Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 6 - Episode 14: "Trespass"Reviews:
TrespassReviewed by: Douglas Trumble
Well I almost did not see this week's episode. DVR's do no work without power don't-cha-know. Burr. It has been cold here in the upper Midwest but this week's Smallville made it feel even colder.
Not that I see that as a bad thing. It was done to set the mood and date the episode. It left no doubt we were deep into Winter. I think the whole visual style of the episode with the frequent snow shots and wind just made you feel freezing cold. Of course it could have been the -8 temperature outside my window but it all worked together. I wonder how it worked for folks in southern half of the big beach ball called Earth? Watching this episode in the dead of Summer might actually help provide a little relief from the sweltering heat. Plus, the only time the episode felt warm was when Clark was on screen which was a fantastic way to play with the mood.
Unfortunately there was little more than the visual style of the episode to be impressed with. Sure the acting was fine. Kristin Kreuk did a great job this week with a lot more screen time than she has been getting of late. The story however, was tired, worn, predictable, and fell flat. Kind of like the dead of winter.
There were good bits here and there. Clark and Jimmy working together, Lana snooping on Clark, and Chloe and Jimmy making up. Plus I have to say, the confrontation between Lex and Clark at the end was fantastic. It actually made the episode worth the time. It is just too bad such a fantastic scene was not attached to something other than a mediocre filler episode.
I would have traded this one for a 2 part to the Justice League episode any day.
It was pretty much obvious who was after Lana. Sure until one guard turned up dead you had to guess which guard it was but it was obvious one of them was the bad guy. It might have worked better if it did not just fall out of the sky this week. If we had seen this guard with Lana over the past few months we might have got a better feeling for how this developed but I still think the Lana stalker stories are a bit worn. (I mean other than a certain super powered stalker). Hopefully this will be the last.
So you get the point. Dry, cold, dull story, predictable, nicely shot, good mood setting visuals, good acting, bla bla bla.
Let's talk about the GREAT stuff. Not a lot but as I said above there was one scene that made it worth it. Lex was just dripping with EVIL in Clark's barn at the end and I loved it. Even when Clark tried to apologize for his actions under the red K Lex turned and twisted it back on him. Michael Rosenbaum knocked that scene out of the park! If you have this episode recorded and are not sure if your going to watch it I beg you to just watch the last 5 minutes.
The way Lex gloats and invites Clark to the wedding is perhaps the slickest, nastiest, meanest, down right evil thing we have seen Lex do on the show. Sure we've seen him shoot people, torture Aquaman and Flash, and even hurt puppies. But this? This was hitting our future Superman where it really hurts. It really showed us why and how Lex Luthor will be the greatest enemy of the world's greatest hero. Why he does not need superpowers to hit Superman hard.
Oh what a great scene. I've watched it 3 times now.
Ok ok. I think you all get the point. I loved that scene and was pretty much blah on the rest.
There were two other very brief moments of note in this episode that I liked, both involving Clark saving Lana. When Clark tosses the photographer aside Tom Welling had a classic hero pose which I loved but what I really liked was what Clark said to the guard when he asked "What are you doing here?". Clark simply says, "You're job" with a really awesome look on his face. Sort of a mixture between being irritated, annoyed, and ticked off at the guard all at once. I liked it. The other was a great shot of Clark when Lana fell through the window. How the camera panned up from Clark's feet to show that he caught her. Great camera work there. The only thing that killed that moment was the fact that Clark didn't save the guard too. But then that did not bother me too much. At least Clark did not kill him. I just hope someday they realize that Superman would actually save both Lana and the bad guy.
So how do we grade this? Well over all I think it was perhaps the weakest episode of the season deserving maybe a 1.5 out of 5. But then there is that final scene with Lex and Clark that just cannot be missed so I'll go ahead and give it a 2. I think that last scene with Lex is worth a .5 bump in grade. Call it a C- or a D+. Passing... Barely... but only because of a little extra credit.
No preview for next week that I saw. Though I almost did not see this week's episode at all. Thanks to Neal for helping me out there. I owe you one!
TrespassReviewed by: Neal Bailey
I just snapped out of the haze, really. It started in the bathroom, where I woke up with bloody, red hands, with a piece of paper with thousands of scribbled "NO!" inscriptions all over the surface. Then I remembered what had happened.
Yeah. Lana-centric episode.
The blackouts are longer and much more violent with each and every continued use of this clichéd, over-wrought piece of crap idea, and honestly, I don't know what happened.
Or whose eye that is.
But anyway, I don't even think I have to go into why this kind of episode is a bad idea. I won't repeat my stock phrases about why this has already been done and shouldn't be done again. It's obvious to anyone with a medulla oblongata and a lack of any significant brain damage. Or even minor brain damage.
Actually, who am I kidding? Even a vegetable would know this plot is done to death and not in the best interest of general viewers.
Here's the premise. Lana is so hot, someone starts killing to impress her, and then tries to kill her when she won't be their forever and always.
Here's the episodes we've already seen it in that I can name with a glance at the KO Count:
102: Greg Arkin, the bug boy, tried to make Lana his bride.
205: Byron Moore, Lana's "dark poet" crush (that was Lana, right?).
211: Tina Greer. Even goes lesbian to get Lana.
219: Helen Bryce gets a stalker. Not Lana-focal, but this exact same plot, basically.
221: Emily Dinsmore 1. Loves Lana, so when Lana won't love her forever, she tries to kill Lana.
303: Jake, the gilled Lana obsessed freak of the week who is shot before he can go nutty.
307: Seth, the guy who can influence women to love him with his "magnetic" powers, who of course instantly obsesses over Lana and takes over her mind.
316: Adam Knight, when Lana leaves him for being a freak, attempts to kill her because he can't have her.
321: Emily Dinsmore 2. Obsessed with Lana, tries to kill her.
I didn't see any for the last two years, admittedly, but that just means it wasn't in the villain's description in the KO Count, not that it didn't happen. My point is that the above isn't comprehensive, it's just the obvious and easily recalled. And that's nine episodes, or approximately one every half a season or so.
Oh yeah. Jason too. Can't forget Jason. Though I can see why I did.
The show itself, despite the premise, was still horridly put together, lacking in much obvious creativity, and had a very easily predictable villain. At least for me. By the first ten minutes or so, I knew it would be a security team member, one of the two. I thought it was Brady because he was named, but when it turned out to be the other guy, that wasn't suspense, because it didn't tarnish my original idea, it was just a pump-fake that still revealed the same obvious villain behind it all.
Blow by blow:
"Lexana stalked!" says the paper. You know, last week, I wouldn't have believed newspapers could focus on garbage this minute. I've even said as much in previous reviews. Then Anna Nicole Smith died after a narcissistic, parasitic existence, and she's getting more attention than the 25 Americans who died last week in Iraq. (Try to name one.) I retract.
We cue in on Lana, sitting alone in a dark room, brushing her hair and staring obliquely at the tool that Lex used to stab Clark, heretofore known as the "PLOT DEVICE OF LITTLE SIGNIFICANCE BUT OBVIOUS DESIRE!"
Lex stabbed Clark with this tool, and I just passed it off last week, firstly because there's no way that Lex's hand would be able to hold the tool hard enough to bend it like that without super-strength, secondly because the tool would simply go INTO Clark when Clark was being hit with K, thirdly because Clark would be under the influence of Red K and wouldn't care about protecting his secret by crumpling, and fourthly because there was no way as that scene was filmed that Lana could get that tool, really, the way she did. I had hoped it would be something they would just conveniently gloss over.
But no, the premise of this show is Lana focusing and obsessing over this tool, in large part, beyond the obvious dilemma.
I don't know about you, but when the neighbor's dog poops in the yard, I take that poop inside, stare at it while brushing my hair in the dark morosely, and try and figure out the secrets and lies the neighbor has against me. Because I'm totally sane.
A window brushes, and she is mailed a picture of the guy who's stalking her.
Unable to find this person (this non-freak without any powers) in her room despite having to be about four feet away to take the picture in question, Lana walks around, trying to find the person. This is the first of several times this episodes that she, in order to satisfy her morbid and stupid curiosity, jeopardizes the life of her baby. When it was just Lana risking her own stupid existence, that was one thing, now she's jeopardizing a baby. Can we relate any less to this character? How about having her not feed the baby when it comes around?
She doesn't call the cops. When Lex comes to investigate, she doesn't show him the picture.
That's two Lana SECRETS in the first five minutes. I think this one might break the Lana secret and lie record. She hides the tool, and she hides the picture, even though Chloe, with her mad skillz, could likely find the person who sent it in a second.
And why? Because she doesn't want Lex to see the bent tool. Because if Lex sees a bent tool, he'll instantly know that Clark's invulnerable, even though Lana doesn't even officially know that herself yet. Oh, and yeah, it could never have happened. Oh, and yeah, Lex already had said tool IN HIS HAND when it HAPPENED and yet didn't make the connection.
Now's the point where you think I'd be incredulity-ed out. But no, because you then sit back and realize that a major plot point from earlier in this season was how much of a bastard Lex was for wanting to put a camera in the bedroom to protect Lana from intruders.
Sigh isn't even apt enough any more, but I can't go ARRRRRRGH! After each paragraph. Maybe this?
Lana's still not showing pregnancy. Still. I was reading on a message board that someone found it audacious and completely uncalled-for that I suggested that Lana might have looked pregnant in a scene. You know, because opinion, which is neither right or wrong, can be completely uncalled for. But then, having a major television series where the main character gets pregnant in the show, then assuming she might be starting to show by the fourth month? That is COMPLETELY TOTALLY uncalled for. Whatever.
Lana tells Lex that she didn't SEE anything, she just SENSES someone is after her, and he buys it and beefs up security.
Lana goes to hide out with, uh, Chloe, because nothing dangerous ever happens in the apartment above the Talon. Except, well, you know, the woman Lana killed up there, the time Lex beat her up there, the time Jason beat her up there, the time Adam beat her up there (as I recall).
Lex leaves on an important business trip, he is, of course, portrayed as a b@stard by Chloe. Despite leaving a security team. And despite the fact that when Lana is spending the money he has earned with said important business trips without having a job of her own, Lex never treats HER like a b@stard. But hey. She's amazing. And when Lana dispatches the security team, ignores their professional advice, and puts her baby and herself repeatedly in danger, she's not a fink or stupid. She's treated like an EMPOWERED woman following her wise INSTINCTS.
There is though, of course, no blatant sexism in that, is there?
Lana lie: She tells Chloe that she let Lex think that the suspicious visitor was just paparazzi-induced jitters.
Chloe goes to Clark to explain what's going on (just before complaining about being pickle in the middle) and ask him to let her play pickle in the middle.
She obfuscates the breakup with Jimmy and the picture Lana has for an inordinate, out-of-character amount of time, stretching the scene arbitrarily and making it frustrating.
