Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 6 - Episode 8: "Static"

Reviews:

Static

Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

This was almost like 2 episodes in 1. We have Clark off on a cool investigation while Chloe and Jimmy team up to tackle their own super villain.

And it turned out pretty good for the most part.

I have to admit I was a bit disappointed that Clark and the bone eater guy didn't get in a bit more of a super tussle but I did enjoy what went down. The surprise appearance of the Oreo eating hero at the end was pretty cool and made the less than fantastic fight worth it. I really enjoyed Clark's "investigation". While it was a step up in the gore factor for the show I thought it was presented in a way that did not go too far and really helped drive home why it was so important for Clark to get these "zoners" back where they belong. Seeing Clark standing there in red and blue talking to the cops at the crime scene was a geeky moment for me. It did not take much to imagine a cape instead of a red jacket.

I was also somewhat amused by the scene in the tent/morgue when the doctor just assumed Clark was a weak stomached intern. I think Tom Welling really did a great job here. He was tall and confident walking in on a crime scene but yet managed to get across his horror at the gruesome situation without coming across as weak.

The surprise super back up was pretty cool. The Zoner ended up dead, which is a bit upsetting, but at least it was not Clark who killed him. The hero who came to Clark's rescue did the deed. I admit I do not follow that hero's comics but I know enough to know that heroes in the DCU usually do not kill. Still it did not bother me too much since my knowledge is somewhat limited on that character and I was relieved that it was not Clark who killed him.

(Note to preserve my status as a geek: Yes I do know which hero likes Oreo Cookies, can appear as a mist, and can have glowing eyes but some readers may think that info is a spoiler so I will withhold the name from my review.)

I adored the Jimmy and Chloe working together scenes. Classic Jimmy Olsen and his relationship with Chloe is very well done and is quickly turning into on of the highlights of this season. The villain they had to face had an interesting power even if he was just a freak of the week. I did think the effect of his phasing was a bit off but not enough for it to distract from the story.

I liked Lana's part in this episode. I can believe in their relationship more now than I did before. Yes it is a train wreck waiting to happen but at least now I see strong reasons why she is with him and that his feelings are for real. The scene when Chloe and Lana were at his desk was a fantastic moment to see Lex's true feelings. Here was Chloe, someone known to dig where she should not, trying to hack into Lex's computer in front of him. Lex did not care. His thoughts were on Lana and even tried to shout out the passwords. I think this says a lot. Sure Lionel went and took care of the hard drive later for him, something I am sure Lex would have done himself once able, but I think it is very important that Lex thought of Lana first.

I was also pleased to see that they finally chose to expand a bit on Lex's secret floor. Not quite sure how I feel about Lionel getting involved since I still hope for him to be good but I will give that story a chance to play out before judging it too harshly.

I was not too surprised that Lex proposed to Lana. I figured that would happen once he knew of the baby. Lex is after it all. He wants the happiness he had in his "Lexmas" dream but yet wants to retain the power to save Lana from death in childbirth. It's simple really. This entire subplot of the episode nicely ties in current events with events from past episodes and advances those two characters in ways that feel completely natural.

So I am going to give this one 4 out of 5 Oreo Cookies. Or let's call it a B+

I have to re-program my DVR. Once again it cut out before the preview for next week. The Wife's work schedule keeps us from watching it at air time and I like to wait for her so we can watch it as a family. Fear not advertisers. I still pay attention to the sponsors and will give products supporting my favorite show a try.

Doug



Static

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

MAIN POINTS:

  • Two freaks, one week. Batista and an archetypical nerd who can alter dimensions
  • Lex stops the nerd, Clark Batista
  • Lana tells Lex she's pregnant. Lex proposes.
  • 33.1 disappears.

    REVIEW:

    This is beyond jumping the shark. This is now beyond the point of any believability to the point of laughter. This is not Smallville. This is not Superman. This is beyond the pale.

    You realize, we are watching a show where LEX LUTHOR proposes to Lana before Clark in Smallville?

    Star Trek is not Star Wars, right? That's what we're told, right? If someone tried to give you Star Trek as Star Wars, you'd get ticked. It's not the same thing.

    Star Trek and Star Wars all have lasers, captains, religion, elite class warriors, tactical weapon arrays, villains more machine than man, strange alien species...

    What do you think of, archetypically, when you think of Smallville? I'm not talking Byrne. I'm not talking 50s. I'm not talking Lois and Clark or the movies. I'm talking generally. Here's the gist:

    Clark grows up, performing super-deeds (often) with a low profile, learning who he is. He's in love with Lana, who sometimes isn't in love with him at first, but then is. They fall in love, Clark proposes, and they don't get married because Clark's going to Metropolis and Lana's stuck in Smallville by her heart (or for whatever reason). Pete Ross, the hometown kid, stays, and she eventually takes him over Clark. Ma and Pa either die, or live, but either way maintain a strong advisory role. Typically Lex is there half the time, and if he is, he's always crafting machinations against Clark and playing the bad guy. Jimmy, Lois, Perry, and the JLA are all many years down the road.

    Now let's look at SMALLVILLE, the television.

    Clark grows up, performing superdeeds with a high profile, with little attention paid to who he's becoming beyond cursory dialogue like "You're almost a man now!" or "Look out, kid, destiny!" without any real actions or characterization beyond the ex machina of Jor-El to thrust him into things he didn't want to do anyway. Clark is in love with Lana, who sometimes isn't in love with him at first, but then is. That's the first two seasons. Then, for the next four, she berates him for being who he is and then ends up pregnant by Lex, who proposes to her when Clark never does. Or rather, he does, but it's erased by...time travel...from everyone's memories. Clark wants to stay in Smallville, Lana goes to see the world. Oh, and Pete? He's left the show by the third season, before it's half over. Pa Kent dies with little significance, and Lex, beyond trying to figure strange things out, isn't much of a villainous role. Instead, his father, a character we'd never heard of until this show, is the real bad guy, but his characterization is so inconsistent we're never sure just what the hell he's actually doing. Chloe, a strange, unknown entity, is there in the role of what Pete used to be, but since she can't become Lana, she essentially becomes Lois, who's not even supposed to be in Smallville. Oh, but Lois shows up anyway. So does Perry. And Jimmy. They all see and know Clark without glasses. In fact, Clark never wears glasses. Ever.

    So if you can tell me Smallville is Smallville, then I can say Star Trek is Star Wars and you've got NO beefs with me. Because yes, there are similar veins. Character named Clark with powers. A girlfriend named Lana. But if you give Picard a lightsaber just because it looks cool, it's not Star Trek. If you give Luke Skywalker the bridge of the Enterprise, it's not Star Wars. And if you make Lana Lang a villain who hates Clark, and Lex a good guy, and Clark a mindless, directionless oaf, if you put Martha in the bed of a murderer for sex appeal, if you put Lois in Smallville, it is NO LONGER Smallville.

    I read the description for this episode, with my pad and paper, waiting for it to start. I knew it was involving the second half-star guest star in two weeks, Batista, and it read: "Clark comes face-to-face with a horrifying phantom who sucks the bones out of people."

    I read that, and I sighed. Who didn't? I mean, honestly, is there anyone that sounds appealing to? A bone-sucking WWE guest star? I've got a plot that sounds cooler right off the top of my hand:

    "Neal comes face-to-face with the grim reaper after eating glass and pooping razor blades."

    At least that would be funny to watch. Advertently.

    And hey, let's cut two more minutes from the show, because lord knows, with this much content, we need less show to make up the difference. Let's give two more minutes to the Guitar Hero 2's SECOND advertisement so we can make the show less than 2/3 of the hour.

    *%$#$.

    People say this is a good season because we've moved away from the freak of the week. Yeah, except we've had more freaks this year than ANY OTHER YEAR on a ratio basis, they just give them different names. Check it in the KO Count.

    The episode starts with Lana in bed, near crying, lamenting the fact that she's pregnant, still refusing to tell Lex. SECRETS! LIES! He comes in, tells her that he loves her despite being at each other's throat lately without reason, and then she doesn't respond, and he finds that cute somehow. It's a Lana centric episode. Joy.

    The CRACK security team which we've never seen before is suddenly instantly mobilized. Guys can break into this place all the time, but all of a sudden a villain that cannot be seen because he can alter his dimensional state has the guards on full alert. Say they know he's coming and of his powers. They know a panic room won't save Lex. Say they don't know he's coming and of his powers. How would they even know he was coming at all?

    Code 142. This made me laugh, because it made me think of Red Dwarf. In Red Dwarf, Rimmer will always cite some obscure Space Code Directive to get people to do what he wants, and then Kryten, the mechanoid, will tell him what it really means, per:

    Rimmer: "We can't go in there! Space Core Directive 8532 specifically prohibits it!"

    Kryten: "Ah, Space Core Directive 8532! No member of the crew shall ever come face-to-face with the grim reaper after eating glass and pooping razor blades. But how does that relate, sir?"

    Like they have eighty-seven bojillion codes for each freak, and Lex recognizes them all. Cheese. It's like in Civil War this week when they have a triple greek letter threat and they all know what course of action to take. Please.

    So now we get a guy who turns you into...a TV signal...with radio waves...which you can triangulate with a HAM radio signal...and put you into another dimension.

    Christ. I mean, sweet Christ. Forgive taking your lord's name in vein, but that's the only way I can say it right now. Good God. Holy monkeys. They're PAID to do this.

    So this guy can alter someone's dimensional...frequency or something, but make it so that Lex can't leave one room...because he can modify the frequencies in...one room? Whatever. I could give a crap any more.

    Clark and Chloe, meanwhile, are going after the Phantoms, and just got a lead. It's been a good six months since they were released, but apparently Batista wanted to start causing trouble just now. And even though he's strong enough to take Clark on, and even though he rips the spine out of people after cracking their backs over his knee for fun, he's been dormant and silent without apparent reason for half a year. Sure.

    Chloe gets a call that Luthor is missing, and tells Clark. She doesn't say, "He disappeared in a cloud of fuzz into another dimension." She says he disappeared, which could mean he went for a particularly vehement crap and hasn't come back yet from the port-o-san.

    Clark's natural reaction? "I'll go investigate the murders."

    Chloe's out of place reaction. "Clark! You should go help Lex!"

    Chloe later in that same episode calls him the lord of all evil or something along those lines with Jimmy, and has been nothing but a supporter of the "We-hate-Lex" fan club.

    They can't keep character consistency straight in a SINGLE episode. Not even in an episode. It's not enough that they can't make them coherent between episodes, with one where Lex and Lana hate each other, the next where they're lovey, but in a given episode they have inconsistencies. It's garbage.

