Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 6 - Episode 3: "Wither"

Reviews:

Wither

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

MAIN POINTS:

  • Clark assails a woman who controls vines that impregnate men.
  • Somehow, she is dissipated by electricity in a poof of dust.
  • All-American Rejects perform at a Dark Thursday ball.
  • Lex and Lana, Jimmy and Chloe, and Lois and Oliver Queen get down.
  • No, not all at once, you sick puppy.
  • Clark is left alone to play with his ball.

    REVIEW:

    That was absolutely, positively the BEST episode of Smallville I have ever seen.

    ON EARTH-3 Pre-Crisis! HEE HEE HEE snort.

    I rule.

    Okay, Smallville. I tried to be nice. I mean, I fived that premiere, considering that it looked like you were pulling out some stops.

    Then, you know, you totally sucked for one episode. That's okay. It happens.

    Now, you've flat-out convinced me, not THREE episodes in, that this is the last season not by necessity, but because sincerely, if this crap can maintain any kind of viewership for the rest of the year, I give up. I really do. If something like this can make it mainstream, but I can't get a publisher, than I really, well and truly GIVE UP.

    And I never give up, so this is the last year. Or I'll just delete this later. HEE HEE HEE snort.

    I'm already this far without going up there and writing my summary main points, because honestly, it's antagonizing. But I will anyway. Feel free to go back up there and take a look and see why.

    Luthor in the chat made a good analysis as to what's going on here. We're supposed to be in the modality that everything is cool and new because Jimmy's in there. Truth? They've brought Lana and Chloe BACK to Smallville, revoking any kind of change the show ever made to move forward (as small and non-existent as those changes were what with the frequent drives), and placing us squarely back at peg one, only without Jonathan. SIX YEARS, and that's where we are.

    What they've done instead is added more characters, and that's supposed to be new and interesting. Jimmy for Pete, perhaps, and Oliver Queen so that Lois can have a point/love interest. The problem being, Lois already did this plot, she doesn't need a love interest, she needs to be off the show, and generally so far, Jimmy's characterization thusfar has consisted of character point one: I banged Chloe, and character point two, brought about in this episode: I'm banging Chloe again, so hands off my Kool-Ade.

    This is the same characterization they used on Jason. I'm just here, guys! I'm with the hot chick, and I exist! It's pretty much what they did with Lois after the first three episodes. Hi! I'm here! Who am I? I don't know. But I've got BREASTS!

    He did take a few pictures.

    I don't like a Jimmy that's better at scoring chicks than Clark. Yeah, in the comics he's kind of a pseudo player, but really, it's in that failing way.

    I try not to pre-judge the show. It's easier now. For the last two years it's been preceded by the last ten minutes of Friends, and that alone puts me in a fighting mood. New network, I figured something might change. Bigger budget, better work. Nah. Worse effects, more hacked scripts, no character development, things are just generally downhill.

    This episode wasn't a total loss. There was some attention paid to mood and dialogue, and the mood and dialogue worked well at times. Lana and Lex, even, toward the end. Some of the chemistry between Lois and Oliver worked. Jimmy and Chloe I don't buy. I like how Allison acted the scene out. Ashmore came off as rather brutish and raw instead of Jimmy-innocent.

    The show starts with Jimmy and Chloe "undercover." Why, when Chloe's not even a reporter beyond the one article she put out last year on vampire sorority chicks, is beyond me, but apparently we're supposed to just accept it, like so many things.

    They sit while other kids make out, and on the radio, I kid you not, is a commercial extolling the virtues of a Ford Hybrid. The same hybrid, I might add, that they pepper the show with ads for. Maddox has a good article on product placement that's rather naughty, but I echo his sentiments here. Why not just have one episode of Smallville be all of the characters lining up and displaying products for ten minutes, end the show, and then do the rest of the season. Cripes, what a sad state of affairs.

    "BUT WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO MAKE MONEY, NEAL, IF YOU'RE SO SMART?"

    Well, Al, I'm glad you asked. I would simply put out less episodes and make sure that the ones I put out were extraordinarily well written. And if the budget was still lacking, I'd write around the problem in a creative way instead of a structurally crappy way.

    Nothing says depth like a necrotic girl stabbed into some trees. I'm already so excited I could crap a "hybrid" of (CENSORED FOR YOUR PROTECTION).

    Fecal matter and platelets.

    SIGNS OF THE APOCALYPSE, PART TWO!

    You'll recall, the world being decimated was reacted to with utmost aplomb, as Clark turned to his mother and expressed solemnly, "I feel bad for what happened!"

    This week, the world has moved on, but they haven't forgotten the lessons of Dark Tuesday! They're organizing a ball with the ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS!

    Did you say ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS?

    Yes, that's right. ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS!

    AAR baffles me because they're one of those chick-friendly bands that pushes out pseudo rock popularized in the guise of being edgy, but honestly, I can't get enough of them. For some reason, I like them. Which makes it hard for me to see them on a show shilling, but hey. My meter for selling out is how I'd react if Green Day did it, because Green Day, to me, is the band that skirts the closest to selling out and still comes out smelling of roses. They play arena shows, and I've gotta dodge the twelve-year-old girls to get to the mosh pit. They are on cell phone rings, and they are relentlessly fashion conscious. On the other hand, they stood up to the Iraq war, crafted the finest album that I've ever heard in an ever-expansive music collection, they stand for the things that I believe in, they're working class music and locals made good, not a corporate formed band.

    And hey, they didn't respond to my American Idiot script, which rocked, so I could be biased. Fools! I will liquidate them for insolence!

    Point of all that is generally, I judge my disappointment based on the band I've always held to the most scrutiny. If Green Day appeared on Smallville to play even "Rest," I would look down on them, and as you may recall, it bugged me when they misused Boulevard of Broken Dreams in season four.

    So yeah, AAR shilling takes away respect for the band to me. But then, if I judged the band on their flaky, good bad boy looks, like, ever, I never would have listened to them in the first place. One thing you learn going from conforming to conforming to non-conformity to being too old to give a crap but too young to hope you die before you are that age is that you've gotta pick and choose the best of a bad situation sometimes, and if "Move Along" will help me write, I'll look past the pretty bangs. And the guest appearances, I guess.

    But it doesn't benefit this show. Even if it were Rancid, it wouldn't benefit this show. Guest music appearances are shilling. Using a piece of music as a soundtrack is apt. Pretending a major rock band would show up in nowheresville to serenade yuppies for no reason is kind of sad plotwise.

    Clark mopes with Martha about Lana. Oh, woe is me! Lex is wrong for her! She's just going to get hurt! Yeah, she hurts me constantly, but...

    Anyway, point being, it's boring crap, and I hate it. If the writers say they're going to end the Clana, DO IT. Having it there every episode without the making out is NOT ending it.

    Clark: "Costumes aren't my thing."

    Showing the duality of a future persona by showing the person's inclination against that thing in the past is getting a bit old. Thieving Flash. Destructive Cyborg. Clark saying he hates heights, capes, the colors blue and red, and Superheroes named Superman...I kid. It was a cute moment once...six years ago. Now the show needs to find new cute things. And doesn't. Five years ago, I might have really enjoyed that line. It's disappointing this show didn't evolve beyond it.

    Clark actually points out in his lament that he's lost Jor-El.

    "I've lost so many people! Dad, Lana, Jor-El..."

    You'd think he'd be like, "I lost my dad, and Lana. But at least I lost that teenage girl killing, fetus blowing-upping, Zod-releasing biological father of mine."

    Personally, I'd take a super-speed trip to the fortress just to spit on it daily after what Jor-El caused with Jonathan. I think these writers seriously imagine that they've somehow made him into a good guy by having him give Clark that knife. Oy.

    Martha gives Clark a fairly stock speech about "The person you'll become."

    I find this speech a bit old now. Yeah, there was once a time for that speech, and it was made a lot, with much poignance, by Jonathan.

    Here's the facts. Clark is 20. TWENTY. He is the person he's going to become. Or he'd better be.

    You know where I was when I was twenty? I owned my first house and I'd written two books. I was a year from writing my first Smallville reviews, working eighty hours a week, AND I had a cat.

    I'm atypical in this, I know, but the point is, the old adage that we are what we are in high school is apt. It's our formative period. Clark shouldn't be saying "Who is the person I will become?" The twenties are a period of catharsis where one says, "Do I like the person I turned out to be?"

    And the resultant thirties alcoholism or great success is the Superman comic books, heh. Or...YOU! Har har har...SNORT.

    Lana storms up to Lex and CONFRONTS him! Lord, we've never seen that before, and it's always so original, even the forty-five thousandth time.

    I wonder, oh, I wonder, if it will be over something Lex actually did.

    Nameless costume lady: "My God! Your complexion is more radiant than even in the magazines!" (Kid you not, actual line.)

    Face it, Lana, you're Mary Poppins.

    Lana gets mad at Lex because a writer intimated that she's Lex's next conquest of many. She then reads him the riot act for being so promiscuous and having tons of girlfriends, and for daring to get her into newspapers.

    Let's do a tally:

    Lana: Whitney, Clark, Magneto, Jason, Lex

    Lex: Rival dad's daughter, Nurse, psycho sex-is-bad girl, Lana.

    That makes Lana more promiscuous than Lex, by my reading. Not to mention how often people are treating Lana like they'd like to go out with her compared to Lex, infrequently.

    Pot and kettle, ergo a plot point people won't buy even if they can somehow fault Lex for the story.

    Also, Lana: "They're right about the revolving door of women you've had."

    Lex: "Maybe, but I've never asked any of them to move in with me."

    That's cold, Lex, making that woman you married a while back stay in the guest house. You cad!

    They turn it, somehow, into Lex revealing that Lana can't get over Clark, to which Lex finally acts slightly in character and gives her the ultimatum to get over Clark or end the relationship. It's strange, because for one, it makes someone stand up to Lana, and that's neat, but its efficacy is reduced in that we don't see Lana pining for Clark, so it's obvious that her issues are personal (which she later confronts, but which Lex doesn't touch upon, hurting what might have been a good character moment).

    Clark and Chloe talk about the villain killing people, and apparently now meteor freaks are people who were "infected with Kryptonite." Great! New euphemism. I didn't get knifed to death, I was infected with a Gerber. Not that big a deal, just struck me as funny.

    Jimmy walks in, and Clark makes a sour face. Oooh! He's jealous! What character drama. Except, uh, he hasn't expressed any real interest in Chloe ever, so it makes no coherent sense and is arbitrary.

    Lois and Oliver meet up. Lois sees the guy at the door, makes dove eyes, callously and like a woman who's very pretty, privileged, and is used to people bowing before her, dismisses him.

    I don't see Lois like this, myself, even though she's tough and pretty. Tough and pretty doesn't mean bich. I didn't buy or like the character interaction.

    Another strange, almost blasphemous thing occurred. If you listen when Oliver and Lois first see each other, they play strains of "Can You Read My Mind?"

    WHAT?

    You have so many opportunities to rekindle an awesome theme in this show, and you use it for the Oliver Lois romance that doesn't really make much sense?

    I mean, if you think about it, Lois ultimately digs semi-conservative aw shucks farmboys, not corporate gelled up patsy shills. Another reason Lois is failing here as a character despite Erica's best efforts.

    There's a search party for the body of the guy who went into the forest with the girl. I know when a guy and a gal go into the woods and one ends up impaled on a tree MY local law enforcement's first response is: "Oh! We must find the body of the guy! They must have encountered a murderer in the middle of nowhere."

    Or wait...maybe they dragnet for the boy who's now a murder suspect.

    Regardless, the real question here is why Chloe and Clark would make the leap to assuming that the guy is a victim also, especially having seen so many freaks.