Martha's comment about being the only one who can feel cold is about the only indication I've seen that Superman has any powers for the bulk of this season. Or that this is a Superman show. Think about it? When's the last time you've seen Clark use heat vision, super-hearing, or pretty much any of his powers that don't involve throwing guys across the room or a cheap blur effect?
Special effects budgets, I know, but as Al Gough said in a recent interview, it was something along the lines of "Why would you want us to do a Krypton episode if we couldn't appropriately make it visually stunning with the budget?"
Good point, Al. I pose further, why make a Superman show if you can't have him using his powers because of the budget? I'll gladly take commitment to use your paycheck for the show and apply it to the special effects budget if you're really serious.
I won't hold my breath. And Clark will hold his super-breath.
Another Lana secret. The minute Chloe leaves her alone in her private room, she begins opening her computer to try and hack into her computer, despite indicating that she was okay with not talking about the secret between them.
That's a lie: "We're okay not talking about the secret!"
And a secret, hacking into Chloe's computer when she's not around. Model behavior for a future mother, and a paragon of maturity and direct confrontation. Great character. I just love her.
She is defeated by, get this, a password. Lana haxxors fails at life. The funny thing, too, if you watch that scene, is that she tries to do this thing, then actually give the computer the patented Lana pout, and gets frustrated at it. Like she was all confused and unexpecting that Chloe's master-haxxors computer would have a password. I'm surprised they didn't rip off Superman Returns and have the password be 'Clark Kent'.
Lana is, of course, at this point all alone in a room when she's being stalked. She doesn't keep Chloe around, she doesn't go and stay with friends. She doesn't keep security in the room. She just has her good friend the hairbrush and her hacking skills.
She hears a noise! OMG, what is it?
Pop quiz: You are pregnant, and you have a baby. People are regularly trying to kill you because they're obsessed with your beauty, and another guy has just started to do that. You hear a noise. You find your security guard hacked to pieces. Do you:
A) Immediately call the police.
B) Get a gun, then call the police.
C) Get a bazooka and a guy with a gun and a monkey with a knife. Then call the police.
D) Creep around the house in the dark, hoping to engage him in knife-fu, and stare blankly while not in a defensive posture at the lingerie he leaves that says "I WANT TO KILL YOU IN THIS?"
That's it. That's &*$%ing it!
CRACK! CRACK CRACK CRACK!
Five across the eyes!
Two to the ovaries!
A bat to the face!
I throw you like Clark through the air!
This is not time out, this is KNOCK-OUT, whereupon where you regain consciousness, you re-evaluate your actions!
I think that's a Wanda Sykes line. I can't recall. Either way:
"Yes, Mr. Torrence?"
"Lana's behaving rather ridiculously."
"I had a problem with my wife and her child once, Mr. Torrence. She had to be corrected. Corrected...most sternly!"
"You're no help!"
She opens the door, and finds a crowd of paparazzi larger than the crew Angelina Jolie or Britney Spears gets waiting. They've apparently been dead silent as she's been creeping around the Talon, and when she opens the door, they explode with noise. When they close the door, they go back to tomb-like silence. Epic sound maneuver.
Here's where you realize that Lana has come to the Talon to be safe, and yet enough paparazzi to film a war have mounted out front, and security hasn't noticed and/or notified her. In fact, security seems to be two guys, even though Chloe indicates there are robo-troopers marching around outside.
They never end up calling the cops.
"I want you to wear this when I kill you."
Hell with that. I'll wear it while I kill her. Just somebody, please, for the love of all that is holy and unholy from Gehenna to Puyallup, someone bust a cap in her, please? Before the Lana Chloe Knows does something we'll all regret?
Search her hair. There are numbers. I'd bet money on it.
There is an effects shot of Metropolis with snow all over all the buildings. It's an establishing shot. It's long enough that it obviously cost money.
Let me ask you, the viewers, what you'd prefer. A vision of snowy Metropolis in an establishing shot that could be cribbed by hopping straight into the locale (which they do all the time in tv), or a Clark power?
Jimmy fights for Chloe even after the reason he broke up with her was because he questioned her character. By the end of the show, they're back together. It's so good to know that character actions have such lasting consequences that a character can break up and then get back together within one episode without a rational explanation either way that is satisfactory. That is high-quality writing, there. Dramatic!
The security team suggests going to a Luthorcorp secure facility.
Lana insists on the Kent farm instead, presuming to know more than the security team, endangering her kid again (likely killing it had the story been plausible, because she gets kicked down a flight of stairs with no repercussions to her pregnancy. Yeah, sure.)
The reason she does this, as it's later inferred, is so that she can snoop around in Clark's room, which she promptly does. We are supposed to feel sympathy, it would seem, for her, because when she opens the drawer, she sees her own picture hidden away, and scowls, even though it's basically at her insistence that she did this thing. She also looks winsomely at the bed she and Clark shared, and that appears to be a moment we're supposed to feel sad for her as well.
See, maybe if you hadn't followed that up immediately with her snooping through his crap. But probably not even then. In fact, definitely not. But that didn't help.
The Kent farm! Safest place on Earth from stalkers and paparazzi, because Clark is the supposed reason Lana might be leaving Lex from the paparazzi angle, so Lana, who just wants to be left alone, goes and hides at his house. To character motivation, they're on a roll! They also have Clark indicate that the paparazzi are all over his barn, so hey.
What about the panic room? Anyone ever think of that?
She finds the necklace, which is supposed to be a moment of harkening back to the past, I guess. But honestly, because it was just an arbitrary plot device of little merit that didn't really come to any kind of fruition, and because I've forgotten how or why Clark even had it or is supposed to have it or not because it's been four years, I could give a solid crap.
Lana is silent a lot in this episode, and maybe a reason why is because she has a raspy voice in several scenes. She's acting with a sore throat. I find this unacceptable, not because I don't understand that actors get sick and that productions must go on, but because it's a simple matter to adapt to that and throw in one line. "Lana, what happened to your voice?" "I've been feeling a little ill." Four seconds, continuity of the show not totally ruined, you're not pulled entirely out of the scene, as I was, when she speaks with a frog in her throat.
Lana gets a call from the cops, and faces the same multiple choice as before. This is essentially the same scene as before with different consequences. That's another great tip I learned from the book Story, much as I lament its rather boring format and misinformation as to intention. It points out, quite rightly, that if you repeat the same negative or positive result to a dilemma again, the audience buys it less and less each time. For instance, someone falls in love, then they fall even MORE in love, it fails dramatically because there needs to be a negative outcome of some kind to ratchet drama as oppose to unwind it. Same with negative outcomes. You get sick, then you get sicker, it's not as effective as if you get sick, and then your arm falls off, because that's a much more drastic escalation. That's the only way out of it, actually, a more drastic escalation.
We have one encounter with a stalker that results in someone dying, and then another encounter with a stalker that results in someone dying, only someone less directly connected with Lana, the protagonist, so it's less sick, if you will. And the jump from being chased to having a guard hurt, when the guard has no emotional story value, really, is essentially nil.
It also doesn't help that she makes the same choice with regards to her multiple choice as before. She answers the stalker and doesn't initiate a trace with the cops or Chloe. She doesn't call the cops. She stalks around alone in the dark despite her baby. The cops are in no way involved.
SHE FALLS DOWN THE STAIRS. Her baby is fine. She has no broken bones. She's not even hurt to the point that running is difficult five minutes later. Magic. Does anyone say, "Lana, why did you take that kind of risk? You're pregnant!"? No. Does she up security? No.
We're also expected to forget, curiously, that the last scene ended with Lana falling down a flight of stairs after finding her bodyguard dead. The stalker just, I dunno, decided not to kill her and let her get to the hospital?
Oh yeah. Ian Randall. The twins guy. He was obsessed with Lana too, right? Dated her with one form, did schoolwork with the other?
Lana is hanging out at Clark's house. Where was Clark? Where was Martha, when the killer struck?
Clark and Chloe break and enter into a photographer's house, and find that he's taken pictures of Lana. Clark makes the Lois and Clark style deduction that therefore, Esposito, the photographer, is the one trying to kill Lana. BRILLIANT!
Lana is now in the hospital.
AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES!
In the hospital, she has no guard with her. She's all alone. They also put her right next to the ominous dark room of perilous unrelated hanging construction strands. How convenient for the plot!
She goes wandering, again endangering her baby. This is the third time they've essentially done the same scene. Each time Lana gets less and less sympathetic, both from bad story structure, and from the fact that Lana's now endangering a baby aside from herself with her dumb curiosity.
Clark catches the photographer taking pictures of Lana. Because he's taking pictures of Lana, Clark throws him easily thirty feet, in front of Lana, while the guy is TAKING PICTURES.
Using powers while pictures are being taken and while people are watching is definitely secret identity-tastic.
If Lana doesn't know now, she's a vegetable, and if Clark doesn't know she knows...well, Clark's a vegetable anyway.
The whole thing about this "Lana knows!" plot is that it has no dramatic element to it at all, and can't, ever again, basically because number one, only a moron would not have guessed by now, and there have been repeated clues and blatant uses of power and unexplained occurrences. Even really dramatic people don't hold dilemmas this long. Number two, I don't give a crap what Lana thinks about anything because her character has become systematically the single most loathed and annoying female character in any medium I've ever seen next to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Number three, any Clark I sympathize for would have told her years ago.
The guard comes in and KILLS the photographer. He says that the guy had a gun.
Good God. I mean, seriously. It's a hospital, there are gunshots, and people don't rush in? The guard kills a guy because he "has a gun!" and Clark doesn't check with his x-ray vision (forcing the arbitrary forced deduction later)? The guard manages to dispose of the body somehow with no investigation?
Clark is now an accessory to murder (without even the benefit of being right and doing it on accident, he basically knocks the guy out so the guard can murder him).
But he did it for LANA, so it's okay.
Lana, for the FOURTH time, goes to a secluded location alone, and waits for the stalker arbitrarily. Now the dilemma is beyond exhausted, it's almost criminally negligent of fun.
The guard comes in, and says he's dismissed the whole security staff on his own. Lana's alarm bells don't ring, she doesn't demand he call them back, she just compliments his thoughtfulness.
You remember when I summated Lex's character, and the problems with it, by saying something to the lines of "Mr. Stegasaurus or Mr. Ducky?" Well, now here's Lana, in a nutshell. The dialogue that follows her finding that one of her staff has dismissed all of the other staff to keep her safe. This after complimenting him for being kind.
Kidnapper: "You know, Lex should never have left you alone."
Lana: "I didn't know you were allowed to call him by his first name, lowly peasant!"
Paraphrased, but that's the honest gist. I'm not embellishing that much.
So at that point, you feel sympathy for the kidnapper, and you're mad at Lana, even though you know this guy is about to try and kill her, and wanted to put her in negligee before he did so, and despite the fact that she's pregnant. You realize, at this point, that she's so stupid, it's no real loss, and the only sympathy is for the child.
