good) hurts Lana. Clark and his pain are completely ignored. If Clark had become a junkie because he broke up with Lana, every character would lecture him. You'll note that the only lecture Lana gets in this whole thing (as ever when she is out of character) is in the beginning, from Chloe, telling her of the dangers of drugs (without the statistic about one in five people regretting killing themselves and coming back from the dead, thankfully). Clark forgives her instantly. Lex forgives her instantly.
Whenever CLARK does something out of character because of being manipulated (barring last week, admittedly, the first in a long while where this doesn't happen) Lana meets up with him at the end to scowl, tell him he's a jerk, and walk out without saying goodbye.
Or even Chloe, two seasons back.
Lana is not a very forgiving character in that regard. One might argue that it's because the writers are showing that her character is different from Clark, less forgiving, but it's obvious, from "Face it, Lana, you're amazing!" to the way that everyone in town treats Lana, she's portrayed as without flaw, whereas Clark is a jerk to a lot of people.
I argue that's because Lana is female, and hot, and Clark is male, and thus "culpable". With a pretty face, a lot is forgiven. Like in this episode, they slip the noose of showing Lana's flaw of character in becoming a junkie, a weakness, and make her drug use sympathetic. She's not trying to get high, she's seeing her MOMMY! And DADDY! Who wouldn't identify with that? The critical flaw being, this is EARTH, and there are no drugs without selfish motive. It's just a p!$$ poor way of making Lana a junkie without making her a junkie. It's not for a kick! It's for family!
Clark has a pretty face, yes, but that's not what drives regard of males in this society. It's how well they do what they're told. How well they drive stakes and "do their duty", even if it means sacrificing their lives.
I find it a deeper sexist premise that exists in the whole of television. Maybe it reflects real life, and maybe it influences real life. Either way, it disgusts me that a woman can pretty much rape someone (last week with Clark) and there is no discussion, but if Lex tries to even kiss Lana, "How dare you!" and a PHYSICAL BEATING.
Which is to say, after all that, in brief, it sucks that in this episode we focus on how the breakup hurts Lana and never Clark, and further, it stinks that when Lana does something rotten, there are no consequences beyond pointing to what Clark did trying to be thoughtful (breaking up with Lana) and showing how horrible it is, which completely ignores the things Lana did.
He sacrifices, and she "puts up" with him. And that's not the way male and female relationships should be.
Clark super-speeding to Honduras was AWESOME. I was really, really impressed with that effect. It's been a while since we've seen a really awe-inspiring effect like that. Top to bottom, it was incredible.
Honduras still looks like a Vancouver forest with palm trees all around, and the people are really, really archetypical, but it's still a neat sub-plot. From searching for the ship, and the way he finds it, I buy it, it's well written, it's a fun anticipation. I wish they'd get to the point without having to wait, because I don't like sitting through filler when the story is right there waiting for us, but such as it is, if you strung all these subplots together, it would make a decent movie at the end of the year. And about ten hours of crap.
Martha holds a press conference where she offers a tax hike to pay for schools. This is a bit strange, given that only a local senator would do something like that, and she was supposed to be a national senator, right? Here, in Washington at least, tax hikes for property in order to raise education costs are proposed by the people and voted on by the people. I'm sure in Kansas it might be different, but let me know if you do.
Point being, it's showing her to be adopting a traditionally democratic position, which, like making Clark sexual, places the Superman mythos on a side. Even though it's my position, I don't find that okay. It could have been a press conference, easily, about something that's non-partisan. Like, say, condemning the recent terrorist attack on a nuclear silo before going to a Homeland Defense referendum.
Bad writing choice, even though it was played to make Martha look good, supporting the kids. Point being, like the reporter said (even though I disagree), it might just short-shrift the kids while increasing taxes.
Furthermore, Martha is just pleased as punch that Lionel is there, lurking in the scene. The media, which rabidly covered the fact that Lionel murdered his parents and (I'm guessing) when he tried to kill Chloe, doesn't make anything about that?
Buddy-buddy with Martha, he slips in, offers her information taken god-knows-how from senators and political folk, and she takes it gleefully.
Let me just say, while the Clana is a disgusting example of fetishistic indulgence, this is spitting in the face of Clark's parents and making him out to be raised by a moron mom. She worked for him, he lied to her about his eyes. He killed Chloe (she got better). He tried to kill his own son. He tried to kill HER own son, multiple times. Clark has seen that he orders kills (Vengeance). This is not reaching. There is no reason Martha would allow Lionel anywhere near her. Every time I see them on screen together, I want to shut the TV off, and if I weren't reviewing this, I would.
Lionel asks Martha on a date, and she ACCEPTS?
There is the notable caveat that she says, specifically "The two of us will never be anything more than friends." This is good. It's a step toward fixing this abortion. But that said, why the heck is this situation even possible to begin with? It's utterly retarded.
Lana then needs five grand for another dose. So she robs Lex. She knows that he will just give her the money, sight unseen, but she robs him. Without BIOLOGICAL need for the drug, note. Because if there were a biological need, both Lex and Clark would be junkies by the end of the episode. And Lana instantly rehabs, if you note. When she wants to stop, she just does. Make-up back on. Innocent attitude back.
This means she CHOSE to do this thing for the selfish goal of seeing her parents whose time had passed. It's also criminal. Will Lex prosecute her? Well, the Lex I know would, given the way Lana has constantly burst in and accused him of things that he hasn't done for four or five years now. But this is wussified Lex. They're already opening Lana's purse as we speak to place his manhood straight inside next episode.
Lex has no security at all, apparently, if a girl with no history of breaking and entering can just sneak in undetected. What, they have no motion detectors, even? Lex's security situation is just bloody ridiculous.
The hidden gun was cool, though. Lex needs more of those.
Here's another poor dialogue choice, this time from Lex. "No one understands the pain of lost parents more than I do..." (When he's standing in front of LANA LANG, the gal who lost both of her parents and is patently obsessed about it to the point of junkie-dom).
More inconsistency, as it came to me: Lana already died. Earlier in the season, in the crap-fest that was the Buffy vampire episode, she died. Did she see her parents then? No? And hey, Clark died. He died for a while. Did he see Jor-El, or whatever is waiting for him in the great beyond? Pete? Principal Kwan? Whitney? Adam?
The ship is gone in Honduras, which is a neat twist. I half-expected a mini-showdown in Honduras, but I'll take the fact that Fine is hard to catch. It would also seem that next episode will offer some sub-plot centric stuff, so we'll see.
Chloe, this episode, is just one big character exercise in protecting Clark and Lana. She gets no credit or thanks for it, and her role in this series has become that of more of a protector of all than even Clark. And she can do it without powers. Why is her character relegated to the background, largely?
Lana steals Lex's car, and brings it to the lab, where, because the gal has died, the nameless freak of the week is packing up. Lana demands a fix, and offers him a Porsche. I'm not sure what kind of addict's mind they're trying to portray with Lana, because even a dumb criminal knows that you can't just hand someone a stolen car as currency. Lana, having stolen a car before, Lex's then, too, (remember) might know this, but hey.
At any rate, Lex arrives to claim his pimp-mobile, and freak takes umbrage. They start to fight, and Lex gets his butt handed to him. Now, bear in mind, when Lana fails to use her girl-power Lana-fu, it's an egregious breech of the empowering continuity. But when the dude that trained her to whip-kick gets his butt handed to him by a pansy-boy scientist, that's doubly bad. It just doesn't have a feminism sub-commentary, so I don't mention it as much.
Anyway, Lex is getting the crap kicked out of him, and if you watch, Lana, in her SANE mind, lets Lex get the crap kicked out of him. She takes the drug and leaves. Seriously. Lex would have died, had Chloe not shown up as improbable Deus Ex Machina. Lana would have killed Lex (I stress again) for a fix from that drug, with no biological addiction whatsoever.
There's also the way that the goon tries to kill Lex. This scientist, who has his eyes on the Nobel Prize, who is apparently ingenious enough to make a Kryptonite serum that kills you and brings you back to life with another substance (And after all, no one can kill you and bring you back to life, so that's an insta-Nobel Prize. Except most doctors. And nurses. And most medical professionals. And EMTs. And a well-trained kid with CPR courses under her belt). Anyhow, the implication is that he's a genius... i.e. really smart. So why, then, does this really smart guy decide the only way to kill Lex is to hit him with the syringe, and then leave him and just hope everything goes to plan? Why not take the case and bash his shiny dome in, if you're going to be that obvious about murder? I mean, it's not like suddenly using the serum will make no one know who killed Lex. It's your lab, buddy, right before YOU disappeared. Any idiot would be thinking at least that far ahead. A genius might even have a backup plan. Heck, I would, and I'm a solid dope.
Then, behold! A redeeming feature for the episode! A well-written, chilling scene with Lex and his mother that is TOTALLY out of place in this otherwise halfway episode. Doesn't make it any less cool. She tells him about his future, reminds us of continuity and the great episode where Lex decided to abandon the path of good, and indicates that bad choices are not without consequences, showing him the future lost hand. Also, to humor, I think I saw Lex go "The @$#%?" when looking at his hand. Watch it again, let me know if I'm nuts. But either way, looking at his mother turning against Lex was heart-wrenching, neat, and it got me into the game again.
Lana's student ID can somehow get her into the cadaver room? Uh, okay. There's a count of trespassing. Then a nice B and E to the case to get to the drugs, too. Wanton property damage.
