Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 6 - Episode 4: "Arrow"

Reviews:

Arrow

Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

Oh wow.. Wow wow wow.

I do not know if my Smallville loving brain is trying to make up for my great disappointment last week or if I really honestly just saw a flawless and perfect episode of Smallville.

Let me just get something out there. I love Superheroes. Other than Star Wars I am a complete and total superhero geek. I do not care if they shoot webs, arrows, ice, fire, or have pointed ears, turn green, slash with claws, or even slash up vampires with a silver sword. I like them all. Superman is by far my favorite since he is the first, best, and greatest but I like them all.

This episode was nothing short of a total and complete live action Superhero geek fest. Green Arrow was just plain awesome. The costume? Loved it. The attitude? Loved it. His interactions with Clark? Loved it. Clark's choice on how to "deal" with G.A.? Loved it. Lois's interactions with him? Loved it. Lana finally going evil? Loved it. Lex and Lionel verbal sparring? Loved it.

Sensing a pattern here? I think I loved it.

I really liked the whole Robin Hood angle on the character and I think they did a really good job in showing how a modern day Robin Hood could work. Stealing illegitimately gained items from the rich and not so nice and using it to fund charities was a great way to approach the whole vigilante thing without going back to the same old general 'fight crime' idea. This is something that separates the character and his motivations from Batman. I think that is very important because Green Arrow has many other similarities with the Dark Knight and it is important for the show to have a clear cut difference. Other than the costume that is. It is not all about vengeance with this character.

I have to admit that Clark was almost a secondary character this week but I think it worked well for the story they were trying to tell. Lois has more screen time than Clark and they go a long way to pushing this Lois towards the tenacious go-getter that Superman fans know and love. I have a feeling that Chloe is going to be in for a big surprise some day. I know I was greatly amused by her being the one to name the Green Arrow but yet the world not quite getting it right when the "bandit" part of the name kept being left off.

Lana this week was great. Really. I mean it. I actually like the direction they are taking with the character. When I look back on who and what she is and everything that has happened in her life I really do think she has been on the dark path for some time. Can Clark save her from that path some day? Maybe, even hopefully, but it still works for the character at this point in her life.

Clark and Ollie's interactions where fantastic. Clark realizing that Green Arrow was not exactly a bad guy and actually helping him retain his secret identity was the highlight of the episode. I cheered out loud when Clark heat visioned the lights so Lois could not unmask the Arrow.

The special effects were fantastic this week. The Green Arrow in action was some of the best Superhero action we have seen on the show. I think even Clark's heat vision blasts looked better than they normally do. The arrow hitting the bullet? Wow. That was simply amazing. A total geek-out moment. Yeah, I know it was not realistic for him to be able to do that but this is comic book world and the "not realistic" is what it is all about. If I want real I will watch the news.

The only knock I can say on the effects was that they skipped Clark's X-ray vision effect when he was searching Ollie's office. You could see Tom Welling doing his X-ray squint but they did not show what he was seeing. It did not affect the story at all but maybe it is something worth mentioning when discussing all the other fantastic superhero effects. My final grade will not be affected by that slight omission.

I could go on and on but this story is just starting. For once we have another hero that will be sticking around a bit so I hope to see more of Green Arrow in action and I hope to have more great things to say.

Grade? Well this one hit the bullseye (pun intended). 5 out of 5 quivers. Or a solid A+ for the fans keeping score!

Next week looks like we will get some history on Lex and Ollie's past. Could be interesting. I will see you all then.

Doug



Arrow

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

MAIN POINTS:

  • Green Arrow hijacks goods from Lionel Luthor.
  • Lois Lane investigates him, and does an expose for the Inquisitor.
  • Lana is tested by Lex through Lionel and proves herself loyal.
  • Clark and Green Arrow end on a tenuous note of collusion.

    REVIEW:

    How can a show that starts on a shot of the ever-hot Annette fail?

    And thusly, yea, it did not. Arrow was not a failure, nor was it a success. There were moments of greatness, and moments of eye-rolling badness, par for the course in Smallville. Only usually and of late, there hasn't been the greatness, so what we have here is an overall average affair that was great when it was great and awful when it was incoherent. It feels like it was written by a few people with opposing viewpoints.

    Aaaaand whaddaya know? It was. Two people. A gal and a dude.

    Being such a fan of comics, you'd think I'd be a fan of collaborative art. And I am, when it's done right. Heck, movies are my favorite form of media. But with writing, I firmly believe (with rare exception, like 52) that THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!

    The hot shot of Annette fades back into the actual story, alas, in which we see that Lionel Luthor, convicted murderer, is still wooing the wife of the man that he helped to kill, and she's lapping it up. Clark's doing nothing about it. They keep accepting help and solace from Lionel without any real motivation.

    Martha takes jewelry, even.

    Lionel explains that he's giving her connections to go from a state senator to a US senator, which finally puts the dilemma to rest, as if it wasn't already, but then adds a new dilemma. Since she was put into the seat and not voted into the seat, shouldn't there be a runoff/new election? And hey, if she's going to run for the US Senate, she'd better start her stinking campaign pretty quick here.

    Just an odd mention, that's all, and given that she's just a lowly state senator, I don't see how the leap to US senator is that plausible after what, half a year in office?

    Lois and Ollie are still macking. He brings her around, the ever-present and oft repeated stereotypical inexperienced gal trying to become sophisticated that's some kind of voyeuristic repetitive theme in TV that I don't get. Yeah, I identify with watching awkward people as all of us are, but I don't like watching people who don't look awkward in the slightest (like Lois, or Erica more specifically) attempt to feign awkwardness. It doesn't play with me.

    Nonetheless, she embarrasses the senator rather beautifully, and at a time when senators are failing us and have an incredibly low approval rating (something near 16% approval right now), it's fun to take potshots at the @#%$%#@$.

    It's also more in character. She's a bich to people who deserve it, that's Lois. I actually really dug her this episode, for the most part, and she had a reason to be there, a centralized motivating factor. Her story. Now, is there any reason for her to live with the Kents, or to be Martha's campaign manager? Negatory. But now she has a focus, a motivation, and a reason. I DO NOT, repeat, DO NOT like that fact that she's an insta-journalist, but if it continues to give her this kind of feel and play on the show, I'll accept it. Which is odd, because usually I don't want to take incoherent story leaps. But this isn't like Lionel trying to become a good guy (BS), this is the show taking actual, if long steps to rectify their character failures. I'll take it. Just as Clark is going from not realizing his destiny to considering Metropolis. I'll almost take it just to say "FINALLY." Because really, after six years, it's time. It's past time, so they almost have to be hasty now.

    Ollie somehow slips from Lois without her noticing, changes into his outfit, and starts hurling arrows like Zeus and thunderbolts.

    He steals a bunch of stuff, but Lois manages to chase him into the hallway, where somehow this highly trained, honed body of his doesn't tip her off to the fact that it's the same guy. And apparently, sunglasses disguise him totally.

    This must be Lois Lane. But that aside, seriously, it's hard to sell that if you honestly can't believe it's not the same. They look the same, they act the same, and just last week, Lois was standing next to Queen as he shot arrows.

    Yeah, she wins the dumb-as-Clark award this week.

    He bursts up the elevator shaft, and she's left behind. Her date has disappeared, no questions? It's a bit hard to buy.

    So there's the first good/bad tradeoff. Lois is dumb as a post, but she's in character beforehand. Oooooh! Awwwwww. It's been a while since I used that one.

    Clark and Ollie's dialogue exchange worked really well for me. Strong banter, and reassuring. I saw Oliver and Lois together, and saw that the episode was focusing largely on the pair, and started getting that itch to complain, given that one of my main gripes right now is that they need to nail Clark down, not deviate into the spinoff that never panned out. Thankfully, Clark appears, reassuring me, and the dialogue is awesome, tight, strong, and very Justice League. Two different, competing, strong philosophies, and a groupie.

    Well, not to put it that harshly, but that's the dynamic that made it entertaining. And the great thing about it is that just as you're saying and thinking that, Lois actually steps up, in character, stops being the doormat for heroes or baddies, and says that she's not the territory and the prize. That's bloody GREAT. Of course, it makes me wonder why she's accepting Oliver's gifts and nights out if she's not trying to be the prize, but the point is, she's at least exhibiting SOME of what makes Lois Lois. Now ease off the semi-gold-digging posturing and bad boy fetishism and we might have a real character here.

    I don't buy that Clark came all that way just to help find Martha's necklace (at very least it would sound suspicious to Lois and Oliver, given that the thief is long gone, and it would take him three hours to get there, theoretically). Nonetheless, the scene payoff is worth the suspension of disbelief here for me.

    Next, we enter part of the awwwwwwww...the bad part of the episode. Lana acting, well, like Lana. Constantly in flux, no steady characterization, reprehensible, lying, annoying. You just want to smack yourself whenever she's onscreen.

    Lex and Lana, hanging out, in comes a goon with the "mysterious piece of Kryptonian tech" magical plot device we've <sarcasm>NEVER seen before</sarcasm>. Lex, now totally transparent with Lana, shows her the piece of tech that he says he "found," something she accepts with total aplomb. This, from the woman who, if you say, "It's light in here!" she'll turn, pout, and say, "You've been manipulating the light switch, haven't you! I know how you are!" after she spent all last week manipulating light switches.

    It's like those episodes of COPS where they catch someone who stole something.

    "Where'd you get that gun?"

    "I, uh, FOUND it!"

    Do they nod understandingly? No, they kick the crap out of the liar for being insolent. To quote Maddox, civil disobedience is still disobedience.

    At any rate, Lana makes me laugh with her Ashcroft approach to solving the problem. "Well, if it's powerful, shouldn't we turn it over to the government?"

    Didn't you watch ET, woman? Don't you know what happens if you trust the government with alien technology? Heck, don't you know what happens if you trust the government?

    Whoops. Wrong 1984 references. I meant this:

    It brings the plot element of Lex trying to find a solution to the world's problems to the fray, which is really neat, considering that was one of the great and key elements of Up Up and Away (a recent comic book story) that made the story so good. Lex COULD have cured cancer, and saved the world, but let his obsession with Supes get in the way, and Superman rubs that in his face rather well.

    The funny part comes when they both realize that this could potentially be the most valuable artifact the world has ever seen, and they trust it to a geek with a Samsonite. I mean, I'm a geek, and I lose my keys for FUN.

    Lois goes to Chloe for research, which is really kind of a frustrating motivation and scene. I mean, seriously, she doesn't know how to use Google? Lexusnexus? Even rank amateur journalists like myself, with a little digging, can find dirt on almost everything online. I'm from that era where encyclopedias were still around and utilized, so I above most know how easy research is now, comparatively. The only people who had it worse with information were monks or serfs. Wikipedia has a listing of everyone on Earth's last eighteen bowel movements. More fuel to the "insta-amateur-journalism" complaint.

    To make matters worse, she comes all the way to use Chloe's equipment, but refuses to tell her what her story is, afraid of getting scooped. By her cousin. What kind of crap is that? Arbitrary tension crap, that's what.

    At least they mention Lois' moonlighting. But they cover two of her jobs, not three. She's also at the Talon, recall, and even goes to tell people what to do behind the counter in this very episode. Beyond that, paying humorous lip-service to a plot flaw and not fixing it is almost as bad as ignoring it. It's like rubbing it in the audience's face, and it's such an easy fix. "Martha, I have to quit the Talon and my position to follow my dreams." One line. Bang. Done. Not that simple, I know, but the point being, what's better, reconciliation or dangling plot threads? In a show that seems to be reconciling failures in that arena, you think they might have actually gone further with this.

    Then, the most awkward and strange scene ever. Chloe and Lois get a KO arrow, Batman campy style. It literally flies into the room, poofs out green gas, and they're both out like a light. They don't hold their breath and run out of the room, they sit there, gas out, and good night. Unrealistic and cheesy.

    To top it off, Green Arrow takes the ring, yeah, but leaves the image on the digital camera? He had to be watching that whole scene. Odd.

    At this point I finally figured out what it was about the costume that gets me. It's not the colors, though the colors are a bit too bold later in the show. It's not the fact that the costume in no real way beyond the color emulates the Green Arrow.

    Actually, what gets me is the fact that the costume looks very similar to those cheesy force villains in the Jedi Academy game. I tried to find video, but no dice. They're essentially the same design, but with a red hood.

    Lionel summons Lana, and, it would appear, they collude to come up with a way to stop Lex from realizing the technology. Except there's no reason Lana would want to stop him beyond inconsistent characterization, so it falls flat. Later it's revealed that she was being played, but this doesn't alleviate the fact that she wouldn't act that way in character in the first place, duped or not.

    Lana? Inconsistent! NO!

    It's also a secret, a lie, etcetera, the last in a line of a million.

    Another Lionel line that cheesed me: "Apparently Lex has finally found his equal!" I know he's playing her at this point, but would even Lana buy that?

    We see some ACTUAL rebuilding from Dark Thursday, which is actually pretty decent. The problem is, it then cuts to Clark being buddy-buddy with Lionel and shaking his hand like a father figure. This is NOT playing, guys.

