Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 6 - Episode 10: "Hydro"



Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

Well we're back and it looks like Smallville is back with a vengeance.

Let me explain something first about my review. This episode can be split in the 3 parts. While two of the 3 main "plots" were directly related they were different enough to call them two separate sub plots. We had Lois trying to prove she knows who the Green Arrow is, Lana and Chloe vs. the Water Freak, and finally we have the continued drama of the romance between Lex and Lana and how it affects the other main characters. I think cut this one together did a fantastic job with the three plot threads making them fit together nicely.

Anyway since there were three parts I find grading this episode difficult. See, on one hand we had two rather average plots which were done fairly well and for the most part are important to the running theme and plot of this season. Then on the other hand there is the third plot. A minor sub plot to be sure but it was hands down FANTASTIC! Oh and Funny. Really, really funny. I laughed so hard that I almost had grape Cool-Aid coming out of my nose at one point.

Allison Mack was fantastic in this episode. I think she really nailed the emotions involved in the difficult position Chloe has been placed in. She knows everyone's secrets and is being asked to keep them from others who trust her. The scene where she went off on Clark was fantastic. Both Tom Welling and Allison Mack did a great job with the emotions. Yes Clark was a bit hurt by what he learned about Lana but he responded badly. It was really nice to see him realize that after Chloe blew up and take a step back and own up to his error. That is another step on his journey to the cape I think. Plus his comment about the term "Space Alien" was one of those priceless moments of the series. Something there are a few of in this episode.

While I think the romantic developments between Lana and Lex were perhaps the weakest part of this episode, I still think all the actors/actresses involved did a great job with the strong emotional material there. Lex in his sort of evil way of wooing Lana to the alter has been a highlight of that plot line. We see how he can turn from loving boyfriend with Lana to cold and calculating when confronted by Clark. I also really loved how when Clark found out Lana might still love him he was off to rescue her until he found out about the baby. Once he heard about that he totally backed off. Even if Lana still loved him he needs to back off and let her and Lex sort that one out without his involvement. I was glad to see him put his own feelings aside for the sake of the child. Nicely done!

Lana and Chloe taking on the water woman was neat if perhaps a bit rushed. Or perhaps the better way to describe it was crammed into the episode with all the other stuff going on. The villain would have worked better I think had we seen her before. This "star" reporter just sort of shows up out of nowhere and becomes this big threat. I understand that is standard in weekly TV show material but I think the story suffered slightly because of that. The effects could have been more but I suppose they had to watch the budget so they were limited on what CGI water effects they could have. One good thing is how Lana didn't actually kill the villain this time. Sure Lana thinks she did but I am willing to bet we have not seen the last of Miss Lake. (Nice name for a woman with water powers huh?)

All that said though what really made this episode shine was the plot involving Lois trying to expose Oliver as the Green Arrow. There are just so many good things that happened in this sub plot. Lois and Jimmy make secret deals in alleys. Clark and Oliver's plan to throw Lois off the track. Chloe figuring out what Clark did and who he was protecting, the entire scene where she is teasing Clark about it while Lois told him the story. Clark in the Green Arrow costume. Clark and Lois kissing and both obviously loving it. (The look on Clark's face afterwards was priceless). All that was great but hands down the greatest moment was when Clark tells Lois why he would help her. Both the wife and I were on the floor laughing out loud at how Clark chose to describe Lois' inability to let something go.

I must say Erica Durance is really hitting the character of Lois Lane. She has got the "snark" down to a tee and I think the writers have really started to home in on what makes the character work. Erica really has been eating up her somewhat limited screen time.

So I need to grade this one but how? Chloe and Lana taking on Lake would be a 3.5 out of 5. The Lex/Lana romance plot would be a 3 out of 5, and saving the Green Arrow's secret identity would be 5 out of 5! (And that is just because I can't give it a 6 on a 5 point scale.) So digging back into my college statistics class I come out with a 3.8 out of 5. Well... I am sorry... I just refuse to give any episode that has Clark describe Lois as a "Pit Bull on a Pant Leg" anything less than a 4 out of 5 so that is my score. Call it an A-.

(By the way, how many of you actually paused to check my math above? pffft... Nerds. Yes it was actually 3.833 but we geeks know a significant decimal place when we see one.)

Next week? Well I saw the preview. Most of you probably saw the preview... and well... To say I am looking forward to it would be an understatement. I can't wait. See you then.



Reviewed by: Neal Bailey


  • Tori Spelling plays Linda Lake, a gossip columnist who can turn to water.
  • After many irrelevant subplots, she is stopped.
  • One of said irrelevant subplots is Lois potentially discovering Green Arrow's identity.
  • She doesn't.
  • Lana agrees to Lex's marriage proposal.


    Okay, Al and Miles, you're gonna love this. Secrets, they're like WATER. Get it?


    And if you want to make an episode's conflict reflect the context without actually doing the work of developing character, you can make yourself seem clever by making the villain a metaphor for the problem at hand, right?


    And if we bring in a has-been that people recognize to play the part, it's sure to draw viewers, right?

    Al and Miles: Face it, whoever wrote this episode, you're amazing! Now all we need is three, three, THREE prefix-anas, 'cause ONE WON'T DO!

    Heck, and I coulda been playing World of Warcraft. If I didn't enjoy writing...why, I oughtta!

    Ah, irony. I spent years trying to tell people that though I was critical of this show, I still enjoyed it. Even season four. Yeah, you heard T right. T said he actually enjoyed season four. There were elements of it I enjoyed. So there.

    Even coming into this season, though par by par the episodes were worse than season four ratings-wise, I was having a good time. Some episodes sucked, some episodes ruled.

    This season, so far, has been largely trash. And now it's half over. It's hard to find even subtle enjoyment in that.


    Well, that's also not the point. As I've also contended, even if I didn't enjoy it, I'd review the show, because one, I promised to, start to finish, two, criticism isn't about reviewing a show you like, it's about reviewing a show. And three, people who sycophantically review shows they like, while being someone you can commiserate with and enjoy, are not what or who I am.

    The long and the short of this exposition is that as of this show, I am one step away from no longer believing this show could ever come back from the brink, and the name of that step is Justice until it's proven otherwise.

    Generally speaking, I gave the show the benefit of the doubt in the beginning, largely doling out many high reviews that in retrospect aren't warranted, but were at the time. Perhaps now I am harsher than I should be, but it doesn't matter, because it's honest both ways. Justice may rock my socks and the next year and a half or half year before the show is gone might just make me look foolish.

    Right now I doubt it.

    Structurally, what's wrong with this episode? Well, let's examine it just in terms of the writing. The conflict, speaking as a writer, is always supposed to be benefited by the elements of plot that surround and contribute to it. Meaning, yes, sometimes Clark picks his nose, but if you're going to show that, it has to contribute to the overall conflict of the piece. Clark picking his nose causes Lana to leave him, so he nukes her with an atomic fart. Epic writing waiting to happen. If Chloe is thinking of leaving Jimmy, and on the side Clark is picking his nose, you have what is called unnecessary (if cute) exposition, something good editors delete.

    In this show, better than half of it is unnecessary exposition. The main dilemma, that a woman who can turn to water is going after Clark and Lana and Chloe, is in no way benefited by exploring whether Lois can figure out who the Green Arrow truly is.

    There is the argument that subplot doesn't have to be relative so long as it's overarching, because then it becomes a conflict spread over several episodes or chapters. Rational. And it has even proven beneficial to Smallville many times in the past, like with Brianiac and, say, Lionel's rival and Lex's girlfriend daughter of this rival in earlier episodes. A good sub-plot can even take place over one episode and make coherent sense without relating to the main story. But it's rare, it's hard to do without being obvious, and here it's just in the show to be cute. An excuse to get Lois and Clark to kiss, an excuse to show more Green Arrow without him doing anything functional to the plot, and an excuse to have Jimmy there. Jimmy, Green Arrow, even Lois, they're all dead weight that add nothing to the overarching plot right now.

    This is also immaterial to the overall fact that the two pieces of this plot didn't fit, and it seemed that the entire story was two half-finished major plots that didn't have the weight to carry an episode.

    In that it is unremarkable from any other Smallville episode of late, it's also a failure directorially on the part of Welling, which is sad, because I had hopes for him.

    Blow by blow:

    Looks like Chloe is a reporter now. I don't know how the heck or why the heck that happened, and if it did happen, why she's still in the basement.

    In comes Tori Spelling, who's age has not really been that kind too, which is kind of disconcerting on a gut level. Her character is abrasive and annoying from the start, and actually takes the place of the "Laters" girl in terms of overburdened stereotype with nowhere to go. It seems just like I imagine Tori Spelling to be in real life.

    People who garner their fame from their famous family often work under the burden of that. Many consider this unfair. For instance, Colin Hanks is in the shadow of Tom Hanks.

    Generally speaking, however, this shadow is warranted. Colin Hanks is nowhere near what Tom Hanks has achieved, and he's consummate. Tori Spelling, well, she's ten degrees removed from Colin. She's just a kid who her dad cast in a show that was popular with teenagers.

    Bow Wow, Batista, Tori Spelling...I'm sensing a pattern here. Stunt casting. This isn't Michael McKean appearing as Perry. This isn't Christopher Reeve appearing as Swann. This isn't even Bridgitte Crosby. This is Tori Spelling as a gossip columnist.

    I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt. I was hoping, like with Bow Wow, I could change my mind.


    She comes in and whomps on Chloe, telling her to make copies for her. I guess that people who are famous at papers just ask people to make copies for them at random and don't have designated copy people, or, you know, a printer. Especially the famous ones with huge offices. A laser printer? You get out of here! You get RIGHT out of here!

    She even notes that she can see Gotham from her office, making her rich and powerful and important! It's not enough they've gotta put Metropolis in the middle of Gotham is in MISSOURI? WHAT? Unless she can see halfway across the continent from her office. Heyo!

    And best of all, Chloe hacks her off by not putting up with her crap (archetypical response to archetypical conflict) and tells her off. So the gossip columnist leaves, thereby divining that Chloe is someone to watch for some reason (she spies on Chloe without any real reason for the rest of the episode, beyond Lana appearing, which I'll get to, there's no reason for that, either). She also forgets to get the papers she needed copied, the whole reason she went to see Chloe, back.


    We learn that the reporter has just exposed a sports star for taking steroids. Very topical. Very edgy. Very now. Not archetypical at all.


    Just walking down the street, Linda Lake (a blasphemy on any of the LL names so far if there ever was one, aside from Luke Lildmolester. Boy, HE was evil) encounters said jock. Just, you know, walking around. Or maybe she set up a meeting. Regardless, the story neither tells us nor cares. And why would it?


    In a scene so poorly acted it was absurdly funny, she drops her umbrella and runs from this guy. He stares at the umbrella she leaves, like "What the...I didn't want to chase her! Who would?", and then realizes he's actually on a show, and starts chasing her. That's what it seemed like to me. Maybe it was being played for humor and I missed something.

    He chases just like your archetypical villain, walking, and then finally finds a lone fountain. Tori, water in the pond, reaches out, grabs him, and pulls him in, drowning him. Meaning she has hard water power, right? And dispersal power, obviously. She can reach out and grab with her liquid form, and it's quite violent. It can take down a football star.

    Now, this thoroughly abrasive character has KILLED someone for chasing her. Not run to the police, not tried to get away. She kills him. Why? Well, because this is Smallville. No real reason, it just happens. It's DRAMATIC!


    Cut to an advertisement for "Disturbia" in the middle of the show, seemingly at random. We see about three minutes of a movie that is essentially a "hip" ripoff of Rear Window, a real classic, starring that kid from Holes. Only without the disability forcing him to stay at home. Nah, it's because he's a criminal. Yawn me a river and put me in a room with Luke.

    Then they throw two more ads on top of that.

    That said, the run time was 42 minutes, so hey. Why on this episode and not others...but at least it's almost three quarters of the hour.

    I'm just going to keep a running tally of three hour trips in this show instead of making a money tally. It's truly absurd, and I KNOW there are some I missed.

    Lana goes to see Chloe in Metropolis to let her know Lex proposed.

    DING! One.

    She whines about how she still has feelings for Clark, feelings she has neither shown nor acted upon for almost a year, and yet they're suddenly back. Why? This is Smallville.

    Chloe does the rational thing, and tells her to talk to him. She even indicates that they're going to do so. Oddly, this never occurs for the rest of the narrative, and somehow magically turns to Clark coming to see her. Which makes me think the scene was rewritten but that plot point was never changed back. Abysmal. But I'll still count it as Lana and Chloe to Smallville. I'm being kind and not counting the daily commute to Metropolis Chloe recently indicated.

    DING! Three.

    Am I crazy, or did Chloe's lips seem really big in that scene? I mean, REALLY big. They weren't in the rest of the show, but that doesn't mean anything, shows are shot out of sequence. I don't want to start a rumor, but I mean, seriously, they looked like collagen lips. If so, geeze, man, she's hot enough, why mess with that. Plastic surgery can take a hot chick and make them look abysmal.

    The gossip columnist is in the water bottle, it's indicated, meaning she had to work her way past the seal in those water bottles, and somehow shrink the size of her body to the size of one of those five gallon bottles. I'm no scientist, but I know that five gallons of water weighs forty pounds. Tori's anorexic, I guess. Later we see that trauma to her water form wounds her, but she apparently can shrink at will too. But hey, who needs definition of a coherent framework for the villain, huh? Just enjoy it!

    Jimmy to Smallville to talk with Lois.

    DING! Four.

    Jimmy offers the pictures to Lois, which she takes without giving him cash, and then mocks him for taking said pictures.

    Jimmy has pictures of the Green Arrow, but doesn't use it to get favor at the Planet, when he's just been demoted? Instead, he gives them to a gossip columnist who, to our mind, has completed two articles?


    Yeah, it doesn't make coherent sense, but much of the rest of the plot is based upon this assumption for Jimmy. I'll get to that later.

    Clark is now front page news at the Daily Planet, as are Lex and Lana's romance. Uhhhhhh...

    I hate to break it to you, world, but the gossip columns are about chicks and for chicks. Oooh! Is Jennifer Anniston upset that Angelina Jolie stole her man? Who had plastic surgery? What's she look like in that dress?

    Do they obsess about what rich bald men do? Well, let me put it this way. Name one major story talking about who some rich guy who isn't considered dashingly attractive is doing in a tabloid? Brad Pitt is covered, because he's considered amazingly attractive, and was with Jennifer Anniston. Murderers are shown in those magazines. Fish boys.

    But not rich, bald men. Bill Gates is never a cover-boy on the Enquirer, or even the Times.

    That's why I don't buy that Lex would be fodder for the tabloids, or that your average housewife reading said tabloids would give a solid crap who Lana is or who she's still obsessing about.

    Hell, even in REAL LIFE people could give a solid damn about who or what Kristin is doing beyond this show. It's the fetishization all over again, and believe me, this show was all about how amazing Lana is and how everyone wants to love and be her.