    So Clark goes to Seattle, which is actually handled well. I think I saw my dad's work (those cranes, he's a chassis mechanic), or a good CG of them. The cop car looked right. Good.

    Lana turns to Lionel Luthor to help her with Lex.

    ?

    ?

    ??????

    Lionel? The guy who tried to kill Lex? The guy who banged his girlfriend? The guy who went to jail for murder? Before Clark? Yeah, I buy that.

    ...

    NOT! (Borat style).

    Here is where a deleted Wizard sleeve joke would have gone, but I just can't make that joke without losing my job.

    She asks Lionel for help, then accuses him of a cover-up without any real reason, any real prompting, and any reason to assume he's doing anything but helping.

    Great. Lana whining about something. Can we please have more of that, guys? Guys? More, please?

    Lana: "He said something about code 142!"

    Kryten: "Ah yes, code 142: All Luthorcorp security teams will be absent during any time they are not expressly convenient."

    Note, despite the Star Trek to Star Wars metaphor, they still have Red Alert at the Luthor mansion.

    Clark steals a badge and wanders around a scene of mass murder without being in uniform or questioned. He finds that a villain has been sucking the bones from bodies. Not just the big ones, all of them. Even the metatarsals. Even the little ones in the toes. He's been eating them all on a ship, because...well, apparently there aren't enough people to eat in China.

    Seriously.

    Lex wanders around the room as a phantom, listening to Lana whine about her relationship with Lex, which I guess is supposed to be romantic or dramatic or revelatory. It's really crap. Crappity crap crap in a crap filled bowl.

    MY PASSWORD IS YOUR BIRTHDAY, MY LOVE!

    Lex Luthor? Paging Lex Luthor? Will Lex Luthor please return to this show?

    No? Well, okay. Sorry. I had to ask.

    Al: Quiet! I'm counting my money.

    Sorry, sir.

    Begin the gas tally: Lana goes to Metropolis and back to meet up with Lionel. Chloe goes to Smallville and back to meet up with Lana in the mansion. Lana then goes to Smallville to meet up with the guy who calls her, and then back to Metropolis.

    In her new car, no less.

    With Chloe right there, Chloe, who is helping her figure out where Lex is, the guy tells her that he has Lex. Chloe asks who it is, she says, "Lex's security."

    Lana lie. Why she would do it is beyond me. He says if she tells anybody Lex will be in danger, but does she trust a perfect stranger trying to kill her boyfriend, or Chloe?

    Does she have any choice? Of course.

    A cop draws a gun for a blood trail at the site of a mass murderer? And then he goes around the corner, where Batista, who apparently likes to eat bones, snaps the biggest set of bones in half just because he can before pulling out a spine in what has to be the cheesiest and wtf moment in Smallville in a long time. I'm no Mortal Kombat scholar, but I doubt spines come out whole when you rip on them.

    Clark, maybe a few feet away, doesn't hear screams. Doesn't use x-ray vision to search around for the killer. Doesn't travel around at super-speed examining the area. Guess that would make sense. Apparently none of the cops hear screaming, either.

    And hey, look! A plot that's already been done. 33.1 was DEFINITELY not Level 3 before. And there was DEFINITELY not a villain who held Lex hostage so that he'd let information about Level 3, er, plot device 22.3, er, level 33.1 public.

    They even used the same resolution (sigh), everything being moved. They must think we're stupid, and we must be stupid to put up with this crap.

    The missing 33.1 area, if I'm not insane, is the same set they used for the fertilizer plant interior, without the boxes or forklift. It's noticeable to me, anyway.

    Batista grabs Clark and throws him into a container on a crane. Of course, it wouldn't be on the crane if there weren't an operator, so someone saw it. Or should have. And apparently the hundreds of civvies around just evaporated right before the fight? Clark leaps down in plain site, but Batista is...gone? No pursuit? No search for him with x-ray vision? No super-speed chase? No...anything?

    DOES CLARK EVEN HAVE *%#$ING POWERS?

    I understand budgetary limitations. But if you're going to write anything that makes Clark cool OUT of the show, why flashy Martian Manhunter graphics and TV disappearing CRAP when you have a man who can spit FIRE FROM HIS EYES and is INDESTRUCTABLE as your lead? What the HELL?

    Lionel then lurks around in a dark room with Chloe at the Daily Planet. They're both alone. Chloe is not afaid, even though this man who blew her up is threatening her and destroying her property, sensitive information he might kill her for. Out of character for her, and out of character for him, frankly, because last week he was a FAMILY MAN.

    GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

    Lana then walks around the mansion trying to talk to Lex. She knows there's a guy there who can phase in and out of reality who's looking for her. But she tells Lex that she's pregnant, whines for about five minutes, and has a self-pity fest, talking about "our problems" (what problems do they have, exactly, defined?). It's so fun I almost stuck a pen in my eye to take my mind off it.

    Lana (to Lex): "You're the only one who's EVER been honest with me!" with tears streaming down her cheeks. When every week for the entire fourth season she burst into his office to tell him what he's most recently lied about in her opinion, huh?

    Garbage. This is how NOT to do drama or character.

    As she monologues, it occurs to me, the crack security that was right on top of protecting her before is suddenly nowhere to be found. The red alert is gone. The villain is right there, but somehow they're not.

    Internal inconsistency in the SAME SHOW.

    Lana, on lying, another gem: "I know I should have told you!"

    She didn't lie to protect Lex. She lied because it was easy, and she knew she was doing wrong. I guess that's better than when Lex or Clark lies. Oh, wait, I forgot, Lex has never lied to her. That's an anti-lie, actually. Look for that in the Lana lies section as a special sub-entry.

    Baddie appears, grabs Lana, and tells Lex to expose 33.1. He holds a knife to her throat and threatens to kill her.

    Baddie, however, can phase people into and out of reality, so presumably he can simply phase Lana out of existence, or to a place where she will starve to death. Anything that attacks him, he can make disappear. So he uses...a bowie knife. A physical threat when he has a metaphysical power.

    You know what this deserves? This deserves a golf clap. Folks, push back from your computer, and just give these guys a nice, long, golf clap.

    And hey, that whole Buddy Holly glasses on a nerd, to indicate he's a nerd? It's so original, it deserves another golf clap. Go on. I'll wait.

    ...

    And hey, a pro wrestler who rips out people's spine? That's high quality there. The allusions to Samson, the prowess of David...epic. I mean, you could swear that this was a journey into the heart of darkness, a fictionally epic representation of the higher literary implications of strength in the hands of a nemesis with brains AND brawn. Clark has TRULY met his intellectual and fictional equal. BATISTA! I will remember him well.

    Golf clap. Go on.

    Why do a thing at all if you can't do it well? Why ruin an icon? Money? Money?

    Lana: "Whatever Lex has done in the past, I'll make him stop! He'll listen to me!"

    Here is Lana, through dialogue, overtly admitting that she can manipulate Lex and knows it. Subtle. Horrible.

    Jimmy appears out of nowhere to club baddie in the head with Chloe. They were both just in Metropolis, but apparently made the three hour drive with all of that equipment nearly instantaneously.

    The guy drops the knife, and falls to the ground. He asserts he's going to kill Lex, then phases out of reality. Lana touches him, and phases out of reality with him? Because apparently, though he controls the power, Lana touching him makes her...go with him?

    Golf clap.

    Lana is then knocked out, though phasing through realities didn't knock Lex out when he did it.

    Golf clap.

    Baddie then picks up the knife, which was in another phase of reality, somehow.

    Golf clap.

    He struggles with Lex, who turns the knife on the guy and kills him. I guess the guy doesn't bother to phase the knife that's killing him out of his chest and instead chooses to die.

    Golf clap.

    And please, no emails about how he could have phased the knife into or out of reality when he picked it up. Don't try to justify this crap. You can't. If he can manipulate the knife, he wouldn't have died, and if he can't manipulate the knife, he couldn't have had the knife. It's obvious logic, bad internal consistency in the framework of thirty seconds of script.

    Oh, and Chloe to Metropolis to Smallville, and then later to Metropolis, then back to Smallville to talk to Clark again.

    When Lana disappears, she clutches her stomach. How horrible is this show that it made me WISH her failure to have her child? I mean, seriously, I can't think of a worse example of someone to be a mother. A selfish, self-concerned attention starved crybaby who would be the type to choose another beer over the baby crying in the other room. Believe me, I know the type.

    Oh, failure to use Lana Fu. But that's obvious.

    Jimmy examines the frequency of where Lana and Lex are at. Somehow, examining the frequency they're at...causes his equipment to explode, and all of them to revert back to our reality.

    WHAT?

    That doesn't even get a golf clap. That gets a Caesar style thumbs down. Slooooow. Caesar says...DEATH!

    Clark saunters in the darkness, following Batista's clever blood trail. Because apparently, though he can elude a man with super-hearing, super-speed, and x-ray vision, he can't walk ten feet without accidentally leaving a splorch of blood that an idiot could follow.

    Batista grabs Clark, with his undefined powers, and lifts him over his head to crunch his spine.

    Clark, who has the powers of Superman but apparently not the brains, decides to malinger, not to spit fire from his eyes or attempt to escape.

    Clark tries to use the Kryptonian protective device, but apparently it only works on phantoms. Which is why it worked on Zod, right? Hello?

    Batista inexplicably falters, collapses, and we have what's supposed to be an EPIC MOMENT.

    Why? Well, because Clark's life has been saved. He stands up, and whoever has saved him has KILLED Batista. Not stopped him. KILLED HIM. It wasn't even left ambiguous. They later affirm, yeah, he was KILLED.

    Clark looks down, and there are some Oreos.

    He looks out, and there's a guy with red eyes, who takes off, then flies away in a green blur. Oh, wait, did I say green blur? Nah, that would make sense for the Martian Manhunter. This is a red blur.

    So apparently, Martian Manhunter is a killer who leaves Oreos at the scene of the crime. Yep. Sounds like he's been Smallville-ized.

    Golf clap to the max.

    I was ready to forgive ANYTHING for a cool Manhunter moment. From the moment I heard he was gonna be on there, and held my integrity and didn't spoil it, though I could have, I was eager for this moment. It completely underwhelmed and underperformed.

    He KILLED a guy. KILLED him. Yes, the guy was trying to kill Clark, but listen:

    THE BIG SEVEN/EIGHT DO NOT KILL! WHEN THEY KILL, THEY ARE EVIL, LIKE THE EVIL THEY ARE TRYING TO STOP.