Lana plays along, obviously, indicating that she loves the stalker, despite spending the last few days (in front of the stalker) trying to avoid the stalker. The stalker, of course, buys this, improbably, and Lana hits him with a bottle.
More kung fu action from a "pregnant" woman later, and Lana commences to run from the killer instead of calling the police, calling for anyone, or doing anything proactive to her own safety.
And hey, just to make this episode better, let's make it a Shining ripoff. Someone who supposedly cares for you enough to kill you (involving a man named Brady, no less) chasing someone through the snow with an axe after using said axe to bust through a door. No, that's not The Shining! He didn't say, "Here's JOHNNY!"
Lloyd, give me another of the hair of the dog that bit me. I have to correct someone most sternly.
Lana fails to use her fu to block a simple choke. She struggles, then goes through the glass into an arboretum, where the stalker falls to his death. Clark catches Lana and saves her life, and lets the killer expire. Very heroic. Could he have saved them both? I don't know. I wish we had a Superman who cared either way, at least paying lip service to the lost potential of that villain. But very obviously, the focus is not Clark here.
Lana falls a solid story after getting into a physical battle with a guy with an axe. STILL no problems with the baby.
It's so unrealistic it's laughable. Honestly. I mean, I try and explain these plots to people who don't watch the show, and their immediate response is "Why are you watching it?"
Honestly, right now I don't know. I'm trying to be patient for the bad, but to be honest, after this season, I'm having my doubts. This is getting seriously atrocious.
Cut to Lana's doe eyes as Clark saves her. She doesn't, per her motivation for the whole show, question how he managed to save her. Now she's his hero again, and forgiven totally, despite the resentful look in her eyes the last eight hundred fifty thousand times he's saved her.
Chloe lauds Lana, because she "risked her life" not showing Lex the photo. Great going, Lana! The guy who was THERE to actually see this event take place might actually find out that event took place if he sees that photo! That's worth risking one's life over. Yeah.
Lex: Lana, uh, why did you avoid the secure Lexcorp facility and instead go to your ex-boyfriend's house, where you almost died, while pregnant with our child?
Lana: I was trusting my instincts!
Lex: Uh, you went to Clark's house.
Lana: That was the last place anyone would find me!
Lex "formerly logical" Luthor: Oh! Well, that's good enough for me! (Noony noony noony noo!)
Enough said there.
The tool is...GONE! It meant nothing, but apparently we're supposed to be suspensefully displeased. Yawn city. Yawn nation. Yawn socialist soviet republic. Yawn Delta Quadrant. Yawn Garfield.
Lex in the Clark barn is good. He goes up to Clark, pokes him with a stick for kidnapping his girlfriend, and Clark apologizes. Lex gives him an invitation like a gentleman and offers to show Clark what he lost.
Again showing how, in this show anyway, Lex is a great guy and Clark's a possessive alpha d#%che who is interloping with a pregnant woman and moping in a small town instead of fulfilling his destiny. I mean, you can just hear John Williams, can't you?
1 of 5.
And next week? Wide open-mouth S and M Chloe bondage! There's electricity in the air.
SUPER SHORT REVIEW:
Hey man, love your reviews, I've started to think more about what actually happens in Smallville.
Cool beans. Thanks.
Just some clarification...
Yes, you missed the growling in the backround through out the show. Watch the whole thing with caption and you will hear it (it kinda sounds like a music effect). Also, Clark does hear Shelby barking at the end. Again, watch with caption, it will come up.
That's assuming I'd watch that again, heh.
So, now on to Crimson.
I think this show was pretty cool, even if it was redundant. The one major issue I had was at the end, when a real miracle occurred. Somehow, some way, Lana gets her hands on the tool that is smashed by Clark's body? How the heck did she get that? It's not like Clark or Martha (especially her, as she's been hiding Clark's abilities for his entire life) would leave this lying around!!!!
Chalk this one up as a miracle, Neal.
I think that's fair. Consider it done!
Also, I laughed so hard when Lios said that the tattoo on her breast only lasts a week. This is the first explanation of something usually permanent that will go away. Rather Convenient, eh?
Also, the Clark crashing the party was pretty cool, although the Clana was a little messy.
I think the party crash is the only thing that kept me awake...
Shannon Loomis wrote:
Just a comment on your recent review of Smallville "Labyrinth"
You mentioned at the very end that Clark does not have a job but last I noticed, he was running a farm, which is definitely a job in my book, having been employed on several farms in my time. Also, I can see Clark using a tractor, because even though he has incredible powers, it would still be a pain in the butt to pick and shuck every ear of corn by hand and hand bale hay and straw, not to mention plant every individual seed.
True, but it would take him approximately ten seconds real-time. But beyond that, since when were farms extraordinarily or even marginally profitable for any save the corporate farms, at least as I understand it...?
I enjoy reading your reviews (though do not necessarily agree with them!) and look forward to the next.
Cool either way, and thanks!
Caleb Garcia wrote:
Neal, oh man you are AWESOME with a capital everything. that "Labyrinth"
you-tube had me on the floor "Tori Spelling taste good" that's classic man. you could teach SNL a thing or two about comedy.
Thanks. I'm liking the new regular bit, but it's taking more time than I'm used to. But I won't complain, it is fun.
But anyways here are some predictions for the end of the season:
1) Pete will guest star at the wedding
2) Chloe will die
3) Lana will figure out Clark's secret
4) Lex will split with Lana and move to Metropolis
5) Clark will use John Jones to summon the other Justice members
Some of this I want to happen the other stuff. I'll learn to live with.
I would bet that of those...two are correct. 3 and 5. The others require daring.
Thanks for the excellence,
Escalators are great because they can't break they can only become stairs.
And because they eat kids.
Hi Neal! how have you been?
Hah! Honestly, worried about money and frustrated about the fact that no matter how much I torque my writing, no one's interested in the novels unless I add breasts or religion. But I'll just say fine, because that's what folks want to hear!
As usual, I've been enjoying your reviews. I'm looking forward to your review of Crimson, which I'm sure will already be posted by the time you get this. I just have a few thoughts about the episode that I thought I would share, if that's alright.
Cool. Definitely all right.
I enjoyed Crimson, for the most part. I know that red kryptonite has been done, it seems, a squillion times before...however, it's been roughly two years since the last time it made an appearance in the best-forgotten episode: "Unsafe." This episode, to me, was a mix of the best scenes from Red and Rush, doctered by a few character replacements, and made semi-consistant with the current storyline.
True. But that begs the question, why should any idea need to repeat in a universe so diverse and incredible?
As usual, the measures they take to get Clark infected are absolutely ridiculous, but once it's done, Tom Welling really shines as an actor. As awful as it sounds, his best acting, in my opinion, comes from when he's acting like a royal a$$. This of course, is not to say that there weren't some things he did and said that I didn't agree with. For example:
This I'll agree. Actually, it's less that he's being an @$$, and more that he's being direct and forthright. Many people confuse direct and forthright men for @$$es. Personally, I strive to be one, and I think direct and forthright men (minus kidnapping, of course) could make this world one whole hell of a lot better.
Clark said to Martha what we've ALL been wanting to say to Martha since they started the stupid "Mionel" subplot. My mom, who doesn't even watch the show...save for a few scattered episodes from earlier seasons, can't believe the writers decided to build a relationship between the two. Considering everything Lionel has done to the Kents, and everything he still COULD do if he ever decided to flip back to the dark-side, should make Martha want to back away slowly towards the nearest exit. Even if he has changed, I believe in forgiveness, sure, but that doesn't mean that one should lose some semblance of caution. Not to mention, like Clark said, Jonathan has only been dead a year. If Martha really loved him the way they wanted us to believe, somehow I believe that she'd still be grieving over him a lot. But I suppose that's just me, I tend to think crazy things like that.
Heck, I didn't get over my high school sweetheart for eleven months, and we weren't even really that serious in the end, a year together. I couldn't imagine leaving a 20 year plus marriage that stable and just switching gears like that.
I felt bad for Chloe in this episode. I wanted to slap Clark with a piece of kryptonite for what he said to her at the wedding dinner. Up until then I was giving Clark the benefit of the doubt that he thought Chloe had moved on with her feelings for him...after all, she had told him she had. That was why I tried not to be too hard on him when he would make long speeches to her about his feelings for Lana. We all knew that she hadn't honestly moved on, Jimmy or not. But I thought that maybe he thought she had. Boy, did I think wrong. He knew the entire time how she really felt and then had the NERVE to spout on and on about Lana and how horrible it was to love someone who didn't love you back. That isn't Superman at all, he would be more sensitive than that. The fact that he could do that to her, a person that is supposed to be his best friend, shows that he's farther from being Superman, and closer to being a jerk.
And you watch, next week, he'll affirm what he said before, and she'll run with it.
Clark's response to Lana's question of "What do you want from me?" was gold: "What I've ALWAYS wanted...for you to be happy." Lana always seems to assume that Clark keeps trying to hurt her and confuse her and make her miserable...but the thing is, he wants her to be happy. He puts her above everything and everyone to make sure she has whatever it is she thinks she wants. Now, granted, his loyalty is certainly misplaced. But I hope that statement made Lana think about the things she has said and done to him in the past...and I hope she felt bad. Naturally, this would be assuming she had a heart, which I don't think she does anymore...but I digress just a little.
Hah! Lana think? Good one.
Not sure what to think about Lex and the doctor at the end of the episode. Makes me wonder what the heck is really up with Baby Luthor. Maybe it's superpowered because of some remnants of Zod that got into it's DNA...I don't know. Personally, I'm ready for the whole dang storyline to end and the season to be over...and that's something I never thought I'd say.
Honestly, I'm still stuck on Lex Luthor wanting to be with Lana and that resulting in a pregnancy. I could care less about what the baby is or will become, because it's like, I dunno, giving Lois a kid with someone other than Superman.
But anyway, thanks for listening to my ramblings once again.
No prob. Thanks!
David Raymond wrote:
And beyond! Heh.
First I would like to say I love your reviews. Also that for the most part I agree with your opinion on an episode. Anyway Crimson was ridiculous.
Cool. Thank you.
Man and I thought their dumb uses for kryptonite were other. I mean last season there were the Krypto vampires and that was the most ridiculous. A step up from Kryptoaid and Krypto plastic surgery. Then they threw this crap at us. Kryptonite Lip Stick. To the writers have a 101 stupid ways to use kryptonite hand book or something. It's so sad it it's funny. When the herbal medicine lady handed Jimmy glowing green K perfume I knew something was wrong, really wrong with this already lame story.
Retread, by Calvin Klein.
It's sad that it took Clark to be controlled by red K in order for him to finally say the words to his mother that he should have since the dumb Martha/Lionel love plot even started. These are words I would have wanted normal Clark to say. Except for the "One man I hate the most crap" I mean Lex really has not done much Clark should KNOW about to make him hate Lex so much. What is Clark Psychic and knows Lex's Bad deeds that he was no where near or is he just taking everything out on one of the best friends he ever had because he can?