    A key aspect of Green Arrow that fails is the fact that he's rich. If you're rich, you don't need to rob from the rich to feed the poor. You just feed the poor. If he's doing it just to be an adventurer, fine, but they don't seem to indicate that. It appears his motivation is a righteous act, and Clark plays to that, because otherwise why would he let him go free in the end. Reality is, if you're rich, you can usually take that money to make money and do a lot to help the poor if that's your thing. If he's taking black market goods to right a wrong, that's another thing entirely, a justifiable thing, yeah, but this is seven items. The other items in his "drawer" seem to indicate his motivation is to rob from the rich. The Green Arrow, rather, fights crime out. They're confusing him with Robin Hood, which is a neat parallel, but also needs fleshing out logically.

    Green Arrow uses his special Oakley glasses to zoom in on the rich businessman. He fires an arrow into a flagpole's sphere, and somehow, it sticks enough to hold his weight without shattering even a titanium shaft into a million pieces (laughter) after using his glasses to aim his bow and arrow (laughter).

    I suppose it would be less funny if I hadn't been tooling around with a bow and arrow lately, but I have. Honestly, you can't use a targeting device on a bow and arrow. So much of it is angle, distance, speed, wind. It's largely intuitive even though there are pins, and knowing your device. Even if you somehow fitted a scope to one of them, it wouldn't be that precise. I would have bought it if he'd just eyeballed it more. That's more likely (if improbable).

    Inside the building, he shoots a crystal arrow to divert the lasers. Which would work if the impact wouldn't shatter the crystal, but hey.

    I gotta point out this stuff because it's so obvious, but all that aside, it's a decent set of tricks. Too bad I was so pulled out I couldn't properly enjoy it.

    Clark arrives, and, of course, instead of simply stopping Green Arrow, he has to throw him thirty feet through a table. I swear, he must not give a solid crap about his secret identity. Even though he was stopping Green Arrow, what about the obvious and likely cameras in that room? You kidding me?

    Green Arrow sits up, says, "Hey, you threw me forty feet. You must have powers." The obvious.

    Green Arrow has a deeper, obviously manipulated voice. It fails miserably. I had nothing but thoughts of Amidala in The Phantom Menace. Horribly bad audio. For it to work, it actually has to make the voice sound natural but slightly modulated. Here it sounds like someone just basically Vaderized his frickin' voice.

    Green Arrow shoots a guard, Clark goes to the guard, we cut to commercial. Somehow Green Arrow escapes. You can argue that Clark went to make sure the guard was okay, but honestly, he could easily capture Green Arrow in two seconds flat after securing the guard with his hearing and his speed.

    The stun arrow looked odd too. Weird effect. Like it was half broken, almost.

    They try and explain Clark's inability to capture the guy soon after. Clark explains bashfully to Chloe that he's got a lot of trick arrows. Well, SHOW THAT instead of just cutting to commercial. Or write your way out of the scene. Cripes, it's not that hard. Give Clark the sadistic choice. Guard or villain, goodbye. Change the stun gun to a poison arrow with an antidote at the hospital. Any number of things.

    Ah, Lana again. You know no one's even writing to defend her any more? I used to get spirited letters telling me how awful I was for bashing her. No one really steps up to defend her any more. That means Lana lovers have either sworn off my reviews (not likely, people love to read or view what they hate, which is why Bill O'Reilly has ratings, half of his audience is those who hate him), or there are few who support her or even care about her character beyond her looks any more.

    She's in an elevator with a family man, a man who's working for Lex Luthor, and she begins to threaten his family, his job of fourteen years, and in a veiled way, his life, despite the fact that there's no evidence he's not doing exactly what he's been told to do. Lana acts like a corporate shark businessman without any character indication to the contrary. It's out of character, it's awful, it's degrading, and it's something that I find oddly comfortable with her character archetype. Lana just falls right into tearing someone apart in a bichy way. I buy it. That's sad. This is not Lana, this is not a good character.

    But most importantly, Lana is not Lex, so Lana acting like Lex makes no sense at all. The argument people will offer and have already begun to offer is that hanging around Lex makes you act like Lex.

    Strange. Then why isn't Lex acting like Clark? Why isn't Martha acting like Lionel? Why isn't Lois acting like Chloe? Why isn't Brainiac acting like Jor-El? Well, okay, maybe he is.

    So when LANA goes something rotten, it's excusable because she's being manipulated by the awful, evil Lex. When Lex acts rotten, it's because he's a horrible human being.

    That's not sexist or out of character. Nah. That doesn't reinforce impossible stereotypes of female perfection, and promote using excuses to get out of personal responsibility. Nah. Smallville is the ultimate meritocracy. In OPPOSITE LAND!

    Lois to Metropolis and back. Martha to Metropolis and back. A hundred bucks.

    Goons burst in and kidnap Lois. Lois uses Lois Fu, which is almost admirable and a good scene, until she gets to the phone. She punches in numbers in desperation and gets...CHLOE? She doesn't call the cops? What the...how does that make any sense at all? Like Chloe's going to come with a bat and beat the two big kidnappers up? Huh? Awful. They make matters worse when the goons kidnapping Lois see it and don't close the phone. I'd fire those goons.

    Clark INSTANTLY appears at the Talon, picking up the phone. For some reason, however, he doesn't use his super-hearing or super-speed to see where the guys who just kidnapped Lois went.

    Oliver Queen appears, looking for Lois conveniently. Clark begins to talk about the Green Arrow, and how Arrow must be culpable. This scene, it just made me laugh, I must have missed a line of dialogue or two, because it was just so hilarious.

    I mean, folks, this is CLARK KENT. He just threw Green Arrow around and fought him, you think he's not going to look at who the guy is behind the mask out of respect or something? So what's the next scene, Clark and Oliver talking about this Green Arrow guy. Oy. Too funny. Horrible.

    Chloe and Clark talk about the Green Arrow crest. Clark hangs up on her without a reason to, then magically appears in the Queen flat, breaking and entering. He has a piece of paper with him he didn't have before, showing that priceless Smallville continuity. A piece of paper he looks at, folds up, and does nothing with.

    BLACKBERRY PLUG, ahoy. In the lair, he stares directly at a product placement. How handy. The Green Arrow uses Blackberry.

    I'm glad I don't have a cell phone, or I'd sure be out getting a Blackberry right now. It's a kind of cell phone, right? Am I sounding moronic? Computers have a utility for me. Talking to people incessantly to no purpose is just inane to me. I get enough of it out of my landline.

    Lois is given the old water torture, but unfortunately, they do it in a way that gives her plenty of time to take a great big breath before shoving her underwater. Nonetheless, this somehow causes her to...uh, pass out from exertion? What the @%#%? Are you kidding me? She's gypping the KO Count, that's what she's doing. FOUL!

    Essentially they're trying to suggest she passed out, but I'm gonna go with DROWNED. Because that makes more sense. Which makes it pretty bad when Ollie saves her a few seconds later that instead of CPR, he just stands there oogling her. Kind of creepy, too.

    Why does he pull the gun on her and aim it at her? You can argue he was readying the bolt for defense or to get them out of there, but then why point it at her head? Awkward. I think it's part of another cut scene, honestly, because the continuity is terrible. First he approaches her from her feet already aiming at her, then somehow is walking at her from her right side in the background and starting to aim again. Check it out. It's about as glaring at the Mace Windu walk toward Palpatine that happens twice in Revenge of the Sith.

    The rescue is disturbing on several levels as well, mostly because despite the gadget arrows, it's till laughably improbable/impossible.

    He shoots a guy in the stomach with an arrow, and instead of the arrow going right through the guy (what happens when you shoot something with an arrow, even big deer, if you're doing it right), it sticks in him and knocks him over, with a shot that would in all probability kill the guy.

    He then shoots the businessman a little more humanely, in the shoulder, but somehow what is less than a quarter pound arrow hits him with enough force to throw him forty feet and into the air and then stick him in place? PLEASE. Impossibly, laughably bad, from the physics to the execution to the "why the heck did he even gas the guy?"

    And I'm just sure that'd stop the guy from continuing to try and find out who Green Arrow is. Lois is totally safe now.

    The king daddy of the awful is shooting the bullet with the arrow. CRIPES. Are you serious? I mean, it's supposed to look cool, but it could be equally cool to have the arrow hit the gun, knocking it out of the guy's hands, as the bullet came out, showing it miss at the last second. An arrow hitting the bullet? The bullet then breaks into pieces and hits Lois, or continues on course (more force behind a bullet). And the odds...I suppose it's supposed to be a superhero miracle, but honestly, it just fell so incredible flat...

    When he takes Lois up and out, he lifts her, putting her limp arm on his shoulder. Somehow that limp arm still clings. Miraculous. Try changing the camera angle or putting a little back into it, man. I know you got the muscles for it.

    Lana goes storming to Lex, apologizing for threatening his employee with death.

    Lex, infuriated that she took her station up about ten levels and did something that was wholly inappropriate and wrong, banishes her from the mansion forever and has her shot.

    No, actually, he replies with, "No actually, Lana, I admire what you did!"

    Put an arrow in the character I once loved, why don't you?

    Lana says, "I know I went behind your back, but I wanted to do this MY WAY." Emphasis mine. This dialogue says two things. First, that SECRET AND LIES Lana openly admits she kept some secrets and lies (but seems to feel no sadness at this failure of character), and secondly, it infers that Lana's "way" is to basically blackmail and torture a guy by threatening his family into doing what she wants. Or broader, that it's okay for her to be cruel if it gets her what she desires.

    I buy that. She does that constantly. That's her way. Good characterization. Barf.

    "Lex, there is something I haven't been completely honest with you about." No, another secret? Another lie? How great! "I knew the box was a weapon."

    And how? It was only used as a computer in front of her, essentially. It's not a weapon, it's an advanced computer. But okay.

    Lex's response is to ban her from being part of the project any more before kicking her out of the mansion and having her liquidated with badgers for insolence.

    No, actually instead not-Lex ignores her lie and instead asks her for advice on the device as a weapon, if he should destroy it.

    NO, Lana says. We can use it as a weapon when these guys come back!

    Well, yeah. That or you could just get a shovel and go traipsing about the town gathering green rocks. That might work better than a souped up computer. Call me crazy. I mean, heck, you even have an old necklace that was once important to you that you no longer ever wear that has a perfect fitting for a piece of kryptonite.

    Green Arrow, approaching Lois, had a very obvious and bad looking codpiece. I kid you not, Schumaker style. Don't look for it, just trust me. Ugh. Why did my eyes gravitate there?

    But regardless, even if I swang that way, the codpiece is awful.

    Lois gets the better of Green Arrow, then holds a gun to him. She moves forward to pull off his mask. What's with that? In this show, people with guns or the best of someone else tend to walk toward that person despite the obvious idiocy. Hold the gun on them, tell them what to do. That's how it works. You don't have to take off the mask yourself, dummy.

    Clark appears from nowhere, not really sure how or why (maybe he checked the tracker?), but anyway, he uses heat vision to save Green Arrow. Neat display, and I actually like and buy it. He's convinced of Arrow's innocence, wants to redeem him, and proceeds to do so. Very good ending, actually.

    Clark insists on him returning the goods, and then protects him with Chloe. All of that makes sense, and works really well. I thought they were going to have him try and outhack Chloe, but instead they simply have him talk, use dialogue, good stuff.

    The Lex and Lionel scene was good. The revelation of the machination was indeed surprising, even if the machinations didn't make too much sense. And the fact that Lex won't let Lionel in and is still blackballing him is even better. Good, consistent character. Now RECONCILE how the heck Lionel still has money, power, and can do whatever he wants without people screaming MURDERER at him and throwing tomatoes as he walks by.

    "Kidnapped By The Green Arrow!" Awesome. Good title. I buy that a tabloid would take that. Lois' path is getting a little better. Not much, but I'm watching it with hope.

    Clark and Ollie, suggesting moving beyond Smallville, and the echoes of the Justice League were probably the best parts of the show. An actual way to move the character out of Smallville, reasoning is shaping up. I'm pleased. I think that though this season has been a relative stinker thusfar, this could be the lynchpin that makes it actually come together. Maybe, knowing that the show is ending or may end, they're preparing to wrap things up with a solid run and getting the filler out of the way now. We can only hope.

    And hey, next week, Memoria style Lex and Ollie? Looks promising!

    All in all, tons of bad, tons of good, it balances out. 3 of 5.

    SUPER SHORT REVIEW:

    Oh, it's good to see Lois in character, Clark in character, decent action, some strong dialogue scenes, Lionel and Lex bantering. But oh, it's bad to see inconsistency, odd and improbably happenings, and commercial breaks that forgive failures of plot. Nonetheless, a few tinglings of goodness, and finally, we may be going somewhere with this season...eventually. 3 of 5.

    LETTERS:

    I'm down to five copies of Madly, if anyone wants them. I'm also about to start doing some regular video YouTube. More on that soon.

    Here's the words!

    Sara Nielson wrote:

    Damn! Started this freakin' thing 10 days ago! You'd think I could get it done by now, right? Oh, well. Let's start with Zod. Well, well, well... another season, hmmm? And I've been waiting all summer to see what mincemeat Writer Boy (that's you, Neal, by the way! J) was going to make of the new season - Well, let's see what you had to say - Hmmm - Interesting. Well, of course I have to give my two bits... so you're just going to have to read them! Whatcha' think about that?!? ;D

    I like it. I'm sorry I'm late responding to this. It got lost in my inbox with most of my life while working on this house...