    Instead of searching at super-speed instantaneously (and the night before, come to think of it, he left a guy out there all night who might be a murderer or a victim?), which would make sense, Clark follows clues and talks to people.

    He runs into a girl named Gloria. This is the FOTW. How do I know? She has a name, and dialogue, and she's not part of the main cast. This unfortunate weakness of the story structure makes for a very unentertaining situation. Especially given the fact that the "park ranger" is an extraordinarily hot chick when most are ugly old men or hippie chicks who are, well, fun to talk to.

    Clark runs into the victim (superspeeding in front of a giant search party) and cuts his hands on the trees.

    How he does this without any Kryptonite in the vines is beyond me. Apparently, because it's "alien" it's super-strong and super-sharp, but that shouldn't matter when you're invulnerable like Clark is. The only way it could hurt him is if his defensive shield fell, and that's basically with Kryptonite. BUT, given that the villain has to be from Krypton (because she was in the PZ) unless Krypton, uh, exported the Phantom Zone, which would be weird and was not noted in the show, she too would be weakened by Kryponite.

    And hey, assume you're a newly escaped Phantom Zone villain alien. Do you A) Start immediately using your powers to decimate Earth, if that's your thing, or B) Subtly find a civilian identity so you can creep around in the woods at night killing one or two people at a time?

    Bologna. And not even Oscar Meyer. Generic. The kind you can't even make good with sugar.

    Do they even TRY any more? I mean, a monkey with a headcold could come up with a tighter villain than this.

    Column A:

    Disappears, flames, waters, rocks, airs, invisibles, flies, smells, waxes, elemental, crap monster, ah, make something up, I'm hungry.

    Column B:

    Male or female.

    Column C:

    Got powers from being alien, unknown, kryptonite.

    Column D: Lana's mad about something, Lex is accused of something, Clark solves something, Chloe helps Clark solve something, Martha consoles Clark for something, Lois is hot while doing, uh, something, and Lionel appears out of nowhere to be mysterious about something.

    This is the Smallville dichotomous key. It's like the Wheel of Fish. You spin the smelliness, and often, like miss Weaver, you get...

    NOTHING! Absolutely NOTHING! You so STUPID!

    AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES!

    Jimmy to Smallville, fifty bucks.

    Clark and Chloe, on the case, and Clark suddenly suspects Lex out of the blue. Why? Here's the causality: Lex tried to destroy the world when Zod inhabited him (something Lex couldn't control) a few weeks ago. Ergo, now he's trying to kill people with plants because he lives near the murderer.

    Lois and Clark, the New Adventures of Superman, couldn't have done it any better. It MUST be someone who controls bees!

    Remember, kids, Zod leads to dead teenagers impaled on trees. If it weren't this show, that phrase couldn't be any cooler. How could you screw THAT up?

    Clark breaks into Luthor's greenhouse and trespasses. He finds...a POD! With SEEDS! They even play dramatic music when he opens the pods. It's hilarious.

    And Lex, of course, who has no reason to be doing so, is lurking in his greenhouse waiting for Clark to arrive so he can spout dialogue in malaise:

    Clark: "Lex, even your plants have hidden agendas!" (actual line)

    Lex: "What's two plus two?"

    Clark: "Uh..."

    Lex: "What is the average air speed velocity of a swallow?"

    Clark: "Well, I don't know tha-"

    BWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH! All the way to 7th Heaven. Whatever that means, I just saw ads.

    Clark tries to pressure Lex into thinking Lana won't stay with him, that he'll corrupt her, etcetera. It doesn't come off well, because I don't buy that Lex would fight for Lana. The scene would be compelling if logically you could get to a Lex Lana relationship. I'm still stuck way back on this isn't bloody well possible at all, so any drama that attempts to result off it comes off as cold and brainless.

    Lex kicks Clark off the property for good. Wonder if that'll stop him from busting in next week again. Ho-hum. Not bloody likely.

    Lana makes an excuse to talk to Chloe, telling her that she accidentally stole her belongings when she moved out. CRIMINAL!

    Joking aside, however, there are two great Lana lies in there. One, she said she came over to return things, as a passive aggressive way to say she wanted to talk, a lie. And two, she promised to return that library book, and it's now two weeks late. That promise was a LIE! LIAR! SECRETS! LIES!

    Lana talks about how she and Lex are on the outs. Why, given that last week all was well? Arbitrary drama. Lana has to whine about something.

    "Being with Lex is making me lose my identity!"

    Oh, God, how I hate that line, and how many times I've heard it. You're dating a girl, spending time with her, and a lot of time, getting to know each other, and she says, "I need some time to myself! I feel like I'm losing who I am!"

    Translation: I used to flirt with a ton of guys and get a lot of attention. It's how I defined myself. Now I miss that even though there's someone to tuck me in, bring me flowers, and pay for dinner. I'm frustrated that I have to choose!" Oh, would that a guy had to make such horrible choices.

    Inevitably, the gals who broke up with me for that immediately went out and got all the attention that they wanted, came back, tried to apologize, and found me out somewhere "finding myself." Hah!

    Then, out of the blue, Lana gives out the most true and epic line the series has yet to see. A line that, if properly applied, could change her entire character from suckitude to goodness. She steps back and realizes, "I've been blaming everyone for my trust issues, but I don't trust myself. I haven't always made the right decisions, and I realize that when I made the wrong ones, I'm too far gone to get myself out."

    The proper response to this is, "Yes. Now how can you fix that?"

    Chloe's response is, "Well, you need to be happy! Grow some fins and dive into the happy pool!"

    Which is basically the advice to ignore your failings and pretend that all is well. Which is something Chloe wouldn't do, something that Lana would do. So they cover a potential character growth moment with a mischaracterization, forget it, and move on.

    Such wasted potential, and I thought they were actually doing something there.

    The villain rips the heck off of Poison Ivy. Only without the somewhat of a depth Ivy has with her environmentalism cause.

    Jimmy goes to explore the woods to impress Chloe, apparently, and the villain overpowers him, busting his knockout cherry. The CG on those vines was incredibly awful. If you watch it going into his mouth (phallic as heck, but hey), you can see they didn't even really push his lips out to make it accommodate the CG, they just kind of overlapped it badly. It's awful. Given the standards this show has had before, this is a true disappointment. Now the effects are cookie-cutter and not really an element of the story, enhancing it. I feel like I'm watching Charmed.

    Lois to Metropolis, a hundred bucks.

    She goes to apologize to Oliver, giving us an excuse to see him shirtless. (Er, joy?) I'm not buying Green Arrow, not because the guy is a bad actor, not because I don't think he belongs right now, I can see a guest hero. Mostly it's because this guy looks tailor-made for Aquaman, not Green Arrow. No goatee, no anti-social attitude. It's essentially Lex with a bow and arrow, which, if you know GA, is kind of antithetical. I keep expecting him to say, "Bra." It's really like watching "Aqua" again, only decompressed.

    And with arrows that stick in concrete without shattering, broadhead OR target. SIGH.

    Lois apologizes for what she's done, dismissing him offhand. Good.

    Oliver then replies that to make up for her error, he'll have to accompany him to a dance, and wear this low-cut suit he designed. It's a milkmaid, er, Maid Marion outfit.

    I'm still sticking with milkmaid.

    Lois Lane, being a strong, intelligent woman who's sure of herself and her place in the world, and who doesn't need to define herself by the man she hangs off of, certainly not a man who would objectify her and then abuse that objectification to blackmail a date out of him, tells him off and leaves.

    No, wait, she makes google-eyes at him, goes with him to the dance, and offers to kiss him if he can display a feat of muscle and skill over mental acuity.

    Gee golly, Miss Lane, you sure got shallow all of a sudden. You'd think they were writing you for TV!

    AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES!

    (BTW, with our newfangled multi-media Youtube clips, if anyone can give me a "Again with the squeaky shoes!" Youtube clip to go with when I post this, I'd kiss your feet.)

    The nurse screams with a mouthful of cheese, running from the hospital room where the poor victim of Poison Ivy's machinations has erupted in little baby plants.

    I don't think I need to say too much about why having a female alien entity that can only breed by impregnating human males is a ripoff and stupid. Take the most implausible bits of Species and Alien, and bingo, Smallville plot! Joy.

    The "ranger" goes by on a bed, and Clark stops them to ID the body. Alas, however, the simple fact that they're saying, "Yeah, we got the ranger here." kind of indicates that they've already identified the body, making even a casual viewer go, "Uh, what?"

    The reason they did this was so that Clark could ID the ranger as the threat. There are obviously better ways. An easy one is having Clark exploring the woods for Jimmy and hear, with his super-hearing, someone being attacked. Bingo.

    Clark superspeeds in the middle of a crowded hospital just as Chloe is realizing that electricity destroys...living things!

    Of course, if these living things can overpower Clark, they wouldn't even shirk at electricity, but hey. This is Smallville. Anything goes.

    Clark confronts the villain, who asserts that she's an alien from the Phantom Zone who apparently just didn't recognize him the first time.

    Clark asks: "So, how did you get a body after being a disembodied Phantom?"

    Al: "Shut up, Tom!"

    No, instead Clark says, so melodramatically I burst out laughing, "Wherever you're from, go back! Now!" both because it sounded so out of character racist, and also, because you half expect her to just go. "Okay!" DING! Then beam up.

    It would have beat the resolution they DID use.

    Nah, instead she overpowers Clark with PLANTS (sigh) and chokes him out.

    The All-American Rejects do their thing, and thank Lex LuthER.

    Lex comes in, dressed as a Roman, Antony presumably. He looks awesome in the costume, I've gotta say.

    Then Lana comes in. I'm not sure, but it looks like Kristen might be hiding a baby bump. Her breasts seem a little larger, and the costume poofed out in the middle.

    SPOILER in this paragraph: Indications are that Lana will become pregnant this season with Lex's baby. I can think of absolutely NO reason why the show would go this way, even with their twisted logic, beyond the fact that Kristin got pregnant. That's the only real reason I can see that they would do it.

    In advance, if that's the case, it's shameful as all hell. Honestly, how arrogant and narcissistic would you have to be to mess with the mythos of a sixty-five-year-old character to accommodate your personal life choice? To jeopardize an entire production?

    In advance, if that's not the case, forgive me for saying it and I don't mean it. I'm just saying, that's what's going through my head.

    Lana as Cleopatra...you know, I never type this, but LOL. The devious, side-changing almost Guenevere character who swaps Caesar (the good, kind, ultimately stabbed-in-the-back nice guy) for Mark Antony (the guy who acts like Caesar but is at his heart a rough, brutish, revenge oriented leader-by-force, as I recall).

    I'll give them credit for the metaphor, but if they're making her out to be Cleopatra, why not characterize her in the same manner instead of fetishizing her per Helen? It's like the dialogue that was so quickly retracted earlier. Yeah, we'll play at going deep, but we won't make Lana admit to, acknowledge, or change anything about her character for the same reason Cleopatra never had to. Cause she hot.

    There's also the symbolism of Lex in a red cape. What the heck is that doing in there?

    Lois as the milkmaid, and Green Arrow in a Green Arrow costume. Next week we'll trade it for some hyper-stylized Oakley sunglasses stuff that isn't flying with me so far, but for now, it's kind of neat for what it is.

    Oliver is persuaded to hear Martha out again, mostly because Lois agreed to essentially hook for him, and his acceptance of this in dialogue is: "She can be very persuasive!"

    No. I can be very persuasive to get what I want. I have no boobs. Lois can be very pretty to get what she wants. She CAN be persuasive, she just isn't written that way, because she's an archetype, not a well-written character.

    Clark is released with a stun gun. Oy.