DRAMA! (Jazz hands)
And it's not just Red K Clark doing this. Normal Clark is acting like his friendship with Lex never happened. Or that Lex was the only side with secrets. Man when Clark acts like an a$$ to people he is forgiven. Yet Lex does evil no one sees and is treated like the villain. Yet everything Lex is doing has been for the greater good. He has been written that way while Clark has been written recently to hate Lex for no good reason.
Well, when Lana does stuff, all is forgiven. Clark is never forgiven when he does stuff to Lana.
The Writers should give Clark a good reason to hate Lex. Have him catch one of Lex's evil plans by accident, and not even expecting Lex is behind it. Have it actually make sense. These writers can do better and they know it. They just decide not to.
I don't think they decide not to. I think they just believe they don't have to.
Not to mention Clark under Red K shows his powers off to someone else not themselves and that person loses all memories of what happened. Yawn. Oh what ever was effecting Clark also made him super strong so that's why he was able to rip the barn apart with Lana and Lex right there. And they will believe it.
From David Raymond.
Teresita form Mexico wrote:
I don't know if the show was good or bad or got 5 or 3 speeding bullets, but I am glad the episode at least touched the issue and that superman defended the inmigrants instead of just "defending the american way" .I resent that you mentioned your friend in Venezuela and not me. (just joking)But you haven't talk to me in person so don't worry. And my grammar is probably not as good as his. Lol
Actually, I only mentioned Daniel over my other friends in Mexico because I figured it might come off like I was making the assumption that people I know in Mexico would automatically want to emigrate and assimilate, and I try not to make that assumption. And hey...don't worry about your grammar. I've never had a problem understanding you. That's all that's important about grammar, honestly, unless writing a formal piece of writing.
I haven't see you in the chat room lately
I hope to be able to chat to you again.
Likewise! I missed last week because I was sick, pretty much. I'm also heavy into writing work right now, now that I finally have a full schedule. Thanks for your patience, though.
Dear Dr Bailey,
I've been struggling with certain feelings of conflict lately centered around Lana, a character on the popular CW show Smallville (a man-bashing, all-purpose corporate shill masquerading as a soap opera disguised as a superhero's coming of age story wrapped inside half-baked melodrama, DON'T YOU GET IT?!).
Honestly, compared to daytime television, the CW is relatively tame. TV hates men generally outside of Spike and sports channels. And even there, "You've got to give her credit!"
At the conclusion of the most recent episode, Lana removed a twisted screw driver from a neatly folded red silk handkerchief which had been mangled earlier in the episode when her fiancee attempted to stab her boyfriend (yes, you read that correctly) in the side after he committed a mindless act of senseless violence upon said fiancee, after which he was felled by his adoptive mother who was packing Kryptonite, a mystical green rock from his planet of origin. It was at this, the conclusion of the episode, that my dualistic feelings of conflict ensnared me.
I was torn between a strange desire to see Lana plunge that twisted dagger into her heart, sacrificing herself for the betterment of the show (and possibly all of humanity), and an equally unexplainable hope that her bedroom, as well as Lana herself, would be completely incinerated by the ignition of flatulence emitted by a Kryptonite-infected bovine.
What would Dr Bailey do?
Change the channel, but honestly, I don't have that luxury. I committed to this analysis, and I respect you guys for reading so much that I will see it through. And there's always hope.
Really, honestly, I'm at a loss. I would never write crap like this, so I can't account for it.
Patrick Beardsley wrote:
I liked your description of the "tepid" Lois scene as pukative.
Pukative = going in my dictionary between Jor-El is soap and "sanguine" (title of a future Red K episode where Clark mistakes the Kryptonite for an after dinner breath mint).
I thought it was a neat word. That's half the fun of poetry is twisting the language like that (as opposed to meter and verse, they can eat a bowl of my (CENSORED)).
The video was interesting--could have used a beat though, you know, perhaps the clapping would go nicely with it.
Yeah, I lost my ear when I stopped drumming. But hey, until I have a production budget, it's going to be purposefully bad. I have about two hours, what's in the room around me, and my wit. I think a six part song came out pretty well...if off the beat.
When Clark ran away from Lois at superspeed, I released a jolly-hard laugh. I know many a time when I should have done the same thing but, decided to go with the chick for some ungodly reason.
Hah! I don't think I've ever run in fear from a woman. I have been utterly flabbergasted to the point of speechlessness, and I have been intimidated by the beauty of a woman that I'm with, when I was younger, but I just don't get the impetus when being chased by a hot chick to run. It's like when guys turn their head when a woman flashes them. Dude, she doesn't care if you're a gentleman or not if she's trying to flash you, and if it's a test, why play to her BS? That urge to be gentlemanly in the face of logic is something that seems relatively archaic to me.
Best part of the episode for me was when Lana says "I'm not a competition" and Clark says: (paraphrase) "yeah, you are, you see Lex has always wanted what I have. You are his trophy and he's your consolation prize." Yes!!!
Perhaps the biggest inconistency I noticed that you didn't point out (I know there aren't enough hours in the day to recognize them all) is the fact that Lex knew he stabbed Clark but doesn't follow it up + he wouldn't have had the strength (after being thrown through a wall and nearly choked to death) to strike with enough force to cause the metal of the screwdriver to bend against Clark anyhow. Yep,
Honestly, I was VERY tired writing the end of that review, so fatigue put that off until next week. You'll see I put it in this week.
Keep on rocking in a free world,
Hah! In a free world I wouldn't have to censor what I say for soccer moms, and people wouldn't crap their pants at one exposed breast. I will, however, keep on rocking regardless.
I have to say that as bad as I thought Crimson was, it at least finally crystallized something for me: The difference between Clark and Lex is that Clark is fundamentally bad and Lex is fundamentally good. It's just that Lex has learned over time to give in to his evil desires, and Clark has learned over time to suppress his evil desires. According to the show, Red K doesn't change who he is. It just removes his inhibitions. So, at heart he is a thug, a thief, and a kidnapper.
Well, I see it as more Lex does his version of good because he believes evil is good, and Clark does good because he feels he's supposed to. One is more noble.
Thanks, Smallville! We'll have a Superman who steals cats from the pet store instead of rescuing them out of trees!
Anyway, keep up the good work. I'd quit watching this season but came back recently to see how things were going. I think I'm done. Again.
I am a fan of your reviews, I have been reading them since smallville started as I think they provide an interesting analysis of the show. However I have a slight misunderstanding that I hope you can provide some insight into. You always talk about how Clark acts in contrast to how Superman acts in the comics. But ur forgeting the Clark on smallville is NOT Superman, he hasnt become Superman yet. He is on the path towards becoming that, as a result he will make the mistakes and errors that will allow him to become Superman. Furthermore he is still a young man and not an adult so he is going to do things that youths do. I would just like to understand why you apply are ideology and context that isnt really applicable.
When my mother was 20 she fed and clothed a baby. When my father was twenty, he'd been in the military for two years, and had already managed an iron welding shop because his father had a heart attack. When I was twenty, I bought a house, wrote my third novel, and had accumulated approximately ten thousand dollars in worth despite extreme poverty and a 100 hour work week.
Many people are utterly devoid of any responsibility at the age of twenty. Some of them are and will continue being the best of my friends.
Superman is not us. Superman is a human being who is given incredible power and doesn't give into his narcissistic urges. He's not "human" in that way that so many people use to excuse poor choices and actions. "Oh, yeah, I know she popped out a kid at 20 without a father, but you know, she's still growing as a person!"
Superman is essentially a Christ figure. A moral arbiter that teaches us all that we can be through the power of self-sacrifice and optimism coupled with pragmatism and luck. He's the American Dream.
And if I, me, Neal Bailey, this idiot behind this keyboard, can know who he is and what he wants by 20, when I am not nor will I ever be half the figure that Superman is, then he'd damned well better have his ducks in a row by the time he's 18.
That's not an inconsistency, that's just something you learn with age. Some people have lives that happen to them, other people happen to their lives.
I am Superman are active agents, and neither of us have patience for passive agents who let life wash over them...Lanas, and even to a degree Lexes.
If this show took place after Clark had done his training and had been Superman for a while then ur criticisms about Clarks character would make sense. But in the end this a reimagining of a part of the Superman mythos so you have to realize that liberties will be taken that some fans may not agree with but others will. Please let me know what you think.
Honestly, I don't think I really have to realize anything. It's like saying that just because a show shows Superman as a homicidal marauder I have to put up with it because it's a reimagining, and that liberties will be taken.
Superman is not some light fluff. It is our sole American mythology. When our culture goes down in flames, it will be we, the viewers, who decide which Superman will be remembered as an iconic image of what our civilization hoped it will be.
To me, that's not a dopey emo kid. That's the guy who was all he could be, even at a very young age.
Hey Neal, I loved the review on Labyrinth but I found a couple of issues that I wanted to mention.
Julian Finn wrote:
"They should have had Clark ask Martian Manhunter how and why he should do this, why he should trust him, what his qualifications are, what the weather is like on Mars. Instead, they spent the time they could have been doing that showing wheelchair Lex, alas, so Clark looks like a guy who wants to kill on a near whim. He's like that on this show...but that's not the Clark or Superman I know.
Better yet, why hinge a plot on Clark being forced to murder? It's been done, just ten episodes back with Zod/Lex, etc, and it was bad then, too. Clark has to and does find a better way, and good writing doesn't put him in that position.
And the end resolution? He essentially decides to kill the guy for messing with his mind, as far as he knows. That sound like Superman to you? That sound like a young Superman to you?
Why would killing one minor delusion in a paranoid fantasy defeat a mind-eating parasite? I don't get it."
A buddy of mine and I are writing a novel together and one of the frustrations I'm having is that I have to go back to him after I receive his drafts and ask him to flush out an idea more fully because, while he understands the point he's trying to make, he's making the error of assuming that the reader is in his head with him. I think the problem with this whole sequence is of a similar vein.
I think the problem with most writing in general is in a similar vein.
I may be reading to much into the capabilities of the writers but this plot development didn't really pose any issues for me. What I got from it was this;
We've been told that for the sake of this episode that Clark's mind is stronger than that of the average bear and that this alone is what prevents the parasite from taking full control of him. If we accept this explanation then the following logic has to apply: in order for the parasite to take over Clark's body, Clark has to surrender control of his mind. To me, a surrender would indicate that he would have to accept the reality that was being presented to him, which he almost does (keep in mind this isn't a dream sequence for him, everything seems as real as the "real world"). When he does finally come to the conclusion that, all evidence to the contrary (who knows maybe Jor-El Soap was the last straw) his reality is actually real, then following the Martian Manhunter's advice makes sense.
