July 29, 2021

Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 5 - Episode 20: "Fade"

Reviews:

Fade

Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

Clark saves a man who turns out to be an assassin for hire and also comes face to face with Lana and Lex's budding relationship.

There was some good stuff in this episode but all in all it was just your average weekly adventure. The only real advancement to the main plots of the series was Clark coming into the knowledge that Lana and Lax are an item now. There was also a brief mention of Dr. Fine where Lex found out that the government had no knowledge of his existence. Otherwise this one was your standard freak of the week episode.

Was it bad? No. I'd call it average. Which is really a shame considering how few episodes are left this season. I sincerely hope they are not saving too much for the final.

They did try to cover an interesting dilemma that Clark will have to face on almost a daily basis once he begins his cape filled days. That is saving someone who goes on to commit evil. It was good to see the show touch on that even if briefly.

I was very amused by Lois coming out of the shower to defend herself. Why is it that I have no doubt in my mind that Lois Lane, as we know and love her, would grab a weapon before a towel or robe. Thankfully it was her future husband who was at the door and not the creep who was trying to steal a peak. I found the moment hilarious and only fair play considering how Clark and Lois first met. The scene that followed was the best part of the episode. I do not know about the rest of you but I was totally geeking out on the scene where Clark was using his super hearing to find the invisible villain.

Speaking of Lois I also enjoyed her conversation with Martha Kent near the end. I found Martha's comments about dating the wrong people so you know the right one's very insightful. It almost makes me sad that this tale of Clark Kent may not continue long enough for us to see this Lois becoming aware of what's in front of her. Sure there have been hints and I am sure we will see more hints in the future but I have to admit, it would be nice to see that romance develop. It would be a refreshing change to see Clark in a romance with hope for an actual future.

I like the Lana/Lex development. I think the writers/producers and even the actors involved have played this in a way that made the whole plot line feel natural. This is something that could have easily been forced but it wasn't. I think this is mainly due to the fact we've seen this developing over a very long time. Really it's been a couple of years going. Smallville may have a fault saving things up and trying to squeeze them all into one or two big episodes but in this case they let it slowly develop over time and the plot line is better for it.

Now, some criticisms. Why is it that Lex recovers faster from gun shot wounds than being choked? Why was Lex allowed a gun in a hospital when he had armed security outside his door? Sure you can play the billionaire card but then let me ask this... Why did it have a silencer? Rather an odd thing to have, don't you think? If you fear you will have to defend against another attempt on your life the last thing your going to be worried about is waking someone up by making loud noises.

So not a lot to say. Standard filler. Nothing more. I'll have to give it a C+. (Or 2.5 out of 5 bars of soap.)

Next week looks like we will finally get some significant motion on the Prof. Fine plot and I am pretty sure I heard the Z word. See ya all next week.

Douglas "Doright" Trumble



Fade

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

MAIN POINTS:

  • A guy who can become invisible tries to thank Clark for saving his life.
  • He does this by trying to kill Lex.
  • He fails miserably, getting shot to death by Lex.
  • Clark and Lana have a passive aggressive off. Guess who wins?

    REVIEW:

    Filler.

    Of course, most of this season consists of filler with a slightly intriguing sub-plot. But in the third-to-last episode of the season, it's really bothersome to have filler.

    What did this episode move forward? Now Lana knows Clark knows she's with Lex, and they have a big, passive aggressive pow-wow where Lana proves how stupid she can be. Wow. Took forty minutes for that?

    Otherwise, what?

    Honestly.

    Nothing.

    Most of the characters were out of character at least once in this episode for arbitrary drama. The villain was a cliché. TONS of critical plotholes, loops, and failures.

    There was a good bit in the beginning, with the jump. Nice effect, and it seemed that Clark and Chloe's conversation, very much a character conversation, would carry through. But alas...

    I took five pages of notes, odd, since I've been doing about 2-3 for the last few episodes. But then, the last few episodes weren't really that abysmal. I thought the show was turning a corner, I really did. Of course, I say this not three episodes after SIMONE, but then, it started to separate us from the anchor of the Lana fetish, it pushed the subplot from the back of a show to closer to the front, and actually started confronting some character.

    Now, filler. And if it continues in this vein, more Lana-focused crap. Like the promotional poster. "WHO HAS THE POWER NOW!?"

    What, power is being able to get a whiny girl to cling to your leg? I thought power was compassion, mercy, integrity, and strength in the face of adversity. Like Clark has. But then, what do I know? She hot.

    You know, my chief detractors who hate this column, what few but tenacious there are, really light into me because I dare to expose flaws in the story, and then open my interpretation up to debate. That's their right, and I don't begrudge them it. What occurs to me is that I find it funny that one would blame me for exposing the flaws, instead of the show for creating them?

    This is aside from the argument of being able to just ignore mistakes and enjoy the show. Personally, I think if you decide consciously to ignore the logical aspects of anything, you may have faith in it, but your respect will not be as holistic as one who examines something critically and is beloved of it for its merits, not fandom.

    So often, WB and UPN shows, heck, TV shows coast on fandom as opposed to merits, and personally, to see a Superman show, any one of them, expected to coast, even some of the time, on said merits, is sad.

    Enough reflection, though. On to the litany of flaws.

    We start off, as I mentioned, with Chloe and Clark worrying about the impending threat of Lionel keeping his secret. This is the kind of dilemma that I enjoy. One where no simple, active measure can erase the problem. Unlike the central dilemma of this episode. To compare, Clark can simply go to Lana and say, "Hey, you're dating Lex. That hurts my feelings." Or, Lana can go to Clark and say, "I'm dating Lex. Sorry if you don't like it."

    When you play with those two elements and make perfectly rational hero characters ignore the simple solution, it p!$$e$ me off, personally, because I don't believe Clark is like that. It's out of character. Lana is like that, but I want to watch that for entertainment? Please. Don't insult me.

    But Lionel's dilemma is active, unavoidable, and intriguing. You can't just kill Lionel. Lionel can't unlearn the secret outside of Summerholdt. It's a real pickle, and a good arc, because Lionel can potentially die.

    Guess which dilemmas we go with, right after the tease of the Lionel dilemma. Et-hem, yeah.

    A guy walks out in front of a vehicle. A guy, we later learn, who is a consummate professional mafia-style hitman. But doesn't look both ways when crossing the street.

    (FFF FFFF FFF FFF FFF!)

    What's that sound, you ask? That's AQUAMAN laughing at this dude, muffling it through his fingers so we can't hear him. That's right. Aquaman. Who talks to fish. And is currently getting more attention for his show than this show, it would seem.

    Clark saves the chump's life, and in fine style. Awesome shot. It looked hard to make, came off beautifully, and played well with the scene.

    It's still Clark jumping to super-speed in a crowded area, so minus points for that, but that's one of those things you can sweep under the rug for the coolness.

    Clark saves Graham, who we later find out murders someone, and tries to murder all of Clark's friends. Here's a key chance for this episode to take a crap concept and make it mean something. How does Clark come to terms with the fact that he saved the life of a murderer? It was squandered in the Vengeance episode, here it's squandered again. No, "Man, I feel responsible!" Just, "He survived because of me, and now he's killed someone! I've gotta stop him, Chloe!" Which is akin to Batman saying, "Robin, your hair is on fire and there's no water around! Sorry, old chum!" Zzzzzzzzip!

    When you're doing what has to be done as a snap decision, there's no accounting for the fact that you've committed a potential moral atrocity or, worse yet, made your ward's hair smell bad.

    This episode was rife, as was pointed out in the patented SMALLVILLE CHAT HOUR (9 PM pacific time after every new episode in the Superman Homepage chat room), with storylines that had already been used. It wasn't a rip, really, of another movie, but it did use a lot of "done" concepts.

    First off, there's already been a "Chameleon" freak of the week. Chloe was wrong. I wouldn't have remembered myself to be honest, had I not checked my own knockout count, but Jeff, Lex's servant from season one? The pump-fake episode where you suspect the girl but it's her jealous brother.

    Also, Tina Greer did much the same thing, disappearing into a crowd often and well.

    Clark saving someone from an impending vehicle smoosh.

    Someone trying to make Clark happy by hurting whoever is making him sad (Alicia).

    Someone trying to make Clark happy with material goods (Lex with the truck, first episode). Funny how this one could have been a character touchstone but instead Clark just takes the action without talking about how he learned it from his dead (and forgotten in this episode) father.

    A character not trusting Clark about a guy being a fink while dating them (Lois, and previously Lana, Chloe, and Lois).

    The "jealousy" scene, Clark seeing Lana with Lex in the background. Done twice now. Once in episode 100, and once in the finale for season three, I think it was.

    At any rate, there are more, but that's just off the top of my head.

    The TV shows up at the Kent house. Lois is using it to play video games. And what game is she playing? ONLY THE COOLEST, MOST OBSCURE, UNCHANGING GEEKTASTIC GAME OF ALL TIME. Dynasty Warriors.

    Okay, I'm gonna sacrifice some of my street cred as an impoverished writer here, perhaps, but I gotta be honest, it goes with the explanation. I have a 55-inch screen LCD Sony television.

    GASP!

    I know. I hear it. Not "Man, cool that you have a big TV!", but more, "Neal! You preach poverty! You say you live in a ramshackle abode and can hardly afford food! You say you HATE most television shows. You giant, bulbous hypocrite!"

    Well, yeah. But I have a big TV. And a paid-off car. Why? Because I work as a construction worker to support my writing, fixing up houses, flipping them, and selling them or refinancing them. It's beans, but it keeps me in words, for now.

    When I finished my first house, a three year affair that drained my soul and kicked me senseless, I bought myself a car, free and clear, which I now use, and a big television. Not because I like TV. In fact, the only reason I have cable at all is The Daily Show and Smallville, both of which a fink could download. And both of which a fink WOULD download if he didn't rush this review to presses. A fink reviewer, not me.

    I love, however, movies. I find them to be a great mesh of all art, and like to watch them on a huge screen. It's pretty much my one big vanity. It's also pretty funny in its own way, having a giant TV and struggling for food. You think, Tomato soup again? Ah, heck with it. I'm watching Unbreakable. It's a sanity measure in these years of strife.

    How does that relate? Well, I love playing Dynasty Warriors on the big screen. It's one of my favorite games. The play style is not that innovative. It's a hack-and-slash where you basically knock ten, fifteen guys around at a time, slowly gaining levels. Kind of like Battlefield, but with ancient Chinese figureheads.

    And that's why I like it. In college, I was a FREAK for Chinese history, mostly because of one of my only good professors, who taught me a firm respect for his heritage and gave me a love of a ton of things I never would have discovered. Playing Lu Bu helps me remember that, and it's also a neat way to brush up on my studies while beating the holy crap out of some 900 men in one battle.

    So to see Lois playing it was (and here's the punchline) just awesome. All that for that one point, I know, but hey. That and...my TV is bigger than the mobster gift. Booya.

    A critical flaw: Lois calls it a twenty grand gift. If it's plasma, you can get one that size for about three grand. If it's LCD, you can get one my size for 3,000, 2,500 if you know what you're doing.

    Also funny is that I can wham on them for having to pay for gas, but I can honestly say that you can be poor and have a giant TV. Hah! It's like gambling. A tool to keep people like me from ripping their own skulls out or robbing a bank or doing the things they have to do to line the pockets of oil companies for the man.

    And I'm not bulbous, Devil's Advocate Neal.

    If you want to jive me for having a big TV, turkey, then jive my ultimate plans to start a publication company, distribute my books for free, give a fortune to the poor, and start a writing base in the middle of hidden woods. We'll see in twenty years, bucko.

    A whine might be that they suspected Lionel of the TV without evidence, but in the middle of dismal episode I found this to be a surprisingly apt insight. Usually it's just, "Hey! Chloe's got a mole! There must be a mole-giving meteor freak around!"

    Here, they instead suspect Lionel, then find Graham. Good.

    The Daily Planet entrance, still cool. Getting me eager for the movie, honestly. I love it. I'm guessing they just took a static shot from the actual movie, thinking about it. But if they did, if they didn't, it's still awesome.

    Clark asks Chloe for a favor. Her response? Of COURSE, Clark! She said something about popping coins out of her butt, I can't remember the metaphor, but essentially it was the most grateful accession one could offer. Like, "Clark, you save me constantly! How could I NOT do this one thing for you?"

    Now, compare that to the Lana response. Clark pulls her out of an explosion.

    Lana: "Oh. It's you. You scuffed my earrings! I'm a big girl, I don't need your protection. HMMMPH!" And TURN and STOMP and FOLD YOUR ARMS!

    Later: "Lana, what time is it?"

    "WE'RE JUST FRIENDS NOW! IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!"

    Clark: "Gargagggggg, Lana! I'm not on fire!"