    Lana may be fit as a fiddle, but isn't there a whole storyline about that guy - what was he in again?!? - who tortures Lex to find out how he got his superpowers? (And what was up with that preview where Lionel says the torture may just reveal Clark's secret? If Lex knew Clark's secret, he'd be all over that boy like white on rice. Oh, come on! Get your mind outta' the slash gutter, wouldja?) So we're going to at least see a bit more of that. But for those that were actively involved in the mystery and was hurt by Zex (Hello? He went on got a satellite control laptop from the Pentagon! You can't tell me that he didn't break a few skulls while he was at it!), I'm not sure we're going to see or hear from them. Not unless the feel the wrath of the fans and pull something out of their butts.

    Likely they already pulled something out of their butts, which is why we're not seeing repercussions.

    But I don't see where they'll have the Chloe/Clark tension. They're all set up to push forward the Lois/Clark tension, which I've been against from the beginning, but I guess since I'm not writing the darn thing, I don't get to say anything about it. (And a note about Jimmy. I just watched a snippet of "Leech" and Sean and Jimmy look too much alike. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Aaron Ashmore may be a great actor and he's got that cute guy thing down, but they absolutely shouldn't have cast him considering his TWIN BROTHER was cast during the first season as a villain! Arrgh! I can't stand it!!! I'll put it aside while I'm watching, but afterwards, it always chaps my hide! Grrrrrrr... OK, done for now, but you know it's gonna' raise up again.)

    Oddly enough, they're not using much of Jimmy. Not sure what I think about that.

    You know... I missed the first bit, and Windows Media Center is on notice because it didn't record it like I told it to. Please tell me you're kidding about stomping on glass thing. Why do they consistently write Clark as a semi-moronic imbecile that should be locked away for his own protection???

    Because they're critically failing in the character realm, and only passable in the plot realm.

    So, the phantoms have powers but Clark (and the other Kryptonians, I'm guessing) don't? Why would they have powers? OK, granted that because Jor-El had that one mini-vacation in Kansas, he knew that Clark would have super-powers. But why would they have them in the PZ? Are they saying that it's because they're in the Solar System? What's the logic (whoops? ;D) behind that? And you're right. It was supposed to be a humane way to lock away the incurable criminal cases, not to allow the prisoners to kill each other. Is that supposed to be some comment on the incarceration facilities in the U.S.?

    I have a few comments on that in Chronicling the Fall myself, but somehow I see Smallville as a bit too dense for such lofty pretexts.

    Clarky Potter?!? Damn, Neal! I haven't almost launched water out my nose in three months! Couldn't you have given a little bit of warning there?

    Expecto nostrum!

    It was an interesting take that, because I'm assuming they wanted her to be beautiful, they allowed her to have an unlimited supply of ChapStick, but Clark got his face shoved around in some salty sand to affect the "I've been trapped in the desert for two weeks" look... Oy!

    Kind of like Taylor in Planet of the Apes. Sexy AND Heston. Ew.

    The symbol. You know, I hadn't put that it was like the one from the latest flick. To me, it just reminded me of the shop project that he did. You know, the one where Pete says you can't go wrong with - Um, I forget now, but it was funny at the time.

    Lionel-Fu? Where have they been hiding this for the last five years? Did he finally decide to take some physical defense class? Hmmm. And a goon has to be able to do his job every now and again. And Lionel was "nearly dead" but rarin' to go to Smallville in the next scene? Really? Oy...

    He's had liver problems. I heard they healed or something.

    I can't believe you actually expected a consistent Lana... because we've never been shown that before. But you're right. The actors make the tepid written dialogue pop - and Michael is FANTASTIC about that. (I'm telling you - you have to watch "Sorority Boys". It has no redeeming plot or anything to make it a "classic" movie, but the Michael's phallic object fight is enough.)

    Oh, she's consistent. Consistently inconsistent. And I agree. The phallic object (changed what you said there for the kids, or more aptly, their whiney mothers) fight is incredible.

    I think the flying thing will come when Clark remembers that he is INDESTRUCTABLE and therefore he can let go of his flying fear. That and connecting it to his kryptonian - and therefore evil to his way of thinking - heritage.

    My comment about consistent Lana goes for the rest of the show. I hope that goes without saying. The leg thing, however, was enough to make me pee my pants. Normally, a person could have a compound fracture, a concussion and arterial bleeding and they'll still make the, what? 3 HOUR trip to Smallville if someone sneezed wrong there. Oy!

    I once worked construction with a kidney stone for a month. Had my life depended on it, I could have held my intestines in while playing baseball. It's all in the mind...heh.

    It was interesting that Lionel "knew" that the dagger was in the Kent barn. Was that under the assumption that Clark got it from Jor-El (possibly known about because of Chloe or because of the Jor-El/Lionel link), he would "obviously" hide it with all of his other "secret" things (map of the cave system for one), and then run away hiding 'cause that's the sort of thing he would do? It's funny that they always ask him (Clark) where he was if he disappears during a huge upheaval like that. You know, after the first few times he says "Oh, I was right in the midst of the tornado" or "I jumped on the rocket to change its trajectory" or "Well, Jor-El kidnapped me in an alternate dimension, naked and curled up in the fetal position, so he could brainwash me". You know what? Forget it. I have to reference again my consistency comment just for my own peace of mind.

    No peace of mind here in the Phantom Zone.

    Stain... Tee hee!

    "Sigil" - New word. Like it! But it's like kryptonian Blackberry, dontcha know? A spinning kryptonian Blackberry. Soon they'll be on every street corner! But of course, pulling out the Blackberry makes the ship disappear. But is it really gone or just relocated for now? My big gripe with Lex finding the big steaming pile of - Blackberry is that Clark never does self-clean-up. If he's soooo concerned with concealing his "big secret", you would think he's take a quick super-speed around the room with his x-ray vision to make sure he doesn't leave anything behind. Like fingerprints since he has been arrested and they're on file, but that's too real world, I'm sure.

    With probably 800 security camera files.

    Remember, "Brainiac" was destroyed when Clark impaled him on the kryptonian shank as were all copies. I guess that answers the question if James Marsters will be doing further guest appearances. Bummer!

    News is of the devil!

    I invented electricity! But seriously, I think Marsters should return. He was the only thing that really saved last season.

    I'm guessing that the strenuous exercise of hauling someone twice her size kept Martha pretty warm. Because they definitely don't have freezing temp gear just stashed about the Luthor Leer jet. But didn't you admire Martha's MacGuyver-esque skills? Besides the gross factor about the cannibalism, I would have paid good money to get Lois out of the picture. Because I know they're going to do the inexcusable. They're going to create a Lois/Clark romance WAY before it's time. You know, it wasn't that I minded so terribly the way they portrayed Lois (although it could have been done better), but they've just jumped the gun because they've finally realized that the Clark/Lana angle has been played out wayyyyy too long and they don't think Chloe's worthy. But maybe that's just my assumption.

    I think they'll hold off until at least the end of this season. Green Arrow and all.

    You know, I just realized this, but isn't this nearly the first time that Jor-El and Martha have chatted it up? Maybe that's why he was so eager to get them there and why he was so willing to just transport them back to Smallville a la Scotty-style. And telling Clark anything remotely helpful would just be counter-productive. Wouldn't it? WOULDN'T IT???

    Yepper. It's a helper program that never helps.

    "El Backdoor"? Stop it! My sides!!!

    Or is it your sides? Skirting legal here. Hey-oh!

    Is it the purple CRAYON OF KRYPTON? Oh dear! I'm crying here!!!

    [plotdevice] is the command, I believe.

    I will say that at least they tried to give a plausible reason why the family of El didn't just enter the Phantom Zone and then take the backdoor directly to Earth, which is where it seems to come out. Because if it just lets them out where the Glass Mirror is twirling, then Clark musta' swum through space to get back to the Earth since he doesn't know how to fly.

    Good call. I didn't notice that.

    I think their explanation of the Phantom Zone is crap. Not once have we seen someone banished there that didn't have their body. Oh, sure. There's possibly Zod who's taken over Lex's body, but that doesn't really make sense to me either. If the Phantom Zone is so inexcapable for anyone but the House of El, why take away their bodies. Doesn't make ANY SENSE, DAMN IT!!!

    (Missed you too, Neal. My summer was very boring without your snark.)

    Snark is a pretty good artificial respiration for the geeky types. Administer before pushing adrenaline.

    And she forgave him pretty fast. Musta seen his Sean-lookalike good looks and decided it was okay if she could hit that again... Oh, dear. Cynicism Sara came out and bich-slapped the writers. So sad.

    I'm right with you about the continuity crabbiness, but what can we do? We have no power. It makes me sad, I tell you right now.

    Well, one thing we can do is write them letters. But that requires effort, so people don't do it. They just change the channel. Or, like when they get dissatisfied with politicians, just ignore them instead of fixing the problem.

    There's a "Dumb as Clark" award? Do you give that out every episode???

    I don't want to, but I have a lot of late.

    It was a super plan, Neal. You have to admit. They absolutely couldn't loose. Except for the fact that if the world was destroyed, which could only also mean the North Pole where the Fortress is, Zod would be all alone on his New Krypton with no one to play with or boss around. A general wouldn't be happy with this situation. His goal should have been to subjugate the entire human race. And, if he had killed Lana like he almost did, who would he have foisted his heir on? He had to pick another chick out of the crowd - and I'm sure he has standards. I know where they intended to go with this, but they failed miserably. Maybe that's why they don't mention pivotal plot points from episode to episode because it would only point out their ineptitude?

    Yes.

    The Raya thing made me sigh. It was very "You betrayed me!" "Totally. I came to give him to the Phantom Zone Alpha Male that's only been here a year." "That's right, buddy!" "Not!" she screams as she gives him a new smile and then can't fend off another chick with her mighty fighting powers. I mean, it was apparent to me that she'd given Clark the fabulous symbol doohickey before they got near the gate, but seriously! I can forgive the not warning about fellow Kryptonians following through the back-door because since no one from the House of El has used it before, she wouldn't know. But it would have been smart of him to look and see if anyone was too close to the door because having uber-criminals on Earth isn't the best.

    Everyone knows the knife's in the barn. Clark musta advertised.

    The Inquisitor has free ads.

    Those satellites are *obviously* left over from the Reagan Star Wars era. Come on, Neal! It makes "perfect" sense!

    You know, as silly as it sounds, the administration is very sternly warning anyone against violating our "space superiority." Shouldn't we balance the budget before we worry about something no other nation is even remotely near capable of dominating?

    (Oooo! I get a nod! Isn't that fabu?!? Of course, the fam still doesn't understand why I get so passionate about stuff like that, but who really expected them to?) And did Chloe and Jimmy actually get under a desk? I thought Chloe saved him from getting crushed by a file cabinet and then they just huddled there together.

    It's funny, people either get it, or they don't. They think dedication to a show is maladaptive living or something, these same people who dedicate their lives to other miserable pursuits like wondering what people think of how they look in a given suit or dress. Everyone has what they like.

    And the Blood of El in the Phantom Zone? Obviously it only counts when he's at the gate... so suck it, Clark! ;D

    [slash]

    You forget one thing in comparison of Lex and Clark and Lana's reaction to them both. It's a pretty obvious one - surprised you didn't mention it. It goes as follows: LEX HAS MONEY. Period. She forgives him so easily for everything because he can provide her for each and every little thing her heart has ever desired. With that, all is right with the world. Doesn't make her character any more lovable, does it?

    No. But you're right, actually.

    I was p!ssy on the kiss dissin'. It was shades of Season Two AGAIN! Why? There was no reason for it. Apparently, they don't think the show has enough angst. Makes me ill and I'm not sure how much I can take of Clark whining. If Chloe moved on, it's in record time, I tell ya!

    It's mainly because the kiss was so natural and played so well that to suddenly drop it and ignore it and instead offer said time to say, oh, Lana's neurosis is not necessarily an entertaining choice.

    But I agree. I liked it. I had tingles after I was done watching it and ready for more. Let's hope they don't ruin that for me.

    By the by, LOVE that you put in the spam letter. Made my day. Now, must watch "Sneeze", read your review and do all of that within the next 70 minutes so I can watch the next episode and be ready to join the live chat. Deep breath, everyone. This may get bumpy.

    I love getting spam in my letter column. If they go so far as to type it into a form and fill it out, they at very least deserve mockery, because they're bigger nerds than me.

    Wow! You started out your review with a bang, didn't you?

    [Lewd Joke]

    Missed on the "Dark Thursday" prediction. They mentioned it during "Wither".

    Clark's all whiny about following Jor-El? Why's that? Because Jor-El's been such a great influence in his life up to this point? And since when does a cold equate into near fainting?