Lana fails to use her Lana-Fu as geek boy slams her around into the cart. Clark arrives, and despite being right next to a kryptonite syringe that seconds later cripples him, throws the man 30-40 feet through two racks. Which the scientist just gets up from instantly. Clark is then weakened by the Kryptonite to the point of being a weak little baby, and is injected with liquid Kryptonite yet again.
Does it kill him?
Naaaaah. Or yeah, depending on how you look at it. But later, as Chloe says, Clark's dying apparently neutralized all of the Kryptonite. Sure. Whatever. I gave up suspending belief about ten sentences ago. How about saying the antidote neutralized Kryptonite, as it was lead-based? Might make just as much sense. Then you even have a reason why the serum killed people. Lead poisoning.
Lana SEES Clark throw the guy 30-40 feet. No later questions, of course. She's fully conscious, if a bit strung out.
Also, note, just like with Lex, when the man comes up to Clark, OVERPOWERS HIM, and starts to STAB him, just like with Lex a few minutes ago, Lana STANDS IDLY BY AND DOES NOTHING.
Does Clark later say, "Uh, hey, why didn't you try and save me?"
No. After all, Lana is not responsible when she acts out of character or badly. Only Clark. And Lex, now that he's a potential Lana love interest.
This goes further to the feminism argument, because the only reason she wouldn't possibly try and save him is that she felt too meek, powerless, and able to do so. Or she's a cruel bich who wants Clark dead. I think the former makes more sense. And given that the show has (GIRL-POWER!) gone to great lengths to show how capable, independent, and strong Lana is, I think it's folly to have her stand idly by, meek and subservient, just because some man steps up with a potential threat. Especially when she can whip-kick.
I don't have to state the obvious, but I will. Kryptonite, as it has been shown, makes Kryptonian blood BOIL. Clark is dead. The serum would kill him. This is ludicrous.
The scientific genius, realizing that Clark is down for the count, decides that the only possible way to take him out is to grinder-saw him to death. Why? Who bloody knows? It's ridiculous. It's because they wanted to do the grinder-saw death, obviously. It's just, God, that's so horrible and obtuse.
Lana hits him with a glass beaker, and apparently, that knocks him out instantly. Even though his eyes stay open as he falls, and he seems fully conscious of where he is going. He lands, eyes-open, on the saw, and though conscious, doesn't try and lift off it, just lets it grind him to death.
Tack onto this the fact that Lana stands there and watches instead of trying to help the guy (I mean, he's a villain, but he's still a human) just makes this scene all the better.
The Jonathan scene was well done, at least toward the end. What gets me about the whole scene is that it confirmed exactly what made me hate the episode where Jonathan died. A lot of people wrote me and got mad at me (or civilly discussed the situation), saying that Clark, deciding to save Lana, didn't know that it was going to cause another death. Here, through dialogue, Clark openly admits he knows he was making the choice to kill someone else other than Lana. That makes him, to me at least, morally reprehensible. He made a selfish choice that cost an innocent their life. If Lana was to die, Lana was to die. He killed his own father.
Jonathan forgives him, which is good, in character, and sad. But that doesn't change Clark's fault, even if it's okay with Jon-boy.
The quote is "You died because of me."
Jonathan's symbol speech, peace, freedom, hope, it's very poignant. Well acted. Good to see. They haven't forgotten Jonathan (beyond dialogue) yet, despite last episode's lack of a mention. They need to keep him close to the show. We'll see if they do. This episode was reassuring in that respect.
Then, the critical foolishness. Jonathan tells Clark, specifically, from beyond the grave, that Lionel is a dire threat, knows his secret, and needs to be kept away from Martha.
Clark then comes back to life, sees Martha and Jonathan getting ready to go on a date, and his response is?
"Yeah, mom! Go ahead! Have a grand old time!"
This is a hero?
In more miraculous Lionel logic, Chloe is now taking Lionel as a source, particularly in the Fine arena. It has been pointed out to me, and fairly, that to do good, Chloe would accept Lionel's help. True.
But where's the bridging scene? The scene where Chloe says to Lionel, "How can I trust you at all? You tried to kill me! You tried to kill my dad! You thought you did, and I didn't see any tears!", to which Lionel replies, "You have to trust me. Shut it, kid. I'm evil."
It's not even a difficult bridge. The alternative is to have anger, confusion, and plot holes.
Lex, at the piano again (despite saying he never learned to play previously, recall), takes Lana as a visitor despite the fact that she just let him essentially die for drugs, stole his Porsche, and did horrible things to him.
She's insta-back to normal, with make-up, no haggard look, or anything.
Their dramatic confrontation? (Where one is finally merited.)
"Sorry, Lex. There's no card for 'Sorry I got you killed'."
Lex, smirk: "You weren't yourself. Tee hee!"
I added the tee hee.
Lana and Lex talk about moving on from the past, getting ready to make-out without reason next episode. Cut to, that's right, a CLANA.
Not bad enough that the relationship is completely implausible by now, out of character, beyond repair, ridiculous, but at least we had the promise, not one episode ago, that it was finally OVER.
Then why the hell are we still sitting through Clanas? Why do we have Clark being made to feel bad again and again at the end of the episode? LANA was the villain this episode!
Clark is understanding of Lana's actions where, positions reversed, Lana would be ticked beyond belief.
At very least, for once, this ends with Clark walking out without saying anything, in the middle of a conversation. The key difference being here, it seems like the conversation is over, not that Clark's just mad with what Lana is saying and thus leaves.
Is this the end? Will next week bring another Clana? No doubt.
But all of this badness mentioned above aside, we have a lot of stuff I don't draw attention to, simply because it was average, not notable, and what we would expect from a good show. Chloe plays a great character. Martha is a believable senator (despite us not knowing said senator properties). Lionel is a meanie. Clark and Lex both experience cathartic character moments that are out of place in this episode but still memorable. And Lana finally gets taken down a peg. Will that last? No. But is it fun to see her finally portrayed as a weak failure for once, humanizing her a bit? Yes. I was actually not that annoyed with Lana as I usually am. It was more her writing that got me than her character's motivations and actions.
All in all, not a bad piece of filler, given the power of the visions. Like Fear, a lot of the badness is made up with the few epic moments that shouldn't have been in such a bad episode. I was leaning for 2, but all in all, this episode is pretty average for the show overall. Two years ago, it would have been a 2. In a broader scale, it's probably a 3. It's hard to kind of infer like that, given that I refuse to lower my standards as the show does, but then, it was pretty much average.
Next week? Holy crap, what did he just jump? Kal-El? Lex and Lana kissing? Polar bears and a gay sidekick?
The preview, at least, looks like the episode should be consummate.
SUPER SHORT REVIEW:
Lana is a junkie, but she doesn't act like a junkie, and there's little way that she could actually become a junkie that fast. Plus, her drug is fun, not a high, she's not held accountable for her actions, and that sucks. For feminism, and for character. Clark and Lex have a good character moment, and the sub-plot works. But there are a ton of inconsistencies, and Lionel is STILL getting away with trying to move in on Martha.
3 of 5.
Let me first reference the fact that Smallville is in danger. Not palpable, but still danger. Superboy, the entity, has been returned to the original creators, meaning that Superboy, and thus Smallville, since 2004 owe royalties and/or are under the creative control of people who have not had that creative control.
This means, depending on the speed of the courts, there may be new management in town, or a great sum of money will have to be paid out. Which means production values drop, change, and/or end.
I don't want this. I hope they just let the show keep going. But watch the Superman Homepage for updates. We're watching it like a hawk.
I have nothing but sympathy for the fact that DC treated the creators of Superman like nobodies. And, in fact, enough was not done to rectify that. But they're dead now, and it's just the descendants looking for money, in my opinion. And I respect that, but threatening my show and an established character just for money isn't to my preference. If my name was Siegel or Shuster, I would want money, no doubt. I would also want the character to endure, and I think attacking it financially doesn't help that.
A good article on it, with extensive quotes from the Homepage's own Barry Freiman can be found at the E! Online website.
It's hard to take a side on this issue, and I may be wrong. All I know is that this is my gut reaction after realizing that the show I love might be threatened over something as stupid as money. I have railed against that in the past (what with sponsor issues hurting the quality of the show, and the loss of two minutes potentially just to line pockets) and I will continue to in the future.
I also, on a gut level, fail to see the difference between the character of Clark Kent/Superman and Clark Kent/Superboy. I think that for creating the character, Siegel deserves a nice, hefty royalty from DC for everything Superboy they've ever sold. That's fair. I don't think the family deserves creative control of Smallville, which is quite obviously a different character from Siegel's envisioning.
And finally, before the letters commence, two YTMNDs that I've forgotten over the last few episodes! Hilarious! All three deserve an "adults-only" warning, so you're warned:
Honestly, I forget who sent me those (my apologies). Send me a nasty letter and next week I will give appropriate credit.
Onward! I'm in bold.
recibir videos de smallville
Perdón, yo no hablo español. Pero pienso que usted quiere que mí digale donde obtener Smallville videos. Leagally, yo no puedo hacer eso. Ellos me lincharían en el Departamento de la Seguridad de la Patria. Así que utilizaré al traductor libre y diré que condono de ninguna manera o admiro a usuarios de Bittorent, pero ellos obtienen los episodios libres de Smallville. ¿Que ayuda? Neal
Daniel McIntosh wrote:
Hey Neal! Great Review of Hypnotic! I couldn't agree more. You certainly hit it out of the park with this one. Maybe you should stop watching the show if you don't like it! :-) ha ha ha!
Yar. That, or, I could keep watching hoping it gets better. Thanks, though!