    Clark then fights with the gal and kills her by putting water on a light, which sends electrical arcs into her, which makes her and all of her tentacles explode and vaporize in a puff of smoke. Oy.

    Apparently, Lex lacks either ground fault interrupts in a greenhouse AND electricity flew out in a freak arc, or maybe, just maybe, the writers are hacks.

    Kryptonite inspired or from the Phantom Zone, a bad villain is a bad villain.

    Chloe, despite having a stun gun, insists that they must defibrillate Jimmy in order to heal him. Stun him, or possibly kill him? Eh. She possibly kills him, and he sits right up, laughs, and makes conversation. At this point I throw up my notebook, throw up on my notebook, and give up.

    Lois and Oliver have an arrow moment, a near-kiss kind of affair. He shoots an arrow through the coke can ring. Interesting idea. I'm pulled right out of the scene by seeing the arrow fired from a recurve impact in concrete and stick without damaging the brick or the arrow, but hey.

    "How else are they going to do it, Neal?"

    Have him fire into wood and have the props department explore what an arrow actually does, so the props reflect his prowess with the shot but still an accurate impact. It's not that hard, actually.

    Another shirts-off titillation scene, this time to establish the pregnancy, no doubt. Well, goody. I mean, people complain about Superman Returns and hold up Smallville as better sometimes. They won't have much armor when it's the difference between Clark and Lois having a bastard son or Lana and Lex having one.

    Clark alone in the barn, the hero of the story, totally crapped on. If they'd go somewhere with that poignancy, maybe, but eh.

    All in all, the Green Arrow costume, the kiss moment, and Lex in armor were all cool visual moments, but not enough to make this episode even really remotely enjoyable. The attempt at character in the midst of character choices that make no logical sense was appreciated, but essentially, because it comes from character choices that make no logical sense, it was a futile effort.

    Three episodes in we should not be getting a second 1 of 5.

    But we are.

    Next week looks okay in the preview...we'll see. Bra.

    SUPER SHORT REVIEW

    If you ever meet someone who can control plants that are stronger than Kryptonian skin, make sure the first weapon you use is a stun gun. Cleopatra would be a better Cleopatra if she were Cleopatra. Lois would make a better Lois if she were a Lois. Jimmy would be a better Jimmy if he were, well, anything. 1 of 5.

    LETTERS

    In bold, per usual. The offer for the cheap-o error copies of Madly is still out there, but I'm running low. Feel free to contact me if you're interested.

    Neal's tips for a good letter: Spell-check, use actual paragraphs, and be sure to limit your sodium intake.

    Stephen Earl Waller wrote:

    Howdy Neal:

    I just finished your quite lengthy review of Superman Returns and now feel that I would like to add my two cents worth of approval and criticism.

    Cool.

    After all you said, I did not expect your overall rating to be 8.5, so that was a pleasant surprise. I agree wholeheartedly that many aspects of the movie are fantastic and awesome, thus deserving an absolute 10 on some levels. I do also agree with most of the problems that your review highlighted that detract from the overall rating. I do not disagree with the overall rating. I will discuss my likes and dislikes in the following paragraphs.

    No problem. Honestly, though I do my job, to criticize and find flaw, I always do my rating based upon my gut feeling for the project. Superman Returns, I'll watch it over and over again despite flaws. I could do a hundred pages about what's wrong with a single Star Wars movie. I will still watch it habitually.

    Most importantly to me, Bryan Singer gets an absolute 10 for his choice of an unknown actor, Brandon Routh, to play Superman and Clark Kent. The fact that he resembles Christopher Reeve quite a bit most of the time and even moreso the rest of the time is invaluable for this movie. There are even a few times that he actually is Christopher Reeve, both as Superman and also as Clark Kent. The look, the voice, and the mannerisms are all right on for both characters.

    Agreed.

    Secondly for me, the special visual effects and computer generated effects are also an absolute 10 and by far the best of any Superman movie. These are Oscar caliber effects that are the best so far this year in any movie. The flying scenes are technically brilliant and most are visually dazzling. Some of these are downright beautiful to behold, bringing tears to my eyes and pulling at the heartstrings of my emotions. The shuttle/plane rescue sequence would be my choice to use for Oscar consideration.

    Agreed.

    Thirdly, the symphonic score by John Ottman is a most worthy addition to the Superman movie music tradition, rating a 9 in my book. The use of some of the original Superman themes provided continuity to the characters and reminded us of the best things about the Superman and Superman II movies. John Williams' score was judiciously used in the appropriate sequences and at the right time. The way Mr. Ottman weaved these original themes in and out of his own original score was masterful and in the tradition of Mr. Williams in his work on other sequels. The transition and merging of both men's work was absolutely magical and musically brilliant in many sequences. Mr. Ottman's own original score is a major success in its own right and my favorite of his movie music. The way his music soars in the Smallville cornfield as the original Superman theme is followed by his own composition is exhilarating and breathtaking. The music for the shuttle/plane rescue sequence is a fantastic action cue all the way through. The new music for Lex Luthor and a new love theme are also great. The sadness at the apparent death of Superman is complimented by still more great movie music that tugs at our heart and causes more tears to be shed. The new music that he will surely compose for the sequels are eagerly anticipated.

    I didn't like the soundtrack on disc much. In motion, it greatly improves.

    My first disappointment was in the opening pre-credit sequence that Mr. Singer decided to change apparently as the last minute. I was overjoyed when I saw a video on YouTube that showed the rerecording of the complete original musical segment which included the music for the original Superman opening, including the little girl's narration, the comic book, the camera moving up and over the Daily Planet building into outer space. This and the original credit sequence that directly followed are still the best of any movie that I have seen. The new credit sequence using the original Superman theme is still fantastic, but it would have been even greater if Mr. Singer has followed his original vision and used the pre-credit sequence as he had prepared for and had finished.

    That's on Youtube and no one sent it to me? I can't find it. Please send it. We'll report it.

    Another disappointment immediately followed when it became apparent that the already filmed sequence showing Kal-el in his spaceship exploring the remains of Krypton was eliminated. This is a major loss to the movie that would have showcased the continuity with the earlier movies and provided the audience an earlier introduction to the new Superman, Brandon Routh. This would have been a major improvement over starting the movie with Lex Luthor at the deathbed of his "wife". In fact, the Smallville sequence should have been placed ahead of the Lex Luthor sequence to further emphasize that the main character was indeed Superman and not Lex Luthor. I really wanted to see all of the scenes that had been filmed for the Smallville sequence but were not used in the movie. Seeing Clark Kent pack his Superman suit along with a photograph showing the original actors who were portraying his parents (Glenn Ford and Phyliss Thaxter) beside the young infant Kal-el (Aaron Smolinski) would have provided us with an early emotional highlight that was needed in this sequence.

    I like the deletion of that scene...but I still want to see it.

    Of all the actors, there is only one obvious disappointment ... Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane. Bring back Margot Kidder, please (just kidding). Yes, I agree that Ms. Bosworth is too young to portray this character. However, most of the problem lies with the dialogue given to her and not in her acting abilities. I just do not like the way her character is written for this movie especially the love story that should continue the character's progression from the first two movies. This is not the same Lois Lane that we cared for and accepted to be a legitimate love interest for Superman (and Clark Kent too). The fact that she was given a five year old child to boot almost makes her story now seem to come from some afternoon soap opera, not another Superman movie. Be that as it may, we are now saddled with both mother and child for the sequels. Perhaps some good screenwriters can turn this negative into a positive. Time will tell.

    I think the acting didn't help. She just doesn't have chops enough for me.

    This is not an all-inclusive review, just some random thoughts of my mostly major likes and some disappointments. I was struck by the absence of the young kids that go to see movies over and over who made huge hits of the Star Wars, Spiderman, Harry Potter, & Lord of the Rings movies (POTC too). I guess it can really show we are getting older when the movies of our youth do not have the same appeal with today's young folks that a movie like Superman Returns does to us older folks who so fondly remember the original.

    You wait for the sequel...that will change once they watch it 800 times on DVD. It's how I got hooked.

    Thanks for listening and I look forward to more Superman movies in our future.

    Live long and prosper !!!

    Stephen Earl Waller

    Thanks!

    Parker aka Planet-man wrote:
    In your review of Superman Returns, you talk about Lex's line "Krrrrrrryptonite!"

    Yar!

    I'm not sure if you know this because you didn't mention it, but that line was a direct homage to the first TV appearance of Kryptonite, the George Reeves Adventures of Superman episode "The Defeat of Superman". The scientist who discovers it pronounces it with the rolling "R" like that.

    No, I didn't know that. Awesome. :)

    Take THAT Do/Don't list!

    Word.

    P.S. In the line right above that in your review you called Lois "Lex" by mistake.

    Ah, they're both bent on world domination.

    Dave Mitchell wrote:
    Hey Neal! It's been a while since I've written, but I wanted to ask you a few questions.

    Cool, thanks.

    First: Thoughts about the upcoming SV season? Concerns? Eager anticipation?

    Yes.

    I'm interested to see what they do with the GA storyline. However, I'm kinda bummed that it appears that Lex-od will be defeated in the first episode. I'm not surprised, mind you; just disappointed. With all the supposed chaos that resulted from the S5 finale, you'd think there would be more repercussions. More clean-up. That's what i would have liked to see: more plot fallout. An 5-6 episode arc of Clark feeling responsible for the destruction and doing his part to make it right. The slow restoration of order. Maybe in Metropolis, a new mayor is elected with a Security First agenda, for example, and his/her obsession with public safety goes overboard. Ripple effect. Anyway. Here's hoping the big mopey alien finally gets to the business of being a hero we can actually admire, instead of simply tolerate.

    In opposite land...but yes, I agree. I think nearly destroying the world and just forgetting it in a world where that isn't commonplace is bad.

    Second: I'm a comics newbie, and my experience with DC/Superman comic canon has been limited to a brief flip-through of the Death of Superman (it was such an event at the time!) and a few other issues. I read "Kingdom Come" a while back, which I enjoyed, and last night I started devouring "Identity Crisis." (Holy crap, dude.) I don't have a lot of extra cash for graphic novel purchases, so I was wondering: What would you consider the best of the best, and most worth my time and much-guarded buck? Are there certain writers I should gravitate toward? Specific storylines I shouldn't bother with? Just curious about your opinion on the matter.

    Yes. Geoff Johns, Jeph Loeb, Greg Rucka, they've never steered me wrong with Superman. I'd buy "Up Up and Away," "Infinite Crisis," "Our Worlds At War," and the Rucka trades.

    That's it. Keep the faith and keep writing, both online and off. (I'm a bit of writer too, actually, though half-hearted and lazy. I need to change that.)

    Most writers do. Don't worry about it. But indeed, do it! Most artists are generally pretty lazy. I hear you. But if you want to make it, misery and 12-14 hour days are the way to go.

    Looking forward to your first review this season. Your writing is practically half of my enjoyment of the show.

    Paz.

    Thanks, sir.

    --Dave

    Ralph Silver wrote:
    Hi Neal:

    I greatly enjoyed the Superman Returns movie, and was thrilled to see Superman on the silver screen once again! I think that it was clearly a labor of love for Bryan Singer.

    I agree.

    But I am very analytical, and did struggle with a few plot points. In particular, I focused on the question of whether or not Lois knows who Jason's father is.

    I say yes.

    In the first half of the movie, Lois implies repeatedly and mentions explicitly that Richard is the father. But after events aboard Luthor's yacht, it is clear that Lois wonders, suspects, or flat-out knows that Superman is the dad. So I was left to struggle with the question: "Who is Jason's dad, and what does Lois know?"

    Clark is, and I think Lois lied to protect Jason and Richard's feelings. Pretty stupid, huh? I mean, things like that NEVER come out.