    I do like him pounding in the nails with his hands. (Just think of all the time and bruised thumbs that would save you on the remodel, Neal!) Give's me a tee hee feeling inside. And considering that I've spent all week sneezing (usually it doesn't happen, like you said, but Tuesday was sneezapalosa, I found his face (and the disappearing barn side) highly amusing. I did think the sweaty face was trying to push the "Clark's sick, get it?" a bit too much! I know you said that he got the cold virus in the Zone, but did you notice they tried to blame it on him working too hard? Maybe they were trying to give a nod to the solar battery mythos.

    Or maybe they realized that the reason was henky so they gave it multiple avenues of dissemination. I would LOVE hammer thumbs. I will remain content with my jackhammer (CENSORED FOR YOUR PROTECTION).

    OK, so I thought Lois was living above the Talon. What the heck is she doing jogging down the middle of the country road? (Oh, please could some country yahoo or Lex be speeding that way and not see her?!?) And of course the barn door has to land right next to her...

    First time I saw the post-coitus opening... Pair that with her mackin with Zex and that's quite the testament to how much a slut Lana is...

    Slut? Meh. Fetishized by people who watch the show who picture her in bed and find that great? More likely.

    Of COURSE Met U is closed that Lana will just *happen* to stay with Lex. Are they trying to make us believe that she's a reformed virgin again? And Lana gets to be all worried about their relationship. Isn't that fun? Oy! And how much repair work could the dorms possibly need? The power went out and there was looting and rioting... in DT Metropolis... not on the campus of Met U... or so I assume.

    I dunno. I had someone "smell" gas in my dorm and it took them two months to turn it back on. There wasn't even a problem.

    *You are a nice guy, Neal! ;D*

    Nooooooooooooooooooo! I'm cursed. But thank you. I like to think of myself as a cocky b(%$ard, but not one to take advantage of women. There's a difference between a nice guy and that. I can be cruel, but I don't take advantage of people. Which makes me actually the weaker of the three, but the most honest.

    OK, they're still overworking the sweat angle... and do they really expect me to believe that brotherly look of disgust is going to turn into romantic love? Oh... And she has that "this is gonna' bug me 'til I figure it out" look on her face.

    Lex is finally taking his goons to task for laziness. Isn't that great? And "of course" he can trust Lana! She's only betrayed nearly every boyfriend she's ever had. And he must have psychic powers to know to give her that card just before you know he's going to get snatched. (A little heavy handed there, Miles & Al!) Point about the plates: In some states, cities and/or counties are designated in the license number. Maybe that's the cause of that line.

    THAT is something I hadn't heard. Good call.

    I kinda' liked the first Planet scene. Very tongue in cheek, which is my favorite. But since when has Lois ever "not let something go"? Oy!

    And Lex has turned into Clark, apparently. (Whoops! You said Lana. I suppose it works either way.) He doesn't have any evidence but accuses Lionel of being the one behind the tail. Doesn't Lionel work for Lex now? Isn't that where all of his money is? Couldn't Lex just ask the accountants to give an accounting? And nice squeaky shoes about the memory loss. I had wondered at first, but had figured it out all on my own. But I am the exception, of course, so they just had to spell it out for everyone else... And he gets gassed. Of course he does. And he handily has his gun around to shoot at... the invisible person that would just have to be in the elevator with him... like they wouldn't just wait for him to pass out.

    Hah.

    The Kents don't have Netflix?!? How incredible!!! Lionel has contacts in D.C.? After going to jail for murder? People there wouldn't run a million miles away to get away from that taint? But nice "I'm only concerned for your well-being, Clark" blackmail! And wasn't Lex the one that survived electroshock therapy and other traumas?

    I dunno. People are still backing Foley. It was the alcohol! Pfft.

    If they can see Lex so clearly on a satellite image, why haven't they picked up Clark yet? And if the guy thinks Lex is invincible, why would jabbing a gun in his throat or threatening him with electricity (see above therapy comment) make him talk?

    Look! Fireworks!

    And Lois drove all the way to Metropolis, picked up Chloe, and drove all the way back to talk about the barn door and then take a picture? I like that Chloe was all prepared with an excuse, but seriously! I thought it was stupid that they hadn't had Clark move it before then. Duh, anyone remember the "Perry" tractor?

    People who watch TV seem to have no memories, as the FBI has no sense of humor.

    And who ever "hired" the main kidnapper (obviously Green Arrow, but we don't know that yet) should have known about his intent to get answers no matter what his pacifist thoughts were. Duh! And okay, so he saw the footage, but after shooting Lex and he bleeds, why doesn't he realize the error of his ways rather than just smirk and shake his head? I'm starting to get irritated.

    JUST starting?

    Are you kidding me?!? So she doesn't get in with the Ledger, so she thinks the Planet will take her badly spelled article? And she's decided that the Planet is stuffy so she huffs off? And THIS is the woman we're supposed to believe will be a star reporter?!? Yeah, the jealous part made me kick a neighbor's puppy. I kid you not.

    But Lois hot!

    The scene with Clark and Lana made me want to scream. Scream, I tell you. %$#%ing bich!!! I'm going to lose it. I hope she finds something incriminating... Oh, she did. Isn't that nice? And now she can be all p!ssy about him. And she didn't just watch the derobing scene once... it was more like 3 times. And I have a question. Later we see the remote and it has 4 buttons for the 4 cameras. Did you see a play button? A rewind button? How in the world did she see that footage??? And why does the big screen change from being in her room to the study without her doing anything?

    The real question is how no one sees through this. I'm as hyper-sexual as any man, but it's obvious it's just kind of pathetic here.

    Lex spilled his guts pretty easily. (Hey, Level 33 is back! And we get a password too! Julian 452... Whatcha think that means?) But I guess if you threaten someone's manhood.

    The penthouse is very shades of "Birds of Prey". Don't they ever spend money on new sets? Why would Lionel suspect Oliver? I did like his utter lack of surprise, though, at the news of the abduction. Got a giggle outta' that one. And if Oliver had a bad history with Lex, why would Lionel be all chummy? And how did Lionel know about the satellite? This is making me tired. Ah Threatening Lionel is live and well. How lovely. (Tee hee about the thirsty bit...)

    I actually tried to find evidence that they reused the Clocktower, but I couldn't find the right one.

    Why didn't Chloe pick up the phone at the P.I.'s? They weren't trying to be sneaky. Why wasn't Chloe blown across the room when Clark used his super-blower? I admire her ingenuity, as always, but really? And she actually just stayed behind because Clark super-speeded away? When she knows he's at half power at the most and she has the address and her car?

    I thought the thing with the warehouse blew a lot. And throwing chemicals on the floor with a fire didn't concern them? And why, when Clark blew out the fire, weren't they blown to high heaven as well?

    Uh...fireworks? (cries).

    Nice commercial of Erica's direct to DVD movie. Oy!

    I liked the shape of the kite... But blowing the weather... yeah, good start to changing the weather. And Lois gets her article on the front page. That's fab. And with that one step, she's found her "calling"? Right. It couldn't have been when she was working at the Torch... or helping Chloe research a story... It was while she was writing a puff piece for a tabloid and selling her soul. Nice message.

    And I guess it's good that Lana's p!ssy with everyone. Ten to one says she stays with Lex cause of the money.

    They'll never admit it until the mink stole comes back to life and becomes a freak of the week.

    And we all knew the kidnappers worked for Oliver. Come on! Like that's some big surprise. And why does he trust this guy? And how does he know about Clark? Was Oliver doing this because of his goal to start the Justice League... but you have to admit... nice shot.

    And now for "Wither"... (We can only pray it's better than "Sneeze".)

    We start at Lover's Lane with Jimmy and Chloe? Boy, it's hard for him to play smooth, isn't it? And isn't it lovely that Chloe got a new car? What happened to the Beetle? Are they saying it got smashed in the meteor shower? Oh, no... It was there last season. And after the slow talk, you just knew that they were going to go for it. And why didn't Jimmy bring his friggin' camera? Doesn't he want to be a photographer? And why is he surprised that Chloe wants to go investigate? (It's very horror flick, though. You go off, on your own, in the woods, and you might as well pass out your crap now 'cause you're dead.)

    Chloe is with Lex on the side. It's the only possible way everyone can afford these things. And hey, if I had no morality, I'd do it to! Heck, gals that hot, I'd do it with morality! Wait...

    "Costumes aren't his thing"? They're really getting heavy handed with that, aren't they? And Clark now counts losing Jor-El with losing Jonathan? Oy!

    See... Told you she'd stay with him. And she's all self-righteous about taking the costumes? And it's very heavy-handed that they're not having sex. Ah, and a "can't trust Clark" speech and "paying for his mistakes". Great.

    Yes.

    Chloe's staying with Lois. That's nice. And Jimmy spent the night. Isn't that even better? Nice awkwardness, which means neither are truly over the kiss, even though they'll never talk about it again. And what was with the heavy handed talk about a super-being with Jimmy in the apartment? And why is Chloe staying with Lois? How can she keep her job/internship (which one is it?) at the Planet?

    It was a job, but as a phone answerer, not a reporter.

    Lust at first sight. You can definitely tell. But he is pretty. And I loved that she tipped him. And how could Lois not know about Oliver? If she's working for Lois, she definitely should, so I really liked Martha's snark. And of course now Lois knows she's in love 'cause she now knows he's rich.

    I'm thinking I should dress in white and carry my bow around. Hot chicks would fall right into my arms.

    Clark was very much rude for not giving Chloe a lift. And of course he's giving googly eyes to the park ranger. What would a new female character be without that? And she had to have seen him use his powers. That boy just doesn't think ahead! AND he uses his x-ray vision in front of her, doesn't even try to give an excuse and immediately goes to the body. That's just great... and totally screams "SUSPECT!" And the ranger searched it over a bunch of times and didn't notice some suspiciously stacked limbs? So apparently the trees are feeding off oversexed teenagers. (And I'm guessing that before I even get much further...)

    We LOVE pre-marital sex! (Get the sleeping bag, Jason).

    So we have a bleech Jimmy/Chloe moment and Chloe gets to give Clark the "don't point the finger at Lex too soon" speech countered by the "Zex is bad" excuse. Oy! And despite all the bad blood between Clark and everyone living at the Mansion, he just waltzes on over, steals some orchid seeds, snarks with Lex and Lex makes me pee my pants with his counter-snark. You know, if they're trying to show how "evil" Lex is, they're really falling off the mark. It just feels like Clark's the whiny patsy boy and Lex is tired of defending himself. I know I would be. And AT LAST, he's finally kicked him off the property! It's about @%$#ING time!

    Yes.

    I have nine minutes left til online chat time and I'm only halfway through. How do you do it?

    At approximately 100 words a minute now. And with caffeine.

    And Jimmy goes into the forest with the creepy puncturing plants? Obviously to prove something to Chloe. And park ranger Barbie shows up. So, are we calling her Poison Ivy? And it goes down the throat too? Did it do that on the guy survivor? (And why did the GUY survive???)

    I don't think he did, actually.

    And it's a Lois scene. I was really looking forward to Oliver Queen and they surround him with Lois stuff. How was she rude in giving him a tip and advice to look higher than courier? When she obviously didn't know who he was? Is he in all the papers? How would she know that he was coming... well, other than doing her job and keeping Martha's schedule, but still. And he feels like he has to bribe her for a date?

    You know what? I'm done... I'm going to wait to read your review and then vent my spleen. How lovely will that be? ;D

    Better than venting in other ways...and by other ways I mean sharting.

    And I finally see the scene with the white gown in the season starter! Got it!

    Sara

    PS: I noticed a few more things with Sneeze. Did you notice that Chloe and Clark just assumed a P.I. would give them whatever answers they wanted? That and they finally made a comment to Chloe's hacking capability... but while she could hack into whatever government agency she wanted, a P.I.'s computer was "tough" and would take her "hours"...

    No, I didn't. But good ones.

    "Wither"

  • Since when are there lots and lots of free standing evergreen forests in Kansas?

    Since Metropolis moved about 1,000 miles west.

  • The "CK"s are really forced. Making me cranky

    Seconded.

  • Big box for two things.

  • Nice of Chloe to offer unrefridgerated water to Lana.

    Deleted scene: When she slaps it away and leaves the set.

  • When Lana's "too far gone to get herself out of a situation", who does she typically turn to? Clark. But he's the devil, you know...

    Yes. Awful man. I hate him.

  • If Poison Ivy is from Krypton, wouldn't her vines be indestructable, hence the electricity not working?

    That's my thinking.

    Zel wrote:
    Practically squealed with glee when I found the review was up.

    Cool! Thanks.

    The issue of Clark being jealous of Chloe/Jimmy is certainly not working for me.Maybe its just because Chloe is not there anymore to help him blow his nose.

    I hope that keeps up.

    And that was a good line you thought of: How did Gloria from the PZ have a body? Anyway, this is Smallville.

    Definitely.

    I loved Lois/Ollie moments, though am still wondering how to interprete the scenes.

    Seems like fluff to me.

    I also feel sorry for that notebook of yours that has to learn how to fly each time you throw it into the air in your moments.

    Gives it character. Give me a beaten notebook over a pristine one any time.

    The rumour of the Lexana bambino should not be surprising if it stems from the idea that KK is pregnant: I mean, Smallville changed the Superman history by bringing Lois, Perry, Jimmy and those ever-revealing caves into the show...not to mention Jor-El on earth having an affair with Lana's aunt(it still hurts to remember)and picking the kents(eh?!!!)

