Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 5 - Episode 18: "Fragile"

Reviews:

Fragile

Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

Now this is the kind of episode I look forward to when I watch Smallville. A nice and simple story about Clark Kent being a really nice guy who gives someone in trouble a helping hand. This is what I always imagined Clark Kent doing in his pre-Superman days. Helping people here and there. Sure. Clark was being a bit naive and Lois even pointed that fact out to him but that's Clark. Even as an adult Superman has always been a bit on the naive side. He believes in people when no one else would. Sometimes he gets burned (like with Lex) and other times he is the savior those people never would have found anywhere else.

This episode did have some problems but nothing that ruined what was ultimately a good story. The most noticeable problem was that the pacing was just a bit off. The story felt rushed at times and it seemed as if parts were missing. Maybe some transitional material was cut in a couple of places. There was an announcement that this was Tom Welling's first time in the director chair and while I think he did a good job his first time out, I do think he could have made this one flow a bit better. Just something I noticed. It's not like I could have done any better. I really look forward to seeing how he does the next time out.

The only other real down side was the little plot point about the girl not talking since her mom died but it was just a minor problem. I am not sure it was necessary since the girl was cured of that problem pretty early on and pretty easily. I get it that she was feeling really isolated and didn't trust people but just because Clark caught her talking to the dog didn't mean she would quickly start chatting up Lois and Martha as well. Not after multiple years of self-imposed silence. The quick turn around just made that particular item feel forced. Again this could have been simply a pacing issue. As if there was more to that part of the struggle which was simply cut to fit into the hour time block. Beyond that I think they did a real good job making me feel for the girl and her situation, really showing why she needed the future Superman to save her.

This story really shined in the end when her father escaped from the "I am not-too-bright because I wear glasses while transporting a super villain with glass power" deputy. Ok. That part was a bit silly but I found it amusing. What came next was the best part of the episode. When Clark faces the villain in the barn and the little girl steps up and saves him. Yeah we know the only casualty in the flying glass would have been Clark's wardrobe but she did not know that. I was also glad to see the villain survived the episode. Smallville does kill bad guys a bit too often and it is just nice to see bad guys going to jail instead of the morgue. It was also nice to see Clark talking the girl down from making a big mistake.

I was also greatly amused by Lois's commenting on Clark's ability to take care of a child. Knowing that she will some day marry the man and may very well end up having children with him just added a certain level of amusement to their banter.

There was also some minor motion on the main plots this week. We see a bit of a spitting contest developing between Lex and Chloe over Lana which is interesting. We also see Lana and Lex are now aware of the attraction between them. Something anyone paying attention would have seen coming two seasons ago. I for one am interested in seeing how that plays out. Lana is in an interesting place right now. She can go many different directions. It's important to note that Smallville is not completely bound by continuity from other versions of Superman. At least in some areas. I see no reason why Lana Lang can not follow Lex Luthor down his path to the dark side in this version. It's easy to imagine Smallville's Lana ending up at Luthor's side in the end. Of course she can be turned away and hopefully Clark or Chloe can keep her from following that path.

Anyway, while this was technically filler it was still a good story and the kind of story I personally like to see out of this show. I'll take Clark helping a young person in trouble over Killer Cheerleaders or Clark is brainwashed stories any day.

I'll give this one a solid B. (Or 4 out of 5 flying shards of glass.) Not perfect but worth your time.

Now was it just me or was there no mention of a new episode next week?There was just a blurb about more downloadable content on AOL, complete with strategic episode product placement. You'd think the DCU would have it be "Luthor On Line" or "Lex On Line" but I suppose LOL wouldn't fly as an internet company's trade mark. (I know. I know. That was bad. No cookie for me.) See you all next time!

Douglas "Doright" Trumble



Fragile

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

MAIN POINTS:

  • Clark meets a little girl, Mattie, who breaks glass when she's angry using her mind.
  • Her father shows up with similar powers and tries to take her back.
  • Clark and Mattie foil the attempt.
  • Lana and Lex kiss despite denying that they like each other in "that way".

    REVIEW:

    Stop right here.

    Harold Nichols, a good friend of many of you and the Homepage, passed April 2. I just learned the information myself. He was Nick-El on his posts, and liked to be known as Nick.

    We exchanged a number of emails over the years, starting when he complimented my online comic, and going through the whole Dark Idol mess. He was a supporter, he had a good sense of humor, and he was a good friend. And I only knew him online. Imagine how cool a guy he was in person.

    I find it very cliché to dedicate something in memory to the man. I mean, I ripped on it when they attached a dedication to Dana Reeve on a sub-par episode of Smallville, and in the event that you find this review to be garbage, I don't want to sully Harold. He was a great guy. He will be missed.

    Instead, first and foremost, I'll say that he has my respect and honor in life and death, he was one hell of a guy, and I hope he's sitting on a cloud.

    Feel free to post kind words if you knew him in the comments. There is also a message board thread. I wish I could do more, I feel pretty powerless. It sucks.

    I guess the best way I can honor him and our friendship is continuing. I hope I can do well by his support and what he meant to me.

    Tell the people what he meant to you.

    Segues suck. I'm bad at them when sad, so I'll just start. The above was written when I found out, just after the review was completed, so please forgive the abruptness:

    ...

    Not a bad directorial debut for Welling, honestly.

    There were all the makings here for a horrible, horrible episode. Lana drama. A freak of the week. A concept that's already been done before (stray kid in Ryan, freak of the week 106 times, control of an element, and Clark's adoption issues), but nonetheless, thanks to good writing and a lot of great character over action moments, along with action that wasn't the typical dude-falling-on-a-grinder just because, it wasn't too bad a deal in the end.

    Usually, it's the reverse of what happened in this episode. I usually dig the beginning, at least of late, and then the slow starts to slowly descend. Here, the beginning looked like a pile of absolute crap, then things slowly got better and better culminating to an awesome end.

    I mean, seriously, if I told you that a show started with a kid that can control glass, a kid who goes insta-homicidal because a mother calls her to dinner, and a teaser that shows the kid breaking so many windows that it's like, OKAY ALREADY, we get it! She can break windows, you'd probably think insta-suck. So I did. A third of my notes are about that opening, which just drove me nuts. The story is a rip on Firestarter and Carrie, but not a complete rip.

    The cool part of the opening was the riff off the X-Men vibe. I have these powers, I don't know how to control them. Unfortunately, it focused on a Lex moment. "Clark! Naturally, you can throw me 30 feet because you're hypnotized!" Only this time, it's the mother "The pitcher! It just broke! That means you have the power to break glass with your mind!"

    Nah. That means your pitcher broke, you frickin' astrologer, wanna-believe-anything yutz! That's taking the plot from A to C forgetting B.

    BUT, the kid didn't turn out to be insta-homicidal (though it later conveniently glosses over the fact that she killed her foster mother, on accident or not). The powers were not in her control. It worked out.

    As I mentioned above, this whole episode just SMACKED of the girl version of Ryan. I am peeved that they keep repeating the same plots over and over again. Once in a while is okay, but it's been pretty much every episode for a while now. This one worked out, but I'm convinced it's a large part of what's tanking the show for me of late.

    I did, however, wish the mom death for being stupid enough to stand in front of a mirror as every piece of glass in the house exploded around her. Too dumb to live. Weakest link. Goodbye.

    Clark and Martha react, as this is the foster daughter of Martha's chief of staff. This Martha uses as an excuse to call Lionel. Clark? "Er, ah, mom, I, ah, will you, ah, not call him, uh, please?"

    Not, "Mom, Lionel knows my secret and is endangering us both."

    Why? Because it's not the finale. Stupid reason. It makes me, as a viewer, say, "Why are we watching a story that we've already seen when there is this great development we could be seeing?" It is also, notably, why viewership declines and people watch only event episodes instead of the whole run. Which kills shows.

    Every scene with Lana in this show didn't make my eyes bleed, which I've gotta give Tom credit for. The particular one that follows the aforementioned scene really did, though. Lex and Lana, buddy buddy in the dorm. Lex hands Lana a file. "Lana, I trust you implicitly!" Lana: "Yeah, Lex! And I trust you 100%!" (even using the term 100%).

    Is this the same two people that just half a season ago were at each other's throat? I mean, all those times Lex lied to Lana, all those times Lana lied to Lex, we just forget that because they make dove eyes at each other? I don't get it. It's EXACTLY like when for no apparent reason Clark suddenly breaks off or gets with Lana again. And it's the reason that if they paid a little more time to character instead of plot, story over cliché and villain, we might have a little reasoning behind these arbitrary points of drama. Instead, it just is because it is. And I don't buy it. And no one I talk to buys it beyond fringe folk. 'Shippers. Like I would buy Martha suddenly stopping mid-scene to make out with me without any reason just because I want that to happen.

    Clark and the kid, though we've already seen it with Ryan, came across sincere, well-acted, and fun. He showed his powers to the kid, stacking up the hay, but it was really overwhelmed by the sentiment of the action and the fun of the scene. Clark trusts kids and innocence, so I buy this. Is it a smart move? No. But was it a good scene? Yeah. And sometimes that overwhelms plausibility. Not often, but sometimes. I think I try and do it once a book myself, and only for a key scene.

    Shelby! Hot dog. They remembered. That's strangely one of the only pieces of continuity that keeps coming back, and I enjoy it every time I see it. It'd be like seeing the neighbor every now and again, or mentioning Whitney. I dunno. It just seems more in tune with the show than other things they do.

    Another thing that many will likely complain about that didn't bug me as much as it might have otherwise is the girl suddenly talking out of the blue. In real life, people don't just snap out of trauma like that, certainly not to the first schmoe who says, "Hey, I'm a nice guy. Believe me!". But then, that's part of the cool part of Superman, one of the shortcuts of character that I actually buy. When he says, "STOP!", doesn't matter who you are, you stop what you're doing, because of his presence. So when he says, "Trust me. I never lie." That's a bloody untruth to everyone, but not when Superman says it. Is Clark that man? In this show? Not all the time. But enough so that I believe she spoke again because Clark asked her to. Doing it for her dad and Lois? Not so much. It was too pat. But it was, at very least, like stacking the hay, a beautiful attempt to characterize Clark and show some life to the 2D freak of the week girl.

    Clark also uses...WHAT? Super hearing? You mean he has powers beyond throwing guys thirty feet and being invulnerable? Seriously, when's the last time we actually SAW ear-cam, x-ray vision, or heat vision? Not too much, huh? My theory is that it's because their budget is shrinking with fewer viewers. Less ads. Less money. Thus more "squints" instead of effects pull-back. I don't like that. I think that could have been avoided with stronger writing, more payoff, and less of the creative laziness that characterized season four. Still, it made it here, along with heat vision. Good times. And thus good episode.

    Barry Freiman emailed me before I started the review, and noted that Lois should have been made the press secretary for Martha. I agree. A simple change that would have made this episode better. As it stands, I still don't understand how Lois is just falling into these positions with no college experience. Sends a bad message to kids, that you'll just be able to have nice new Ford Fusions (that we've never seen again) and jobs with important people if you're just cute and annoying.

    But anyway, point being, they're still just trying to justify Lois being around with no real reason. As ever. I love Erica's body, I do. Who doesn't? But a body does not a character make, at least beyond Baywatch.

    Hey, readers.

    YEAH, NEAL?

    You want some OLD SPICE FORD PHANTOM ZONE AOL ACCUVIEW FUSION?

    DID YOU JUST SAY old spice ford phantom zone aol accuview fusion?

    That's right! OLD SPICE FORD PHANTOM ZONE AOL ACCUVIEW FUSION!

    Why? Because promotion doesn't care about the implications or consequences of inuring people to corporate mentality! That, and because it's an easy way to make money. Because, you know, they're not getting paid enough, I guess. They keep shortening the show, making the show worse, and lessening the effects. But let me guess, just venture a guess, you think Al Gough or Miles Millar are making a penny less? Think they took a cut in pay to make the show better? I mean, I could be way off base, and invite anyone with any information to tell me otherwise, but my guess is not a single penny of their Hollywood salary is deducted to make the story better.

    Oh, Neal, shut up! If you had the money they had you wouldn't either.

    Which is why I haven't had a job in three years to make my writing better? Which is why I sell my books at a loss and give them away? Which is why I'm on food stamps?

    I guess the point of all that is to say, you know what? Enough with the corporate, sponsor, $%@#. Keep it in the commercials. It's bad enough we have to watch a third of the show of those. They don't belong in the already sacrificed story so you can put new rims on your Bentley or drive constantly between Metropolis and Smallville or whatever the *@%$ it is you rich people do to have fun.

    Speaking of driving from Metropolis to Smallville, Chloe drives all the way to Smallville just to confront Lex about Lana before she's even sure that they're doing anything untoward. She storms in, tells Lex she knows deception is his stock and trade (tune in next week when she'll say he's a great guy again!), and then warns him that she'll...she'll do something!

    It's like the scene where Lois tries to flip Lex crap for things he hasn't done, and he calls her a stupid muffin peddler. Awesome. It was CRUEL, FLAT OUT CRUEL of him to point out that she has trouble finding a boyfriend because she focuses on her brain over her body (though I have no beefs with her body, just following the logic), but cruel as it was, he's right. She overanalyzes, she's confident, she's smart. That's not what guys look for. They look for easy, stupid, and hot. Just like girls look for rich, cruel, and mysterious. Generalizing, of course, but you know what I mean. It's a very accurate character assessment for Lex, it shows how cruel he can be when treated poorly, and importantly, both characters were SPOT-ON. Chloe's motivation for going there stank, but the scene itself was incredible.

    By Stephen G's reckoning, it's 40 bucks to drive to Smallville and back. That's about right. I went from Tacoma, Washington to Richmond, Canada last week to visit my longtime Internet buddy Will, and that's a three hour drive. Three and a half with the border sniffing my car (of course I get picked for the random search, probably because I criticize Lana. Feh!). Point being, I used it as a good opportunity to gauge the cost of the Metropolis commute. I have a fuel-efficient truck, and it cost me about 33 dollars. With the new, flashy cars they have, I think it'd cost more, so 40 bucks is reasonable.

    So anyway, that's 40 bucks so far wasted by poor college students.

    Another important part of this experience is that I love long drives, but it's tiring. At the end, you're ready to drop, not confront. You would NEVER, EVER just do it on a whim, I would assert.

    I thought about that scene, actually paused the DVR and tried to figure out what was odd about the structure of the plot and the moments. It hit me. Chloe's concern for Lana rings silly because it makes more sense to go to Lana and chide her for being with Lex. It's also what Chloe would do. I mean, they both know (or at least of late have ACTED like they know) that both think Lex is scum of the Earth. So do you go to that guy and just say, "Hey, scum, are you scum?" or do you go to the girl who was just acting strangely, a junkie, and say to her, "Uh, you having a relapse? What's up? Can we talk?"