    There really are three possible scenarios for the viewer to pick from:

    (1) Lois does not know who fathered Jason.
    (2) Lois knows that Richard is the father.
    (3) Lois knows that Superman is the father.

    3.

    Each choice has its own set of issues and implications.

    I find (1) the most troubling. This probably means that Lois was sexually active with both Superman and Richard in a very short period of time. When she subsequently became pregnant, she was unable to determine whose baby she was carrying because of her multiple partners. This does not seem like terribly responsible behavior for someone who is supposed to be a heroic character and somewhat of a role model.

    She was sexually active with both in a short period of time. I'm okay with that. Not her lie about it, though.

    I suppose there are possible creative alternative explanations for (1). Since SR is very loosely a sequel to the two Christopher Reeve movies, one could perhaps postulate that Lois was a victim of the hypnotic "super-kiss" in Superman II, and thus has amnesia and forgot her sexual encounter with Superman. Her subconscious mind might then lead her to incorrectly believe that Richard is the father; only to have her memory jogged by events aboard the Gertrude. But since this was never explicitly stated in SR, I think this explanation is a real stretch.

    Singer has publicly denied he knew or remembered the kiss in the writing.

    If we assume that (2) Lois knows that Richard is the father, then all the scenes where Jason shows possible special abilities are just there to tease the audience. This scenario seems unlikely, since it is certainly implied during the hospital scene that Lois whispers to Superman that Jason is his son. At the end of the movie, Superman clearly thinks he is the father.

    And is, I mean, to imagine otherwise would probably be reaching.

    So (3) (Lois knows that Superman is the father) seems to be the likeliest scenario. But this has its own set of troubling questions:
    - Why did Lois withhold this information from Superman for as long as she did?
    - What did Lois tell Richard?
    - Based on the answer to the above question, either Lois deceived Richard as well as Superman; or else Lois and Richard conspired together to deceive Superman about this very import piece of information.

    That's what you'd call reviewer's logic, or a nice little trap. I agree, however. She's either X, which is bad, or X, which is bad. There's no positive to find here.

    I really struggled with this. Each scenario seems unsatisfying. I wonder if Bryan will address this in the sequel.

    Likely not. It's very hard to promote or create a piece of media that is in any way critical of a woman protagonist in America outside of gangsta rap.

    I welcome your thoughts on this topic.

    Ralph Silver

    Thanks!

    Jim Smith wrote:
    Neal,

    You must be reading the books or had watched the movie within the last week or two. It was not Harry Potter but Star Wars once again.

    Would be hero, getting whomped on. From some where in the desert comes a robed figure to save the day. Robed figure takes would be hero to their home. Robed figure proclaims, yes I knew your father. This artifact was his, he would want you to have it. Robed figure and would be hero go off together to save world. Robed figure uses jedi mind tricks to help would be hero escape and dies just as he does so. If the trinket she gave him had been a sword, George might have ordered the Death Star to destroy all of Vancouver.

    Where's Jar Jar! Oh yeah. Lana.

    I liked the Clark, Zod fight as well. Clark does not have the exp to handle a boss mob on the level of Zod yet. As such he got his tail handed to him. My wife unit, who for the most part does not care for the show was way into the fight and could not stop watching. Even if I was wishing for the classic, catch the fist in mid swing, kung-fu move followed by "I'm Superman B...."

    Niiiiice.

    Anyway. Good review, see you next week.

    Jim

    Thanks, Jim.

    Ryan wrote:
    Neal,

    Once again the best thing about Smallville is your review.

    THANK YOU. Awesome.

    I agree with you that 'Zod' was a good start to this season, but as always, even with the good episodes, your review is more entertaining. Of course there is always the bonus that comes with the horrible episodes, that being that the worse the episode the more entertaining the review becomes. I don't have much to comment on, just wanted to say thanks for makings Smallville worth watching, even when it doesn't deserve to be.

    Ryan

    Thanks. I think the flaying reviews are harder on me, mostly because I perform a little more, I have to dig and think a little harder, and plus, much though people might think I get joy out of tearing something apart, I don't. I like writing a good review. Tearing something apart is something I'm very good at. Analytical thinking and writing and philosophy are like second nature to me. I mean, I had to negotiate with an alcoholic mother as a kid. Nothing hones you more than that. Point being, though, I understand why it's fun to watch and read. I look for the same. But it feels finkish tearing apart something you know someone worked really hard on, even if you know in your heart, as I do, that you're right.

    But then again, if they didn't want to subject it to public scrutiny...and furthermore, they do not acknowledge fan criticism or even pretend that they do. We get ten minute PR interviews and no major interaction. So it serves them right, in a way. Creators should be open.

    Paul wrote:
    Hi Neal,

    I enjoyed the season premiere nearly as much as you did! One thing I noticed in your review was wondering about why some people in the phantom zone were phantoms and why some were not. Why Clark wouldn't be turned into a phantom, etcetera.

    Yes.

    Well, I'm glad the show didn't outright explain it because I think that sort of thing is better left to the imagination, but from watching the episode, I imagined that people in the phantom zone will eventually turn into one of those phantom creatures, most especially if they are devoured by one or die in some way. It would explain why there are people not turned into phantoms, generally the strongest warriors.

    Right, but that's how YOU see it. Part of the goodness of explicit writing is that the person like me who doesn't see it that way and prefers the creators to actually create what I'm watching get incensed. ;)

    I loved your rant on Jor-El sending that woman to the zone, because when she started to explain her past I almost immediately thought "That right there is Jor-El's mistress!"

    Hah! Funny, huh?

    Finally, I think you give JK Rowling and Harry Potter too much credit here. Flying wraith-like creatures have been around a LOT longer than the Harry Potter Series. Pick up Lord of the Rings or a D&D Player's Handbook for Zod's sake! Visually, I didn't really find them to resemble Dementors as much as I thought they looked like smaller ring-wraiths or the visage of Death(if you took away the skeleton part).

    Oh, it goes even beyond that. There's the Emperor, Dracula, The Frighteners originally. That was just the funniest one.

    And I saw it more as a "You shall not pass" than an "expecto Patronum". That's what's great about Smallville. They rip things off in such a vague way that you can choose your own sci-fi/fantasy literary reference!

    If only they'd bring the Balrog in...

    P.S. Since Lex's powers were a result of a super-retro virus that was bio-engineered by Fine, and NOT the result of some sort of magical Zod possession, shouldn't he still have those powers? Fill that plot-hole, Mr. Bailey!

    If I were the writers I never would have made that hole, but to fill it, I would simply have had Clark get the knife instead of that doohicky to stop Zod. Nanites.

    Michael Herrick wrote:
    Of course, I enjoyed the season 6 premier, but I was depressed by all the little hints the writers gave us that they're going back to the status quo:

    Lex: "All I can do is try to rebuild what I broke." Lex is going to try again to be a good guy for the first 6 episodes.

    Lana: "That might not be easy." Lana is done with Lex and now free for more season-4-style passive-aggressive triangulation.

    Clark: "Jor-El no longer has any influence over Lionel." Now Lionel can go back to being the ambiguous "is he evil?" character.

    Clark: "I can't talk to Lex." Never mind if he's turning into the devil. Does he LIKE me? Is he really my friend? Cause he took my girl, you know?

    By episode 5 or 6, I predict that both Lex and Lana will make overtures for Clarkonciliation so we can re-do season 4.

    You say it all better than I could. And more simply.

    The new Phantom Menaces are nothing more than Clark's new guilt-trip for Season Six. Season 1: I killed Lana's parents. Season 2: The meteor freaks are my fault. Season 3: I messed up my dad's health. Season 4: But Lex is my friend. Season 5: My dad is dead because I gave up my powers (not because I messed up his health, because everyone forgot about that, so they invented a new guilt-trip). Now he gets to feel guilty about all the new bad guys. Ho-hum.

    Yes.

    By the way, as far as I could see, the six Kryptonians to be sucked through the portal were Raya, Ken, Barbie, and the three zombies who shuffled over the hill at the last minute. Raya and Ken, I suppose, get insta-healed as soon as they go through the portal. So who's the phantom we see in South America? The zombies that got sucked through the gateway looked nothing like the phantoms we saw earlier. So the phantom has to be Zod, right?

    Or the ghost of plots past.

    Matt wrote:
    You asked, and it was delivered...

    http://nealbailey.ytmnd.com/

    If I get incredibly bored, I'll torrent the episode and rip Lex saying "kneel" instead of the one I'm using now :p

    Wooooooootah! Keep em coming! Maybe if we start getting more I'll make a prize. One star, though? Fix it, guys!

    Yngve Sle wrote:
    That creepy thing in the end of the Zod episode, was Zod i guess.. He went out of Lex, and we are probaply gonna see him in later episodes... Maybe he is the theme of the whole season??

    Regards
    Yngve
    Norway

    I only wish...

    Erica wrote:
    I just finished reading your Zod review and I wanted to say that I love you.

    That is all.

    Carry on.

    If you are not a forty-year-old kung fu rapist with an eye socket fetish, I thank you, madam. Ah, heck, I thank you even if you are.

    You live near Washington?

    thebrakeman wrote:
    Neil,
    No problem with some bad guys having bodies in the zone, and others do not. On Krypton, they must have had a means of removing (and destroying) criminals bodies, then banishing their spirits to the zone. But Raya was placed there for safekeeping, so she kept her body. Nam-Ek (sp?) and the other Krypto were pushed in by Clark (he didn't have a Kryptonian de-body machine. And likewise, Zod must not have had that technology in the barn when he banished Clark.

    Perhaps, but they never said that...

    Felix Vasquez wrote:

    Hey Neal,

    How was your trip?

    Great!

    Either way, the episodes after the premiere, as everyone knows, are usually comprised of a steady decline in quality, logic, and writing skill, and while the decline is noticeable, I enjoyed "Sneeze" for all its cheese. I hate how "Smallville" continues to fetishize and obsess over Lana, when currently Durance is the one the male audience is fawning over. I'm Mack fan personally, but to each his own.

    To me, Mack. Hands off my Kool-Ade!

    As for the whole idiotic teen angst mode this show has been in since season four, I'm slightly surprised that this show is beginning to feel more and more like Superman every episode. It MUST be nearing the home stretch. More scenes at the Daily Planet, the characters are beginning to act more and more like their comic counterparts, and Jimmy was barely around.

    I agree. It's palpably moving towards it, but without the courage to embrace it, sadly.

    For all its warts and flaws, "Sneeze" was a lot of fun, and I absolutely loved Clark's first super breath. I just hit the roof yet again. I seriously hope this veering into Superman territory continues throughout the season.

    I might have enjoyed it if I had been able to ignore the flaws.

    However, at the moment, nothing can measure up to "Heroes," a show that I'm literally anxious to watch every week. Have you been watching it?

    Saw the first half of the first episode. Heck, I'm planning on reviewing it for you and Cinema Crazed if I can ever get my butt finished with this house. I'm pulling these awful 16 hour days, it's rotting my brain. I'm amazed I can even be pithy.

    So, always too opinionated for my own good, here are some more thoughts in the vein of your reviews, as I've done now and again.

    1. Whatever happened to the race for senate? Is that still relevant, or are they biding their time?

    I think they just forgot that Martha didn't win.

    2. Why is Lois still living with the Kents? Am I missing something? Can you explain this? I'm slightly slow at the moment.

    Nope. It's garbage.

    3. I enjoy the fact that they're making Lois much more snoopey and nosey, if Erica starts with the Lois habits, this show will be halfway towards atoning for its sins.

    If they make her actually start being Lois...assertive, smart, responsible.