    Beyond that, though shady tabloids might, in their wildest stretches, cover such crap, a reputable paper like the Daily Planet is presumed to be, would assuredly not. The "Grand Old Lady," remember?

    Clark is, however, in bold print on the front page of the B section, standing in perfect farmboy pose. So much for a secret identity. Everyone in Metropolis now knows his name and what he looks like with his glasses off, right?


    Clark line: "If she marries Lex, there's no going back!"

    Yeah! Most marriages don't end in divorce, and that never happens, ever! Lana NEVER leaves someone she loves when that person does something she doesn't like! ZOMG!

    And hey, what more could you want from a Smallville episode than Clark pining over and worrying about Lana despite her treating him like a piece of fecal smelly funtime? I mean, I love nothing more.

    Well, except good action sequences, coherent plot, character, interesting guest stars, special effects that rule, something (anything, really) related to the mythos, a Clark that acts like a leader and a man, a supporting cast we can enjoy, a villain that makes us afraid and sympathetic, and everything, everything, everything, EVERYTHING on the planet Earth and the universe and all that has and ever will exist including Hugh Jackman.

    Zach: But he played Wolverine!


    Then I realize that not only do I HATE Lana's character, now I have a reason to actively loathe her. Now, being a pain in the #$# is nothing that can't be ultimately forgiven. I will not hang around with people who are, and I do not derive pleasure from being anywhere near people who are pathologically self-obsessed, demanding, and too pretty to have any flaw (and thus unlovable for me). But, end of the line, it's just a lifestyle choice, and nothing I can condemn beyond opinion.

    But cold hard fact, a woman who gets pregnant out of wedlock and then considers leaving the father for an old flame, endangering not only herself but an innocent child, is beyond the pale.

    Is this issue confronted in this episode in any way at all? Does Clark say, "Hey, look. You're PREGNANT now. You need to go and be with the father!" (or have an abortion, subtext from me). Nah. He says, "I hope Lex makes you happy!"

    As much as I disagree with Clark being a dumb led poodle, I believe that Superman, being largely traditional, would be insistent that Lana settle down with Lex and have that child. She's obviously too immature to lead her life on her own in so many ways, she needs a rock. No, don't whine, letter writers, I'm not saying she needs a man (though she does), or that women need a man. I'm saying she needs someone to center her madness so she doesn't screw up a kid. At least, that's how Superman would see it, I believe. It's how I see it, and I base a lot of my morality in the basic, humanitarian thinking Superman tends to adopt.

    We deviate in that I'd suggest an abortion, but hey, I'm trying to think like Supes.

    But then again, is this Supes? In what crazy backwards universe is Lana pregnant and engaged to be married by Lex before she's even ever been on civil standing once with Clark Kent?

    Lex reads the article, takes it to Lana, does he read the riot act to her? He's caustic, but he's not overtly angry, and he forgets it by the next scene. Lana, however, for being "betrayed" by Chloe, gets three people to whine at in the end of the episode, Clark, Chloe, then LEX, of all people. Note that when Lana keeps a secret from Lex, the fact that she still likes Clark, she's never the one held to account for that? Instead Chloe is the bad girl for letting it leak (when she didn't), Clark is the bum for still loving her and wanting to talk to her about it, and Lex is the bum for being, well, Lex. She intimates that she can't be fully trusting of him, without any real reason. This a scene before she indicates that she can trust him totally, and is in love with him.


    Lana gets a cell phone call, and looks like she's going to take it, when they're talking about their engagement. She picks up the phone. Lex, realizing he has a caller, leaves. Lana then doesn't's Chloe.

    Read that one more time. Lana doesn't answer the phone because she doesn't want to talk to Chloe. What's Lana's next major scene? Driving all the way to Metropolis to confront Chloe in person.

    DING! Five.

    Back at the mansion, Clark confronts Lex about, well, being with Lana. Lex rubs in the fact that he's being a jealous putz, which he is. Would Clark act this way? No. It's out of character. But because they made him act this way, Lex's cold revelation of Lana's pregnancy is warranted, if cold.

    His lie about Lana being there is finkish, but understandable. Clark's been banned form the premises, and he's trying to break them up for all Lex knows. Why let him in?

    Clark's response? He's annihilated. Lana, pregnant? Nooooooo!

    Pining and whining, emo kid Superman. Joy.

    Lex goes to Tori Spelling to get information about Clark Kent and Lana Lang. He gives her a blank check for information. What happens to this check? Who knows? Why does he go to Tori before a private investigation by a professional, or one of his multitude of freaks? Who knows?

    And what bearing does this scene have on any of the rest of the episode? None.

    And is this plot point resolved in any way? No.

    And what is a plot point that is irrelevant to the conflict? That's right, kids, wasted exposition in a plot that can't support itself for its own emptiness of content.


    You know what we need? Extensive nudity and making out. Stat!

    Lois and Green Arrow make-out half-naked in that Smallville way, where they take the shirt off and then stop right there, just like it is in real life, huh? I mean, I know that I always leave the girl's shirt on when I'm making out with her, and never grab for her breasts at any point. And, I mean, who would grab for Erica's breasts, huh?

    I'm lucky this scene wasn't just a poor excuse to have Lois notice Green Arrow's wound and expose her breasts and his body, or I might have to get caustic.

    Lois sees that Ollie has the same wound as the Green Arrow, and leaves. She doesn't confront him about it. She doesn't pull out the picture before leaving. She just jets. Arbitrary drama. Lois' character would prompt an immediate confrontation. Failure of character.

    That's Lois to Metropolis and back to Smallville, by the way.

    DING! Seven.

    Linda Lake goes to Smallville and then back to Metropolis when she discovers Clark's secret from Chloe.

    DING! Nine.

    Lex Luthor to Metropolis and back when he asks Tori to spy on Clark and Lana.

    DING! Eleven.

    Clark and Lois talk about what it's like for someone to hide a secret. Clark thinks she means him, Lois shortly reveals she means Ollie. Cute conversation, and decent tension. Too bad it's maybe a minute out of a forty minute show. But good.

    Lois appears to be wearing less makeup in places. For some reason, she seems more Lois-y with the makeup, even though I think Lois would wear less makeup. Weird. But of note.

    Clark is very absent in this episode, and not incredible focal to the plot or its resolution. I know this is so Tom can direct. I still find it to be no excuse for putting out a story that ignores the main character without a clear reason (see "Her Story" from Scrubs, where it's used as a character segue. Chloe doesn't grow as a character here despite becoming the protagonist).

    Chloe reads Clark the riot act for always asking him to keep her secrets, and for people crapping on her for keeping secrets. Good. Alas, however, next week this will all be forgotten and she'll still be given secrets, if I know my Smallville. I have no faith this subplot has any merit or long-term ramification at all.

    Linda Lake finds out that Clark is an alien. How? Chloe says it. Does she find any proof? No. But she believes it.

    Here's the Catch-22. If she believes there's enough to write an article (as she does, because she writes it and prepares to publish it later), there's no reason not to immediately do it, and to instead wait to taunt Chloe later. The only reason she'd have to wait and taunt Chloe is to prove Clark has powers. Neither is exploited, so her waiting to publish makes no sense.

    Hey, you know what we need now? Lana angry and accusing someone of something.

    Lana sits outside of the Daily Planet, because she can't even be bothered to go inside to give Chloe crap, Chloe has to come to HER. When Chloe arrives, Lana says "You went to Linda Lake!" Chloe replies that she didn't, and Lana's response is (almost instantaneously) that she should have trusted her, and Chloe must be telling the truth.

    This accomplishes what a phone call couldn't how?

    See, I KNOW, I flat-out KNOW that if she just called her, there would be no show. But I also know that a good writer would make a solid reason that she had to go all the way to Metropolis to see Chloe. Or, you know, if it were me, make it so my character didn't have to travel three hours to talk to each other over minor things. But hey, I'm not a REAL writer, right? Cause I don't make any money.

    The funny part of all of this is that here, Lana has an actual reason to be mad at Chloe. There's no way that anyone could have gotten this information without Chloe, period. The only way this could have happened without Chloe being complicit is with a tape recorder or a video camera, which is grounds for suit. Off the record is off the record, and character defamation is serious fun. And you know Lana would be all about that.

    So if you're Lana, suss this out. Either Chloe is responsible, in which case, why would she give the story to Linda and not take it herself, or Chloe is NOT responsible, in which case, why confront her?

    Bad writing.

    Actual Chloe line: "The Lana Lang I know would at least give me a chance to find one!" (A reason the story got out.)

    Ha! HAH HAH HAH!

    The Lana you know, babe, isn't even in this frequency. She must be on Earth 3 somewhere with Clark. Or maybe this IS Earth-3. That would make more sense.

    The Lana Lang Chloe Knows dances on the head of a pin while giving me a copy of Action Comics #1, ending the Iraq War without another death, puts hot chicks with geek dudes, and cares for all of us, one and all, every last one of us, all and one, and all. I mean EVERYONE. Even Hitler.

    The Lana Lang Chloe Knows bakes cookies on anti-methane clouds with fairies while blowing cotton candy out of her butthole and peeing nourishing soda pop into the mouths of little chicklet Lanas who go about saving people from burning orphanages while ending war, bringing Charles Bukowski back from the grave and ending, and I mean ENDING the existence of people like Paris Hilton. Her ear wax glues falling bridges back together. She's the president of awesome, and she never berates anyone for anything, even killing her. Jonathan Kent is GLAD the Lana Lang Chloe Knows got him killed.

    When the Lana Lang Chloe Knows looks at you, Al and Miles pass out. It's why she's always looking away when the camera is on her. Pure exposure causes nirvana.

    The Lana Lang Chloe Knows...face it, she's amazing.

    And what the Lana Lang Chloe Doesn't Know could fill a book. Or a TV series. Cuz she hot.

    Lana talks to Chloe about how she's having trouble being with Lex, because she believes she can't trust him (though last episode, Lex would never lie, remember?). She suggests that maybe the reason she feels this way is because Clark made her jaded.

    And yet the next scene she loves Clark, meaning she either intentionally loves the worst people she can find, is totally confused, or the writing is bad.

    I'll go with C.


    Hey, let's give Tori an origin that'll make her unique. Or...

    Let's just have Chloe hold up a piece of paper that reads "PLANT WOMAN caught in meteor shower!" except instead of PLANT WOMAN some prop guy has crossed out the PLANT WOMAN and written TORI-ER, LINDA LAKE in the top in sharpie.

    Lois to Clark about Ollie: "Maybe I just don't want to know!" referring to whether or not Ollie is Green Arrow. Huh? I mean, is she Lana all of a sudden? The Lois I know would never play the dumb, naïve chick who stays with a guy who may or may not be an arrow wielding thief because she's attracted to him. Lana? Maybe. Not Lois. Lois has high expectations and enough self-confidence to know she deserves to.

    Except in this show.


    Lois to Metropolis and back to meet up with Ollie for dinner.

    DING! Thirteen.

    Does Clark count? Did he ride with Lois? I'll say no.

    Ollie is cutting limes with no alcohol, and has lettuce in a bowl next to him. Just because it's green. Get it? Ugh. I mean, there's subtle things, like Clark having a red jacket and a blue shirt. Limes and lettuce is the party at the nerdy kid's house. Don't tell me a rich dude wouldn't have booze around. Just have a bottle of midori. That's enough subtle prop work.

    Lois goes down a dark alley, per her plot to find out who Green Arrow is, calling Ollie and telling him to save her. Because asking him is right out, and wouldn't work at all, would it? Or wait, did she not even try it? Oh yeah, she didn't.

    And what does this have to do with the conflict of this story? Nothing.

    The next sequence is incredibly confusing. Lois goes down the alley telling Ollie she's being attacked. Then, dudes come out and attack her. So you're thinking this is a coincidence. Then Jimmy pops out, punches one to comic effect, and says something along the lines of the guys weren't supposed to really mug her. Does this mean she paid muggers to fake mug her so Green Arrow could kick their butts and get them shot up with arrows?

    Let's just put Austin Powers in an overly-elaborate and easily escapable death, right? Only it works in Powers because it's pointing out the utter absurdity and awfulness of contrived plot complication.

    Even James Bond is supposed to be one-dimensional. This is supposed to be a serious dramatic effort.

    And regardless, goons showing up in an alley is just too coincidental. Especially if Jimmy's there.

    When did Metropolis become Gotham, by the way? I didn't know goons wandered down the streets of Metropolis like this. The city is pretty dark and dingy since they brought a guy who was originally a ripoff of Batman to town. Not that Gough and Millar seem to have "I didn't get Batman" envy going on with this.

    Clark appears, and throws a guy forty feet, potentially killing him. Never done THAT before, have they? Couldn't just tie him up, gotta beat the bejesus out of him. They must have cheap springboards in Canada or something, and rope must be costly.

    He didn't shoot the arrow. I was hoping he would, and take Jimmy out or something. That at least would have been amusing.

    Lois kisses him, creating one of the only good moments of the show, when she later points out that Green Arrow is a much better kisser than Ollie. That was funny, I'll give it that. Cute, and smart. But given the context, it's like the one good scene in the middle of a show you'll never watch again. Why waste it here?

    And it's also bookended with another horrific, awful scene. You all, if you're reading this, likely know my position on hitting-as-okay for women when it's not for men.

    Imagine a scene where I'm being beaten up by three giant women, and I'm a little dude. A girl drops in, saves me, and in gratitude, I kiss her, and she's amenable.

    I find out that she's not the girl I thought she was, so in retaliation, I open-hand belt her across the face.

    Then the cops come and I'm hauled off to jail. Or, if it's a TV show, we show the guy to be a complete %*#$ for the rest of the show, a bully, a horrible person, how DARE he hit a woman?

    Here the exact same scene happens, only Lois hits Clark, and it's okay, because he's somehow deceived her?

    But get this. He didn't. She knows he didn't. She kissed HIM, and because she made a mistaken assumption, she hits HIM?

    No reaction to this? This is played off as okay? They play it like Clark deserves it because he deceived her for a kiss. But SHE KISSED HIM, and WE, the AUDIENCE, are the only one who knows Clark has done something "reprehensible," even though it wasn't.

    When Lana smacked Lex for trying to kiss her, there was the argument that he might have been forcing himself on her (though he wasn't). When Clark tried to kiss Lana and she slapped him, there was the argument that he might have been forcing himself on her (though he wasn't). Here, there is ABSOLUTELY NOT ONE IOTA OF REASON that it was okay for Lois to smack Green Arrow, and yet it's played off as okay.

    That's NOT okay to me. The continued assertion in the media and fiction that if a guy ticks you off, you can beat him, is the reason why women constantly get away with beating men in real life. I saw it myself so much growing up it's not even funny. The mom attacks a dad, the police are called, and because the woman's wrists are bruised from where the guy blocks her from beating the holy crap out of him, he goes to the can.