    My rationale and logic indicate to me that it's a purposeful way to have Chloe confront the Lana Lex relationship without making Lana the bad guy in any way. Think about it. First, Chloe confronts Lex, who is played to be an opportunistic b@$#@rd for daring to want to be with Lana (nah, he's just incredibly stupid for wanting such). That makes Lex the bad guy. Then, Lana confronts Chloe for DARING to try and look out for her friend, making Chloe the bad guy for being a snoop. Because, you know, Lana never tries to pry into her friends' secrets or anything (A-HEM).

    Lana-fetish.

    The twist with the dad arriving was neat. You're suddenly thrown, going "Who the heck is THAT guy?" For a second I thought it was an apparition Jonathan and really freaked out. Good stuff. Nice way to introduce a redemptive element to the fact that she killed her foster mother.

    The car glass shatters, and jagged edges go flying into Lois. Problem being, safety glass doesn't do that. It cuts the heck out of you, yes. Just ask my brother about that. Four times he rolled, went through the windshield, cut his face up awful. But all of the glass was pebbly, not jagged like a window gets. That threw me out.

    AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES!

    Lois and Clark talk like they've screwed up with their little sister, and it occurs to me, that's just it. In this show, they're really brother and sister now. Not like with Chloe, where there was a hint of romance and then longing every now and again. Clark and Lois are really essentially just brother and sister who often hate each other. I have a hard time seeing that as a future romance, which is another reason I find Lois unnecessary to the plot at this point.

    The dad can fix glass, we find out, with a neatly done effect with a swan. I was surprised at how good the effects were on this episode compared to usual. What's funny is that they're driving around, trying not to get caught, but BAM! The dad doesn't fix the car windows. HAR! Eagle eye. Check it out.

    Here, my writer sense tingled. So lulled into stupidity by previous episodes, I wrote: "I SENSE A GRATUITOUS GLASS RELATED DAD DEATH COMING!"

    It speaks to the writing that this didn't happen, and I am glad to be wrong.

    Clark super-speeds to where Mattie is and finds her with her father. He super-speeds right in front of both of them (UGH!) and reveals his speed. Which stinks, because this guy would tell his secret.

    This is outweighed, however, by the fact that Clark actually USES his powers. The writers actually thought of what he would do. He speeds up, stops the dad before he can throw some glass, and throws him. Yeah, he throws him thirty feet into glass (uh, that's not getting old. Sigh), but he also, notably, doesn't just stand there with Superman's powers and allow him to throw stuff at him just so we can see how cool it is to bounce off his chest. Clark does this again later, casually using his heat vision to swat away the glass aimed at Martha instead of playing along. That is GOOD writing.

    Then the Lana scene, where Lana "how-dare-you-Chloe?"s Chloe. This is, notably, yet another Lana lie. She explicitly states that there's nothing going on with Lex. There is. It's obvious. She knows it. Like when she said there was nothing going on with Clark, but there was. Do I sense a repeating, continuing, annoying character fault?

    Put her in a big plastic box and be done with it. Curses.

    Martha Kent asserts, in offering Lois the job, that she is a STATE senator. It's explicitly stated. The hard part is whether or not she means one of the two senators for the state, or whether she means one for her county.

    My guess is that a county senator doesn't need a chief of staff. This remains an unsolved dilemma. Looking at Washington State, where I was embarrassed to find that I am wrong, it's ONE senator for local counties, not two. Which is embarrassing because I really do tend to follow politics closely, and it made me feel stupid. I'll just reassure myself by knowing that people out there don't know who won the civil war, so I'm hardly beyond help. Anyway, the local senator has one chief of staff for the whole state, so I'm guessing Martha is one of the two state senators that go to Washington DC.

    AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES.

    But hey, that glasses effect looked like it hurt, and it also was pretty awesome. Good scene.

    Martha mentions how Jonathan would be proud of Clark, which is continuity for those of you paying attention, and actually missing a dead character (surprising). Clark then banters with Mattie, which goes well for the most part. One part stank.

    Clark: "Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad!"

    Here, I actually drew a star with motion lines in my notes and wrote: "The more you know!" Basically, you can't get any more cheesier than that. It's an offshoot of the continual media blitz to show the obvious: MEN WHO HAVE KIDS AND DON'T PAY FOR THEM ARE EVIL (even if they didn't want to have a kid, the mom said she was on birth control, and the mom lied and had one anyway)!

    But the message is a good one, which I support. Dads have to be good dads. And Clark epitomizes that, pretty generally. Alas, he's never gonna be a dad the way things are going in all medias, but still, it's a good point.

    At this point I note that all of that stuff we saw in the previews never happened in this episode. That SUCKS, because the previews looked pretty cool. Lionel saying, "Kal-El!", Clark leaping across a street in full view. Remember that? I do. This is gonna be like the time they teased Kara for five weeks before we saw the episode to cover up filler episodes.

    Mattie at this point is acting like she doesn't know Clark has powers, which is weird given what she's seen him do. She never really acts like she learns, which baffles me. She saw Clark super-speed, impossibly pile up hay in an instant, throw a man thirty feet, and use his eyes (even if she couldn't see the beams) to explode a piece of glass. Even a dumb kid would see past that.

    The glass attack from the dad and the heat vision counter was awesome. Mattie stopping the glass and returning it to the father was equally cool. Cool enough to make up for the fact that she suddenly has full, Magneto-style control over her powers where before she was struggling just not to blow the house apart. It's bad, yeah, but I think the scene makes up for it.

    One thing that did bug me is that the dad would definitely be more powerful. There's no reason the daughter would best him. And if she could, why didn't she on the road?

    So we have the resolution, which doesn't kill the dad. It's a re-run of Vengeance, where the girl either chooses to kill and become evil good, or let the dad live, and go on. Clark redeems his failures in Vengeance. Too bad that they didn't actually mention that or explore that, but hey. And now the dad's still out there, knowing Clark has powers. That stinks.

    They say goodbye to the girl, and I note, per Ryan and perhaps astutely, "Don't worry, kid, you'll be dead in one more guest appearance!" and "STAY AWAY FROM SUMMERHOLDT!"

    My next note: "Clana?"

    NO! Good. There's a Clex, though, which is almost worse.

    I note that Martha is now a state senator, and if there's one group of people that has a constantly rising pay scale while poor people suffer, it's elected officials. Which means, basically, the Kents now have a grip of money. Why is Clark not back in college? Heck, of all the characters, now Clark is the only one as likely as Lex to be able to afford long drives and cell phones and college.

    Chloe lies to Clark about something going on with Lana and Lex. This is likely because she trusts her friend Lana, but she would know better than that. She knows better than that. She could just say, "Well I thought that this was happening, but it doesn't seem to be." In other words, Chloe was a moron. Of course, given that she's been thrust into the position of intermediary between the man she loves and a girl that man loves, I don't blame her for finally doing something out of spite, but that's not what she did, she just made a purposefully stupid choice, so I don't forgive it.

    It just goes to the argument I have stated numerous times to much scorn. Guy girl friendships do not and cannot exist without sex being involved unless the guy isn't attracted to the girl, isn't attracted to girls, or the guy has someone better looking he wants to keep more than to sate his own desires. Chloe? Clark isn't attracted to her. But still, the friendship is one-sided and bunk, because Chloe IS attracted to Clark. I further postulate that no relationship or friendship (in the rare existences that they can exist) between a man and a woman is fair where one is attracted to the other and the other cannot reciprocate, even in the best of situations.

    Don't email me and yell at me because you're an exception, because one, I won't believe it, and two, an exception just shows how staggeringly generally true the rule is while narcissistically trying to bring attention to the person bragging that they're the exception.

    This show is a good example of that. It's why though on paper Clark and Chloe are made to be great friends with rare drama, it's hard to take the relationship as seriously. Same with Lois.

    Lana drives three hours to Smallville (K-CHING, eighty bucks from poor college students) to talk with Lex about what Chloe said instead of simply calling him. The writers then purposefully make a very careful maneuver so that Lana's kissing of Lex doesn't seem like her fault. She very plainly says to Lex (in a cruel way) "To THINK that there would be anything between us besides friendship!" (after which she swoons in her corset and drops into her South Carolina fainting dialogue couch).

    Lex kisses her, making him the bad guy, and she jumps onto him and MAKES OUT with him.

    I was half hoping that he'd push her off, slap her, and say, "HOW DARE YOU?", but then, that would be inappropriate, wouldn't it? Er...

    Another example. Male and female friends. They can't stay that way. In my experience, it's always like this.

    Does this mean I buy the Lana Lex romance? Not in a second. Not in a second. There's no reason Lex would want to be with Lana. Not really. He can buy hotter without issues. And I don't mean prostitutes. I mean there are simply hot chicks, hotter than Lana, who will hang with you if you have cash no matter how ugly you are.

    The Clex is almost worse than a Clana. But not really. I mean, it denigrates the Lex character, yeah, but at least it's something different for now.

    It ends with the typical. Lana, even though she instigated much of the situation, stomps out without saying anything and drives off. How many shows can you put that on the ending of, huh?

    At any rate, that's the show, and that's the review. Short this week, mostly because I just don't have many complaints. And that's a bad thing? I don't think so. A lot of character, inconsistencies, but usually with something to make up for them, a believably cute freak, and yeah, a rehashed plot, but rehashed well. Little on the subplot, but then that means less Lionel and Martha to pollute otherwise good work. A nice reprieve from the typical last few failures of episodes... 4 of 5.

    SUPER SHORT REVIEW:

    Ryan appears again in the form of a little girl who can control glass. Why? Because a meteor hit her dad. Is that a typical plot? Yeah. But is it played in the typical way? No. So it works. Welling makes a good, strong debut as a director, aided by solid writing and good acting. There are some down sides, but mostly they're obvious and ignorable. 4 of 5.

    LETTERS:

    WARNING: Tertiary but pertinent meandering...

    Before we start, because folks are asking for any buying books. I'm not making any profit yet, but I am ready to start putting out more stuff for you guys.

    The Emerald City Comic Con yielded a surprising set of artists willing to plow away, and good artists. I'm now proceeding (for those of you who have been reading for a while) on work with The New Patriot, One for Gina, I'm a Real $#* *#%%$ (seriously, check my site for the rest of that one, it'd give a soccer mom a heart attack) and an adaptation of my fourth book, Benjamin's Dream.

    Speaking of which, that book has now been professionally edited and released as an e-book for five buck! Hey, I know e-books are not for everyone, but if you want to drop me a quarter and have a chance to read my fourth book, the one I'm most proud of, hit up http://www.literaryroad.com/products/00017.html.

    Along with this, there's now a Madly e-book, given that I have about fifty copies out there and figured it would be worthwhile. It's 2.50, dirt cheap, and a fun read.

    Noah Runzo gave me a list of my current poems he thought were the best, and he organized them into a format called "Dogs On the Roof". It makes sense, trust me. I figured, given that I'm usually a bad judge of what I'm doing right, a reader's eye for my poetry would lead to a more popular volume, so you can get this 36 poem tome featuring three or four epics and a ton of stuff that will make your parents cry.

    Or, if you want to try a comic, check Paladin out. The only reason I haven't put up the other two issues so far is because no one's been buying...It's a BUCK!

    Have I promoted enough? Maybe. If it's too much, sorry. But just realize, hey, I don't make any cash doing this, and you can skim, and you Smallville folk are my big audience, so there you are.

    I plan on releasing two more novels and a number of chapbooks this summer, so once Smallville ends, if you want to watch my projects, head to http://www.nealbailey.com/publications/publications.php.

    As ever, my site is NOT family friendly, so bear that in mind going and don't blame Steve.

    Jim wrote:
    First a direct quote.. "Also, to humor, I think I saw Lex go "The @$#%?" when looking at his hand."

    While he did not say it you could see it on his face. Almost as he could feel it, that something was clearly wrong. I almost wanted him to try to pull the glove off. It was just a very cool moment.

    Yeah, you wonder why he didn't. Heh.

    As to the "jungle" bits. Yea they could have done better with it just by tossing in a lot more bamboo plants. I lived in Panama for two years, stuff grows like crazy down there.

    And the funny thing is that it's native to the northwest US, too, near where they film. I used to take a broadsword into the backyard and cut it down when I lived on Indian Street in Bellingham. They used to think I was crazy.

    But every thing felt right when watching it, I believed he was down there. I think more than the plants it was the people in the little village. Just dirty enough and the way those girls looked at Clark... Yea, I have seen that look before. "I don't know what you are saying but please give me babies."

    Heh. And I read into things with "the (%$"? I kid. I know what you're saying.

    While this has been better than last season it's not worlds better. Al and Miles better wake the hell up and hire some new writers, writers who understand the character and does have more than a bit of talent. Someone call John Byrne and toss him garbage bags full of cash and beg him. While his stories in the Superman comics are not always the greatest, I think he could turn out better stuff while sitting on the toilet than what we are getting now.

    Er, should I open up the John Byrne bag? I mean, we're looking for continuity, right? I think I would hire, say, the people who are doing House. They know how to take a repetitive theme and riff on it in strange new ways each week. They also work with Bryan Singer, which would mean continuity with the movie.

    Oh wait, Pa Kent is dead, he might not do it now. Oh well. Good review Neal with a surprising lack of LuthER's. Until next time, take care.

    Jim

    I pretty much stopped getting annoyed by the LuthER thing as much. It comes and goes. That's the thing, I gotta be honest, and though it doesn't bug me now, it did then. I guess it's all in how often you see it. Like right now, things they've already done that they're doing again really bugs me.

    Thanks!

    Trent wrote:
    Neal,

    I read and enjoyed your review of 'Void'. We had similar complaints and praises for it, but as sharp as you are about picking out plotholes and stuff, I'm surprised the biggest two apparently went by you.

    Do tell...

    Exhibit A- Lana abandoned Lex to his fate against Generic Villain Of The Week. On her way out, she scooped a vile of goo to get another little visit with her parents. So far, so good (inasmuch as abandoning someone to a violent murder, for all you know, can be termed "good"). The problem arises, however, when Lana prepares to inject herself. The Generic Krypotoxin Goo Of The Week kills the victim who must then be resuscitated by a second party. Can you see where this is going? How did Lana intend to shoot herself full of GKGOTW when GVOTW wasn't around to bring her back?

    I actually was going to mention that. I was going to write that down, but in the flurry of writing I forgot it. Thanks for reminding me...good call.