    Clark reveals that he's returned the television, and he wants to know who did it. Here's a nice little plot hole. Chloe LATER finds out that it was paid for in cash, which, if Clark returned it (not knowing where it came from), assuming he found where it came from. I mean, they don't just move a hundred televisions in a day. If he found the store, they'd be able to give a description, easily, of the one or two people who bought televisions that day. But here's the twist. If he did return the TV, he'd then know that it was paid for in cash, because they'd offer him a refund, or have to give a refund to the person who bought it, which means either a store check being mailed out or a refund to the card of whoever paid it, as I recall. Either way, if he paid in cash, that money has to go somewhere. Did Clark just give the money to Circuit City? In other words, either he took the gift in cash or just donated it to a corporation.

    And he could have been learning Chinese history! Stooooopid!

    Lex returns home to find a handbag on his piano. Slow, ominous tones of Holst's Pluto, Lord of the Underworld fill the air, the air begins to crackle, and we know, as we know anything, that DRAMA IS ABOUT TO BE AFOOT!

    Gargaggggg, Al, I'm not on fire!

    Lana glibly tells Lex that she's noticed Lex has stepped up his security. They hardly wanted to let her in.

    Now why, if Lex stepped up security, he would make them question Lana, is beyond me. But that aside, assume you accept this, which you can't, because later on, Clark just appears inside of the mansion while Lex is kissing Lana without any kind of security goon announcing his presence (and for that matter, why didn't they announce Lana's?). Assume you accept it. Why would they step up security? The implication is that Lex is concerned because he doesn't know who Milton Fine is or what he's doing. This despite all his credentials checking out. This despite the fact that Milton has never made a move in malice toward Lex. And this despite the fact that, as we learn later in the episode and exposing a plot hole, LEX AND FINE ARE WORKING TOGETHER.

    Crap.

    Even assume some other reason. Over the years, there have been so many threats, and he's never stepped up security beyond installing guns. I don't buy it.

    Lex and Lana are now apparently somehow in a relationship. Where this came from, I don't know. Last time we saw them, they were just playing chess and had kissed once, in a very unmotivated and disconcerted way. Heh. Yeah. Get this. I just went to the tape, and if you watch it, Lana basically doesn't even confront the issue of their kiss directly, and walks out when Lex gets a phone call, not shutting the door on the way out. She leaves it hanging open. Typical. Heh. Symbolic, too.

    One kiss and they're suddenly a couple despite a ton of complex issues? Boy, that's real life. They're gonna get a baby from the stork, too.

    This is what we call ARBITRARY DRAMA, a concept I harp on all the time but which never seems to cease on this show. No rational reason for Lana and Lex to be together, but they are.

    What does a petulant, immature girl-woman get from being with a rich guy she purportedly hates, when she's suddenly enamored of him for sharing one secret? What does a BILLIONARE who's bedded Helen Bryce, the teacher from Heat, and Kelly Brook want to do with an egocentric, petulant, immature girl-woman who's 7 years his junior, always calling him out for things he hasn't done, and blames him for her kissing him?

    ARBITRARY DRAMA.

    Why would a man who has lost both his father and his unborn sibling and his girlfriend and his other dead girlfriend and his adopted brother and his best friend Pete continue not to directly confront any issue that was bothering him and seemed to endanger others, particularly the girl of his dreams?

    ARBITRARY DRAMA.

    Why would Chloe not tell Clark that Lana is dating Lex, when Chloe is a closer friend to Clark, when Chloe loves Clark and thus would likely do such a thing in character, and when Chloe knows that not telling Clark will just end up in him being hurt more and bring the pain on her?

    ARBITRARY DRAMA.

    Why would a man who can make millions of dollars try and pay back a kid who saved his life by murdering one of his former friends on the off chance it might make the girl run back into his arms?

    ARBITRARY DRAMA.

    What is this episode of Smallville?

    ARBITRARY DRAMA.

    What sucks?

    ARBITRARY DRAMA.

    Why do I not watch Gilmore Girls or any other chick-geared melodramatic story where the principle worry is the relationships and not any of the higher concepts explored?

    ARBITRARY DRAMA.

    What will this device become if I don't cease using it now?

    ARBITRARY DRAMA.

    Too late. Curses.

    ARBITRARY DRAMA.

    Stupid record. Stop...skipping!

    ARBITRARY DRAMA.

    That's it.

    ARBITRA....GARAGGGGG, I'M NOT ON FIRE!

    You know, I'm beating that joke to death, but it occurs to me, you remember those Tinactin commercials, the ones with the feet on fire? Well, there's an easier solution than a five dollar bottle of Athlete's Foot remover. Just saying.

    So anyway, Chloe and Clark have it out in an arbitrary way, per above, and Chloe says that she's sorry. It's supposed to be all OOOOOOH!, but it's really just crap.

    A notable line, however, is that Lana asked Chloe to keep the relationship a secret, she says. Actually, I believe what happened is that she told Chloe that she wanted to tell Clark, but either way, that counts as a LANA SECRET AND LIE.

    Oh, she later laments. Clark, you lied to me so much, so I would never want to lie to you!

    No. You just do, you hag.

    A notably fun part of this scene is when Clark does what Lana does constantly, and what happens. Clark turns, angry at Chloe for having lied to him, and tries to leave the scene. He stomps, folds his arms, and walks out of the Daily Planet.

    Is this the end of the scene? Hah! No. Chloe follows him, grabs him and says, "Where are you going? Where are you GOING!"

    Which is what happens in real life. It's great. I mean, they're actually showing what happens when you try and walk out of a conversation in real life, and they force the characters to resolve this worthless and arbitrary dilemma. You'd think that would be a good thing, but instead it exposes a further flaw.

    When LANA walks out in a huff with her arms folded, it's typically played as something that is acceptable, normal, and warranted.

    When CLARK walks out in a huff with his arms folded, it's played as being typically male, unacceptable, and Chloe stops him. Even though CLARK'S beef is very sincere and honest and warranted, whereas Lana usually walks out because you don't agree with her on some topic.

    This is a sexist way to portray characters. Or just a Lana-ist. Take your pick. Because if Chloe walked out on Lana, she'd probably be played as a be-hotch.

    As strange as this seems, the next scene is a scene that's played out many times in my life, so I've gotta give it much respect. Clark is sitting down, looking at a framed picture of the girl he loves who, for some reason, requites it. Frustrated and at his wit's end with her interminable stupidity, he hucks the picture and breaks it.

    Classic. That's the best and only image I will take from this episode, not out of memory, just out of habit.

    Junior Soprano shows up, invites him to the hootenanny, and they head to Metropolis.

    Clark meets Lois, who's holding a suspiciously alcoholic looking drink (learned that lesson, did she?), and then goes up and turns down a hooker. That's good. I mean, he didn't turn her down before he took a kiss, like a strange woman would just appear and kiss him and he wouldn't suspect anything, but anyway, it played all right.

    Speaking of Lois...she's Martha's chief of staff, right? And Martha's a senator, right?

    Who's running the Talon?

    Here, I note that at least the freak isn't insta-bad. And true. He's been bad for a long time. This isn't some whiny teenager who suddenly finds out they can eat people in one bite and thusly starts eating people who mildly irritate them in a bite.

    Lex IMs Milton Fine, and says that he's genetically splicing a virus to help him out. Maybe I missed something by not checking out the AOL journals, but it just seemed kind of boring to me. But somehow, I think even if I watched them right now in their entirety, I'd have no idea how the heck Lex went from exploring an alien civilization that Milton Fine is also seeking to synthesizing a generic virus with him for an undisclosed purpose. I think this is supposed to be the mystery for the finale, but my guess is that it'll be just one more critical lapse in a long series of critical lapses of plot.

    Hope I'm wrong.

    Goonie of the week shows up, chokes Lex into unconsciousness. Lana shows up, stops him from killing Lex. What's funny, if you watch it, is that while Lex chokes to death, Lana STANDS there and WATCHES him choke for a full 8 seconds before doing anything. The man is unarmed. She fails to use her kung fu.

    Great girlfriend. I'll take two.

    AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES!

    Clark finds Lana fawning over Lex, and asks her to describe the guy. In a hilarious reversal of the Cyborg description, she says he has dark hair, dark eyes, and a trench coat.

    Remember Cyborg? She basically said that Cyborg was a black guy, and in Metropolis, a stand-in for New York, Clark picks the one black dude it might be out of the middle of a crowd of people. Now, here, later, she describes a guy without giving his race, just saying he has dark hair and dark eyes, and Clark instantly knows who it is.

    I mean, that could be practically anyone. Even Milton Fine.

    It could also be a dude of any race.

    So on the one hand, Lana errors by giving just a race and no facial descriptions, no hair length, and Clark instantly finds the dude. Now, she describes a facial feature and hair with no race, and Clark instantly knows who she's talking about.

    I mean, with that knack for description, Lana should be a WRITER! Ah, who am I kidding. I only say that because I wish misery on her.

    In the letter column I was embroiled recently in a debate about how money leads to happiness. It angers people to suggest that with money you can have more happiness than if you are poor.

    Exhibit A. Mobster who kills people walks into the Talon, offers to give Lois a ride halfway across the nation with a man she hardly knows to see a band, and Lois accepts. Even alludes that the guy is a Prince Charming and she's a Cinderella for him being so kind as to waste a resource that means nothing to him on complimenting her superficial beauty over her mind. Way to make Lois the UR-feminist, guys!

    Honest guy with no cash walks up to Erica Durance and asks her to go to coffee dutch? What you think is gonna happen, Willis?

    This factors later, when Lois tries to shift the blame for dating a psychopath with Martha. Remember it.

    Clark, of course, on Lana's description alone, confronts Graham. Graham, who was willing to move Heaven and Earth to please Clark, suddenly decides to kill him for threatening to take him to the police. Does Graham say, "Ha! Good luck, Clark!" and then disappear? Nah. That would make sense. Instead, he tries to kill the man he's indebted to with a statue instead of disappearing, appearing behind Clark with a gun some time, and killing him. Or trying to (he doesn't know Clark's invulnerable).

    Clark doesn't dodge, he lets the statue hit him, so in effect, he reveals his powers to Graham without heed. This is stupid, because Clark, with super-human reflexes, could easily dodge the statue, or pull a deft deflection that DOESN'T totally reveal his powers.

    Bad writing.

    Chloe looks up the guy, who's known as "The Chameleon" to the FBI. Okay, so they ripped off Spider-Man. Different modus, though, despite the same power.

    While Chloe looks him up, another pretty annoying plot hole develops. Chloe tells Clark not to get cocky, because this guy, as the ultimate fly on the wall, could find out that HIS WEAKNESS IS METEOR ROCKS.

    Clark: "My weakness, METEOR ROCKS?"

    Chloe: "Yeah, your weakness, METEOR ROCKS? Say, Clark, why are we STATING THE OBVIOUS WEAKNESS LOUDLY IN PUBLIC?"

    Clark: "Durrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, because the plot has to move forward, even if it makes no sense?"

    Neal then steps in. "Uh, guys, if you're both aware that the technical term for meteor rocks is "kryptonite," and if you both know Clark's secret, then why are you referring to them as meteor rocks? I mean, you can't really argue that they changed the term in public in case anyone heard them, because they're giving away the secret anyway by saying they're Clark's weakness."

    Clark: "Durrrrrrrrrrrrr!"

    Ah! Gratuitous shower scene! Boy. Nothing says GOOD STORY to me, nothing says I AM COMPLETELY NOT DESPERATE AS A PRODUCTION, like a half-naked woman in a shower for an extended period of time without purpose.

    But Neal, people take showers.

    Yes. People also do sit-ups in sports bras. People also pee, and poop, and sometimes, they torture kittens. Often they engage in monetary exchanges, conversation, or sleep. They sleep a LOT. Almost more than any other single thing they do. So if you're going to show a person doing any one thing as mise-en-scene, it deserves a reason.

    The villain could have come upon Lois doing her homework, tidying the Talon, taking a pee, torturing a cat, or sleeping. They CHOSE to have her half naked and doing sit-ups, and then taking a prolonged shower in the arty dark.

    Is it essential to the scene? Not at all. They did it because she's hot, quite obviously. It's gratuitous. As I've said before, nothing doing, not for nothing, I don't hate beauty, sexuality, or pretty girls. In fact, my singular mission in life is to track such down on a regular basis. I love it. But not where it doesn't make any da*$ed sense.

    And ESPECIALLY when having it as a shower scene brings a ton of plot holes to light. Like, for instance, how if Lois had, as she stated, taken an hour and a half shower, the room would be a relative STEAM BATH, and any Graham moving through it would be really obvious through the steam. Like, for instance, if Lois had been taking an hour and a half shower, when she stepped out, at very least her body would be steaming. Like, for instance, if she were taking an hour and a half shower, she'd probably at very least turn on the FRICKIN' LIGHT!

    She gets up and seeks the creepy presence. Doing so, she grabs a shower head and prepares to club it on the head. Revealing hands that are not pruned. Sigh. Revealing the plot hole that if Lois is, in fact, a third degree black belt, why would she seek a blunt instrument to pound a guy with when her hands are already lethal weapons?