At least that was what someone wrote to me on a message board when I pointed out how sucky face the writing is and that Smallville has been reduced to Dawson's creek with Superpowers. That episode was so aimed at 16-22 year olds who are now just discovering the opposite sex.
That's what everyone on the message boards write. They don't realize that if it's bad for us to knock something because they don't like it, it's just as bad for them to knock something (critics) because they don't like it. Give them their own advice. If they don't like watching us, they should stop.
What a pathetic episode to have as a tribute to Dana Reeve.
I agree, actually. It's good that they did something, but maybe it would be better to do another Christopher Reeve foundation ad? Maybe have every cast member give a donation, then mention it at the end? There are a ton of things they could have done.
"Well, gee, great. Ten minutes of liquid sex, five seconds for Dana Reeve. She gets the Christopher Reeve treatment. And by all means, honor her memory by subjecting her dedication to the worst writing, the most implausible plots, and the most rampant ratings centered soft-core you possibly can."
COULDN'T AGREE MORE
All of a sudden we can have multiple brainiacs? Why don't the multiple Brainiacs gang up on Kal-el and kick some but? Last time I checked 4 or 5 onto 1 were better odds for kicking someone's but!
I think when Jeph Loeb left the writing really went down hill from there. If this is the standard we can come to expect, I really hope next season will be the last. I and others I am sure, including yourself have standards that were set by the first three seasons of the show. The way the writers are going at the moment, those standards look like they could be reached as indicated by the couple of good episodes we have had this season, but those standards are certainly looking safe from being exceeded anytime soon.
Personally, I don't care how bad the show gets, I'd rather have it than not have it. And bear in mind, too, Jeph Loeb was still around for a lot of season four. He's not blameless. Though Lord knows, given his tragedy, I have nothing but sympathy for the man. Other writers that were involved? Not so much.
Now all we have to look forward to is Stalkerman for the rest of the season when Clark gets jealous about all the time Lana is spending with Lex.
I can't wait!
And that's probably about what it will be.
Keep up the good work!
Stephen G wrote:
Howdo Neal. Sorry you didn't enjoy the first Smallville after the long break, maybe they'll get better for you. I have just a few things in response to your thoughts this week.
Lana drives a Jeep Liberty. The Jeep website says it gets 17 mpg city, and 23 mpg highway. Metropolis is supposed to be a 3hr drive, so roughly 170-180 miles. By my calculations, that's 8 gallons of gas each way @ $2.50 a gallon, a price she can surely get in Metropolis, coming to a grand total round trip Met-Smallville, of $40.90. Hey, 10 bucks is 10 bucks. I think the 3 hrs are more important to the story than a couple dollars.
Assuming she doesn't speed...but yeah, that's ten bucks. So I take her spending down from 275 bucks last episode to...what was it? Let's say 200 to be nice. Still a nice hunk of cash.
"For the rest of the episode, she doesn't ask if he has other powers." Umm, yeah she did, remember when he bent the aluminum bat and made the S, for Simone. In fact, she says she wants to know everything he is capable of, but that is the only thing he shows her, strength. They got a little sidetracked.
That's true. I meant after that when I said that. Like, if someone just ran in front of me at super-speed, then bent a bat into pieces, I wouldn't stop there, I'd immediately say, "What else can you do?"
"You get to thinking she'd find out what he can do and use him as a personal slave, right? But then, you'd think anyone who is willing to use a device that can control someone to evil ends would go in a lot of different directions. Like, say, procuring money. Or taking over the world. Or at very least making Lex Luthor forget certain damning evidence that he supposedly has. But that would require some degree of plausibility and not just interesting posturing, which is what this show is all about. I mean, if you can control minds, why would you be a two-bit lackey of a guy who you could have killed in an instant? A guy who later you DO try to kill?"
Simone does order Clark to kill Lex, but she may not want to get more involved by trying to get money on top of that. She already showed she didn't want to tell Lex about Clark, bad people have their own morals too. If Lex found her and had her doing something for him without money being involved, imagine if she stole from him, he'd make her life even worse. Perhaps she felt she could get Clark to do the killing, and she could get out of town without notice.
Yeah, but like I said, there are SO many easier ways to go about it. People use the simplest path to their desires, particularly when evil, and if she had that amulet, who knows how many things she'd know to do...
"Clark also, it is of note, has to have stolen to get the items he brought to her. Given that he was in a mindless state, he likely would have left fingerprints. Selah. Fodder for the knockout count, at least." Why? He may not have technically paid for them the correct way, but he could have done the old tv trick of leave the money on the counter without the cashier seeing who paid. So you can't just outright say he stole.
That's true. I'll concede that.
"And then, the most painful part of the episode. Clark sits down with his mother and says the following about breaking up with Lana: "Saying those words is the hardest thing I've ever had to do."
Okay. Listen here. Listen here, Clark. YOU JUST BURIED AND KILLED YOUR DAD, YOU #@%$. You killed him for THIS WOMAN. This woman who you never want to see again on the off chance you would hurt her, when three weeks ago, you wanted to be with her forever so much that you KILLED YOUR DAD."
I think you know where I stand on the whole "Clark killed his dad" issue, they are all culpable.
But guess what, I've used the line that's the hardest thing I've ever had to do, after losing my father, and you know what, that is obviously the hardest thing I've ever been through in my life, but I've said it, afterwards. I've also said that's the saddest/toughest/most difficult thing I've done/been through, or any variation on that, but it obviously isn't. It's just something that comes out, even though it may not be entirely accurate.
You totally glossed over in that conversation that Clark knew that Lana wasn't the girl he was meant to spend his life with. The writers brought that back around to Lois at least.
True, but I did note that if it WAS true, it's my dream come true. If not, well, that's the hardest thing I'll ever have to see. ;)
Enjoy your work as always. Holler at you soon. Take it easy.
Good points as ever, Stephen. THIS, folks, is a cool way to be critical. Stephen and I are good friends, we disagree about the show often and well, and he helps me realize stuff I don't see. Now, go four letters down and see the BAD way to be critical. Heh. Not the next one, it rules.
I was reading your review on Hypnotic and I agree with everything you said, I'm writing because I just to say my theories on some things. 1st on being the ship and Fine. I think that there was in fact a second ship. After Lex found fine he asked Fine what he was doing in Honduras, Fine said that there was a report that a ship had crashed there and he was there to investigate. Well he may have only told part of the truth it might be that a ship had crashed there and he transferred his consciousness to the other ship. He also mention that this "Powerful alien race" was visiting earth for years planning an invasion(setting up a reason to be suspicious of Superman later), which could mean a ship was left behind; cause the Kryptonians seems to have a track record of just leaving their crap behind.
Sounds plausible to me.
I know this is kind of a stretch but it also kind of makes sense. Why he using biological weapons I think is because his first plan to free Zod failed he needs to come up with a plan B. Plan B may be to make Clark's loved ones sick and dying to distract Clark from discovering him trying to free Zod again. Clark thinks that Fine is dead and not coming back so Fine has the element of surprise on his side so he can pretty much come up with any plan he want to unleash on the season Finale. Those are my theories for what they are worth.
And I like them. Very probable, and cool.
Shafi S wrote:
When I watched this episode I didn't expect this much flesh in one episode yesh. Come to think of it was other episodes like this.
I don't mind flesh. I just like a good reason.
The other reason I'm ticked off on how writers can't write on how The WB network is complaining that they can't get any new or older viewers to watch their network. Hmm why is that???? Because their shows are aiming for teenagers. Fine what network doesn't but please can't they have a limit? Even Smallville got onto this.
I don't even think it's because they're aiming for teenagers. I think it's because most of their shows flatly suck. They're all forced melodramas. It even filters into Smallville. Gilmore Girls? Friends reruns? One Tree Hill? Supernatural? I'd rather have someone with fingernails filed to points gouge out my eyeballs and then do something sexual to the remains than watch a drama about the horrors of being a single mother and the romances that ensue.
There merging with UPN which is almost the same with youngsters only watching. Trying to viewers who watch ABC,CBS,even (sigh*) NBC. But once I read your latest review Neal on hypnotic it just came to me is that these writers don't write for older viewers or the comic geeks such as us. Just for the youngsters who going to high school just watching for the boyfriend -girlfriend story. It just makes me sick. (Sorry I thought that was funny, I'll understand if its not :) )
It's the same on other networks, too. CBS writes news for old farts who don't understand the internet. Fox, much as I despise it, writes for a bulk majority audience in an internet-friendly, female-centric emotional, fear based story way. That sells. It's not what should, people should want news that's news, but they just don't. Much as I can't sell a novel because people don't want something that challenges them, they want a pseudo generalization of a male or female character running from the mob or fighting against an impenetrable obstacle that they finally beat in Deus Ex Machina.
Jeez now the Aquaman show is coming soon and I might not watch it because I'm not the fishman fan. But how can they trust writers who I'm thinking are only aiming a one generation than other generations.
It's also that they're aiming for a very specific audience, in self-important teenagers or people who like forced dramas. Or people who have yet to live long enough to see that all of this crap is derivative.
Sorry Neal for that long overhaul of emotions.
Never apologize for honesty.
But speaking of shows you should watch. If you want to feel better about Superman. Also rather than Clana and now the amazing Lexana storyline you should see good Superman shows in the meantime to get see the real SUpes in action. Like for instances If your a old tv show guy you can watch George Reeves version.
I like certain old TV. George Reeves is one of the things I like. I've seen a number of the old episodes, but I JUST got the season one DVD. I'll get through it as I have time, but I'm eager. It's fun.