    But the real question is how Lex will react when he finds out that it's Pete's?

    So thanks once more for another review....and for the email!!

    Thanks!

    Steve wrote:
    Just out of curiosity, (either by something in the story or from pure frustration about all the things that shouldn't happen in the show) has Smallville ever made you cry? 

    Yes. I tend not to cry in front of other people, but I did cry watching Memoria and the Reeve episode alone. I watched most of the first season with friends, and some of the second, and then just recently started watching again with Sara.

    It's come close several times otherwise. It has its powerful moments.

    Memoria in particular when Lex is alone, lonely and crying at his birthday party. It's a very relative image for me as a writer, you're constantly trying to get people to take a look (in my case at novels) and to make time for friends, but your circumstances (for Lex his money, for me my lack and my work schedule) make it hard to make meaningful connections. So I really relate to that, a lot.

    Byron Abrahams wrote:
    Hey Neal

    Here's something that's gonna sound hokey and kiss @$$, but I don't care. The best thing about having Smallville on air again, is having the reviews back. Seriously man, it was a long summer. And the worse the show, the funnier the review. SPELL IRONIC!

    Thank you. Actually, that seems to make sense to me. More to complain about, more to write. My dream review is "Wow." If I ever review house, it'll just be wow after wow. But then, that's why I review things I can take issue with. It's more fun that way. Especially if you love it.

    To the serious stuff. I was thinking about this Lana-Lex relationship and how it got all screwed to hell. (Side-note: Not ALL guys are obsessed with Kristin's hotness. She is hot, but there are a million hot women on television. Hot does not a character make. The Model of the Month on Average Joe 2 was hotter than her, and almost as annoying).

    The fact is, when it comes to television romance, with very few exceptions, almost any two characters can get together if it's motivated. Key: If it's MOTIVATED. That's the rule.

    I would agree. There are a few other reasons, such as shared dilemmas and/or destiny (per the Superman mythos). But yeah.

    Like Lionel and Martha. Want me to show you how I'd get them together? Speaking as a storyliner - like the writers on this show I also get paid to think of twaddle like this.

    Here it is: Lionel had a hand in Jonathan's death, and however many others - so Martha is out of control in her hate for the man. She despises him. Show it:

    Here's the first scene: A fundraiser for some campaign she's sponsoring as senator. Lionel's there, makes a big speech about donating some money (that earlier, he squeezed out of Lex in the name of charity to get closer to Martha). She blows up, makes a scene, and embarrasses herself and her campaign staff by refusing the money and throwing champagne in his face. End scene with Lionel smirking.

    Next scene: Clark is worried that the pressure of Martha's job is getting to her. She asserts that it's not the job, it's Lionel. Clark goes to tell Lionel to stay away from his mother. Not, OR ELSE. Just STAY AWAY.

    Third scene: This is all a game to Evil Lionel so he starts showing up around Martha all the time, getting her angry and flustered, pestering and almost stalking her. She calls the police. Lionel asserts he's never laid a hand on her and she can't prove he's done anything wrong period (According to prev. stories HACK!).

    All this is taking place over six, seven, maybe eight episode in what is known as CHARACTER ARCS (Hey Al! Miles! Have you seen this term before? No? Oh!)

    Translate the hate and anger believably - it becomes heat, which can lead to completely wrong and destructive romance. It can and has happened so many times, in real life and on TV. Characters who HATE each other become attracted to each other. They don't start liking or respecting each other. In no way - but there's attraction. It's human and it's real.

    THIS I buy. In fact, a key component of my fifth novel that I'm torquing now is just how passionate a romantic encounter between people who hate each other can be. In my twisted story, it's a kidnapper and his captors. It's crazy, but it really plays.

    THEN, if you get them together, there's consequences. Martha disappoints Clark, who's wounded by her actions. She has so much guilt over betraying Jonathan. She tries her damndest from then on to make it up to them and bring Lionel down. So then, even if you are cringing at the thought of Lionel and Martha together - at least it's real and interesting. Seeing Martha crying at Jonathan's grave, shattered by what she herself has allowed to happen - THAT I would watch! And there are consequences. CONSEQUENCES I TELL YOU!

    Very good. In fact, I love it.

    From there, the story opens up. Martha deals for a long time, Lionel by that time could have really fallen in love with her and is furious at himself for it - leading him to moments of weakness that get exploited by Clark and or Martha to Lex's detriment etc. etc.

    Do you agree with the above? It's just one way to do it. There are others for those who bother to look.

    I do agree. And I make the same exercises myself. I guess the point you're making and that I make is that arbitrary drama sucks, logical drama rules, and if they can't make logical drama, they should wait until they can, not crap out 22 episodes because they must. Stories that wait until they're good do much better than fodder. Ask Sopranos.

    Now, onto the original point of this letter: Lana and Lex.

    Same rules apply, if you want them together - motivate it. Look at the reasons it's wrong and don't gloss over it. He's older than her, so she has reservations about that. That she can voice to Chloe or Lois. There's been a subtly planted seed of jealousy between Clark and Lex all along. He's jealous that Clark had a normal family. He's jealous that Clark had a sweetheart (Lana, supposedly). He couldn't take Clark's family, so he takes Clark's girl - JUST TO GET TO CLARK. That I buy more than the assertion that he actually loves her. Even if you want to make it subconscious, and he only realizes and voices this later - that's fine. Not everything has to be revealed at the beginning. In fact, it shouldn't. You can have characters doing insane things as long as the writers no why they're doing it and have a clear idea of how to reveal it to the audience at some point.

    Keep going, you're on a roll.

    For example, I'll refer to a show I've spoken to you about in personal letters, and one I know you don't like, but bear with me. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Whedon Army, back me up here!

    I'm on record as having no problem with Buffy. I just have yet to experience it. And on the surface, it's not my kind of show. I'm going to give it a chance.

    In that show, Buffy was in love with Angel because he was a good vampire. Then, season six rolls along and she hooks up with Spike, a bad, though contained, vampire. Fans everywhere went ballistic, but until today, they're still split over their loyalties. Some believe in Buffy and Angel, others in Buffy and Spike. But the point is, it was motivated. I belong to the former's way of thinking, and I almost ripped my own eyes out when Buffy kissed Spike for the first time. But even though I hated that it was happening, I bought it. I couldn't deny that it made sense for her character at that time. They laid the groundwork for it for a SEASON AND A HALF. That's real work just to hook up two characters. Spike hadn't done a truly evil thing for a year and a half, so nobody could argue that she was sc$#wing her worst enemy. AND EVEN THEN, it had terrible consequences. Buffy was chastised, and villainised, and rebuffed by her friends. They made no secret of the fact that they thought she was losing her mind. She herself went through a period of self-loathing for allowing the relationship to happen. Spike fell truly in love and became a hero for a girl he knew never truly loved him. Screen gold, motivated and believable every step of the way.

    Sounds good, actually.

    The reason I bring that up is the correlation between the two shows. It's wrong that Lana's the heroine of Smallville, but that's how they portray her. Same as Buffy's the heroine. Spike and Lex are villains. They're Archetypes. The reason Buffy succeeded where Smallville failed is honesty. Buffy's writers questioned themselves and their characters and their motivations every step of the way. Smallville takes shortcuts and it kills the show.

    Yes.

    The situation can be rescued. In all series, some seasons are better than others - some recover and others don't. But they'll have to start being honest soon. Or we may never see Welling don the suit. And after following the show for so long, that will be the real tragedy.

    Thanks

    Byron Abrahams (Viva Africa)

    I honestly think it's too late for this show. With less than two seasons, you just can't accomplish a miracle. You CAN do some wrapping up, but it'll never be what it once was. Not to me.

    RosJaq wrote:
    First off, I owe you about three seasons worth of thanks.

    And likewise to you for reading.

    Had it not been for your excellent reviews of the last two seasons of this show, I don't think I would have made it through Seasons 4 & 5. Thanks in advance as well for this season and I hope you make it through this one as well.

    Heh. Actually, Gough and Millar should thank me for that, but I'll take it. It's flattering as all hell. Thank you.

    I thought we'd gotten off to a moderately decent start with Season 6. Save for the visual assualt of the Lex/Lana pairing and the anachronistic and torturous blathering of Smallville's version of Lois Lane, I thought an active Clark Kent would pave the way for some active character development. Then we got "Sneeze" and even worse, we got "Wither".

    Yes. Sad, huh?

    This last episode was terrible. I can't describe it in further detail because I'm trying desperately to erase the banality and campiness that this episode dove into. Suffice to say, it was dreadful, but your review once again, made sense out of mayhem. As a bilingual Superman fangirl (Superman comics helped me learn to read in English as a kid), I cannot thank you enough.

    Hey, right back at you. At very least, it's good to know I'm not insane.

    Joshua wrote:
    hi, i just read your article about superman retuyrns the video game and i am actually very upset. The best seen in superhero movie history is the new airplane seen in SR. Im really not understanding why EA made a SR VG without even having that in the game.......all through the movie i would think "DAMN i cant wait to save the plane in the game"

    Trust me, when you play it, all will be well, all will be well, and all manner of things will be well at six hundred miles an hour.

    Josh

    SCOTTY V wrote:
    Hello again Neal my friend,

    Yo!

    Your review of the Superman Returns game was really cool. I've been excited about this for quite some time and I'm very glad it sounds as though we won't be disappointed. Trip also sounds like a lot of fun. I couldn't believe the EA store and the two free games, as well as the ten bucks only that they charged you for any other games. I'd have gone back too. Swag man, swag.

    It was a blast.

    Ha hahahahahahahaha! And we laughed and laughed. Except the laughter was only there to hide the tears of shame. Yes I watched 24. One of the best shows on television.ever! Well written, smart, always tense and always makes you anxious to see what happens next. Sure, I watch Lost. Another of the best TV shows. Well written, smart, often tense and always dramatic.blah blah blah anxious to see what's next. Of course I watch House. Well written, smart, funny and witty, always neat to see the next cool way House will save a life. But then, just when it seems like my tastes are good and that people might trust my opinion on what good television is - I must remove the specs, pull aside the necktie, tear open the shirt and reveal to the world that yes.(hanging my head) I also watch Smallville. Hardly ever well written, uhhh. often dull, dimwitted, overly simplistic and (good news) SOMETIMES (bad news) USUALLY DURING SWEEPS AND PREMIERES AND FINALES, dramatic and cool and exciting.

    Yes. It's odd, how much TV I've started watching. It's only like 4-5 hours a week, but to me, that's really crazy.

    "Why do watch THAT show?" People sometimes ask me.

    In the beginning it was: "Oh man it's really cool. It's about how Clark Kent grows up to become Superman."

    "Oh really?" People would say. "Maybe I'll check it out."

    Now it's: "Isn't that some crappy show on that Frog channel?"

    And I say: "Well the Frog's gone now and they brought in a C and a W. But they have a show about Superman so that's cool." But in my head I worry that I really know this show isn't about any Superman I've known.

    It's got its moments, but more of the OTHER kind of moments.

    I can go so far as to say sure; this is supposed to be about Clark LEARNING to be Superman. So of course he'll make mistakes or struggle in his efforts to do the right thing. Like, for instance, Clark might, out of disappointment, question why he would save a person who he isn't close to when he knows all along that he has to do it anyway cause it's the right thing to do. Or he might punch or condemn a guy who's always been his friend because he THINKS that guy MIGHT have done something wrong. (I give him kind of a pass on this because his parents and Lana were put in real danger because of it.) Another thing he MIGHT do is make love to a girl he always thought he'd be with forever and that he truly loved even though he wasn't married and will still living with his parents. Hey, it's the modern age! Something else he might do: he might murder a person. You know, kill them because they were bad or just really annoying or something because he hasn't become Superman yet.

    Yar, even though he's 20. Sigh.

    Wait a minute! Forget that last part. Not Superman. No HE wouldn't. I think that there are ways it MIGHT be explained. Like maybe Clark killed her or destroyed her (the plant creature, I mean) by accident. He was trying to subdue her and the unexpected shorted electricity destroyed her. Maybe that wasn't his plan. Seemed like he did what he was trying to do, sure, but maybe he didn't expect it to be THAT effective. Something I said in a "Complain about "Whither"" thread somewhere was that she was a plant and perhaps the Phantom she came from was just creating a manifestation of a girl and therefore she wasn't a sentient being and that the Phantom was perhaps just sent back to oblivion. Problem is, there's no way for us to know other than to judge what we saw and come to our own conclusions. It certainly looked like Clark killed her, or at least that what Clark did to her killed her.

    He killed her without remorse.

    But maybe we can't blame all of our problems on other people. Maybe we have to say that what the plant woman did is what ended up killing her. Reap what you sow. I don't know. After all, oftentimes Smallville would have us believe that it's end result will be that Clark is a great hero and Lex is a great villain and that both of those things are to the fault of Clark and Lex. I've never liked this idea. I hate that kids new to Superman watching this show will think, that at least in some way or another, it's because of Clark, Earth's greatest hero, that Lex became a villain. I also hate that kids watching this show believe Jor-El is kind of a villain, or that Jonathan Kent must be dead in the comics. Worst of all, I hate that kids and people new to the Superman mythos can say: "See, he's not that great, he kills or does things that COULD kill. He wishes harm on people he doesn't talk to anymore. And hey, he doesn't even WANT to be a hero. Why's he get all this kudos for being so great?" I really hate that.