    She opens the door naked, only to find Clark standing there, bashful. No "Hey, uh, why are you standing at my door waiting for me to come out, isn't this scene kind of contrived." Just, "I'm looking for Graham! Durrrrrr!"

    It's supposed to be a funny reversal of the time Lois found Clark naked, but because it's so forced and unnecessary, it's not really funny or a continuity moment, per se.

    Clark turns to his super-hearing to find Graham, seeking him in the Talon. He follows him out to the back alley, where Graham hits him with a piece of KRYPTONITE and knocks him to the ground.

    This sounds neat, and is neat in theory, because when he's scanning the crowd and their heartbeats, you get a little insight into what Clark hears at all times. It's also a very good way to find Graham, because Clark knows individual breathing and heartbeats. They use that in the comics. I use that in my scripts, actually. It's a good device. It's like thermo-scopic vision, a good way to locate anyone who's trying to escape with a hide check.

    But then, simplest possible power first, right? How do you knock over a pole if you're Superman? Do you light it on fire with your heat vision and wait for it to crumble, or do you hit it with your fist and make it fall?

    The quickest way to find a villain who renders himself invisible is to SEE him. So do you listen for him, or do you use the power to see across every light spectrum to just pick him out of a crowd?

    Survey says?

    Or, for that matter, do you simply move through the room at super-speed until you bump into the guy who can only move at normal speed and yet can't be seen? Even THAT is better than hearing.

    Clark finds him, regardless, and gets smacked with the Kryptonite. Apparently he finds him, but doesn't x-ray vision him for weapons, I guess.

    Graham knocks Clark down, and tells Clark he has to kill him. And Lana. And Lex. Because he can't leave witnesses! Despite the fact that, uh, he can disappear whenever he's being pursued.

    Here's how he "kills" Clark. He buries him alive in a one-foot deep plot of dirt in the back of the Talon. This is how to easily murder someone? Why Clark doesn't just shake it off? Who knows? Why we're supposed to believe Clark would survive without air under the detriment of Kryptonite? Who knows. Why the villain who's a cold-blooded murderer wouldn't just slit his throat and instead goes through an elaborate burial in a mostly public area? Durrrrrrrrrrr!

    Clark pops up immediately, somehow not dead despite having no air, and says, "He's going after Lex and Lana!"

    Does Lois ask why Clark doesn't go to the hospital despite being buried alive and unconscious? Naaaaaaaaaaah.

    AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES!

    Lex is recovering with Lana at his side. She tells him he was brave to survive, or something to that line. He replies: "I have too much to live for!"

    So now not only is Lex despondent and ready to become an evil man without Lana, per the Christmas episode, now she's his reason for living at all. And this happens for no real apparent reason beyond her blaming him for everything and calling him a lying snake for three straight years. Suuuuuuuuure. And Lionel Luthor's a good guy.

    Lex tells Lana that she should tell Clark about them before he finds out on his own. Because, you know, that would be the active and easy way to fix their dilemma.

    Lana, not skipping a beat, promotes the other idea. The passive aggressive way of not telling someone that somehow in her addle-pated character brain seems so crazy that it just might work.

    "I don't owe Clark anything, Lex, especially the truth! This isn't about anger! I'll tell him when I'M ready on MY OWN terms!"

    This is the ACTUAL dialogue.

    Read that yourself, out loud, but while you're doing it, have the sound of a baby crying in the background, or have someone fake cry. It sounds much more dramatic.

    Now let's take a look at that dialogue.

    "I don't owe Clark anything, Lex!" Except your life, about 106 times now.

    "Especially the truth!" Because Lord knows, you've never asserted that a good person always tells the whole truth even when lying saves lives.

    "This isn't about anger!" Of course it isn't! I'm just saying this while stomping my feet and being petulant! It's more about...not-love! Yes! Anger is not-love! And now rape is love-theft! In Lana world, it's opposite land opposite land!

    "I'll tell him when I'M ready on MY OWN terms!" Because having him find out on his own is when you're ready and on your own terms. And because if CLARK wanted to tell you when he's ready and on his own terms, you'd leave him! Good thing you're not a hypocrite!

    "I don't owe Clark anything!" Yeah. You do. Your life.

    "This isn't about anger!" Yeah. It is. You @%$#.

    "I'll tell him when I'm ready!" Was that okay when Clark did it?

    Someone suggested to me that they're purposefully making Lana into a villain, someone to be hated. No. They're really not. The creators of this show just honestly think that she's not being inconsistent. I kid you not. When they make a character more villainous, they comment about it in interviews. There are subtle hints, like black clothing and overtly evil acts with the scorn of other characters, like when Chloe "went evil" for a few episodes.

    They really think Lana is uncontradictory, pure, and worthy of being loved by EVERYONE. Clark has had, what, two girlfriends? Lana has had, what, six, seven boys? And all of the others just fascinated with how wonderful she is. Even a girl started killing to be in a lesbian alluding relationship with her (Tina Greer).

    As a social commentary, it's an embarrassing state of affairs. As a TV show premise, it's *%$@ing insane. And in this episode, it only gets worse.

    So anyway, back to the shower. Lois is getting ready and Chloe arrives, telling her that Graham is a vicious, awful, dag nasty evil killer. Lois goes, "Hmm. Yeah. Okay. I believe you."

    But when Clark said it, her next line was (to Chloe) along the lines of "Why must Clark always try and meddle when I'm getting with a guy, huh?"

    So when the guy who saves your life regularly says it, it's machismo. When the gal who's barely around Smallville says it, it's gospel.

    Furthering this line of logic, check THIS one out, in terms of the debate of money bringing happiness. Clark flat out TELLS Lois the guy is dangerous, and what does she do? Explore it? No. She KEEPS PREENING and preparing to impress the dude with her physical attributes. Why? Because the dude was a "Prince Charming", and why is the dude a Prince? BECAUSE HE'S RICH. That's all. He has nothing special. He's not overly charming. He offers to SPEND MONEY on Lois. That's all. And gives her one or two stock compliments. Seriously. So even though he's evidently HOMICIDAL, she's still hot on him. What other reason could there be, beyond money?

    By the way, this is the PERFECT way to show how a woman, especially THE feminist icon of several generations, Lois Lane, should show how men must value a brain and substance over a body and gifts or cash. He said in sarcasm.

    Lois never went to check out on Clark when he said he was following a bad guy? Cold. Also out of character. No guilt when Clark is found nearly dead from Lois? Out of character. Not even a PHONE CALL from Lois to Clark?

    Hey, how about this? When Clark leaves to go find Lois, Chloe is picking up the phone. Why is she picking up the phone? To call Lois and warn her that Graham is a vicious, awful, dag nasty evil killer. Now, is there a chance that call didn't come through? Yes. There is. But given that she made the call before a three hour drive to Metropolis, and given that Lois was only in the shower for an hour and a half, I think it's unlikely that Chloe would have given up. And on a night when Lois is going out, you think she'd turn off her cell phone in case the PLANE RIDE maybe happened to change times?

    By the way, there's eighty bucks in gas from poor college students, forty from Chloe, forty from Lana. Assuming she only made one trip down. I think it was two, given Lana's scolding of Clark in the end, but I'll say one to be nice.

    Somehow, Lex gets a gun into the hospital. It's possible, I'll give you that. Especially if you're rich. But keeping it on the food tray? It's...well, it's just crazy stupid and unlikely. Why not just make your goons well-armed and plentiful?

    He pulls the gun on Lana, then hides it again quickly. He's pretty spry for a guy who's just nearly been choked to death and is supposedly drugged for pain. He's even more spry a few seconds later when he's dancing around "saving Lana's life" and shooting up a hospital.

    He hides the gun, but if you look, he doesn't cover it up entirely, even while talking to Lana. This is a continuity error, and a shameful one. The barrel is sticking right out. Any idiot could see it. If you watch the scene, he covers it up AFTER she enters the room and is looking at him directly. The gun is in full view. He then covers it up as she watches him, five feet away, and when they change the angle to show what she can see, the over-the-shoulder perspective, we can see clearly where the gun would have been, and had it been uncovered as it had been when they show Lex covering it, it would have been plainly evident, as it is plainly evident even AFTER he covers it, from any perspective offered.

    But hey, that's not even so bad. It gets REALLY bad next.

    Lex's goon at the door is knocked unconscious by Graham. A full-grown, large man drops unconscious for no reason in a HOSPITAL, and no one notices. No screams, no one coming to check on him.

    Graham enters. Lex pulls the gun because the door opens on its own, without seeing anyone. He FIRES HIS PISTOL in a CROWDED HOSPITAL nine times, through walls, into furniture. No screams. No evacuation. Heck, no consequences at all.

    Lex Luthor fires upon an UNARMED, INVISIBLE MAN in a HOSPITAL, and there are no consequences.

    Look, I'll buy that a dinky pistol like that holds ten bullets. I'll even buy that he can fire it with it pulling down his hand in every shot and while doped up. I'll even LOOK OVER the fact that while firing it semi-auto the hammer is suddenly cocked without Lex cocking it and without the need to on a semi-auto pistol.

    But I'll be snickered if I'll believe that Lex can shoot at a man before that man takes his pistol from him, in a hospital, killing him, and get away with it.

    It happened in the last crap episode, Hypnotic. They kill an unarmed man with a pistol in cold blood with no explanation why, and we're just supposed to accept it. Bull.

    So Lex shoots up a hospital, gets cold-cocked, the guy chases them down, and collapses from being shot after Clark saves them.

    Lana: "You saved my life!" Swoon.

    Last time Clark saved Lana's life: "Oh. It's you again. My hair!"

    It's supposed to be a big dramatic moment, because Clark appears, shows himself to be hurt where neither of them can see him, and he's saved the day.

    Only it doesn't work, because:

    1) Clark should just talk to her, and is an idiot for not doing so.

    2) There is no Earthly reason either Lex or Clark would covet this monster.

    3) There is no reason, given circumstance, why Clark would feel Lana should be beholden to him.

    4) There is no reason this scene could happen. They'd be tackled by cops and/or screaming patients.

    Then we have what is supposed to be a character denouement, where Lois sits down with Martha and gee gollys. This scene utterly infuriated me.

    Lois laments the fact that her date turned out to be a psycho. She's perplexed how a man that you meet out of nowhere who wants to take you on plane trips across the country and spend lavish amounts of cash on you for being pretty could possibly be strange, different, or evil.

    Martha's response? "Lois, there was no way you could know the truth about him!"

    Yeah. But then, you could also not HOP IN A PLANE with a total stranger, too, and lessen your chances of him being a psychopath. Maybe. You think?

    Both of the women lament how horrible it is that they date men who turn out to be buttheads or psychopaths. I read and hear this all the time, as a defense mechanism.

    "Why are all the men I date @%$holes?"

    This has a subtle back-end implication: "It's not my fault they turn out to be crazy!"

    You hear this a lot in poverty. Why did my baby's daddy leave me? Why is this girl a psycho after I meet her? How did this guy beat me when he said he was cured after being a convicted felon for five years?

    Well, here's why. BECAUSE YOU CHOSE THIS PERSON. This person was a psycho BEFORE you put your faith and trust in them. You examined them critically and must have gotten a one on your diplomacy check or something, because YOU DATED A PSYCHOPATH!

    I don't blame the victim for the antagonist's actions. I'm not down with that. But I am for personal responsibility. I do chastise the man who sticks his hand in a meat grinder, so I would also chastise the woman in the same situation. If someone murders you, it's not your fault. I'm not saying Lois is at fault for what could have happened to her. But I am saying what she did was stupid. Like, you know, if I jumped off a roof into a mattress, and my buddies were on the ground waiting for me to do it. My buddies would yank the mattress and I'd fall on my butt. They're buttheads for doing it, but I should see it coming and avoid the situation. Follow?

    It's like leaving your car unlocked and then feeling blameless when someone steals it. You date a dude who does crazy things (or a chick), you're flirting with disaster. So don't expect me to condemn you for what someone does to you, but don't expect me to say that you're blameless, either.

    Martha: "Maybe you have to get through all the wrong men so you can recognize the right one."

    Yeah, Martha. Good idea. Yeah, show. Way to tell women it's okay to date bad guys, and that the consequences will just iron themselves out. You could get through all the wrong men so you can recognize the right one. OR YOU COULD USE INTELLIGENCE AND CHOOSE GOOD MEN TO START WITH, THE RIGHT MEN, not rich, mysterious, or violent men. Huh?

    This guy didn't force himself on Lois. She fell for his cash and his superficial personality, and put him in an enabling position to kill Clark and Lana and Lex.

    Is this Lois? Is this the ultimate feminist? A woman who lets life just wash over her, and blames bad choices on the man who's supporting and affirming her at the time and not herself? A woman irresponsible for her own actions? I would argue that this is disrespectful to all that makes feminism good, encouraging women to stand up for themselves, take an active role in their lives and society, and fighting back against the superficiality that maligns both their sex and mine.

    But hey, she hot. Let's do another shower scene, shall we?