    The reason for this is because men do beat women (scumbags), and ferociously, and because men are larger than women.

    That doesn't stop women from taking advantage of this, and that doesn't mean it's okay to pass it off as right in entertainment. Both are equally wrong. Hitting over an idea is sex regardless.

    This scene was not only reprehensible, it's as close as I've come to being offended, actually offended, in quite some time.

    It didn't, really, because I know this is just a show with crappy writing relying on stereotype and I'm not going to let that ruin my day, but I am going to say that it's reprehensible to show that on a drama that kids use as a role model while passing it off as appropriate response.

    I'll smack a woman next time she deceives me in a moment of physical compassion, and write this next review from jail, huh? Or would that be inappropriately ironic? Smallville just used that for entertainment, so why can't I? Is it tasteless when I do it? Ask yourself. I think it is/was.

    So Chloe sets up a video conference with Lana while Lana's in her SUV outside with no real reason. They're, what, seeking information about Linda, or trying to find her in her office? Irrelevant. It's an arbitrary way to get Linda talking into a video camera about Clark's secret without saying it, so Lana can have a reason to bich at Chloe. Joy.

    Chloe, instead of turning off the camera when the lady enters the room, lets it stay on. In response, Lana begins driving around outside at a high rate of speed, pulling circles for the next five minutes, and not bothering to call Chloe when her machine is smashed. Go, Lana That Chloe Doesn't Know!

    Linda then threatens to publish the article her character already would have published, and taunts Chloe with it instead of hitting publish, waiting until Chloe can smash it.

    Then, instead of just leaving and filing the report again, she tries to kill Chloe, because lord knows, meddling kids just have to be killed! There's no way to avoid them once they're on your trail! You'd have to be able to, I don't know, turn to water to be able to escape a...


    And how does she decide to kill Chloe? This person who can turn to hard water and move at high speeds? This person who can modify her mass to become smaller and bigger (by necessity, given that forty pound water bottle)?

    Well, here's a list of cool ways:

    1) Expand to fill the room all the way with water, drowning her.

    2) Jump in her nose and fill her lungs, drowning her.

    3) Blast into the window at high speeds and cut Chloe to bits.

    4) Pick up the computer in water form and bash her with it at high speeed.

    5) Wait until she runs, then slip under her feet constantly until she falls into something hard and dies.

    6) Make her drink you until her stomach bursts and she collapses by forcing yourself down her throat.

    7) Spout dialogue for just a little longer until she decides to commit suicide from the banality.

    What I WOULDN'T do is grab a nail gun that isn't connected to an air hose and try to shoot someone with it, because that's just plain dog #$$ stupid.

    Being a construction-type-dude, I tend to work with air framers and roofing air nailers a lot. There MIGHT be an electrical, cordless version of a framing nailer, but I've never seen one at all of the jobsites I've worked at and been to. I've never seen one for sale, even at specialty stores.

    Pneumatic tools are driven by compressed air. I know for a fact they can stick in the wall like that, and are accurate, because I used to line my brother and sister up while I was working on my roof and scare the bejesus out of them by doing the Looney Tunes "outline of the form" at them from the peak. Good times. I only missed a few times. They healed.

    Kidding. I never miss.

    But anyway, point being, without compressed air and thus a hose, no shootie, so I was pulled completely out of the scene after ALREADY being completely out of the scene wondering why this woman would want to kill Chloe, any reason at all would have been nice.

    This lady can take down a JOCK in water form, but she gets into a kicking and punching fight with Chloe without ONCE using her power? WHAT?

    Then, Lana, driving by at high speed, DOESN'T SEE the people kick fighting and rolling on the ground to her immediate right, smashing into Linda and blowing her apart?

    Lana KILLS someone, then just gets out like "Oh, well, what's done is done."


    And Chloe, who knows she can turn to water, and sees her doing it, doesn't seek a body, or carry on the investigation? Not only is the conflict of this episode unresolved for us, as there's no reason to think or believe Linda was hurt, or that she would stop with her story, there's no reason for Chloe or Lana to believe it either.

    Utter crap. Bad conflict, poor resolution, awful idea, nothing to me.

    Bring out the board.

    No! No, I will not be swayed. I'm serious this time. Bring it out, Jimmy.

    Smallville, you have already jumped the shark. Now it's worse.


    You hear me? You're ON NOTICE, SMALLVILLE!

    That means you have to appear next episode, I mean, the actual show Smallville, not this crap, or you will be DEAD TO ME.

    If Stephen Colbert can put things on notice, then so can I. So I have said it, so IT SHALL BE DONE!

    Jimmy says "gone like the 90s." It made me smile. Not because I'm feeling old, I'm not. More because I realize, yeah, the nineties are gone, and that's when I grew up. But the 00s? Musically, culturally, altruistically, this decade seems to have contributed little to nothing memorable. What major thematic movement is present here in this decade? Emo? That was already around in the 90s. Boy bands? Please. That was around with the Beatles. Annoying starlets who happen to be rich? Hello 1985. Presidents who want to cut taxes and have a second term controversy? Pssht.

    The nineties had grunge, which I think sucked, second wave punk, which granted, had already been done, but ushered in a new, more political and pointed wave of social dissent the previous version lacked in the US (not in Britain). We had modern swing (as opposed to old swing, which was less hardcore). We had the emergence of CGI in the film medium. We had Gangsta rap, maligned or not. There was even, towards the end there, the beginning of this little, ignorable fad called the POPULAR COMIC BOOK MOVIE, possibly the only thing making this decade tolerable beyond the Daily Show, Scrubs, and House. Even Charles Bukowski was still alive in the 90s.

    This decade has third wave punk, more concerned with money than a social message, emo resurgence, derivative, sequel-based film, popularity from financial prospectus, Enterprise, and Smallville, which started well, and is now this.

    So if the 90s are gone, good on the time, bad on the spirit. Bring back the creativity, Jimbo, or at least venerate it for once if it was never gone over financial intention. For your generation's sake. Or you'll just be gone.

    Hip little piece of dialogue though there, chuckles.

    Chloe's anger at Jimmy taking pics to Lois is completely forgotten and ignored. Goodbye, dangling plot end. Too bad I knew ye.

    The Oliver Queen Chronicles are advertised, and actually interest me. I'd review them for you, but I don't have a cell phone, because they're pretentious, awful tools of popularity, status, and communication in an already too connected world. I don't need or want one.

    Lana goes to Smallville and then back to Metropolis to meet with Chloe the next day.

    DING! Fifteen.

    Lana picks on Chloe, trying to get Clark's secret. Chloe tells her to go talk to Clark. Go figure! Might make sense, huh? The only thing new about this scene is that it's the first time Lana knows Chloe knows. That doesn't make it Chloe's problem, and how bad would Clark look if he demanded of Chloe Lana's secret? Didn't they already do that?

    Either way, NONE of these dramatic scenes are anything but pure soap opera crap to me, and hold my attention no more than a flaming SUV. I would turn, go, "Oh, that's nice" and get back to my writing.

    Aside from the fact that Lana is demanding to know her secret, but now it's none of her business. Remember a few weeks ago, when Clark was trying to find out what the deal was with Lex and Lana? First with the relationship (which she hid) then the engagement (which she hid) and now the pregnancy (which she hid)? He was portrayed as a meddling oaf overstepping his bounds.

    Here, Lana is given three detective scenes when she's not even the focus of this episode to find her information, and is treated as deserving of the information.

    She's not with Clark, his secret is now none of her business. That's her line, so she should take it.

    Lana: "Do you really expect me to keep looking the other way?"

    Chloe: "I would never do anything to hurt you!"

    Lana: "That's what Clark always says!"

    AND NEITHER DO HURT YOU, IDIOT. Die in a fire. Make Picard cry.

    All this, and a Clana?

    Lana goes to Clark, dangly earrings and all (from Metropolis to Smallvile), to ask of him his secret.

    DING! Sixteen.

    You know, I think it's neat to finally see Lana come to Clark's loft to confront him about his secret. I wish they'd done this before now, because I could just feel the tension popping off of both actors. I don't know why Welling was yawning, and I think the tears in Lana's eyes were at having to do the same lines again, but anyway...

    Lana: "Just trust me!"

    Clark (thinking): She hid her pregnancy, her engagent, her relationship with Lex and Jason, she hid the stones, she hid her feelings from me, she hid Brainiac's ship and she hid Lex turning into Zod. Trustworthy! Like Lionel!

    Lana: "I'm trying to put you in perspective!"

    He's your ex-boyfriend. Here's your sign.

    Clark: "It doesn't matter now." He then points out the baby. Good. Finally, someone did.

    Lana: "You regretted the past...has that changed?" Irrelevant to the baby or the current situation, but okay.

    Clark struggles to respond to this question, which puts salt in the wound of the fact that he sacrificed his love so that she might be safe, and in response? Lana starts to walk out of the barn without saying goodbye. Typical.

    He stops her, and wishes her well. Her response? Thank you?

    Nope. She turns and leaves without saying goodbye.

    All this, and a LEXANA?

    Lana says that she loves both Lex AND Clark, but is marrying Lex. Lex doesn't go, "Uh, won't your lingering emotional issues cause problems, and shouldn't you have resolved that before getting pregnant?" Nah, he likens her to the only light keeping him from total darkness. She's now The Lana Chloe Knows again.

    Lana loves Clark? How, why, and when is this shown in any way on this show?

    What an irresponsible, horrible person she is.

    And that's the show. Lana is marrying Lex, OOOOH. High drama.

    1 of 5.




    Well, it's been a crazy few weeks. As some of you know, I support my writing with fixing up houses, and now, finally, after six long years of work, I have finished my second house. It'll net me enough equity to take the squeeze off my, well, you know, and hopefully now I can write wholly without doing any construction on my own, and pay to have guys build houses for me so that I can arrange my publishing company, my artist fellowship, and eventually, my writing compound (which sounds more nefarious than it is).

    Bottom line of this is no more lacerations on my hands, no more hanging off roofs, no more trips to the lumber yard, no more distractions. This is the day, the first of the rest of my life, and if you thought I was prolific before...mwu ha ha ha.

    I say this to explain the fact that I am one week late with the caption contest, and henceforth will continue, as of this Sunday, with it and daily updates to, as well as more content here on this site, presumably.

    I will also be answering those letters that have waited, at times since last summer, shortly, and my thanks for your patience.

    One more goal, finding a publisher, and all will be well.

    Oh...there's this Ultimate Smallville Fan competition. You guys think I should enter?

    You all wrote a lot over this break, so let's start with some optimism and kindness, shall we?

    Ken McRay wrote:
    "I lament when people stay in a country like Iraq and then have the audacity to complain when their children die in a war they know is coming"

    That has to be one of the most simplistic, callous and pig ignorant things I've read on here. Only a red neck could come up with a line like that, very disappointing. The "audacity" of INNOCENT victims of war! I mean why didn't that lower socio economic group get out before Hurricane Katrina? Please hand in your membership for the human race. It doesn't need a moral mindset like yours. No wonder you display your inability to grasp the moral agenda of Superman on a weekly basis. It's obviously beyond you.

    Folks, you're reading the official reason I've decided to no longer answer flaming hate mail. Congratulations, Ken McRay! It's not because you made me feel small. Some mail can accomplish that. Yours did not. It's because when I tried to address Ken's concerns in an email, he, like most people who send curt, angry flaming mail, responded with more insult and no regard for the things I said, or the context I tried to explain.

    He taught me an important lesson. People who are angry (like me) who have beefs (like me) but cannot express them are not worth my time or effort beyond poking fun at them, as I can express my opinion from a position of calm resolve.

    So here you go, Ken. I will now enjoy picking your argument apart, turning your wave of negativity into endless hilarity for all.

    Here's a lesson in logic. To prove a point, such as "Neal Bailey said a simplistic, callous, and pig ignorant thing!", you must have something called a rationale. Which involves more than saying "It's pig ignorant because it's pig ignorant!" which is, to wit, pig ignorant, because it ignored rationale before offering condemnation. You see that? THAT? THAT'S WHAT WE IN THE PHILOSOPHY BIZ LIKE TO CALL AN ARGUMENT, WHICH YOU MUST MAKE TO PROVE A PRESUPPOSITION.

    Secondly, I defend my assertion, once you make yours, which I'll make for you since you seem incapable. "Neal, it's pig ignorant because it's mean to say that people deserved to die in war!" which is what you seem to think I was saying.

    In actuality, when you READ the statement I made, it says that I feel no sympathy for people who know that war is coming to their neighborhood and do not run. I think it's stupid. Is that me saying "I wish they were dead!" No. That simply means that my response when someone says, "My brother died in Iraq when we were carpet bombed!" I say, "WHY DIDN'T YOU RUN?"

    That doesn't mean, note, that I condone the war. I'm very much against it, from the onset. As I am sad for the people who died in Katrina. I still want to shake them and say "YOU SHOULD HAVE RUN WHEN THEY SAID A HURRICANE WAS COMING." Good point. Why DIDN'T the lower socio-economic people get out of the way of Katrina? The average human being walks faster than the hurricane moves, and even if the people were immobile, why did they allow themselves to be immobile in an area where the hurricane could hit? Would I live at the base of Mt. Rainier here without having a way to run in the wake of an eruption? I could, but I would be to blame if I got hit by lava.

    Not to say people shouldn't be sad and help IF I got hit by lava, that's the right thing to do. But that doesn't make me wise for being there, and I am worthy of condemnation in that regard.

    I find that wise, not pig ignorant. It may be coldly rational and perhaps offensive to people who honestly believe that the lower socio-economic classes had no way out (which I disagree with, I believe those who stayed chose to out of ignorance of the severity of the storm), but it's from an informed perspective and a rational arguing point. It's also not simplistic, it's quite complex. Is it callous? I'd give you that, but I think your assertion is based in a flawed conclusion, so I think you're calling the wrong thing calloused.

    As for your assertion that I'm a red neck (which I'll assume means redneck), one would have to assume that I live in a somewhat rural farming situation, care little for my education over popping out kids, listen to country music, and cow tip on the weekends while getting enough sun to get a farmer's tan on the back of my neck (thus the moniker).

    Reality is, I'm an urban punk-pop elitist who lives in a largely black neighborhood in the inner city. I hate country music and I've never tipped a cow.

    You, however, are pig ignorant for making a comment you can't back up. Again, note the above rationale.

    As for handing in my relationship for the human race, I'll agree, if you mean jumping out of the club of emotional, angry, war-like folk who try to ruin the day of other people they disagree with, like you with this letter, in favor of a logical, almost Vulcan perspective from a distance that allows for better conscious evaluation of all the problems that make up a day.

    But if instead, like I'm assuming, you're suggesting that because I disagree with you I don't belong to the class of human beings, you can bite me, you pig ignorant assumptive fool. Note the above rationale.