    Exhibit B- That in mind, why did Generic Villain stop Lana from shooting herself full of Goo? In the first place, he ended up trying to murder her directly. Now, which makes more sense? Passively allowing someone to die or doing the job yourself? Who knows, ask Lana! Hahaha. But really, all he had to do was wait for her to do the job herself and then... do nothing. That requires less direct intervention than, say, prying the Goo out of her hand, spinning her around and bich-slapping her across the lab, right?

    Yeah, that was pretty redundant. Which was why it sucked, largely.

    As far as Siegels, Shusters and Superboys are concerned, I personally think Smallville is on death row anyway because of dropping ratings and, oh yeah, a MEGA movie coming out this summer.

    Still, as much as I knock the ratings, it's good for WB, and the movie can only help Smallville...I think it's in decline, but I see it as having one or two more seasons after this one. Or more if the money is there.

    The Powers That Be over at WB have thus far said the two can and will co-exist... but likely is that *really* considering WB stands to profit far more from a Superman film than a non-Superman TV show? Combine all that with the conventional wisdom which says that a TV show existing in one continuity and a film existing in a different continuity would confuse the unwashed masses... and these days Smallville really doesn't need the help!

    That was only a recent idea. I think, especially given that while they were saying that there was a Batman cartoon, a Batman comic, and a Batman tv show while Batman Begins was coming (Birds of Prey) they only say that to scare fans and test the waters.

    Frankly, I'm not even sure that show is worth saving anymore. I would've been royally angry about cancellation during 3rd season but if 5th season is the best we can hope the show will ever be again, well, why *not* cancel it? As a Superman fan I'm really beginning to wish I'd never heard of the show. We've witnessed that three seasons of Greatness can easily be undermined by two episodes of Suck. End it now.

    - T

    That's an argument I've been considering lately. Should it die if it's not good, or is it better to have something than not at all? As I recall, I said something about it second season, but have since forgotten. Considering...

    Tommy Boy wrote:
    Dear Neil,

    Thought it was funny when Clark was in Honduras and you could see his breath as if it was cold outside. Maybe I am wrong, but isn't Honduras a very warm part of the world?

    Yeah. And the bananas grow upside down! But anyway, yeah, I didn't notice that. Good catch! Awesome!

    Mary T. wrote:
    This is about the guy that sent you an email in Spanish about "recibir smallville videos" (receiving smallville videos), and I must tell you that the translating tool that you used pretty much sucks and it made me laugh for a few minutes.

    Yeah, it usually tends to fail. It's all I have though, next to Daniel my Venezuelan buddy, and Alessandro. And I hate bugging people for translations. Makes me feel ignorant. The machine can't call you a stupid, ignorant American, it just makes you one!

    Here's the real english-spanish translation of the answer that you wrote:

    "Perdón, yo no hablo español. Pero pienso que usted quiere que le diga donde obtener videos de Smallville. Legalmente, no puedo hacer eso. Me lincharían en el Departamento de Seguridad del Estado. Así que utilizaré al traductor libre y te diré que no condeno de ninguna manera y de hecho admiro a los usuarios de Bittorrent, porque son ellos los que obtienen los episodios libres de Smallville. Espero que eso te sirva de ayuda. Neal"

    Thank you! :)

    Why am I wasting my time and sending this to you? Erm, because I like languages and I have nothing better to do, and also, I like to try to right all wrongs like a certain Cervantes character.

    Hey, you're talking to a guy who sits down and edits resumes just for fun. And writes novels that will never see the light of day. And works for no pay. I understand labors of love. And thank you.

    Greetings,
    Mary T.

    Daniel wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    Just wanted to get to you real quick.

    You have thirty seconds. GO! Just kidding. I can't time this. Not really, anyway. GO!

    First off, to the person who criticized your style. He had absolutely no right to approach it the way he did. He made it sound as if you owed him something or as if he was paying you for this service. You volunteer your time and while he can make suggestions, the insinuations the came along with them I found personally insulting and they didn't even attack me.

    Ah, don't sweat it. I don't. I have an epigram for that situation: "You can think what you want of me/I do." And that's just it. Unlike certain comic book writers, you learn really quickly writing for a large audience often that if you take anything personally you will crumble. As a guy, I have thick skin, and I try and realize that beneath every snarling armchair critic with no experience is a grain of some truth. Sometimes, like with that guy, it's harder to find. And sometimes I go completely off the deep end and cream people with a response that probably would make their ancestors weep. It's all part of being human, but generally speaking, I respond as I respond here in public. If you don't have something nice to say, I still want to listen. Even if you hate me, at least you're taking the time to respond to my work, and I'm beloved of that.

    Personally, Neal, I love your style of review.

    Thank you.

    Furthermore, the way you personalize each point is what makes your reviews especially credible and fun to read.

    I figure I write what I would want to read myself, and that's about it.

    And so what if you harp on the difficulties you've faced in getting published? You have every right to and if I was in a position where I could change that (meaning you not getting published), I would.

    Too kind...there is a cogent argument that it has no place here, if you don't believe in new journalism, if you prescribe to the absurd idea that a review can be objective, or if you want to take my place. That's the old joke, there are no fans in comics, only dudes who want your job. Not true, still apt at times.

    I could write shorter reviews, reviews that don't go so far into who I am, but there are other reviews on the net like that for people who like them, and I'd like to believe the personal touch is what gets me my cool readers like yourself.

    So, my take, is don't stop what you're doing, because I believe that he is the only one that feels that way.

    That's cool. I can't stop anyway, but that's a positive outcome. :)

    I personally disagree with many of your political views, but I would never discourage you from writing your personal opinions.

    Likewise. Actually, I think that's one of the best things to come out of the internet. I'm reading literally HUNDREDS of people who I find to be wrong on multitudes of issues CONSTANTLY. It provides a dual side to every story, often multiple sides, an enlightened perspective, just more overall exposures to ideas.

    I'm big on the idea that even if we disagree on everything, we can be friends. I think that being kind and interacting and having fun is just a baseline something that even political opposites can do if they just have the right attitude. It's not always true.

    A kid ran through my concrete slab that I poured the other day. Someone asked me what I would have done had I caught him instead of letting him run away, and my answer, that which makes me a freak, is that the answer was "Probably get an apology and make friends with him."

    If you try and be friends with only people who think like you do (and I know many who believe you can do this, to failure), you end up alone. I mean, that's the reason I keep printing LanaFan. She's nutty as a fruitcake to me, but even if she makes you mad, at least it puts your views in perspective. And if you love her, well, there's something good for you.

    Long response to a short assertion, but my point is, yeah. Please! Disagree. And please further, keep up that communication. THAT is the way to end war, promote the great society, and end the need for a military-industrial complex. Heck, it might even spin hay into gold. Okay, I go too far. But I'm an optimist that way.

    In fact, I encourage it as much as I encourage people to read all sides of an issue before formulating an opinion. Otherwise, we breed ignorance.

    Word!

    Now, I don't attack your views in this forum for my own reasons, but I would never tell you off. And the person who tried to was way out of line. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have your reviews to read after watching a disappointing episode of Smallville.

    You know, the truth is, I wouldn't probably debate many of my personal views here, not out of fear, more out of respect for the family friendly aspect of this site. But, that said, in private correspondence, I LOVE debate of that nature, and I'll even publish it on my site if you want. That's the glory of the internet. It's a step forward from the printing press because you never run out of paper.

    And hey, why haven't you challenged me yet? Please do!

    Anyways, I just had to make that point. I particularly agreed with your review of Void, although the rating was a bit higher than I expected. For an episode completely devoted to Lana doing something entirely out of character (unfortunately most everything else derived itself from this main plotline), I was surprised to see a 3. Although, I agree with that rating because it was equivalent to the episode Scare (just a note, you constantly referred to it as Fear, but it was called Scare - a kindly reminder).

    Yeah, I do that all the time. I'm not sure why. It's like messing up compound words. I know I shouldn't, I just do.

    I think in the re-review that one will likely go down.

    The death sequences were very awesome, but were, as you pointed out, completely out of place in the episode. If they had spent the same amount of time/passion on the rest of the episode as they did the death sequences, we would have had an epic along the lines of Memoria instead of one akin to Scare. Oh well, I guess we wouldn't expect anything different.

    Memoria was such a surprise at the time...it could happen again.

    The one problem I had with these death sequences were that we were given no resolution. We have no idea what Lex's or Clark's reaction were to their dreams. Does Lex take his mother's warnings seriously? Will Clark begin to realize that his destiny does not belong in Smallville? I have no idea and while these things may happen in the next several episodes, they belong here and the failure to include them makes me feel cheated. The significance to such devices is also in the reaction of the characters.

    Very true, and a good point.

    I was looking back at the writers of some of the best episodes in the past and noticed that most of them were written by Gough and Miller (i.e. Memoria and many others). It's a shame they've let their show head where it has gone, because they haven't written an episode in quite a while.

    They're writing Aquaman, no doubt. Already moving on.

    They have demonstrated an understanding of character and mythology in what they write. They care about it. These other writers don't and it's a shame you aren't hired to the staff, because I am certain that your passion for Superman would help this show significantly.

    Thank you. Even Gough and Millar have stunk, though. Ever see Showtime? (cringe). I don't know how I would work as a Smallville writer. I'm bad as a collaborator, but I have good ideas and tight prose when I'm not rambling. It's a woulda coulda shoulda I'm not going to worry about. I'm proud of what I'm doing.

    To make a great episode on Smallville, you don't have to be a great writer (this is meant as a generality and not a reflection of you as a writer), just one who cares about the characters. These writers don't. That's the way I see it. And that's why I wish they would hire you on their staff.

    Not taken as such. And you know what? That's just it. It's half attitude. Is it for a paycheck, or because it's an honor.

    Couple of notes about the episode itself. Did you notice when Lana punched through the glass, yet didn't manage to cut herself at all. No blood? Yeah, right. Or during that whole fight, Lana didn't manage to hurt herself at all. No cuts, no bruises. Failure on the part of the make-up department.

    I hadn't noticed that. Good call.

    I loved the scene with Lex and his mother, in particular the black glove. Even as a new comic fan myself, to me, seeing Lex Luthor with the black glove (in particular on this show) is probably equivalent to you seeing Lex in a green and purple suit. Now, there's an idea.:)

    Yeah! And that's pretty much what it's like for me, too. The only better thing would be a flash-forward where he has a red beard and long hair. Ah, maybe not. Long story...

    That's my piece. Anyways, keep up the great work and keep on making stupid comments sound asinine (including mine:))

    -Daniel

    Thanks, Daniel. Alas, I could not asininate your comments. Too cogent. Say something stupid next time.

    Daniel wrote:
    Neal,

    I meant to get this in on my last message, but I forgot...

    Okay.

    I'm sure you know what's going on with the lawsuit concerning Superboy. I'm curious what your take on it is and whether you think this will impact future seasons of Smallville.

    -Daniel

    Personally, I see the merits of it. Siegel came up with the idea. It's just greed corrupting artistry, as always happens when money becomes the chief motivating factor. First DC was greedy, stealing from Siegel both concept and character, then, it became something beyond both the company and the man. The man was compensated poorly, then died. He can no longer benefit from his idea, so now the greed passes to the Siegel heirs, who had no part in the creation but still want money.

    Both have a good point, the company and the creator descendants. But honestly, all I see is the blunt point of it. Because of money, and because of squabbling, and because of greed, we may have a limitation or a drastic change in the Superboy we know and love. For MONEY? That's like what I complain about in Smallville. So I'm against it wholly.

    ps. By the way, in my last message when I mentioned I don't attack your political views for my own personal reasons, I just want to explain that those reasons have to do with the fact that good political discussions require a more extensive back and forth dynamic than we have on this site.

    Understood. Crystal clear.

    It's not that I don't want to challenge them, because I love to do that (heck, I live in a city where I get to do that everyday), but this medium is simply too difficult for that. Anyways, just wanted to mention that before you berate me for not challenging my opinions with you.

    Well, it was more in good nature, as opposed to a serious critique. But I still say, please, bring the debate! I love it. It's why I live in the city too.

    Azor wrote:
    1) You are still thinking Martha is a U.S. Senator? It has been pretty explicitly stated on a number of occasions that we are talking about a state senate seat.

    LUNK IS SO CONFUSED. I don't know. She said a state senate seat, but then, they spent so much money, they need a chief of staff. And when you say a "state senate seat" that can mean local and national. The terms are interchangeable. I welcome theories...I'm just confused.

    2) I have a different take on Clark's admission of guilt to Jonathan. You seem to think that Clark is apologizing for choosing Lana over Jonathan. Actually, his apology doesn't have anything to do with the events of "Reckoning"; his dialogue is centered on the season premiere and the notion that his disobedience of Jor-El led to Jonathan's death. It is a re-occurence of the same guilt that he had when Martha was close to death and he first told Jonathan about Jor-El's threat. The Lana stuff is not referenced at all in the conversation, which is likely intentional as the writers don't want to draw attention to the possibility that Clark sacrificed his father to save his girlfriend.

    I think he says that he chose Lana over Jon...maybe I'm crazy, but I recall that pretty explicitly...

    3) Since I may be the only person that cares about the Greek section of the KO Count, "Void" saw Chloe reference the river Styx when referring to Lana's trips to the afterlife. While I liked the Clark/Johnathan scene, I probably would have given it up to see Clark fight Charon in the afterworld. It would have also been cool to see him take Cerebrus back to the surface world for a pet. We might have had some interesting 8:50s between Cerebrus and Shelby.

    Actually, you aren't the only one, I'm just five years out of classical lit and thus slow to catch a lot of them. It's also just so part of the normal lexicon that I miss them easily. I'll add that one...thanks.

    LanaFan315 wrote:
    Hello, Neal.

    Smallville keeps hitting these episodes out of the park, but you don't seem very impressed. "Void" was awesome, and it starred Lana (not a shocking connection there).

    And Tom Welling.
    And Jonathan Schneider.
    And Allison Mack.
    And Annette O'Toole.
    And Michael Rosenbaum.
    And a bunch of extras.
    And a few rocks with more integrity than Lana.

    If you'd learn to appreciate Lana instead of setting yourself up to hate her so much, you'd be having a better time with Smallville.

    And I'm sure it'd be fun to get kicked in the head with a boot that had chunks of glass in it too, if I just maintained a positive outlook. Instead, I'll just play the guitar when I want to enjoy something. Or seek character.

    I really think that your hatred of Lana isn't a natural response on your part so much as you deliberately setting out to find reasons to hate her. Or failing that, fabricating reasons.

    If you say so. But honestly, if I WANTED to make up stuff about Lana, I am sufficiently creative to do so. For example, if you watch this episode, Lana is being extremely devious and trying to manipulate Clark into being back with her by first lying to Chloe, then kissing Lex, only doing that to ultimately be able to woo Clark back. Is that possible? Yeah. But it's obviously reaching. Whereas an astute observation, such as the fact that they set the plot so that Lana doesn't look as culpable for her actions, isn't finding a reason to hate her. It's a critical examination. I've explained that, and to you specifically, before.