If killing runs completely contrary to Superman's character then an act of calculated murder would be so completely jarring to Clark that it would be the psychic equivalent of screaming yourself out of a nightmare. It's essentially saying "I am so sure that this isn't real, I am willing to act against my nature to prove it."
This is true, and I understand that completely. That's not my issue. My issue is more why the writers would make that choice to make this the dilemma, when it's not what Superman should be forced to do to reinforce his general character, which is the ultimate concern of his plot structure. It makes him make hard decisions that in the end are trials, but don't affirm his character, rather they take from it.
I back this idea up with a response to another issue you had:
"it's an inconsistency, mostly because they don't explain how or why convincing Clark's mind to undergo an operation that would destroy it makes any more sense than simply bluntly attempting to destroy his mind."
If my theory holds then the reason Clark has to agree to undergo the operation is to force a surrender. Clark is torn between accepting the world as it's presented to him, which will allow the parasite to take over, or rejecting it and thereby expelling the Zoner.
Actually, I agree there.
Again, I may be reading too much into this, but I didn't have to think it up in post episode analysis, these are just the thoughts that presented as the story unfolded, which usually indicates to me that this was the intended effect
Let me know if you think I'm nuts, in fact I'd appreciate a reply either way.
You're not nuts. Ultimately, you're right about what they're trying to do. My response is that the dilemma should have been less pointed towards Clark-murder.
George House of El wrote:
"They'll never kill a hot chick on a major show. I've never seen it happen in any show. Only Tasha Yars die. Seven of Nine is invincible. As is Lana"
That made me laugh untill my brother hit me with a pair of gopher-chucks...what?
You just love it because it's true!
I'm really missing all of your Kung-Pow references, and its been a long time since we've had an Indiana Jones whip-crack.
I cracked in this last review just for you. Kung Pow, alas, is aging in reference, and only long-time readers will get it. Honestly, I had hoped to add more pop culture reference, but most TV and movies are sucking like a black hole lately. It's hard to be funny with reference when there's hardly anything out there beyond the movie Jackass that can make me titter. I mean, what can I do, reference Ricky Bobby? I've had bowel movements that made me laugh harder, and at least you get something at the end of that.
Anyways, I didn't like when Jimmy went to go get the 'antidote' and it was glowing. I though the Green-K only glowed when a Kryptonian was near (according to Smallville anyway).
Hah! Consistency on Smallville. Good one.
Oh, and I actually liked that cheesy music, it reminded me of Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher...which was meant to be much more light-hearted. Just a thought.
Ah, my thoughts are that Superman is a serious myth. It'd be like seeing Hercules suddenly dance a Mambo. Obliquely amusing, but what does that add to the character?
Umm... I felt like there was something else...
Oh, I've been reading Crisis on Infinite Earths, and I decided that the Smallville Universe is on a place called "Earth-JEIS" or, "Earth-JorEl Is Soap"
I think in forty years when DC is letting me restructure continuity only to rip apart every change I make, I'll have to just have the Psycho Pirate saying that everything is soap.
Just a thought to all the continuity issues, just watch out for that Anti-Moniter.
George "Thats a lot of Nuts!" House of El
I personally am more afraid of the Harbinger. She's hot, but she'll stab you right in the back.
Michael Herrick wrote:
I really enjoyed Labyrinth till the end. I think you're deef or something man, because that Shelby barking and growling was really noticeable through the entire episode. I was really into it, thinking that it was maybe a phantom growling. I was paying close attention to the timing of each growl. I thought all the scenes with growls must have something significant in common. I couldn't figure out what and I was waiting for the incredible revelation at the end that would tie it all together and make it all make sense.
I'm most deef. But all joking aside, you're probably right.
I assumed they would use the classic TV technique for breaking a hallucination. The victim is supposed to discover some terrible contradiction in the hallucination, thus outsmarting the villain. Remember on Star Trek Next Gen: Will Riker is stuck in a hallucination but he detects it because the Romulans use Minuet from the Season One Holodeck to pose as Riker's wife. Only Riker knows that Minuet wasn't a real person, so he sees the contradiction and escapes the hallucination. Doubly cool because they brought back the actress from three seasons previously. And then it turns out the Romulan plot is actually just another hallucination, caused by a little alien boy. But the boy slips up again and introduces another inadvertent contradiction. Riker catches that too and finally breaks the spell.
I actually prefer the time loop TNG. That's, to me, a quintessential example of a good way to do this bit. But then, as a writer, I say to myself, why repeat a bit, why not come up with your own stuff?
And remember Kirk and Spock in Specter of the Gun? Spock reasons it out. The OK Corral is a hallucination. The bullets aren't real. A vulcan mind-meld enables the frail humans to partake of Spock's super-human logical conviction. They face down the bullets and win. They figure it out and break the spell.
I have yet to see many OS beyond Tribbles, and I only watched that because I love David Gerrold's Chtorr series. Or did, last time a book came out in 98 that I read. I'll get back to it some day.
That's what heroes do. They outsmart the villains. What does Clark do? "Hey, man, that's my dog!" What pathetic writing. Forget good writing, it's not even good TV! It's not even up to Star Trek level. What is this garbage I keep watching week in and week out?
I think he outsmarted the villain. I just don't think the plot was original in any way.
What makes me most angry is that this is just sloppy work. They could have taken this (admittedly tired and boring and rehashed) plot and done something cool with it. Yes, I know it's hard making a weekly series, but they're getting paid plenty, so I expect them to work harder. Yes, I expect them to work hard every week. I work hard, and I get paid less. And it's not even that hard. Here, I'll prove it. I will now sit and think for ten minutes and come up with a better ending...
Honestly, for a hundred dollars a week, you'd be amazed the amount of good writing I could produce. I have no sympathy for them. And no, it's not because I want their job (even though I do). It's because I just know it's possible. It's NOT THAT HARD with a modicum of talent to come up with new ideas on a regular basis. What is hard is editing it into a consumable format. That takes time. But the ideas themselves are fairly easy and fun.
Another week, another big pile of crap on Thursday night. I liked the music.
It did have one other good point that I think you missed. The Martian Manhunter referred to Lex "LuthOR". But he did it in a really subtle, excellent way, without sounding like Ned Beatty. It was a perfect pronunciation, just enough to distinguish it, so subtly, from Lex LuthER. I wish they would bring him in and do a workshop with all the actors. Hell, I wish I had a ponytail. I wish rain were beer. I wish we all had wings.
I don't want perfection. I'd settle for passable.
Actually, all complaining aside, I think that in about five years I'll love the rotten episodes of Smallville as much as I love the rotten episodes of Lois and Clark. Come on, admit it. The frog-eating scene has really grown on you over the years, hasn't it?
Honestly no. And I love frog.
I've been expecting the baby to turn out to be Clark's. I figured they would reveal the shocking truth by having Lana get exposed to kryptonite, thus causing a miscarriage. That's the Smallville way: drama plus tragedy equals status quo. Fetal deaths an optional bonus. But now that Lex knows that this is an unusual pregnancy, I think there must be some other explanation. Could Lex be doing some sick 33.1 experiment on Lana? Maybe like in that old TV miniseries, V!
Never saw it, alas.
Actually, I think your colleague Doug Trumble has nailed it: "Or maybe Lex is trying to make sure she doesn't die during childbirth like in his dream so he has her on some kind of secret science mojo." I'm putting my money on that.
Am I nuts or do we have an excess of Phantom Zoners? There were seven lights coming down from the PZ (isn't that right?). They included Clark, Plant-Lady, Rapper-Man, Raya-girl, Wrestler-Man, and Shelby-Man. That's 6. The Martian Manhunter has shown up twice in connection with zoners, knows Kal-El's name, knows about Krypton, knows about the Phantom Zone, and knows about the zoners who escaped. So he was a Phantom Zone convict also, right? So that's seven right there. What about Super Ken and Barbie? We saw them get sucked into the portal. Even if we assume that MM wasn't a zoner, that's still one too many zoners. Forget good writing. Forget good TV. These slobs can't count!
And there are two more coming, and more in the finale. Yep. Crazy.
I was just checking out your review of all star # 6 and how you were talking about the hair color of Lana and Pete. You said they made them both brown haired and thought it might be ok to change to change Lana's to reflect Smallville but then why is Pete black but I think you should take another look at the page with them at the diner.
Actually, I asked why Pete wasn't black, if they're going to take the contemporary bits from Smallville and integrate them over the archetypes.
Pete'r hair IS NOT Brown it's dirty Blonde and you can look at Lana and Pete in the bottom right corner where Lana is saying don't act like she doesn't know who Clark is and you can she a clear difference between Lana and Pete's hair Lana's is definately darker.
Even so, Pete's hair is traditionally light blonde.
I'm not trying to make a big deal it's just you nade such a point to point it out and you seem to complain about of stuff whether in these comics or especially on Smallville I thought I would just point out that there wsn't anything wrong with Pete's hair.
Except that it eliminates a sixty year precedent. But hey, you know.
When it comes to intergrating things from Smallville into the comics I'm all for it and I enjoy Smallville alot and I don't usually have as much problem with things that happen and characters actions on the show that you do so I usually welcome elements going into the comics. I actually wish they would integrate more into them now that they have a long involved story that they can be able to us to show his background.
So Superman should have a kid, you think?
Plus SInce we probably won't se any or much of Clark being Superman on Smallville I'd like to see a line of comics that could show how everyone in the show wouldn't recognize him after seeing him Smallville because I personally enjoy seeing Lois, Lex, Perry, and Jimmy on the show. I personally am not one of the people that think they should have to be restricted to the time period when he is Supes. One of the problems I had with Birthright is they said the wanted to incorporate some of Smallville into the story and they totally messed it up. Instead of having Lex be the age he is on Smallville approx. 21 and Clark like 14 at the beginning they made Lex be younger and go to classes with him and totally changed his attitude and the dynamic between them so it totally defeated the purpose.
I agree on that. I think another Smallville comic would tank like the first one did.
I would like them to incorporate stuff from Smallville if they actually did it right. Another thing I think you were a little harsh anout Crimson I thought it was a pretty good episode.
Do I get a why I'm wrong?
I enjoyed and thought the Clois part was great thought episode was pretty funny. I think sometimes there are things that could be better in episodes and I wish they would take more care to make sure those are done right, like some character interaction or continuity but sometimes I think some of the things you critize are quite as bad as you make them out to be.
These things are?
Anyway I got off on a tangent, my orinal thing was to just let you know to maybe take another look at that panel and see they didn't make that mistake and maybe you should take more notice before critizing something.
I did. My criticism stands, dusty blonde or brown.
Ok, I look forward to hearing from you and reading more reviews. Though I don't always agree with you I respect and appriciate your perspective.