    Chloe and Clark have a scene that makes you want to smack them both stupid.

    Chloe: "It's not easy to see the person you love in the arms of someone else."

    Which she says to Clark to intimate: "I was sad when you were with Lana while I loved you. Now you know how it feels. But I'm not going to say that to you directly, because that would be simple and would work."

    And sure enough, Clark misses the deeper context. Ah! Passive aggression sure solves everything, doesn't it?

    Clark: "You have no idea how hard it was."

    Which he says to Chloe to intimate: "You have no idea how hard it was to see them like that." Showing that he's completely oblivious, and not the smart, caring hero we know him to be. Out of character.

    Ah! Characters that DO NOT PROGRESS and NEVER LEARN from their mistakes. Who DO NOT hear the obvious and never move forward. Boy oh boy oh boy!

    All this, and a CLANA? Gargaggggg!

    It starts with Lana sneaking up on an unsuspecting Clark, who has super-hearing and thus would not be unsuspecting. She says, "Nothing bothered me more than when you were less than honest with me, and I don't want to be like that."

    Even though she is being like that. And has been many times. Clark's response?

    "..." That means he doesn't respond, which is a writing choice that indicates he thinks she's correct, and never is less than honest with him. Which she is. Constantly.

    Lana admits to lying about Lex. Clark's reaction? Anger? Stomping? Folded arms? Turning around and walking out? No. Total understanding, with one notable resistance. He tries to protect her.

    "Uh, Lana, I saw Lex torture a guy. He killed you in an alternate reality. He's working with a guy who tried to kill me. Or rather, I'd know that if you weren't hiding it from me and endangering both of our lives. He tortured Cyborg. He's generally dag nasty evil. Clear as purple crayon. And you believed that until last week."

    Actually, the dialogue, verbatim, is this:

    Clark: "You can't trust Lex." A given now that Lana herself has stated many times.

    Lana: "And I can trust YOU?"

    This is Lana (and by proxy the writer) equivocating Clark and Lex, intimating that because Clark didn't tell Lana his secret, he's just as bad a guy as Lex is. Lex, who lies, tortures, kills, creates genetic diseases, shoots up hospitals...

    She then stalks off. Clark tries to stop her. She turns around and says, "I know you think you're being some kind of a hero, Clark, but the truth is, I don't need you to protect me!"

    This after a scene in which Clark saved her life. This after a show where he's saved her life innumerable times with her knowledge that he's done so, and the knowledge that without him, she'd be dead. Yeah, Lana, you do. And even your corrupt, inconsistent, debased, obsessed with being perfect character would realize that Clark is necessary for your continued existence, or at very least has been for some time.

    "I lied to you, you came to protect me, I lied to you again, then I came to tell you about my lie, you offered to protect me, then I told you I don't need protection while putting myself into a position where I obviously need protection."

    Such "drama."

    Then she turns, stomps, and walks out. Oooh. Dis on Clark. What a dramatic ending. In fact, it's so dramatic without any real reason to be, it's

    ARBITRARY DRAMA! Gargaggggg

    1 of 5.

    SUPER SHORT REVIEW:

    If you want a textbook example of how to take a regular series, pull all of the characters out of character, throw in a few technical inconsistencies, mess up on continuity, craft an unbelievable villain and chain of events, undermine a feminist icon, and make the hero out to be a complete idiot, I give you FADE! 1 of 5.

    LETTERS:

    I won't say much. I did what appears to be the longest single review of the run up there. Eight thousand words. You know, that's a tenth of a novel? Or more. Anyway, that's scary. So let's just get on, in bold:

    GeorgehouseofEl wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    I just want to mention that I also called that the extra with a line would be the baddie, it was just a little too obvious, and my Girlfriend got mad at me for it because i "ruined the episode" for her. ;-) tee-hee

    Heh. She's going to put you in a warehouse and make you solve riddles to survive. I know a woman scorned.

    anyways, that aside, you mention something about the "DUR" moment, well right now me and my friends have a thing we do when the others are being dumb. You basically, in the most "special person" voice you can make say "De-DE-Dee", we stole from the show "Mind of Mencia" from Comedy Central. I thought De-DE-Dee at that moment right there.

    Apt.

    Anyways, love the reviews, i never miss one. My Smallville watching for the week is never complete untill i read your review.

    Thanks, George! Awesome.

    Toodles

    ~George, House of El

    Michael Herrick wrote:
    Hi Neal,

    Martha is definitely a state senator. In _Reckoning,_ when the party at the Talon was waiting for the election results, Martha looked up at the late Jonathan and quipped something like, "If you get two more districts, you're going to have a new commute to Topeka." Topeka is the capital of Kansas, and that's where they're state legislature holds its sessions. So she's definitely a state senator, not a US senator.

    I still say the jury's out. But that's another good piece of evidence. She could be a senator for a county, in which case a few districts would matter, but then, a presidential election also hinges on how many districts he wins, as does every national senatorial election, on a broader scale. In Washington, our capital is Olympia, and that's typically where our two federal senators operate out of, as I recall.

    But that's not to say that the writers aren't still spinning nonsense out of this. Good call on the front page of the Daily Planet. No way she gets that kind of press (but no newspaper has 120-point headlines either, so you could put this down to license). And state senators hardly stay busy year-round.

    Good ones do. Most just fund raise constantly and stick their thumbs up their butts while lobbyists write legislation through special interest groups that they sign for kickbacks while taking five days off for St. Patrick's Day.

    Here in New Mexico, the state legislature is in session for 60 days per year. The rest of the time, those people are running their own businesses or investments. In fact, New Mexico legislators aren't even PAID! It's a volunteer position, so they have to have other income. Of course, a little graft always helps.

    And happens. But hey, bear in mind that most elected officials get that way because they're already independently wealthy, so don't feel bad for your elected officials not getting DIRECT pork. ;)

    Congratulations on the book stuff. I hope it turns out well for you.

    Thankee. GREAT evidence for the debate.

    Sara wrote:
    Hey, writer man,

    Yo!

    Today I mesh my comments on your review and my own comments while watching the episode together as one. Ahhh, isn't that nice? And I'm going to see if I can do away with the numbers. After all, that's too liberal for me on an early Saturday evening!

    I didn't know that liberal agendas had a series of actionable items. No, wait, that's not a plan. And if you get that reference, you've been paying far too much attention to corruption.

    I definitely see your point about the ripping stuff off. I've actually complained about it in movies today. Why is it that writers that get paid a butt load of money feel that they can rip off storylines? It happens in TV. It happens in movies. Where are all the original ideas?

    Dangerous ideas aren't money-makers all the time. No one knows this better than booksellers. Since we as a society choose to be motivated by money and not artistic merit or integrity, we get safe rehash stories. This will not change in a capitalistic society. This sucks. But communism sucks more. Unless, of course, you get an anti-suck portion in the bread line. But that means waiting all day. Or buying anti-suck from the communist black market instead of waiting, which is capitalism.

    After all, Smallville, while looking at some characters with history in our society, had the potential to look at the beginnings - the TRUE beginnings. That's what's so disappointing about their current road. Give me a unique villain (or one from the genre). Why does it always have to be the same thing? And if you're going to give an homage to a movie, maybe do a classic - not one only a couple of years old! And I haven't watched "Saw" or "Saw II", so I didn't really know the premise, but I've heard enough about the movie that I was pretty sure what was going to happen.

    Heck, homage UNBREAKABLE. There's one Smallville could do well to rip off, like it did in the beginning.

    But finally, some closure with some issues: We finally find out why Clark hasn't told his mom AND we find out why Lionel's back at LuthorCorp in the first 5 minutes. I was pretty happy about that. AND when Clark tells Martha, she 'fesses up to the blackmail! I'm so shocked! Shocked, but pleasantly surprised! OHHH!

    Arbitrary drama, though.

    You know, that's a good way to look at it. It's not so much that a local paper wouldn't report on it, but a national state paper would have it on page A6 or something - NOT front page central. And you're right about Lex's motivation, unless he thought of it as a stepping stone. But they have made mention of her office in Topeka. If she were a national senator, I would think she and Clark would have to move to D.C., at least for the session. It's messy and I don't like messy.

    Why can't she have an office in Topeka to commune with her constituents and one in the national capital?

    (We're not at the finale, sweetie!)

    Two to go!

    The freak of the week didn't give himself a name. And I don't know - If someone forced me to play Hangman to get out of a car parked on a railroad track, I might just be willing to kiss the train! (How hard is it to kick out car windows? I've never tried, so that's why I'm asking.)

    It's hard. But if your life is in danger, you don't play hangman. You break your foot kicking.

    I'm telling you! It's the writers' spell-check. If they just automatically correct misspelled words, that's how it's spelled. Not that Michael shouldn't know how to say it, but I guess it is a different genre.

    Martha's "truth, justice, and the American Way": Yeah - I was pretty sure I was going to pee my pants with that one. And when did Jonathan keep everything he knew about another's duplicity to himself? Wasn't he the one that called Lionel to the barn, beat the crap out of him, and died from a stress heart attack? Seriously! But I did like that they mentioned him and have been keeping his memory alive. Total props for that!

    Actually, Lionel came to him, but agreed. Good to keep Jonathan around. Alas, this episode!

    "DUR platter" - Tee hee!!! And I just checked out my "Superman: The Movie" DVD and I didn't see Jor-El looking similar to Jigsaw. Maybe it's just me. Another nicely concealed weapon by the Luthor men - nice! When someone's knocked out with a hypodermic - why does it always have to be shot into the neck? Is it supposed to work faster that way?

    The part where Superman returns from his seven years of learning. The crystal Jor-El face. That's what I mean. I don't personally think I'd ever use getting knocked out by a needle as a device. Any idiot would just break the needle off and run like their hair was on fire and their $#@ was catching.

    And I'm totally with you on the dream house. That's my thing to do during boring business meetings - I plan out houses I'd like to build and/or live in. Ah yes. One day. (Love your extras, though. Mind if I steal a few?)

    Steal away. I'm not about copyright, I'm about free ideas. Just come visit the place when it's done. You'll be close enough.

    Why would a stupid kiss from Lana linger in Lex's memory?!? Of course, it could just be SECRETS AND LIES, so then that's okay. And she wasted it pretty fast, considering she ran home at the slightest hint of a serious conversation.

    Isn't she amazing?

    Did Lionel honestly believe that he was going to be let go? That surprised me. But I did like his facial expression and verbal reaction to Martha's predicament. We do get to see John without his shirt, though - Not bad!

    I didn't look. When Martha's in a scene, I'm looking at Martha. Where's HER shower scene? Rawr!

    Did both Chloe and Clark totally forget about the end of their Sophomore year when Lionel tried to have Chloe and Gabe blown up? Is what she would be doing now to help be any more dangerous? Come on!

    Verily.

    And I was a little cranky about Clark demanding answers from Lex once again, but was pleasantly surprised when he just gave them. AND Clark didn't just bust open the statue or the wall to show the camera (or skeleton - whatever). He actually found a plausible reason to look inside the statue. I was really impressed and matched you on that, apparently. (And Chloe's got her mad hacker/electrician skills on again -) But I loved - LOVED that Chloe found the address, but Lex came in before Clark could super-speed off. (Although he should know that's not a good idea since someone else's security camera did capture him - but I digress.)

    All good stuff, and I agree.

    That was uber-funny! What I also had to roll my eyes at was that Lex was extending the olive branch, Clark was looking very skeptical and then Lana calls. Yeah. That's going to end well. You know, they keep talking about "evil Lex", but we don't get to see much of that guy. Mostly it's the same old Lex - the one with the problems and schemes, but the one who always seems to come through and is a good friend. If the PTB want to show Lex following his "destiny", they better get their cans in gear!

    It's hard to argue that Lex is innocent now. He's done bad things. But then, honestly, so have all of them. None of them have tortured, driven drunk, plotted as Lex has. But Clark did kill his sibling, his father, he's done some BAD stuff, but he's not considered a villain.

    Oh dear! Stop with the game jokes! I nearly choked on the Sudoku one!!! ("Spaceballs" reference. I love it!)

    Sudoku is a vile time killer for a novelist and must die.

    Now, did the box fill up or is it that Martha can't tread water? And did the glass break because there was too much water or because Lionel actually found the answer? That wasn't very satisfying to me. The elevator bit - Well, you always look into that more than I. But I have to give you the point. Jigsaw should never have been able to afford the building. And remember that he did a custom remodel on it. (Man, when I think what I would have done with that type of space. Sigh. But I guess you have to be laid off for six months before you can afford that.)

    And drive from Metropolis to Smallville daily.

    Wow! Lionel is acting very, very-self-sacrificing. I find something very suspicious about that. How much does Lionel's little speech have to suck for Lex???

    Enough to make him a super-villain president.

    Well, we know Lex isn't the masked man - He's down with Clark when the "villain" of the piece comes to chat with Lionel & Martha. I don't know why Lex would be surprised OR mad that Clark rushed off - It's not like he hasn't done that before! And it WAS the security guard - how funny!