But if your a cartoon guy which sadly I am. How about the 90s version (well the old version are ok) Superman made by the same people who made the famous Batman the animated series. Even though it was short it got the job done on how Superman is in this world to make a difference. Sorry Neal if I'm forceing you to do so. No please try think of it as another side and another writer's point of view on our greatest Superhero. Thanks Neal for reading.
Actually, I bought the season one animated show a while ago, and watched them all through a long while back. I've always liked the WB animation from the last decade and a half...but good recommendations!
Will Sabel Courtney wrote:
Try and check some of these out when you get the chance, Neal.
Not family friendly, folks! But you might get a laugh:
Thanks, Will! Hilarious!
Mike Wilson wrote:
Neal, please, for the love of God give it up, leave the reviews behind.
Okay. I will. But only if you give your email address to this column so that all the people who will then not cease asking for it until I pick it up again can all write you and tell you why imposing what you want on other people's creativity is a bad idea.
On second though, nah, I'll just keep writing my reviews. And you can stop reading them. Or not, as I'm guessing.
I'm a guy so lazy i don't ever get off my fat behind long enough to mail anyone
Or capitalize your own personal pronoun...
but I was so moved to outrage by your latest Smallville "review" (read: talk about myself, how hard life is, get angry and bi%ch)
Sorry to cut off your run-on sentence in the middle, but I gotta respond to each charge in order. I'll just stop you to point out that my reviews are as successful as I am because I talk about my life and how I relate to the show, and people relate to that. If I wrote about just the episode, it would be much less personal. There are shorter, less personal reviews all over the place if you want them.
And hey, life is hard. Are you saying it's easy? Because if you are, you're full of it. And what are you doing, but getting angry and bi%ching? Better stop! Or you'll be just...like...me!
that I had to say, listen buddy step aside, get psych counselling, hand over to a friend, do something
I don't believe in counseling. Not because I'm a scientologist, but because I believe in Emerson's self-reliance. This includes answering the charge of critics, not getting counseling (even if I could afford it, which I can't), and writing my own reviews instead of handing them off.
but if I have to have one more anally retentive "gas count" or "hey im writimg and i cant get published boo-hoo (just a thought could it be because youre sh%t) i will scream, seek you out and tear you a new one,
My address is published on my personal homepage. I welcome you to come and try, screaming all the way. I warn you, I am armed, I'm pretty good in a scrap, and I don't think someone without enough discipline to write a coherent sentence could really find where the new one is to tear it.
As for your underlying criticism that I complain because I can't get published, look at whose only shot at being published came from writing in to a guy who can't get published. I looked up your email and name online, and you have no articles up, period, even if you're the most popular Mike Wilson. I suggest you try and get published yourself, and then come back in 12 years when you've been trying as long as I have, and tell me how truly easy it is. Then I'll stop whining.
And I concede, it very well could be because Ire (or I am, in Earth grammar) sh%t. But then all of these people who read this column, all of the people who have read my work and enjoyed it (I have yet to see anyone who gives me a chance who finds me flatly disgusting beyond a few folks like yourself) have bad taste. Or maybe it's just that I have my audience, you're not in it, and instead of just ignoring it, you write in trying to stifle a person's expression because the expression in your own is too shallow.
certainly you have no place on a superman oriented website.
Nah. I've only been doing it for six years successfully. Unlike you, paragon of the internet, with references from here to next...run on sentence. No way do I have a place here.
Leave. Now. Make us all happy.
Or make you happy? Would my quitting make you happy? Or would it just empty your life of vengeance until you went on to the next person you don't agree with and try to shut them up instead of just crafting your own art?
And sort your life out
My life is sorted, buddy. I'm not rich. I'm not published. But I am, to wit, the only person I know doing exactly what they wanted to do with their life. I'm writing. I'm being read. And I'm doing it to the best of my abilities.
Are you? Or are you just bitter?
First time writer, so I will start with the standard "I love your reviews!" As a sometimes writer myself, it's always nice to hear.
Thank you. Tell Mike! Much obliged, though, joking aside.
I just wanted to point out that Lana Lang was in the Superman movies twice. In the first movie, she was a teenager at the beginning. She asks him to come to a get together with her, but her football boyfriend knocks all the equipment off the bench and Clark has to clean it all up again. It is a "blink and you might miss it" role, though.
Lana was next in Superman III. Clark goes to his high school reunion, where he runs into her. She is played by future Smallville mom, Annette O'Toole.
Yeah, I know...very much so. Did I say that Lana wasn't in the movies? Oh! You must mean when I said that Lana wasn't in the first movies in relation to Superman Returns. I meant with the theory that Superman Returns starts after the second film...she's a big part of the third, but before that, she's only briefly in the first one, and with no real characterizing...that's what I meant.
Anyway, I'm sure I won't be the only one to mention this, but on the off chance I am...
Keep up the great reviews!
I think you are doing an awesome job at reviewing Smallville.
Hypnotic was pitiful excuse of an episode. I pity you that you had to sit down and review that, Joke.
Yeah, but I'll take the pity. Though I admit, I enjoy dissecting a piece of crap as much as I do watching a good show.
I started watching at the beginning of the episode and was just, generally upset when I saw some woman come out of essentially nowhere and just hypnotize Clark seemingly randomly, no background no names, hell the opening credits didn't even roll yet, I mean usually we get through five minutes before a character loses his or her will I'm sure you have the number on the KO Count.
I should, but it would be pretty much every episode.
I continued watching to see Lana head to Metropolis...Only to turn around and head back to Smallville, at that point I turned off the television, cause I could see where the episode was going Mystery hypnotist was going to die on "accident," Lana would break up with Clark... again, and the final fight would probably take place in Luther mansion. I tuned in for the last few minutes to see Lex inviting Lana over to tell her that he was leaving and that he did not want her to follow cause he didn't want to her to get hurt. Why bother her general existence sole purpose it seems is to nag and get hurt, her whole life's meaning.
Yeah. Kind of lame. A potentially strong female character reduced to a plot device. Like what they do to Lois, half the time.
Hell you just put her in danger by telling her. I'm actually thought that's why he invited her over, to pull Bruce Waynes: No Dick/Jason/Tim you can't do what i do because it's to dangerous. Then later that night Bruce: fine you can come for ONE NIGHT that's all then your done.
Right, but on this show Lex isn't that smart other wise he wouldn't make any move's for Lana.
By the way I hate like generalizations, I mean It's not just that it seems wrong, it's that making generalizations about rich people won't change those people, and if you're not making a change than it's pointless.
I don't know. If we generalize correctly that the idle rich are doing nothing to help the poor rise out of their poverty (true ad infinitum), it might eventually promote a stigma on the idle rich. Unfortunately, that usually leads to a bunch of dead rich people when the pendulum of the have and have-nots swing too far to the have-nots, instead of real social change, but if there's one thing that I've learned about the truth over the years is that it will seem wrong, it will make people uncomfortable, but that it is assuredly not pointless.
Well good luck to you and peace.
Oh yeah try not to pay attention to critics You know what you're writing about.
Much obliged. I like to listen to critics anyway, because there's usually a grain of truth to what they're saying (see Stephen G) when they're not just anonymous braggarts trying to ruin your day (see Mike's letter) for their own pathetic thrills.
There was one thing in this episode I kept wondering about that you did not bring up in your review. Simone did not reveal anything to lex when he asked her, and just ealier Clark was about to give her a super kiss reminscient of what he did with Lois in Superman 2, in which case it made her forget everything about his powers. I am wondering if he superkissed her and she forgot due to that, but then she was still later controlling Clark and re-figured it out again. Not sure, but maybe that is where he learned that technique from lol :)
Interesting theory. If they'd said that, I'd buy it, but still, neat to consider. :)
Dan Sjöström wrote:
I'm a 22-year old guy who lives in Sweden.
Uh-oh! Sorry about the BORK BORK. In advance.
Because of this I unfortunately don't get to see new episodes of Smallville until long after their original airdates. Anyway S4 just premiered on ZTV which not only means new episodes, but also that I get the chance to get in touch with you. Even though I'm like a student running into the classroom when there's 5 minutes until the bell rings I still want to share my 2 öre (see that's a currency joke, me being Swedish and all)
Gotcha. And hey, being an American dork who always ran into class way early, I get you.
Like you, I really liked much of what happened in Arrival with scars and all. I understand if they couldn't get Jensen Ackles back, but man how hard is it to get some extra just to moan under a heap of rubble?
Heck, Bridgette Crosby has experience!
When I saw Lana almost get hit by Lex' car I came to realize how often that happens, meaning that people often get hit or almost get hit by cars to move the story forward. Examples: Martha/Ryan in Stray, Lex/Clark in Rosetta, Lois/ Shelby in Krypto, Pete/Clark in Velocity (sorry for bringing that up dude), Lois/hallucinating jock in bathroom towel in Facade, the list goes on and on. I'm not sure if you already got something like that on the KO Count, but if you don't it could probably make a new category.
I don't have that in there. I will after this episode. Good call!
And I must reiterate the stupidity of both Lana and the Kryptonians in the end. First that Lana didn't push them into the vault instead of just stand there gawking and then that the black one (forgot his name) not only had enough energy to run and lift the door up, but that he actually knew it was the door to the vault. Next I'm gonna turn a little nitpicky, since you said something about Swedish alps, which you perhaps already have been corrected for. Maybe you were just joking around, knowing that Sweden and Switzerland easily get mixed up, but when I hear somebody saying that there are alps in Sweden I react the same way I imagine you do whenever you see mountains in Kansas.