    And hey, another clue...THE MARTIAN MANHUNTER DOESN'T EMIT HEAT FROM HIS HANDS!

    And hey, another clue...THE MARTIAN MANHUNTER HATES FIRE, and it appears he BURNED Batista to death by...putting a burn in his back?

    Batista's only weakness...how did you know?

    A good way to use Oreos: Have Clark feel like he's being watched, and then find Oreos scattered in a hurry as Manhunter flees to avoid being seen.

    A bad way to use Oreos is to have him eating them...RIGHT AFTER HE KILLED SOMEONE.

    This is an example of the writers trying to be cute, to give us a "Oooh! Martian Manhunter!" moment. Which would work. If they hadn't just had him kill a guy.

    Which would also work...if most people had any clue what it meant.

    Which would also work...if leaving the cookie (as he obviously did for Clark to find) had any sort of message to it at all.

    And hey, another clue...MARTIAN MANHUNTER IS A DETECTIVE. He wouldn't expect Clark to take the causality line of "If Cookie, then MARTIAN," you IDIOTS.

    Lana back to Metropolis to examine 33.1 with Chloe and Jimmy. Jimmy to Smallville to Metropolis. Why Lionel and Lex would let them look around is beyond me. I guess maybe because everything is gone, but still, if they're taking the line nothing was ever there, what would letting them look around prove? I don't know. It probably seems absurd because of all the absurdity that came before it.

    Lana suddenly asserts that if Lex said 33.1 existed, she believes it, and expects Chloe and Jimmy to as well. Which comes out of nowhere and makes no sense. Who pulled the secret of the ship out of Lex? Oh yeah, that was Lana. Oh wait, I forgot, Lana just SAID that Lex had never lied to her before, so I guess as of this episode he hasn't.

    Right.

    Lex and Lionel meet up, and Lionel tells Lex he wants to team up with him to work with the freaks. Lionel tried to kill Lex, banged his girlfriend, killed his grandparents, tried to steal his company...Lex seems ready to agree to the partnership.

    Chloe goes to Smallville to meet with Clark (another trip), and asks him about the Martian Manhunter. Clark doesn't want to tell her, for some reason. He tells her that Manhunter (not by name) has "powers that he could only dream of." Yeah, apparently future flight, fire from the eyes, super-strength, invulnerability, x-ray vision, telescopic vision, and freeze breath doesn't hold a candle to...fire hands and flight.

    And he doesn't want to tell Chloe because...well, let's not try and make it logical. Because we need arbitrary drama to justify why Chloe came all the way to Smallville for nothing, and to give her an excuse for the "Even heroes need to be saved" line that makes little sense in the context of this show.

    Clark finds another Oreo cookie. It's at this point I say to myself, "This is like the ice cream crapping taco from South Park." You remember that? They had an alien who, in order to make himself more accessible to the South Park boys, adopts a form that makes them more comfortable. An ice cream crapping taco. Every few steps, to hilarity, he'd crap spumoni or chocolate or etcetera. Cartman would eat it.

    Apparently Martian Manhunter craps cookies wherever he goes.

    Lana and Lex, more "drama." She tells him it'd be okay if 33.1 existed, even though he insists that it doesn't, because she now apparently again believes that any program that protects them from freak of the weeks is okay, even though I think it was last week she got made at Lex for trying to use the arbitrary plot device as a weapon against the freaks and to cure disease, when before that she encouraged him to use it as a weapon. Yeah.

    They walk into the main room, which is filled with roses, and chimes begin.

    I pictured Christopher Walken in that scene, screaming, "MORE CHIMES! MORE COWBELL!"

    And if you watch that scene again, sweet jehosophat there are a lot of chimes. They never end. It's hilarious. I couldn't stop laughing, not even when the proposal came and the credits rolled.

    So yeah, Lex is emasculated, the Martian Manhunter is a cookie pooping killer, Clark is taken out by a WWE wrestler without a contest, and we get TWO freaks instead of one? A Smallville universe where Lex proposes to Lana before Clark does? Lana is pregnant by Lex? A world where Clark is second fiddle to the Martian Manhunter and Green Arrow? What more could we ask for in a show? Nay, what more could we ask from a SUPERMAN show?

    ONE OF FIVE.

    SUPER SHORT REVIEW:

    I think I summarized it well enough just above this. There is no Lex, only a Lana worshipping sycophant. Two freaks conspire to make things crap. A guy rips out spines but apparently can be killed by burning his back briefly. Lana and Lex may be tying the knot, as he's impregnated her. Star Wars is not Star Trek. One of five.

    LETTERS:

    Well, this is it before a nice long break. You want something to read while the show is off? I'm going to be reviewing the Ultimate Superman DVD collector set, some comics, and I've now started updating nealbailey.com every day with something. There's also my novels, hint, hint, which I now have onhand if anyone is interested. Unlike Smallville, they may contain actual plot, character, a theme, a motive, and resolution. Beware! Now, onto the letters:

    Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this review are solely those of Neal Bailey and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of other Superman Homepage staff members or contributors.

    Will wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    I didn't find out about your reviews until the forth season. It took a while to go through all the stuff you have written and I really haven't found anything to e-mail you about.

    Cool that you found them. And hi!

    But after watching the last episode that ends with people around the table for Thanksgiving table, I came up with something.

    I've felt that Clark and Chloe should be a couple since I first saw the pilot. I've also wanted Lana off the show since sometime during first season.

    Sounds like most of us.

    Now to the reason I'm written. I think Chloe is in a relationship with Jimmy, so Clark can realize that he would like to be with her. Yes, they (TPB) have been hinted and Clark/Lois, but it was at the table when Clark was looking around. Lois had Oliver, Martha and Lionel (sorta), he looks over to Chloe and she gets a text from Jimmy. Clark was alone.

    Back when Chloe was trying and go for Clark, Clark was TOO into Lana for it to work. What Clark needs is to see how much better it would be for him to be with Chloe. And with Chloe with Jimmy, it gives Clark a chance to realize how he really feels.

    Not sure if that all made sense. I'm a mathematician, not an English major.

    No worries. I still think they'd put Clark with Lois before Chloe. Mostly because they just seem to love shafting Chloe.

    I like your reviews. Keep it up. I'm hoping for more Episodes that range in the 3+ in terms of your ranking. If this will be the last season, helpfully they will go out on a positive note, rather than having fans who like the show, being glad that the show is over.

    I hope so too. I wish I had more threes myself. Heck, I wish I had all fives.

    Nothing more to add for now.

    Will

    Thanks!

    Bruce Kanin wrote:

    I missed Bruce's rating last week through a clerical error, my apologies, here's his letter, which rules.

    OVERALL

  • For the second week in a row, a tough episode to rate. There were good, bad and middling things going on in this one. With the Thanksgiving scene at the end, it put me in a restful mood - what's that chemical in turkey - you know, the one that Jerry and George used on Jerry's girlfriend so that they could play with all of her neat old toys - ah, yes - Tryptophan (thanks, Google) - there must have been some of that coming out of the TV for me to calm down and give this a B MINUS. Otherwise, it would have been a bit lower, in C territory.

    THE GOOD

  • Though Tom Welling did not flex his super-powers all that much in this episode, he shone and seems to be coming of age. Let me count the ways:
  • The Clark-Lana scene at the Luthor mansion (yes, once again, people just waltz on into the Luthor mansion): it struck a chord. How many times have I gone to my wife, when she was troubled, trying to help, and getting a "it's not you - just go away"? Clark Kent, Man of Steel, but unable to help whatever was ailing Lana (which we find out about later). Loved it, and I identified with it.
  • When Clark asks Chloe if Lana is OK, near the end, Chloe tells Clark that Lana IS all right, but Welling-as-Clark gives a perfect, perfect look-of-disbelief back at Chloe. Great job, Tom.
  • And in the Thanksgiving scene, though flawed (see THE BAD), Welling as Clark-becomes-the-Father was perfect. Very nice.
  • In the Luthor mansion Thanksgiving scene, Lana lifts her wine glass but doesn't drink from it. Nice touch - she's pregnant. Wonder if Lex noticed.
  • The curative serum that Oliie and the halfway house bad guy use WASN'T filled with Kryptonite nor was it green! That's GOOD!

    THE BAD

  • I can accept Martha and Lionel gradually cozying up, but the Thanksgiving scene at the Kent home with Clark smiling and Lionel in view seemed, well, incongruous. It wasn't long ago - well, maybe it was - that the name Lionel Luthor struck, er, rage into the hearts of the Kents (especially Jonathan and Clark). For Lionel to be present at the first Thanksgiving without Jonathan Kent - his dad - should have been a tough one for Clark to swallow.
  • Lois goes crashing onto a glass table and isn't very seriously injured? Yes, she needed an ambulance, but presumably she would have been out of commission for weeks - and in a bad way. But this is SMALLVILLE. No one stays down for long.

    THE REST

  • So Green Arrow uses a bow that has a trigger on it, like a gun? Whatever happened to the old fashioned bows?
  • So Lana's pregnant. This is a continuation of the story thread "What can the writers come up with to keep Lana busy on the show?" Once the Clark-Lana relationship fell apart, the writers were faced with this challenge, and they're not doing a very good job here.
  • A doctor tests a curative serum on dangerous folks at a halfway house? Does that make sense? It's not under THE BAD because - it may make sense! I just didn't buy it all that much.
  • Oliver Queen's apartment seems to have the same security system as the Luthor mansion (i.e., none).
  • Also found it hard to believe that Oliver Queen would experiment on himself with a dangerous drug. Somewhat ironically, the scene in which we see Ollie inject himself for the first time (viewed via Clark's X-ray eyes, not a bad scene), reminded me of the cover of the classic and early 1970s GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW in which Green Arrow's sidekick, Speedy, is injecting himself with a hypo, and is found to be an addict.
  • I don't know if Green Arrow will be in any episodes beyond the next one, but by the time the season is over, he'll have been in a bunch. Why is that? I can see a DC superhero guest-starring in one or two episodes, but it seems like GA and OQ have been hogging the spotlight (and Lois). It doesn't really bother me, but what struck me is that the writers may be thinking that a show about Superman as a teen isn't enough any more - Superman can't carry the show by himself, so we need to have him co-star with another JLAer, so to speak. That's kind of like when you see a KFC paired up with Taco Bell - they don't always succeed on their own, but together, in the same restaurant, they get more customers.
  • That said, I would have loved to have seen more Green Arrow in action. Hey, he didn't change his voice, going between GA and OQ, especially when he was with Lex. Don't you think Lex would recognize his sparring partner from college and recent times? Lex is no dummy.