    As for the world not needing a mindset like mine, well, what does it need? Angry people? Flamers? People who would abide by learned helplessness? Would you exterminate all rednecks, you genocidal pig ignorant fool? (Note the rationale).

    As for my inability to grasp Superman's moral agenda, you provide neither citation nor any kind of rationale. This makes to libelous.

    So in closing, you're a pig ignorant, callous, genocidal fool with no logic, no rationale, no tact, and I'm done with you. You set out to make me feel bad and get my goat, but because you didn't use common sense, you failed. Please try again. I'd love to publish another of your philistine emails.

    Now, some more love!

    Michael Johnson wrote:
    Superman does not belong to you, Neal, and your opinios about the 'continuity' are yours. Do not blanket what you think are everyone else's opinions into your reviews. You don't know how I feel. I have been a fan for 26 years.

    Show me the review that says "Michael Johnson says:". Then show me the review where I say that my opinions are everyone else's. At best, I've said, "I have consensus based in the letters I receive," which are many, and typically indicative of a general opinion on the character.

    Ironically, the opinions of those who have been a fan for longer than 20 years are no longer in the majority and are usually in the extreme and polarized. I know that from letters.

    I respect your commitment to the character. But honestly, I didn't tell you how to feel. I told you how I felt. I don't get paid for this. Bug off.

    There is no 'Byrne' continuity. There is no 'Birthright' continuity. This is the 'NEW Earth' continuity. The past is not the way you remember it. Some things in any past continuity may have happened, but not the way we remember it.

    If there's no Byrne continuity, why is the Byrne ship popping up? Where did the Eradicator come from? How did Doomsday come about?

    If there's no Birthright continuity, why is it being said they're working from it.

    And no, this is not NEW EARTH continuity, at least, not officially. No one has put down on paper ANYTHING about what the continuity is. For all we know. We have Byrne's continuity melded with Birthright's on New Earth.

    Do not blanket what you think are absolute truths without evidence into your letters. I've been a critic for six years, and I see through it.

    Sorry, I have had a bad day.

    Michael Johnson

    I had a bad day yesterday. Did I write you a letter crapping in your hat? Fer crying out loud, grow up and be cogent. If you've been alive enough to be a fan for 26 years, you're old enough to be civil.

    Magnus wrote:
    I always wondered why can all prisoners from the Phantom Zone speak english?

    The universal translator. You missed that episode? Kidding. I'm not sure. Bad writing?

    And I also notice an interesting thing in Swedish (I'm from Sweden) subtitles they don't write Luthorcorp they write Luthercorp.

    Do they? Hah! Well, that's what happens when they spell it like the sound...and that is, alas, how it's pronounced in the show.


    Thanks, Magnus!

    Matt Wreede wrote:
    Howdy Neal. As always, great reviews (though I'm sending you this before your review of "Subterranean", I'm sure it'll be amazing.

    Thanks, Matt. Coolsville, man.

    ANYWAYS, here are some questions/comments I had about the show, which maybe you saw, maybe not.


    First off... at the first Lana/Lex scene, did the music seem a little... I don't know.... incredibly, horribly off? Like totally out of context with the scene? Maybe it was just me, since I had to force myself to hit play on the DVR after fast forwarding through commercials, and not just skip the Lex/Lana stuff.

    I'm always screaming, holding myself and saying "Make it stop! Make it stop!"

    Secondly... well, I'm sure you'll delve into the whole... I don't know, plot of the story, but... wow. Just wow. Decent concept (maybe?) horribly executed. Hey, kind of reminds me of this show I watch... something about Superman...

    Lois and Clark? Zing! Here all season.

    Thirdly, and again, I'm sure you'll touch on it as well: Lana loving power. In so many words. Dun dun dun.

    And note, this week, all gone. Surprise!

    Lastly, one part I DID love: The Lex scene at the end. The sponsored-music was played far, far too loud, nearly drowning out the dialogue, but the whole Lex walking through all of his patients/experiments... it was good, in my mind. It was well done. I enjoyed that. Had to watch, what, 40 some minutes of crap to get to it, but hey.

    I parodied it, but it was pretty cool. Out of context and character, but it was cool.

    Anyways, as I said before, great reviews, keep up the good work. You can publish this if you want, or just take it as a random rambling from someone bored at work.

    I'll take the former, with thanks.

    GORE-ILLA wrote:
    I found several scenes in the latter half of last night's Smallville to be overall hilarious. Particularly:

    1. I presumed that the inexplicably evil farmer had a pet monster killing all the immigrants. At the moment it was revealed that he WAS the monster, that was hilarious. Seeing an average-looking farmer spinning and tunnelling underground, that's comedy! Like Bugs Bunny burrowing underground.

    Pow-a-magers. Tell ole Kenny up there that THAT is a redneck. Hooo-ey!

    2. Clark taking the farmer out with only one punch in a two second fight. Nice try, slave-oning farming mole man!

    Can you dig it? To the punnitentiary with me!

    3. Lana turning EVIL. "MONEY IS POWER!"

    Actually, holding the toilet paper outside a room where there IS no toilet paper when someone is pooing is power. I got an Xbox 360 from an Amish dude.

    4. And the topper, the final scene. When the random and unnecesarry music kicks in, while Lex Luthor strides down a hallway with all the hands gripping towards him. I think it was a combination of the music and the flailing hands which enhanced the comedy to UNBELIEVABLE LETTERS.

    I kept expecting Jack Nicholson to pop out and ask everyone to go for a ride.

    Of course there's also the fact that the episode seems to show some political bias. The illegal immigrant issue is something complicated where you can't just support the side that is popularly right while demonizing the other side. Have fun tearing this episode a new one.

    This show is conservative when it comes to sex from the male viewpoint, liberal with women. Conservative when it comes to "Family values", liberal when it comes to immigration. In other words, it's inconsistent in trying to be everything to everyone...

    Thom-As wrote:
    Hi Neal,

    First off, Great reviews, as usual. I know you get that a lot, but I wanted to get that out of the way. I'm sure you never get tired of hearing it though. And if you do, well, my bad.

    Every time it kicks me in the teeth, because honestly, it's STILL flattering and hard to believe. Seriously. This is just me having fun, and the fact that people enjoy

    I had a thought while watching the latest episode of Smallville, "Subterranean", regarding 33.1.

    Now if you mentioned this before, and I missed it- well, shame on me. But do you think that there is even a remote possiblity that 33.1 is the same hideaway that Lex took the so called Mxy to in "Jinx" back in season 4?

    Oh, it is. The same one they said they wouldn't touch on again.

    I know it's a long shot, and the burning question would be: "Why did it take the writers so long to get this rolling?"

    I don't think they would have had they not needed it for Justice. A lot of things are just abandoned, like the Fortress, Kawatchee, the key, the ship, heck, Brainiac.

    I dunno, maybe it's me. Maybe they've been leaving hints in all of the crap filler episodes they've been bombarding us with for the past 1 1/2 seasons. It's likely that I missed it do to my disgust for those past episodes.

    Nope, no hints really.

    Anyway, I look foward to your next review. Until then, take it easy.



    David Wilkins wrote:
    Dear Neal,

    I HATED the episode of Smallville titled Subterranean. It was too predictible and had no suspense leaving me on the edge of my chair. I didn't actually hate Lana, I hated Clark; not for the illegal alien defense, but for the way he acted around Lex and Lana. The episode did not help move the story along and it provided another person who knows who Superman will never be. I don't say that lightly. there is no reason to have this season going on in this direction. If they don't have some reason for Clark to have the GLASSES, there will be no Superman and the storyline wil be closer to the AU in "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman." Oh, well.

    David Wilkins (Mumb-El_S)

    And heck, this week he's on page one of section B of the Daily Planet.

    Serethiel wrote:
    I'm an overly eloquent person by nature. What you are about to read is leaps and bounds more coherent then anything I might have said to you in person. Even Smallville...I may have some inconsistances and lapses in good sense. Bear with me. lol.

    No worries.

    I throughly enjoy your reviews. You have a great sense of humor. Always keep writing and NEVER pay attention to those that would discourage you (although I'm sure you don't, as you illustrated when dealing with the cowardly troll.) As a reviewer myself, I know how nerve-racking it can be to put your views and opinions out there to read for other people that you don't know. I'm proud to see that you do it anyway, regardless of how some people tend to treat you for it.

    Thanks. And don't worry. I couldn't stop if I tried. I think if Steve fired me and computers went away and I was imprisoned, I'd still write in blood on the walls. It's as bad as it is good in ways, but honestly, it's just me. And that's the kind of person that should write, in my opinion. When I become about the bucks (hopefully never) I'll die and suck.

    I also am enjoying the new videos you've been inserting into your reviews, especially the one for "Subterranean." The song will be stuck in my head for days.

    It's fun. I'm gonna keep making them, for sure. Glad you liked them.

    One thing I like about your reviews is that they have made me look at Smallville ore critically than I used to. Of course, it was hard for me to look at things critically at all when I first started watching the series because I was only 14 at the time...but I digress.

    Cool! That's the point of analysis, honestly, critical inquiry. It's not about enjoyment or lack of enjoyment, not wholly, it's more about figuring out what makes it tick and why. I then apply that to how it can be improved, if I can. The more critically we think, the higher our standards.

    It's also refreshing to see someone that observes Lana the way you do. There are so many guys I know that actually LIKE Lana, and one the sole foundation that she's hot. It feels good to see someone that looks beyond the attractiveness that she has in order to reveal her horrid character flaws. But, to be honest, I haven't found Lana attractive since season 4. As you once put it...she makes me want to "gargle glass."

    I actually talked to a guy I didn't know who didn't know my reviews, and he was gushing about her, saying he watched the show only for her. I asked him what he liked about her character, and he said, "Dude, she's so hot!"

    I mean, if I were just watching a show for the hot chick, I'd just download pictures of the girl and be done with it. Time is important.

    I dunno, when I was a kid, honestly, I used to watch shows for the hot chicks. When I was 14 and insatiable, heh.

    Now I'm still insatiable, but I've learned that real life is much better than a Neutrogena model. And I don't even get out that much. Grown men watching what's supposed to be a 14-year-old character for her hotness kind of...well, it's weird to me, and I have no problem with rampant sexuality at all.

    I miss the old days of Smallville when it actaully made sense. Personally, I think the show has been spiraling downhill ever since they took John Schneider out of the show. He brought something to each episode that's been missing as of late. I actually found myself, during the airing of "Subterranean," visualizing how much differently the episode might have played if Jonathan had been present. That's not to say that jonathan alone would save the show...but he sure would help it. I know that there were crappy episodes BEFORE he left the series but...well, I don't know what I'm trying to say. I think I'm having one of those lapses I forwarned you about. I hope you get the gist though.

    No worries. I'm with you.

    Looking over this e-mail I realize that most of it is just me rambling. I'm sorry to have wasted your time, as I;m sure I have. but thanks letting me talk anyway.

    Nope. Ken wasted my time. You're gold, man. Thanks.


    Luke Roth wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    First of all, I have a massive amount of respect for you and what you do. Anybody that latches onto their dream and doesn't let it go is definately noteworthy and deserving of laud. In twenty years, I hope you write the next Crisis, because in twenty more freaking years of continuitly (SP?) misguided stories like 'Birthright' and authors wayyyy off the mark with characterization like Chuck Austen, they're gonna need a continuity nut to hold it together.

    Honestly, I hope in twenty years I'm at the helm of my own comic universe on its way to the big three. But I'll be just as tickled if they let me write Supes.

    I don't think I'd do a crisis though. I don't like the idea of reboot. I like the idea of separate continuities and one "home" continuity. Like, for instance, right now Byrne should be the main Superman book with four strong titles, and then have All-Star, Earth-2, etc. Superman/Batman is out of continuity, Confidential's continuity is out in left field (though the stories are good).

    My alignment would be less to giant events, more to an interconnected universe, like it was just before IC and stopped being afterward.

    Secondly, thank you for your tireless Smallville reviews. Often, after coming home from a Friday or Saturday night of debauchery or assorted melee, its been a tremendous comfort to sit down and read how much I really missed during the episode. I'm a fanboy at heart, so will always enjoy Smallville, no matter what crap they serve up for the week. To that end, reading your reviews is a positive way for me to learn artistic critique on a medium that I love and will always. Though my dream is to build an army of children with a lovely wife, I act sometimes too, and your reviews have given me insight into character consisitency, motivation, and action. So thanks for that. Often now whenever I watch Smallville, there will be a moment of bad characterization/continuity and I'll think, "Neal's gonna say something about that." And you do, usually more than I was expecting.

    Cool, man. And I think you get it. It is about just catching stuff for folks for analysis, for fun. People argue about the stupidity of the addition of the musical number and Pimp Fett in Return of the Jedi, often vehemently. Does that mean they hate Star Wars? Not at all.

    And thank you for reading.

    With that appropriate amount of gushing, I do have to mention something about your last review. In one sentence, you used the word 'gypped'. My late father always taught me that this was a racial slur, and taught me to always voice my opinion when all racial jokes/slurs came up. I am FULLY aware you were not trying to be offensive, and that you are tolerant, open-minded human being. I hope you also know I'm not telling you what to do - that would be as closed-minded as an intentional, hurtful slur is. However, on behalf of those who would call themselves gypsies, I have to ask you to refrain from using that word in the future.

    Holy crap! Honest-to-god, I'd never thought of that. You're probably right! It's just a term I've heard all over the place since I was a kid, and never knew it had a connotation like that. I feel like Randall in Clerks 2, heh!

    You've got it, man. It might come out unconsciously, and if it does, remind me, but I'll try not to use it.

    There's a difference between saying "You're a racist!" and "You may not have known it, but this is racist." Worlds of difference. You argued your point, and well. I agree.

    Thanks for your time reading this e-mail today (I know your crazy busy), and again for writing your reviews. You have full permission to do whatever you'd like with this letter, including completely ignore it. And Happy Holidays! If your Christian, Merry Christmas, if your Jewish, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa if that is your thing, and if you are atheist, have a nice day.

    Ignore it? Heck, I learned something from it. Great letter.

    I celebrate Christmas for the same reason I follow the example of Jesus, as an atheist. Jesus was a good role model, for the most part, and Christmas is a lot of fun. Gifts, family, and a jolly fat man that makes kids believe in good times before adulthood tears it down.

    Best regards,

    Luke Roth


    Evan (EClarKent) wrote:
    Hey Neal. I think it's been since you helped get me an A in my speech class last semester.

    Booya! Congrats.

    I have had computer problems for the past few months and now I have finally gotten HP to replace my laptop.

    HP screwed me twice too, when I was a poor kid. Took months.

    I have been catching up on reviews and have to say as always they are excellent. I like the YouTube clips, very funny. Because there is nothing I can disagree on for this past episode, a hypothetical question for you, if you were the head of the CW would you pull the plug or give it another season? Take it easy and see you after hiatus.