Though sometimes it makes me conflicted on whether or not I like an episode because sometimes I watch and enjoy and then you rip it apart and I don't what to think anymore, because I want to like it but then I don't what to think anymore afterwards. It's like I don't know what to think is good or bad anymore. It's hard because I like Smallville and I want to just enjoy it but I also recognize some faults which may or may not be they same things you have fault with and then I'm not sure what to think.
That's the hard part of critical thinking. Establishing a higher level of connectivity with a given piece of text or media forces you to scrutinize things instead of simply accepting the face value of something like a politician or a religious sycophant.
I think it's a good thing. It's very threatening to others.
SOme people have problems with Ships/ and or Sex appeal and Added characters Lois/Jimmy/JLA, I don't have a problem with any of that, I actually really enjoy Ship stuff, I read fanfics all the time and those focus on those alot, but I also think there should be more focus on Mythos elements, and Clark getting closer to his destiny. Sometimes I really wish it was the way it is but with a better balance of Ships and Mythos. I think it should be run by people who are more Comic orienated than ALMiles. That's what's frustrating is that I really want to just sit back and enjoy everything but I can't because I think it's stunted from it's total potenatial from them.
Sitting back and enjoying arbitrary is unrewarding, because in order to do that you must suspend things like your own personality and preference. I don't recommend it.
It's got a got setup and universe and for the most part I enjoy but then there are times I just don't understand how it can be so good sometimes and other times not quite righ, though my problems aren't usually the ones you have with it. Plus another things is I wish they hadn't got a budget cut because the studio people should realize a show like this needs money for action and powers scenes and when they do have a fight the writers should be able to work in a couple of punches without really usually the budget, I mean what's so hard. If both are superpowered just have them punch each other and it will almost look like to normal people fighting. You don't have special effects of people knocked back 30 feet. Actually wouldn't those scenes like Clark throwing a guy or getting knocked into the crane in Static, wouldn' the cost more to setup and do then haviong them throw a couple punches. What's so hard about coming up with a good fight. Each episode is a setup to a conflict you think they would know they should have to plan some kind of fight it's doesn't even have to be big. I don't see why it's so hard.
Nor do I. Word of advice, though, and this goes for everyone...please, I don't care about grammar, spelling, or even if you think I'm a monkey, just please, please, PLEASE break up ideas into paragraphs. This letter was one paragraph, and I almost had to pass on it because of it, not out of disrespect for the content, but because it's simply a huge effort to read.
Neal;I've been a fan for a while and you have given me many hours of thought provoking enjoyment. Whether I agree (Lana) or not (Superman and sex) ,and I wanted to say Thanks man.You do good work (I've written to you once before and Don't remember if I said that.)
I think you are being just a little too harsh on this eppy.I'll admit I'm a fan of certain plot devices up to a point Treks Q comes to mind (fyi I loved all of them except for Voyagers),I think as long as something new and interesting Is brought to the table I can't knock something that works.In this case redk .
Trek did it well, though.
That being said Lois getting infected worked for me because,I figure it was going directly into her system and as you know in this continuity greenk definitely affects humans (uhh oh does this eppy make Lois a kryptofreak ? a plot device I do find tired as hell) so why not red . It is something that hasn't been done yet.
Affects humans, yes, but doesn't cure them.
The Lois and Clark stuff just worked for me . Yes we know she had to forget at the end . which I normaly cant stand but in this case I'll let slide , and consider it an homage to Lesters Superman 2.
The line between homage and ripoff is one lawsuit away...
Clark telling everyone off and spilling the beans on the pregnancy was well done and to be honest the only one I felt bad for was Chloe she certainly didn't deserve it to me that helped make the scene more real. (I have to disagree with you on Chloe Neal I think she was in character this episode . She is used to keeping secrets.and omitting or outright lying to save hurt feelings.I felt there was emotional resonance from Jimmy breaking up with her because I care for Cloe and she's hurt from this.I don't have to know Jimmy .I thought it was a bit heartwrenching (although why do I think we'll get yet more Clark angst over this .My secrets hurt those around me boo hoo)
She did in season two, I admit, but not typically, as a rule.
I realy loved finding out Lex has done something to the baby I sincerely hope its something cool It just screams evil to me and ties nicely into the 33.1 stuff.I think this has the potential along with Clarks accusations to show Lex being very much in character while seeming not to be (being Lana's love slave while in reality twisting her to his whims)as well as turning him completely to the darkside so to speak.
Well I've gone on long enough can't wait for next week's review.Take it easy man.
Hey, boys and girls! Use drugs, find your soulmate!
So says the internets.
The CW laid it on thick by releasing a red-suffused promo poster of Clark and Lois that proclaimed that the legendary love story was beginning with "Crimson". What we got was the two of them on drugs, horny, and out of character. When they're in this condition, why should I give a damn about a half-wit "iconic" moment like Clark and Lois superjumping past the moon?
Jor-El is soap.
Moreover, Smallville's Lois has enough strikes against her by being uneducated, a moocher, and a tabloid hack, so they don't need to compound it by making her dumb enough to buy some meteor-rock lipstick that promises to make her fall in love with the first guy she sees (what if it had been Lionel Luthor?). Or make her dress like a hooker to approach her new "love". Had they left it as Lois mind-whammied but Clark sober, it might have still been entertaining, because his befuddlement at her approaches was funny, but pairing her up with RedKClark was nasty. Having him say sarcastically, "Yeah, this is totally real" to get sex and spurn her to run off and mock Lexana hardly respects the legendary love story.
One might say it appropriates an epic love story for financial gain, if they weren't just "sitting back and enjoying it."
It's just an unusually drawn out plot device to get Clark whammied with Red K, because this episode is really all about the engagement party rant scene. Truly a guilty pleasure, and there was plenty more he could have said. Martha is hanging around with a double-murderer when her husband is scarcely a year cold in his grave and, for no reason we can think of, is attending an engagement party for her son's ex-girlfriend and her shady, conniving fiance. Lana, in a world of eligible men, has gone for the one guy who'd hurt Clark the most, and is enough of a hypocrite to hide the pregnancy she's embarrassed about. Chloe's there to stick a fork in Clana, not that we can blame her. One curious thing -- Lex is a manipulator who is experimenting on human beings while presenting a plausible face to the world, but RedKClark never outs him on that, not at the dinner and not in the later scene in the barn.
So, yeah, the rant is fun, but not everything about the Red K is. The problem with having too many Red K episodes is that although we know it robs Clark of his conscience and inhibitions, these episodes still invite the viewer to judge him as if he were in his right mind. Too many repetitions destroy the anomalousness of his behavior and make the audience see him as routinely losing control. It doesn't help that Martha is there to tell us that there is some component of Clark's true desires in how he acts on Red K. Well, there's some component of truth to the idea that under the same circumstances I might set fires and slap the snot out of the marketing department at work, but the fact that I don't has everything to do with who I really am. So at his worst, Clark may treat Lois like a bimbo, regard Lana as a trophy, take Chloe for granted, and throttle Lex, but does this have anything to do with his destiny? If anything, they should be showing us why these dark desires *don't* define him.
Or at least not promoting the dark desires as "hot."
The other problem with Red K is that the writers use the device to increase tension between Clark and Lex over a misunderstanding. Lex has no way of knowing that Clark didn't deliberately take drugs or what Red K does to him. Besides, they have plenty of reason to hate each other over Level 33.1, so who needs this? And speaking of Level 33.1, failing to really show the audience its horrors once again hurts the show. When RedKClark declares that if he'd known what Lex would become, he never would have saved him that day on the bridge, it doesn't pack the wallop it should. Lex was creepier last season when he was tormenting AC and Victor. This season, we've had only a second-hand story from the "Static" escapee, McNally unconscious in a lab, and Bart on a high-voltage hamster wheel, from which he sprang back quickly.
All of which, in context, are actions we're sympathetic to.
My biggest peeve about the episode is the lack of real fallout. Chloe's not mad at Clark. Martha's not mad at Clark. Lex and Lana aren't filing charges (they may have found out the drugging was accidental or want to avoid more stress and scandal, but we need to be told that). Martha doesn't even have anything to say for herself over the Lionel issue, and we still don't know why she went to the party. She simply makes the idiotic claim that what happened means that Clark shouldn't bottle up his emotions. First of all, it wouldn't make any difference if he expressed his emotions or not -- when Clark is on Red K, he acts like a fool. It's a drug. Second, who is not clear on the fact that Clark is upset about Lexana and doesn't like Martha dating Lionel? Lionel himself commented on the latter as recently as "Rage". The only thing Clark has been hiding is that he has thought about a relationship with Chloe.
Oh well. At least, with Lana's discovery of the mangled tool that Lex tried to stab Clark with, the story has finally lurched forward with a rusty squeak and groan.
Awesome. Thank you.
This week I worked a little backwords. I read your review first and than watched Smallville (caught on a re-run). With that said, I thought your review was dead on, yet again. However, I'd like to bring up some things that you didn't cover in your review. They're nothing major, just little annoyances I caught onto while watching this episode.
No worries. Cool.
First of all, and this has to be my biggest problem with this episdoe, if not the entire season so far. They basically take the love relationship of Lois Lane and Superman/Clark Kent, one of the most iconic love stories in literature (and yes I did refer to Superman as literature)and reduce it to a HUNCH that Jimmy Olsen has on Valentine's Day! I mean OH MY GOD, like I know how bad this show has screwed with the origins of Superman and his relationships with all the characters in the comic book, but I mean the relationship with Clark and Lois should be hands off, am I right? That's one of the most important aspects of what makes Superman...Superman.
I'm open to them monkeying with it with respect. I still have no clue why Lois is around at all.
I find it ironic and funny that during the engagement party when Clark is walking out with Lana, excuse me, kidnapping Lana. Lois stops them and tells Clark that Lana is his past and she is his future, Clark responds with "Yea, well this is the present" which is basically a commentary on this show since the plot hasn't moved beyond season 2. And the characters seem to be stuck in some sort of limbo where time changes but everything stays the exact same (i.e. the present).
And will remain.
In the loft scene, instead of Lana being angry with Clark for manhandling and throwing her fiance clear across the room and that pesky little dilemma of him kidnapping her, she's mad that he embarassed her in front of a large crowd of people? What a spoiled and stupid little brat, I truly loathe this character, and I know I really shouldn't.
Why not? She's awful.
How does Lana get the metal rod that's bent from hitting Clark's stomach, the last time the audience gets a look at the rod, it's lying on the floor of the barn, as Lana is taking Lex away. I mean if she went back and picked it up later on, ok I can believe that, but they should address that and explain it to the audience. It just doesn't make any sense, not that much in the plot in this show does.
A newly minted miracle.
I thought red kryptonite only takes away Clark's inhibitions, it doesn't simply make him a bad guy. In fact Martha makes mention of this at the end of the episode, so if people know this than why does Chloe just play off everything Clark did as "Clark just wasn't himself" rather than, "wow this guy I like is actually treating me like garbage, maybe I should rethink my entire relationship with him". I know they're obviously doing this so they can retain the status quo of the show and the writers will never truly have to address this situation until maybe the season finale.