    COMING CONTRAPTIONS

  • Could be good - supposedly the Martian Manhunter makes a brief appearance. I wonder how they'll botch him up!
    Bruce Kanin

    Bruce Kanin wrote:
    Re: SMALLVILLE "RAGE"

    Neal,

    As usual, your Neal-ray vision sees through these episodes much more than I did. Continuity editors? Are you kidding? We're lucky if they have ANY editor on SMALLVILLE. I totally missed the fact that Lois ended up in the SMALLVILLE hospital! GAWD!!!

    I missed it too, in all honesty. My company, Sara, helped me spot it.

    As for Lex and Lana, you know what? I'll give'm a free pass. Lex, in the heat of passion, just plain got careless. My problem with SMALLVILLE is not that it's, er, "inconceivable" (sorry) that Lex and Lana would accidentally produce a child, but that they are making up a story line for Lana because she has to be on the show.

    Oh, it happens in real life. But to "players?" Rich dudes? Serial polygamists? I dunno. I always use a condom, and there's a reason for that. If I slipped up, I'd be in trouble for eighteen years before I was ready. Now imagine if I was richer than rich. I'd be three times as careful.

    To me, that's the real crime: forcing plot threads just to keep a character busy. They did it with Pete Ross by having him learn that Clark was superguy, but then ran out of things for him to do. They're keeping Chloe afloat by putting her at the Daily Planet and having her as the SMALLVILLE connection to Jimmy Olsen.

    Agreed. The only necessary characters on this show are Clark, Lex, Martha, and Chloe right now, and only because she knows Clark's secret and has some knowhow.

    Wouldn't it be nice to have an episode that just features - Clark? He's thrown back in time to the Holocaust - or to the future when the Legion of Super-Heroes exists? Or he goes on a jaunt around the world, to find himself. Maybe Martha, Lana, Lois, etc. would appear at the very beginning or end, but that's it. Or in quick snippets during the episode asking, "DERH - Where's Clark?" But otherwise, it would be The Tom Welling Show. Just for one episode - or a two-parter. Please?

    Smallville...with Clark? Pssht!

    But they can't do that, because they've got an ensemble on the payroll. And worse, because they think they have to showcase each character every or every-other week, they're coming up with crap stories.

    Like Enterprise year one. Suckitude.

    Of course, that's not the only reason for the crap stories. They have crap writers who don't care about continuity and logic, and are aiming for the lowest common denominator.

    A shame. To paraphrase Vito Corleone: "Look what they did to my.Superboy."

    And we don't even get to see Lana riddled with bullets at the turnpike.

    Take care,

    Bruce

    Best.

    Jim Smith wrote:
    Neal,

    Maybe I am about to give the writers a bit to much credit. Maybe not but here I go. I think Lex wanted to knock her up. I think Lex believe's he can have his cake and eat it too. He wants the girl and the kids. He believe's that if nothing else that "dream" showed him where he went wrong. He has to stay on as lord and king of all things Luthor instead of giving it all up. He would then be able to save her from death. So he did not take the time to prevent anything from happening. In fact I think he see's this as speeding things along. You want a cold Lex, he just knocked up a chick so he would 1. Have a child to continue the family name, 2. Make sure she would not be going anywhere. Lana having his child gives him more control over her.

    This is going to get me in trouble, but honestly, ruthless, socialite rich guys could give a solid CRAP about having a male heir, and don't really have to worry about it until they're in their forties to mid-forties, when they can pop out a kid with a concubine and call it good. Think about it from a character standpoint. WHAT, at all, does a kid offer Lex? What does Lana offer Lex? What does a burden of responsibility offer a man who's busy with freaks and aliens and a huge business? Nada.

    Just what I was thinking, I could be wrong. I just think it all means that before the end of the season Lana is as good as dead.

    I wish. I hope.

    Anyway, Kevin Smith...HAHAHAHAHA! Sometimes the best part of reading your reviews is the fan reaction's. Kevin Smith...that kills me. Until next time.

    I honestly get a big kick out of when people take blind, uninformed swipes, because they're easy to tear apart. I fear someone who gets me dead set to rights and actually thinks about what they're saying. Problem is, I spend a lot of time thinking before I write, so I'd be harder to peg.

    Jim Smith

    PS No that wasn't me, check the IP's if you can.

    Even if it was, this letter's coolsville. I don't check IPs. I'm not worried about who's ripping on me.

    Vivian wrote:
    Hi,

    Just wanted to say: your review of "Rage" was spot-on and given my frustration with the show lately, very cathartic to read. Thank you,

    Vivian

    Thank you for enjoying it, Vivian. Awesome.

    Ashley "Amy" B.-Fraiser wrote:
    Hi, Mr. Bailey, I trust you've had a good week! (That is, until Thursday rolled around.)

    Ah, even Thursday ruled. I'm writing daily and less stressed. I just had to see the big picture, slow down on the house, start writing again. Everything is copasetic now. Pooping is copasetic. Phone calls are copasetic. I can feel my legs and the sun is shining.

    First off, I'd like to thank you for you kind reply to my letter. You are very encouraging. Hopefully I will be able to get back to working on my book at some point. Next, thanks for letting me in the "squeaky shoes" reference!

    No problem, and seriously, you'll make it.

    "Rage". This week's episode...*sigh* I think it goes without saying that those writers are more than a few chapters short of a novel. I think the stories I play around with in my mind are better than most of the ones they have.

    True...now you gotta write them though. That's the hard/fun part.

    Lana: "This isn't about what YOU want. It's about what I want!" I think this summed up her character quite nicely (or badly). I could almost hear the wheels turning in your head when she said this.

    And the dynamite.

    On her pregnacy: did they want her pregnant so we'll feel sorry for her in some way? Or how about this: she's pregnant because they're going to kill her off at the end of the season and the pregancy is to make us feel sorry for her? I don't think I'll ever feel sorry for her. It's her own fault (and Lex's, as you so eloquently put). My "Smallville buddies" are absolutely en-"Raged" (yes, pun intended!) about her.

    Pregnancy, rape, abusive boyfriends, all cheap writing tools to make women who are not sympathetic sympathetic. Yeah, typically she's a pain in the butt, but poor girl, this guy's beating on her! Or "Look! She got raped!" It's real issues perverted to make fake sympathy.

    May I say that I am truly sick of sex-out-of-wedlock and out-of-wedlock-baby plots in drama? (I don't like them in real life either, if I may also say so.) It's been done before, but what would they have to do if they didn't have it?

    I don't mind it at all. I just don't think it fits in THIS drama in any way. The cast is a group of near-kids and superheroes. They have other adventures to take.

    Not only is it arbitrary the way they've written it, but it sets a bad example. Superman is supposed to lead by good example. He is what we want: someone willing to have good morals and virtues, stand up for them, and do something about those who do not have them! He, to me, also ought to hang around good, moral people. This modern conception of him and his friends does NOT set a good example for any group of young people (which you've also pointed out, but I think it bears repeating). [He also slipped up in "Superman II", but that's another story.]

    I don't think it's bad morals and values to have sex out of wedlock. I do, however, think that forcing the issue through character is antithetical to the understanding and humanitarian nature of Supes...

    I wonder if a character in a show or movie actually did something truly moral, would viewers take their example and be more moral too? That would be something to think about.

    I don't think it'd matter much. I think social behaviors are more influenced by TV. Like, if you see someone shoot someone on TV you won't imitate it, likely, but if you see a guy getting laid for wearing X, or a girl idolized for being everything to everyone, THAT stuff rubs off subtly.

    Ahem. I digress.

    I have to wonder: if Lana were to die pregnant, would it would be enough to push Lex over the edge, sending him irrevocably over to the dark side? Could this have been their plan all along?

    If so, it's a crappy motivation. He has no reason to be truly attached to Lana, so baby or not, it wouldn't send him spiraling toward evil. Sadness, maybe, but not evil.

    It's interesting that Lex's "It's a Wonderful Life" dream episode is almost coming true (sans them being poor). It would be a nice connection to it, almost as if there was some sort of depth to the whole Lana-Lex-baby sub-plot. [Gasp! Depth! A shocking idea!] I'd actually like to see them go with this.

    It's funny, because they indicated that it was the life he DIDN'T want/choose.

    The other subplots are almost too arbitrary to mention. Lois/Ollie are a strange couple, Clark is taking a back-seat to the whole show, and I wish Chloe had more screen-time and depth [I thought Jimmy's text-message was cute, though]. Martha/Lionel's romance is sweet(I'm a sucker for romance like this), but you do make an excellent point about it being far to soon for Martha to be in love. I miss Johnathan. Too bad he died; but I have a feeling that some people would get very upset if Lana died. After all, she's the pretty girl. Some have a problem with killing a girl. If she had a personality, I would too. However, she has no point. She's only around for what you've rightly pointed out as arbitrary drama. Why can't they have a female character that's not around for a romance-plot? Chloe started out like that, I believe, but she's lost that now.

    Chloe's still like that, they just don't use her much. Which is sad. Her mother was a decent deviation/idea.

    Let us hope (not too much though) that next week will actually have a point and maybe one or two decent bits of dialogue.

    Whoo! My brain is tired now, and I still have studies to do. So I had better sign off.

    So, keep up with the wit and wisdom, Mr. Bailey! Happy writing!

    Ashley "Amy" B.-Fraiser

    Thanks!

    Simon DelMonte wrote:
    Well, I don't know abut the rest of your readers, but I am with you completely on Lana's pregnancy. From every level, it's a silly and poitnless choice by the producers. And I will lay high odds that the word "Abortion" never, ever comes up. I can't recall the time anyone on TV had one, so I would be shocked if they dared do one.

    How to say anything about abortion diplomatically without getting in trouble?

    Hmmm. I will say that if art imitates real life, Abortion should have come up already. I will also say that I know people whose lives were saved from misery by abortion. I will also say further that pro-abortion or anti-abortion, this is yet another debate that shouldn't have to be brought up on a SUPERMAN show.

    I think this is all a poor pretense to get Lex to propse to Lana, establishing further his Bad Boy credentials. This is probably how they are mimicking the comic book Lex's multiple marriages and affairs, only the comic book Lex was far, far more calculating about it.

    And in the comic books he always married articulate, smart, beautiful women. Lana may have beautiful down. That's about it.