    If I were the head of the CW, I would be fighting for a whole new Superman show set five years in the future, booting Lana, maybe keeping Chloe, and adding Perry and supervillains.

    If I couldn't get that, I'd keep the show but try and write it back to prominence by benchmarks. If that failed, I'd can it. But I'm not a businessman in art, I'd be canned before I could do thing one.

    Gary wrote:
    I thought this episode was so-so, But I really liked the Lex Ending.

    You said you thought it was too big a jump. I don't really think so. This has building for awhile now.

    They have established that Lex has been involved in his 33.1 tests for awhile now. The first showed in Jinx and then let it go for a while and didn't show it on screen. Meaning at the time when in the Main part of the show to Clark, Chloe, Lana, and Jason he still looked semi-good but he was still doing the 33.1 research in the background off camera. That is proven when they brought it back this season. On the show it looks as if he has been doing the 33.1 Research since Jinx, and then has probably has increased 33.1 since starting to research the Ship, and the Box. It obvious from Static and Sub. that Lex has been doing it for a good amount of time and from the hints in Sub. it seems he has been doing it since Arrival when he found McNalley and bought the farm and took him and from what Lex says in the episode Uses alot of money to expeiment on just him and you see others at the end so Lex has been experimenting on a bunch of the Freaks. He is keeping them against there will Illegally. The thing is the Freaks should be in a place like Belle Reeve or jail, serve their time for there crimes and be in a legal government criminal holding facility. But Lex somehow gets them out of Belle Reeve and either kidnaps them or pys people off and gets them out. How can you think it's not wrong for Lex to being holding a bunch of people and do a bunch of experiments on them it's Evil.

    But I like that he is evil becuase Lex is suppose to be. I think alot of Lex's semi-evil scenes, in front of Clark, Lana, Lois and Chloe, have been Lex Fronting, he's all about that in the comics and Lnc. He shows the public and Clark and Lois, or Lana etc. one thing and acts a certain way and then behind the scenes he does things that Superman has to stop but is doing them in secret for awhile before they know. He is always doing stuff behind the scenes that's evil.

    I agree. My dilemma is not that he's not doing things, more that we're not seeing it beyond hints, which is essential to character development. All we've seen, really, is experimenting on Cyborg, and his walk.

    Which why i find it so hard to believe that it would seem so weird or like a light switch to you. From Sub. and Static, Vengeance Chronicles, and other epi. references have shown that Lex has been keeping the people captive and experimenting on them for a good while now. This is just the first time we have directly on screen saw 33.1 and the Freaks in the cells just becuase they didn't show us before doesn't mean it has been happening fot a while. Lightswitching is something that happens all the sudden without any or much setup. Not something that has been happening for awhile now and is just shown on screen for the first time. That is called REVEAL, We have been have references to 33.1 for a little while now and the was a confirmation.

    Nah, reveal is more like when Chloe finally told Clark that she knew his secret. That's something they built up over episodes, fretted about, then dealt with.

    When Lex's incarcerations aren't shown to be evil, just perhaps misguided, and then suddenly he becomes a guy walking down a hall in a gulag of his own design, that is kinda lightswitch. Cool though it is.

    Which I thought was cool because You get to see it on screen and know for sure he is still doing it. You had the guy break out in Static and then McNalley was a 33.1 and you saw Lex walk down the hallway and saw the 33.1 door, which was all just confirmation. In my view Lex has been doing this for awhile and when he talks to Clark, or Lana about stuff he acts different way to fool them. Why would he act totally Evil in front of them that would be dumb.

    I agree, which is why we should see it behind the scenes where they're putting Lana whines.

    He plays an act and when they leave he goes back to doing Evil stuff and covers it up.

    Right, but my point is that we've only seen that two or three times in 120 episodes.

    I think it's justifiable for Clark to suspect Lex has some involvement but I do think that he didn't have the right to just jump to Lex being directly responsible without some evidence. Lex was responsible in the sense that he knew about the Meteor Freak and been testing him and let him be free on the farm and didn't keep a closer eye on what the farmer was doing. Clark didn't know about him being a a Freak until right he talked to Lex so Clark just assumed Lex was directly involved or at least somewhat responsible for what happened because of not keep better track of the farm.

    What I'm trying to get at is the Semi-good Lex we have seen since at least the beginning of this season or maybe as far back as Arrival or even Jinx, The Lex you see when he interacts with another character is a MASK, something he outs on to seem like he isn't a badguy. I'm sorry but I think that holding a bunch of Freaks capitive and experimenting on them is Evil.

    I agree, which is why it was surprising to finally know he's doing that now, and has been for two years, without us seeing any of it at all.

    I can see the practicality of trying to experiment on them and get knowledge because of a bunch of the Freaks trying to kill them, but that still doesn't make it right, legal, just, or not evil. They just now revealed that he has been doing this research on screen but he has been doing this for awhile now. I liked it because they made the mentions of it in Static and the lab got moved so them in this one he gets the farmer back and they show you the New 33.1 for the first time with AFI playing and getting to see a real cool Evil looking Lex moment. I say, finally. We are suppose to be getting Lex starting to fufill his destiny I think this was suppose to be the big reveal that shows for sure that he has been Evil for awhile. Now this will lead into Hydro and Justice, so it's a reveal and it's a setup for the rest of the season.

    I think so too. I hope they explore it.

    Kevin wrote:
    Hey neal, loved the review. Especially the video at the end, laughed my but off.


    Having said that I noticed you didn't mention the fact that Clark's reasons for siding with the illegal immagrants. That being that essentially he is one himself which does make it about his convinctions and goodness.

    I disagree, respectfully. I find the idea of being an immigrant to be a stranger in a strange land. Clark is wholly human, and has been since birth, only with powers. That just means he's not normal. That's not an immigrant. If Clark went to Mexico, he'd be an immigrant. Now, he's a refugee who's assimilated.

    This has been addressed in a superman story before and every time it is Superman/Clark always winds up on the side of the immigrant because he is one. The only reason Martha changed her mind is because of the speach Clark made about his past. I agree with the part about Clrak not catching the kid, I saw that and was wondering why he just didn't super-speed in front of him as a matter of fact I expected it and was dissapointed when it didn't happen.

    True, but some Superman stories are better than others in terms of philosophical concepts. ;) I think that Superman is an outcast, a strange being from another planet, but he's not someone who had to leave his country that he was familiar with in order to be someone in a hostile, strange culture, ever. He was never Kryptonian in his upbringing, only in genetics. You wouldn't call a baby taken from China at birth to the US an immigrant when they turned 20, you'd call them a citizen.

    On the whole Lexana thing; I'm starting to think that the whole lovy dovey crap Lex does is an act. Watching this episode I felt like he was manipulating her into doing what he wanted. I'm starting to think that maybe he is makeing her into a female version of him not because he wants an equal mind you but because he knows it will hurt Clark later. I know he's tried to be friends with Clark in the past but I think having that friendship thrown in his face there might be a need to retaliate. What better way than taking Clark's girl and changing her into someone like him. I thought the 33.1 scene was awesome, I felt that it totally made Lex seem evil and even help confirm(in my mind anyway) my earlier statement. Keep up the good work can't wait until the next episode of Smallville and the following review.

    I hope you're right. That would rule. Unfortunately, I think the writers believe Lex would fall for the cult of Lana.

    Jeanna wrote:
    That video almost make me pee in my pants I was laughing so hard it was just THAT funny. *shakes head*

    Usually I have to pay for that. Hey-o! Kidding. I'm glad you like it. I plan more.

    Brian Green (DRMidnite1228) wrote:
    Give 'em hell, Neal! Great review!


    We are advancing constantly, and we're not interested in holding anything except the enemy. We're gonna grab ahold of him by the nose, and we're gonna kick him in the $##. We're gonna kick the hell out of him all the time, and we're gonna go through him like CRAP THROUGH A GOOSE!

    Thank you.

    Bruce Kanin wrote:
    Re: Subterranean

    Yo Neal,

    First, thank you - you included a reply and my review. You should never feel obligated, but it's appreciated.

    Your reply is as well. Thank you.

    Re: "Heroes". What can I say? I don't know if you were there from the start. I was, not that that makes me a, er, hero? Expert? I dunno. The show started slowly, but grew and grew and grew. It's slowly but surely released certain key bits of information about the characters and plot, sometimes with a bang (especially in the episode where Sylar is revealed as the timepiece guy).

    Three weeks removed from having seen all the episodes, I haven't really found the desire to go back. Maybe this summer...

    Most of the characters are really good. I'm not a big fan of the Nikki/Jessica gal, but I love Hiro, the Star Trek fan. I never got into "Lost" and only watched one episode of "House", thinking the main character was a bit too over the top (um, that would be House).

    House is essentially a repetitious character study, and it does that well.

    If you stay with "Heroes" let me know how you feel going forward.

    I will probably watch the last half at a clip in the summer.

    Re: Smallville. I missed the mountains this time around. Hope they were snow-capped and full of trees, for full effect.


    You know - they never should have put Smallville in Kansas or any state. I don't blame the TV show, because this goes back to the comics when, at some point not too long ago, they put it in Kansas. Smallville was always supposed to be Anywhere, USA, just like Metropolis. When you don't name the state, it leaves more room for the writers and less for us continuity freaks to make fun of. Smallville, USA could be in upstate New York, which means that Metropolis could be New York City. Or the Maryland countryside and Baltimore. Or wherever.

    Yep. And now there are kids who will assert with authority that it was always in Kansas, just like we've always been at war with Oceana.

    And who the hell was that anonymous Yokel that wrote to you?!?

    I've forgotten already. Which is better.

    Take care,


    Thank you.

    Christine wrote:
    Unknown wrote:
    You know Neal...I used to think you were a voice for Superman, but lately you've been selling out. I guess it happens to all of us, but I had hoped you'd keep your Superman creds forever.

    At this point, I hope you never write a comic, and I hope you give up your pretense when it comes to being some know-it-all Superman fan. Obviously, you haven't progressed enough in your own life to really know what the REAL Superman fan wants today. Keep working on it though.

    Give up on reviewing in the mean while...because no one reads them anymore anyway.

    Take Care,


    Coward that "unkown" is.....d%ck.
    "never give up, never surrender",
    and keep on keepin' on, Neal.

    A Fan,

    Hah! Now I remember.

    Don't worry. Anonymous email never gets me down.

    David wrote:
    Neal, thank you for taking the time to review the Smallville episodes for us.

    You're welcome.

    I know that it's probably been said before but I want to say it again, thank you. Your reviews are honest, well stated, and absolutely funny. You're reviews are brilliant, simply brilliant. You're absolutely appreciated for sharing your time, thoughts, and sense of humor with us please keep up the good work. I look forward to the rest of your reviews to come, take care.

    Awesome letter, David. Thanks. Epistemologists would laugh me down, and I'm sure pop culture denizens wouldn't really let me in, but I try to strike a balance. A high-grade mutant, perhaps.

    Peace To All.

    Except Ken. Screw him.

    Sara wrote:
    Neal, honey. You're killing me! Of course, if I would just cease and desist reading your reviews at work. Ay me!

    You've gotta show your boss the part where I saw Lana poops cotton candy out her butthole.

    It was better than a lot of the tripe that has currently been trotted out for our benefits, but I know where your problems come in. It was a hard one to call. but not really. I'm not sure I'd have given it a 1, but that's me. as always.

    You're much kinder than me.

    What I found wrong about their portrayal of the immigrants is that they picked a pretty, flawless English-speaking boy for the main character (and slightly lesser for his friend), but everyone else is the stereotype you talked before. Didn't the character that collapsed due to the heat and lack of water seem extremely dirty and even had missing teeth?


    OK, so I'm telling you. That discussion of Heroes was just. too much! Oy! Did you notice that the rest of us tried to ignore you. because we didn't want to get dragged in?  I mean, you know we love you, but seriously!

    Hah! (She means in chat). I only bring it up because people have been saying that Heroes is what Smallville should be, when I see them as very similar animals, plus a few characters in Heroes.

    I find their take on the whole Clark attitude is off-kilter. I will accept that some laws are wonky. There are laws on the books against picking your nose and about what you do in the privacy in your own home. But Clark Kent is supposed to stand for truth and justice in all things. Haven't there been storylines where Clark has wounded up helping a rather bad guy (Lionel) from someone who is looking for vigilante justice because the law won't touch him (Vengeance chick)? It's not a new angle. Clark Kent is not supposed to work outside the law and then make the laws fit him. He's supposed to abide by the laws and then work to change them. It would have been better in this episode for both Clark & Martha to say "Hey, you're going to have to go back to Mexico for a little while, but here's some cash and our promise that we will do everything in our power to have you legally immigrated as soon as we can." Simple ending. It wouldn't have ended up with Martha and Clark breaking the law for people they don't know. Heck, there could be a back story where the mother murdered her husband because he beat her and the son frequently. They just don't know. It doesn't mean the immigrants shouldn't be helped, but do you really think they would just blindly go off on this? (OK, mini-soapbox lecture over.)

    I think consistency would be required for coherency, which isn't present. :)

    Nah. They thought the Latino boy might an undocumented worker because he was *running* across the highway. Because if he wasn't an undocumented worker, he would just saunter across a HIGHWAY!

    Heck, people walk across the busy street in front of my house all the time. Even the occasional former Mexican. I'd better call the authorities.

    But why would he have x-rayed the grounds when he first visited McNally. Thirsty Worker hadn't told him that the workers disappeared under the ground yet. Perhaps it would have been good if he'd scanned like the barn for a room with captives or something instead of the tool box. but that's just me.

    Well, he saw McNulty go into the ground, didn't he? I thought...

    You're right about the Lex jump. To go from mostly good to evil experimenting on humans guy is too much. They had so many opportunities to make it more gradual and dramatic, but totally failed! It makes me want to cry! (And don't forget that he was walking like a pimp down the hallway, with the stupid music, AND the captives hands trying to grab him. That's what makes him a bad ass, right?)

    So I'm not insane, cool.

    OK, I'm done. Missed chatting about the last review before this, but I *did* read it. ;D



    Pat Ronzio wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    I know its a little late, but I just finished reading your review of Superman Returns. I wanted to wait until I had seen it a few times, and, since its now on DVD, I was able to watch it a few times before I could read what you had to say.

    Cool. No worries on timing.

    Really, you put things into a great perspective for me. I too had issues with the character of Lois, I just wasn't sure why at the time. You made those issues clearer. I'm also glad to see you were a huge Brandon Routh supporter, because I truly felt that, despite the fact he didn't get much in the way of dialogue, Mr. Routh absolutely owned the character.

    I stand by his performance. People say he was too small, but honestly, it's only about the muscles in the comics for me. They whine about the suit, but it's really the man behind it. By today's standards, the Reeve suit is shoddy and easily ripped apart. If they came up with the exact same suit as 1977, people would complain, it's just the nature of the beast.