    Granted, her interest in journalism was sudden, forced, and slightly cheesy, but I enjoyed the aspect that Lois seems to be intent on solving this little mystery that will feed her hunger for uncovering truths, both cataclysmic and inane.

    They could make hay from this, perhaps.

    4. While I loved the whole concept of "Sneeze," Clark sneezes in front of a crowded room and people can't trace the force of the wind? I don't buy it.

    I don't even charge it.

    5. I enjoy how we're going more and more into Clark's life and less into Lana's. The current sub-plot between Lex and Lana is pretty boring, I have to admit. I was simply waiting for Clark to appear as well as Oliver Queen the whole time they were on-screen.

    Likewise.

    6. And yes, the diamond shaped red kite was cheesy as well, I have to say. But it was cute. I enjoy the fact that most of his abilities were helped to be discovered with Chloe. She's an excellent character.

    So, anyway, it's a 3 out of 5 for me, buddy.

    I can't wait to see what happens next week with the emergence of Green Arrow. I enjoy Justin Hartley. I liked him in Aquaman, and I like him as Oliver Queen.

    I actually have to watch Aquaman yet. I will.

    See you next week.

    Felix
    Cinema Crazed
    http://www.cinema-crazed.com

    Thanks.

    SCOTTY V wrote:
    Hey Neal!!

    Heya!

    Just watched Smallville season premiere and I thought it was pretty darned good. As always, loved you review. Laughed out loud at the whole "I wouldn't trust Mother Theresa to put a gun to my head cause that's bloody stoopid!" thing. Agree with your review on the whole, although, and perhaps I just don't remember cause I thought the season finale was a little weak but, why in the world was a mini-plane, (that as far as I know wouldn't even have the ability to fly to the arctic) flying just outside the Fortress so that it could crash there with Lois and Martha in it? Is there a reason that actually makes ANY sense in the story or was it simply: "Hmmm, we need that knife back into Smallville and someone needs to know how to use it.... how can we do that as Smallville writers? Well, since we have the power and can do ANYTHING we want, even if it makes no sense, I guess we'll just have Lois and Martha crash there even though there's no conceivable reason for them to have gotten there." I'm thinking that it's unfortunately the latter, but if I'm wrong, somebody please remind me. I mean heck, maybe the Senator meeting Martha was going to was being held in the North Pole.

    I think Brainiac was trying to...er...nevermind.

    I came to something in business that I had to mention. You said:

    "If it's Kryptonian, he shouldn't be able to break it, technically. Forgot that in the review. CURSES!"

    I say: the yellow sun of the Earth does not power ITEMS from Krypton. An item is simply that, an item. In fact, it makes more sense to me that he'd be able to break the knife because, on Krypton, the knife is the same knife as it is on Earth and on Earth Zod has powers that he never had before. I COULD however, see the possibility of breaking it still hurting Zod, as the person writing in said, since it's a "magic" knife that has the power to stop him, but since the blade wasn't thrust into his form, I could see it this way too.

    It does power up items in the old continuity. I forget if Post-Crisis does. I've never seen anything Kryptonian really decimated in the comics.

    This idea reminds me of a discussion they had on Howard Stern a few weeks ago, they were talking about SR and Smallville and Supes in general. Howard's a big Superman fan and he likes to pretend he knows everything about Supes, which he clearly doesn't, but it's funny anyway. They were discussing how, the reason the suit Supes wears can't be damaged is because it's Kryptonian fabric that was affected by the sun the same way as Superman was. Howard was emphatic about, to the point of calling one of his friends who often calls in (Ralph) an idiot - which is something he routinely does anyway, the suit beinf affected in the same way because of the same reason. There are two reasons this is wrong IMHO. One - in current continuity, Superman's uniform is invulnerable ONLY when it's close to his body and within his "aura." I don't even think the uniform was made of Kryptonian fabrics in this continuity but I could be wrong there. Initially, when it was made of the fabrics, I think they were just indestructible fabrics from Krypton, made that way, and not affected by the sun. If the explanation back then WAS that they'd been affected by the sun, it's just another case of something in the early days not being that well thought out. Inanimate objects do not have a biology that would be affected by the difference in solar systems. At least I don't think so.

    In current continuity, he has an aura that protects his clothes, yes. I don't know if that necessarily means Kryptonian objects aren't strengthened under the sun. I just don't know. In the past, yes, his suit was Kryptonian and super-strong. Whenever it ripped, he had to sew it back together.

    By the way, I recently watched the first episode of The Adventures... starring George Reeves. I didn't realize they had an origin episode with Jor-El and the Kents, even though they did have different names. But the episode was actually pretty good. The suit wasn't explained as to HOW it was indestructible, but I thought it was interesting that Ma Kent made a point to say the suit couldn't be destroyed because it was made of the indestructible cloth that Clark was wrapped in. Interesting because, I thought, how in the world did Ma actually cut it, or sew it, or form it into the suit her son would wear, if it were already indestructible???

    Face it, she's amazing.

    Wouldn't be possible. This is another reason why the "aura," or just having multiple suits that aren't indestructible makes more sense. No tailor could form anything out of an indestructible blanket or cloth.

    You say: "One, Clark wouldn't be able to take Zod in a fair fight. Yeah, he's had a lot of fistfights, but Zod is a general. A merciless, genocidal general. Just like I think if Lex had Clark's powers Clark couldn't take Lex."

    I think I would have to disagree. There are two things happening here. One is that yes, a merciless, genocidal general is getting the powers Clark has, which can make that general extremely dangerous. The second thing though, is that this general has never been to Earth before. He's never experienced these powers and has no idea what they will be like. In all actuality, he SHOULD be out of control. Clark took time to learn to use each new power he developed. Why should Zod come out of the Phantom Zone knowing how to do everything he's never done before? I wouldn't think flying and shooting flame from one's eyes would be a natural reflex if that person had no idea he'd be able to do it. The creeps who came out in last seasons premiere, as well as Zod here, are much to expert with their powers. If anything, it should be more like Non in Superman II, but probably more likely, like Ralph in The Greatest American Hero.

    I dunno. It was shown that Jor-El popped down to Earth, so they likely know what powers they have here.

    And Lex? Please. I've seen Smallville Lex get thrown around and knocked unconscious by almost every goon he's come across. In fact, I don't know that Lex has ever used his tact or toughness to ever win against anyone in a match of physicality. I've seen him try and get physical and always lose. Since this is the case, I see no reason to think that if Lex had Clark's powers against a still super powered Clark, that Lex would be any better able to win than Clark would. Neither man is particularly a fighter, at least from what we've seen on this show, so it would simply be a matter of falling one way or the other in each circumstance, though again, I have to go with Clark because he's aware of the powers and has practice with them, Lex wouldn't.

    This is well-written Lex I spoke of, the one who taught Lana to fight because he's a brawler.

    By the way, the guy you're sure you've seen somewhere in the second episode trailer - I think he's been on Smallville before. I really hate when they start recycling actors who've already played someone on the show to play someone else. It was funny because, earlier in the day before I'd watched the episode, I was thinking about Lois and Clark - a show that did it a few times - and I had watched a George Reeves episode where they re-used an actor as someone else. In considering those, I thought about some of the issues we complain about on Smallville and then gave it credit for at least not repeating actors as different characters. Then I tune in to the season premiere and get to see Jimmy - who isn't EXACTLY a repeat actor but he LOOKS exactly the same so that counts. Now in the trailer for next week, we see a goon that I'm pretty sure was on before. I might be wrong though, cause I've been doing a little research and I can't seem to find him appearing on Smallville again. His name is Lochlyn Monroe and on IMDB they have no other Smallville appearances listed.

    Well I guess that's it for now. Thanks for the congrats on my daughter. Hope all is well.

    Scotty V (word, and stickin to it.)

    How sad is it that we think we've already seen something on this show when we haven't because it's so incredibly derivative?

    jeff wrote:
    I just peaked at your review of "Sneeze". I find it awkward and a bit discomforting in your reference to Jor-El in the recent present tense. It's not your fault; the ambiguity of this character lays on the shoulders of the writers. How many times has Clark or a member of his family communicated with Jor-El? Lots of times. So why hasn't Clark asked the big question, the most logical question: If you're my father, how the f%$k are you engaging with me in a conversation if Krypton is kaputs and your dead?!? Why are you in the form of a disembodied voice? Why is it that I've never seen you face-to-face?

    Word.

    The whole thing is arbitrary drama. The whole thing makes NO sense. Are we supposed to believe a dead guy from one of the 28 known galaxies is g-d and Clark is Moses? I've had enough.

    Me too.

    marklar wrote:
    I hate lana I hate lana I hate lana I hate lana I hate lana I hate lana I hate lana I hate lana I hate lana I hate lana I hate lana I hate lana I hate lana.

    Marklar marklar marklar too.

    During the scene (in episode 602) where lana is attacking clark about looking for lex, if you compare the eyes and facial expresions of the two, clark looks so ..... kind. And hurt. lana simply looks like a witch.

    It's called acting. Tom gets it. Kristin...

    I have an idea, since we can't kill lana, let's freeze her and send her into space (like dr.evil) until the superman movie.

    Seriosly, if lana was real, I would kill her or have her killed.

    Heh. I know a ton of girls just like Lana. If you even talk about them funny, much less kill them, they file restraining orders and you become a misogynist. Better to just avoid them like the legion they are.

    ps
    Have you ever thought of publishing 'chronicling the fall' as a weekly coloum in a newspaper?

    I would kill too. If you can name a publication that has enough courage to take a risk in reporting, I'll submit to them. So far, every paper I've submitted to wants me to alter my style to be more titillating or write about things that mean nothing to anyone. That's the cool thing about not selling out. You can touch things that matter.

    The blog to which he refers (which is sure to offend, no doubt) is my somewhat daily political blog at http://www.chroniclingthefall.com. I basically treat politics like Smallville. I hadn't updated in months because of my book deal, but now I'm doing it regularly again. I answer letters there, too.

    Tera wrote:
    I LOVED your review of SNEEZE. It was spot on and I laughed so damn hard I cried. Yeah, I'm easy.

    Thank you. I'm flattered.

    Lucky for me I have CRS so I always forget at least half of the continuity errors in SV. But the uselessness of Lana and Lois? Is a frickin permanent fixture in my brain. As is the de-balling of Lex. I do hope that somehow AlMiles are privy to your reviews.

    They are. I'm not sure how privy, but I know they've been read at least once. Does it make a difference? Nah. They still won't talk to me. I contacted them once, and they broke off with me and stopped returning calls. Don't call us, we'll call you to come visit the writer's room.

    Then silence.

    I think if they actually communicated more with sites like us, their failures would be less picked at. In fact, I know it.

    Hopefully, it will give them and their wack@ss writing crew a much needed wake-up call. I doubt it but I can always hope.

    Thanks for the laughs.

    Thanks for the compliments.

    trent wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    Did you notice the shape and color of the kite. And also how Chloe and Clark held it during the scene?

    Yes. I just didn't notate it. Forgot. It's a device they've already done to death, but it was somewhat neat.

    Irwin Santos wrote:
    Ok Neal...

    The "Sneeze" review was brutal....and I love it.

    Thanks, man!

    I actually enjoyed this show, but watching from an untrained writer's eye. Glad you're there to point out stuff that I should really pay attention too.

    Likewise. I enjoy the heck out of your emails, man. Irwin has an awesome blog/calendar...if you want, Irwin, let me know, I'll post a link next week. I just didn't want to inundate you without permission.

    Olivia wrote:
    Hi, Neal!

    Hey!

    Sometimes I love and hate your reviews at the same time.

    Me too.