    One other thought: I keep thinking of the Batman story "Venom." The one from Denny O'Neil that shows a young Batman abusing steroids? Not the greatest story, but it had a great bit where Bats hides himself in the cave for a month to go cold turkey and get the crap out of his system. Not realistic, but certainly it made the point that even Batman needed to pay the price. As opposed to Oliver's instant regret and recovery. Where's Denny when you need him?

    I didn't read that story. Sounds...odd. Interesting.

    The Die Hard wrote:
    WORD. Why would anyone give you flak for stating the painfully obvious? It's a good thing I'm not a reviewer. I WANT LEX TO THROW LANA OFF THE ROOF OF THE LEXCORP TOWER, THEN SLIP AND FALL AND SPLAT ON TOP OF HER SPLAT. And then I want the concession selling gasoline for people to pour on top of their splats and burn. I'll provide the matches for free.

    People from the teddy bear company would get mad at me if I threw insults into a bed of fluff. The internet wants blood. But I'm with you.

    If Al & Miles had the courage to reveal their address, I would send them all of the cat turds and hairballs that my four twenty-plus-pound cats produce every day, each wrapped in a printout of their Dream Slut.

    They have revealed their address, it's just they don't publicize it, because they, like most folks, don't like listening to criticism. Sadly, as this letter column shows, listening to your readers and addressing them adds to your viability and accessibility, and they miss out on that.

    It is not possible to believe that Lex would engage in unprotected sex, especially after all his much-touted experience. It is perfectly possible to believe that Blahna would lie about being on the pill, or put a pin prick in Lex's condom, in order to get money from him, but then why are we treated to all this BULL F$%CKING SH#$ about BLAHNA'S "problems"? BECAUSE AL AND MILES ARE F#%KING AS%%@LES, THAT'S WHY. Hell, at this point, even Kristin would probably be willing to f%#k them, in exchange for getting them off the show.

    Well, that's a bit extreme, but I understand the anger. I don't even think it's that maniacal. I think it's just that they trusted guys who don't get the character with the character. Lord knows it's happened before. Lois and Clark season four, anyone?

    I was going to bring up the whole "pinprick in the condom" idea, but any way I did would only get me crapped on in letters, and I don't care enough to speculate. Because even though it happens all over the place, even suggesting remotely that a female character would potentially use sex and a baby to get cash from a rich man is considered "misogyny."

    So now, unless KK is really pregnant and we're going to be 'treated' to six months of doting on her "suffering," they'll probably go with the Dallas route of some freak making a scary face at her and causing a terrible, painful, long-drawn-out, agonizing, I-can't-remember-my-lines, so-I'll-just-make-faces-for-another-five-minutes miscarriage, which of course Clark and Chloe will be forced to sympathize with, even though Clark should tell her to p%^s off, and Chloe should tell her she's a f#%@ing idiot, while Lex will blame Clark and Chloe, because Rosenbaum is only interested in his own d%#k.

    Actually, this one I take no issue with. I think that's about right. More brutal than I could (and have to) tactfully put it here, but that's about how I feel.

    Let's face it, even in the comics, Lana was always an idiotic bi%#h, but at least she was a MINOR PLAYER. I'd rather watch an HOUR of Shelby chasing that stupid ball that the moping as#%at is always throwing against the wall, than ONE MORE SECOND of the manipulative s%#t c#^t wh#%e that AlMiles want to get into so badly that they cut explanatory scenes so that she can make stupid faces into the camera so closely that you can see her nose hairs.

    Wow! Heh. You sound a lot like me when I'm talking frankly. I like that in writing. I wish I could get away with that. Alas, soccer moms would crucify me.

    I don't think Lana has always sucked. I think in the comics she's been done well. Just not for a long time. And certainly not in this show.

    I don't buy the whole "they want to get Lana" line. I mean, they're rich Hollywood producers. They wrote Spider-Man 2. It'd be like Lex Luthor trying to get Lana. Incredibly asinine when you can get an LA ten.

    I honestly believe they think everyone who watches the show loves Lana, and that she's their meal ticket. And honestly, outside of this review, when I talk to guys, they're like, "Man, I know that show sucks, but NNNNNNN! Lana, man! Lana! She's got that exotic thing going."

    It's like the nerds who watched Voyager to oogle Seven of Nine. Yeah, she was hot, but I could never understand that mentality myself.

    Listen up, brats: if you get pregnant, your boyfriend is going to dump you like the bad news that you are. If you get pregnant to a rich psychopath, he's more likely to have you killed than let any "problem" inconvenience him. Yes, I know your hormones are demanding sex. Go to Walgreens. The toys are cheap.

    Action figures? I think I'll rephrase what you said in a way that I think would be more persuasive to the audience: Getting pregnant is not cool, it's not a way to get a man to love you, it's not something that should happen by accident, and it's a great way, if you're young and not married, to screw up a child's life, not to mention your own. Just because you see it on TV doesn't mean it'll happen that way in real life, and more often than not if you get pregnant on purpose without discussing it, the man leaves, and you'll spend the rest of your life blaming him instead of owning up to your own failure of judgment and he'll be guilty for something he didn't choose to do: Carry a baby to term. So don't.

    To Tom Welling and Allison Mack and Annette O'Toole and John Glover: leave the f%#$ing show. Get the hell out while you still can. Go start your own production company. Make a Saturday Afternoon Special every six months or so. Bring in your own guest stars, and make them comb their hair. Tell stories. Make them about heroes, and humans, and good things, and bad things. Make them about choices and consequences. Make them about inspiration, and about darkness. But I swear, if you re-use a script from a soap opera, I will hunt you down.

    Heh. Or just remove all of the other players from the show beyond Rosenbaum and continue as is...with good scripts.

    Good letter. I know I'll catch hell for it, but thanks.

    Jason Jaax wrote:
    Hi Neal-
    Love the reviews. Wanted to point out in Rage though:

    Cool, and cool:

    "Yes, you whiners, I understand this is Lois Lane, who can't see through glasses. But Clark Kent has different mannerisms than Superman. At least, as it's supposed to be. Ollie looks and acts exactly the same minus bad voice modification. She's seen him near shirtless, and rubbed him all over (as they made us painfully aware in the opening). She'd be clinically retarded not to realize it's him. But hey, assume that she can't see through the disguise. WHAT IS HE DOING IN OLIVER QUEEN'S APARTMENT? And why does she never ask or try to figure that out? If she can't put two and two together, she's a brick. A brick."

    They actually did address what he might be doing in the appartment as GA. His history (as Lois knows it) is stealing from rich people and she actually says the line "Guess it was only a matter of time until Oliver got hit". It's in the scene where she's talking to Clark in the hospital bed.

    Sincerely,
    Jason

    True...now all you have to explain is how she doesn't recognize his body or see through that bad costume...

    Sara wrote:
    Hey, hot stuff! (One of these days, I'm going to run out of slightly suggestive greetings. How sad!)

    Nah, I'll make a suggestive greetings generator. I got a million of them from decades of experience. I was a randy six-year-old.

    You know, I was one of those fools who suggested that it should be above a 1 because you definitely didn't hate this one as much as the week before. And I didn't think it was *that* terrible... and considering how heavy it was in Lana and Lois and how I feel about *them*, that should say something.

    And I thought about that...really did. Almost made it higher, then said to myself, gotta be honest...though I'm glad you liked it.

    I will say that if they want to make Lex a "bad guy", they should get their touckases (who knows if *that* is spelled right!) in gear! You're right that in every obvious case, Lex has shown care for people and the human race in general. Sure, he's getting snippy about Clark and Lana conversations, but who wouldn't? If you look at the timeline, he could be considered the rebound guy. I have a reason for naming him that. While he didn't date her immediately after the break-up, there's no other buffer.

    Yep.

    I'm not going to give you flak. Why? A critic gives their opinion on something they've read/watched and that's what you do. Giving your opinion shouldn't give people the right to start bitching at you just 'cause they disagree. (You hear that people? If you disagree, give concrete reasons! It's not that hard...) OK, off my soap box.

    HOLY CRAP! YOU GET IT! How the...no one ever gets that!

    I did think that the Ollie/Lois opening scene wasn't necessary other then for the arbitrary drama of Lois feeling like she was ditched. (Like it wasn't applicable that Ollie might get called away for an emergency business meeting or something. I mean, we all *know* Ollie doesn't do anything besides make-out with hot girls...) (And the dress shirt was just so cliche! I was at the very least expecting some fancy nightdress or something!!!) And I don't think it's so much that Ollie is *so* fast, but more that Lois is *that* slow!!!

    Heh.

    I thought it was odd that they didn't just pull the car owners out of the car and take off. I mean, how many carjackers feel the need to harass their victims? Talk about wanting to get their butts caught!

    Come on, Neal! You're *always* paying attention! That's what we love about you!

    It's why I carjack in less than fifteen seconds, and when a girl comes back with a "surprise," I send the Fortress robots while I tap the keg.

    I've been grouchy about the PTB not resolving a few minor things. You're right. Clark *should* be back in school. I mean, if he's going to do his training after taking care of all the Zoners, he's going to have to also work on how he's going to support himself. If he honestly believes Raya and thinks his training will help him save the world, how does he think he'll get the information he needs to do so if he stays on the farm? I suppose he thinks he can just continue to rely on Chloe, but that's really dependent of him...

    He am stupid!

    They kill the guilt angle. I mean, it would be awesomely effective if Clark wasn't wallowing all the time! And that's criminal to do to Jonathan's memory!

    It's criminal what they did to Jonathan period.

    I have to agree with your take on Lois's attitude on Ollie. And why do the writers always have to make situations where Clark's at "fault"? It absolutely doesn't make sense! And I totally agree with your thoughts on the drug angle. As much as Clark and Lois could be friends with Ollie and want to help him, being in a romantic relationship with someone like that isn't realistic. And to automatically forgive him with a few flowers is criminal! I'm all for forgiveness, but then there's being almost criminally naive!

    Dangerously, criminally naive.

    I was surprised that Clark didn't jet off as soon as he'd heard from Lois that G.A. had been shot. (And what's up with her "he deserved" it attitude? I mean, he was *only* foiling a carjacking, which isn't the act of a criminal, by the way.) I mean, it's not like he hasn't done that to her before...

    I think the thing with Lana and that charity was for two reasons: #1 - Arbitrary drama. #2 - So Chloe would have on hand the pamphlet that would lead them to Lex after the doctor is killed and her lab is sacked.

    Yes and yes.