    And predictable...

    Wouldn't Clark's miraculous rescue be caught on the cameras the security guy had to have peppered all over the place?

    Easily.

    I wonder if Clark would have let Lionel die if he'd been able to just save Martha? I just feel like - with Lionel calling Clark "son" all the time - that there's a Jor-El something going on. In my head, I also made that note that you did. At the very least, they could have had him jump up and try and break it with his feet on the treads. Then it would have looked like the emergency brakes went off (like Lionel says later).

    Yes. And it would have been an expensive effect, which is why I think they didn't. Alas.

    Lionel did protect Clark's secret. I'm not sure how I feel about that. But we do get to find out about when Lionel found out. You know for continuity, the episode wasn't half bad! I really liked the end. I really, really did!!! And by that I mean the confrontation between Lionel and Clark. What happened to Lionel at the end? Why was he in so much pain that he collapsed, yet he just had to write something???

    I think it's Jor-El mucking with him. Coolness.

    Incredible rating, though.

    Thanks.

    And you got a BOOK DEAL?!? That's FANTASITC!!! How are you celebrating? I'm so excited for you!!! So CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    Well, basically I was on cloud nine for about a week, produced about 30 pieces, and then started in on heavy work mode. This will continue...forever.

    Clouds parted, the world's a little cleaner. One of the best weeks of my life. Some day a real rain came and washed the scum off the streets, and I think I kind of like it. Now let's see how I can batter up and parlay this.

    Ever,
    Sara

    Thanks.

    Azor wrote:
    1) I'm sure you are getting lots of congratulations on the book deal this week, but at the risk of redundancy, I'll echo the words of hopefully many others: Congrats!

    Thanks!

    2) I think your deal can largely be attributed to your unwavering faith in yourself. Emerson would be proud of you. However, left unchecked an unwavering faith in self can be a bad thing,

    Just ask Bukowski: As the spirit wanes, the form appears. With success comes failure. I'm well aware of that, which is why if I ever make money I'll just give it away. And hey! I like Thoreau. Emerson's just a hack riding his transcendental coat tails.

    such as when it leads to a stubborn insistence that the term "state senator" can apply to people who work in Washington D.C. Here are some references about the term:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_senator
    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=state+senator
    http://www.senate.gov/~hutchison/faq.htm (question #6)
    http://www.senate.state.ny.us/sws/kids2/whatdifference.html

    These are all true, and especially prescriptively so. And GOOD arguments. BUT, that said, I still argue that a state senator is an interchangeable lexicon word. It can mean both things. Dry cleaner. It can mean a cleaner who is dry, or someone who uses the art of dry cleaning to clean clothes. Now, when someone says "dry cleaner," do they likely mean someone who uses the art of dry cleaning to clean clothes. YES. Unless overwhelming attention is drawn to the wet or dryness of the dry cleaner's clothes.

    Okay. That came out bad. But anyway, state senator OFTEN means a senator from a state's district. I've already conceded this. But consistent bad writing or cues tell us that Martha's much too large-fry to be simply a state senator in the above sense. Especially since, as your last link points out, she would represent A district, and the above letter references Pa saying she'll be a winner if she gets a couple of more districts.

    Here's the bottom line. There are cogent arguments for both points, and I believe they mean STATE senator, as in one from a district. But the evidence also points the other way. So I can't say I definitively agree, just that you're likely right and the writing is badly ambiguous.

    Additionally, here's a recent obit about a guy who was a California state senator. Note that the article is very clear that he failed in a bid for the U.S. Senate.

    This is a formal article from a prescriptive source, someone who likely knows the difference, unlike most readers, writers, and audiences. If an average joe said "state senator" to me in a sentence, I would likely have to clarify what he meant to make sure it wasn't a national senator. I stand by this...though a clear and published source would obviously know and research this.

    If that isn't enough for you, I challenge you to find examples in which any U.S. Senator (such as Hillary Clinton) is referred to as a "state senator." I think you'll be hard pressed to find ANY examples, but you certainly won't find any in reputable news sources.

    That's true. I concede that. But then, you'll never find ANY examples of someone using the word "ain't" in any officious print. Doesn't mean that most people out there don't use it occasionally. Does the word exist? Is it used to me "are not?" I would assert so. Though you'd be hard pressed to find it used in place of "are not" on a CNN article. They might say "The oil company's record profits are broadly laid to blame for continual consumer unrest."

    You or I would say, in making that same statement, "That ain't right!"

    Just so, we would also say, "Yeah, Cantwell's my state senator." As opposed to "Yeah, Cantwell's my US State Senator!" The natural inclination of language is to clip and simplify, even at the expense of ambiguity, and ESPECIALLY in time-based fictive scripts.

    As you said, one line of dialogue by Smallville writers clears up that confusion, but that dialogue has already been used. Actually, one word has clarified Martha's job repeatedly, and that word is "state."

    That's not appropriate clarification for me. It'll have to be more specific. Like, "Martha, you're just one of many senators for this state, who do you think you are?" or "Martha, your state only gets two senators, so you need to be a good one."

    As for the Daily Planet conundrum, it also bothers me, but not for the same reasons. The Planet is a Kansas paper and it would make sense that it would cover state politics. What does require a huge suspension of disbelief is that a newly appointed (not even elected) senator like Martha would have the political clout to propose a budget. Usually, a budget is proposed by the governor, or at the very least a majority leader. However, this would be equally unbelievable for a U.S. or a state senator.

    That's my point. :)

    3) You mentioned that the set of the Planet matches what we've seen of the movie set. There was also a shot of the Kent's mailbox in a recent episode (I forget which one) which is the exact same as an image that has been released from the movie (It is also a wallpaper on the movie site).

    Yep. Very cool.

    4) Hilarious line from Lex last week: he told Lana that neither of them will forget what happened between them barring "a blow to the head." (I'm paraphrasing from memory). Highly ironic given the KO Count. Actually, come to think of it, this may explain why characters like Martha and Chloe have been cool around Lionel. They've suffered so many KOs that they've forgotten about his past behavior. The more I think about it, the more I realize that KOs could be used to explain many inconsistencies in this show's continuity.

    I think they were trying to make that in-joke. Decent, but a bit forced.

    5) One of the anagrams of Lionel's word puzzle ("A toad like fever"): "Validate reef OK." Obviously Al and Miles are subliminially trying to get us to sign off on "Mercy Reef" (the Aquaman show) without a critical evaluation of the show's merits.

    Is that what they're calling it? Oy. Bad enough their show rips off, now their new show has to rip off the show that rips off? I predict Birds of Prey style instant cancellation.

    Thanks, Azor!

    Dan Sjöström wrote:
    And so has the time come for me to sit down and write my third Bailey-mail to date. The topic as usual is an episode of Smallville, Aqua to be precise, which at the time of writing I watched three hours ago.

    Ah, speaking of the Reef!

    Four eps into season 4 and I feel a satisfaction seldom experienced during the last couple of seasons. Even if it might be a little early for me to pass judgment, I'd say this is the one I like the best.

    It was a pretty good episode, with some flaws.

    Clark had another rendezvous with a future brother-in-arms. I was happy that it was Aquaman. I haven't seen much him in the comics 'cept for in a Swedish comic book called Gigant that was published between the 60's and the 80's. I know about the fact that he's one of the less popular and more scoffed at characters in the DCU, which is only a reason for me to like him. What can I say, I have a soft spot for underdogs. It's not easy being him, and if you don't believe me check out Spoil-sports.com for some proof.

    He talks to fish! But all joking aside, I actually like his character myself. They're trying to make him an enviro-dude like Green Arrow, but if you just stick to a family man doing what's right in a hostile world, you get some gold. One Year Later is also intriguing to me right now with Aquadude.

    His powers were portrayed in a cool way, especially his entrance which almost beat Bart's bullet-time rescue. I also liked the simplicity of AC regaining his powers under the sprinklers. No glowing aura, no CG showing what happened to him inside his body, just a guy getting strong enough to break himself free from his uhm... bondage. Makes him as mysterious as he should be to a person who's only known him for a couple of days. The only time I took him a little unseriously would be the scene with the water-volley, which reminded me of Mermaidman in SpongeBob. Guess that's what happens when you haven't seen that many Superfriends episodes.

    Yeah. It was kind of contrived. Especially since Clark is pretty adept with speed.

    I was glad they referenced Run, but I thought it was strange Clark didn't mention Bart by name to Chloe. "Remember Bart, the short blonde kid in the red sweater who gave you that tulip at the Talon? He had super-speed. Probably even ran all the way to Amsterdam to get it for you." Maybe he didn't want to tell her too much, but then again didn't she see that with her own eyes?

    Yes, she did.

    Speaking of which, it'd be fun to see Bart make an appearance on Mercy Reef, supposed it will be set in the same universe as Smallville. "Hold it, you've hooked up with Clark Kent too? Tall guy, wears flannel, kind of a boy scout? Weird..."

    I haven't heard whether it will be or won't be. Honestly, I have enough trouble wrangling one teen drama.

    Since I'm still on that topic, now I see no reason Bruce Wayne could not be able to be on the show. Batman Begins opened last year, now Superman Returns is set to hit the theaters in two months. I'm not saying Bruce is gonna be on Smallville because of this, just that the Batman-belongs-to-the-movie-department argument is dead!

    I see no reason they shouldn't do a young Bruce Wayne before a new Aquaman show, myself.

    I understand how you feel about the references and puns. Even though I enjoyed them at the most, they were a bit too many in the length. It's just like water, it's good for you in sensible doses, but if it's too much you might drown. Guess that's what comes along with a guest-starring superhero. I thought the JLA thing was cool, but we really didn't need it.

    It's hit and miss. Sometimes it's REALLY miss. It used to be cute. Now it's pretty thrown in.

    Bad Lex taunting AC with the glass of water was really nice, he's really got a hang on the super-villain mannerisms by now. Only, he didn't necessarily appear as a villain. Sure, you could freeze frame that scene and add a speaking balloon saying: "Your powers are useless now, Aquaman! Now nothing can stop my plans for world domination!!! HAA HAA HAA!!!", and nobody would argue with that. But looking at the context, Arthur in fact did try to blow up one of his labs and is in a town where many people have used strange abilities to hurt others. You can't expect Lex to rule him out of that crowd, now can you?

    That's what I said. Torture sucks, but when it's over a ten million dollar missile...well, let me just say if someone took ten million dollars I had earmarked for the poor (over, say, a missile, which is why I don't sympathize with Lex), I would probably beat their brains in or be sorely tempted to.

    The fling between Lois and Arthur was a bit rushed. Sure they look hot both on their own and together and it was interesting to see Lois' attraction to heroes, but still it was happening too fast. Perhaps that was the idea though, knowing that it's more likely you end up with someone you've known for a long time rather than a waterboy with a great washboard (my dad owns credit for that one) who you just bumped into at the beach. One positive thing I can take from this is that I can mentally Photoshop my face onto AC's body during an Aquois make out-session. Sad, yes, but that's the hard life of being single.

    And the reason they do it, to suck in that horny eye.

    Brainiac introduced as a seemingly harmless professor was great. Apart from his entrance at the end of Arrival, you wouldn't suspect any dirty business from him if you were unfamiliar with the character of Milton Fine. That and the fact that he's got a story arc stretching over several eps makes him a fresh wind blowing into this show. It's gonna be fun to see his true agendas uncovered.

    Agreed.

    In short, this was a great episode. Not as good as Run, but still good. I must say I have mixed feelings about the Christopher Reeve promo in the credits. Sure, it's wonderful that they pay tribute to his memory, but I'm unsure if they took the right approach. The mention of the word Superman is one thing, but the display of the S-shield? Maybe I'm just being an unsensitive jerk, but I felt that showing it should've been a highlight on the show and not done in such a casual way.

    I wholly agree.

    I'm aware of the inconsistencies mentioned in your review, although my logic-blinders succeeded more in keeping me indulgent than they've done lately. Needless to say that you're more critical, which naturally is the very basic of your skill as a reviewer. I respect that, but I presume you won't hate my guts if I say I'll lean more onto Doug's review this time. Cause you wouldn't do that... right? (gulp)

    Not at all. In fact, I highly encourage everyone to have their own mind on everything, even if it means they hate me. I don't mind someone who hates me. What I LOVE is communication. And as you're communicating with me, you rule.

    Kidding aside, it's gonna be a pleasure to read your next reply which will have to wait until next Friday. Well, due to the fact that I live in a different time zone, that would be Saturday to me unless I stay up real late. Aw, who am I kidding, I'll be snoozing in my bed by then.

    Assuming Steve tortured himself to get my long review up quickly. It flatters me that you'd consider it.

    Mvh, Dan Sjöström

    Thanks!

    PS: Additions to the category on characters who get hit/almost hit by cars:
    Whitney & Lana/Sean Kelvin in Cool.
    Jodi/deer in Craving.
    Bus driver with heart attack/Clark in Rogue.
    Car telekinetically steered by Justin/Principal Kwan in Crush.