    Lois, however, missed a lot of really strong, really necessary beasts. The only way she's beautiful in this movie is the way in which she's framed in Routh's eyes, and we know love is blind to the malady of foolishness, so it works in that respect, and few others.

    I had a couple of points that I thought you might mention but didn't: the first is that to me, it seemed that it was more of a Lois Lane movie instead of a Superman movie, which irked me a little bit. I'm hoping the sequel, just as in the first Batman series, will focus more on the main character than the supporting character.

    It seemed to me like they focused less on Lois, more Clark's reaction to Lois, making Clark Lois focal in the movie. Superman was still the focus, but it was his reaction to Lois they spent too much time on...

    (As I'm writing this, I'm reminded of a news article that was on the website shortly after Returns was released in theatres, in which Kate Bosworth said she would want to do a Lois Lane spin off movie. If there is a God, this will not happen).

    If Greg Rucka can't even get a miniseries for Lois, don't hold your breath for a movie. Especially with Kate Bosworth as Lois. Maybe Angelina Jolie, heh. That's how Hollywood thinks. It's not about the script, it's the cup size.

    One other thing that I noted that I thought perhaps you might pick up on is the fact that when Lex is finished showing off his maps of New North America, if you look closely, I believe that the only piece of North America left standing is the west coast of California, which would be a nice homage to the original, where it is the west coast Luthor is trying to destroy. I found that to be a nice little ironic twist.

    I did notice's cool.

    I'm sorry for dragging this on as I'm sure you get a huge amount of emails on an hourly basis. I have a bad tendency to run on and babble.

    Ah, it's not so bad now that Smallville's not as popular and SR is out, believe it or not. Used to be 60-100 a week, now it's a reasonable 25-50...and either way, feel free to write, I love letters.

    One last thing I wanted to mention is that I really do enjoy your reviews of Smallville. I stopped watching it religiously after the second season, for various reasons, but from the sounds of it, I guess I left at a good time. The thing that makes me want to start watching though is your constant hope that they could possibly someday turn the corner and bring the show back to the greatness that it was near the beginning of its run. Your reviews, while critical, also show the readers (well, at least me) that you're not necessarily giving up. I admire that, especially with all the garbage that they apparently have put on over the last few years.

    Thanks. I think stopping at the end of the third season would have done a lot of people well. Though the premieres and finales are typically a must.

    Anyways, again I'm sorry for dragging this on. I've been wanting to fire you off a message for some time now but just haven't found the right reason to. Your Returns review gave me that reason. Thank you for the work you do (and I'm sure it can be painstaking at times), and keep it up. There are some of us out here who appreciate it.

    Oh, it's painstaking, but that's the fun of it. I like painstaking writing, because I'm good at it. Unlike, say, fashion, heh.

    All the best,

    Pat Ronzio

    Likewise. Awesome letter, and thank you.

    Roland wrote:
    I just read a thread on another site that some what disturbed me.It basically stated that Clark had lost his moral center for harboring an ilegal imigrant in the recent episode of Smallville.Clark himself being an ilegal alien sympathizeed with the boys plight and stated as much to his mother when she confronted Clark over this situation.The reasson I am bringing this to your attention is your review of Superman and the Mole Men.Yes it is dated but the main theme of tolerance and ignorance still stands.Superman as a character as always stood for what's best in us and hope that the characters mentality sensibility would rub off on the many fans out there but apparently some have missed it.I really can't see Superman with a xenophobic point of veiw.

    There's a nuance there, though. I agree, Superman would hate a xenophobe. Mole Men shows the best side of Superman defending the strange and weak. I don't think, however, he's an illegal alien beyond the technicality of the definition, in spirit, de facto, he's American.

    The issue is not whether Clark has lost his moral center. The issue is that people who agree with harboring immigrants will think he hasn't, and people who disagree with it will think he has, and that kind of division is unnecessary with Superman, and to cause that with a storyline is bad writing. At least with me.

    julian finn wrote:
    Hey Neal, I've been a huge fan of your smallville reviews since second season, though I think it's a little sad that lately the reviews have been more entertaining than the episodes.

    That's a high compliment, and I thank you.

    I was pecking around on the spoilers page on kryptonsite and I found something worrisome. In a spoiler about the episode "Crimson" there's a reference to a plot twist concerning the bun in Evil's oven. Do you think there's any way they'd try to manipulate continuity to the point that the child is Clark's?

    I doubt they could or would, but it's not beyond this show. It'd have to be miraculous, heh.

    Also, I read a disturbing interview with Al Gough that seemed to imply that a seventh season is almost assured. Do you think it's time to start a "kill this show" petition on the site?

    Nah, and never. I get people mad at me when I say a poor show is better than no show. They're right to. That's not what I mean when I say I wouldn't can this show no matter how bad it is. My opinion is more, in story, anything can be reverted from any state with good writing, and all it takes is three solid episodes to turn any show around, so don't can it. FIX it.


    keith price wrote:
    Neal, the letter from the unidentified idiot doesn't even deserve a response. If you have something to say, at least have the guts to send your e-mail address. Coward!!!

    Verily. Or at least have a rationale.

    Anyhow, I thoroughly enjoyed your singing on your short review, and hope there are more to come. This Lana thing--can't understand it. My wife absolutely refuses to watch Smallville anymore because of the way the writers portray her, and as she puts it, "the lovey dovey crap" the writers seem to have her in every episode. Then in the last several episodes, the writers have basically had Clark as a subplot.

    Episodes? Try this season, heh.

    Good example--he goes to Seattle to track down a creature(Batista), and is on the screen maybe 10 minutes in the entire 39 minutes(don't even get me started on the stupid commercial breaks). The writers have, in my opinion, gotten away from what made Smallville work in the first place--stories about Clark and his friends. Take last week's episode. What meteor shower was old man McNally trapped under the meteor. First, second? Clark and the Kents have lived near him for years. Didn't notice anything sooner? Give me a break. Yes, the scene where Clark lets Javier run was stupid!!! Give him a little super speed to catch him.

    All very true.

    My friend down the street from me use to be a Smallville fan. Never missed it. He told me recently he stopped watching it last year, because he hated the Lana scenes. The continuity is ridiculous in this show, the writers must think the viewers don't have brains not to see mountains and even shipping ports in Kansas!!!

    I forgive mountains in Kansas and the shipping ports (simplistic errors) much more than I do a character inconsistency. The show is based around the characters, the setting can have errors (see Star Wars, anyone?).

    The upcoming Justice episode I hope will be good enough to get Smallville back on its feet, but I'm not holding out much hope. The producers of Smallville said at the beginning of the show they knew how the show would end. I think we may find that out at the end of this season. The writers don't have any idea of how to write the Clark character, and how he would respond to Lana's outbursts(I know how I would). Well Neal, thanks for reading all this, and I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!!! Signed, Keith

    Thanks! They were rough, but now I'm happy. I think they will go one more season now...either way, we'll know in February, as I recall, if it goes as normal.

    Irwin Santos wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    Thanks for burning a$$wipes like "UNKNOWN"..."pitiful waste of $perm" - (Harvey Walden III - Celebrity Fitness Challenge)

    Any time. There's a fine line between pandering to people trying to get your joke and a good smiting. I like to walk it.

    Liked your video, keep up the good work..nice change up.

    I figured it'd be a solid addition...

    Aloha from Hawaii,


    Thanks, man! And I'm still loving your emails. Good times.

    PS.. here is a Christmas card for you.

    Hah! I love that one. My favorite is the fart-slap, from CKY.

    Merry Christmas!!

    And a Happy New Year! Good one to come, as I see it.

    Anthony Robles wrote:
    If they would just bring back the little Elseworld "E" symbol and makes these things easier. Confidental and All-Star are both clearly telling excellent out of continuity tales (well, as far as the Superman stories go). While I don't fell continuity should stop the publishing of great stories, I DO fell that the monthly followers should be informed that this doesn't affect the main universe. (Granted, every now and then an Elseworld was so good that the DCU proper would adopt aspects of it but those were few and far between.)

    P.S. I still fell that Birthright should have been printed under the Elseworld banner.

    I personally think an organized internet fanbase can handle any number of continuities, but I firmly believe a strong, central, UNIVERSE PRIME continuity is essential to keep a conscious public framework. Otherwise, people won't know the framework outside of one artist's interpretation, which is creatively selfish with a legacy character.

    Autumn wrote:
    Hello Neal ^_^!

    Hey, Autumn!

    I just read your review of Wither and I agree with pretty much everything you said. I can't believe it. I waited for this episode to re-air; I'd only been able to catch from the AAR part the first time I saw it. I actually thought I'd missed out on something pretty good! If you just watch from the freeing Jimmy part to the end then the episode seems a little bit good. At first I thought "Wow, this plant-lady must've been awesome!" assuming that only something super-incredibly strong and powerful could disable Clark. But alas, this is Smallville.

    It had moments that...tried.

    I'm a diehard Smallville fan. Both my family and my friends put the show down but I'm relentlessly sticking up for it. I even get a few of them to sit through an episode. But Wither, Oh Dear Goodness! I honestly think this is the worst episode I've ever seen!

    Honestly, I'm glad you're a diehard. I have no problem or beef with that. I'm not in any way going to disparage someone for liking the show. People tend to put what other people like down constantly, and force it on people. I like to put things down and let people who are interested come to me.

    Okay, my first quam: Why the heck was Lana mad at Lex! Okay I'll except that everyone on make-out point, aside from Chloe and Jimmy, were lip-locked so tightly that they didn't react to the blood curdling scream coming from the woods. I'll also accept a scene that makes Lois look like an idiot; a woman who heads Martha's campaign (or whatever you call it after you've already been elected) but knows nothing of the important people who are potential supports, pointedly a billionaire hottie who's most likely (in Smallville land) been plastered all over the media. The real Lois would've known him on-sight.

    Very much agreed.

    If there were to be any misunderstanding as to who he was it would be set up in a scene where Lois was so involved in her work that she didn't look up to see him or just ran out of a room before it finally registered that this was Oliver Queen! There wouldn't have been any of that ridiculous "Oh, it was a handsome courier who for some strange reason didn't want to accept a tip". Wouldn't that have clued her in? He asked "What's this?" What happened to her reporters intuition or her common sense?

    Look! She has boobies! (The excuse).

    I think if they had set the scene with a work-oholic Lois, who at first doesn't realize his identity but then suddenly remembers his face from the countless Forbes articles (isn't that what rich people appear in?) in which he's been featured, then it might be a believable Lois-blunder. They still could've had a love-whatever develop, just without the stupid "I'll trick you into a date" aspect. Oliver would like her for the reason all of the Superman characters would: She's hard working, independent, determined, and beautiful! She's starting to seem like Lana, in her characterization, going in the complete opposite direction of how her character should truly be. But I digress (I've been saying that since I read your Superman Returns review), I was supposed to be talking about Lana and her whining. Goodness, what a rant I was on!

    A good one though. And it's true, Lois is getting less like Chloe and more like Lana in her portrayal.

    Any-who, I'll start a new paragraph for my Lana-rant. She came in, got a compliment, disregarded it and went straight for the jugular. What the heck is her problem? She's all "The reporters, they wrote this about me. How could you let the do that!" If she's going to whine at least make it sensible. Like "Lex, these reporters wrote hurtful things." Period! There should be no "It's your fault." Focus her anger on the reporters not on her choice to walk around and be seen with Lex! But even then wouldn't it be his fault for letting her decide to walk around and be seen with him because he kept it from her that paparazzi photograph famous people and their entourage! Dear Goodness! Right then and there I would've been like "Get out!" (In the Beast, of Beauty and the Beast, voice). Then, as you noted, Lex ignores it and just sees how amazing she is. He goes straight to confronting her about the feelings they have for each other. What! Maybe selective hearing is a side effect of living in a Kryptonite filled town.

    I'd love to see her devoured by the Beast. And yes, you're right.

    Okay, skip to the GA and Lois scene. Just a small complaint, but isn't shooting an assumedly fake arrow into solid break pretty darn good? I'd kiss him!

    I'd give up my secret ID for a Lois kiss. That's my failing.

    Now, my villain/Clark complaint. How many times has it happened where a lonely stranger, albeit attractive, ends up being the FOTW? Um, like every episode! Alone in the elevator with teleport-girl, alone in the graveyard with shape-shifter, out in a barn bee-lady. That would be hint one you'd think he'd go, "Hmm, she's not with the search party? The search party hasn't even come this far. She's hot and clearly too young to be a park ranger." No, he just takes hot lady and runs with it. He's flirting with her! While they're searching for a possible dead body! Then Chloe appears, in no time at all, and just soon enough to discover the body with Clark, which the Park Ranger should also be examining. Does it strike them as suspicious that the Park Ranger just happens to be in proximity to the body? They don't suspect her of anything? But they immediately assume, without any strong evidence that the boyfriend of impale-o-chick was the murderer or somehow involved? See the plot? See the plot run? See the plot run right down the toilet into oblivion? And another thing, if this lady is truly a villain why wouldn't she, being alone with the only two witnesses to the body and being in a forest with plants she can control, try to kill Chloe and Clark? She doesn't know Clark's super powered--not that it really made a difference this episode.

    That's the problem with repetitive, shoddy writing. It becomes transparent.

    I laughed both times I saw the final fight scene. I mean, she just poofed. And what about that goober she was with before Clark came? Clark comes in tells him to leave and he does! I mean, why not at least let Clark, gently, throw him out after he refuses to leave the girl he's getting "down and dirty" with (ha ha, down and dirty.plant joke). Before seeing the entire episode I thought there'd at least been a good precursor to suck-fight 2006, but no. I watched that whole thing, expecting something halfway decent and ended up with "poof". This episode was terrible. Everything was just ruined by the anti-climactic ending, unless you count the Lexana "getting it on" as the climax.

    It's a key example of why I defend Signs but hated this episode. Yeah, aliens who can't operate doorknobs and are defeated with water is stupid on paper, but the attention paid to character in that film makes up for it. When there's no character, you're focused on the fact that she poofed, not Clark's dilemma.

    The best scene (not really) was showing Clark sitting alone in his barn. It was sad and made me even more upset about the show. How is Superman alone? I mean yeah he's always "alone" but not the depressing, "this ball is my only friend" alone. It shows how wrong the direction of this show is going.

    Ahh, that knot on the back of my neck has receded. Rant successful.

    Congrats, and I agree.

    Thanks for taking time to read and respond to our letters. This is my first one and hopefully not the last. I love your reviews and I'm looking forward to your future ones. Good luck with your house/finances and God Bless ^_^!

    Continue, please! And you're welcome.

    Jonathan North wrote:
    Hey Neal,
    I guess I'm writing my annual letter to you. I've written one a year since season 4 and it has always been to point out a glaring continuity error.

    I remember them, actually, curse my metal body.