    The issue about the charity could have been resolved if they'd been more clear that Lex *wanted* her to find a charitable work to make her feel more involved with his life. I mean, if I were her, I'd totally feel like eye candy on his arm that could be replaced at any time. (Not that I'm eye candy, but the point is valid.) This could have been his way of making her feel more secure in their relationship.

    And in real life, any gal would be eye candy to a rich guy. Money can buy what you want from women. It just plain can. Oh, you can't point and say, "YOU! YOU WILL COME WITH ME!" but give me even ten thousand dollars on a given night and I'll be with a beautiful woman before the night is over. Heck, give me five thousand dollars and a rental suit. And no, not a prostitute. Though it's akin.

    I did like Ollie's confrontation, which could lead to Clark's realization that someone with his gifts shouldn't morally sit back and let people be hurt if he could do something about it. For Pete's sake, he agonizes about it all the time! Come on, Clark! Grab a brain!!!

    For PETE'S sake? Oh, the irony!

    I was horrified at the near Lionel/Martha kiss. There's no reason for that yet in her life. It hasn't even been a year. Give the woman a chance to grieve, PTB, without forcing her into an unnatural relationship. After all, wasn't she the one that discovered he was a total and complete bastard when she was working for him and discovered that he had all the Clark research?

    But, like, they're SO hot together! Totally!

    Lois is a brick. I thought you knew that... And Ollie knows he threw her through glass. And he didn't stop his drug use right then. Yeah... Great... (Oh, and don't forget this is the second time in two seasons that she's been hospitalized for glass in the back... except this time they allow her to lie on her wounds.)

    She drowns into unconsciousness, you know!

    Continuity editor would make sense and be logical. I thought you knew the Smallville PTB were neither common sensical or logical.

    I suppose that they were trying to say (with the car jacking halfway house guy) that the drug really does increase violence in the users. (Do you think the doctor said that she observed it in the mice but really meant the ex-cons?)

    Yes.

    Oh, Lex will definitely get all the blame for the pregnancy. That's where they'll say "See, he's evil now! Can't you see it?!?" And it would be totally in the PTB's framework to have something Clark does the reason for Lana losing the baby. More arbitrary guilt. Fab.

    Next episode is when it starts. Mark me.

    They love putting Chloe in an awkward position when it comes to Clark and Lana. Apparently, that's how they charactarize her. She's the maid in waiting that has to take all their crap with little to no complaining.

    I have high hopes for next episode. (I almost said "next week", but realized that I was writing this in the week of the episode.) But does it make sense that the Martian Manhunter can presumably kill a Kryptonian and leave a hand print in his back? I mean, I'm not totally up on his powers, but this seems off somehow... and also makes him a killer.

    I HAD high hopes, myself. Sigh.

    (The seventh lie may not be true. We only *saw* one fainting fit.)

    And I'm glad you referenced my YouTube clip. I did it just for you... :D

    Hasta, baby!
    Sara

    You gave me several more awesome ones, I just didn't find an appropriate place this episode. Wait for it, folks, you'll see em. She gave me a KAAAAHN!

    Gislef wrote:
    Greets! Three things about yur review and the sow:

    What did that sow do now? I told her to stay in the cage!

    1) Does anybody else find it odd that in the Smallville universe, Green Arrow is the first costumed superhero? Not Superman, or Batman, or even the Crimson Avenger. But Green Arrow?!?

    It is a bit odd.

    2) Is it just me, or does Smallville's Green Arrow seem more like the Green Hornet. Rich millionnaire, believed to be a criminal...

    Yes. True.

    3) I don't buy that Green Arrow nails Clark about staying in a small town when he's needed in Metropolis. Clark solves 3-5 serial killings a year in Smallville, the Homicidal Mass Murder Capital of the World. Green Arrow goes after rich guys who buy on the black market, beats up carjackers, and wrecks cars. He doesn't even go on night patrol, schtupping Lois instead. Plus Clark's saved the planet at least a couple of times, keeping every male from being turned into planet food (that was plant woman's goal, right? Or did she have one...?), stopping a nuclear missile from blowing up Kansas, etc. Clark does more in one night when "hiding" in Metropolis then Oliver has done so far this season. And if it's GA thinking Clark should go public to "inspire" people... isn't he hiding under the cloak of night and deliberately making people think he's a bad guy?

    3-5? Heh. More like 20. Still, he's solve many more in Metropolis, methinks. Still, good points.

    Gislef

    Jeff wrote:
    How do you think they can fix the stupid Jor-El garbage?

    I don't beat my wife. Or rather, I don't think they can fix it.

    What do you think about, whether intentional or not, whether it's a self-admission by Jor-El or another character, Jor-El turning out to be The Spectre? They've gotta fix that mess somehow.

    I dunno. I don't think they think that hard. I think Jor-El is supposed to be Jor-El, and like Lionel, we're just supposed to believe he's good.

    Samir Abdel-Aziz wrote:
    Hey Neal, it's me Sam, just wanted to say that I agree that this ep wasn't that good.

    Cool. Thanks.

    I have liked seeing Lex get more nasty because after six seasons of holding him back he needs to start turning evil. I still say season 3 should have been his turning point. I digress.

    I agree. I think in 4 he should have gone bad.

    Lex getting nasty to Jimmy and being strongly hinted towards killing that doctor (or ordering it)are steps in the right direction.

    I was thinking about this, and they haven't really shown him being Lex-y all season beyond that, really.

    I don't see the appeal of Martha and Lionel. He is a homicidal maniac and they are mistaking chemistry between the actors as chemistry between the characters. I'm all for Lionel having a sick obsession with her, I'm all for him falling in love with her even, but she should not have those feeligns for him under any circumstance.

    Word.

    Ollie taking drugs doesn't ruin the character for me, because the drugs were for for a good cuase. Oh don't get me wrong, i abhore drug use, i just can understand why he'd think they were for a good cause. I think it was stupid but when you spend your life training to fight crime and doing everything humanly possible to take down foes...then some farmboy comes along and throws cars like napkins...i'd be tempted to step my game too. It's the idea that all your efforts are meaningless because someone outthere is better at it than you. Again i think the drug use thing wasn't a good storyline because i hate drugs. HATE THEM. But in the context of story can understand how someone could be tempted to use healing drugs.

    True...without side effects. Drugs are not always bad.

    Lois being codependant? didn't like that, i can again understand her not wantign to abandon ollie in his time of need but sometimes that's all addicts understand. Hitting bottom is a good term, Neal. i concur.

    And hitting girls is apparently...forgivable. Heh.

    Now on to the Lana...I agree that Lex is going to get all the blame for this. I can't stand her character and i think pregnancy is a poor storyline. I agree that murder is a choice. All the murders (defined here as a killing that was deliberate) in the history of the world have rested on the perp's choice to go thru with them. Maybe that's just how i see it, i'm a child of rape myself, and i always think it's funny when someone is amazed that my mom didn't have me killed. I never really know if that's supposed to be an insult. Heh.

    Well, it's all about context. Your mom might have rationally realized that the rapist wasn't you. For some that association is too much. For me, the question of abortion isn't how one got pregnant, it's if one is ready to be pregnant, primarily, if one can cope with the fault of getting pregnant and having to terminate it, secondarily, and tertiary, whether it's the right thing to do. Personally, I'm for the right to abortion, but wouldn't put myself in the position of having to ask a girl to get one.

    If a girl I was with got raped and got pregnant, right now I'd ask her to terminate it, not because of the memories, but because it's foolish to bring a child into the world when you can't support it. The stress and the money add up, end in dysfunction, and lead to the catharsis that drives one to be a writer...many people would call me awful for that, but anyway, point being, you're right. Having a baby, like murder, is a CHOICE when abortion is legal, and the choice lies with the woman, so the blame being turned solely on the man (which is constantly is) is abhorrent to me.

    To answer your question about why do people who break religious belief's to have sex get all religious when they get pregnant...I think it's because they know that they did something wrong when they had sex. When they get pregnant they realize now is the time to accept their responsibility. Which is the child.

    What about accepting responsibility beforehand? I'll get flak for this, too, but I believe it more responsible to terminate the pregnancy of a child you can't afford or aren't prepared for. You believe the opposite. But because I disagree, I'm somehow less responsible than you? Nah, it's just a differing opinion.

    Bottom line, the one thing pro and anti-abortion folks can agree on is that it makes sense to think and take care of yourself in terms of getting pregnant. You don't magically become pregnant, it involves a process that's readily simple to understand and control in this country, at least. What you describe is not "accepting responsibility," it's "coping with a mistake" put in euphemistic terms, and I'm just not sure that it's appropriate to put a positive connotation to a failure of judgment. But because a baby is involved, which is tragic, that's what happens.

    Overall i would have to say that this season (the first 7 so far) get a b for me. I hate Lana, and i hate Lionel and Martha (together not seperate) but i love the use of the Superman mythos being expanded with villains that aren't freaks but z-criminals (i hate zoners so now they are offically z-criminals).

    They're just freaks with a different name, that's all, alas.

    Looking forward to next week.

    Thanks!

    Zel wrote:
    Hi Neal....
    Two choices I had to make: the rain is pouring and this tempted me to sleep..or the pile of books calling me to read. I chose neither; I chose your review! Ha!

    Hah! You can choose one of my books if you want some time. Guaranteed fun time.

    I understand your frustration at Lois accepting Ollie yet he was a druggie. Since am a Med-student, let me try to explain it this way (and be the madscientist I am)."Love gives the heart the ability to shut down blood supply to the brain rendering the brain incapable of any thinking capacity" thus, the brain does not think once it has no food(blood). Get my drift.

    True. Particularly with women, in my experience, who tend more than guys to believe love conquers all. Even, oddly enough, after they've been hit in the head with a brick. And WE'RE the ones who are supposed to be thinking with our blood, if you follow.

    I once had to deal with an alcoholic, who would use any coin they got on alcohol and cause mayhem. So once I refused to help them with my money, they stomped off in protest and the person's sister blasted me for it. Why? Coz she loved the loon and could not deny him anything.

    With me it was my mother, my uncle, my grandmother, and a number of friends growing up. The best you can do is stick to your beliefs.

    You may think you can alter someone, and at times be accepting of their behaviour. If Smallville wants to show us that love is blind, then they got it right to pat.

    Heck, sometimes you CAN alter behavior. But it always takes hitting bottom. It's not trivial and cute, dealing with drugs, like this show makes it out to be. Notice all other junkies in this show are instant murderers...it's just bad storytelling.