Finally, in a previous episdode, actually 2, and I believe the most recent of which was "Justice", didn't Clark say that he was going to concentrate on rounding up all the bad guys that escaped from the Phantom Zone? I'm really happy that Clark is able to make the time to attend a Valentine's Day party at the Talon, and than to waste more of his time on trying to help Lois get rid of her "poisoning" or whatever you want to call it, which is something that Chloe would be more than capable of doing. Frankly, these writers are really making Superman out to be quite the slacker. I think the last time he actually fought a "zoner" was at least 3-4 episodes ago. I mean lets get on top of this Clark, Jor-el would be spinning in his grave.
This show has something that I like to call "The Simpsons Syndrome". If you ever watch an episode of The Simpsons, you'll notice that something big always happens to the characters in every episode, but by the end of the episode some big or random event happens that causes everything to go back to normal. This works perfectly for The Simpsons since it's a sit-com, and the show is based on the characters always being the same and reacting to different situations. But when you're dealing with a television drama, especially one where it should be based in character development such as Smallville, this way of writing just doesn't work. And I know you've said it time and time again, everything just stays the same. And frankly it's beginning to get quite tiresome.
Thanks for reading
Thanks, Mike. Awesome, well thought-out letter.
Hi NEAL!!!! :3
Hello! That looks like a ballchinnean emote. I love it.
I dunno what this episode is called. Going by how they name episodes, I'll guess... Stalker! Or maybe SMRT (I hope you got that.. it's a Simpsons thing). XDDD
It's one of my desktop sounds, actually, on one of my themes.
How much of your brain leaked out of your ears b/c of this episode? :o Cuz mine is lying in a puddle on the floor right now. :
Whenever my brain falls out I con it back in with the promise of eventual beer and writing.
I think Lana takes home 2 million Dumb as Clark awards today. .;;
All I could think of at the beginning of the episode was this:
Wow. Lana Lang's a moron.
I've been thinking this for years.
I dunno about you, but personally my life is more important to me than arbitrarily keeping secrets from my fiance. .;; If somebody took a picture of me in my room I'd be FREAKED THE HECK OUT!!!!!! :OOO I would certainly TELL PEOPLE AND SHOW PEOPLE!
Even when I was twelve and such BS would have been appropriate to my age, I was still more concerned with reading and writing. I used to have a saying even in middle school, the first epigram I ever wrote, "Rumors are the pee in the pool of life." I never got arbitrary drama, and never will. Sadly, generally gals I know tend to dig it, and I'm assuming that's why its big in TV.
Jebus. That girl *deserves* to die. .;;
I saw a shadowy figure while Chloe and Clark were talking. Was that Lana? :O I SWEAR I saw something by the horse over Chloe's shoulder.
Lex cuts his business short to make sure Lana's safe. Yus. What an evil evil man. e_e
How dare he!?
She goes to the Kent farm, thus putting the Kents in danger, b/c that's the LAST place nebody will look? :o That's the first place I'd look.
It's also not about where people will LOOK. It's about how SAFE you'd be! LUTHORCORPS A FORTRESS WITH LOTS AND LOTS OF PEOPLE.
I dun get why if she's so scared for her life she keeps staying in isolated rooms. I'd be in a room FILLED with as many people as I could find!!!!!!!!!!!!!
With guns. Lots of guns.
And now Lana's breaking into ppl's computers and personal belongings. .;;;
That mysterious guy sounds like Green Arrow XD
And now she's in an isolated farm where nobody can hear her scream. Even tho she's not screaming even tho it's the logical thing to do to GET HELP
I think her throat was sore, heh.
Does Clark rly need to keep hurling people across the room? Can't he even PRETEND not to have powers?
Or pretend to have OTHER powers.
you know.. if *I* had knocked my murderous stalker out, I would HIT HIM AGAIN and again and again until he stopped moving. Then I would call the cops and tie him up.
Personally I'd just shoot him. But then, I'm big on "You cross the threshold without permission, you die."
I would certainly not run into my room and cower there, knowing that this guy controlled the environment and would prolly have taken steps to prevent me from calling for help :O
And he sent the other staff (and presumably other guards) home? He can do that?
In opposite land, where Jor-El is soap.
You would think that Lex would have reinforced skylights. XD
So Clark is like... a traffic superhero now? He melts roads, but he wun fight crime.
Jimmy and Chloe are together again. Couldn't even wait one episode... .;;;
UGH I HATE LANA
I HATE THAT HAUNTED LOOK IN HER EYES ALL THE TIME NOW
I HATE HOW SHE LOOKS SO ANGRY AND ANNOYED ALL THE TIME
I HATE HOW SHE FLINCHES WHEN LEX KISSES HER
Lex invited Clark to the wedding. Even tho Clark tried to kill him an episode ago. Even tho Clark always accuses him of horrible things. B/c he wants Lana to be happy.
CLEARLY HE'S AN EVIL MAN
I hope we never have another Lana-centric episode again. Evar. My brain can't afford to leak out of my ears nemore.
The rent on your shoulder is higher.
Lana is like some sort of characterization black hole. Nebody who goes near her, or talks to her, or even thinks about her or she's thinking of, their characterization just DIES.
Nebody who wasn't aware this show had Superman in it, would think this show was about Lana Lang. :|
Including the producers?
I wonder what the secrets and lies count is up to now XD I dun keep track of these things... but it seemd to me like this show set a record. :o
It had seven, I think, which ties the record.
My friend is right. Lana is just a terrible, terrible person. And Lex is a great guy. .;;
Blah... the highlight of Smallville episodes is rly your reviews Neal. *hugs* Keep up the good work :)
Neways can't wait to read your take on this. :D
- Teh Ami
PS: I used your "Jor-El is soap" line for a Supergirl comic review I wrote this week :) So ty for it! :3
Very cool! Send along a link next time. I'm not averse to a plug.
Bruce Kanin wrote:
(Let's reverse things for this episode, with THE BAD coming before THE GOOD!)
I like your Lucy Lana analysis. It's so weird, all of the characters playing out untraditional, differing roles. So odd.
David Willis wrote:
I enjoy reading your reviews. I had a couple of comments on the Crimson one.
Lex line: "This couldn't be further from settlement!"
Uh, okay. What, you need two kids to be settled? The very definition of settling down is marriage and a kid.
He said "This couldn't be further from settling." Lex was making a pun that while he was 'settling down,' he wasn't 'settling' for anything less than the best in the wife department. Though why Lana is the best (other than the fact that everyone constantly says she is) is beyond me.
Ah! I see.
Martha uses the Kryptonite on Clark, then hides it. Clark is all better. But the red K lipstick would still be on his lips. Green K doesn't destroy red K.
My comment- By this point the show has led us to believe that the lipstick on his lips is probably gone from the later kissing (such as with Lana), time passing, jumps over Metropolis, etc. It's the redK in his system that is affecting him, which he sweats out because of the GreenK exposure. If there is some on his lips, I guess he'd sweat that off/out too. Although they could have given him more time to "sweat it out" instead of being instantly healed. Or maybe the show decided to establish that GreenK cancels out redK, as in Lois' case. Who knows. Just wanted to bring up the RedK in his system part, which makes it more plausible to me that Martha didn't wipe off his lips.
I dunno. It's hard to believe you sweat out all that stuff instantaneously...
Just thought I would try to point out some things that maybe weren't as bad as you originally thought, ha. Thanks!
Hey, Neil, I just finished watching Trespass and I've got to rant again.
Have you got any more of that Jor-El soap so I can scrub the memory of it from my brain?
Just kill the doctor.
Seriously, what was the point? I know Lana won't die. They don't have the stones to do that. I know the stalker will be a random extra we've never seen before, and not someone who might have a legitimate grudge and the desire and resources to pursue it, like the never seen Mr. Teague from Season 4. And I know Clark will save her ungrateful behind again. I knew this at the end of Crimson a week ago.
But we're firmly back in the Season 2 - 3 ground. After 3 years, no discernable forward progress beyond a dead Jonathan Kent. Yea?
Some things that deserve particular scorn: For all the misery that people give Clark for not telling Lana his precious secret (that I stopped caring about 3 seasons ago after Lex got his brain fried and I knew they'd never really take chances with the mythos), let's look at what she's done when she knew: Previously, she goes over to Lex's house, let's Lex know that she knows Clark's secret and gets herself killed a few minutes later in a car crash.
Now, she knows that Clark is at least invulnerable some of the time. So, she keeps the evidence of this, evidence that Lex would recognize, in Lex's house, and frequently takes it out to look at it. Worse, she leaves it on the vanity for all to see, and then proceeds to lose it by the end of episode, where it presumably ends up in Lex's hands since he's not at all surprised at the end of the episode to see Clark Kent up and about despite being stabbed in the gut the week before. (Of course, given continuity on this show, maybe he thinks healing from a gut wound in a week is normal.)
It's all crap. I'm with you.
Love the secrets and lies too. So in the episode alone, she lies to Lex about the stalker being her imagination. She's keeping the secret of the bent chisel however ineptly from Lex. She lies to Chloe since she has ulterior motives for wanting to stay in her apartment (so she could look at her computer) and she lies to Clark and Chloe about her reasons for wanting to stay at his house as well (so she can snoop through Clark's things).
Got them all.
Also, great continuity that no one on the show remembers Clark's little outburst from last week and thinks that maybe he might be the one stalking Lana.
Hah! Good call. I hadn't thought of that.
And I love how the Kent Farm is described as the last place anyone would look for her, since it was the last place someone did look for her, mainly Lex at the end of the last episode. Assuming she means that someone who doesn't know her would never think of looking for her there, let's not forget the giant newspaper article about the Clark/Lana/Lex love triangle from Hydro and whatever write up Clark earned himself last week from kidnapping her. But I'm sure an obsessed stalkers would never look into information on the object of their affection and her friends and family.
Especially not easy, recent information. Heh.
So Martha is officially dead to me now. She was on notice last week, but now she shows the same sensitivity to Clark's feelings she did last week and lets Lana stay in their home. And she leaves Lana alone in her son's room to peruse through all the mementos he kept from the 2 weeks they were dating. Maybe for an encore, she can walk Lana down the aisle at her wedding while Clark sits at home alone playing with his rubber ball.
I just can't stay mad at Annette.
I guess Chloe and Jimmy are dating again. Which makes the breakup scene from last week even more pointless except as a source for arbitrary drama.
And to top it off, Lana plays off the fact that Lex is rightfully annoyed and concerned that she chose to seek safe harbor in the home of a man who kidnapped and manhandled her and tried to kill him the week before like its his problem. THIS IS NOT ENTERTAINING.
Sigh. they're really not even trying anymore, are they? I hope this show ends this season, and as a major Superman fan it pains me to say that.