    Letter one was about Lex suddenly being able to play the piano when a season before he said he couldn't. Letter two was Jor-El telling Clark "Not even you can change destiny," when two seasons before, an entire episode had been devoted to the fact that he COULD. Letter three, this letter, is about Chloe. She tells Jimmy that she has been living in Smallville for TEN years. Well if we rewind to the season one episode "Obscura", we will find Clark telling Lana about Chloe giving him his first kiss, right after she and her dad moved to Smallville - when they were in EIGHTH grade. So apparently it took all the characters are REALLY long time to get out of high school if ten years ago they were in eighth grade... Oh, wait, maybe that's why they all look like they're thirty...

    Good one! I didn't remember that, little bit. Nice.

    While I'm writing I might as well vent some other thoughts about the show.

    I once read something about trained chimpanzees banging on a typewriter and theoretically reproducing the complete works of Shakespeare. For the last two and a half seasons I've been wondering if, to save money, perhaps they fired the writers and are just using whatever those chimps are banging out that wasn't Shakespearian enough. I really hope that that is what is going on, because if someone is writing some of this drivel on purpose that just makes it all the worse.

    Forgive them. They seem to know not what they do. It's a paycheck, not a calling.

    When I watched "Schlubterranian" I wanted to rant about how they were handling the whole immigration issue, but you pretty much covered everything I wanted to say, which is really strange, because you and I have very differing political views. But I suppose that just goes to show you what a shoddy job they did with it.

    Many people are surprised as to my actual political views. I express things in this review in a very politically safe way. The realities of my beliefs are not what many suppose, out of necessity on a family friendly site.

    I have a lot more to complain about, but pretty much everything I'd say has been said on here before, so I won't waste any of your time. I look forward to your next review. Lately I've been looking forward to your reviews even more than the episodes. I suppose that says something about the quality of the writing... Yours and theirs...


    Keep up the great work!

    Jonathan North

    P.S. About three years ago there was this great show about Superman as a teenager. It was really good, you should check it out. I wonder what happened to it...

    I think it was eaten by the CW.

    Joanna wrote:
    Thanks for your reviews. Everytime I finish watching an episode, I always head over to see your view/recap on it.

    Thanks, Joanna!

    I find the Jimmy Olsen character really annoying. There is little reason for him to be on Smallville and he bears doesn't even act like the real Jimmy Olsen except for a few forced "CK"s.

    So far, no rationale at all. He's cute, but cute ain't character.

    He is also overtly sexist. He always make comments to Chloe about being "his girl." This last episode (Subterranean), Chloe refused to move out of Smallville on his suggestion and said that Smallville was gave her lots of stories to write that led her to the Daily Planet. And he responds, "Are you sure it isn't because of your looks?" I'm sure that is supposed to be cute or something but it just came off as offensive. What does that say about her relationship? It was like something out of a 50's sitcom, the woman wants to have a career and the man says "You're sure pretty enough." I'm surprised that Chloe herself did not react but then again Chloe has become something of a doormat, always at Clark's beck and call. Add Lana to the mix and it seems like Smallville is losing it's strong female role models. (Not that Chloe is a failure as a role model. I just don't understand why she lets Jimmy treat her that way).

    Which is funny, given how many females to males it has...gee, getting rid of Pete sure made sense, huh? ;)

    TRA wrote:
    Neal - I wasn't going to write in about "Subterranean" but the show has bothered me so much that I can't resist getting in a few comments. First, I think that this was the worst episode of Smallville ever!

    There are so many candidates!

    Let me explain. First, the writers were obviously pushing for one side of the issue fromt he beginning. That's okay, except they wrote with a complete lack of knowledge about how the system works. Local law enforcement does NOT enforce immigration. The immigration laws are enforced by the federal government. Living in the Southwest, I know that local law enforcement only comes in contact with illegal immigrants when they commit a violation of local law. If they don't post bond and the violation of local law is serious enough, then the INS may (or may not) place a hold on the person and begin deportation proceedings. Due process applies at that level and the individual is provided a hearing. Granted, most of the time they do not meet the standard for remaining in the United States, but there is a legal process completely ignored by the show. I have to admit, that took me out of the show right from the beginning. I laughed at the idea that local law enforcement would be looking for anyone simply because they may be illegally in the United States! The whole idea was ridiculous and was predicated on a complete ignorance of the system.

    I kept expecting them to round them up on horses and put them in cages and lobotomize them.

    Second, I've always watched this show with a focus on the Clark Kent character. So generally, I can forgive the writers when they mess up Lex, Lana (who cares anymore), and Chloe. I CANNOT forgive when they write Clark out of character; that's why, for the most part, I've enjoyed this Season more than you have. I read your reviews and while I think they're right on for the most part, I simply have enjoyed Season 6 more BECAUSE, with the exception of the Raya episode, Clark has been going in the right direction. With this episode, the writers completely eviscerated the Clark Kent/Superman character. Clark Kent does NOT buck the system. He finds a way to work within the system. He does not take action that would jeopardize his Mom's position. He would have sit down with her from the beginning to work out what Martha was working for in the end - a legal way to help these people remain in the country. At least they had the sense not to allow Clark to outright lie to law enforcement but it was not enough to save his character in this show.

    I hope that things will turn around in the second half but I doubt it.

    I think Clark is being portrayed less as a leader, more a guy stuff just happens to. That looks to change soon, I hope.

    P.S. - did you see that Jeff Loeb and Greg Beaman (sp?) are now with the show "Heroes"? While I was happy to see their names and while I enjoy that show, I am sorry that they are no longer with "Smallville." We could be dealing with a much better Season if they were still around...

    I did hear that. Loeb's obviously really making Heroes shine for a ton of people...

    Jeffrey Frawley wrote:
    Regarding the Shadowpack story you disparage: Yes, it is an unattractive story; Yes, it is ugly for a superpowered being to terrorize a drunken bum with the prospect of immediate death; No, the father is not and should not be excused from his obligations to his offspring. Child support, if it is practicable to collect it, is a duty from parent to child, and unrelated to the conduct of the other parent. In this particular case, the father may well be incapable of providing support, so it may be uncollectable, but your reasoning would probably excuse at least 40% of deadbeat dads.

    I disparaged a Supergirl story, actually.

    I agree that LEGALLY the state sees the conduct of a parent as irrelevant to child support, mostly because we can't afford to pay for all of the women who decide to have children without being able to afford them, so that burden is largely and unfairly yoked onto men, who "make the bread" stereotypically. No one ever talks about that ceiling, really.

    And yes, that's why I'm so vehement about it, because it does excuse so many "deadbeat" dads whose only crime was having sex, and then being forced to pay a toll for that for eighteen years that they didn't want to get into.

    As for refuting my argument, however, you've done nothing to do so beyond saying it would excuse dads and it's a duty. You'll need rationale.

    Eric I. wrote:

    My wife and I have just recently discovered your reviews as we started watching season 6. Keep up the good work, mate. As a Scrubs fan as well, I appreciated the reference. Hooch is crazy, man. Thanks for making your reviews so thorough, and for noticing things that I probably wouldn't notice on my own.

    Eric I.

    Thanks, Eric! I need a box of kittens.

    RMF wrote:
    Part of the problem with this episode is that it was pushed back from the fifth episode of the season to the ninth. I haven't been to Kansas, but I suspect that in December the locals aren't wearing short sleeves and the corn isn't still in the fields. So yeah, the weather is off, but more critically, some of the character arcs are out of sequence too. I'm guessing that they moved this episode in order to keep the momentum of the Green Arrow arc going and to remind us going into the second half of the season of the post-"Vessel" ambiguity in the Chloe-Clark relationship. But if they hadn't moved it, they would have had a Clark-centric episode to stave off some of the "GreenArrowville" criticism, and Lexana would have stood to make a hair more sense than it does.

    Either way, they showed it in this sequence, and kept it in this continuity, so they should have deleted the other scenes or said "Three months ago..."

    I still don't buy Lex and Lana as a romance, but I thought the writing for Lexana in this episode was effective for once. Lex is looking to buy Lana's soul, and Lana is looking to sell. The plane trip to Amsterdam, the fancy hotel, and the special access to the museum were exactly how a rich man would dazzle a stupid woman. Lana is looking for attention and security and eats this stuff up even while we see her apprehension over Lex's shoulder during their embraces. She dives right into the role of lady of the manor (hey Lana, whose money is that? Lana?) and signs on to help the poor little peasants. Lex can barely disguise the urge to roll his eyes. Even better, when Lana shows up at the Kent farm to drop off the peasant paperwork for Martha -- really to show off her new life -- she gets the thumbs down from Clark. He calls her on buying into the whole Luthor image-polishing machine. After his silent suffering at her hands in "Sneeze", it was downright therapeutic, as was the look of impatience he aimed at her retreating back. It's the first time I can remember that a script has been written with an actual consciousness of Lana being in the wrong. The down side is that this type of manipulation should have come earlier in the season, before she rubber-stamped Level 33.1. It would have established Lana's love for her cushy new position and her willingness to ignore the uncertainty in Lex's motives just so her little world doesn't get turned upside down again. Her later rationalization of Level 33.1 would have been a progression.

    The sad thing is that the progression is halted when nothing that happened in this episode is ever mentioned or played off of again...

    As for Clark and Lex, their interactions have been robbed of most of their magic and most of their point. This is only the third time this season that they've even been allowed to speak to one another, and the best that I can say about this scene is that at least 75% was not about Lana. As their moral rift grows, their arguments should be getting weightier, but they remain surficial and petty.

    Fully agreed, and quite insightful. When's the last time Lex and Clark fought over anything but coming into the mansion or a villain?

    As Lex goes further off the deep end, I want to see these two arguing philosophically, not just biching at each other. They could have stood to send Clark into this scene with more evidence of Luthorcorp's complicity, but it certainly was an anomaly that Luthorcorp bought McNally's land and spent quite a bit of money restoring the farm after it had been destroyed by an unusually large number of meteors during the shower. It made no business sense and evidently wasn't part of any charitable plan either, but Luthorcorp, on the other hand, has been egregious for its pursuit of unscrupulous meteorite-related research. The connection is circumstantial, but it's there, and really, with what the ending scene signifies about Lex's shop of horrors, it's hard to feel sympathy for him over Clark's accusation. Lex would also probably have some legal responsibility for what happened, because he let the mutated, unstable McNally run loose on the farm while he studied him, even though the burrowing was a hazard to anyone and anything on the property. Although Lex didn't know McNally was killing on purpose, he was probably guilty of negligence. It's something like letting a bear loose in the woods on your property when you know there are hikers around.

    Yeah. I just don't see the argument that Lex has been so incredibly evil. I might have done the same in similar circumstances, and I'm a moral guy.

    Chris supes wrote:
    hey, u probably get tons of email so u dont remember me but, i praise u for ur criticism of product placement, and the sooo much more such as crappy writing and lana lang and plot devices of unknown origins or powers for that matter. i read ALLLLLL you reviews eagerly and hope u never stop, just wondering, along with *hopefully* a reply from you, could i have a list of books u've written and where/how to purchase them, thank you. that being said, happy belated holidays, not sure if u celebrate anything but ehh it doesnt matter, holidays are holidays and have a nice week-chris

    Hey, Chris! Thanks for reading, man. My books in release are Madly, a Bukowski inspired comedy/romance/guy story, that runs about ten bucks, and Benjamin's Dream, a socio-political sci-fi fantasy about the far-flung future, an homage to the short stories I read as a kid. The sci-fi is more a backdrop, it's more a character drama.

    I also have a poetry book called "If You're Reading This, I'm Probably Dead," and a forthcoming poetry book, Roofer. There are also three novels on the way, the first two I wrote, which need revision, and the newest one, which is pretty much ready but that I want to try with a publisher first.

    All the details can be found at , and thank you for your interest.

    Austin Battenberg wrote:
    First of all, I love reading your reviews. I agree with most, but not all. But you still put a lot of things in perspective and I don't notice certain aspects of an episode until after I see that you pointed it out. (not sure if this is good or bad, because I enjoy a show more when I don't care about the small stuff)

    It's neither. I'm glad you enjoy it, and I'm glad you enjoy my perspective. It doesn't have to be polemic, good or bad. :)

    So...if it were possible, do you think that Smallville would be a better show if an amateure (who obviously knew what they were doing of course) fixed the show and continuity?

    Nah, because by definition, amateurs would be sub-par. I think the current writers are pros who are not living up to their potential.

    Let me explain, first, take out the shows that completly have no relevence to the overall story (like the one with Pete Ross racing), and place the important sub-plot scenes in other episodes (like usual banter between Lex and Lionel).

    Second, delete most of the "freak of the week" characters. Keep only those that show up in more than one episode, those that are important to the plot, or those that actually have NO powers. Obviously it means that the few cool effects that sometimes get shown in the show will be lost, but it may make the overall story more believable.

    Third, take out a lot of the scenes with Lana. Nothing can help her, but perhaps by removing the scenes with her being....stupid....we can have her a little more consistant and believable.

    Lastly, rearannge and delete some of the scenes throughout the show. As long as you stay within season, and make it so it flows, it seems possible to have a lot less episodes (shorter too) with a better overall plot, and make it more enjoyable to the Superman fans...because Smallville seems to cater to everyone, and thus doesnt follow all the rules. Lois showing up was a stupid idea...but we can't delete all Lois scenes. But we can try and keep her out as much as possible so that way she doesnt seem to grow a friendship with Clark until Metropolis.

    Now THAT, however, is not amateur, and would make the story better. If you mean bring in someone to streamline things as such, I'd say yeah, in a second.

    Of course I wouldn't expect anyone do to any of this until AFTER the series gets canceled...erm...I mean the series finale. That way one could know what direction to fix the shows towards. I was just thinking that it may be possible.

    I think the next Superman show is closer than people might anticipate.

    Hector Delgado wrote:
    Medium fan (i don't live and breathe this stuff, that's not a snide remark at anyone), first time writer.


    I wanted to pre-emptively point out (before the junior justice league episodes come out)a huge opportunity that the writers of Smallville have missed out on and a somewhat logical (don't start throwing stones yet) progression from the direction of the first season. Basically, the show has been a whole parade of "meteor freaks" and kryptonian relics paraded out for Clark to neutralize. Every so often, the writers would come up with one who was mildly interesting or powerful enough to give Clark a run for his money. In very rare instances we'd encounter one who wasn't evil and was fighting crime or at the very least wasn't killing people so they could sleep with Lana. A path that the show could have taken (instead of plundering the DCU) was to develop some of these characters into a "League of Meteor Freaks." I know the name sucks, but I think the idea is a logical progression from where the show started out.

    Or heck, bring back more than two of them. These people aren't dead, by and large.