    "Void" was a stellar episode if only because it completely vindicated my suspicions of Chloe. Forget Lex, Chloe has completely gone over to the dark side now. Earlier I pointed out how Chloe was the reason Lionel learned Clark's secret, and I pointed to their bizarre e-mail correspondence, and how there was a kernel of truth in all of Clark's Silver K delusions. You asked for proof. "Void" delivered.

    She'll be wearing the black suit and telling Clark she's his father any day now, I'm sure. All the while taking over Metropolis and wearing a black glove on her hand.

    If you still have a recording of this episode, look no further than the scene where Clark goes to Chloe and tells her that Lionel knows the secret. BOOM! Guilt is all over Chloe. It's palpable. I hate Chloe as a character, but the actress at least knows how to emote. Chloe thinks Clark is on to her. Then, she even goes so far as to try to DENY that Lionel knows! When that doesn't work, Chloe tries to wriggle her way out of the mess by revealing Lionel was her source on Professor Fine. Chloe is guilty as hell, and she even partially admits it.

    That was her character dilemma this episode, yes. And I believe I called her on it, saying that she shouldn't have accepted the source, that it was out of character. That's hardly kicking a baby, though.

    Journalist/Source confidentiality my you-know-what. It doesn't even exist as a legal protection.

    Uh, yeah. It does. It really, really does.

    http://www.answers.com/topic/shield-laws

    The current justice department may usurp it by countermanding the spirit of the law, but source confidentiality is the only reason Richard Nixon was exposed and is an integral part of modern journalistic integrity, what little there is left.

    It is generally a local convention, but federal rulings grant a legal precedent for a federal belief in the Journalist's Shield. And just generally, any DA that prosecutes a member of the press for using the Journalist's Shield is committing career suicide, because the shield is about as important to any serious journalist as the first amendment, and they will fight like dogs to protect it even when they are remiss in other things.

    Chloe doesn't tell Clark? About the guy who tried to kill her, kill Clark, kill Lex, kill pretty much everyone? Instead, Chloe holds fast to a confidentiality that doesn't exist other than for journalists to feel special and pretend that their profession has a special aura of protection that only belongs to priests, spouses, doctors, lawyers...you know, the people who didn't pick the easy major in college?

    You do realize that you're talking to an accredited member of the press, and using the power of that press to promote your opinions, right? You do realize that the only reason your email inbox isn't inundated with all of the many people who disagree with you yelling, screaming, and sometimes even threatening your life (as happens to journalists for being truthful) is because I am using the Journalist's Shield and not giving out your email address even though I could?

    I'll concede that journalism is crap compared to fiction. But it isn't easy. Being a construction worker is easy. I know. I've done both. Thinking is harder than doing, as our country shows so well so often. But you're making a larger point to illustrate a defunct theory, that somehow Chloe is trying to kill everyone in Smallville and wants to take over the Earth. Or something. You're just using your typical false rhetorical analysis to promote that, and I took the bait. Dumb on me.

    I call BS on Chloe. If you scrutinized Chloe 1/100th of the amount you scrutinize Lana, you'd be demanding Chloe's head on a pike.

    Again, I did once, when she did the stuff Lana does now.

    I loved, LOVED the death scenes. I'm glad you appreciated the scenes with Lex and Clark's dead parents. Clark's father was inspiring, and reiterated that Clark has a destiny to touch lots of people's lives, save humanity, and basically to do what I've already been saying he should do, which is get Osama bin Laden. If Clark is authorized to stop people like the Luthors and Edge, he gets to ice Osama. People like Osama bin Laden, the Unabomber, etc. are indeed supervillains, and Clark's job is to kill them before they kill more people.

    They already got the Unabomber.

    I've explained this already, but here's the reason Clark isn't going after Osama Bin Laden. First, he gets Osama. Then, he gets Al Sadr. Then he gets Kim. Then he gets Darfur. Then he gets warlords in Africa. All good so far, right? But then, with all of the great battles to fight gone, the US turns on itself. We need enemies, it's human nature. Or beyond that, the argument is that power corrupts, and that he would eventually take over the US just to make sure no one ever gets hurt again in any way, which is the only truly moral stance for an all-powerful being.

    The truth is that Clark Kent, and God, and whatever omnipotent being you create in literature, is beholden to the fact that if they do omni-benevolent acts, while being really, really nice, they also create untold problems.

    Humans require free will.

    Clark also has the "prime directive" if you will to not fundamentally alter human society. It might make a neat story if he were to ever go beyond that, and I have a spec script for that, but it's just not the mainline character in any way.

    I also liked the Jonathan Kent scene because it established firmly that he died due to Clark, as you've been saying all along. When Clark came back, someone had to die, whether it was Jonathan or Lana. Clark chose to keep Lana, knowing that someone else would die. Maybe he didn't know Jonathan would be the one to eat it, but I suspect he probably did know on some level. Why do I like this stuff getting nailed down? Because now that Jonathan is dead, Clark is free to tell Lana his secret and marry her.

    Spoiler alert: Clark ends up with Lois.

    I know, I know, hard to see coming, but he will never be with Lana. Even on Smallville, with as much as it perverts the myth.

    In the time-travel episode ("Reckoning") he couldn't tell her and marry her because it resulted in her death. But now that Jonathan's died in her place, there are no obstacles. So Clark's a real idiot for not telling Lana the truth. Again. But lies are Clark's natural language, and for some reason he gets a real kick out of torturing Lana. Jonathan Kent died so Clark and Lana could be together, and he's too dumb to figure it out! Even so, we know Clark's disastrous decision not to tell Lana the truth will result in his becoming Superman.

    Or maybe he becomes Superman because he wants to use his powers to benefit the world? Not everything revolves around Lana, and certainly not that.

    Since you hate Lana so much you didn't get a lot out of Lana's death scene, but I found them fascinating.

    What part of "I almost cried." Was in Zoroastrian pagan script and thus unreadable?

    The thing that first strikes you when you see Lana's parents is the fact that neither of them are Asian, even though Lana's half Asian. Interesting.

    Her great-aunt is. Interesting as well, isn't it?

    There are a number of different possibilities for the viewer here. The most cynical is that the producers of Smallville felt they filled their Asian quota already and they didn't want to cut an Asian actor a break.

    Or that the parents were the same parents from the premiere, and making them suddenly Asian arbitrarily would be weird?

    Or they were afraid to address the issue.

    That's it, Robin! The only...possible...solution!

    Another possibility is that Lana's father was cuckolded, to wit, Lana's mother is a whore.

    You know? I never type this, I really don't I hate the term. But:

    LOL.

    Are you Rebecca-ing me? I mean, seriously. I get the feeling I'm being punk'd, but I'm playing along because it's fun. This has gotta be a joke though. Is this you, Barry?

    Which could possibly explain why Lana has tried so hard to repress her sexuality and remain virginal.

    Of course! Because everyone whose mother is a whore represses their sexuality and remains virginal, then instantly doesn't any more! Or not.

    And you, Neal, would probably argue that Lana's recent sexual interest in Clark, which you find so inappropriate and whorish, is the result of the buildup and explosion of that sexual repression.

    I don't find it whorish. Quite the opposite. I find healthy sexual interest in yunguns natural. What I find odd is when a character who is portrayed as asexual suddenly becomes a neo-nymph.

    I also find it inappropriate for Clark. More so, given his character destiny.

    As for me, I'll save my judgment until we see more facts on this issue as it is developed in future episodes.

    Yep. In Smallville 606: Whore. Summary: Lana's parents undergo kryptonite therapy in Heaven to bring back their Asiatic features.

    Lana was a star in this episode, as she so often is. I knew it would bug you a bit. Then Lana hands over a lot of cash to Dr. Evil, and I KNEW you were going to get ticked off.

    I wasn't ticked. I was glad to know what her financial situation is, because it's a point of contention. I didn't buy that she was an insta-junkie.

    But it's very rationally explained. The money came from her savings. You know, savings, the thing that responsible people do with their money? Then you have the gall to ask when we've ever seen Lana have a job! Oh, I don't know Neal, maybe for those few YEARS WHERE LANA WAS WORKING NON-STOP AT THE TALON, THE BUSINESS SHE WAS PART OWNER OF?

    You mean the Talon that she totally liquidated so that she could go to France?

    See, that's how people make money. If Lana had stuck to her business and invested responsibly, she likely would have ended up a millionaire. In America, 80% of millionaires didn't receive a dime in inheritance, they make money by building businesses and saving.

    Hah! Back that up with proof. Go on. I'll wait.

    I've known rich men and poor men, and not ONE has gotten past a few hundred grand on a small business. And CERTAINLY not a coffee shop. I live in the coffee shop capital of the world, sister, and they overcharge, all the while struggling to make the rent. In fantasy land, you can start a small business in America and make a million. The flaw with that theory is: This is Earth.

    You'd know that if you read "The Millionaire Next Door", but some people prefer to believe that the rich are a bunch of arbitrarily born, lucky trustfund babies who never worked for a living.

    Some people, yes. Not me. I do think they're greedy, self-centered morons who put material values over the values of society, but I don't really care how they got there.

    The truth is that a fool and his money are soon parted, and most people mismanage money that they didn't earn themselves.

    Yes. Like people who, instead of preparing for college, fly to France to study art. Or people who drive for six hours multiple times every week just to browbeat their boyfriend.

    Speaking of monetary mismanagement, what was up with Martha advocating tax hikes "for education"? I'm glad to see you called her out on it.

    Oh, here it comes. I didn't call her out on it. I analyzed it. I am FOR raising taxes for education. It's not a very controversial position. In fact, given that our society spends 2-4 billion on education federally and over 4-500 billion on war in a given year (something I CAN verify with statistics), I think that's a pretty smart position to adopt. Subtract one stealth bomber and triple the federal education money. That's not progressive, that's just common sense.

    Apparently it makes Martha sound so cool and generous to give other people's money "for education". I'm sure that works, too. Our children's education would be superior if we just spent more money on it.

    No. It would be better if people would stop having kids while they were poor and before they were ready, and if parents spent more time reading to their kids than buying them movies and video games. But they don't, so the best solution is to throw money at it. Which sucks, but at least it helps. The alternative is to just say that kids who are born to dumb parents deserve to suffer just because we're afraid to spend the money of the taxpayers. I'm not dumb to the argument that people who don't have kids shouldn't have to pay for those who make the choice to have kids. I also know that if you have kids or don't, statistically underfunded inner city kids in high-impact areas with huge numbers of kids per teacher are those most likely to steal my car, rape my girlfriend, or murder me, so I'll pony up.

    Because if we just pay teachers more and buy expensive new chalk and updated textbooks (because our nation's youth already know enough about the history of the world prior to 1970), it won't matter at all that kids don't give a crap about learning and doing homework and studying for tests. Because you can totally bring a horse to water and make him drink. If you pay the rider enough money.

    A fair point, but one that obfuscates the fact that even though we can't make progress without the help of parents, if we paid three more teachers to browbeat those parents for every hundred students, grades would rise. If we paid teachers more, more people would be teachers, and thusly more experts. Experts who can make more teaching than in their field would teach better than a shmoe who is teaching English because they didn't want a creative writing degree.

    At any rate, that's the whole reason I disagreed with the plot line. It rankles these very issues, and that's why Superman should be non-denominational.

    YEAH MARTHA GOOD ONE. AND DON'T WORRY ABOUT TAX REVENUES DECREASING WHEN YOU DEPRESS THE ECONOMY WITH YOUR TAX HIKE.

    Hate to adopt the position of the democrat, because I'm not one, but statistically speaking, a hike in taxes in the short term, and in moderation, doesn't depress the economy. That's a talking points lie, and you're likely parroting it because you heard it from somebody else. I can verify what I just said. Can you?

    Who voted for Martha anyway? Oh yeah, NO ONE IN SMALLVILLE. The tax hike was probably Lionel's idea. Count me as a Lex voter.

    LanaFans for Dictatorship under Lex, UNITE!

    But Martha gets hers when Clark, after learning about Lionel, says NOTHING when Lionel's about to take his mother on a date. How about a "Mom, can I talk to you for a minute? Lionel knows." That takes about five seconds. Clark is a very indecisive guy though, and I think his real problem is he has no one to talk to about this stuff anymore. Normally he'd talk to his dad about this, but his dad's dead. His mom is the subject, so he can't talk to her. He'd talk to Pete, but he mysteriously vanished to the neverland where all black people go on this show.

    I haven't seen any Klingons on the show, either. Al and Miles must be racist against Klingons.

    Then you've got Chloe, who characteristically betrayed Clark and told Lionel everything. Finally, Lana. He broke up with her--smooth move, Clark. If Clark had Lana to talk to, this situation could be resolved reasonably. Because no matter what else you say about Lana, she's damned smart.

    So smart, so worldly, so wise, she's dated two critically homicidal men, she's dating another right now, she's never had a solid relationship, and she just spent her savings on the junk.

    Like the doc said in Terminator two: "Model citizen."

    Unfortunately for Lana, Clark is her kryptonite, and she sometimes makes bad choices because of him.

    Because Lord knows, the agent can't be responsible for her own actions if "she hot".

    Yes, Lana getting hooked on the death juice was Clark's fault.

    For someone promoting a traditionally Republican ideology, you're sure adopting a progressive (and loony progressive) attitude toward drug use. When Clark does it, he put it in his veins, it's his own fault! Maximum penalty. When Lana does it, it's the environment! Too much pressure. She just HAD to take drugs!

    Why do I say this? Because Lana did it as a result of Clark breaking up with her. If he had stayed with her and told her the truth, she wouldn't have injected herself with the death juice. Simple. Cause, effect. Clark was the cause.

    So does this mean I can start doing crank to help cope with the fact that I gotta respond to your letters?

    Neal's about to ride the snake, folks. (RIDE THE SNAKE!)

    And this is the ultimate proof, to those who doubt that Lana loves Clark. When she loses Clark, she feels like dying. Clark? He's already dead--emotionally dead. Proof? Even after he sees Lana in junkie mode, he goes off to Honduras. (That's in Central America, as we learn. But our kids would all know that if we spent more money "on education". Like, a nickel per student. That's right, and another two cents and they'll all know the capital city of Honduras, too!)

    Wait...didn't you just...is that sarcasm, just badly put, or are you really contradicting your last statements that obviously?

    Anyway, your point is incoherent. They're not doing that to show he's distant. He's really distant. He's chasing Fine. Not even thinking about Lana.

    So Lana's in trouble, and Clark doesn't even notice. And he plays around Honduras looking for Milton Fine. Priorities, Clark?