    Now what the heck is Lionel doing in the Kent family home? That is just so not right. Seems Jonathan Kent died in vain...or he's just dying to scream in his grave. Lionel having dinner, with the woman he blackmailed, the boy whose father's death he speeded along, the girl(lois) who seemed pissed with him in prison and the girl(Chloe)whom he nearly killed. yeah, love is blind! I would rather be at the Lex's mansion where it was true to its nature: cold!

    Likewise.

    So before I lose my head, thanks for the review. And boohoo for you coz we got to know about the Martian Manhunter. Hurrah, this is Smallville!

    Zel

    Thanks.

    Andi wrote:
    Hi,
    A friend of mine is a graphic artist & sends me books (he's in NYC & I'm in Minneapolis) that he's worked or really liked. He sent me Identity Crisis, which I liked, except a few little things. Here's the major question: When did everyone learn that Clark is Superman? I knew that Batman & Wonder Woman knew, but when did all the others learn? I have not been able to find the answer to this anywhere & my friend doesn't know.

    Thnx:)

    I believe, and I may be nuts, but I think this is right, that it happened during the last JLA run, before Tower of Babel, as a gesture of security. Made it into the cartoon, too. I know Bruce and Clark found out each other's secrets when they first met in the Byrne opening bouts.

    Or, sigh, if you buy post IC continuity, in Joe Kelly's Superman/Batman annual.

    Dan Fenton wrote:
    Neal:

    Good call on "Rage". I kinda had it different, though. On my scale, I had it rated as keeeeerrrraaapppp!!! But, then, I tend to be a little too judgemental at times...or something of that nature anyway.

    You can't possibly be as judgmental as me...heh.

    Sooooo, the big news...Lana is expecting a child. I don't know about you but, when she was about to spill her big news, did anyone else cross their fingers, close their eyes and say, "Please be inoperable brain tumor. Please be inoperable brain tumor."...only to have their hopes dashed when she announced the baby on the way (hey, if the kid is bald...gotta be Lex's, right???). The sad thing is, when I watched it again on tape, I hoped the answer would be different this time. Kept rewinding it back but no news of fatal illnesses, etc.

    Sadly, I knew ahead of time. People IM me and spoil it from the east coast, and I'm always stupid enough to read spoilers. It's all about execution for me. It's hard to find a plot I haven't seen, studied, or even written.

    Does that mean Smallville is going to become more about Lana's pregnancy now?

    Yes.

    Are we going to focus at least half of each episode on this poorly chosen story arc?

    Prolly.

    Didn't they learn in season four that too much Lana causes people to flip channels??

    Cerebus thinks Nay.

    That's why I began watching it on tape. Those Lana/Jason/Old Hag Mother story lines made those episodes zip right by. Take away all of that crap and the commercials and I could be finished an episode in less than twenty-five minutes.

    You mean you watch some of it? Heh.

    Again, though, it's indicative of the fact that they want to make this an ensemble show to please the kiddies who really go for that sort of thing, so we see less and less of Clark Kent most weeks. Right now, we have Lana and Lex, we have Oliver, who seems to be the primary focus of every episode he's in, plus Lois, and throw in Chloe and Jimmy and you don't leave a lot of room or screentime for Clark Kent. Many's the episode I've watched where I've wondered what the heck he did, or why he was even there?

    Or why I was there, in my case.

    They always seem to find a plot or story for Kristen, first she's a reincarnation of a witch with a really boring boyfriend, then she's all starry eyed and lovey-dovey for Clark, then she's a bich with a boring boyfriend (Lex in love is not a good thing...even if he's not committed to the idea). Now this baby thing...is this because they are in love with Kristen and really consider her the main star of the show...or is it because she really is pregnant as some suggest and they had to write it in?

    I'm looking into it.

    It's tough if you're a hard-core fan...there's not enough of the Clark Kent story at all most weeks...almost like he's become a secondary character in what I assumed was supposed to be a series about him. People may or may not have liked Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman, but at least you knew the show revolved around their characters (Teri's my favorite Lois, Dean Cain is still my favorite Clark Kent, though I was never all that crazy about his Superman)...Smallville, there are far too many plots/subplots, etc.

    I still think Erica has the closest vision of Lois for me. Not the best writing, but the closest vision to the character I have in my head. Teri was too rail thin, insecure, and whiny. Lois can kick your @$$. She's gonna have some muscles and some breasts. Maybe even a little curvage.

    I would have hoped that the friction between Lex and Clark would have gotten past the "You know where the door is and don't come back." stage. If that's the evil we can expect out of Lex, then it's going to take another 2-3 seasons for the real Lex to come through. I've got news for you...this show doesn't have that much time left in it, not the way it's going now.

    Not news to me...

    There were other ridiculous points to this episode, but I think I first need to appologise to Bow Wow's basketball buddy from the last episode. That woman running the program almost has him beat for worst actor in a TV series. How she stood up to Oliver, to Lex...with the "Go back, there, now." line of the night when Oliver tells her he injected himself and she says, something along the lines of, "Well, don't use it anymore." or something like that...sorry, I lost track as I had to stifle my laughter thinking Ollie would merely shrug and say, "You're right, Doctor, that smock you're wearing indicates to me that you are a person who knows of what she talks about and I sould probably follow your advice...blah, blah, blah."

    Hah!

    I like how nothing characters come on the show and attempt to assert authority and stand up to the likes of Ollie and Ol' Baldy only to shrink back and crawl into their shells the next minutes (or die, as this one did and...well, they all do, don't they)?

    Pretty much.

    I also notice how jaded Clark and Chloe have become to finding deceased people in their midst. They wander into the lab and find the doctor's body and have an exchange that almost goes like this.

    Clark: She's dead

    Chloe: Hmmm...interesting

    Like it's something to be expected every day...of course, in a town like Smallville or a city like Metropolis, your chances of survival seem pretty slim indeed.

    Thus the KO Count to satirize the phenomena.

    Lionel and Martha?? Sorry, I really like Lionel. His character the first couple of seasons is exactly what we should be expecting in Lex but so frustratingly, it seems we are waiting and waiting...and now the fatherhood thing.

    We're not going to get there, I'm realizing.

    Let's hope it turns out NOT to be his kid...maybe that'll be the thing to bring out the real evil in him.

    Hah! No, they'd never tarnish oh-so-pure Lana like that.

    Things have to pick up...Clark has to once again be the focus of the show. When a show loses it's way, it loses it's audience and perhaps it's a sign that the Superman loyalists aren't the people this show is designed to bring in. It's beginning to look more and more like another teenaged angst show that there are already far too many of.

    Yes. Beginning?

    Have a good week.

    Dan Fenton
    Burlington, Ontario
    Canada

    You too, Dan. Thanks.

    Shafi S wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    Sorry for not writing much. My family forgets to tape it for me while i'm at work. I guess thats what I get for not taping Desire or Fashion House (my stomach is in pain) for her.

    Heh. I have no idea what those are, but they sound bad...

    But I only caught the Rage episode, and missed the famous raya episode or some people say the BOW WOW episode. He still annoys me like thers no tomorrow. Well not as much because he doesn't have a hot girl friend anymore, I think it was Ciarra or something like that. But my family saw rage and they liked it.

    See? Proves my theory about money...

    But they should show ollie's political views. Like the character is known for. But they are going for the batman look, because bats on restriction or something. I'm starting to like Durance, better than Hatcher somewhat.

    Oh, you mean, have a character show a political viewpoint when it's APPROPRIATE? Hah!

    Whats with that kevin smith wannabe. He should get hit with a dodgeball for being a pansy. There SUperman point of view my glotus maxamus (I didn't spell that right but you know the idea. So the producers of smallville or the CW network think Superman is a LANA Loving, dumb farm boy (choices he made besides saving people), Lana loving, not calling Pete, afraid of heights type of a person. P%#ses me off, and other stuff that guy said.

    I don't get mad any more at annoying letters. I just ridicule them with flair. Especially cowardly anonymous ones.

    Well thats it for me, enjoy your break Neal, and see ya next time.

    Shafi

    Thanks! I'll try. I really, really need to finish this house. And will.

    Ami wrote:
    Hi Neal!!! :D

    Hey!

    I just finished watching Static (they're so clever with those episode names aren't they? XD)

    It's like a Disney movie. Add an S and you have a new title. BEARDS! It's about talking beards. I've been thinking about LETTERS! It's a letter page, but the letters all have eyes. They run into an arbitrary dilemma when the star thinks he's too big for his britches, but luckily, the shiny letter makes a lot of friends along the way, learns from his mistake, and ultimately finds his family again. Then we do fake letter outtakes in the credits. By Pixar.

    I feel gypped. : The story I rly wanted to see with Clark/Batista and Martian Manhunter was like the back up story. :p Instead we get to watch more Lana and stuff that makes me feel bad for Lex. :|

    Yes. Sad.

    Hey it's a guy that looks and acts just like Michael Douglas from Falling Down!

    HAH! But that movie ruled, and this episode sucked. I LOVE that movie. I'm a Travis Bickle/disillusioned middle class guy punk fan. It's made it into...well, all of my books.

    When did Jimmy become so smart? XD He's clearly in the wrong profession if he can bring ppl out from different frequency dimension things using a ham radio XD

    BOOM! Instant luck. That's from Red Dwarf too, actually.

    And why did Chloe get mad at Clark for wanting to check out Seattle instead of Lex? People were being KILLED there! It's clearly more important.

    Yes.

    I dun understand why Clark is suddenly keeping secrets from Chloe! I get Ollie and Green Arrow xD But Martian Manhunter? :O Why would that be something so special that he can't tell her?

    Because the writers suck.

    The Oreo thing was cute but I dunno if it fit the feeling of the episode. :

    It didn't.

    It's so dissapointing that that plotline was so short!!! Can't they have split the 2 plots into different episodes? Does Lana have to be in EVERY EPISODE!? Clark's investigation was cool (tho all that lying and stealing he did was a bit iffy). :S But he barely meets Batista and then Batista gets killed.

    Yeah, totally with you.

    Grrrr....

    Am I the only one who screamed at the TV when Lana says "I shouldn't have kept it a secret from you?" (or whatever she said)? XDDD ORLY!? How long did she think she could keep it for neways?!?

    I dunno. I scream at the TV a lot.

    I'm just biding my time until Justice cuz I'm a teamup fangirl and I just can't wait! XD

    Yeah, it may be a good episode. We'll see...I have less hope after this season so far. Five ONE episodes, one THREE, two FIVES.

    Neways... keep up the great reviews!

    3 Ami

    Thanks!