    We had the telepath with cancer (Ryan), the superstrong girl who fought the gangs(Maya) and Kayla, the hot shapeshifter. I am listing enough so you get the idea, the entire list is on this web site. The point I am making is a real opportunity was missed here to create an actual storyline with some longevity that didn't plunder a bunch of other DCU characters. In addition, using characters created just for the show, gives the writers an opportunity to wipe them out if it's logical or better yet, a good story. There are enough pieces of Kryptonite floating around as well as alien tech floating around to create more "Freak League" members. I especially thought that the Dr. Walden's powers showed some real potential, never mind that Jor-El hands out super powers like bon-bons. As I am writing this I am remembering all the "false starts" Lana had as a superhero not just on the show but in the comics. I am throwing this out because as many people have pointed out, her character is in limbo. The show's inconsistency seems to stem (at least sometimes) between the desire to stay loyal to previous mythos and/or to flesh out new ideas.

    Heck, there's even a list of people they could use on my KO Count.

    Anyway, thank you for reading this and for your excellent commentary on everyone's favorite Kryptonian. In closing, I have three questions:
    1. Why won't the producers on Smallville let Clark fly? (Humor me, I know I'm not the first to ask)

    I think it's the fact that it would cost a lot of money.

    2. Could the MM's "burning hands" power actually have been him phasing his hands inside his opponent's flesh? (I know it's a weak explanation but I'm trying to be helpful).

    Might have been, at that.

    3. Could these (Jr JLA) Episodes (the ones coming up, not my suspect idea) be a springboard towards a new show or a re-working of Smallville?

    I think, given enough viewers, anything is possible. The current show, however, wouldn't support an upsurging of support. It'd need to get better.

    Thanks again for reading. At the very least, I hope I provided food for thought.

    Thank you!

    Bill Warren wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    I'm a long time reader of your reviews, and I enjoy them regularly.

    Thanks, Bill!

    I only have a few comments about Smallville and where it's headed. First off, I really don't think "Justice" whenever it premiers, will be worth it. I think it'll just end up being another episode like "Vengeance." Maybe if warner bros could pony up the money to have a guest cameo with Christian Bale and whoever they decided to get as Wonder Woman, it might be allright, but god knows the entertainment business would never allow something that cool to be made into a television episode. My opinion is, why bother doing a proto-justic league episode then? The Green Arrow and Cyborg aren't enough to draw me in. Well, maybe if Zatanna were in it...

    I think they're doing it to try and draw in viewers, because the show is struggling.

    The show has been letting me down since the end of season 3. Season 4 was just a joke, and while 5 had some good episodes, it just seemed to me, to damage what these people are supposed to really be like. I never thought Lana would be a passive aggressive bich who's totally forgiving of everyone else's faults and mistakes in the world except Clark. And I think they could salvage Lex, if they just stop making him evil for no real reason. Give him a real reason, and NOT just because he loves Lana. I think they should give him some quality where Clark thinks he can redeem him. And they should also let Lex learn Clark's secret.

    Preaching to the choir, my friend.

    Plus, I don't know where I keep reading these things, but they apparently won't ever show Superman on the show? Then what's the point? If he's gonna end up being 40 years old and still Clark, why have I been watching this show? Does Tom Welling not want to wear the suit or something? Then why did they cast him? Personally, I hope they change the show into "Metropolis" someday. I had always hoped to see Tom Welling in the blue outfit, but I just don't have any more hope for this show. I don't think they can salvage it. It's just beginning to seem like it's a waste of time. And when I first saw this show, I thought it was awesome and had a lot of potential.

    I think it's a financial issue...but I could be nuts. I think there's a cash cost to use that suit? Or maybe they're just stubborn. It would involve a whole new show, and they have this show, so either way, it's irrelevant until they pony up to the responsibility.

    Yeah so, I don't think I made any points, but I find your reviews mirror my feelings on the show quite often.

    Anyway, love your reviews!


    You made great points, and thank you.

    Jeffrey Frawley wrote:
    Regarding your review of "The Man from Krypton": Yes, many of the essays it collects are scholarly (which is not necessarily a pejorative term) in tone; and Yes, a number of the supposed revelations - of Superman in the real world, or of Lois as regards feminism, or of something else - are not entirely revolutionary.

    I have no problem with scholarly, more with elitist prescriptive. In other words, haughty-taughty over-the-top intellectualism, instead of me stating plainly that I think poop and Hume can both be entertaining, which makes it accessible to the average joe.

    It is appropriate and appreciated that you should identify these qualities in the book, and yet terribly disappointing that you presume we as readers must be shielded from intellectual rigor.

    I never said that, and I challenge you to show where I did. I simply said that intellectual rigor doesn't sell books and is kind of boring to anyone but nerds like me. Which is true.

    For those who want and can absorb thoroughly grown up reading material, being a fan of superheroes and comic books is no disqualification.


    As for "It's Superman," my response is similar. It is not a novelization of a comic storyline, nor does it make any attempt to appear in comics continuity. Rather, it is more of a "what if" set in the real world. It must be accepted (or rejected, if one feels that way) as an entirely different thing - a very different man, in a very different world from the 4-color serials.

    I don't know about that one...haven't read it yet.

    Aaron wrote:
    I just read your review of Superman Confidential 3. I'll be honest, the continuity thing bugs me too. But I read a DiDio interview somewhere and he said that each of the Superman titles were designed to reach different audiences. If you want Silver Age, get All-Star. If you want Byrne Superman, go with Confidential. So I guess that would explain the Lexcorp L Building. I guess for me, I'm just gonna treat Confidential as being outside continuity at this point, unless someone punches some crazy continuity wall in heaven to change it all back.

    Yeah, but confidential isn't Byrne either, because Byrne showed the first K appearance (as I recall).

    I have no problem with multiple continuities for multiple audiences, I just wish they'd define the framework cogently somewhere, and before 2009.

    Tina wrote:
    Regarding your Superman Confidential #3 review:

    IThe man can fly. He saves the world on a regular basis. He doesn't go to a mountain peak and cry with a polar bear. He's not an emo kid./I

    But Neal, emo kids are the new black now! Thanks to shows like Smallville and movies like Spider-Man, we're going to see more and more of this $#!* in the comics... unfortunately.

    Couldn't agree with you more on the continuity problem. I also don't like that we still don't know who the heck this Superman is either. :(

    I dunno about the "new black" characterization, because as far as I'm concerned, black is still cool, and was even when people were appropriating it. I think the real issue is with people acting overly dramatic by adopting a persona they don't really have, like a suburb kid pretending his life is all hell when he's never eaten a ketchup sandwich in desperation or had holes in his designer jeans...

    Bruce Kanin wrote:
    Neal, re: All Star Superman #6. Glad you liked it and gave it 5's all around. This whole series lives up to its prefix "ALL STAR", and then some. Your review said it all. Loving it!

    Take care,


    Likewise! Isn't it great? I'm won over.

    PS- I'm back with SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS for now. (Busiek seems to be on the rise, and Donner's plot is kind of neat).

    Definitely...I just hope they define some continuity, then all will be well.

    Bruce also wrote:


    It's been too long since we had a fresh, new episode, and it's been awhile since we had a rating this good: B. It could have been an A, if not for Tori Spelling and the Water Lady and Tori Spelling AS the Water Lady. But I digress...


    As near as I can tell, this episode contained the first 21st century television appearance of the other "Lois and..." team, namely Lois & Jimmy. Holy Noel Neill and Jack Larson!

    Call me a mush, but the whole bit about people keeping secrets, feelings about Lana, Clark, Lex, Chloe, etc. finally rising to the surface - was all good stuff. It was stuff that should have bubbled to the surface a long while ago. Speaking of bubbles, well, read on, later...

    I'm seeing chemistry between Clark and Lois, finally. That's a good thing, although it shouldn't be happening this early, in Smallville.

    The scene in Lois's apartment between Chloe and Clark (which Hydro Lady overhears) in which Chloe finally gets PO'd about keeping everyone's secrets, was wonderful. Allison Mack was at her best. Heck, between her, Lex and Lionel, they pretty much "make" the show with their acting.

    Great stuff: Clark impersonating Green Arrow, helping out Oliver. It hearkened back to the Silver Age, when the World's Finest team would regularly pose as the other one's secret ID to help squash thoughts by Vicki Vale that Bruce Wayne was Batman - or by Lois Lane, thinking Clark Kent was Superman. Terrific subplot and nicely done. One "nit": after Clark zooms away and removes his GA mask, he looks winded for a moment. Perhaps the costume was made of Green K? Anyway, I liked the idea of one superhero helping out another.

    This was an active episode, with lots of moving parts, all interesting, and somewhat interwoven, with the themes of secrets and love running throughout. The sad part, to some extent, was that Clark is once again the odd man out when it comes to love, and all because he's walking down the path towards super-destiny. Lana, Lex, Jimmy, Chloe, Oliver and Lois were all paired up. Even Martha and Lionel (neither seen in this episode) seemingly have each other. Maybe Clark is waiting to meet Lori Lemaris - the mermaid!

    Lana sure fooled me at the end when she said "yes" to Lex. I mean, I thought she would all along, but in her speech to Lex, she said she still loved Clark. Lex - and some of us in the audience, like me, thought she was going to let him down, and with that crushing blow, speed him on his way to the Path of Evil. Still, Lana isn't supposed to marry Lex, per Superman mythology, so somewhere along the way, she's surely break it off, and don't call me surely.


    Yes, folks, another Freak of the Week, this time starring Hollywood's most un-admired - was I about to say actress - um, whatever - Tori Spelling. Don't good actor guest stars want to be on SMALLVILLE? Or was she just traveling through Vancouver at the time? As for yet another Freak of the Week, they should rename the show METEOR PEOPLE, K-ROCK, GREEN SCENE or FREAKY THURSDAY.

    Why would Lex go to Hydro Lady (Spelling) to dig up dirt on Clark & Lana? He has an army of detectives who could do that. Why? Because it gave Hydro Lady an excuse to eavesdrop and yield the major plot point that caused Lana to hear that Chloe is protecting "farm boy's" secret. I liked that, but thought it was weak that Lex would need scum like Hydro Lady.

    When Hyrdo Lady was splashing around outside of Lois's apartment while Clark and Chloe were arguing and then making up, how come Clark's super-hearing didn't hear the splish-splash noises?

    When Clark is disguised as Green Arrow, Lois slaps him, but doesn't hurt her hand. Now, it's possible that Clark recoiled so that she wouldn't hurt herself, but I doubt it.


    "We Want Some More Beans, Mr. Taggart" Dept.: In that early scene at the Daily Planet after Lana and Chloe chat about Clark, Lex and love, we see the water cooler and a bubble or two suddenly appear. I tell you, the first thing that came to mind was that Tori Spelling's character was hiding in there, and couldn't hold back the effects of a chili-burger. And I'm not talking about burping. (You know, if they had a Freak of the Week who was full of super-farts, I would look forward to that).

    They had an ad for the movie "Disturbia", coming out this Spring. Problem is, they all but showed the entire movie. Who wants to see it now?

    Finally - the crack Luthor Mansion security force at your service, sir! Clark is announced - he doesn't just walk in!

    Lana accepts Lex's proposal with "yes, Lex LuthER". Even Otis, in the first two Superman movies, gets it right, i.e., "Yes, Mister LuthOR". (Hey, I finally watched the Donner Cut of SUPERMAN II - awesome!!!! But I digress...).

    The workout with Lois in his apartment must have made Oliver feel like a King. (I know, bad.)

    Except for his brief stint as Green Arrow, Clark didn't use his powers in this episode.

    In the really good scene where Lois reveals that Green Arrow (Clark) is a better kisser than Oliver, Chloe smirks, knowing that the kisser was Super-Clark. If you look, not even all that carefully, you can see that she has a shiny almost-runny nose. Yuck! Didn't the folks filming the episode see that?


    Next week: the Live Action World Television Premier of the Justice League of America! Well, OK, if not the JLA, then a pale imitation of Cyborg and Flash, plus a possibly semi-decent Aquaman, Green Arrow, and of course, the man who would be Superman. Cross your fingers that the SMALLVILLE writers, who seemed to be using their heads this week, are still going strong. I'm cautiously pessimistic...

    Bruce Kanin
    Truth, Justice and the Milky Way

    I'm glad you liked it, Bruce, and as always, insightful remarks. I couldn't see past the emotional stuff, but cool that it worked for you.

    Mike wrote:
    Well, Hydro just ended. Interesting episode to say the least. While the whole Lex vs. Clark aspect is refreshing and a sigh of "finally", the fact that Lana still remains in the mix is somewhat distressing.

    And makes me homicidal...

    Lana is now officially useless after this episode. She is pregnant. So what? I don't really care. She says yes to Lex. So what? Doesn't really server any purpose now that Clark is really moving on.

    Oh, but the triangle is BACK, according to Gough. JOY! What a...what a waste of time.

    Speaking of Clark, let me be clear about this, I liked the tease they gave us. Not next week's joke of an episode that I look forward to but at the same time, I am worried that it is really going to be a mockery. But, the tease of him finally coming to terms with this "hero" complex he has. The Lois and Clark kiss actually made me laugh especially after the story Lois told about him being a far better kisser.

    Rather nice seeing the "secret adventures of Lois and Jimmy" starting up a bit.

    I hope it goes somewhere. And next week...I'll be fair, I'll say that much.

    All in all, not a terrible episode. Lana is still naive and needs to be killed off the show. No argument from me. But better at making the main characters more believable in terms of who they really are. Tom Welling did a find job directing.

    Probably one of the best episodes this season.

    I dunno about that, myself, but I'm glad you liked it.

    Felix Vasquez ( wrote:


    "Hydro" was pretty lame, but with this show... I try to keep an open mind, I mean it. I REALLY keep an open mind, but this is like a subservient husband trying to please his high maintenance wife. You can give it all the chances you want, but there's just no way you'll be rewarded.

    Unless you like being hated...

    And that's a shame. "Smallville" was great once, folks. It sure was. But to pretend it's still entertaining is really lying to yourself.

    1. Chloe yells at Clark when she should be yelling at Lana and Lois.


    2. Why does Clark get the anger from Chloe?!


    3. Neal agree or disagree, but you can talk my ear off all you want, this looked like every other episode of "Smallville." And I'll continue challenging those who say otherwise.

    I agree, actually. Noted above.

    4. "The Lana I know..." Do these people know the same Lana? The despicable, selfish, idiotic, lamebrained, cruel, secretive shrew? The one who keeps a secret from Clark about pregnancy then asks him to trust her with HIS secret?!! Grr.

    The Lana Chloe, already did that bit.

    5. Tori Spelling. That's all I'll say. Abysmal performance for a villain with little to nothing to do. I'm surprised they didn't let her hog the screen, but I'm also thankful about it too.

    Oh, she did. I'm still crying.

    Well, that's all I have now. I'm getting a cold. Keep kicking these readers butts.

    See you next week for the Backstreet boys vs. Lex Luthor!

    - Felix

    Get well soon, Felix!

    More next week, folks...catch you then!


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

    Back to the main TELEVISION page.