    Er, yeah. Getting to the bottom of Milton's plan to give a virus to everyone on Earth, or spending time wondering what Lana's up to.

    I need more crank.

    If you want to stop people from dying, superspeed over to Afghanistan. 'Til then, see to Lana's needs. Nice to see Clark is such a relatable and compassionate hero. Who can't speak a word of Spanish. (Two hundred fifty bucks more per student and they'll all memorize Spanish vocab after school instead of playing basketball and Pokemon!)

    Ah, I see. You're trying to be cute, laughing at the fact that inner city schools are underfunded, have no money for afterschool programs, and typically don't have a strong language program.

    Hahahahahahahahahahah! I get it! Good one!

    I had a good hard laugh at it when I was a kid in a student-to-teacher ratio public school of 35 students to a teacher, where drugs were passed over the desks, guns regularly brought to school because we couldn't afford metal detectors, detention in the library where studious students weren't allowed to read because we couldn't afford an annex for in school suspension because we couldn't have out of school suspension because we didn't have monitor bracelets! And hey, there's also the fact that the library didn't have hardly any books that weren't mutilated because of that. And hey, there's also the fact that none of the textbooks were current!

    Har de har har har! What a good laugh. And you know, I think that the dropout rate, which was approximately 30 percent, was all environment, right? Because, you know, Lana, when Clark breaks up with her, is justified in doing drugs. But when kids drop out of school because they have crap books, not enough teachers or security to control them, and don't know where Honduras is, that's because they don't take responsibility for themselves. Right?

    Hoo hoo hoo!

    I said it before, I'll say it again. L-O-L. It's so funny I just...well, it's just, you have to laugh from my perspective, being the only person I know from that school who ever went to college, and still ended up in poverty. It's just so hilarious, isn't it?

    Even CHLOE of all people shows more concern for Lana than Clark. She asks around, she tries to get Lana to open up. She tries to help her out...sort of. Seems logical though: Chloe hates Lana because Lana stole "her" man. (Chloe wants Clark, at least when she's not busy getting into bed with guys who wear bowties.) So now that Lana and Clark are over, Chloe hates Lana less. But she still doesn't really give a fig about her. She's glib as hell, just as we expect. Proof? All her cute little remarks about Lana's "little jaunt" down "the river Styx". I wonder if Chloe's so perky when she writes about the latest drug addict who "frolics" out a twentieth-story window, and "gravity does its thing".

    Like you just were, you mean?

    As you point out, Chloe is a background character who facilitates the rest of them. That's what the fans want, Neal. The fans want Lana front and center, with Chloe in the back. Where she belongs. Disagree with me all you like on that point, but know that you're also disagreeing with the writers and producers of Smallville.

    If I were a smart-@$$, I'd say you're right, and that undoubtedly it means that Al Gough and Miles Millar think that Asian girls are supreme to white girls.

    But that would be categorically insane now, wouldn't it?

    And this is a tested hypothesis, Neal. They tried out another actress and character to take Lana's role. I'm talking about Lois. Smallville was never meant to be a show about Lois & Clark; it's a show about Lana & Clark. But they brought in Lois to see if the fans preferred Lois or Lana.

    Or because people know who Lois is and Erica Durance is hot. Yeah. I'm gonna go with that.

    Lana fans such as myself were not surprised to see the fans' verdict was they much preferred Lana.

    Straw poll, guys. Lana, or Lois? Results forthcoming.

    I can tell you before they respond, it's gonna be Lois. Period.

    Oh sure, they threw Lois' breasts in our faces for a couple of years. They paraded her around in all of the little outfits that Lana was too modest to wear.

    Or couldn't carry.

    And they gave us a Lois who, unlike Lana, is 100% white. Deal or no deal? We passed. Now Lois is a redundant, background character too.

    Furthering my theory which is indisputable that AlMiles hate white girls! I KNEW it! They're misogynists, the lot of them!

    One final observation. At the end of our well-deserved Clana, it's CLARK who pouts and stomps out of the room. BOOYAH! It's a new day.

    Or a rare example of just how stupid and petulant it is, particularly when you see a sane character doing it.

    But despite all of the times you've gloated about Clark stonewalling Lana into leaving his barn (as eventually she must, she is no trespasser), the fact that Clark has to show himself the door doesn't get a mention in your review. Instead, you're too busy comparing Lana to Adolf Hitler. AGAIN!

    You don't even read my reviews. Seriously. I mention that Clark walks out on Lana without saying goodbye very prominently in the last review.

    In my humble opinion.

    ~LanaFan315

    CeeBee wrote:
    You said: "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."

    It's not just women. Remember, in Magnetic, that boy basically molested Lana and she's not even mad about being violated afterwards. She's just happy he was honest with her about (some of) his abilities.

    True! Good point.

    In Jinx, Mxy whammies Chloe into kissing him, and when she tells Clark about it later, he scoffs. At HER.

    Even better point.

    In Precipice, Lana is physically assaulted and threatened with rape by the overgrown jocks, and what does the sheriff say? "Eh, it's your word against his. Sorry." Of course, he later pays with a miracle kick from Lana, but the law's certainly not on her side. Lana's assault is used entirely as a springboard for getting her into lycra and boxing lessons, not as a denouncement against Ooh Evil Men.

    I saw it as a denouncement against Ooh Evil Men, but your point still stands. Three good, solid example of women in near rape situation where the consequences are not handled well. I agree.

    The show has a screwed up view of sex and consent in general.

    That's like saying Oreos make you fat. Stating the obvious, but it still has to be said.

    Sex morals are twisted to fit an episode. There is NO internal logic, even crappy "logic" like "all women are good and all men are bad." Lex is bad for having consensual sex, but Magnetic boy is good for violating Lana. Jock boy is bad for objectifying Lana, but the Show is good for objectifying her in lycra. Bugboy in Metamorphosis is bad for stalking and assaulting her, but Byron in Nocturne is good for stalking her and assaulting her. No logic. At all. For any gender.

    That's why I try and point it out as much as possible. Good call. I likely see it more when it hurts the male image simply because I see that generally on television men are more demonized constantly. So I'm more sensitive there. But please, call me when I miss them. The above are all great.

    Nick wrote:
    Neal,

    I am sure this has been brought up before, at least I would think someone would have thought of it by now...anyway my apologies if this is redundant.

    Okay.

    As far as a plausible explanation for all of Lana's spending while being a college student with no job, my explanation would be insurance.

    What we know - new cars, the most constant up to date wardrobe, being able to not only afford live in a plush apartment on top of the coffee house she works at, but also attend high school at the same time, dropping two grand on a kryptonite death cocktail, and now constant trips back and forth to Smallville from Metropolis, which would probably be about a tank and a half of gas one way in her SUV.

    I say that she was obviously the beneficiary of her parents' life insurance policy, which she was able to access when she turned 18 years old. No doubt it was a policy for both parents, so it was likely a good chunk of change. This is my only rational explanation, and I can't think of any life insurance policy that would have "fireball meteors" as an exclusion within the policy language.

    It's too bad she couldn't have invested the money wisely, because as she said when she forked over the two grand, it was the last of her savings. Looks like she is finally broke. Nah, who am I kidding, she be driving a new Pontiac Solstice by season's end.

    Well, it's a good theory, but I've heard it before...my response is that if she did have a life insurance policy that gave her extraordinary and lasting wealth, she wouldn't have needed to go in with Lex for the Talon, and CERTAINLY wouldn't have had to sell it just to go to France for three months.

    Jes wrote:
    For the septuple whammy with Lana Lang, don't forget 'Lexmas' when she dies giving birth to the baby. Technically, that would be a dream but after 'Void' Lillian made it sound like the dream was a vision of what might've been.

    TRUE! Noted and fixed. Thank you.

    Irwin Santos wrote:
    Ok Neal..you wrote..

    "Clark then comes back to life, sees Martha and Jonathan getting ready to go on a date, and his response is?"

    Was this a typo (Jonathan=Lionel)...or you just was checking if people were reading your review?

    Irwin

    It was a carefully calculated test, and you are the ONLY one who passed.

    No, wait. It was a typo. Curse you, truth, you win this round!

    Thanks, Irwin. ;)

    Sam Millican wrote:
    Hi Neal,
    First up I enjoy reading your reviews for the most part, keep up the faith and dissing the dull Lana "secrets and lies" talk and other similar tedium which drags down a good show.

    Thanks.

    You will often spout a lot of sense in your reviews as regards the episodes, even if some things I don't agree with (not a fan of gas talk, KO Count etc, like the reverse feminism angle, a cause close to my heart).

    Everyone has a fart joke they like. You may have not found it yet. Keep sniffing around.

    Truth be told though, I take more from the reverse feminism angle and the political discussion, too. I find a challenge in firstly making it relevant, and secondly making it logically sound. But fart jokes, while easy, get readers too. I respect both.

    I have to re-affirm you're hatred of the LioMartha (sorry to dub it, and make it sound all ThunderCats-y) too,

    Martha
    Martha
    MARTHA
    Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    Too much subtext?

    I hope the writers don't go TOO far with this. I do have to say, without meaning to be obtuse or confrontational,

    That's it! A duel at ten paces. Good day, sir. I said GOOD DAY, SIR! Nah, it's good you have an opinion of your own.

    that I disagree on your opinion of the apparently low standard of Smallville season 4 and 5 and would like to add or give my voice to say they are my favorites, mostly due to increased references to Superman mythology, however I too feel the show has become a bit too formulaic, stale and rigid at the moment, just throwing it out there but I was curious what you would think, would it be a good idea to bring things more in-line with the character we all (hopefully) know and love and develop Superman a lot more in what is presumably this home stretch of the overall series?

    I think it would be. In fact, I'm not averse to Lex going evil now, given that a good season of him evil-ing it up would rule, and that train is quickly leaving the station. I don't think 4 or 5 are that good compared to 2 and 3, but 5 is definitely close to 1 right now in terms of overall effect. More on that at the end of the season.

    I'm sure you'll have some fascinating insight but I would like to see this done, for one. Thanks for your time good sir.
    Sam.

    Thanks. Actually, I think the best thing they could do now was move toward their end point. I mean, once they reach it, there's nothing to say they can't go beyond it. Nothing beyond that lawsuit.

    Blake Curtis wrote:
    Neal,

    HI, I wanted to send you a little note to let you know how much I enjoy your all of your work on this site. Your reviews are always very well written and very insightful. You have a great website as well.

    Thanks. Steve makes the pretty colors, I try and be insolent. I'm glad it resonates.

    I plan on purchasing a copy of Madly when I get once payday finally gets here!

    Been there. I've been wanting a copy of a number of books for a long time. My payday, fixing houses, is once every three years of late. Six more months...

    I've been reading Superman for the past four years and am trying to all of the titles starting from about 2001 and going backwards.

    Shouldn't be too hard on the wallet. The problem is finding them. They typically go cheap, but rule.

    I can't condone or advocate vile, despicable, law-breaking illegal downloaders (COMMIE SCUM!), but I will say that some of their awful ilk have perpetrated the nefarious crime of putting all of a given Superman run, like, say, Action Comics or Adventures, into an entire torrent, thus giving someone all of the benefit of reading the run without giving the royalties due to the DC execs (because it's work for hire, any future profits do not go to the artists). So whatever you do, do NOT seek such a torrent. Moral decay can only follow! Do you want to help the terrorists?

    I also have a question for you. In several of your reviews you mention as one of your favorite Superman issues, I believe it was an Action Comics issue where Superman is forced to choose between killing the Joker to save Lois, could you please tell me what issue it is, It sounds wonderful and I would love to track it down. Thanks so much and keep up the great work!

    Blake

    Sure, Blake! It's Action Comics #719, and an incredible book.

    Shafi S wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    I watched that junkie episode (sorry it hurts when I laugh at the title). But I guess they wanted to bring back John Kent back to tell him HES A SYMBOL of justice and peace. But I can't forgive the writers to fill in garbage like that junkie crap.

    Yeah, it's a double edged sword.

    Lana's character should go BUT my question is Neal, when is (if Clark is going to do so) Clark going to travel around the world and stuff. In the comics and Birthright were the producers loved, showed Clark traveling around the world learning about different cultures and stuff. Is he going to do that in Smallville Universe, his mom is a national Senator (which the writers are messing up with) and he dropped out of school to work at the stupid farm. I guess maybe.

    You know, it might be okay. I mean, traveling from 22-26 is reasonable. That leaves three more years.

    Sorry to go off topic. But on the Infinite Crisis.

    No prob.

    Your reviews really got me thinking on how they might of killed of Superboy because of the lawsuit. In your opinion,do you really think he wasn't become a filler Superman like a back up one or something. Because what they did with Batman a long time ago.

    I don't think they killed Superboy because of the lawsuit. That just happened, and Identity Crisis was written 6-12 months ago, maybe more, so they couldn't have forseen it.

    Personally, I liked Superboy, but I think this was a good way to end his character.

    Also I was thinking if Geoff Johns should write for Smallville like Jeph Loeb. But like you said they have little to do with the whole story.

    Yeah...and plus, I like Geoff doing comics. A lot.

    But also I don't like Geoff's writing that much because how he treated Batman like a evil guy in Rebirth. I felt in reading Rebirth was that Batman was a worst hero than Hal Jordan or just a guy who didn't care about anybody at all. Also how Hal Jordan punched him (PUNCHED HIM) that also ticked my off.

    A good note about that, however, is that he was doing that with full knowledge that in Infinite Crisis he was going to take steps to reduce that aspect of Batman. Maybe he WANTED to make Batman a jerk so that when he made him a good character again, it meant more...

    In my opinion Superman and Batman are greatest heroes and comic Kingdom.

    Likewise. Though I admit, I LOVE Spidey. And Flaming Carrot. Horse!

    Even though Hal,Barry,Wonder Woman and other heroes do the job well. Batman is different because hes human. He only has a human body and a brain, also he saved the earth countless of times by himself than with a help with his team mates. Even people can't agree with his methods. He gets the job done and hes only superhero I can think of (besides Spider-man) killed a villian. My evidence Joker is still alive.

    That's why I like Luthor. Same reasons. Just a man and his intellect.

    Sorry for that long thing about Batman and stuff Neal. Oh sorry I forgot I was happy in Green Lantern that Batman finally punched him back it made me happy.

    Likewise. And no apologies...

    Getting back to Smallville your rating was on the spot because the junkie stuff really did make the episode bad. But the Lex stuff with the glove, Lex killing people in the future, Pa kent telling Clark he is a symbol really made my day. Why did he run to South America, why can't the writers or the producers show him flying jeez. Other than that Tom Welling is directing an episode jeez why can't he write one instead he might do better than some of the current ones.

    I don't know...he was a male model. Might not be the best of writers. Good actor, though.