    I watch an episode and think: good! An average one, not a bad one, and that's good! And then I read your review and "all my dreams are on the ground, crawling around and around". You don't let me forgive some things I might and probably would. But I can't stop reading! Even when I don't want to hear it! I read every single review you wrote on Smallville, and I still can't have enough :)

    All that time that could have been spent counting hair or burping Tupperware! Nonetheless, I thank ye. Awesome.

    I have a few things to say about Lana-Lex relationship. First, I don't think they had sex. The scene you are constantly referring to as post-coital (I think it was in the last season's finale) doesn't imply that at all. They are waking up on a sofa, fully clothed! And given the whole Lana-worship thing, I believe it is safe to assume that we will KNOW when she has sex with Lex, as in: we'll explicitly see it.

    True! Like this week. Good call. My memory is in shambles.

    On to Lex's motivation to be with Lana. He made it quite clear in the episode where Bad Lex and Good Lex are separated by black kryptonite. Bad Lex told Clark how he wants everything Clark has, and how he is happy to have won the best part - Lana. Ok, maybe Lex is somewhat in love with her, but we all know that Bad Lex contributes to Lex with more that 50%. So there's the reason: to hurt Clark! Finally, if they didn't have sex, than it makes perfect sense for Lex to watch nude Lana on cameras, why not?

    On Lex wanting what Clark has...I don't think he ever had Lana really, did he? On watching Lana naked if they haven't had sex...well, maybe if he's a weird stalker type. I know when I want to see a girl naked and she won't let me, there are ten online who will who are hotter. That's how most guys solve that problem.

    That's it for now.

    Please, do not publish my email address. As for the rest, feel free to edit and/or publish it as you see fit, and forgive the language errors...

    I never publish email addresses unless it's by request, and lord help me, I never edit letters...heh.

    Yours,
    Olivia

    Chris wrote:
    Neal,

    Nice review on Sneeze. The episode was almost completely horrid.

    Thanks.

    As someone who is currently slogging through the process of getting work published, I definitely share your resentments about Lois' front page byline. For someone with no body of written work, no degree (not that I put a lot of stock in that, but as far as we know, Lois' lack of a high school diploma was never resolved), and maybe a week of experience in a high school paper to land a front page story about a barn door in a field is insulting.

    Yes. Heck, for someone with a degree but no body of work getting that job is insulting.

    It's also insulting to the character of Lois, who in most (if not all) of her incarnations has been a woman who wants the truth and will not compromise her professional ethics. Here, for the sake of getting an article published, she sells out her ethics and allows her editor to add in the alien angle that she believes is a lie. What a great role model for a new generation of young women.

    Be...all that they want you to be! It's the backlash of feminism...a good idea, perverted into making women everything to everyone without logic. I like OG feminism. Women get equal rights, and equal RESPONSIBILITY.

    And there was no reason for it. I know they were trying to be cute, but why not give her a story that played more to her strengths. Why not write a small blurb about the plane crash that she and Martha lived through? Or something else about politics that gets put on the back of the local section without a byline? It might still have been improbably, but it would have been more believable.

    I agree.

    Sadly, I definitely think it's another precursor to Lois becoming Lana 2.0. At this rate, it's probably only a matter of time before men start fawning over her more, with Clark suddenly becoming inexplicably interested in her romantically and casting longing gazes at her from the sidelines.

    Maybe. I'm guessing the season and series will end on that.

    Sorry for the rant, but as someone who used to like this show, it gets frustrating to watch the wreck that it's become.

    Likewise.

    Bruce Kanin wrote:
    Re: SNEEZE

    LOL!

    ZOMG! ;)

    We are so funny, Neal. I hated the ZOD episode - you liked it. I liked SNEEZE - you hated it! The silliness and inconsistencies in ZOD bothered me to no end - whereas they didn't in SNEEZE because, to me, SNEEZE was so much fun.

    I think this is the first time we've double disagreed. Am I wrong? Bruce is a fellow reviewer, folks, and a great one. I openly admit to getting ideas from him when he summarizes right after the show. Genius.

    Let me just pick on one thing, though, as time doesn't permit much more. I can easily explain why Clark caught a cold, and he pretty much hinted at the explanation. If the SMALLVILLE writers intended this, then give them a gold star.

    Clark said he worked to repair Metropolis at night when people wouldn't see him (sort of a Dark Knight, eh wot?). He wore himself out - remember, he's not a man yet - close, but no cigar - so his powers aren't that of a Superman. But even better, he was exerting himself at night, when the sun isn't out.

    By morning, he had weakened due to the lack of yellow solar rays. Heck, we saw Brandon Routh's Superman needing to revive himself by basking in the sun after being stuck with green K by Kevin Spacey's Lex.

    THAT I would accept.

    Anyway, the lack of sunlight weakened Clark, and he was able to catch a cold.

    Simple as that, and let's not try to think any harder, lest we find some holes in that idea !!!!

    If only they'd SAID that! :)

    Take care,

    Bruce

    Likewise.

    Jeremy wrote:
    Dear Neal,
    You said "He starts to get the sniffles, which is strange, because I don't know about you, but I've NEVER had to sneeze because I got sick. It's like the movie convention of instant thunder and lightning at the same time." You've never sneezed when uve had a cold?! U'VE NEVER SNEEZED WHEN U'VE HAD A COLD?!!!

    Nope. I got flak for this in the comments, too. I've never, nor have I ever known anyone in person who has sneezed with a cold. Honestly.

    I know myself and every person i have ever known in my life and a few i havent and have only observed in public had sneezed while they had a cold. Where you got that logic I have no idea.

    The same place we all get our logic. From experience.

    Anyway regarding Clrk getting a cold while in the Phantom Zone, it is plauisble that he could have gotten some germs off of something or someone while he had no powers (since the zone is an artifical place it can play by whatever rules it wants meaning Clark is instantly powerless with no left over invunerability)and he would still retain said germs after leaving the zone. Now the syptoms of a cold r actaully the body expelling germs from itself. Sneezing removes them from the lungs, a fever causes u to sweat taking them out thru the sweat glands and so on and since this exact situation has never been touched upon by other Superman media (or maybe it has but nothing ive seen) we can safely assume that Clark's immune system would act as any immune system would with germs present (under the assumption that germs r usually instantly killed when entering his bloodstream therfore not needing explosion) I know of no evidence to contridict it but also none to support it so judgment call i guess.

    Sounds rational to me. I just believe that the return of his invulnerability would kill any germ, even a Kryptonian one.

    Now concerning Lois's sudden desicion to be a jouralist, I'd consider this Lois to be a quiet rash and impulsive person and rash and impulsive people make sudden life altering changes on the fly all the time (i know a few) does that make it smart? No, but it happens and they have shown this Lois as nosey and persistant in the past. She tried as hard as she could to find out about Chloe's "death" i remember her being very persisent during the Krypto episode in finding the dog's real owner. With these circumstances one could conclude Lois would wake up one day and say "Hey i wanna be a reporter" but simply handing Chloe a virgin article and expecting to get published was lame but I think that was the point, Lois didnt know what the hell she was doing. Just thought I'd bring those points since they were the only real flaws i saw in the review.

    Jeremy

    I agree Lois has a penchant in that direction. Problem is, people with a penchant in that direction who become journalists tend to write more than two articles before deciding to make it a life's work...unless you're Nancy Grace or Bill O'Reilly. Or that new d$#% on MSN.

    Zel wrote:
    Short review, eh?!!!!

    Always, in terms of what I COULD have said.

    Well, I must say I agreed with you on the moving too fast for Lois and journalism, but I think they figured what the heck, let's give it to her. But as far as characters go, SV ruined them for me...no offense to the show coz I love it...but I normally go and rewatch the Superman movies, especially 1 and 2. What they did to Jor-el's character in Relic caused me pain!!!!

    Me too.

    Hope you had a worthwhile trip...knowing you, you made the most of it. So thanks for another review but I hope you were not too harsh on this episode. Have to go and rewatch to see it through your eyes and review!

    Hah! Too harsh in terms of how harsh I COULD have been? ;) Alas, I didn't get too debauched. I just play it up. Most writers who play at roguishness are really patsies.

    SCOTTY V wrote:
    Hey there Neal,

    So how do I get in on some of this Superman Homepage swellness and trips to FA for reviewing awesome games and premieres to awesome movies and interviews with cool peeps?

    I don't even know how I did it.

    I bet it was fun. Sounds like you enjoyed the game as well.

    Yes, and yes.

    That's great, I'm really looking forward to it. Any info on whether it will be available for the PS3 because I've been checking and so far it's not listed for it. It'd be a shame if they weren't making an upgraded version taking in the superioror graphic and sound power of the PS3 but oh well.

    No info, alas.

    So "Sneeze" wasn't up to par for you, eh? Well, I personally enjoyed it, I think mostly for the idea that they gave us superbreath, and I thought it was well done too. But I'm reading your review as I respond to your thoughts so let me read a bit more. I must say though, that you've made a point already in terms of the whole good character writing/bad character writing in making Clark guilty for what Jor-El did but the having him also guilty that he didn't MURDER someone. I didn't think of it exactly that way, more of Clark still trying to figure out how he should go about things like this in the future and what the move SHOULD have been. He doesn't want to kill and he chose not to when he took what he thought of as another possible road to stab Brainiac. (Not to nitpick but uhhh, I see NO REASON WHATSOEVER why stabbing Brainiac would have anything to do with releasing Zod's essence into Lex but, whatever I guess.) After all, you've said yourself in another thread somewhere that Superman DOES kill.

    Yes, true. But in my stories, and with my take on the character, I would never write him into that position. At least not without a way out of it.

    I would submit that rather than DOES, it's more along the lines of HAS.

    YES. Bingo.

    Once that I can remember, he did it as a last resort and without much suffering to himself but it then drove him insane for a while and he vowed never to do it again. The second time was Doomsday but I don't think that can really be counted as he was trying to save the world and himself at the same time simply by putting the monster down. I don't know that death was Clark's intention and heck, even if it were, he didn't succeed in the end as we all know. Though he did stop the beast and save the world. So really, I don't know Superman has ever killed outside the three criminals and he's decided that was a big mistake.

    There are some, I just don't want to dredge it up. Not too many.

    What I'm getting at here is, that if Clark were forced to kill Lex so that Zod couldn't destroy the world and there was no other way, it might be very much the same as the killing of the three supercriminals in the comics. Clark wouldn't like it and would never get over it, we probably wouldn't like it either but like in the comics, it would be what he thought HAD to be done. In this case though, since in the end everything kindof worked out and things are getting back to normal, there's no reason for him to say "if only I would have..." because if he had he'd be a murderer and the world will still be in about the same stage of rebuilding.

    Yes.

    I have had the sneezes when I was sick and I find it odd that you've never heard of that. In fact, I'm still in the final stages of a cold I had and all I've got left is stuffiness and sneezing.

    I still have yet to see it in real life. I sneeze all the time, but never when sick. My nasal passages are usually too stuffed.

    In so far as Clark retaining a cold from when he was in the Phantom Zone, I could certainly see that happening if he picked up a bug that effected his physiology and it stuck with him even after his physical wounds had healed. Although, we have no particular reason to assume it HAD to have been a cold anyway. The characters all say it but heck, Lana has said "I love him" when referring to Clark too and we all can see that's obviously never been true, at least by my definition of love. It's very possible that nose-cold like "symptoms" may simply be the way this new power manifested itself. If I remember correctly Clark's head was hurting when he got X-ray vision, which again makes some sense since it's a power developed rather suddenly and that it's a biological effect within himself and not an outside influence causing him pain. Furthermore, it could keep him sneezing after the first time until he got the power under control, much like the heat vision that kept lighting things on fire.

    Yeah. Heat vision they spent a bit more effort on making rock, though.