    Likewise. It's out of character and diminishes the legends.

    I haven't read your review yet. I'm going down your however many pages as I write this letter to you. Sorry if whenever I write it seems like a long term paper or thesis or something but Superman, strange as it sounds for a 31 year old man with a wife and a new baby, is pretty important to me. I had a lot of hope for Smallville, and in the beginning I had little reason to think it wouldn't be fulfilled. It was a slow start but there was a lot of promise. Now, five years in and starting our 6th season of watching, I feel deflated after an episode like this. "Whither" was absolutely the worst episode of Smallville ever. "Thirst" was bad. I'd say "Hypnotic" and "Magnetic" were worse. But "Whither?" For me, "Whither" was the largest piece of trash ever released. Since my little girl actually enjoys watching Sesame Street and I've now got all those characters on my mind again, I can say that I think only Oscar the Grouch could love anything as ragged and rotten and rusty as this pile.

    Oscar the Grouch would actually make an interesting guest appearance. I'd rather have him as a villain than Poison Ivy. At least Oscar is quipping sarcastic and promotes intelligence while impoverished.

    It's almost like they turned the show over to my daughter to have her write it this week. No wait, my daughter's almost 4 months old and I think, that with her newly acquired knowledge from watching the Sesame Street and my wife reading to her, that SHE, my 4 month old daughter - Chloe Michelle - Could have actually done a better job of writing this episode than the "professionals" that were actually allowed to pass this off. It's a damned shame that's what it is. But I'll keep watching. Because honestly, I still love most of these characters and I love the way the actors play them. I also do love SOME of the mythology stuff that they eventually get into. Mostly though, I love anything about Clark Kent that I can get and that's the saddest thing, because most of the filmed stuff is usually not so good.

    I agree. And just realize, scarily, that when your daughter is old enough to watch, Smallville will seem like Superboy...

    In your review, you mention the product placement again. I think I've said this before but I really never even notice it. To me, if I'm playing a video game or watching a movie or TV show, and I see a billboard for Coke, it adds to the realism. So much so that I don't even step out and go: "Hey look, there's a billboard for Coke!" It seems to me like that's just what the world looks like. Like it or not, when you're driving down a street, there's a good chance you'll see some ads. Obviously some are more unnecessary than others in a TV show. I didn't even listen to the ad on the radio, but there will be radio ads. Maybe it will help you to know that some of what movies and shows need to create the thing they're creating come from those product placements. I just watched "Flightplan" today and then, because I liked it so much, I watched the making of docs on the disc. The set designer was talking about some of the real equipment that was given to them for free. He mentioned that they were given a fifty thousand dollar galley oven for free simply for some product placement. I assume the product placed WAS the oven. Who the hell even knows to look for an airline galley oven in a movie? I sure don't, but hey, in Smallville if they get the cars the characters drive for free just for the placement it really doesn't bother me. Now of course Chloe and Lois and Lana shouldn't have new and pristine cars all the time, but what about those cars Lex drives? If they've ever shown a Jag symbol or a Ferrari horse, it was product placement and they probably get to at least USE the car for free. Saves on a lot of budget that we can then use on great effects (not in this ep) or hiring some really talented, thoughtful writers (not on this show) and that's sure nothing to complain about.

    True. I have no problem with it unless they REALLY, REALLY promote it.

    I do remember you were bugged when they, as you say, misused Boulevard of Broken Dreams, but I reiterate what I said back then, I think the gist was that Clark HAD always been the outsider, HAD always had identification with the feelings expressed in that song and that, after that one episode, he was going to go back to that life because that was who he was meant to be. It was used during a time in the episode that would make you think it was misappropriation, but I think it could be viewed as apt foreshadowing to what would come. A guy who never really did fit in and was never really allowed to do the things that others did TO fit in who had one shot and then, once again, had to fade back to that obscurity because it was the right thing for him to do.

    The band MIGHT show up in nowheresville because Lex Luthor, a super-rich businessman, is throwing a charity event to raise money for victims of Dark Thursday. Rock bands the world over showed up for all kids of events after 911 or Katrina. My problem with it was that it was just misplaced. It just seemed like everything in this episode was disjointed somehow, like nothing belonged. The band didn't belong just because when we saw them, my wife and I just looked at each other like: "What the hell are they doing here?" Most of the scenes, characters and actions in this show, most of the time, just seemed like they were cut out of whatever program used to edit them without being finished and tossed into a pile to later be used "as is" in what ever places they fell. Nothing fit together in this episode at all. It was bad storytelling and for no real purpose.

    It seemed like it was close to something, just never got there.

    You say: "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 say: Hilarious!

    Word.

    I have agreed with you when you've said that, for the most part, Clark SHOULD be a man now and that he SHOULD know what most of his morals and ethics are. He SHOULD know what right and wrong are and he SHOULD know what he's willing to do or sacrifice to feel right about himself. This Clark doesn't. I think that's a problem yes, but on the other side of that, I don't necessarily think that it's universal for everyone to know who they are or where they're going by the time they're 20. We could get into the argument that this isn't everybody, this is Superman again, but that's not what I think you're talking about. You're making general statements about how people should have discovered who they are and where they're going by 20.

    Yes. I believe that. Few good people I know don't know who they want to be or what they are by that age. Many of the misguided people who lack direction don't by that age. Does that make them worse people? No. But I think particularly a moral arbiter, and most people, should know by that age. Bukowski didn't, and he turned out all right, but he's a rare exception. Most people who don't know who they are by that age never find out.

    Maybe they should, but I know that, for instance, a lot less people are getting married before 30 these days. People are still living out their 20's trying to learn more about the world and themselves so that they know who they are for sure and what they're getting into. I personally didn't get married till 26 and I still haven't found the professional success that Clark might call my "destiny." This is actually one point where I feel the writers of this show have some leeway because Clark, in the comics, doesn't don the suit and become Superman until he's about 30. That tells me he hasn't quite decided who he will be before then. In general though, things like killing or not helping people, Clark should know how he feels about those things by now.

    That still fits what I said, though. For instance, I WILL NOT get married before 30 barring extreme circumstances, and likely not even then. It just dinks the man. But I knew that at 19.

    I don't know how many times I've posted that line and said it out loud since I heard "nameless costume lady" say it. "Your complexion is even more radiant than in the magazines." Holy shizle Batman, Lana IS beautiful! Nameless costume lady even thinks so. I know I'm gonna get rapped in the mouth for this but.WHAT MAGAZINES??? I haven't gotten to the next line of your review in terms of what you say about it but: Is Lana now in magazines?? WOW! No WONDER she can afford to drive back and forth to Metropolis several times an episode! She like.Mary Jane Watson all of a sudden! And Nameless costume lady thinks Lana's complexion is even BETTER than in those magazines, (?) that must mean we should feel that way too.

    I think she meant the tabloids.

    According to the show, Lana did not have sex with Whitney, Jason or magnet-kid. Furthermore, she didn't bed Lex either until the end of this episode. Believe me, I hate Lana's character as well, but we need to at least go by what we've been told, believable or not. Lex has had Rival Dad's daughter, fire-girl Desiree, psycho sex is wrong girl, his wife (if you meant nurse here I think she was a Doctor. If there's a Nurse I'm forgetting then her too), and that's only the ones we've seen. It's inferred that Lex has had many unseen conquests and I think that, based on Lex being a billionaire player type guy with questionable ethics, we would normally lump him into the sex with lots of women lot. Of course, as Lex says many times through this series, by doing that we're pre-assuming things about Lex because of what others like him do and in that we're the reason he goes evil.

    That "I've never moved them in with me" line was way funny. It's just another incredible continuity line from the makers of Smallville. His wife, the other woman that would have been his wife (Desiree fire-girl, I think) and rival Dad's daughter lived there too if I'm not mistaken...at least.

    I think that's right.

    Clark HAS expressed interest in Chloe. You mention that he never has. There was a short time in the beginning of season two when Chloe decided to tell him she was never interested in him and only wanted to be friends forever. That was when he was about to tell her he might love her and that perhaps they should become a couple. So I still say Clark may be dumb to not know, but it was, according to what she said, Chloe that set the record straight and he's just been trying to live by her wishes.

    Good call. I forgot.

    You know, it was weird, with the Lois and OQ thing, I didn't think she was rude or bichy at all. When she goes to try and win him back for Martha later and actually says she was rude I said to my wife: "She wasn't rude, was she?" Michelle, the Wonder Woman, didn't think so either. Doesn't mean Lois wasn't, just that it didn't strike us that way. I think I may have been barely paying attention, waiting for some semblance of story to start so that I could have a coherent thought about what I was watching. I simply saw it as, Lois thinking the guy was a courier, taking the package and then tipping him. Nothing about a delivery person says you need to befriend him or even invite him in or tea. I've never done either of those things. Usually I do less than what Lois did. She actually tells the guy how gorgeous he is and suggests that he could be doing something else. I've delivered a lot of pizzas and waited a lot of tables in my time and no woman has ever told me that with my looks I could be doing much better things. I think I'm a pretty decent looking guy and if it ever did happen, I'd be flattered and happy for the rest of the night no matter what went wrong. I certainly wouldn't feel she was rude or be offended. I don't think OQ was either. In fact, I think he found it endearing.

    Maybe I've just been dismissed as a courier too often. Meaning, in many jobs, people dismissed me without giving me a chance, so I have a bias.

    Also didn't catch the "Can You Read My Mind" theme. I'll have to go back and look at that. Of course, in your premiere review business, someone mentioned that it was "so cool" to hear the John Williams Superman theme at the end of the battle with Lod. I certainly thought it would have been cool and was listening with hope, but did not hear it. I've actually been waiting since, to my memory, the last time they played any Supes music, the episode where Jonathan is hugging Clark in the storm cellar after Clark reads the message that tells him to rule - and I think that was season 3! When the writer mentions this, you agreed that it was cool. Did you hear it too? I figured they've been forbidden to use it since way back in that last show I mentioned because of the movie rights and stuff. I really hope not, cause I'd love to hear it again and I think there are so many moments where it would be fantastic and hasn't come.

    I think they play it down and keep it subtle so they don't have to pay for it.

    Again a funny, strange moment for me comes up in your review. You mention how you know the Park Ranger is the FOTW. I was actually surprised to see that she was later in the show. The way everyone was being set up with partners, I thought that maybe she was going to be a recurring character for a bit or maybe even go with Clark to the ball. It could be that, like I said, I was having a real hard time paying a lot of attention to this drivel but I was actually surprised by her being the villain. Not that I cared, or that it mattered, or that it was cool or anything.

    At the point I've come to you ask a question. I'll leave it to you to decide which one. The answer is: No Neal, they do not, at least not always.

    Nay, just most of the time.

    I did think it was hilarious when Lex showed up in the greenhouse. Plus, I said to my wife, interesting that that greenhouse is even there. How many times have we seen how many different shots of this mansion and hey, NEVER a mention or sight of greenhouse, nary a time? I realize this is done in other shows and that the estate is probably large so it's possible, I just thought it was funny. Some of Lex's dialogue was cool though so I guess it's ok. Although I'm pretty sure: "Clark, the days of you barging into my home and making accusations are over!" has been used word for word in another episode. "Sorry Clark, I'm all out of evil." Classic.

    Oh and just for the record. I hate Lana.

    Seconded, motioned, put to a vote. Any objections?

    And Lana's line about blaming everyone else and making wrong choices did sound good for a minute didn't it; she almost had me convinced for a minute.

    All of the effects in this episode are some of the worst I've seen on any show ever. You mentioned that in the premiere, the Daily Planet globe shown in front of the burning city looked cool and that it was a good effect. I actually thought it looked like a picture on a flat screen with another picture behind it. The movement helped it not to look completely like a flat picture but not much for me. But after this episode, that effects shot was Superman Returns!

    I dunno. Star Trek has some bad ones in the early days.

    I said in your earlier review of Oliver's appearance in the last episode, I'm sure this version of GA (I'm not overly familiar with the comics version) would have special arrows, made of special material so they don't shatter. Also, I'm not sure if you're confusing them or not, but this is not the guy who played AC in "Aqua." I'm thinking he may have been cast in the pilot of the Aquaman based TV show as the waterguy himself, but he hasn't yet appeared on Smallville.

    Titanium, yeah, but still, it'd shatter, I'd postulate.

    That is one horrible actress playing the nurse that runs out of the room screaming when the plant thing hatches. I guess that's why you say "a mouthful of cheese," but she's definitely one of the worst on Smallville to date.

    Yeah. Almost as bad as the "bra" guys.

    I did not notice that Kristin's costume looked puffy toward the belly. However, when you mentioned that it looked like she was hiding a baby belly, I recalled that rumor that Lana would get pregnant by Lex. This development depresses me more than anything else they've done to ruin the characters of Lex and Lana so far. I really don't know how I can force myself to keep watching should that happen, though somehow I know I will.

    I'm concerned about it, I really am. It would be worse than a singing episode.