    Thanks again for reading Neal.

    Shafi S

    Thanks.

    Chloefan119 wrote:
    Hey Neal, I just wanted to know your thoughts on this.

    Okay.

    This has to deal with continuity/plausability. In one of the episodes (where everyone is telling the truth b/c of chloe) Pete reveals that it takes Clark 15 minutes round trip to get from Smallville to Metropolis and back. Great! That fits in with "going supersonic."

    If you ignore that he does it in an instant sometimes, but hey.

    However, all this zipping back and forth in a few seconds bothers me.

    Or...you caught that and I jumped the gun.

    And given the awesome special effects of him super-speeding to Honduras aside, this is a little excessive, don't you think? He's not as fast as the Flash. Flying is obviously faster so I can buy that it would take him about fifteen to twenty minutes to get there, but his running should have limits.

    Even flying, the Byrne Supes couldn't make it across the country in less than 4-8 minutes. I think it might have been time lapse, but I'll give you that it was way too fast.

    If he could really run to Honduras in a minute (or even fifteen), his power would be immense--so much so, that it takes away from the story. He'd hardly have an excuse not to take care of any disaster looming before breakfast, because he'd be there almost instantly. "Problem in Japan? No prob, I'll be back before my lunch break is over." After time, I think people might expect Supes to be there immediately after any sort of "disaster," which sets him up for a scapegoat when he actually has so be somewhere. I know its a mythological world, but really, Clark can't make excuses and leave ALL the time. No matter how good of a reporter he is, there must be a measure of responsibility, otherwise you're @ss is out the door! Any thoughts?

    I think it's a writing device that often isn't thought about. I've disagreed with it many times, his incredible speed, but sometimes, it just fits, like when he goes all the way around the world to Lois in Adventures. It's a case-by-case with me.

    Regards,

    Chloefan119

    Thanks.

    Felix Vasquez wrote:

    Hey buddy,

    Your reviews suck, and your opinions ruined my childhood, but I'll keep reading them anyway just to reserve the right to complain.

    FELIX! It's YOU! YOU are LanaFan!

    Joking aside:

    D'oh. There goes that theory.

    I loved your review of "Void", as always. I was gandering at your letters section and I have to say I strongly disagree with your "I'd rather have it bad, than not have it at all" comment. I was disappointed. That's just the kind of junk these studio execs at the WB want from us. Example: One of the worst directors of all time, Uwe Boll, who makes really bad video game movies, tells fans all the time "Be glad SOMEONE is making them". He insists that even though his movies are really bad, fans should be thanking him that it was made at all. That kind of skewed logic is what the execs feed us.

    I've been thinking about that. And honestly, if it's a bad version of the show, I just usually don't watch it, so I probably would ignore something that I didn't like Superman related. I didn't watch much of the last season of Lois and Clark. I didn't watch Justice League until the action heated up in season two.

    I just can't agree with that on any level. I mean, after all the liberties they've taken with this show, if people thought like that, as they do now, we'd have a whole different show. What if they made Superman explore his sexuality with Lex? What if Pete came back to kill Ma Kent? What if Lana discovered she was really an alien and was sent down to kill Clark? What if it turned out Chloe married Clark and not Lois? What if they went less for Superman and more for teenage melodrama... oh they did that.

    Are you talking about the Peters Superman movie draft? But yeah, I agree, actually.

    Well, either way, what if the show were to become extremely awful, would you still say "I'd rather have it bad, then not have it at all". I disagree. For me it's either do it right, or don't do it at all. I expected SOME liberties taken with the Superman mythos, and I've made my peace with the liberties taken with "Smallville", but I just can't adhere to "At least Superman is on the screen!" I have to wonder if Superman fans would accept all the liberties I mentioned above just because "Superman is on screen and we have to keep the franchise alive". I hate to sound like a pi$$y fan boy, but do the character right, or as right as you can to please your bosses, and I'll be happy.

    Likewise.

    I just want "Smallville to get back to that level where we were saying "Thank goodness, Superman is on television again!" But it's sad where we've reached such a level where it's become common consensus that "At least Superman is on television in spite of the crud". Later.

    Word.

    Also, my sister thinks you're cute. Touch her and I'll rip your heart out.

    Her eyes say yes yes, but her brother says no no!

    Tell her that I snore, I'm poor, and the only thing I offer is adventure. And anyway, I can't leave this self-built Heaven. Every once in a while though, I hit the wall, and my childhood gets a little more pathetic in my head. I think that's writer liberty, but I'm afraid I might change the Animal Man's history, so best I just stick to writing.

    Sincerely,
    Felix

    Thanks.

    Jonathan Self wrote:
    Hey Neal,
    Woah, your reviews man, I mean woah, you pull no punches no.

    Oh, you would be SURPRISED the punches I pull. This is, if you will, an extremely edited version of my writing wrath, for a specific audience. You want to see some crazy stuff, read my personal site...not that this writing is bad. Just different.

    Seriously I enjoy reading them, especially criticisms of the writing (I'm a writer myself and look out for a show called "Penny Dreadful" on British TV hopefully early next year),

    Cool! Send me info as it comes along and I'll review it for Cinema Crazed.

    I do feel a potential injection of new talent is needed but also that the current writers must buck up. I can't really think of one plotline that excites me at the moment (even the Brainiac thing is more of a head-scratcher than thrilling). The bad points however stack up, Lionel/Martha shiping, continued Clana (seriously that got old about 4 years ago, is it not Lois's turn yet?), the raping of Superman and Lex's characters in almost all the ways you sum up so well so I won't repeat them here (although you are a tad Lex biased).

    Openly. And thanks.

    In one of your reviews you say you'd rather have the show than not at all, so what would you suggest for the end of this season and more importantly next?

    For the end of this season, I have an idea of what's happening, and it's exactly where I would go. Zod. Jor-El. Some resolution, perhaps? A diabolical threat to the whole world. Lex heading over. I have hope.

    Next year better be full on Lex vs. Clark, Lana and Clark over, and the beginnings of Clark and Lois and/or Lois leaving. Drastic new changes must be made, or it'll just be the same dull crap.

    Also I was wondering if you'd be reviewing Superman Returns upon it's release.

    Yes. Whether that's the day after it's released or early depends on whether or not the WB decides to stop being ($#%ers and give us press cred for our 20-25 thousand daily uniques or continues to ignore one of their most powerful promotional and fan base arms in favor of print magazines that are going the way of the dinosaur.

    Corporate mentality, wise up.

    anyway thanks for your presumably valuable time, sorry about the run-on sentences and potential rambling

    Depends on your utilitarian definition of value. For my money or lack thereof, I'm pleased to have interacted with you, and thanks.

    Selfy

    Sara wrote:
    So, tell me, gorgeous, are you annoyed that I've gone back to my old ways? Read the review, comment, and then watch?

    Neither annoyed of that, nor of your compliments. Flattery will get you everywhere. I still doth protest that yon hiney hasn't come over to watch another episode, though. Must I make punch and pie?

    Not only that, but I have to do two episode with one length comment. Hmmm. Lately, I'm finding that I like doing it that way so that I can be prepared for the ugliness to come. It's a good thing.

    Like Martha in acid. Boiling, Two-Face acid.

    I also wanted to say that I'd love to write an epic. Knowing my penchant for the fantasy world (and if you didn't know that before, you do now), it would have to be something with magic. But my problem's always been what to do that hasn't already been done. Aye! That's the rub! What would your epic focus on? (Oh, and before I forget, I need to send you a check for the books, which you can just hold 'til I come down, watch an ep with you, and pick up.)

    Sounds good. I have copies on hand.

    My epic that I am planning focuses on work. Basically, I'm going to write a story of the nobility of every person who slaves away and suppresses their personality. It'll also be an indictment of the cowardice of those people in a very self-righteous, Ayn Rand kind of way. It'll be about five novels that interweave and relate. In the middle of each, characters from one will head into the other, and the final novel will culminate them all. It will break with a greek chorus composed of lawyers, politicians, and executives, who will sing.

    One of the sections should be entirely second person, and it will be 1,000 pages in length. No one will ever want to read it, but it will be one HECK of a challenging and fun endeavor. I'd go into specifics, but for that, you gotta come over. These folks are already bored, I can tell. Listen to them snoring!

    So, let us begin...

    Hypnotic:
    1. The pendant ticked me off. Truly. And then I couldn't figure out what in the heck the red thing was supposed to be that they showed every time they did an extreme close-up.

    The Evil Eye.

    2. Laughed at the Skeletor reference, by the by.

    Skeletor can only be taken by an army of Zombies or House.

    3. Your discussion of "The Sopranos" made me wonder. Would "Smallville" be better if it only had 12 or 13 episodes? Would I be able to stand the waiting?

    Or better, 22 well written episodes. It's possible, just not probably.

    4. Honduras scene #1: Aren't the CDC helmets treated so they don't fog up? The virus seems to act very quickly. and why did Fine torch the hut???

    Cause it looked cool.

    5. Brainiac (and are we sure he's really Brainiac?): This is a huge point for me. Brainiac, or whatever they want to call him, SHOULD NOT have Kryptonian powers and all that other stuff. And not only that, if he does have the powers, he should have the same weakness! Fine. I guess the other stuff makes him harder to beat, but there are OTHER ways to do that. And you're right that if he wants to kill off humanity, he would do it up close and personal. There has to be a reason for this. PLEASE let there be a reason!

    Nope.

    6. Fine survival explanation: Apparently, Fine is too valuable to their series to totally kill off. And they must feel that we (the watchers) are just going to lie down and take that they'll offer absolutely no explanation for his survival. 'Cause that would be silly.

    Yep.

    7. Fine's nefarious plans: You know, I always thought his ultimate goal was the enslavement of the human race. not the extermination of it. After all, how can you create a master race if you don't have slaves doing all the building for you?

    I think it's a conversion of the human race, but then, that's Eradicator.

    8. "You're amazing!": I was shocked that this would be Lana's first line. But the comment about Lex got me to thinking. Wouldn't that just have the possibility of huge slash Lexton action all over it? And I can't believe that they're having a cute little date AND that Lana wants him to travel up to Metropolis just to have a booty call.

    I can't believe slashers want to see a Clex and not a Chlois.

    9. Face it Neal, Lana's am-ack! Cough! Cough! Boy! I just couldn't get that out.

    Fair enough (in Wolverine voice).

    10. The breaking up bit made me a little angry. (And you won't like it when I'm angry.) I mean, to me, the whole episode just felt like the writers needed for something to be "officially" said to "finalize" the break-up, even though we know Clark will try to get back together with her in two weeks.

    They've done it about fifty times.

    11. When you were talking about Lana walking out in the middle of the conversation, I was thinking "And the Emmy for the most passive-aggressive relationship in a television drama goes to."

    Al and his undeclared feelings for Kristen?

    12. Clana's sexual relationship: I had something crass to say at the beginning, but I thought I should censor myself. No need to get too personal with the insults, of course. (And why would "'tain't" get you in trouble with the FCC?)

    I'll tell you when you're older. Or when you come over.

    Maybe the writers are really guys stuck in their emotion pre-adolescence and living in their mothers' basements, so a girl wanting to go "all the way" is the ultimate wet dream.

    Most writers are.

    (Okay, Cynical Sara ran out and smacked a kitten. She's safe in her cage now but I don't know how long I'll be able to keep her there.)

    Until a writer writes her out.

    13. Personally, I've never thought that a guy saying "We'll wait until you're ready" is finkish. Really, it's letting a girl make the decision when and if to have sex (for the first time or again). But let's face it, I'm amazing. (And she's obviously lying!)

    I don't think it's finkish. Women or women on television portray it as a way to pressure them into sex.

    14. And equality in the realm of relationships (sexual or not) should be the rule. And you're not a misogynist. Maybe it doesn't mean what those people think it means.

    I know it doesn't. The main reason being because I've been called one so many times for trying to get a better understanding of my love for women through questions, and not for trying to destroy them utterly because I hate them passionately.

    15. Sexism about the walking away if no sex is coming: I agree and will say that the possibility for both sexes to act that way is the feelings of rejection it can bring up. Not that that's an excuse, but I would only assume that those feelings would intensify if you've had sex with someone who now totally doesn't want to jump your bones anymore.

    I know they do from personal experience.

    16. Simone: I almost screamed "It's totally like the movie!" She's a construct only used to titillate a select group of viewers. And I found it amazing how fast the pendant worked on everyone, especially Clark.

    Fast enough to be a bad plot device.

    17. Your brainwashing modus operandi: But then Neal, you're AMAZING!

    Must...buy...Madly.

    18. Why did Lois have to be the one to walk in (around?) them? Couldn't it have been his mom? Or Chloe? Or Lana? Or Lex? Or Lionel? Or some other perfectly plausible character? Maybe someone that SHOULD be there instead of the ever-increasingly irritating Lois? How the (excuse my language) FUDGE is she supposed to become a world famous reporter when she insists on spending her time being just a coffee jockey? (Cynical Sara, get back in that cage. *crack* And I mean NOW!)

    Sorry. I was staring at her boobs. Ask again later.

    19. Lana's Lie: She's getting better at those. She managed to lie to both Clark and Lex in probably about an hour. Wow! She's getting good at that! I can't believe that Lex didn't just call her. He just texted her to come on over. Oy!

    Er, yeah.

    20. Partners: Does Lex feel this way about everyone? Everyone else that's discovered something which he then steals? 'Cause if the PTB says yes to that, THAT'S a big fat LIE!!! And why did he tell her just to say you can't come?

    I believe he once drugged a man just for being insolent. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    21. Lexana: You know, I could have sworn that I read an article with Al Gough that said it was "obviously" going to happen. So not only are the viewers just hooked into wishful thinking, so are the ultimate PTB!

    I read that one.

    22. Romance: There's nothing like romance.

    Word. That's why it perforates the book MADLY, by Neal Bailey.

    23. Spoiled Lana: This is a very good point. Lana has always acted spoiled and got away with it. This may be the first time someone's called it in a review. She deserves a bunch of disappointments to round out her overly cushy life.

    But much like many hot chicks, she will never be called to task. At least until she's old and ugly. Ha!

    24. Simone's reaction to Clark's super-speed: I could only assume that he returned too quickly for him to get then things from the house. (Ah, they were *in* the house. Now I understand.) And her reaction was totally expected. Bad guys have no problem with his powers and accept him for who he is. Good guys must, therefore, freak out and never understand. Right. That's how it's supposed to be.

    Maybe.

    25. Simone's motivation: I found her doing Lex's bidding even more suspicious because (after Chloe's little chat with him) it was obvious that she doesn't have to be in the immediate vicinity with the person to maintain her control. How in the world do they expect us to believe that she wouldn't just take everything she could with those powers? Because there doesn't seem to be a limit over who she can take over.