And you would be correct. That's American ignorance showing its true colors! I did mistake Sweden for Switzerland. The Swedish chef joke, then, makes no sense. But my watch has suddenly stopped running. I don't understand!
All joking aside, apologies for my ignorance. I should know better, being a Monty Python fan.
Also I'd like to point out something I recognized as a Buffy fan. (And even if you're not one, I'm not gonna debate with you over it. I have a friend who shockingly enough hates Kung Pow!, but I don't hold that against him)
HATES KUNG POW? Get my gopher-chuks!
You see, I saw the similarity between Brainiac's entrance in the end of Arrival and Spike's on BtVS. Spike made his debut by crashing his car into a "Welcome to Sunnydale" sign, then we saw him from behind as he slowly turned around. Brainiac dripped out of the spaceship and then he also was first seen from behind as he turned around. I don't know if that was intentional, but it sure gave me a deja vú.
Probably was. I was told by, I think Mike, my buddy, to downloa-er, purchase the second season on DVD, that that was where Buffy started really getting good. I have uh, purchased the second season on DVD, and will give it another square shot this summer.
More generally, I have come to realize the poor writing of he show. I used to be the first to defend a story that was the target of heavy criticism by figuring stuff out on my own. For example, how you said that Alicia Baker got homicidal for no reason in Obsession. I disagreed at first, as I pictured her as a reckless kid when she first got her teleporting powers, how her parents were unable to teach her about boundaries and that she was used to get things the way she wanted them. Then it struck me that it was all in my head, that I had made those things up on my own. That's not my job, it's the writers'. People shouldn't have to fill in the blanks, even though they're as gifted with a great sense of imagination as I am. Hopefully, that's something I won't have to do in the next episodes.
Well, it's all a matter of attitude, too. Some people think the viewer should have to come up with that stuff. Me? Being a novelist, I believe that you should hand all information you need to to the audience, nothing more, but that everything essential needs to be there.
Before people snipe, I am well aware I go to extraneous lengths in these reviews. It's not a novel, so I feel differently about what I do with it.
On a more personal level, I'd like to ask you for some advice.
Like you, I have a great passion for writing and happen to be working on a book. The thing is, I can't decide whether I'll use my real name or a pseudonym. If you were in a book store and spotted a book on a shelf, would it matter to you if the author's name was Dan Sjöström? (If it doesn't show on your computer, there are two O's with a pair of dots above them, as in Mötley Crue) It might not be a big whoop to you, but I'm concerned it might be distracting for some people. I was thinking of going by the name Dan Jakobs, since my middle name happens to be Jakob and all. I just think it has a nice ring to it and would consider to use it in any case, but I was curious to know your opinion.
It depends on why you do it. I know people who do it because their name is boring, and instead of Mary Smith they want to be "GODDES MICKELALEA OF ISIS, AUTHOR OF THE FENDRIS TRILOGY!"
I myself have written under Scott Treadwell, Jake Madly, and Benjamin Hamilton, though all three are patently obvious to anyone who digs into my novels.
If it's for name recognition, I might do it. But bear in mind your chief problem isn't necessarily getting name recognition, and more simply getting published. Though name recognition is a biggie.
Sjostrom is hard to ask for in a book store, but then, I've never had any problem finding really strange names if I bring the spelling, and I do.
If it hurts your identity, don't do it. If you want to, and if it'll sell more books, and if that's what you're after, sure. That's my opinion. You're talking to the guy who wrote under Rebecca Cyrus for a few months just for kicks. She is, incidentally, a character in my fourth book that I'm about to release in e-book and in print.
Well, that's all I had to say for now, but don't think you've seen the last of me yet.
Med vänliga hälsningar, as we like to type at the end of our letters,
Nice! Now forgive me, but what does it mean?
I submitted a review to you last week that you posted. In that review, I stipulated that the end Clana scene was poorly done. However, I've slowly become more supportive of it and in retrospect it may have been done absolutely right. Let me explain...
It has to do with the interpretation of certain aspects of this breakup. First of all, you do not think that Clark's feelings have really changed. You justify that with the fact that his back was turned to her during the scene to indicate that he's being duplicitous. You may be absolutely right, but it also can be taken as Clark Kent for the first time owning up to his feelings about Lana and he is just scared of what her reaction may be. The reason I say this is that I do believe that his feelings have legitimately changed. Remember Martha's words, "Do you think that you did this because deep down you know she's not the one" or something to that effect. You know as well as anybody that in literature (as is this script) each line is meant to carry a certain significance.
In literature, I'll concede, but in Smallville? Not so much. Still, this time, I very much agree. My worry is that it's meant to convey that they're about to break up, yeah, but it'll only last two episodes.
In reality, her words could mean nothing. Here, they mean everything. This isn't simply a nod to Clark and Lois, but a justification for what Clark did. Ever since Reckoning, Clark has realized that he can never tell Lana his secret. If things were meant to be, then she would not have died that day - on a show that places so much weight on fate and destiny, this argument cannot simply be discounted. When Clark eventually tells Lois, she won't die, instead, their love will be confirmed. Couple that with the fact that Clark asked Lana to marry him not out of love, but out of selfishness - he was losing her.
I'll buy that. Sure.
Since that day, he was roundabout in his answers to whether or not he loved Lana. Even in Cyborg when he said that he has always loved her and always will, he was still not directly saying that he was in love with her. I think these scenes are meant to show that their relationship was slowly deteriorating and that Clark Kent really is no longer in love, romantically, with Lana Lang. I could be wrong, but that's how I see it.
I see it more as indirect, inconsistent writing, but both lead to the same current end point.
And if that is the case, I commend Clark Kent for being upfront with his feelings and no longer hiding them. He understands that by continuing the relationship with Lana, he will continue to cause her more and more pain. By doing what he did, he performed chemotherapy on the cancer that was this relationship. Sometimes to get better, we must feel pain first. Ultimately, not only was this commendable, but dare I say, even possibly heroic. It showed Clark Kent taking a step forward. That is if I am right in saying that his feelings really have changed.
I think they haven't shown that his feelings have changed so much, but that could be more revealed in the next few episodes. We'll see.
Here's the other thing. In terms of a breakup, this was the only way for it to be done. Knowing how Lana reacted back during Season 3 by tagging along for a year, Clark realizes that a clean break is the only way to let her move on with her life. Out of respect for Lana, Clark knows that giving her a reason to hate him is the only way to let her move on. Otherwise, we would get Season 3 all over again and out of respect for Lana (and the viewers), Clark Kent has to do what he did. Note, Lana used an immature, defensive tactic and challenged Clark Kent. He said what he had to in response - he had no other choice. And he did try to ease her pain by explaining, but she refused to listen. Anything that reflects poorly on Clark in this scene is a result of Lana's actions and not his own. Looking back on it, I don't think there is another way to accomplish this breakup.
I agree. My only beef with this is that I don't think it's a break-up. I think it's a drama stunt. How many times have they broken up over the years? At least four I can think of offhand...most near the end of a season (like now).
A third point is that Clark Kent can never tell Lana his secret again, at least willingly. As you point out, everyone he tells his secret to dies. Chloe and Pete are the only exceptions and that's because they will ultimately teach Clark that he can tell his secret to Lois. But with Lana, Reckoning confirmed all his greatest fears in regards to telling her his secret. While I was annoyed that he refused to for the first four and a half seasons, I think after the events of Reckoning, he can never tell her again - for her own protection. If he does, she will again die. She can later learn his secret when she becomes a stronger character, but the circumstances will be different then and there won't be the potential of a romantic relationship between the two at that point. Lois will later prove to be much stronger than Lana, so much so that she proves to be Superman's and Clark Kent's true love. And as I've said, the realization that Lana isn't his true love has slowly changed Clark's feelings towards her.
I think that's rational. I still like the idea that they break up because Clark's bound for Metropolis and Lana's too stuck to her home to leave. Now it seems almost the opposite, doesn't it?
The final point is how long this will last. Like you, if in a couple of episodes they are back together, I will be pi&$ed off and you can completely forget about all these points. But I actually don't think that this will be the case. I don't know if you read spoilers or not, but Lexana seems to be the next thing for Lana and a relationship with Clark seems out of the question for quite some time. And as you said, if this is the case, it may very well have saved this series. Sure, Clark is going to try to protect Lana from Lex and we will get some angst as a result, but if that is limited, I honestly think this could be a very good thing. And this breakup potentially accomplished all that - it may very well be more permanent than you think.
And if it seems permanent, you'll see my praise it at the end of the year. My fear is that it'll just be a new, irrelevant way and reason to focus on Lana. Like the stones. If she's not with Clark, there's really no reason for her in this series, particularly. Maybe for jealousy with Lex, but then, we can see how well that's been played so far.
So, that's my take on the breakup and why I actually thought it was pretty well done. In truth, your interpretation is just as valid (if not more valid), but we'll have to wait and see for that. As of now, I'll assume that the way I see it is right, so I can motivate myself to continue watching the show.
If that was the end, it was played well. Time and this show have made me more defensive and cynical.
Now for Lexana...Let me explain what I think will happen. Lex and Lana will start getting closer over the next several episodes. They will have their kiss and whatnot, but the point is that by the end of the season or sometime around then, they will be at a point where they may become seriously involved. Now, dismissing the fact that I just don't understand what Lex sees in Lana, let's assume this happens. Now, let's say, at the same time, Lana learns Clark's secret and of Lex's nefariousness. Now, Lana is forced to make a choice. Because the relationship with Lex has taught her how to stand on her own two feet (she did once say that Lex brings something out of her that is both scary and liberating), this decision can be made on her own volition. She will demonstrate some character growth by making the choice to protect Clark and his secret and leave her relationship with Lex. The reason they had to be very close at the time is that this decision has to come across as a sacrifice on Lana's part. That way, she is truly demonstrating character development.