    On the one forum I was posting on, people were talking about the costumes and whose was best. I had to mention, as did other posters, how odd it seemed that OQ would dress in a retro GA suit and then, when everyone already recognized him at the ball with a mask over his eyes, next week he's just gonna be wearing sunglasses and no one will know it's him. I'm sure that's just the producers, who've already admitted they really didn't like Superman and he wasn't the one they wanted to do a show about it, way of poking fun at the Clark Kent glasses only disguise but it doesn't really work here. The main reason it doesn't is because Ollie's already shown up in a GA costume, some people have referred to it as a Robin Hood costume and I guess that's what it was SUPPOSED to be but we all know why they chose to suit him up that way.

    Again with the arrows, maybe they're a special composite?

    It's a stretch to me.

    I have no idea who the folks are that you say call Smallville better than Superman Returns, which it isn't by a long shot, but I'd like to hear their reasoning. If they harp on some of the changes the movie made they have no case. Smallville has changed so much about this legend, altered the characters in reprehensible ways, and made Clark out to be more like the Punisher or Wolverine (Batman's the more obvious choice but since the producers have made it clear that Bruce Wayne's story was the one they wanted to tell) than Superman. At least the characters don't do anything particularly reprehensible in SR. Sure there's the whole Jason thing but that's like a drop in the bucket compared to the stuff Smallville's done. They both could have been so much more than what they are. Smallville had such a greater opportunity because, in general, I like well written TV better than movies. You can get to know the characters better. On most TV shows there's much more forwarding of the characters lives, they actually learn things and change and develop. In this case, Smallville has dropped the ball repeatedly. Sometimes it can be really good.though most times it's horribly inconsistent.

    It's mostly younger people in my experience, who have less of a background with Supes, or a different one. It's like the people who hate Storm and Colossus and Wolverine because they were around for the original X-Men, whereas I love the movies because I grew up on the cartoon.

    This episode is the one that will make more people stop watching than any have so far, and yet if Lana is shown as pregnant with Lex's baby, that will set another milestone in the "people who'll stop watching" department. I think the younger viewers will find it cool - that whole furthering of the soap opera type stuff even though it shouldn't happen. It's the same crowd I think they're going for with the nudity and sex and teenybopper stuff. It's unfortunate they have so little respect for the legend and for the millions of mature Superman fans that they might have had watching this show till the end. "Whiter," which I rate not with a 1 to 5 or 1 shattered arrow to 5, but with one simple word: abysmal, is simply the worst television episode of any show that I've seen.ever.

    My thoughts.stickin to em,

    Scotty V

    Awesome.

    P.S. - I couldn't figure out how to vote for that guys YTMND. Also, is it easy to make those? I haven't checked because I've never done anything with computer graphics or sounds or anything. It might be cool to do though if it can be done by anyone.

    I think to vote, you have to have an account. To make them, you just need a JPG and a wav. It's super easy. And fun. Anyone can do it.

    By the way, If my writing is too long, I'll cut back just let me know.

    You're fine by me, man.

    Stephanie wrote:
    Hello Neal,

    I just want to start off by saying that I love your reviews each week. I really truly feel that I have not gotten the complete Smallville experience for the week until I have read the review. I think yout opinions are right on the money, at least most of the time.

    Thanks a lot!

    I'm just going to talk about Wither for a sec, just for clarification purposes. I thought, for some reason, that in the premiere Raya said something about the Phantom Zone being a prison for people from all planets, which would mean that Gloria wasn't necessarily from Krypton. This might explain why she still had her body. When people from her planet were sent there, they might not have had their physical bodies destroyed. That, however, does not erase the fact that she was one of the worst villains this show has ever had.

    If that's true, I missed it. I have no doubt they wanted her to be from another planet, I just questioned how the PZ, would be on said other planet, heh.

    Ok, that being said, I want to talk about this season in general. I can't believe that I waited an entire summer to see the crap that they are trying to pass off as Smallville this season. The premiere was pretty good, as you've said, and I had reason to hope that it would continue. And I have to say, I've been patient, but I just don't know how much longer I can deal with this.

    You're telling me. Trust me, I know.

    Fisrt of all, the show is about a young Superman. So why do I feel like this season it's all about Lana? Even Lex is taking a backseat to Lana this season, and I want to know why. See, I'll admit that up until Void, I was a Lana fan (though now I look back and see all the crap she did and I wonder why). After Void, I was disgusted. Yes, Clark broke her heart. He was cruel and his reason was ridiculous. And yes he lied, ALL THE TIME. But a good person would take it. Yes, they would be heartbroken, but they would never go out of their way to be cruel. Unlike Lana, who in the season finale actually had the nerve to say that she didn't know how she could have ever loved him. And then earlier when she had overheard the conversation between Chloe and Clark at the Daily Planet, she automatically assumed that Clark was going to kill Lex, even though she didn't hear the entire conversation. But the worst part was that in the season premiere, she had the nerve to go to the barn and ask Martha where Clark was because she needed him to stop Zod, proclaiming that she had heard Chloe and Clark talking but she didn't really understand what was going on (I guess in Lanaland that passes for an apology). 

    It's not just that Clark lied, it was the whole pot and the kettle thing that gets me. She has a leg to stand on...but only if she's not constantly lying herself, which she does.

    Anyways, ever since the breakup in Hypnotic she has dealt with Clark in an extremely immature way, and yet the writers apparently think that she is just telling Clark what he needs to hear. I just don't see the logic behind it.

    Cheap drama.

    Basically, I just wanted to let you know that now I read you reviews and share your anti-Lana comments with my family, who find them hilarious, as I do.

    Thanks! Tell them I said hi.

    Next, I want to talk about this sudden rift between Lex and Clark. Basically, what the writers have done is made two of the most iconic people of all time become enemies over a hot girl. How degrading to both characters! How ridiculous!

    How...sexist and destructive to feminist ideals? I'm with you.

    I didn't think that it was humanly possible to make Clark Kent and Lex Luthor this ridiculous. Well, Al and Miles proved me wrong. Personally, I feel it would have been much better to have them become enemies at the end of season 3, when Clark found out that Lex was researching him behind his back. That, to me, is something that is much more believeable. But the writers are trying to get us to believe that Clark and Lex become enemies over a GIRL! A frickin' girl! And not just any girl, but LANA LANG!

    THIS Lana Lang, of note. But I'm with you. I'd have plotted a four season, maybe five season arc for this show, and it would be adversaries by four, traveling the world at five.

    So, like you, I'm thinking that this is going to be Smallville's last season. Actually, I'm praying that this will be Smallville's last season, before they mutilate the characters even more than they already have. I'm crossing my fingers for next week's episode, but I'm not holding out much hope.

    I think with the ratings it'll be out of our hands. I'd be surprised if it made seven...and a bit scared.

    -Stephanie

    P.S. I thought that Lex's costume was fashioned after his namesake, Alexander the Great. It would make more sense.

    It would. I just like the Cleopatra angle.

    Kevin wrote:
    'Sup Neal liked the review.

    Thanks.

    Although I liked the episode, but I'm pretty much one of those fans that likes it as long as it's superman related which probably means it's gonna suck for awhile longer. I was thinking about the arrows going into brick thing, Green Arrow has always been known for having special arrows it wouldn't be that much of a stretch that he would have arrows that could pierce brick or metal without shattering. I mean if Batman can get explosives in a batarang why can't Oliver Queen have indestructable arrow heads?

    Well, because you can pack explosives into a boomerang, but to send a thin, fragile object into a hard, dense object at 3-400 miles an hour and not have it shatter, well...seems beyond the pale to me. I've seen stranger things with lighter arrows, not saying it's impossible, just highly improbable.

    I disagree on the whole Jor-El thing. I'm not saying he's a saint but when you mention the whole killing the fetus thing I believe that was 100% Clark's fault. I mean Jor-El said "Leave Smallville or everyone you care about will be hurt" I don't think it was a threat but a warning. Clark chose instead to use the Kryptonite key Lionel made to destroy the ship which created a massive shock wave which caused the Kent's truck to flipp over several times causing a miscarriage; no way that is Jor-El's fault.

    He made the ship and didn't warn Clark of what would happen if he tampered with it...that gives him fault to me.

    I mean if I came to you and said "Under no circumstances should you stick a fork in a toaster or you'll get shocked" it would then not be my fault if you go and do it anyway.

    True, but that's not what happened. Jor-El said "Don't make toast! In fact, Leave the house!" and Clark basically microwaved a burrito, and though Jor-El didn't tell him it would, it burned the house down. That's Jor-El's negligence, because he'd know that would happen.

    Alot of the whole Jor-El/Clark thing has been that way. Jor-El gives a warning Clark does something really stupid causing something really bad to happen. I think it's kind of unfair to the writers(the same ones they need to fire and replace with fresh blood mind you) to ignore that part of the dynamic. It's like the whole "Don't do drugs" add that are on tv. You can tell someone all you want not to do drugs but if someone is dumb enough to go out and do them anyway you can't turn around and blame the ads for not trying hard enough.

    Even if the guys who do those ads murdered a teenage girl? (Kara)

    I agree with the fact that Lois and Jimmy should not even be on the show. Personally I would end this season with Clark waking up after season three revealing that the last three years was nothing more than just Jor-El showing Clark what would happen if he didn't get the stones; jump ahead to graduation andshow Clark creating the fortress then jump ahead about 6 years and rename the show Metropolis. Of course that last part was just my opinion of what the writers should do.

    Understood, and thanks.

    Azor wrote:
    1) I don't think Poison Ivy was Kryptonian. I think it was stated in "Zod" that villains from various planets were imprisoned in the Phantom Zone.

    True. My flaw lies in the fact that the PZ is supposed to be Krypton exclusive, or at least has been traditionally.

    2) Though I would give Wither a 1 out of 5, I thought you would possibly give it a 5 based on the fact that Lex was wearing what might have been a green and purple suit in the greenhouse scene (he was definitely wearing a purple shirt; the exact color of the jacket was hard to determine).

    Nice. Didn't see that. Good call.

    RMF wrote:
    I wasn't any more impressed by "Wither" than you were. Its real purpose seemed to be to furiously move the gamepieces around the board so Clark would wind up alone. They simply tacked this onto the framework of a weak FOTW. I hope they get the real story started next episode.

    They tried.

    But "Sneeze" and "Wither" got me wondering about something. Lana is mad at Clark for not telling her how he knew Lex would transform -- but she knows about this only because she saw Clark *and Chloe* discussing killing Lex. So why is it only Clark who's in the doghouse?

    I think it's because he's male. Males are held to more account on this show and in general.

    Instead of being mad at Chloe too and bugging Chloe to tell her, she comes to Chloe this week for personal advice. I don't get it. Are the writers just hoping we don't notice the incongruity, or worse yet, are we supposed to get behind Lana's anger peculiarly focused only at Clark?

    Yeah, cuz she hot? Dude!

    Thanks.

    sabino wrote:
    LEX IN A SKIRT!!!!! I mean I understand and when he had the full costume on it looked sic but when he took off the metal vest hahahaha he looked more feminine then Lana... I wasn't sure who was gonna be on top or for that matter which one was going to end up having the bastard son?

    Pete. It's all Pete. He's waiting to spring from the shadows.

    Aaron wrote:
    So far the season opener was the only episode worth watching. I'm disappointed that the writers aren't pulling out all the stops for their final season. Or maybe its the person who has the final say, if so; WAKE! UP! YOUR LOSING YOUR VIEWERS. The acters have been doing a good job so please give them and us something to look back on and have every one saying I WANT MORE SMALLVILLE!!!

    Me too.

    Shafi S wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    Oh man if your fellow reviewer Doug didn't like the last episode.

    Yar. Doug's a good 'un.

    Sorry Neal for not writing before, I missed the season premire and the last one. But by reading review I think I didn't miss much. I did see sneeze though. Oh man, I thought I was watching season 4 all over again, well sort of.

    Pretty much, so far. Worse, actually.

    Even though it was a power episode. How can a man who can go 800 mph (I think right now in his life), shoot fire from his eyes, have bullets bounce off of him can't figure out he can blow stuff a 100 ft away or more from him.

    Scientology?

    We know he can hold his breath for a looooonngg time (Hidden and Aqua) but it takes good ole Chloe to tell him that he can blow stuff apart. Oh yea Neal, did you notice they recycled the flying effect and put it in his mouth.

    I didn't, but I do now.

    Is it the new network or they don't care. This is Superman, he wears blue and red and tries to help people, but they seem to focus on Lana. I love Lana I don't want to see her hurt BLAH BLAH my appendix got removed.

    Heh.

    Besides the dialog, I know it didn't bother some people and not some much for me, during the last part of the episode. But how can he just blow some clouds away like that, and Chloe told him to anyway.

    And he hasn't used the power since.

    Anyhoo, Neal I wanted to know about the new Justice League comic thats out, and I been reading the whole three issues that came out. But my problem is with issue 0, I don't get it. Is it in current time or post crisis time, Just don't know. Batman having a son that kills people, All star comics being delayed, but my other problem is people aren't giving the side heroes a chance, like the new flash or the blue beetle I'm starting to like them. I got hooked with the beetles every since Rucka's writing in OMAC project.