    Nice! Check it out. Added in!

    Andrew M. wrote:
    Hey Neal!

    I just watched "Truth" (Season 3) because it was on. It's the one where Chloe gets the K gas truth serum, and everyone starts telling her the truth for no reason.

    Gotcha.

    I also decided to watch "Onyx" (Season 4) on my DVDs last night so I could catch myself up to my schedule.

    Oooh! Awwww...Heh. Funny. As I was typing that, Angel Interceptor by Ash came on my MP3 list. It starts oooooooh....awwwwwwwwwwww! That is freaky. Good song. Don't download it. Downloading is reprehensible.

    I have a question. I don't think you've ever addressed the fact that green kryptonite should hurt Clark even if it isn't a rock form (EXCEPT in your "Devoted" review when he drank the krypto-gatorade).

    I've seen in episodes like "Hug," if Clark shakes hands with someone attempting to use their K-power, Clark's veins begin to show like they did in "Metamorphisis" when Clark was experimenting with what happened to him if he was around the meteor rock.

    Yes.

    Why doesn't that ALWAYS happen?

    Bad writing, plain and simple. No eye for continuity or consistency, just crapping out a show.

    Take "Truth and "Onyx." In "Truth," whenever Chloe asks a person a question, so K-gas shoots out of her lungs, and into the other's system (creating the effect). How do I know this? Watch the first time the power occurs, when Chloe asks about the interview with the teacher in the hallway. In "Onyx," Clark BITES INTO an apple that has been processed with Kryptonite by Lex. The Kryptonite should thus, logically, enter Clark's system shouldn't it?

    Yes. He's dead. That's what should happen. Kryptonite is POISON, not an annoyance.

    So why does Clark never curl up in pain when a Kryptonite power tries to enter his system, like he writhed (sp?) in pain AS SOON AS he drank the green K-juice in "Devoted?"

    Bad writing again.

    I don't know how many times kryptonite has probably entered Clark's system due to a K-power in Season 5, because I haven't seen any of Season 5 yet, but please feel free to post this in the next review you have where, within the episode, it is highly likely that Clark affected his body with kryptonite poisioning. Thanks!

    I have a column in the KO Count you might like. "He did WHAT with Kryptonite? And he's still alive?" Heh.

    -Andrew M. (ARM on this site) :)

    Thanks!

    Chris ( HYPERLINK "mailto:womynz@hotmail.com" womynz@hotmail.com) wrote:
    Neal,

    dude, you were right. i was goading you. i had just read one of your reviews and you mentioned something about being on food stamps and i was a bit irritated. you seem like an intelligent guy and i couldn't figure out why someone like you would be on food stamps.

    Because I'm hungry. The alternative is starvation until I finish this house. I'm trying to stay afloat. What's better? Taking off the dole for a little while, or going bankrupt and depressing the economy fifteen to fifty times more than my paltry dole? Besides, unlike most people on the dole, I have a sense of social responsibility, and I plan on giving it back to the community.

    that, along with the notion that my tax dollars were supporting someone who seems to be making it his mission in life to kill off lana lang (i almost always agree with your opinions regarding ms lang, but sh%t, she's really hot).

    They're my tax dollars too. I've put in my share. I worked from the age of 12 to the age of 23, paying in. I've hardly taken out more than I've put in, I assure you. AND I'm paying it back.

    Also, you should know that at the time, i was unaware that you actually do have a job.

    Actually, I was kidding. I just got a "job" as in a book deal. But it's not paying. At least, not unless I sell a bunch of books. I work construction to fix up houses, but it only pays when the house is finished, which, given my hectic schedule, means I can only finish one every three years. I write for 12 hours a day, and spend 2-4 on construction, more as necessary, but that's generally the pattern. I take one day a week to do a poetry reading, and one night a week to watch movies. That's IT barring special occasion. That's a JOB, but it's not 9-5.

    And even still, who are you to condemn someone who doesn't have a job?

    that changes sh%t. believe me, i'm all for living the life of the mind (to borrow a phrase from one of my favorite movies, barton fink), but doing so while sitting on your @ss and sucking on the government teet seemed worthy of a goading.

    I think you lack a proper respect of the difficulties of poverty. Not sure how or why. I do know that people do sit and suck at the teet. There are many. I grew up around them, and I hate them passionately. They're the reason when I say that I have to take food stamps in order to be a writer I get smart remarks from people who don't know my situation or care to ask. Like my own father, for example. Or you.

    The stigma placed on the poor for being poor, particularly when they're trying to improve themselves, is incredible. It's also largely placed by people who are independently wealthy or in a good situation that believe that hard work always results in financial success. Not so. I'm a counter-example.

    obviously, i was mistaken.

    It seems to me that you don't think you were mistaken, given that I don't technically have a job. You just misunderstood, thought I had a job, and thus absolved me of the stigma that will now likely return. You're entitled to that. I disagree.

    as for your reviews (having read many more in the last week or so), i find myself agreeing with you more often than not.

    That's cool. Thank you.

    i certainly don't share your obvious passion (honestly, it seems like you are about to have an aneurysm sometimes), but when someting sucks, you usually point it out.

    It's half an act, half real. I do get critical with frustration, as I see the same problems again and again, but an article, particularly a new journalism style piece, is about theatrics. It's part of my talent (or in the event of failure, lack of) as a writer that takes a decade of hard work to get where I am now, a lazy @ss on the dole.

    i do think, though, that you tend to obsess a bit too much over what are otherwise minor things. this obsession does come from an admirable place--you want smallville to be as good a show as it possibly can.

    It's also the job of a critic.

    i guess i'm just more of a glass half full kind of guy.

    The job of the viewer, which I don't begrudge you or question.

    anyway, to summarize: 1. yes i was goading you,

    And what do you hope to accomplish with this? Does it make you feel big? Is it a worthy way to spend your time? Do you like making people respond to pleas for attention? How is that better than devoting a life to a cause and then having to make certain sacrifices (like the dole) to make it a reality?

    2. it did work,

    You assume this. Actually, it didn't. I just responded, as I respond to all of the letters sent. I gave you a theatrical and witty response. It's like a prostitute and a john. I really am ambivalent. I ceased to care about people who goaded me when I was fourteen, and I stopped getting angry when people gave me crap in print three years ago.

    It got a response. It didn't goad me. Saying "You rule." to me gets a response, too. It doesn't mean it's gotten my goat. Bush gets my goat. Few people in life do.

    That I am talkative with detractors simply means I like a robust debate. That I throw out zingers just means I know I'm in a public forum.

    3. i was wrong about you being a "shifless" layabout,

    In my definition, yes. Likely not by yours.

    4. i like your passion,

    All critique aside, I like yours as well. You've got guts.

    5. i generally agree with your opinions, and

    Cool.

    6. the fake email wasn't done entirely out of cowardice (i couldn't be sure you weren't some super computer nerd who might take my innocent goading the wrong way and innundate my inbox with viruses or bon#r pill advertisements).

    This is fair. But here's my advice on that. When someone threatens you online, or when you're going to make a case that might be controversial, the best thing to do is to realize that there are VERY few people out there who are really going to do something to you for mouthing off online. In real life? Different story. But honestly, I've had my name and phone number online from the time I made an article that got me death threats in 1999 through every last controvertible thing I've ever said. People threaten me. People have even threatened to find and kill my family.

    I understand that fear. But that's the peril of free expression.

    It's what's largely making America such a place of fear right now. Because some guy might blow himself up in a mall, we sacrifice our freedoms. It might happen to YOU! But what's the likelihood? You can live in fear, or you can live in hope.

    In this case, fear of my response drove you to give a fake email on the chance I might, as an "authority" (hah!) or powerful figure take retribution. This spirals outward, from that simple fear stopping your action or changing it to the way people handle every day life.

    I admire you for taking a stand against what I said, and I like the interaction. Yes, there are people who, when you disagree with them, want to kill you. Morons. There are even people who, when you disagree with them, they cross the world in planes and kill you. It's rare, but it happens, and it sucks.

    But that should NEVER be a fear that stops you from raising your voice, ever, and if you take anything from our interaction, even if you think I'm a lazy layabout because I'm not traditional (which is fair and your right, even if I disagree), please take courage to stand up for the things in which you believe. It's everything that's made me who I am, and I can only recommend it for others with the staunchest of affirmations.

    Now watch some supernerd shiv me later tonight. Sigh.

    in conclusion, i'm signing this message with my real email address to show that i trust you not to try to make me your cyber-bitch. also, congrats on the book deal.

    That's cool. And I respect that. I won't publish it, because there are crazies out there. It's the reason I keep some personal details (one or two).

    Thank you for a very cool letter.

    Chris

    p.s. you do probably work harder than i do now. although, i have shoveled lots of shit (literally and figuratively) in my day, and i know the value of a hard day's work. try cleaning up at a summer camp for mentally challenged children (i've actually seen what happens when sh#t hits a fan.) ;)

    Part of the hardest and most rewarding work of my life was the time I gave to autistic children, to a low-income summer camp, and to being a caregiver to everyone from the retarded to the dying to those slowly dying of MS.

    I look at hard work in a few ways. I've done sixteen hour construction days, and it's easier than a four hour writing day, because you're constantly mentally on. I literally collapse sometimes and just break down mentally. It's a lot like working with autistic kids, with Alzheimer's patients. Very similar in nature. Takes patience, constant strategy, and if you make one wrong turn it can make a key difference in someone's life, or be a mitigating factor in ending it. Maybe I'm a power-mad creator, who knows.

    I do know there's a misconception in society that writing ain't work. This comes from the fact that most people who get book deals are silver spoon people who write predictable, easy books and don't do anything else, really. And you know what? That's a fair conception. Problem being, you gotta know you're talking about someone who does that before you accuse. Like, say, Tom Clancy, who pays people to ghostwrite his idea, slaps his name on the cover, and then reaps the cash. That's not art for integrity. And heck, he even works hard at it.

    I've been everywhere, man. I've been everywhere. People work harder than me. I know that. I know those people are also few and far between. It's like a housewife, never getting any credit for busting hump. Only housewives get credit for what they do. My father still brings me longshoreman applications and, like you did, critiques me constantly for being on the dole.

    But then, let's see, I'm on hour...10 of writing today? With an hour or two to go. Plus emails. Plus my construction work in the morning. It's five ten in the morning. If I were lazy, I'd have just spent the day playing Dynasty Warriors and puttering in the lawn.

    Lee Atherton wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    Loved your reviews since I last emailed, especially Hypnotic - wickedly incisive as ususal.

    Thanks.

    Talking of which, is Clark the most dangerous man on the planet? It seems as though anybody with a kryptonite induced power, a half-baked trinket or even a cunning sense of humour can take control of this guy. Realising this, and being the humanitarian he is, he should consciously leave the planet ASAP before he is driven against his will to bestow on us the same fate as Krypton. A very mixed blessing indeed in this Smallville mythology!

    True, but the same is likely of Superman. I think he should instead have a failsafe. Like Batman with the Kryptonite ring. Give it to Chloe, maybe. She kind of does that.

    And talking of leaving the planet, Why isn't this dude flying yet? Clark's ability to fly was activated in Crusade. Like heat vision and x-ray vision he now knows he has this power and he should at least be seen by us to be practicing this skill (budget allowing!).

    They opened the can of worms, didn't they?

    God knows he has been in enough situations where flying would have been the best option. It is a great sticking point for me because the producers of Smallville and indeed Welling himself perhaps see flying as too close to the cape and tights scenario. By restricting his abilities to running and jumping they are somehow keeping him within the bounds of Smallville and the locality and in some sense making him more vulnerable which perhaps aids dramatic tension. Unfortunately this has handicapped several villains. The Kryptonians that came out of the ship should have been able to fly.

    Agreed. In fact, they're really afraid of most any progress, not just powers.

    Fine should be able to fly (though I don't quite understand how this artificial intelligence can have any powers, unless they are mechanically generated. He is after all only oily goo which can approximate flesh and bone, albeit Kryptonian flesh and bone though a facsimile never the less). In any case the villians can't fly because to do so would create the dramatic need for Clark to fly which of course he is not prepared to do.

    It's excuses on the show's part. I agree. No reason not to go to plaid now. The show's almost over.

    Lets take Mercy as an example of Clark's need to fly. The lift, Lionel and Martha are falling at a terminal velocity of between 110-130 mph. The only measure that Clark takes to slow down the lift is to bend his knees. Effectively therefore Clark is no better than the floor at stopping the lift. Martha and Lionel should have sustained fatal injuries with that kind of deceleration and impact. Take Superman 2 as an example of how to slow down a lift falling at terminal velocity. Superman flies up to meet the lift, and gradually exerts an upward force equal to that generated by the lift as it falls. In other words he gradually decelerates the lift using the fact that he has the luxury of space beneath his feet to fall with the lift until it is at a standstill with Lois's internal organs intact.

    That movie thought about continuity. Heh.