    Kryptonite!

    26. Lois driving to tell Chloe of Clark's indiscretion: Of course she had to do that. You can only tell the best friend of both parts of the couple that one part is cheating in person. That's just not something you can do over the phone because the best friend may need a shoulder to cry on.

    Fair enough. But then, even if I had to tell my buddy who's two hours away that his mom died, I'd probably call to do it and then ask if he needed me there, or tell him when I was coming, etc.

    27. Chloe's reaction to the news: She says he wouldn't just do that to Lana, but didn't he do that (with Chloe) when she had the parasite and he was on red K?

    Yes.

    28. Time to drive to Metropolis: How do we know it takes three hours?

    Several specific mentions on the show and Gough interviews.

    That's something I believe, but I don't remember how that number came up. (And of course Lana immediately responds to Clark's summons after walking out on him trying to talk rationally and just getting back to Metropolis.) And I agree with you about asking the reason. I tend to jump when someone needs me, but I would stay on my CELL PHONE and say "I'm on my way, but what's going on?" That's when you run out of the room still on the phone. Oy!!! (And she has no problem about making the trip in the middle of the night. Triple Oy!!!)

    Yeah.

    29. Sex scene: I find it interesting that Simone timed it perfectly for Lana to walk in on them. She had the patience to wait a full three hours before jumping Clark's bones. How refreshing. (And I really think better things could have been done with the time. Maybe some serious character development or something? Nah. That would be too logical.) And wait. Simone had to tell Clark to specifically go out and break up with Lana? She wouldn't just assume that Lana now considers the relationship over since Clark was seriously compromised? I thought that maybe she was just following her instructions from Lex to break them up but it still sucks! (And you're right, taking away his choice in the act totally makes it rape.) (Of course she keeps on her high heels like any good porno.)

    I keep my high heels on when I'm dancing. I don't see why one wouldn't...er...never mind.

    30. The possibility of hypno-Lana: Yeah, getting her to not be passive-aggressive would totally make her head explode. The only reason I could think of that Simone wouldn't hypno Lana is that Lex specifically instructed her not to. Of course, that would mean that she would obey each and every order from Lex and we know that's not going to be true.

    Yeah.

    31. Break-up with Lana: I was surprised that you didn't suggest a singing telegram in class. But I also think there should be a special spot in Dante's Inferno for "Smallville" writers.

    All poets end up in purgatory. But they aren't poets. I think they'll be put in their own episodes as "Grinder guy 3" in hell.

    32. Lex's motivations: I think there are totally easier ways to break up Clana and Lex would have taken those. #1 - Wouldn't get him involved with another freak o' the week. #2 - This doesn't really put him in that great of a light with Lana. Is she really supposed to go weak in the knees because he says he's not like Clark? But apparently this was just a stupid story so Lana could be seen nobly suffering and Lex could be seen doing something possibly evil.

    And plus, no matter what Lex does, it's insta-forgot.

    33. P.S. You could be *my* shuga daddy!

    I need some shuga, first.

    34. Isn't it nice that Chloe can lie her way out of everything and she's super-fast at stealing a piece of Simone's I.D. that she apparently would never miss?

    Nice like the country?

    35. Smallville villains: I've noticed that the villains (or any character really) don't do things the easy and logical way. That would just be too easy and "wouldn't advance the drama" apparently. Right. 'Cause normal evil things are too blasé!

    Even the heroes do it. Constantly.

    36. Honduras: Would it really have taken that much time or money to put them in a green screen room? Maybe fly them somewhere? Maybe just go into a conservatory?

    Or buy some bamboo?

    37. I think it's hilarious that Lex is in full khaki "I'm going into the jungle" gear.

    Dr. Sorority Boys, I presume!

    38. Milton Fine is posing as a COVERT GOVERNMENT AGENT?!? And Lex buys it hook, line and sinker, of course. (Good Lexie! Who's a good boy! You're a good boy!!!) I guess it's a good thing or Fine would have piked him.

    And Lana would have found a way to blame him for his own getting piked.

    39. Fine's motivation: We won't get to see Fine in full evil action until the finale. That's a given. Then the question will be whether they'll really kill him off or if he'll be the patsy boy for an ineffectual Zod. Yep. Not looking forward to *that* happening.

    Zod might take Spike form. Who knows?

    40. Interpretation: As you say, Batman!

    Riddle me this! What's weighs six ounces and is very dangerous? A SPARROW WITH A MACHINE GUN!

    41. Chloe and Lois to save the day: They resolve to solve the problem together, but Chloe sends Lois off on her own while she takes her sweet time getting a piece of kryptonite from her non-lead-lined desk drawer which Clark is around all the time. (Could the music have been any more hokey???) Of course, this also says that the cousins took two cars back to Smallville! And how do they think they're going to fight Simone's super-hypno powers?

    No brain to control.

    42. Honduras #2: Hmmm. Fine tells him *just* enough truth to be believable.

    Riddle me this! Why did the monkey fall out of the tree? BECAUSE IT WAS DEAD!

    43. Martha's KO: LOVED Chloe's quote!!!

    Yeesh?

    44. Clark attacking Lex: I figure that not only is Simone mind-controlling him, but she's also shot him up with steroids. Or that's the story he could tell Lex. But then again, wouldn't that defeat the purpose of making him her sex slave? And Clark asking how Lex knew he was hypnotized would just be *too* obvious. In a perfect universe, Lex would suspect Clark had powers and Clark would suspect that this was a plan on Lex's. But then obviously "Smallville" isn't in a perfect universe. And hypnotism gives someone huge strength?

    Apparently.

    45. Lex's hypnosis: Wasn't he hypnotized to kill Chloe?

    I guess it just, uh, goes away when she dies. Right.

    46. Simone's wound: Of course a bullet to the neck, or middle of the chest, *must* be immediately fatal. (P.S. You're totally worth more than $10 Gs!)

    Well, maybe, but if you take the 15 G's of debt, that's negative five Gs, which makes you puke in a plane. I think. Or you can't play cards. I saw An Officer and A Gentleman once. And it's late.

    47. Chloe's reaction: But it was an accident! (AN ACCIDENT!) I don't think it was cold blood and I don't think she and Lex were aiming for Simone. I think they were struggling for the gun (which Lex definitely couldn't pry from petite Chloe's hands) and it went off straight at her. But there's no way they'd call the police because Lex was at least semi-involved and would totally cover it up. And I think you can call it self-defense considering she was getting Lex to kill her and then kill himself.

    Well, yeah. Point being, there might be scrutiny, considering how much crap these people get into.

    48. Clark's trip to Metropolis: I don't think it counts in the $$ count. First of all, he's no longer a college student. Secondly, he has an old truck, not a new car (which doesn't help the gas mileage, of course). Thirdly, I don't think he feels he has to bring his truck for a cover story. If he were going on a date with Lana, yes. To just talk to Chloe, no. He could say he parked it somewhere and wants to walk or some other plausible excuse. Not to mention that it's not necessary with how oblivious everyone in this universe is.

    Fairer enough.

    49. Chloe's Lana assumption: Why would she assume that Lana would understand? Has Lana really been so understanding in her experience?

    Lana's amazing! A saint!

    50. Length of break-up: I've decided that he'll maybe wait 'til Lana & Lex lock lips and then he'll go Lana hunting. Personally, I would prefer for him to say she's a bi%ch pain in the ass and that he's finally come to his senses. It would be mean, but at least logical! I can only beg and plead that this is it. This is the end of Clana. I'm not sure how much more I can take. It was bad enough the prior four years with him mostly mooning over her, but this is getting absolutely ridiculous! But let's count how many weeks it takes for them to get back together. If nothing else, we'll get all the passive aggressiveness between an ex-couple who have the same friends and acquaintances. yippee.

    I'll take an axe to their children, swear to gilgamesh.

    51. The Fine formation has a sound like scraping nails on a chalk board, isn't it?

    Like watching Lana preen, actually.

    52. I can't believe Martha actually used the phrase "The One". That drives me crazy!!! There is no such thing as "The One"!!!

    Jet Li is The One! And coming soon, in the sequel, he will be THE ONE TWO!

    53. Lex and Lana convo: Isn't it nice that Clark can save their asses a billion times over and you can "never trust him". I'm really angry about this. Seriously. I understand having your feelings hurt in a break-up and your heart bruised, but this is really incredible! And I know that it hurts, but how is saying "This experience of being hypnotized has made me realize that I don't love you anymore" really cause to hate someone. After all the "SECRETS AND LIES" *he's* told her, you would think she was happy that he was finally honest, if brutally so, with her.

    Her character goal is to condescend.

    54. Apparently, the PTB feel that *good* stories would be morally reprehensible somehow.

    Or they just have a eschewed definition of good that's not right for this audience, I say.

    55. Final total: Is $275 really half your month's income? Or are you assuming that's half for a college student?

    That's an average. In college I made at first 600 and then later 1000 at peak a given month for approximately 50-60 hour work weeks. Most kids don't do that, so assuming 40 hours that's about half, yeah. Or at least was. I used to pay 250 with rent and bills, with most of the rest to tuition and food. I couldn't afford a car.

    My current income is complex, given that I'm in a business partnership where I fix up a house in exchange for room and board, etcetera. I haven't made a penny in three years, but if this house pulls through like I hope it will, next year I'll make 110,000 dollars in the course of a month. And then presumably 250,000 in the year following with proper investment, then 500,000 the year after that, and then a million, at which point I'll live off interest and start giving it away in the form of books and philanthropy. I've been planning it very carefully for ten years now, and I'm almost to where I need to be. I just gotta eat ketchup soup for a little longer.

    But when I had college income, you bet your bippy that was half my income.

    56. Fine's copies: Has he always been able to do that? Then how could he possibly not have kicked Clark's butt the first time? And if he knows where the Fortress is, why doesn't he just insert the black crystal? And what are the "samples"?

    Kryptoniterer!

    57. Clark's motivations: It does bother me quite a little bit that Clark has now thrown over the entire reason for his dad's death. I can't even go there.

    Likewise.

    58. Lex's final line: That was *way* too obvious.

    I don't recall it.

    59. Dana Reeve dedication: I wish they would have dedicated a decent episode to her memory. This was just an insult. It doesn't matter that they only gave *her* five seconds and the useless sex scene 10 minutes. The dedicatory episode should have been better.

    Yes.

    60. Score: I can't believe how much you hated this ep. Wow!

    Believe it!

    Response to my comments response: (Oy!)
    1. I didn't read the LanaFan letter. I've been trying to weed out my masochistic gene so I didn't read it. Of course, I'm still watching terrible episodes of "Smallville". Hmmm.

    One of these days I'll get tired of it and not answer, not out of spite, more out of boredom. The material is getting repetitive. But it's also still funny.

    I don't know, readers, what do you say?

    2. Terrorists winning: Maybe they're smiling because with each frustration and question, I'm pounding my head against my computer so hard that I could cry. See, instead of bombs and killing people, they could take away all our desire for living by continuing with crap like - OK, I'm getting a little extreme.

    No. Extreme is a war on abstract concepts one thinks that they can win.

    3. CoH: I'm right with you there with the $$. I'm gonna' start again in a bit, but I've got some things I need to take care of first.

    I'm on Oblivion right now, like crack, for those two hours a day I'm not writing or building.

    4. Neal. You're ammmmaaaazzzzinnnngggg!

    I think pretty much the same thing about you, lady.

    Void:
    1. Disappeared ship: Isn't it interesting that it left a diamond shape in the grass?

    That's Kryptonian stink.

    2. Quality of ep: Was it better because of last week?

    Yes, to me.

    3. Addiction: I'm going to go off for a minute. For those of you that don't want to read, skip to #4. I find the way that the handled this addiction episode p%ss poor in the extreme.

    Speaking as a man with an alcoholic mother and lost friends to drugs, I agree.

    In my family, addiction seems to be the norm, rather than the odd case and it has hurt those I've loved. I lost a beloved uncle to a cocaine overdose. Normally, I'd just let it go, but the fact the Lana didn't have a chemical addiction, endangered herself and everyone around her, and came out with no struggle and absolutely no consequences EXTREMELY DISTASTEFUL! Even more than usual.

    And dangerous to kids who are taught by the tv.

    They didn't even try to put an "After School Special" message in it. They had a nobody die and Lana got off scott free. That is sick and wrong. They didn't even go into how much just someone else's addiction can affect those around them. I think the PTB did the public an extreme disservice with this episode and I'm really rather cranky about it. It'll probably flavor my comments.

    I think it's because they were stressed and wrote the episode hocked up.

    4. Hallucination episodes: The thing about the previous episodes that had hallucinations is that it was usually something done *to* a person. Not something they voluntarily did. And even the addiction thing with Pete had a moral to the story and he got in trouble. OK, I need to move on. We'll see how that works.

    You're right though.

    5. Rest of Lana's Savings: Isn't it amazing that she can use all that for this little high and yet she can still make arbitrary trips to Smallville at the end in new clothes?

    Yep. Very much so.

    6. Gee, at least Genius Boy and Goth Girl wore gloves for sanitation. Right?

    I think that was to keep off the Lana junkie smell.

    7. And she's doing this because she has absolutely no other friends and her dead parents are the only ones who could possibly understand the grief she feels because of her break-up with Clark? You know, this is making me a bit nauseous. It's totally ridiculous! Let's count the ways why. #1 - She has plenty of friends, not to mention those friends she may have met in class. #2 - She has proven by going to him immediately after the break-up that she could go and talk to Lex. It's not like he and Clark are great friends now. #3 - Lois, with her disdain for all things Clark, would be more than happy to bash the super teen. Not to mention that Chloe, while obviously Clark's friend, would probably have her back. I'm a little irritated too. Or even Goth Girl!

    Or any man with a pulse?

    8. Flatliners: I knew exactly what to expect as soon as I watched the preview. That's not a good sign.

    Agreed.

    9. Chloe's super-sleuthing skills: It worked for me that Chloe found Fine. She's done more incredible things with her skills. But what was up with the mysterious "source"? It had already been mentioned in previous episodes that she was getting info for Lionel. Why would this time be any different?

    A good point. You certainly put it better than LanaFan.

    10. The other thing about "It's not like someone died". Is that supposed to be ironic 'cause they do kill her so she can have her fix? Somebody was really heavy with the obvious sarcasm brush at the typewriter, if you ask me.

    Or careless.

    11. Reactions to Lana: Everyone forgiving her automatically made me incredibly angry. It's not right and I just wanted to scream. Where's that darn kitten!

    I ate it.

    12. Female/male attitude: I wanted to argue that it couldn't possibly be the case that Lana's behavior is excused because she's a beautiful (?) woman and Clark is a man, but I can't. Isn't that sad?