THAT would be great, actually.
Ultimately, this will cause Lex to go great lengths to discover Clark's secret. Like in Reckoning, he will realize that Lana's decision will be made over this secret. He may, and hopefully will, resort to torturing Lana to try to get the secret out of her. However, by then, she will be a strong enough character to defend herself and protect Clark. Eventually she will come out of this and come to an understanding of why Clark never told her his secret. And from there, we get a relationship between Clark and Lana that mirrors the one we see in mythology.
And very comic book. I love the idea. I think it's beyond the current staff. Which is, not euphemistically, to say that I don't think these current writers are good enough to do that.
There is another aspect of this spec that kind of appeals to me. It makes Lex appear like a tragic hero. To me, that was a brilliant decision of the show to make him come across that way. Another thing, is it relates to the Clark/Lois/Lex triangle you described from the comics. Lex looks to Lana for love, but right as it appears that he will get it, here comes Clark to take her away from him. Similar to how Superman eventually takes Lois away from Lex. And the reason this still works is because losing Lana will contribute to Lex vowing to destroy Clark Kent. Losing Lois will cause Lex to vow to destroy Superman. To him these are two different things and this may be a nice parallel between the two triangles. Just curious about what your take is.
I love the idea. Now let's see them do it! I tell you, if they did that, I might actually start to like Lana.
I hope you at least understand the jist of what I am saying. It's a bit hard to describe, but I do hope my point came across.
It did very well.
Thanks and I hope you are doing well. I'm sure you are going to tear my argument apart, but just go easy on me ;)
I hope I wasn't too mean! Mostly I agree. Thanks!
Jose Arrieta wrote:
This is the first time I write to you and I have to say that I truly respect your contributions to the Homepage, especially the Smallville reviews.
Thanks. It's a lot of fun.
I have always been a faithful follower of the series since its debut, but that doesn't blind me from its (many) faults. And that's one of the reasons why I enjoy reading your reviews, as they bring out and expose these failures in an incisive and detailed way. Many people would say that this is just endless bashing, but that would be true if Smallville's writing team was actually doing something to improve from their prolonged slump. This downslide is most evident in filler episodes of such low quality like "Hypnotic," but elaborating on the why's and what's is your job, not mine.
Sure. And I mean, there are plenty of people with all-positive reviews out there. If I were hogtying people and making them read my review as the only take, that'd be different. Heck, we have two different styles of review on this site alone! I am a stylistic choice, as are most reviews, and, judging by my success, I think my style resonates. I just write what I, an internet geek, would want to read, and that usually works pretty well.
What I really want to comment on is the phase that the character of Lex is going through. Just as every character in Smallville up until now, the writing leaves a lot to wish for, even if Mike Rosembaum is doing his best to make the best with what they give him (and, for that, he should be congratulated profusely). But, in any case, the dancing-around that the writers make with the issue of his development and "transformation" is just exasperating. If there is one thing that I have always liked about previous versions of Lex is his genius, no matter what purpose he uses it for. Probably the creative team has chosen to base this Lex in the 80's "businessman" version rather than the Pre-Crisis and most recent ones, but Lex has always retained that aspect of unbelievable levels of intelligence, no matter what.
Yeah. I think his genius in this series is his plotting genius, meaning, he can execute a plan. But they don't emphasize it well, particularly of late. I see Lionel to the extreme as Lex in ten years. But they haven't really pushed for that. It's all baby steps. I too love the genius. Mostly, I prefer the comic genius, where no one can get the upper hand with him, and he's brilliant with weapons and science (like Batman), but not necessarily a mad scientist.
However, the Lex from Smallville does not seem to have an eighth of the intellect of his past counterparts.
An eighth is too high. Try a hundredth.
There are certain things he does and says that are just wildly out of character. For instance, as you said in the "Hypnotic" review, he inmediately, for no logical reason, relates Clark's super-strenght to hyptonic mental manipulations, when that would be probably the last thing on the "real" Lex's mind if he was in the same situation. Sure, he knew that Hot Girl with Pendant had Clark under her influence, but how does that cause an apparently normal person to get such an incredible level of strenght?
Right. That's the important part. It's illogical. He knows why he's doing it, but there's no reason for him to believe it would lead to super-strength. Easy fix? Just write him choking Lex only. And not lifting him off the ground. Even under compulsion to kill Lex, he'd not have the desire to reveal his secret.
It's a known fact that, under some situations, the human body can produce such high levels of adrenaline that the individual acquires strength beyond their normal levels, but there's a difference between that and Kryptonian super-strength, as you very well pointed out in the review. If he was truly Lex, he would have figured out Clark's alleged secret 3 seasons ago and would be standing gloriously in his green and purple suit with a Kryptonite ring just laughing at that pseudo-Superman for his über-moronic behavior (by the way, do you think we will see that beautiful suit again in the comics?), instead of getting thrown across the room like some rag doll.
I can't comment on the green and purple suit, actually. I have to recuse myself, because I have off-the-record stuff in my head. But I do agree that any Lex I know from the comics would know the secret by now. Easily.
In any case, the ratings speak for themselves. This situation cannot last much longer before the fans finally realize that there are much better shows out there (including the Sopranos) and that a "teen drama" like this one just doesn't measure up anymore. Again, I'm a fan of the show and I watch every week consistently, but I'm not liking the direction it is currently taking (Acuvue, anyone?) and if that doesn't change anytime soon, I will have to just give up and watch Daily Show/Colbert Report reruns instead...
Losing two minutes of program, the rights disappearing, shoddy stories, and yes, ratings below a 3 are all signs that things are not looking good. But then, 3 is great ratings for the WB, so we'll see. It's a bad sign to me, however, when a RERUN of "My Name is Earl" beats it by nearly double the ratings. I like Jason Lee, but man, My Name is Earl is a big pit of stereotypical suck.
Well, what could I say? Just keep up the good work and never change your attitude. Your reviews are the only things about Smallville that cancel out the severe neuron loss that the show causes.
You forgot to mention one thing about this gosh awful episode: Can you explain to me how Clark can lie straight to Lana's face and then tell his mother that he still loves her?!? Sure, Clark has lied before; there's no shock there. But for some reason, I feel like this lie was so awful.
Clark lies? Kidding.
He claims he doesn't wish to hurt the woman he loves, right? Fine. Then tell her SOME truth. Say you (Clark) love her, you have issues, and you don't want to hurt her; I can't be with you anymore. Is he being completely honest with her? No. Is that explanation the truth? Yes. Does that make up for all of the other Lana/Clark crap? Hell no! But it's one less lie. A Superman that lies is not a Superman I can respect. Now I know why Brandon Routh is Superman. Even though Tom Welling looks like Superman (read: He has a bigger frame relative to Routh), Routh is a fresh face and Smallville's Clark Kent has virtually zero moral character.
I think it's more arbitrarily dramatic the way they're doing it. Not to say that's good. But don't pre-affirm Routh. For all we know, he could be evil in this movie. My line remains: Judge it when we see it.
David Wilkins wrote:
I have a little commentary about your review. Excerpts from your review are surrounded by *asterisks*.
*After Clark says he has tarps to lay, she says, "Whenever you're ready. No pressure." Which is, of course, a guy line. You'll note that Lana has gone from completely virginal asexual angel (beyond making out, no heavy petting is even shown with her before this season) to a sex-driven girlfriend who is eager to explore.
Sorry, 'tain't how it is in real life. Though I wish it was.*
I know a girl who is just like that(she wants to take my virginity).
That doesn't mean anything, though. I know a guy who stays at home, does all the housework, raises the kids, and doesn't earn money while his wife goes out, makes all the money, and brings it all in. That doesn't mean that that's how it typically is in real life.
You've noted an EXCEPTION to what is generally the rule. Just because you know one counter-example doesn't mean that it doesn't typify what happens. I stand by my assertion that typically, guys push for sex, and girls strategically deny, for whatever reason, and that Lana is shown as a paragon of this.
*To me, a scene like this, which they put in for attention, sweeps, and to please twelve-year-olds (mentally or chronologically) is completely unnecessary and worthless.*
I had much difficulty going through this scene on my DVR because it just did not work out for me. I finally fast-forwarded through to the commercial, but rewound it to see Lana's reaction.
I watched it. It was decent. The girl was semi-hot, but then, like I said, the internet has much better, much faster, and without that burden of plot, if you're twelve and that's what you want.
Also, I had hoped that they were broken up after the last episode. Oh well.
Now for the boring part:
Brainiac is a Kyptonian machine (wouldn't that make him the Eradicator?), and part of the ship. Logically, when the copy of his body was destroyed, the ship's fail-safes would cause it to do a Phase-shifting-type thing sending it somewhere else. Honduras? probably because there is something kryptonian about that blood sample. (Season 2 episode Fever) That, however, would fall under the problem of not too many original storylines. I like Sequel-type storylines, but repeats without an actual repeat are annoying.
Also if each Brainiac Copy has all the memories and knowledge of the others, why would one have to talk to the others if not for plot points and human ignorance.
Because it's...DRAMATIC (Jazz hands). Good point, though.
I would not have known that they were going for more blood samples if it had not been mentioned. That would have made for a better plot point if they already knew the plan and just sped off with us in SUSPENSE. Instead they just pulled a hollywood scene for the Extremely stupid, and made the rather intelligent bored.
do you see what I mean?