    I'm hoping they'll explore it. They HAVE to explain the continuity somehow. It'll just take five years and by that time they'll reboot again. Comics suck. Meh.

    I tried to read the recent Action Comics and Superman, but Busiek's writing is out there for sure. I either lost interest or got confused on what the hell is going on. Its like I was happy on seeing that Superman Brainac attacks movie and it turns out i hated it. THANKS FOR RUINING SUPERMAN YOU BATMAN WRITERS. I sorta hate that new batman show. Batman doesn't laugh or makes small talk with alfred.

    Yeah, the new Batman show didn't please me. I'm not liking Busiek's work so far either. I want it to get better. It might.

    Sorry for going on and on about this, but I do appreciate it for reading it. THanks Neal,

    Any time.

    P.S if you like badA$$ Mick Rosenbaum with that Lex LuthOR type stuff, and you should check out Yakuza the game. Not only does it have a cool main character but Mick's character is one of the coolest rivials/villians i ever liked in a video game. Oh man you should her Rosenbaum curse its the funniest thing ever.

    I haven't played it. I want to...no cashola for games.

    Thanks Neal.

    Shafi 

    Thank YOU.

    Stephen Carty wrote:
    Hi there Neal.

    Being a lifelong comics fan I did my dissertation on comic book movies (with, of course, a dedication to Christopher Reeve)and am, myself, a freelance writer for one or two publications. Anyway - I thought Id post some of my musings on the man of steel.

    Okay. Cool.

    1. Superman Returns
    -First of, I came out of the cinema slightly dissapointed but having seen it several times since I have came to the conclusion that it is actually really excellent. Thinking back, the reason I was dissapointed was that Id seen so much of it on trailers and youtube and so (this problem is worldwide now with technology being what it is)the real problem is that too much of movies is shown before they come out and, therefore, the surprise factor is often removed.

    I dunno. It was maybe 10-15 minutes of a two and a half hour film...

    -Second, I think that a few key scenes were probably deleted. Would have loved to have seen more Clark (it is clear Singer views Clark as just a disguise and a 'spy'), more lines in general for Routh (the man of steel had very little to say - but then I suppose that is ok seeing as he is supposed to be broken emotionally)and more scenes in Smallville and the rumoured one of him in the costume with the glasses on. Still - Im nickpicking.

    Yeah, I think that actually was a big problem, something the DVD may rectify, I hope.

    -Third, I loved Routh (No Reeve - but then nobody is), thought many of the flying scenes could not have been better (in particular I loved when he and Lois spiraled up and down to land on the roof and the way instead of jumping off the balcony to see Lois on the Planet Roof he floated down - its the little things!), the music gave tingles and giving Superman a problem like dealing with his loved one moving on (and just making it him vs Luthor instead of some rubbish freak-of-the-week bad guy)was absolutely the right choice.

    Very right. I'm with you.

    -Fourthly, Aside from Langella phoning his performance in my only real problem with the cast (get ready for this) was Spacey. In fact, my problem was not with his performance, it was more with the way that his character was dealt with. The scene showing us how he got his money was wasted screen-time and Im still waiting on a version of Lex Luthor the way he should be. For my money - and this is only my opinion - the best Lex so far has been Lois and Clark's (yeah I know everyone hates it but I think series 1 is actually pretty decent)John Shea. Apart from the hair he is exactly as Lex is. Rich, devious, intelligent and sitting in the tallest building in Metropolis pulling the strings.

    I think Lois and Clark got rid of him too early, actually. Odd that Smallville has him much more than a Superman series...

    Fifthly, Not too happy with Singer's announcement that the next one will have more action and less character development. It should be the other way about!!!

    I think there should be both, myself.

    Ok - Moving on, Smallville

    1. Loved parts of series one, most of series 2 and 3. 4 and 5 were pretty much the same - a few good episodes but lots of fillers.

    I liked 2 and 3 best, but still, yeah.

    2. My main problem with it is the length of the story arcs. Really good episodes like - off the top of my head - 'Red' (discovery of Red K), 'Rosetta' (the big man - nuff said), 'Run' (the Flash), 'Aqua' (AC), 'Hourglass' (old man becoming young), 'Rogue' (agent trying to use Clark), 'Leech' (the power swap), 'Insurgence' (Lionel and Martha hostage), 'Calling' / 'Exodus' (end of series 2), 'Exile' / 'Phoenix' (start of series 3) and 'Legacy' (ok - so Iv mentioned a few here)could have been expanded to fit 2 or 3 episodes instead of always being self-contained.

    It's Byrne vs. Bendis style stories. I prefer Bendis.

    By taking 'Red' over a few episodes there would be much less need for 'filler' episodes with terrible cardboard-cutout badguys and then the Red K would not seem like a tired plot device when used over and over (because it would have allready been used for 3 / 4 eps but as part of a stream-lined plot-arc). If the above advice was followed then - and Im sure it will never see the light of day or be taken seriously because, unfortunately Smallville has to cater to the mass publice viewers who demand self-contained episodes with too much action - then Im sure we would all be happier viewers. So - to sum up - what Im saying is, Smallville should be more like 'Lost' (best tv prog in years in my opinion - oodles of character development, constantly surprising, never sacrifices characterisation or pacing for action and constantly drip-feeding us parts of the whole)and less like 'Buffy'.

    My favorite shows right now, drama: House, then Lost, then Smallville. Continuity, cohrent plot, and then the exception.

    3. Finally (bet you are delighted at that)I would like to throw my 50 pence (I know you guys say cents but I am Scottish)into the ring as to how Id finsih it. Puely and simply - Lex kills his father and FINALLY becomes evil. Somehow - they manage to write themselves out of the huge plot hole they are in and figure out a way that both Lex and Lois will not figure out that Clark (the guy they've known for years and who is constantly around and on the fringes of amazing occurences)is actually the Man of Steel. Lastly - i would have him working in the planet when an emergancy comes and Tom mutters "This is a job for Superman' and opens his shirt to reveal the S.

    I love it. And I love pence more than cents. But that's because I know so many awesome brits/scots/Europeans through this writing.

    Ok - enough of me - keep up the good writing dude!

    Up, up and Away!

    Thanks!

    gary wrote:
    You were complaining about Lana calling Lex out for his revolving door of women but said she was with more people. She has only slept with Clatk before and in season 4 Bound, It said Lex had slept with like 13 girls in the last year, and how many before that. Lex has slept with alot more people. Thats' what they were talking about.

    Heh. Thirteen? Got a list of those? And honestly, believe it or not, being with someone doesn't just mean sex. By being with someone, I mean Lana's had more significant others than Lex, not that she's had more sex. Both indicate what Lana was contemptuous of.

    Maybe you should watch the show instead being so worried about complaining about everything, not just this but so many other things.

    You know, I've never heard that before. I think I'll just start loving the show arbitrarily and being totally positive. Oh, no, wait! I'm a critic!

    I don't how you can complain so much and actually still say you like the show.

    Because I do. I like the show. It fails on many occasions, but I wouldn't watch it if I didn't like the dynamic.

    I know there some things that could be better but not everything is as bad you make it out to be.

    Of course it isn't. But not everything is as good as you make it out to be either, and it would do a disservice to simply give the show a pass just because.

    Chantal wrote:
    Geez! I don't understand why you watch the show and write a book about it every week when you obviously can't stand it!

    See the above. Honestly, I could write this letter myself. I get one every now and again in the midst of a ton of nice, coherent mail. It goes:

    Dear Niel!

    U need to just like thuis show becuz the writers try hard! I love this show and don't see how you can't! If you don't like it, don't watch it! Stop writing and die!

    Etcetera.

    I've written countless times (which you'd know if you read the whole review, which you likely don't if you're leveling these criticisms) that I love the show and I wish it success, but I'm a critic. I criticize the failures, note them, and then rate based on my gut. If I couldn't stand it, I'd just write, "I can't stand this show, I quit." I notate what's wrong in the hope that it'll be fixed (and sometimes it is) so I can watch the show without any criticism. That's another way for me to stop, for it to be so good I'd have nothing to say.

    Why level criticism at ME, and not praise at the people who make the show. That must mean you can't stand me, so why are you writing about me? Because it makes sense, that's why.

    I started watching Smallville back in Season four, actually, it was 'Blank' that I just happened to see a preview for and was immediatley hooked. I bought all the seasons, caught up on what I missed, found this website, and started reading your reviews. I did enjoy them, and I probably still would, but I often find myself watching an episode I thought was great, and then reading your review and feeling like no one even supports the Smallville anymore.

    Plenty of people support Smallville. Heck, how would I get so many varied and passionate letters if they didn't? LESS people support Smallville, but it's not because of my reviews (I don't reach more than a fraction of the viewers, at best), it's because the stories have consistently started to suck more.

    You seem to actually hate this show.

    Maybe. But I don't. You seem to hate me, but I won't assume you do until you say it.

    I understand your points sometimes, but most often you seem to ignore possibilites that would provide explanations for instances that you label as plot holes or impossible. If you don't enjoy the show, don't watch it.

    Oy. If you don't like the reviews, don't read them. Right? Why are you writing me? Why try to change me? You're doing exactly what I do, don't you see that? It's because that's a valid, good expression of value. The difference being, we pay for Smallville by watching ads, no one pays for these reviews.

    I do often ignore possibilities that could explain inconsistency, because it's not my JOB to explain inconsistency as the viewer. It's the show's job.

    I realize that in telling you to not watch the show because you don't enjoy it, I would be a hypocrite if I continued to read your reviews after saying I don't really enjoy your negativity. But I WANT you to like the show, that's why I look every week to see what you say.

    Well, that said, I'll give you two responses. I WANT you to like my reviews, which is why I listen to your criticisms as you listen to mine. By the same token, what if I WANT you to be more critical of your viewing choices? And hey, I also state, very clearly and constantly, that I like this show.

    A criticism, a critique, is simply an examination of faults. If I were to do a critique of someone I loved, a gal, for instance, and say she was extraordinarily fat and old, I could go to town as a critic. "You're fat. You're ugly. You smell. You fart like a bull elephant. You have crow's feet." But if I love her, I love her. Now you would NEVER say such things to someone you love, but this is a SHOW, not a person. I'm not directing my critique at Al and company, though if they listened and utilized the critique it could eliminate crow's feet and take away the ugly. I'm simply pointing to an existent entity, the show Smallville, that I love, and pointing out the flaws in what already exists and cannot be changed.

    I'm still very much beloved of the show.

    Either that, or I hate it and will subsequently stop watching it. Which sounds better?

    I'm sure alot of people agree with your opinions, or even just consider them, and so you represent alot of Superman/Smallville fans. Likewise, perhaps you tune in every week to watch Smallville because you want it to be what it should be. What I'm saying is, give the show a chance.

    I've given it over two thousand pages of chances, and heck, I would estimate approximately a thousand hours of my life.

    Mike D wrote:

    First off, I must say, that was a satisfying episode, except for the disappointments we have come to know at this point, namely Lana. Green Arrow, very on, lots of geek out moments with the arrows and such. The problems stem from why is Lois getting front page articles and needing Chloe to help? That makes no sense! Also, Lana, what the %&^*. Seriously, why is it that we get a remotely awesome episode, but is hindered from being a 5 into a 3.5- 4 range just because of her. Not that you should lower your standards, but quite frankly, when she is on screen, I want to choke her, and that is not what Superman would want. Which brings me to another comment, Clark was SPOT ON, but he really wasn't there much, instead we got secrets and lies from Lex (THE GREATEST CRIMINAL MASTERMIND OF OUR TIME, AND RULER OF AUSTRALIA), Lionel (who was on, liked Lex's last comment to him about believing his act), Lana ($^%&$#&@&@&^^#), and some red shirt who will probably die before sweeps.

    I'm with you. Lana kills most any broth. Secrets and lies, not so much...

    Again I must say, why is Lana here and what do the writers think they are accomplishing with her %&^*$ of a character??? But, back to positives, Clark being good! Awesome! Clark would not be throwing a ball around, and it was nice to have him realize (through GA) that he needs to look beyond his friends and family, which I thought we were gonna need to have Christian Bale roll up in the Batmobile and kick him in the butt to get going.

    If only. At least Batman has clarity of purpose.

    Also, Green Arrow was perfect, especially considering his middle ground between the other heroes (Flash and Aquaman; stealing or *slight* terrorism) and Clark (moral center for all). And I hope that not only will Clark become more global, but Ollie will become more of hero and wisecracker that he will become one day! Either way, this episode has me hyped even more for "JUSTICE" but I swear, if I have to put up with (SPOILER) Lana, [wussified] Lex, and a kid, during Superman, Flash, Green Arrow, Cyborg, and Aquaman, I will not be happy. I would give this episode a 4.5 of 5. Yes Lana ruins every scene she is in and is totally killing Lex, but Green Arrow being awesome, and Clark being the "Man of Steel" make up for it, in that we have been waiting for this for a long time. I hope to see your responses in your review this weekend.

    Here they are, and thanks! I'm less pleased than you with this one, but I agree, it's an upturn, eh?

    God Bless,
    Mike D.

    Likewise and thank you.

    Best, all, catch you next week! And don't forget to check out the updated KO Count.

    Neal



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