    No. That's honest. But it sucks.

    13. Identifying with Lana: Yeah. There's no way that I could identify with that. And to excuse her behavior because she lost her parents and was trying to see them again makes me nauseous. But isn't that what addicts do? They clamp onto any excuse so they can get their fix? But wasn't it lovely that she didn't have any withdrawals afterward and came out smelling like a daisy?!?

    The excuse I got was that it was because I was a juvenile delinquent. When I'd never had detention and got a 3.3 in high school, which could have been higher, had I not had issues at home.

    14. Clark's search: Did he even read the article that Chloe printed the picture from? How would he know it was done in Honduras? If you ask me, one rainforest in Central America looks like any other. but then I don't get out much sometimes. And did he manage to find immediately the exact village Fine had been hanging out at? And didn't he once think that he should have someone that speaks at least pidgin Spanish? I'll bet Chloe does. And Clark asking a boy that only speaks Spanish if he "can see that" meets with automatic handing over of the carving. Yeah. I believe it. Oh, wait. He did finally break out his one word Spanish vocab!

    Yo Quiero Taco Bell?

    15. Martha: I think you discussed before that she's a local senator. I'd thought it was national, but I think you convinced me otherwise. But perhaps I'm wrong. Wouldn't be the first time. And why did she hold her press conference at the Talon? Is it supposed to show that she cares so much about the children that she hangs out at their local coffee klatch?

    I'm still confused.

    16. Martha and Lionel: I think you forgot that Lionel also investigated her son, which she discovered, stole the key and stockpiled kryptonite. Yeah, but those are so small that of course that's fine. But if she thinks they're just friends, why does she have to automatically assume that he's after something more for wanting to carpool to an event they're both going to?

    Because he has a, well, because he's a man.

    17. The Gross Anatomy Lab: Why would you need a pass card to enter the room for class?

    After dark.

    18. If Genius Boy is so ready to extort mucho dinero from Lana, how can Goth Girl afford it?

    She's amazing. Actually, I have a joke here, but it's not family friendly. You can infer.

    19. Robbery: Considering that the Smallville youth can break into and out of the Mansion at will, why would Lana have to break something to get in? (The hidden gun was cool.) And she was stealing so she wouldn't have to lie to him??? And then with one minor guilt trip, she spills the entire beans? And she didn't think she could go to him over her grief about Clark??? And did Lex really think his really sappy little speech would turn a junkie around? I thought he understood about the dark side of life.

    This isn't the Lex we know.

    20. Lana's purse and Lex's manhood: Do you think she'll have to Bobbitt him to get it to fit or do you think Lex will do it for her?

    Lana's already Bobbitted every man on that show. Even the producers.

    21. Chloe: Chloe will never get brought to the forefront because she's not the atypical beauty and brains don't count for s%$t in this world. Not only that, but to have her in the forefront would take out a lot of the angst, and we couldn't have that.

    You know, I think, as surface as this sounds, if they showcased her breasts as much as they do Erica's, Chloe's character would suddenly and instantly get more popular.

    22. Kryptonite question: I thought that kryptonite only glowed green when in Clark's vicinity. But liquid k doesn't have to follow that rule?

    Krytponite. No, wait!

    23. Genius's fight with Lex: You're right. Bashing in his head would have been more logical. I could only think that he already had the syringe in hand when they started tussling, but that would be too easy.

    Yes.

    24. Lex's "death": Lex's mommy is really mean and a little scary! And what's with the weird ski glove? Did Genius Boy actually leave a vial of the antidote?!?

    He uses the ski glove in Sorority Boys. I think.

    25. Lana's lab trip: OK, so I can understand her going into a medical lab to get a syringe, but the fact that her I.D. lets her in is suspect. Then she puts her hand through a glass pane, but doesn't come out with a scratch. And Lance immediately knows where she is? Why does he care? If he's killed Lex and Lana's a junkie who isn't likely to turn him in, why didn't he just get the heck out of Dodge? Why stick around? And now she's afraid of the substance??? Isn't that just what she wanted?

    DEUS EX MACHINA!

    26. Clark's man-putt: I told you. They make them uber-strong in Kansas! Lana doesn't question it because it's too obvious (she concentrates all her attention on the hidden) and adrenaline apparently excuses much.

    I'm gonna throw a dude thirty feet just cause you said that. RAAAAAAAR!

    27. You know, I find it interesting how sometimes the writers have Lana kick unbelievable butt with Lana Fu, but then other times she huddles in the corner like the most irritating of weak females! Why? Why?!?

    Because she is not a real character. She's a post-feminist examination of how we can oogle beauty and still treat it as intelligent. It's a contradiction. Beauty is beauty and intelligence is intelligence, and they RARELY commingle. Except with me.

    28. Clark's dying: How would Chloe know that his death neutralized the kryptonite? (Poor Neal! That must have killed you!)

    It did, but I neutralized it.

    You're lead-based theory would have made more sense. Did you notice that she went and talked civility to Lex, whom she killed, but Clark could go jump? You know, even when my ex totally broke my heart and I spent a lot of time crying, if I'd caused his death (even if he was resuscitated), I would be wracked with guilt, not saying he somehow deserved it. And then the genius decides Clark's not dead enough and goes for more? Seriously?

    Seriously.

    29. Moral of the story: Are they really trying to say that if you're a junkie, any behavior is excusable? That's criminal!!! And they're excusing her addiction because she obviously didn't know what she was doing? Oh, I'm gonna' scream. I need a gun and a fast car to get to Vancouver or L.A. or wherever those darn writers are.

    No, if you're HOT and FEMALE, anything is excusable. That's the moral. Clark would have been jailed.

    30. Jonathan: I sincerely hope they bring him back in flashbacks and what not. As much as Jonathan had his faults, he kept Clark centered and gave him his moral compass. I was kinda' hoping that Lionel's photo wouldn't have been of Clark. to somehow make that plot twist more interesting. Maybe a photo that you would give your right arm for. (Martha in a compromising position, perhaps?) But no. And that still doesn't explain how Lionel knew Clark's birth name. And boy. He laid it all out for Clark, didn't he?

    Yep. And hey, I already have a compromising Martha picture. God bless the internet, and God bless Cat People. And prurient interest.

    31. When Clark first told Chloe that Lionel knew, I didn't think she was going to tell him about her source. I've never been so glad to be wrong.

    Interesting.

    32. I'm still really pi%$y that Lana is immediately forgiven for getting people killed, stealing from her friends, and lying to everyone and Clark (or Lex for that matter) always has her mad at him for "lying" to her. You know, I know that they think Lana is a pivotal character, but I don't really think she does a thing for the storyline. (And Lex lies to her here. Isn't that supposed to count against him or something?)

    It should. It doesn't.

    33. Plot holes: Apparently, this is a common Smallville writer's plot tool.

    Plot Hole: n. Definition: See Smallville.

    34. Clana: Right. Do they really want us to believe Lana wants Lex now when he was apparently so unattractive to her earlier? I think that the writers believe that the Clana plotline is their Holy Grail and they can't give it up.

    The LANA plotline.

    35. She had the sweaty skin and addictive like behaviors, but to get over it that quickly. I don't buy it.

    Me neither.

    36. Polar bears and a gay sidekick: Tee hee!!!

    That's why I have them.

    37. I'm hoping this week's ep is good. I'm not sure I could take another one and I really need a good one to get the taste of "Hypnotic" and "Void" out of my mouth.

    I think you'll like this last.

    38. Superboy lawsuit: I saw articles on that and I wanted to groan out loud. You know, I appreciate that the relatives of the "creator" feel they deserve the money, but when the guy(s) is(are) dead and you already lost once, why bring it up again? Plus, I thought he *did* get a small stipend. Sure, he should have gotten more, but the sue happy nature of our society is getting on my nerves.

    The stipend wasn't enough, but the kids didn't make the character. Period.

    Well, that's it. I've commented on your review and then watched and given my two bits. I hope I didn't drive you too crazy, but there's something about your reviews that I just can't help but comment on! And now I've decided the top end of nine pages is enough.

    It didn't drive me crazy.

    Ever,
    Sara

    Thanks. :)

    Felix Vasquez wrote:

    "Fragile" was probably one of the weaker episodes of the season. Whether it was the REALLY bad dialogue peppered throughout the show, or the usual plot holes, I'm hoping Smallville is gearing up to feed us their good shows. Maddy kills her foster mom and no one investigates? What about Maddy? Will no one seek counseling or rehabilitation after uncontrollably killing her mom? What happened to Shelby beyond the second half of the show? How come Maddy's dad bent to her will? Why not just battle with her in a "Star Wars" showdown? Why didn't Clark just super speed to grab the glass shard from his mom's neck? Since when does glass in our shoulder keep us from running to save someone from an evil man? Why is Lana insistent on teasing and taunting people around her? Why do the writers intend on keeping her on the show without a purpose? Why did Lana's plot feel like the main plot, and Clark's felt like padding? It just doesn't add up Neal.

    All fair questions. To me, all of those questions are valid and worthy of answer, and a FIVE show would have answered them. To me, the character outweighed. For many, I know it won't. Like with Krypto. It's a show that hit me personally because I'm a sucker for the fathering instinct. And glass manipulation.

    Sara wrote:
    Hey there, writer babe!

    Word!

    So, it's Tom's directorial debut. I have high hopes for it, of course. but I do tend to blame a lot on the writers. The happy news is that I wrote this while watching and before reading your review. That's a step in the right direction, right? So I'm going to get right into my comments.

    That's cool. Either way works.

    Why did the foster mom go and stand right in front of the mirror when she knows Maddie shatters glass with her mind? I know she's scared, but is she also mental? That would make her a very unfit foster parent!

    And a stupid, dead one. Noted.

    Wow! Martha's wearing more jewelry now than she ever did when Jonathan was alive.

    Is she? I don't look at the jewelry, just the jewels.

    HER EYES, I mean! Gol!

    And Clark hasn't told Martha about Jonathan's warning about Martha? Is he keeping secrets just for the sake of keeping secrets???

    No, it's to make the finale better. Bad reason.

    LOVE CLARK'S SELF PORTRAIT!!!

    I can't draw that well. See the cover for MADLY, by NEAL BAILEY!

    Lexana made me want to go eeeeeeeewwww! And he says he trusts her 100%? My only response was "Liar! Liar!!! Pants on Fire!!!"

    Yeah.

    Boy! Clark is really trying hard with Maddie!!! (And just for Neal, we have a scene with Shelby!!!) But Clark shouldn't make promises he's not going to be able to keep by episode end. And I can't tell if it's because he's trying to be lighthearted for Maddie or if the pain has quickly receded, but he doesn't seem that upset about the break-up.

    He really doesn't. Which tells me it's not over.

    I have to admit. I wouldn't be too happy to be the sole focus of hyper-Lois. Yikes! Can we say TRYING TO HARD?!?

    Yeah, very much so.

    Boy, Clark's learned how to play Lois, hasn't he?

    Clark's a pimp. Travis Bickle is coming for him. Like my Craftsman, he's a screwhead. And I have officially been up too long.

    And Lois sense of the subtle. Boy, it's just amazing! And she has no tact. She tells a government work that some little girl can shatter glass by looking at it and he's automatically supposed to believe her?

    Wouldn't you?

    Nice AOL ad on Lex's computer.

    Noted.

    One day, Lex has great security that Simone has to hypno out of the way. Then Chloe can waltz on it? And why did she automatically attack Lex? Didn't Lex save her from his father? Hasn't Lex provided her with computers and money for the Torch when Lionel took it all away? And does she really think she's all that threatening? And why does she honestly think that Lex is taking advantage of Lana? In fact, with all the things he's done for that brunette, she's taking advantage of him! But boy! If Lex talked to me that way about not having a boyfriend and I'd never get one because I was too strong a personality. Well, let's just say he'd be looking at the wrong end of one mega-hissy fit! And she drove all the way there?

    All noted and agreed.

    That was smooth of the man who napped Maddie. Break the fence and your tail lights. Only every cop would try to pull you over! Sheesh!

    The butterfly looked more like crystal than glass. Does the same trick work no matter what extremely fragile substance?

    I wouldn't try it with atomic weaponry.

    I have to say that, considering the conversation between Tyler and Maddie, I find it funny that Chloe was wearing a butterfly pin.

    Interesting, at that.

    OK, the scene at the Talon had a couple of clues for me that Maddie wasn't as innocent as she appeared to be. First, it's only 40 minutes into the show. Second, he just threw him across the room and says he won't hurt anyone ever again. Did Clark kill him? Did he cuff him and call the cops? How does he know that??? Yeah, I'm thinking the little girl can be as bad as her dad.

    I'm with you, actually. She did kill someone.

    I see. So Lana's going to get mad at Chloe for trying to protect her. Is Chloe going to just lay back and take it? Let's see. (And is Chloe wearing a whole new outfit from when she was talking to Clark?!?)

    She did with Jimmy. Hey-o! Here all show. Try the MADLY, by Neal Bailey.

    Wow! Lana came in all ready to rip Chloe a new one. Reminds me of when I tried to protect a sister. But Chloe should have known better than just coming out and saying it. And if Lana wasn't thinking about a romantic relationship with Lex before, she sure is now.

    Ahhh. Now I see. The only reason why Martha offered Lois the Chief of Staff job is because they wanted to make a reference about Lois's "destiny". Isn't that trite?!?

    It's destined. George Mcfly thinks it's a function of mass and weight. Zing! Here until 1985!

    They took Tyler to the Smallville Medical Center? Where there's glass everywhere? And assign him a cop with glasses? Oy!

    Yeah.

    Clark's been making lots and lots of promises. Isn't that dangerous? And how can he bring Maddie to Tyler when Tyler said not to move a muscle??? Fab special effects, though.

    Yeah, better than usual!

    The end was very touching. I loved how she incorporated his self-portrait into her better drawing. And how can he be so positive a grandmother will do so well with a child that has powers? After all, they sent Ryan with his aunt and he wound up poisoned in Belle Reeve!

    That's my cynical commentary.

    Ah, Clark is trying to be all nonchalant about Lana. and then Chloe gets to lie 'cause it's not her place to tell Clark and a possible Lexana pairing. And I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. For a moment, I had a feeling that they were already romantic and the talk was just covering that up. And Lana sucks off any lip balm Lex may have and then runs off? Do they really want me to believe she's such a shrinking violet?

    I see it more as a Venus Flytrap.

    Anyways, those are my comments for now. I look forward to reading your review!

    Hasta luego, mi amigo!

    Ever, Sara

    Word! Thanks!

    Take care, all! More to come!

    Neal



    Back to the "Smallville: Episode Reviews" Contents page.

    Back to the main TELEVISION page.