    GORE-ILLA wrote:
    Ello, Mr. Bailey. I've read through your reviews for a while, and I've enjoyed them (I believe the first one I read was your Mxyzptlk-but-not-Mxyzptlk episode review, which matched my disappointment at his treatment).

    Thank you Spice Red Zone.

    I write to you now for the first time, in the aftermath of the latest episode. I was basically half-watching while on my computer for the first half or so of the episode. At first it didn't seem like much too interesting, random guest celebrity as throwaway villain (what is this, the 60's Batman show?!). And the thing about the nerdy freak leading Lana to something that was gone when he got there reminded me of an episode that must have been done to death, I recakk several seasons back something similar happening with Clark and Lex, although Clark actually believed Lex.

    Oh, it's happened a number of times. They do all of their plots over again. It's the show that never ends, it just repeats itself again...

    However, the second half started to change my mind. The Martian Manhunter cameo was as awesome as Batista wasn't. I just hope they don't overdo the Oreo thing, Clark stumbling onto a cookie at the end of every episode and saying "Gee whiz, this mysterious guy has powers I can barely imagine, even though I've only seen him use two powers, one of which I already have, and the other one I've used whenever possessed by my Kryptonian self even though I'm not supposed to".

    If cookie, then Martians, my friend.

    Also, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT FOR LANA. At least she's stepping forward from the step she took backwards. Now she's back to blindly believing Lex, but now it seems that they're going somewhere interesting with it, as Lex really does have a secret. Good old irony. If the interestingness continues in future episodes without deflating, even with a superhero whose only costume is sunglasses and a hood, maybe this show can be good again yet.

    It'll be undone at the beginning of next episode if they're true to form...you watch.

    Bruce Kanin wrote:

    OVERALL

  • Does the sum of two marginal and unrelated story threads add up to something good? Nah. Not a bad episode, but could have been a lot better. Call it a strong C-PLUS.

    CWHAT'S HOT (THE GOOD)

  • It's nice to have a story thread worthy of a Job for Superman. While Batista, the bad guy, was ultimately disappointing (he just seemed like a big hungry doofus), his menace did seem pretty nasty (and disgusting), and who better than a future Man of Steel to check it out.
  • The first battle between Batista and Clark was too brief, but as short as it was, it was neat. (When Batista held Clark over his head, ready to break his back, it reminded me of Bane about to break Batman's back in "Knightfall").
  • The World TV Premier of another DC Comics character - the Martian Manhunter! And he saves Superman's arse, to boot! Well, presumably it was J'onn, not that you see all that much. Hope the fire trail suggested by his flying didn't hurt him!! Say, I wonder why kryptonsite.com poses the question "The Martian Manhunter in Metropolis"? Guess they like alliteration, but the answer to that question is "no", because we only saw him in Seattle. All that said, this was NOT the first "live action" (as opposed to cartoon or comic book) version of the MM. He made his first appearance in the fairly awful and unreleased "Justice League" TV pilot, played by, of all people, David Ogden Stiers (Col. Winchester of "M*A*S*H") from many moons ago.
  • The scene in which Lana is in the room with Lex, knowing he's there, telling him about the baby, she loves him, etc., wasn't bad. Good acting all around. Almost touching!
  • Assuming it was deliberate, they smartly gave Clark his own story thread, rather than have him muck around with the Lex affair and try to rescue him. He would have had scenes with Lana and Lex, and that would have spoiled everything.
  • Always good to have Lex and Lionel duke it out. For the first time in a long while, Lionel seems to have the upper hand.

    CWHAT'S NOT (THE BAD)

  • CWHAT'S Hot - Hip - Crap - Etc. segments. GAAAAAAA! HELP!
  • I'm not sure I buy the other-frequency stuff, which, by the way, was done in an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation", in which Geordi and Ensign Ro are stranded in another dimension on the Enterprise. But this is fantasy, so that's OK. However, when Frequency Guy has the knife up against Lana's neck, and then Jimmy hits him over the head, the knife goes flying across the floor. Then, when Frequency Guy and Lana are beamed into Lex's dimension, Frequency Guy is able to pick up the knife to use against Lex. So just what are the rules of this other-frequency business, then, anyway? Do solids exist in both dimensions? Wait - inanimate solids. I'm SOOO confused.
  • Technology is wonderful, ain't it? First Chloe copies the entire contents of Lex's hard drive onto her little portable USB drive, in what seemed like less than a minute (guess Lex didn't have much on his laptop, though those MPEG files showing Lex turn to Static Man couldn't have been all that small)...and then Jimmy cobbles together stuff that would make Mr. Spock and Data scratch their heads - out of a ham radio. Is that amazing, or what?
  • Caress (the commercial) wants to know what kind of Smallville girl I'm like. How dare they!
  • Early on at the Daily Planet, when Chloe answers her cell phone as Clark is on his way out, he stops when he hears Chloe say "Hi Lana". Then, when Chloe finishes her conversation, Clark asks Chloe if Lana is all right, i.e., "what was that about?" But given that Clark's heart still pines for Lana, why wouldn't he have listened in with his super-hearing? Having Clark sheepishly admit to Chloe that he was eavesdropping would have been a neat touch - yet another chance missed by the ever-so-dumb writers.
  • Lana is sure changing her tune fast. I can buy the fact that she's now hopelessly in love with Lex, after all that happened, but now she's dissing Meteor Freaks, so much so that she has a prejudice towards them? Why, she's an Anti-Freak-ite!
  • Why did Clark need to steal that police badge? He can sniff around via super-speed. We don't need no stinkin' batches!

    CWHO CARES (THE REST)

  • The Lex-thread had distant origins in two Superman stories, both from the semi-forgotten Bronze Age of the 1970-80s: one was a two-issue story about Microwave Man, who was somewhat like the freak-of-the-week nerd from "Static"; and a story about Superman being thrown into some other-frequency netherworld - in a TV set - only to be rescued by - Jimmy Olsen (!) - when Jimmy sets off his signal watch, Superman is able to focus on it and rescue himself!
  • Say, when Clark goes to Seattle, we in the audience think "cool! He's racing halfway across the country - from Kansas to Washington State". But not really THAT cool: it was a short trip, even for a mortal man, to hoof it to the City Where Starbucks Was Born from...Vancouver, BC, where "Smallville" is filmed! J

    A city I drove to yesterday. High priced yuppie food all over the place, but decent people.

  • What was the crud that Clark keeps finding under his shoe (first in Seattle, and then in his barn)? I know! It's evidence of another DC character coming soon! Yes, folks, soon we'll be joined by - Krypto! HOORAY and WOOF!
  • Right after Lana disses Meteor Freaks, Lex takes her into a huge room - full of green meteor rocks!!! Well, for a moment, that's what it looked like to me! They were really green Christmas-type decorations. Or perhaps, er, (sorry ) Martian Manhunter crud!!!!
  • No Martha, no Lois. No problem, but I like them. Even though I still have trouble with Lois being in Smallville.

    CWHAT'S NEXT (COMING DISTRACTIONS)

  • None! Boo-hiss, but I wasn't going to watch the show on Thanksgiving, anyway. And have a Super and Happy Thanksgiving y'all...
    Bruce Kanin

    Likewise, and thanks, Bruce!

    Matt wrote:
    Big fan of your reviews, for the simple fact that you tell it how it is. I'm going to have to disagree on a minor point, however.

    Okay...and thanks.

    "They use the x-ray sound effect but don't show the special effect. Given that the sound is supposed to be audible to Clark only, presumably, it doesn't make sense to use the sound and not show it. If you have to cut the effect for the budget, just use a line of dialogue."

    I actually really liked the way they did this. Is it as good as having the special effect? No. But I think a line of dialogue would have been awkward. After all, Chloe already knows he has x-ray vision. Why should Clark declare he just used it? "Chloe, look what I just spotted with my x-ray vision!" Yeah, okay, they might not put exactly like that; but regardless, it seems unnecessary. I thought it was a nice way to convey Clark using his powers even if the visuals didn't fit the budget (after all, just because they can't afford to eye candy, doesn't mean Clark should conveniently forget use his powers).

    I guess what I was getting at is if they're not going to use the effect, why not just have him pull it out, say, "Look!" and have that be the end of it. It seems to be emphasizing the fact that their budget sucks.

    Something that you hadn't mentioned that drove me crazy - Chloe's research on the chemical substance. This is a habitual problem in the series, but I can understand it to some degree. They have 43 minutes to start and finish a story line, and they can't afford to have Chloe *not* be the end-all source for every piece of knowledge accumulated in human history. After all, that would require a staff of decent writers. But this episode really got to me.

    Heh. I could write around most any problem they let slide, and in their time constraints. I don't say that as a fanboy. I say that as an experienced writer who pays attention to said things. It can be done. Fact.

    Consider: A highly experimental healing drug, and her biochemist friend takes an afternoon to perform molecular analysis and declare "Oh, this is a healing drug. And by the way, it will affect your brain." Riiiight... because it really is just that easy to identify the molecular function of a novel drug that no one has ever seen outside Ollie's laboratory. And then click click click, "The only person who would do this research on this unpublished drug that no-one should know about is Professor So-and-So" *pulls hair out*

    BINGO! Thanks.

    Jeff wrote:
    Maybe this will get to you in time, maybe not, but I wanted to mention one thing about Static. What the f#$k? Are they doing an homage to the old Superman serials, where they recreate Superman flying with cartoon animation? Watch the scene with Batista throwing Superman into the watchtower. As he leaps from the tower to the ground, you can clearly see the animation. Watch it in slo-mo and it's even more apparent. Seriously, is it an homage or lack of budget? I don't care if their tight on a budget. It's 2006 and still can't do any better than a 1940s Superman serial. That's unacceptable!

    Jeff

    It looks like a budget thing, otherwise they wouldn't be pumping up the ads. It's what happens when you only get 3.5 shares. Yeah, they're top dog on CW (which is like saying you've got the best seat at the role playing game, whoopy doo, nerd), but that doesn't translate to dollars for good effects. Note that Lost has great effects. Note that House has great effects. Note that when Smallville told a good story and got ratings, IT had great effects.

    Charlie Rosebury wrote:

    my first one... i have a background in CS so I thought it'd be easier... turned out well though!!

    http://lexanapropose.ytmnd.com

    -chuck

    Chuck promised me ytmnds...and delivered! Thanks! And a great way to go out.

    See you all in...December? January? Either way, get over to nealbailey.com and shoot me a line in the hiatus, or I will send Batista to growl at you. I give my site eight growling CW wrestlers out of nine.

    Neal



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