    In my memory, I don't think Lana and Lex slept together and in this case, she's moving in to stay in a room at the mansion, they're not really "moving in" together. Moving in together, which was indicated in all the descriptions and such, implies two people who will live together as a couple and sleep together and such. Here we have Lana and Lex, who "kindof" are a couple and are trying to make things work, but at this point the femal of said couple is simply moving into her own room at the giant complex where the male of the couple lives. More like a distant roommates type of thing than a moving in "together" kind of thing. Lana even describes in during their time in the car together in the SUV following them scene. Something akin to: "Thanks so much for letting me take a room at the mansion." So, even though I see where they're eventually trying to take us, right yet it's still Lex doing a favor for a now roommate.

    That was resolved this ep, thankfully, kinda.

    In terms of Lex being a womanizer, we've seen that only when Smallville wants to have Clark make an issue of it. However, when Smallville doesn't want to have Clark make an issue out of something like that, we've seen Lex try to marry at least two women, because he felt he was in love and that he found the right "one." Now, even though it doesn't make much sense with this Lana, Lex has been written pretty clearly as a guy who's in love with Lana. So far, Lex hasn't become the guy yet who's decided that he will never really love and he's trying to follow what he believes is the right direction his heart is pointing him in. Up to this point, we know that at this time in Lex's life, he's still searching for love and acceptance. I'm not saying that I really buy anyone in this show, especially Lex, thinking that he'd really get that from Lana, or that she's worth his very expensive time, but as far as the cad thing, I'd say not yet.not completely, and it doesn't apply if said cad really believes he's in love. In addition I'd say almost ANY man wants to bed as many women as he can, and yet, men DO get married. What happens often is that men eventually meet the one that makes them decide, based on love that cad-time is over and love prevails. Obviously Lex is not the same as other men, which he'll eventually realize, and therefore won't want to settle down with one woman because he doesn't believe in real love, but I submit that he hasn't reached that point yet. Even if there was no Lana/Lex relationship storyline, which (sigh) there is, Lex is still trying to make something work.

    Yeah. I'll give it that.

    The school might be so damaged that they can't cram everyone into the dorms, or maybe the dorms don't exist anymore after the earthquakes. Of course we know that the writers are trying to jam the Lex/Lana affair down our throats and Lex's infatuation with Lana may not make a lot of sense and we don't have to like it, but I think based on his written actions, is does fit at this point. I could put another theory forward if you don't mind. Perhaps Lex has decided, maybe even subconsciously, that he'd rather be with a simple girl who isn't yet completely mature and who doesn't do anything purposefully evil (like try to kill him) and who doesn't have nearly the calculating brain capacity of himself. In this way, Lex could be attempting to protect himself from any future "accidental" plane crashes or women that are trying to simply steal his money. Perhaps, with a theory like this, we could believe that Lex may be trying his one last-ditch effort at something resembling a true love-life and normalcy with a girl who is pretty and who might, I reiterate MIGHT, be able to give him the things a person with a normal view of life would want. (i.e. kids and Christmas, via his dream.)

    Agreed.

    I think a city could have plates - they wouldn't be the regular Government Issue standard ones - but they could be referring to specialty plates that have the city and state on them. DC comics are notorious for not really telling us what state any of these cities are in. With the exception of Smallville, I don't know that any of the DC cities are ever described as being in any state in particular. We know that Metropolis is generally depicted as being near NYC, which I guess would make it a NY state city. Anyway, the goon might have been referring to plates that said whatever state Edge city is in but that the plates read: Edge City, Nevada or Edge City, Adisababa for all we know. (Are we going to Edge City, Mr. Luthor? - at least Otis pronounced his name right.)

    Yeah, but it's uncommon and odd, at least to me.

    The camera inside Lana's room producing video showing her undressing might be disturbing upon first glance but I'm thinking there's probably a camera like that in every room in the mansion. It's a security camera. For what we know Lex is to become, it COULD be possible that he purposely put it there just to check her nekkid body but I would argue Lex hasn't been portrayed as a peeping tom or pervert. I would even submit that it's likely he has cameras in HIS room that, just by their natural operation, if they run 24/7, would show HIM getting naked too. Cameras don't know when to deactivate for a few moments. If they run constantly for the protection of those in the mansion, Lex hasn't really done anything wrong. Now if we were to later see that he sits up late at night watching those feeds and peediddling the peedizzle or something.that would be different. For now though, simple security cameras doing their simple job isn't a crime. In a toilet or shower? That WOULD definitely be suspect.

    That's my take.

    Hmmm, I had totally forgotten that storyline where Lex owns the company and can get rid of Lionel by threatening him. Is he really supposed to be THAT out? Or was it just something specific Lex didn't want him to do. I guess that's what the writers and producers are hoping will happen. "Gee, it's been so long since we did THAT episode, no one will remember it so we can do whatever we want." God, I hope it's not that bad because I did forget about it. Probably because it HAS been so long and because Lionel and the relationships between all people on this show is so inconsistent and changes so much that I probably couldn't remember which inconsistency we were in the midst of at any current point in time anyway.

    I think Lionel's just been so malused they don't even know any more.

    Yes, I too was struck by the way Clark says he doesn't know why he should save Lex since they're not close anymore. I actually said out loud: "Doesn't matter. Why? Because it's what YOU do." Although, and I'm sure others will say this to you so it will be clich by the time I say it, Clark is still deciding where he's gonna go and who he's gonna be. I believe that, being over 18, he should know what HIS right from wrong are by now but I guess they could figure he'd have no where else to go if he wasn't still learning. Also, Clark DOES still go after Lex and while we could stand by what they actually SAY in the show and assume that that's the ONLY reason Clark would ever save Lex. Of course, we could also presume that, out of disappointment in his failed relationship with Lex, Clark says something very human while still knowing in his heart what he has to do. I agree it's written in such a way that it seems Lionel's threat that Lex could reveal his secret is the ONLY reason but I think we can possibly know in our hearts that it's what Clark would do anyway. He always has. Sometimes hesitantly, just as Superman does sometimes with villains in the comics, but Clark always comes through. Also, it's been made pretty clear that the producers and writers on this show were out, in the beginning, to make it slightly blurred as to who was the villain on this show. I don't like it but they want it to seem like many factors are to blame or to be applauded for who a person becomes. And now, for no particular reason that I can see, Lionel is in on the applauded for Clark becoming Superman part.

    Crazy, huh?

    Speaking of Lionel, maybe I don't remember exactly what happened in last years finale, but had it really become common knowledge to Lionel that Clark was.well.everything Clark was. I realize Lionel had the tape of Clark apparently running through the fire, but does that mean he's from another planet and can stop this Zod character? Like I said, maybe I forgot something. But even if I did, we just see further horrible use of the Lionel/everyone else relationship when Clark and Martha and everyone just accepts and aren't even worried about the fact that Lionel is wandering around talking about Clark and Jor-El and Krypton and all the connections. It's just okay that Lionel's in on everything. Huh.

    Yeah, it sucks.

    Yep, my wife looked at me and said: "That's like the 100th time Lex has been shot." And we laughed and laughed.

    I cried. And cried.

    Yep, I couldn't believe Chloe said that line about looking ugly compared to Lois. I disagree by the way and I said it at the time. They play it off like Chloe is teen wolf or something.oh wait, I'm sorry I meant adult wolf, cause they're all adults now. You'd think that I'd remember that, seeing as how they always at like it and all. And we laughed and laughed.

    Honestly, I'd take a woman like Allison over a woman like Erica. Erica's type is high-maintenance, self-concerned, self-esteem issues, money over substance. Allison is not UBER-hot in that sense, but she's still incredibly hot, and it's that cusp, super-hot but not uber-hot, where the gals can be civil and normal. It's usually where I try and aim my girlfriends, though any fun will do. And fun is the goal, not games, which is the rule for uber-hot chicks.

    You said: In other words, Clark asked if Lex is in danger that she knows of, and she replies, "What's it to you?"

    I totally agree. I rolled my eyes AGAIN at Lana in this exchange. If I were Clark, about now, if not a million times before, I'd say something like: "You know what Lana, I'm getting tired of your crap. Every time I come to you, offering generosity and support, you spurn me with sanctimonious platitudes about secrets, lies and more secrets and lies and then you try to guilt me into what? Helping you further? I already do everything I could possibly do for.everyone! So if you'd like, go jump off the Loeb Bridge or into Crater Lake or wherever you'd like but first, answer my damned question and stop being so full of yourself!" That sanctimonious plats thing was said by Lex to good ol' boy Pa a few seasons ago and I loved it so much that I had to put it here. The sad thing about that is that it reminds me of the days when a lot of the dialogue, especially that from the Luthor's, was really good.

    Just to reiterate, since I'm at the point where you say Lex would try and snoop to see her naked when he already has, I don't think they've slept together. I could be wrong, considering I don't remember all the plot details that they change up from week to week, but I think you're mistaken on this one.

    You're right.

    Again: "which isn't really sensible given that he's putting it to her" I really don't think he is, and if I'm right, it makes his altruistic "good" intentions even more well meant.

    True.

    I'm seriously hoping that the order from Queen, who must have thought he could trust these guys, was something to the akin of: "Luthor may still have the power and he's very dangerous if he does. {Since I'm a hero,} grab him up and make sure he's cured of whatever delusions and powers he may have had. After all, it could be some kind of hoax. And don't hurt him, or anyone else. Green Arr.uhhh, I mean the Great OzzzuhhOliver Queen has spoken!" I mean, he could be thinking that, as a mere mortal with no actual superpowers, he needs to be super careful in handling this type of situation in case Lex really does still have the power. He wouldn't want him going all Greyskull on HIS @ss. You know what the weird thing is though, and I kept saying this as my Wonder Woman and I were watching that night, if Lex has all this great power, what did the goons think they were going to do? Torture it out of him? He swats bullets, remember? And hey, if the guy who can fly and walk through a hailstorm of bullets falls unconscious from some gas and bleeds when you shoot him, HE AIN'T invulnerable anymore!

    Of course, if he were, I'm not sure how anyone expected to capture him anywho.

    With a plot net.

    You: "What he DOESN'T do is wonder if maybe he should move his operations after he hears Lana talking about the people who are coming to help her save Lex."

    I think that maybe, just like in all TV shows where someone in the same room as other characters where there is no other noise can't hear those characters simply because they're speaking in somewhat low tones, we're supposed to figure the guy didn't hear the specifics of Lana's call. I can't really remember the exact setup of the scene; I just figure he surprised her from the shadows, cause that's so often a real surprise to the TV viewers as it's so unexpected, and just grabbed her; not paying attention to the fact that she was on a phone. Of course, if he makes mention of the call or takes the phone, which I can't remember, then he obviously knew she was on it, but perhaps figured he got to her before she gave out any vital info. Besides, since Chloe and the police never arrive and since it is Clark who finds them, I'm thinking that maybe she didn't give any vital info because didn't Clark find them through another source?

    Yes.

    I think the other above crap that you mention several times really hurt the super-breath for you as you say, cause I really thought it worked, although I must say, I thought the blow the storm away thing might have been a little much. But we'll get to that.

    You ask whatever happened to the "Forgotten Powers" they talked about. I assume that they are the writers and creators, but I'm not sure about these Forgotten Powers of which you speak. Enough of your riddles white man, tell me what I want to know! If they, meaning the writers, mentioned something like: "Don't worry, the forgotten powers are coming," the only thing I can assume is that they meant powers like superbreath, since it's been over two seasons since we've seen one of his powers manifest and that, along with a possible furthering of his many various types of sight, is the only thing left. But do fill me in if you're referring to something that might have been cooler.