Yes, and I agree.
After years of reading your Smallville reviews, I often find myself right after the end of the episode wondering what your reaction will be. Naive as I am, I thought that you'd respond favorably to "Hypnotic", especially after you seemed to warm up to the show in the previous episode. No such luck. A "zero" out of five? When the abominable "Aqua" got a 3.5 out of 5?
Pretty much, yeah.
I'd think the fact that Lana and Clark split up would get you to a 2 of 5, but instead you rant about how we all know it's not really over. So basically, this episode gets docked points for the imaginary faults of hypothetical future episodes.
It's for the same reason I wouldn't praise it if Clark suddenly pulled on the Superman suit next episode and started flying. You need the proper set-up for a given story, ANY given story. It's docked because there's no logical reason for Clark to break up with Lana that quickly and with that little deliberation.
At the same time, you think I'm way off base for inferring Martha's lack of trust for Lionel, and that Chloe's e-mail correspondence with Lionel represents an exchange of information about Clark rather than friendly post-murder attempt chit-chat.
Yes. Because the story in no way suggests either of those things explicitly. That's how we garner plot.
Of course, assuming that a woman is completely without honor and virtue despite all evidence to the contrary is pretty standard for a misogynist. But I'm sure you have a perfectly rational basis for thinking Martha's out there whoring it up like everyone's favorite bowtiephile.
Yep. That's me. Total misogynist. You'll note I don't even include letters from women, I never had a mother, and I'm so afraid of breasts that I stay away from the garment section at Target.
Or, more logically, I assume that a woman is without honor and virtue through a series of acts that she commits in episodes that affirm that for me, while admiring women with honor and virtue. This is called being discerning. What you're suggesting is that being discerning about a given woman makes me a misogynist.
I don't think Martha's "whoring it up". I think she's being nice to a man that has regularly attempted to hurt her family, which doesn't make sense. And the fact that this seems to be leading toward romance is despicable.
How misogynist of me.
Whatever happened to the benefit of the doubt? Martha deserves it, Chloe doesn't. Martha has been the idealized mother figure the whole show, but you're ready to throw her overboard, while Chloe would sell her crazy mother for a ham sandwich. Yet Chloe fans such as yourself are the reason that Jonathan Kent is the one who got killed off (despite being a pivotal, well-played character) instead of Chloe, who gets to remain as an annoying, redundant Lois-wannabe.
I'm not throwing Martha overboard. I'm simply, as I did with Chloe, which you'd know if you've read my reviews for years and years, disagreeing with a character direction she's taking. I harped on Chloe when she turned Lionel informant. I harp on Martha now. I harp on Clark for not telling the secret. I harp on Lana for being passive aggressive. The only difference being, for these failures, all of these characters have positive benefits to help counteract their negative character actions.
Fine. I accept that there are some Chloe fans out there who unfortunately got her resurrected after the well-deserved housebombing of a few years ago. I don't think fans of Chloe are nuts. Some misogynists among them, perhaps, but not all.
So now when someone LIKES a woman they're a misogynist, perhaps? Oy.
Wishing Chloe death is a bit obsessive and nuts. I hate Lana, and I joke about her death, but when she died, I was upset. It's a bit dehumanizing for your argument.
On the flipside, the Chloe fans have a responsibility to spare us the self-righteous elitism that so often typifies them and learn to understand Lana fans.
To readers: Note, this is an example of aforementioned BAD generalizations. Where, without any real evidence to the contrary, one assumes a negative trait about ALL of a given set of people. Apparently, I'm a self-righteous elitist for having a character preference.
Why? Because it helps to understand Lana fans when you're watching a television show written, directed and produced by Lana fans. When you don't "get" the fans of Lana, you're going to start doing crazy things like assuming a show is bad because hypothetically continuity could be broken in the future.
Actually, I very publicly stated I don't have any objections with anything that changed continuity any more. In the review for season four, episode one.
And this isn't a show produced by Lana fans. This show, much though it may chagrin you to learn it, is about Clark Kent and how he turns into Superman. I thought that was obvious, but oh well.
And fans of Smallville are Lana fans for the most part, as evidenced by Lana's screentime, second only to Clark's. Like it or hate it, Smallville is more a show about Lana than about Lex. And it's because there are more Lana fans than Lex fans, and because you play to your audience.
I guess, then, that people who watch the History channel must really love Hitler, because he's on the screen all the time.
I don't have to point out the irrationality of your argument, but I will. Just because something is onscreen a lot, and a lot of people watch it, doesn't mean people like it. It's just one part of a whole that they bear with. Like Jar-Jar.
Regarding the Brainiac stuff, it was cool. We got to see some explosions and stuff. I don't complain. But the fact that they get the money for this by cutting the show's budget by killing off Jonathan Kent... that just sucks. That you should complain about. Instead, you complain about how everything Brainiac does will have no continuity or sense. In hypothetical scenes in future episodes.
Or, in current episodes and past. Which is what I actually do. I challenge you to issue even one citation of a time where I condemn hypothetical scenes in future episodes.
I did complain that they killed Jonathan. I don't know that the reason was for bigger explosions, so I don't mention it. That's what's known as talking out of one's @$$. When I do know that, I will.
Speaking of hypothetical scenes, am I wrong in saying Clark was raped in this episode?
Yes. He was sexually abused, but not raped. Which is why I complained about it.
We don't see the actual scene where this occurs, just Simone seducing Clark and then coming out of the shower the next morning. Here's where an inference can logically be made. They had sex, Simone forced Clark into it, to wit, she raped him. Now, this scene isn't shown--nor do we see Lana and Clark actually having intercourse to know it happened.
They didn't have sex. It's mentioned. But I would argue that unwanted sexual contact even without sexual penetration is sexual abuse.
Later, Clark lies about it to Chloe. Why does Clark lie? Partly because that's what he always does. Partly to spare Chloe. Partly to spare us. Wha? Apparently the nice folks at the WB think it would taint Clark in our minds if he were raped.
Where does he lie to her? When he says he wasn't raped? I see no reason to assume he's lying. It's reaching to assume he was.
Interesting. In 2006, the stigma continues to be placed upon the rape victim. Even if he's male. On the other hand, maybe Clark can't have been raped, since the audience wants to have sex with the hot chick and therefore project their own consent onto Clark.
Well, yeah, which is why I complained about that, too. I disagree, however, that the stigma is placed on the rape victim. The most hard-lined people I know will say that yes, if a woman dresses in a certain way and drinks in a crowd of known rapist, she's likely to be raped, but then, none of them say that it's her fault. Just that it was a poor choice that resulted in an unfortunate action that is ALL the fault of the agent who rapes.
You read too much into things while reaching for a foregone conclusion that doesn't exist. I think you want these things to be there so you can yell about them. People accuse ME of that, but your letters are a prime example of why I don't, and you do. I back up the things I say with plot points. You hear a character say, "We didn't have sex." And you rationalize that it's a lie and use it as a way to justify a false assumption that males stigmatize women for being raped. That's insane.
On a more important note, Lana and Clark are over. I'm not sure exactly how to take this. On the one hand, Lana and Clark are meant for each other (despite Martha's random and unprovoked claims to the contrary). On the other hand, we know from the basics of the comics that Clark will end up with Lois. So this had to happen eventually.
I'd place a wager that it isn't over.
But that doesn't mean Lana and Clark weren't meant for each other. They don't end up together, but that can be explained as a mistake on Clark's part.
NOW who's blaming the victim? Jeeze.
We're looking at the beginnings of a hero, and Clark's mistake of leaving Lana can be seen as some kind of character-building event, much like we know Peter Parker has to fail to save his Uncle Ben in order to become Spider-Man. Or in the non-voluntary version, where we know Bruce Wayne's parents have to be murdered for him to become Batman.
Clark's transformation into Superman, I think, is the result of his botched relationship with Lana. Realizing that he's ruined his life as Clark Kent, he invents another reality for himself and plays the role of a Superman who can't have a relationship with anyone, because he knows they would all be pale proxies for Lana.
Yep. Insane. I'd put a graphic with a nut here if I thought it was worth the bandwidth.
What a crisis, what a horrible failure Clark's life is so far! Not because he's saved hundreds of lives! Not because he makes the right moral decisions most of the time! Not because he sacrificed his future to take care of his family! Not because he holds his friends close and tries to make amends with his enemies!
No! He's a failure because he doesn't face how amazing Lana is. Better start over.
All the result of a disastrous decision to keep a valueless secret.
Yep. Alicia sure agrees with that. No, wait. She can't agree, because she's dead.
Even as we speak, Clark should be catching terrorists in the Middle East. Instead he's milking cows. People die as a result. Now you claim, quite hilariously, that Clark isn't chasing terrorists because of some kind of Prime Directive preventing him from interferring with human destiny.
Yeah. The prime directive that's been in place for over thirty years now, since they wrote Superman: The Movie, and likely even before that, since he hasn't really done anything to alter the world since taking Hitler to the Hague.
I guess that's why Superman spends all of his time chasing and capturing supervillains? Who are essentially terrorists? So if Osama bin Laden wore a colorful mask on his face instead of a towel on his head, Clark could step in then?
There is a difference between criminal behavior and terrorism. You might try telling the government that as they prosecute gangs and kids who threaten to shoot up their school under anti-terror laws, but there is. If I rob a store, just because I scare the guy behind the counter, it doesn't mean I'm a terrorist.