    On a final note, you would make a great script writer for Smallville. Did you ever approach them? What would your pitch be to conclude this current series?

    Writers are hindered by this little phrase that really sucks "NO UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS!" It means unless you know the editor, run the company, have influence, or are already very, very famous and financially viable, no artistic company will really look at your work. Writing is a biased and insular world of financially motivated decisions.

    So did I approach them? No. Did I have pitches? Yes. I have pitches.

    To conclude the series would depend on timeframe. If I had one year, I would focus it wholly on Clark leaving Smallville after the death of Chloe and Lionel together in the first three episode arc (Lionel kills Chloe, Lex kills Lionel for his villainy and gets away with it).

    Much like Birthright, he would travel the world for a series of five to seven episodes, and then, for sweeps, he would encounter Jor-El and Brainiac in a finalized, rational form. Meaning, defined, not just mysteriously working in the background. Brainiac and Jor-El would do battle, resulting in the destruction of both in physical form beyond Jor-El's AI, which would guide Kal-El in the Fortress. Brainiac not being dead, acourse, but just dormant for a few years.

    On return from break, it would be three years later in story time. Clark would be tired of wandering, lonesome for love with Lana long out of his life, and desiring for stability. Smallville reminds him of all the failures of his youth, so he moves to Metropolis. At the same time, Lex has set the cornerstone for the Lexcorp tower, and Lexcorp is in full swing. Two episodes of Clark trying to get a job at the Daily Planet and failing in a bid to get the job thanks to Lois and Morgan Edge's machinations on the "non-superhero" side of things. Lois is motivated by Chloe's death to honor her sister's memory and dedicated to giving her previously wandering life a direction. Morgan Edge is obviously motivated at destroying Clark's mind if he can't kill the body, while beginning to deal with the impending threat of Luthor in Metropolis.

    Two episodes of Lex vs. Edge. Clark isn't present until the very end, where he tries to put Edge behind bars and fails, mimicking the future Lex and Clark relationship.. Lex and Clark do not interact. They don't even see each other.

    That leaves seven episodes.

    One, a villain comes to Metropolis and wreaks havoc in public. Clark can't stop it, because he'd have to reveal his powers. Someone dies. Clark decides he has to do something, but doesn't know what. Another, Clark experiments with vigilante justice, per Vigilante, and finds that he hates wearing a mask. All the while, Lois mocks Clark by making him sleep on her couch, working on this hidden hero story. Ma comes to visit. Sub plot is Edge building intergang and Luthor preparing defense industry contracts. Others varying.

    Final four episodes the debut of Superman. Clark hears about Lex testing military hardware in public. The Metallo battlesuit. He realizes something will go wrong, but doesn't know what he can do. He's pretty frustrated, bills are mounting, Lois is angry, kicking him out.

    At the demonstration, John Corben, the pilot, loses control, and the missiles begin to fire into the crowd. Clark leaps up and stops them, landing in the middle of the crowd that swamps him.

    Next episode, per comics Lois asks him for comment, he escapes, goes to Martha, designs the suit, visits his father's grave, goes back to Metropolis. Asks newly installed editor Perry White for a job. Unlike the last editor, because of the experience in Smallville, Perry gives Clark one shot to Lois's chagrin.

    Next episode, Intergang unleashes an army of gang members with toastmasters on Metropolis. Luthor counters with a battlesuit. It's all a strategy from Edge and Luthor to capitalize on collateral damage with insurance while securing Lex a military security contract for the police of Metropolis. Organized crime for a foothold.

    Superman appears, and decimates the army. Lois asks for comment, Superman flies off. Classic Superman and Luthor balcony scene. Luthor tells Superman he reminds him of someone he knows. Clark hands in his story and gets the job.

    Next episode, final episode. Starts in the fortress. Jor-El approves of his son, tells him why he put him through those trials in youth (it'll be a toughie, but I could come up with something). Montage of Superman in action, saving people, doing good deed. Clark sits down with his mother and has a conversation about how the events of Smallville shaped him, drawing things to a close. Clark asks Lois on a date. She laughs at him. Lana and Clark meet in the loft, affirm one last time that it's good that they broke up, that things were never meant to be. Clark kisses her, and as he does, they rise into the air. He apologizes, not for not telling the secret, but just that life made it so that they could never be together. She forgives him, and he flies off as she cries.

    Superman above the Earth, per the end of the movies, roll credits.

    Then, at the end of the credits, Lana's head explodes.

    Lee.

    Michael wrote:
    Neal:

    I enjoy reading your reviews. I agree with most of what you say so I normally don't feel compelled to write in, but after 4 weeks of this State Senator Kent nonsense I had to chime in.

    Cool.

    I have worked for a former Governor and for the President of the Senate in my state's General Assembly. There is no doubt in my mind that Martha is a State Senator representing the Smallville area. I think the confusion sets in because the writers are overplaying the importance of Martha's seat for whatever drama/tension they have tried to achieve, at first with Lex v. Jonathan, and currently with Lionel and Martha as a subplot.

    I agree, actually. Might surprise you, but I think that's exactly what's happening.

    United States Senators are simply referred to as "Senator". Referring to them as state senator is redundant and is never used in any sort of lingo by political parties, the D.C. establishment or media outlets covering the establishment.

    I agree. But it is used in colloquial language, which is what dialogue is written in, and thusly, when they say it in common usage (which is not a political party, the D.C. establishment or media outlets), it can definitely mean "senator," as in for a state OR US, depending on intonation OR context. If I said that Maria Cantwell is my state senator, the "state's" senator may be missing, and thus I'm being grammatically incorrect, but it is, common sense speaking, an accurate statement.

    The largest deviation of "Senator" for a U.S. Senator would simply be, "Martha Kent, Senator from Kansas". A State Senator is just that, a senator serving in state government. Every U.S. Senator comes from a 'state'. There simply is no precedent for such a redundant, ambiguous, interchangeable use of the title; for good reason - to avoid this very confusion.

    There's no reason to use ain't, either, because it's a contraction of impossible terms. But we do anyway. Heck, English is FULL of redundant, ambiguous, interchangeable use of titles. That's why we get away with euphemisms, much as I hate it. And thusly we tend not to avoid those very conclusions, alas.

    You know that state senator likely means a state rep. So do I. It doesn't mean your average farm guy in simple dialogue would. Or even, for that matter, a writing staff writing an average farm guy.

    Also, Martha has recently made mention of traveling to Topeka, Kansas' state capitol. Very rarely does a U.S. Senator from New York, California, or Illinois need to travel to Albany, Sacramento, or Springfield for anything but an infrequent ceremony. Most U.S. Senators take up residence in and work in the state's largest metro area; New York, L.A/San Fran, Chicago when they aren't in D.C.

    Isn't Topeka that for Kansas? I could be wrong, but it's always the "big city" they use in the Superman comics.

    Just the fact that Martha is around Smallville so much tells me she is a State Senator who sticks close to home, but travels to the State's capitol and Metropolis for state business. She hasn't been in Washington D.C yet.

    We don't know that, though. That's part of the frustration with the writer not telling us. I say that Topeka could be where she learns what her constituents want, and then she proposes and fights for it in the U.S. Senate. Even though I think you're more likely right, the argument is there, and very plausible, that she could be a U.S. Senator.

    Lastly, it is not impossible for a State Senator to get headlines in the Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times or New York Post. I would agree that something like the New York Times/Daily Planet would be rarer.

    I've been on the lookout for such articles as a political columnist for years, and I think rare is kind. It's nearly impossible to rate front page on the New York Times as a New York district senator.

    Once again, I think this is just sloppy writing with an overemphasis on how important this seat and Martha's role is, which again, I think is an attempt by this crackpot crew of writers to rationalize why Lex would run for the seat or why Lionel would care.

    Agreed. Totally.

    This has never been a debate for me, even with the ridiculous notion that Jonathan campaigned statewide and needed to structure his campaign's message/image to speak to the farmers in order to win the election. Not the millions of citizens he needed who resided in urban Metropolis. I can believe Lex lost in Smallvile, I cannot believe Lex lost in Metropolis. If you are still not convinced one way or the other I would say that at the very least the wiser guess is state level not federal.

    I agree wholly. This is me saying I think that it is impossible to empirically state that she's a state senator because of the many counter-examples present. But that's likely what they mean. Just like I can't empirically say they're trying to make out Lana to be angelic, because you can argue they're demonizing her in some weird way for some unknown purpose. But she's made out as angelic, it's obvious. Still, evidence exists to the contrary, so I gotta play to it...

    Patrick SAYET (from France) wrote:

    I just read your review of Smallville's episode 100.

    Cool! Thanks.

    This episode really angered me and I mostly agree to everything you said. But I'll add some point :
    - I didn't like the "hype" before the episode, and the images that leaked, showing Lana AND Pa Kent dying as a fact. I consider this manipulation and we were deceived by thinking the series would be changed after it.

    I liked it, but I'm a spoiler junkie. If you didn't want to see it, that probably sucked.

    - When Clark comes to rescue Lois from being electrocuted, he grabs her and electricity is spread by the water : why does electricity stop at Clark's feet? it should go along him to hit Lois ...

    Agreed.

    I must say that the "time travel" thing was the worst for me. I'm a trekkie and i'm used to seeing plots like this, and that's part why I didn't like Voyager ; because a plot has to be really well built to include "time travel" in it, they did well for some TNG or DS9 episodes, using it to show how people react ethically to what it imparts but in this episode it was just a way to deceive the audiece and I hate that.

    I hated it too. Really, really lame.

    Maybe you think like me but you didn't state it clearly : Smallville characters have no psychology : what happens to them doesn't change their points of view or their usual habits or behavior.

    Oh, I say just as much myself. I agree.

    I'm only 36 but I know that people change their mind and view about things in life for pettier reasons than they encounter in the series ; strangely Pete's departure from the series was quite logical compared to the "desert crossing" relationship between Clark and Lana (and the fact that he doesn't tell her the truth when Pete and Chloe know) and the non evolving (or returning to the start) of it.

    Yeah. And there's also an important point. In real life, yes, people DON'T often change. I know that much. But in a STORY, with an arc, unlike our lives, motion is necessary for stagnation not to occue.

    As the show is aimed at teenagers, people who are struggling to take their place in the world, it is sad to see the example given to them by these characters: not learning from their mistakes, not trying to better themselves, too forgiving or not at all ...
    I've tried to watch the following episodes, but something was broken.

    It's working its way back up, but I agree. Thanks!

    Jay Derr wrote:
    Mercy(place your gramatical, spelling, and puntuation snide comment here)

    I usually place it after the grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. :)

    being a saw ripoff is a bit overkill. I mean someone so entrenched is comic book history should know it is more like Doctor Doom or The Joker playing childish sadistic games with pick a hero and insert here. But saying Saw/Jigsaw is the inspiration for that piece is ridiculous. One should be saying the writers of Saw took inspiration from several comic book and hollywood vilians and maybe turned up the heat on the gore. That would be more of a valid statement.

    I actually have an apology for Jay here...I wrote him before I knew I had this one for the column. Here's my response from the original letter I wrote back, that still applies:

    Here is what that episode had in common with Dr. Doom: A metallic mask. And Joker: A sinister joke of some kind?

    Here is what the episode in question had in common with the film "Saw"

    1) A man in a mask tormenting people.
    2) A hood on that man in the mask.
    3) A distorted voice with the EXACT same tone.
    4) A "trial" for the victim to escape that involves gruesome torture of some kind.
    5) A woman kidnapped from a parking garage to be tormented by the man in the mask.
    6) The man in the mask being an underling of the person he's tormenting.
    7) A warehouse for the victims where success means exit.
    8) In the end, the characters come to terms with their captivity and learn from it as opposed to being traumatized.
    9) The villain makes a blatant cameo early in the piece.

    And there are more. Many more. These are just the main, focal ones. It is a litigious situation. Believe you me, if someone wrote something that had as many things in common with a story that I had spent time and energy crafting, even though I am FOR tort reform, I would unabatedly sue the fool blind.

    I'm not trying to shut you down or make you feel bad, but you've gotta realize, if you say my claims are not valid, I'm going to back them up.

    As far as the review make a statement about ok, continuing to rant about it throughout the review is childish.

    Children can't write serious critque. Childish is calling them a poo-poo head for stealing other writer's toys. But I do that too.

    As you say get over it.

    I say that?

    We have differing views about this topic. That's fine with me. I've had my say and you can chose to respond however you feel or not at all if you like.

    I choose to respond. Actually like critique, honestly. I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't want someone putting my feet to the fire. But I really do think it's fair to say that show ripped off Saw, blatantly.

    Thank you for your time,
    Jay

    You're welcome.

    Christina wrote:
    Hi there.

    I have to remark on your constant assertions that Martha Kent is a US Senator. I work as an associate for a lobbying firm and have 10 years experience as an advocate in the state legislature, so I speak from a place of experience.

    Dude. I love you, but she's not a US senator, and you really need to stop arguing this point, because you're flat-out wrong.