    Loeb said they were going to explore powers Clark had and lost before he became Supes, as I recall, at one point.

    You: "That's something Clark would do, not Lex. Bad character."

    I already gave my theory on this period in Lex's life above. Like Clark, even though it's not always done very well (in fact, it very seldom is) I think we know by the way both these guys act that neither has reached their full potential yet. Clark is obviously not yet the full on total Boy Scout who saves everyone regardless and follows every rule in the book and Lex is not yet the ruthless super-business man mogul who would kill anyone who annoyed him or anyone else in the slightest. Good thing is: that WAS the point of this show. To show us how these two men became what they would become. Bad news is: consistency is always way off. Although I don't think we've ever yet seen a Lex on this show that has directly and with no remorse turned against people he has a relationship with. Even Clark has been allowed to punch him and chastise him over and over even though they're no longer friends. Lex hasn't decided which way to go, and neither has Clark completely.

    My point is that they should have, more.

    It's funny; I had a similar conversation with my brother the other day. Only it was about Superman Returns and not Smallville because he's only on the fourth (joy) season. He was talking about how all the other heroes are better because they have flaws and because they stop the bad guys for good by killing them or crippling them and making sure they can never do these things again. That Superman only makes things worse because yes, he stops the villains, but then they get out of jail and another person dies because Superman didn't do what needed to be done. He was giving the old tired argument, (the same one that Singer and company and Gough and Millar have used as well) that it's so difficult to write Superman and that it's so silly because he has no problems and nothing hurts him and that there's no where to go so isn't it interesting to come up with your own spin because you have to? Even though my brother really hated the way the went with the major plot of SR. He liked the movie, like I did, but didn't think they should have done a great number of things, most of which we've already mentioned and discussed here, so we're in agreement on that.

    Very much so.

    So I was trying to explain to him that the biggest flaw with SR isn't that he might have had a child, even though that's rough to swallow given all the things we've mentioned. But that Supes would have left the Earth in the first place. Matt, my brother, didn't like that either, but since he's always trying to get under my skin he says: "But that's another problem with Superman, isn't it more realistic that he does the wrong thing sometimes." And that's my problem with takes on Superman that believe that approach. "Superman is too boring and by the book to even have a story.we HAVE to make him flawed. WROOOOOONG!!! (I love stealing lines from basically any incarnation of Lex) Give the project to any number of good writers. Give the project to Neal, or heck, give it to me! I have enough passion for the character that, even if my use of commas and grammar isn't always perfect, I could come up with a great storyline. One that might even have a basis in the comic legend that the movie is supposed to be about!

    Or give it to a writer who gets it. That'd please me. I don't need glory, I just want what I love done right. I'll take glory if they want to give it, but it's not about that.

    Anyway, in Smallville I can see Clark making mistakes. Even as Superman we know he's made the wrong choice sometimes. But it's never because he has impure thoughts or plans to do something wrong or is mad at someone and that's the problem with some of the choices these writers make. I think Clark in Smallville is "basically good" and trying to learn what fully good and right needs to mean for him to be a Superman. I'm just not sure Clark would not know. As a child I'm sure he would do some wrong things. As an adult, he should know where his morals and ethics are by now. "But see, the conflict and desire to seek revenge or wrong someone makes him more interesting and more human and realistic," say the naysayers. If it were Batman.or the Punisher.or Wolverine.or any number of lesser heroes, those naysayers would be right - but not Superman.

    YES.

    I'm not overly familiar with bows and arrows, but I was thinking everything Queen was using was of a "special," manufactured quality, arrows that wouldn't break, for instance. However, if you could tell that there was nothing special about them or the bow just by looking and that we're sure they weren't made of some highly unbreakable substance, something like maybe Bruce Wayne would use in his tech, then I guess I'll take your word for it.

    The best arrows on planet Earth would shatter if shot even with a recurve into concrete. They certainly wouldn't stick. And there are forty dollar arrows like that...

    Whereas it seems I agree with many of your criticisms, although I didn't notice while I was watching, I do think you get on a roll sometimes about problems that don't let you enjoy other things that might not have bothered you so much if said first problems weren't there. I know you've said before, that's what critics do and I understand your job as a critic and I love your scathing, hilarious reviews of the show. However, for you if no one else, I wonder if some of these things might not be so bad if you thought of the "comic book" possibilities. GA for instance, having Wayne-tech type equipment. Something simple that didn't really occur to me was an issue for you.

    Problems build on problems. I look beyond stuff in an episode that's otherwise good. When an episode is bad, the bad things continue leaping out. Which, I like to think, is akin to experience for most people.

    Oh well, there's definitely a lot to be desired from Smallville and luckily we do get some of it on a semi-regular basis. Unfortunately, even SR wasn't what it should have been. I was a fan of the Donner films as a child and I even watched STM and SII before seeing SR. But now, as an adult, I had hoped that someone like Singer would have finally given us the Superman, the Lex Luthor, the Lois we all wanted, and needed to see. Smallville really never has the chance to do it now. With things set up the way the are for the sequel to SR, it doesn't really seem that we'll get it even there. But I guess, as Superman fans, with no Raimi or someone who really cares and has a reverence for the character. Not a reverence for some old directors films about said character that aren't even very good, but a true desire to do right by the fans and by the legend his story is about; I guess we Superman fans just have to accept what we can get.

    That being said, I enjoyed this episode. Thought it was a nice introduction to super-breath and I think GA could turn out to be pretty neat. In the style of Douglas Trumble, I give this ep 3.5 out of 5 gusts of cloud moving, fire quenching, steel busting lung blasts.

    Thems my thoughts and I'm stickin to em.

    Scotty V

    Thanks, man!

    Kevin wrote:
    Hey neil how's it going?

    Hectic, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel. In my house, not Smallville. Don't want to get misquoted, heh.

    I read your review and I pretty much agree with everything you said. I do feel though that you forgot to mention a line between Oliver QUeen and Lionel Luthor. Didn't Oliver say something about the nice Midwestern air? I mean if they were in Metropolis shouldn't that Put them on the East Coast somewhere around New York?

    Awesome catch! But Metropolis is in Kansas in this continuity. Sadly.

    I mean everything I've seen in the Comics, on Lois & Clark seem to point to this. Especially on Lois and Clark; during the very first episode there is a scene where Clark went for Chinese food they did a whole Indiana Jones map thing and showed him flying from Metropolis to China. I'm pretty sure that they showed him flying from the East coast. I'll admit if I'm wrong on this but I don't think I am. Also you mentioned the Edge City plates, well I don't know if you noticed but in both the comics and on Lois and Clark the show metropolis plates on the cars.

    Yeah. That's weird too. But it could be Metropolis, Metropolis, like NY, NY. If only Metropolis wasn't in NY in the movie...

    I also think that the've done it with cars in Gotham on Batman related stuff. I think the DCU always has plates for the fictional cities unless the specify exactly what state it's in. So chances are in the DCU Metrpolis, Gotham, Edge City, Star City, Keystone City, and any other fictional cities have license plates for the City as instead of the State. Before I go I was wondering, this is probably a stupid question but are you and Michael Bailey related? I mean the chances of two guys with the same last name on the same site is too big of a coincidence.

    Yar.

    Mike D wrote:

    WHAT THE $^%& WAS THAT! I cannot see you giving this anything but a 1 (or lower)!

    PROGNOSTICATOR! Word.

    Clark killed, Lexana (shudder), poor man's poison ivy, arbitrary drama! Aren't Lex and Clark supposed to be enemies because of Truth, Justice, and the American Way? Not LANA (WITCH, VAMPIRE, BICH) LANG!!!! You know, I figured it out! That's not Lex Luthor! It's Alexander Luthor of Earth 3, being a p*$$^ and the real Lex Luthor is on Apokolips with Darkseid getting his armor to come f&$^ this imposter up!!!

    Now THAT is a good way to fix this. Get GEOFF!

    Then he'll come back, let the Joker play, and liquidate Lana and give C.K. a reason to be the greatest superhero any world has ever seen. Then Green Arrow will stop being superficial over Lois, grab Black Canary, Cyborg, Flash, and Aquaman and decimate Lex and his 33.1 troops (including the rip off Mxy) in time for the finale, where Clark puts on the suit and bullets the blue sky!

    Put this in the Review if you want! I look forward to this review for sure!

    I did, and I will. Awesome ideas.

    Next week should be better: Green Arrow (he's the only thing this episode did rightish) Mike D.

    I hope!

    Will Courtney wrote:

    Yo, Neal! Here's my scientific refute of the whole "electricity" thing. Electricty denatures enzymes, yes, but not because of some special property of electricity. It does it simply because it heats them up too much, and they fall apart. Heat vision, being concentrated infrared energy (and other, higher-energy spectra of light as well) would probably tear through the evil witch-woman far better than electricty. The amount of electrical power in a greenhouse would probably not be enough to vaporize a human-sized form, no matter what weakness it might be.

    This is why I like you, Will. You make my paltry, horrible physics and chem look better. Respectable!

    Also, just in continuity's sake, Clark should have had to recover far longer after being stabbed by that vine through the heart. His kryptonite bullet wound and co-stabbing in Season 3 both were less severe injuries, and yet both rendered him unconscious for hours afterwards.

    Will

    Boooyakasha, Gough!

    Thanks, all! Until next week! And don't forget to check out the updated KO Count.

    Neal



    Wither

    Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

    I could do this review in four words if I really want to. My opinion can be based on one split second of screen time near the end when an entertaining episode came crashing down into ruin. Those four words? If anyone from WB or CW is reading this please pay very very close attention to what I am about to say....

    SUPERMAN DOES NOT KILL!

    Get it? Understand? He does not. He finds other ways to stop bad guys.

    I do not know what vaporizing a sentient plant lady is labeled in the law books in Kansas but I do know that at one minute we had a fully aware alien life form and the next minute we had a pile of de-molecularized enzymes on the floor. To quote the great Doctor McCoy, "It's dead Jim". She belonged back in the Phantom Zone, not vaporized. Since when did Clark dish out capital punishment?

    I was very angry about this turn of events. Yes I know they have tip toed the line before but usually bad guys die on the show due to their own actions (mainly via impaling), or in the case of the T-1000 wannabe, because Lois just happened to shoot the guy with a military grade proton accelerator at the same time Clark used his heat vision. This time was clearly actions Clark took alone that lead to the end of the life form. Yes I know she was basically just a living plant, and yes she did have it coming to her but the fact is they could have easily used the new fangled super breath power from last week to freeze her and Clark could have put her back into the Phantom Zone instead of killing her.

    Arrrrg. Just aggravating.

    That's not to say the episode was a complete failure. There was some good stuff here and there. Jimmy and Chloe's relationship is amusing and I like what they are doing with Lana and Lex's relationship. Lois and Green Arrow is something I do not like but I will wait and see how it plays out before judging too much. I was greatly amused by the shooting the eye out of the pop can scene and Oliver's costume choice was absolutely hilarious.

    I also really liked how Clark took initiative to be a proactive hero again. Here he was made aware of a situation that was beyond the means of the regular authorities to handle and he took it upon himself to investigate and see what he could do to stop it. He did this without any angst or questions on if he was doing the right thing. I like this change in Clark. He is comfortable with his destiny now.

    So had they not resorted to a quick "kill" of the bad guy I think this episode would have fell into an average fun little adventure but because of the major snafu on who and what Superman is I have to drop my grade drastically.

    I give it 2 out of 5 Pea pods. Or a Solid D. Maybe a D+. (Without the killing I would have gone with a C or C+. Next time Clark kills, I might have to go with an F unless there is something really cool in that episode.)

    Now I am going to go have a salad.

    Next week looks like a lot of Green Arrow action. See you all then.

    Doug



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