By the same token, if Metallo knocks down the World Trade Center just to sow chaos, he's not a terrorist. He's a psychopath. He's a terrorist if he decides to knock down the WTC to bring the kingdom of Allah to power, or to bring the Church of Steve into a position of more authority. He's doing it because he's nuts.
You're part of the people who are blurring the line between terrorists and "questionable" people. Those people are the ones that lead to writers, artists, and innocent Muslims being investigated for no reason. It's also not a good credibility indicator for your arguments of delineation.
But leaving thousands of dead innocents aside, it's really over between Lana and Clark. Now we get to see what happens with the Lana/Lex pairing, which I'm sure you hate just as much as Lana/Clark, because of the Lana part. That's fine, go ahead and hate some more episodes of Smallville instead of learning to appreciate Lana the way most of us do.
I don't hate it because of Lana. I hate it because of Lex, too. Lex's character, Lana regardless, indicates that he doesn't date women who are not eminently sophisticated, rich, and easy. Lana is none of these things. Argue France, go ahead. Then I'll point to this week, where an ounce of weak will led to her becoming a junkie. And countless other examples.
After we see Lex trying to work his magic with Lana, the credits fade in, and very tastefully say something about Dana Reeve. In this situation, Neal can do one of three things:
A) Praise the network for being thoughtful enough to put it in.
B) Praise the network for removing the "if you're just joining us" segment he's been ballyhooing about for the last several months.
C) Complain it's not enough.
Yeah, let's spend a few minutes on the show's comic-basis title character's movie's actor's wife. And next week, a few hours about someone connected to Kevin Bacon. But then, Kevin Bacon never played Superman, while Dana Reeve once played, I guess, Chloe in something?
Honestly, you know, I've put up with your guff good heartedly. I even agree that it's a good thing that the "if you're joining us" messages are gone. I just hadn't noticed. They jump out when you're looking for it.
But now, you've officially ticked me off. Dana Reeve was more inspiring, without many people knowing who she was, than all of the episodes of Smallville put together. Smallville is a show designed to make money. Dana Reeve could have left Chris after he was paralyzed, instead she stayed and supported him. With Christopher, she helped the cause of healing the paralyzed move forward, and inspired the world.
Now she's dead, and you're belittling her. What have you done to change the world?
I complained that it's not enough because it wasn't. There was ten minutes of worthless sex in the show, but not a single spoken word for the person who helped Christopher Reeve be all that he could be after a crippling accident.
Neal, I think the WB's titlecards will elicit some praise from you about the same time someone finally has the GUTS to cast a black actor to play Superman. I'm not holding my breath.
Yeah, I really didn't praise the title cards when they were new this year. No, wait. I did.
In my humble opinion.
From Mars to Pluto.
Evan (EClarKent) wrote:
Neal, I was surprised that you didn't mention that the scene in the loft at the beginning of the episode Simone basically raped Clark. We do find out later in the episode that it didn't progress that far, but that was only because Lana showed up in time. I didn't have a guess for last week's score because I didn't know if you would go into the negatives or not. I am now thirty minutes into this weeks episode and I want to throw in the towel for this episode and the series. If it wasn't for your reviews I probably would. Thanks, Evan.
Thanks, Evan. Actually, it's sexual assault, and that's very serious. I didn't harp on it mostly because I was more ticked at how stupid the device was and overshot the trees for the forest.
P.S. I know you must have laughed when you read Kristin Kreuk's caption in the new FHM top 100, "After four seasons spent toiling in the shadows of cr*p (I don't know if I can spell that out) like 7th Heaven, The WB's Smallville is having its best season ever, thanks in part to this 23-year-old." How can they publish those lies?
Because she hot.
Felix Vasquez wrote:
How anyone can, with any common sense, still be a fan of the Lana character, is utterly beyond me. Lana, as written, is just the epitome of superficial, brainless, and selfishness. From a woman who seeks out hallucinogenics to satisfy herself, and then lash at her friend for wondering where she was only speaks of how utterly ridiculous Lana has become over the last five seasons.
Yet, the writers are still trying to allude that women like her are perfect. Notice, Lex doesn't yell at Lana for attempting to steal his stuff, nor does he even lecture her. He fawns at her, and consoles her, and she suffers no counseling, medical help, nor does she get arrested for taking an illegal substance.
Yeah. It sucks. A lot.
Ever have a druggie for a family member, Neal? In the real world, Lana would be taken to rehab for two years, and be punished. Even in a show about a flying alien, the character motivations, and plots are just utterly illogical.
I had an alcoholic. My best friend went bye-bye to drugs when I was a kid. Jail is the best that can be hoped for.
For the love letter "Void" is, further exploring the writers fascination for Kristin Kreuk's sub-par acting talents, the episode was pretty good. Sure, the plot was recycled ten times over, but it settled some gaping plot holes I and many others have come to wonder about i.e. the senator run with Martha, Clark's ability to go here and there, et al. Not to mention the show was really reminiscent of Clark going back to heaven to get his dad, in the Superman's death storyline.
I saw that, actually, and forgot to comment on that back up there. Very cool.
But if the show hopes to progress and take a step forward, they truly have to get out of this Lana fixation. Give Superman fans what we want, and stop harping on her. Later.
Stephen G wrote:
Check this out.
This is in reference to a conversation Stephen and I had in the Smallville chat hour (9PM Pacific time, in the Superman Homepage chat room, after every new episode. Influence my rating!) about how the trip to Honduras was reminiscent of Superman #217. I agree...neat stuff!
That's all for this week, folks! Much shorter than usual, but hey, after last week, that's to be expected, I guess. Hope to see you all in the chat room next Thursday!
VoidReviewed by: Douglas Trumble
Well ok. Let me just say something. Over all the main plot of this episode was mediocre at best. Lana, for reasons not so unknown, turns to a sort of Kryptonite induced drug fix to escape her life long loneliness.
On the surface this was a bit forced but somewhat believable. Lana has lost her parents, Whitney, and recently broke up with her boyfriend. I can imagine emotionally she would be in a bad place and sometimes people turn to things in those times that are bad for them. I do think the episode did a good job showing that turning to such things never turns out for the best but I did think they got a bit graphic with the drug use. Beyond that, the real problem with the plot was simply that it just seemed too much like a cheesy horror movie I saw once.
My problem as a reviewer comes with what I found buried inside that mediocre story line. Sure it was less than stellar but boy, deep within it we are given two absolutely FANTASTIC moments in the lives of our two main characters. Moments that will further push Clark and Lex down those opposite paths that will lead to their respective destiny. Moments not to be missed.
But before I get into those moments let me reflect on one other outstanding moment in this episode. Martha shooting Lionel down cold. Thank you producers and writers! I admit it. I was worried where they might try and take this relationship. I am so pleased and grateful that the ever beautiful Martha Kent made it absolutely clear to Lionel, and more importantly to us, it was going NOWHERE. Yeah, we all know Lionel will not let it go that easily but it was so nice that we, as fans, can rest easy knowing exactly where Martha stands on the issue. I had to pause the DVR to do a little happy dance at that moment. Sure, that lead to a few strange looks from the wife but I just did not care. Sometimes you just have to give those moments a good old fashioned whoop whoop.
Clark superspeeding to Central America was pretty neat too. I admit it was a clever way to get him out of the picture for a bit. Both to let Lana's story develop without his interference and also possibly as a plot by Lionel to get him out of the way for a few days. Strangely enough during a time he plans to take Martha to an important dinner. I say that because I could not help but notice he seemed a bit surprised Clark was there when he picked her up near the end of the episode.
But enough about that filler stuff. Let's get to the two moments this week that not only sold this episode but sold me on two other episodes from earlier in the season.
First we see Lex going into the great beyond and meeting his mother. Nice family moment? Not even close. She basically took him to the wood shed. I honestly thought she was going to slap him. But I think chewing him out for the choices he made the last time he was near death was just as good. The look on his face was perfect. Michael Rosenbaum really nailed that moment. The story line from "Lexmas" really tied into this episode and that bridge between the two made both respective episodes more interesting to say the least. It is not an understatement to say this moment in Lex's life will lead him further down his cold path.
Then a bit later we get the real jewel of this episode. The return of Jonathan Kent. I admit it. I had to pause to cry a bit there. His speech was a moment that could very well define not only this season, but the entire series. That moment, buried inside what would have been an average episode, will be something you want people to see. It will be a moment that you will think of 10 years from now when remembering this series. It was more than just a step down Clark's path, it was a push (literally). A push that came from the most perfect source they could have come up with.
This moment help me come to terms with the whole death of Jonathan Kent story line. Sure that speech could have came from Pa Kent when he was alive but it would not have been anywhere near as powerful or moving. The words would have been great and we all would have loved it but having the words come straight out of heaven just adds so much that it moves to a whole new level.
I could not help but notice Jonathan Kent's heaven is his barn. That was something I found amusing.
Then finally the story wraps up with us learning that the game is on with Lionel. Daddy Luthor must have tracked Lex to Central America or followed some of Brainiac's bread crumbs and sent Clark on his trail. That is interesting sure, but what is more interesting is now Clark has been warned about what Lionel knows. He knows he is a threat to his mother. Something I can see leading to some interesting drama as the season wraps up.
Anyway. I can't very well give this one the highest score. Despite there being some serious defining moments in the series, it had a main plot taken from a bad horror movie script. Honesty requires that I knock a few points off for that. So I am going to give it a B+. (Or 4 out of 5 astrological objects.)
Next week looks like the Lionel story really starts to pick up steam. Hope to see all you super fans then!
Douglas "Doright" Trumble
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