    She's a senator in the Kansas state legislature. There are TEXTUAL references to the fact that the seat Jonathan ran for was a STATE senate seat:

    Heh. No offense, but there are no textual references on a visual show. But I know what you're saying.

    From Exposed:

    Clark: Is it true, Lex?

    Lex: You know, after you've been M.I.A. for weeks, I don't think a hello is too much to ask for.

    Clark: How long you been planning to run for STATE SENATE?

    Lex: Several months now, and if you're implying I should have told you, you might want to rethink the barrier you've drawn on this friendship.

    Compelling.

    And from Splinter, three references:

    Martha: The election is in January. Putting together a campaign in that amount of time -- who knows what the stress could do to your heart?

    Jonathan: What about watching Lex Luthor get sworn in as state senator? That kind of stress could kill me.

    Compelling as well.

    As well as:

    Lionel: The hardworking All-American farmer. I can already see the campaign poster. No TV spot, unfortunately, considering your state of your finances.

    Jonathan: Look, I don't know how you knew that I was considering running for state senate, but if you came here to try to strong-arm me into quitting --

    Less compelling than the other two, but still very strong.

    And...

    Clark: So you are talking to Lionel?

    Chloe: Yeah, but not about you --about Lex. Lionel's been feeding me inside information about Lex's campaign for state senate.

    Also less compelling contextually, but very strong.

    From Lexmas:

    Jonathan, tries to steal a hot cookie. "Ow"

    Martha: Serves you right. These are for the party. Besides, we have enough politicians with their hands in the cookie jar.

    Jonathan: Martha...Look, I know you're not sold on the WHOLE idea of me running for state senate...

    Same linguistic problem as before, but very good.

    From Fanatic:

    Lois: Oh, me? Um, what do I know about being a campaign manager?

    Jonathan: What do I know about being a state senator?

    This one's wholly ambiguous, and doesn't help the case. But the other five have pretty much cemented it.

    And from Reckoning:

    TV NEWSREADER: [inaudible] ..County senate race. Jonathan Kent has just been elected to the Kansas State Senate in a staggering upset over corporate mogul Lex Luthor. [The screen shows pictures of LEX and JONATHAN side by side, then just the picture of JONATHAN with the word ELECTED.]

    This confirms it.

    From Vengeance:
    Martha: [ Sighs ] The Governor's office wants to see me. Something about your father's senate seat. (

    Actually, this doesn't help, because it could be about a U.S. Senate seat.

    and

    Martha: Well, I'm doing the best I can.

    Lionel: I hear the governor has asked you to take Jonathan's seat in the senate.

    This would never happen if it were a US Senate seat...the governor has no jurisdiction over Federal office.

    Yeah, but that assumes Smallville takes no license AND that they know that.

    There are more, but I think I've made my point. US Senators, like Clinton and Schumer from NY, are NEVER referred to as a state senator. They are referred to as US Senators.

    I disagree. I very commonly refer to U.S. Senators as state senators, and have heard it done in lay conversations. They are never referred to as state senators by people who know the difference. The sad truth is most don't.

    I've been listening since this became a debate, and my assertion is repeatedly proven in conversation. Doesn't mean your wrong, it just means that people aren't grammatically correct.

    However, that said, your other dialogue references empirically prove they THINK it's a state senate seat, in the sense that you and I mean. Whether or not they play it out like that is another thing. Because they don't. They make it seem far more important than it is.

    Also, your claim that a paper like the Daily Planet- which is akin to the New York Times- would never print a front page story on state legislative affairs is flat-out wrong. The NY Times does it all the time, especially during the NY State Budget season (January through the late spring). They have Senate majority leader Joe Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver all the time on the front page talking about the budget...they start on the front page and continue in the Metro section, which is more state and city focused.

    Is Martha the Assembly Speaker or the Majority leader? And furthermore, does "all the time" mean once a month, once every three months, or every other day? I'm guessing it's rare, and certainly not the top story in a giant font. That doesn't make me flat-out wrong. I'm still correct in context. I said it happens, only rarely, and not for minor senators. It would be like the New York Times reporting on a Buffalo senator's education budget proposal in a giant font on the front page.

    You've gotta admit at very least that they're very obviously overplaying her importance, to the point that she seems more like a U.S. Senator than a state senator...

    Additionally, Martha makes constant references to going to Wichita (the state capitol), having dinner with the Governor, and her tax plan for education can only BE a state issue, as the Feds have no jurisdiction over setting local/state tax rates for public schools.

    Unless the tax plan she's talking about is a national plan to make a direct corollary between the amount the budget references for discretionary federal educational spending and the actual amount proposed as part of a committee, and governor support would aid in that.

    Neal, I beg of you: let this issue go. You're wrong, and there's no two ways about it.

    Well, I usually react rather vehemently in the opposite direction when someone tells me not to examine something, so my answer is no. However, I've never said I know for a fact she's a state senator, so I still suppose that I am NOT wrong. I am merely examining the issue, and before your letter, I didn't have enough evidence to put it to rest.

    So I WILL say that you're correct, she has been referenced as a state senator, so that's likely how they're trying to portray here. This doesn't allay the fact that they've been so casual and half-@$$ed about it that it takes research for the even the dedicated critic to figure out what she really is over six episodes, it doesn't allay the fact that there is continuing evidence suggesting that she's not a state senator even though they say she is in dialogue (high fund campaigns, a campaign manager, big headlines, newspapers spawning controversy for being around a notorious figure when the average shmoe doesn't even know the NAME of their local senator, and big issues being handles by a small fish in a very big pond.), she doesn't ACT like a state senator in her character.

    I think the anguish you feel should not be directed at me for examining this, but rather the bad writing of the show for not making this matter immediately and irrefutably clear through a planned plot and good reference, something a continuity-based storyline would offer.

    Respectfully,

    Christina

    And thank you. Awesome letter.

    chuckmo wrote:
    hey neal! longtime reader, first time emailer. i hope my lack of capitalization doesn't bug you... the shift key annoys my pinkies.

    And e e cummings. I forgive you!

    even though i think you have over-the-top expectations for this show (which any good reviewer should) i still find myself agreeing with you more often than not. it hink alot of times you nit-pick, but as long as you focus on the good stuff then that fine by me! (maybe i should capitalize.. i had to use the shift key for that exclamation point..)

    I do nit-pick. I would not nearly so much as just a casual viewer, and a casual viewer, not being a critic, should not! I think, anyway.

    I was introduced to the Superman character by this show. I ended up watching seasons 1-5.5 all within a week and a half. I loved it! I figured I should probably get more involved with the Superman mythos, so I've watched all the cartoons and read most of the key comics. Looking back on Smallville after learning more about Superman, I get more easily annoyed by the continuity stuff (mainly Lois and Lana.)

    1-5.5 in a week and a half! CRAZY. That would kill me.

    I don't know if I think this because of my recent interest in grown-up Clark, but the best way to save Smallville at this point is to throw aside all the Smallville original stuff and get on with the cape, or at least a villain or 2. Brainiac is a good start, but I think they're barely keeping him true to the character. If I don't see the Brainiac symbol or here the word Brainiac or hear Brainiac's history (the only thing Fine has in common with the character is that he's a Kryptonian robot more or less) or see Brainiac try to destroy the Earth, then I'll be peeved. Oh yes, peeved. Oh, also, in regard to a question (probably hypothetical) that you had in an earlier review, I think the reason Brainiac hasn't destroyed us yet is because he's still gathering information about Earth.

    Heh. Curious. Good theory.

    Anyways, keep it up!

    Chuckles

    Thanks!

    Shafi S wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    Hey!

    I am really disappointed by the fact that Mercy was a ripoff of Saw. (My face getting all sad.)

    Heh. It kind of evened out, but that was really, really bad to me.

    But the development of the story and the characters really make me go from sad to just a plain smile. I really hope next season is 10x better than this season and 1000x better than the fourth.

    I think Tom scratching his backside and reciting dirty limericks would beat season four.

    Oh yeah, did you read the synopsis to the season finale. I didn't know what to say about that. Its just that it looked pathetic (I could be wrong).

    I did. I'm not too excited, but finales always manage to surprise me. And hey, Zod. Can't beat that.

    Oh yea also, did you see how Geoff Johns got both Batman and Superman to wear the green lantern ring. Well, Superman got his own version, but it looked weird. But the Up,Up, and away story is really good. Since I though Kurt B was a okay writer when I was reading Superman:Secert Identity, Strange, is that story based on Superman Prime.

    I'm guessing that's where Johns got the idea to resuscitate the character, myself. I don't know. I do think Supes should get a Lantern ring for emergencies...

    Well thats it for me, thanks for reading.

    Shafi S

    Thanks!

    Rod wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    After seeing the episode of Smallville based around Saw, I decided to try my hand at coming up with more plots for the writers. If you get a chance, send these along to them, they seem like they need story ideas pretty desperately.

    Heh. These are great, guys. I'll let them speak for themselves...

    Lucky: Some boy in town was losing the lottery when suddenly he was exposed to meteor rock. As a result, whenever he is around anyone, that person has such extreme bad luck that the various things in the room wind up almost killing them in Rube Goldberg fashion, much like Final Destination. Even Clark isn't invincible: kryptonite keeps finding its way to Clark whenever the boy is around. He can fall in love with, say, Lois.

    Lost: Due to something-or-other, probably kryptonite, the main characters (Lana, Lois, Chloe, Clark, and Lex) are stranded on an island. Maybe Lex is flying them all to Hawaii to make up for being a jerk and the plane crashes. On the island, things aren't quite as they seem, and it becomes apparent that the Island is some kind of experiment gone awry. It probably involves kryptonite.

    Swap: For some reason, like kryptonite, Lionel and Martha switch bodies for a day. Lionel uses the opportunity to try and teach Clark how to use his powers to control the world. Martha tries to turn Lex into a better person, but Lex thinks his dad is just up to his old tricks. When they switch back, maybe they can decide what the other person does with the prize money.

    Thief: Someone realizes that kryptonite can be used to somehow make exact duplicates of small things, so they begin printing counterfeit money. The episode starts with Clark getting change for some Old Spice Red Zone he bought, and collapsing to the floor when he takes the dollar. Chloe tracks the guy down by scanning a dollar into her computer than backtracking the reverse polarity matrix.

    Prison: Some guy tells Clark he knows all about professor Fine. They're talking and he's telling Clark he knows all about Krypton. Suddenly, the guy is framed for murder, probably by Fine, and he goes to prison. Clark pretends to rob a bank so he goes to the same prison, and he has to break the guy out. Luckily, he draws the plans for the prison on his chest using a sharpie.

    Desperate: Something (kryptonite) makes all of the middle-aged women in town horny. They try to have sex with everyone, and one of Martha's old friends even tries to hit on Clark! Knowing how devastating this would be for her career, Lionel tries to get Martha to keep her libido under wraps, but she gets all horny for Lionel and they probably have sex. Chloe tracks down a scientist with the cure.

    Investigation: There's a murder. Chloe and Clark have to use the clues to figure out who the killer is, using high-tech methods that you might see on CSI. Lois is involved in the episode for no reason. It turns out the murderer was an old friend of Lex, so Clark barges in on Lex and accuses him of hiring the guy. Lex politely tolerates it and condescendingly dismisses Clark. But then it turns out, he did.

    Very good! Hilarious!

    Felix Vasquez wrote:

    We're supposed to believe this man is a skilled assassin yet:

    1. He nearly gets hit by a car.
    2. And is saved by Clark who uses his powers in front of EVERYONE!!
    3. and decides to go after Lex While he's awake. Instead of going in to his room while he sleeps and killing him, then offing Lana.
    4. Meanwhile, he kills everyone really quickly and takes his time with both Clark and Lex. How suspicious.
    5. Chloe plays the Chloe Ex Machina again mysteriously finding Clark in an alley.

    Yep. All pretty big suckitudes.

    Not a half hour shower shot, attempted nudity, or most violent death could take Smallville from the depths of crapdom and bring it back to the form it arrived in. It sure did have some cool scenes. I mean Clark singling out his heartbeat? Nice! Foreshadowing to Clark's career? Nice.

    I thought that was pretty cool. If only...er...that whole vision thing. But I agree, neat use. At least it's creative.

    But, people were wrong. There's more Clark/Lana junk, the show continues to draw its focus on Lex and Lana because, as Al Gough puts it: "They're young and sexy!" and Clark plays the fool once again. It's tragic they'd have a cheesy filler episode so late in the season, but it just further explores the lack of creativity and imagination the writers on Smallville have had since Season four. It's embarrassing already.

    I think it's getting better, but this show was no argument for that. At all.

    2 out 5 for me. Seems to be the norm for the show these days.

    You were nicer than me. Still, I agree.

    Thanks, all! TWO TO GO! And next week, the announcement of the BIG, SUPER-SECRET CONTEST THAT YOU SHOULD FOR NO REASON ASK ABOUT IN A LETTER!

    Neal



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

    Back to the main TELEVISION page.