Anyway, thanks for reading the rant. I really enjoy your reviews and I wish someone at the network would take your advice for the show.
Me too. Hell, I wish someone would give me a shot at writing seriously period beyond what I do for my own intrinsic reward of having accomplished something beautiful. I really *$#%ing lament the LCD prevalence right now.
Long-time reader (since Season 4), first time writer. Did anyone ever tell you that you look like Silent Bob? Is that on purpose, or just your destiny?
I'm more of a Dante. Seriously.
Anyway, I've been sick this past week with a cold, and so I've had the time to do what I've always wanted to do (not really, but I'm just trying to butter you up), and that is to go back and read all your reviews for Smallville since the pilot episode. Very interesting reading, I must say.
Holy God! GET THIS MAN SOME FLUIDS, STAT!
I gotta tell you, I think you're (mostly) a riot. (The continual "monkeys" comments are gettin' a little old, though.) And I think you're spot-on when it comes to the minor continuity lapses (such as re-inventing the Jimmy Olsen bow-tie background story). And I also think you're spot-on in your criticism of how they have failed to explain Lionel Luthor's sudden and immediate recovery of all of his supposed lost millions back in Season 4.
Thanks. And hey, monkeys never get old. They will reward me when they rule the Earth.
That said, however, to me I think you're beginning to at least come across like you're criticizing and nit-picking for the simple joy of criticizing and nit-picking. In my humble opinion, there were a lot of stuff in Seasons 1-3 that you let slide or even defended...and yet now you wail and moan about basically the same stuff you used to overlook and/or defend. It used to be, when I first started reading you a couple of years ago, that I thought, "Here's a fair guy. If the show was good, then he would say so. IF the show was average, he would say so. If the show bombed, he would say so." Yet now, it's getting to the point that every single time (and I mean that, EVERY...SINGLE...TIME) I switch off the TV on Thursday nights after the latest Smallville episode, I think, "Well, Neal's gonna rip this ep. a new one also." And to me, there have been more average and above-average eps this season and last season than stinkers (although they exist also.)
I'll buy that, if you'll give me a rationale as to why this series has nitpicks that I just let slide...honestly, I would argue that seasons one through three were very internally inconsistent, and character was more important than plot, even though inconsistencies cropped up, whereas now there's less budget, virtually no consistencies, shady, crappy subplots, more controversial subjects, a stagnation that isn't present after three years, and in the end, a lot more stunt moves over just good, solid episodes.
I hear what you're saying. I have indeed gotten pessimistic and attacked this show more than I used to. But every time someone says that's a bad thing, they only say, "You were kinder in previous seasons and let stuff slip you wouldn't now!"
Yeah, but what? I've been hit again and again with the fact that I gave Drone a high rating, but in all honesty, after 20 episodes, little inconsistencies like that are issues you think a maturing show will iron out. When the same little consistencies are being made, and being made in higher quantities, by a seasoned crew that's been doing this for six years, that's much more shameful, I assert.
Anyway, I just wanted to give you another perspective. I thought Justice, Crimson, and Trespass were good. (Not perfect, not excellent, but good.) I also thought Labyrinth was excellent. And yet I also thought after each one of these, "Neal's not gonna find hardly anything of merit from this." And, with the exception of Justice, you've proven me right. (And, compared to Seasons 1-3, you unjustly criticized Justice a lot also, even with the high rating.)
Again, I ask for a rationale beyond "It is because it is!"
I like your reviews, but I think you're getting a little predictable (the same complaint you give about the show) about the nitpicking and the preaching. You were better in earlier seasons (again, the same complaint you give about the show), but now you're getting to where your reviews have "jumped the shark." :)
That begs the question of what the difference is between being predictable and unoriginal (Smallville of late) and consistent with justification...which is me.
I don't assert that the subject matter I'm writing is new or compelling any more. In fact, I flatly admit that I don't like the fact that I have to keep making the same criticisms. It makes it more boring for me AND you, as a review reader. But do you blame me for that, or the show that stagnantes?
On jumping the shark, though, I already admitted that happened for me in fifth season, as I recall. I forget the episode, but I made a big point of saying what you just said.
But just as you continually hold out against hope about the show, I hold out against hope about you also. I hope you can get back to the type of reviews that were more honest and fair, my friend. I'm holding out for you!
Now THAT was not honest and fair. I'd challenge you to tell me how my reviews were dishonest. I'd also challenge you to give me instances where you think they're unfair...
Take care...and try not to rip me apart too bad! ;)
Nah, I won't rip you apart, man. I like to be challenged. BUT, I would suggest if you're going to make broad accusations, go into some more depth and give reasons beyond generalizations so I can fairly answer to them beyond broad assumption. I mean, just because you enjoyed a given episode and I didn't doesn't mean it's fair to assume I'm being dishonest and unfair. It would be ridiculous for me to say, "Jon, you're not being honest or fair because I saw things differently!"
That said, I see what you're trying to say, you just need to go at it less obliquely. There's a point there, waiting for you to spear me, and I'd honestly like to see it happen. I love pointed, robust debate.
Dan Fenton wrote:
I was very hesitant about the last couple of episodes, mainly because of the whole been there, done that premise. Crimson bought us back to the whole red Kryptonite scenario for the umpteenth time. Even though we've seen "bad Clark" in various incarnations in the past, we've been able to dismiss things the following week, "never happened...musta been a dream"...an peisode strictly for our entertainment and not to in any way forward the plot of the show.
I think, even though I feel Crimson was a bit of a stinker...I also think that if this were the first time this device had been used, the episode would have had a far greater overall worth. It's nice to see Clark acting out of character and wearing something other than red, blue or yellow, but the whole convoluted, "I wasn't myself" excuse had played itself out. It's time for Clark Kent to take responsibility for his actions.
Yes. Which is part of the reason why I was kind to it in season two and hard on it now. It would have been a great episode, had we not already seen it, had this not already been done.
The difference this time?? I don't think the effects of his actions will disappear this time. Maybe this is the red K episode that will have consequences. The poker Lana finds, the dissolution of Jimmy and Chloe, Lex' general disgust for everything Clark Kent and mama Kent seeing her boy as the big mouthed brat he has always wanted to be.
And now, one week later, only one of those plots remain. Heh.
And then there's Lois...sigh...
Here's the way I think things will work out...Lana will be obsessed by Clark's secret until she finds out the truth...then she'll die...or perhaps not. Chloe will have to make a choice between her boyfriend and her best friend and will probably choose wrong either way...Clark will continue to burst into Lex' mansion and Lex will show up in Clark's barn and reaffirm that they don't trust each other or something of that nature. And Mama Kent's relationship with on-again, off-again criminal Lionel Luthor will be severely affected (and by on-again, off-again I of course refer to the fact that we have to put an APB out on Lionel. When was the last time he was on the show?).
If predictions were horses, this letter column would ride. I do find that most of what is predicted is usually drastically different from where they actually go. I will give Smallville that it has its own compass. Problem is, it doesn't go any direction, it just goes back home.
But I find it oh so convenient that Erica Durance's schedule or something like it prevents her from being in the next few episodes. That Whitesnake CD held a great deal of significance and , even just slightly, one can sense that Lois' feelings about Clark are changing. Not that anything profoundly romantic will happen...but I think the time has come for her to stop with the whole, "Wow, last thing I remember..." premise. This isn't the first time Lois' memory has been conveniently erased or altered. I think that kiss when she believed Clark was Oliver as the Green Arrow has her somewhat confused about things. How could she like the kiss so much even after knowing it was Clark who kissed her?
I dunno. I'm still back on why Lois and Clark are making out before either have seen the Daily Planet's employment office.
Ah, but that's all girl's stuff, isn't it? Love the leaping bit, though...in an offbeat way reminiscent of Chris Reeve and Margot Kidder in the first Superman movie when he takes her flying. Of course, this is just pure adreneline without that insipid "Can You Read My Mind?" bull****, but I can see a bit of a nod towards that...Superman of the 20th Century and all that (in keeping with the movies for one more second...Kate Bosworth...why??? I never saw a Lois Lane more devoid of personality than she was...they gotta recast for the sequel).
I hesitate to say chick stuff, because I'll get killed if I do, despite the fact that it's an obvious generalization with no malice attached to it. But yeah, I find very little enjoyment in arbitrary romantic drama that is based in circumstance over honest character-driven action and reaction.
Moving onto the next episode, Trespass, horrors, Lana is being stalked...and apparently it's an inside job. Now I don't know who hires Lex' security team...whether he sits down for one on ones, checks references, etc., but how many crooked people have there been inside the mansion? For someone who is supposedly protective of his security, he sure has a bad eye for people. Then, even though he's been attacked something like a hundred times in his own home, he seems surprised, even bemused by Lana's claims that someone was in the room. ("Wouldn't be the first time...umm...this week...I really need new locks on the windows.")
SECRETS! LIES! SOAP!
Of course, the episode itself sucked, the bad guy was a poor actor and the story was far fetched. I think it actually served as a transitional episode. We know at the end that Lex hasn't forgiven Clark for his actions of the previous week but would REALLY like him at the wedding so he can gloat at him. C'mon guys...this evil thing hasn't been pushed beyond aggravated and it's getting old. If the best they can do in a tete-a-tete is to say to one or the other, "There's the door, use it." it really doesn't have me shaking in me timbers.
I don't see that particular action as evil, myself.
So Lana had the poker and now it's gone. Who has it...and will Clark tell her his secret now? Does he have it, does Chloe? Does Pete? Maybe Shelby walked in and took it out of the drawer. In any case, it gives Clark some time to come up with a story ("I just happened to have a garbage can lid under my shirt when Lex tried to stab me.")...and we're probably back to trying to get the danged car out of wet mud again.
It's time for Lana to know...if it kills her...oh well. But I think there's no room for two people knowing so, if Lana knows, it's time for Chloe to go. Or perhaps not.
Have a great week.
You too! Thanks.
Mike D wrote:
I have to say, the only redeeming thing in the entire garbage pile (like on
the Death Star) they called an episode would be the return of:
I was amazed, when was the last time we saw that? Season 3, the episode with
the guy who saw Lana die as an old woman where she wore it on her neck, that
also had Cape Action if you recall.
That made me do a mini-geek-out.
Yeah, but I forget, what did it mean? I'm just lost. It's been three years. Three years ago I was still shaving.
Other than that, DUH who do you think was the stalker? Lana wins "Dumb As
Clark" award for sure. An whats up with Clark? Why does he continually pine
for her... you know, I'm not even gonna go there.
And Lex's big evil thing:
"I'M INVITING YOU TO MY WEDDING!!!!!"
What do we say to that Spacey?
Although, at least he's the only one that remembered Clark kidnapped Lana
last week (Jimmy, who made a big deal out of it didn't!)
And then promptly forgot, heh.
You know, Clark said he couldn't help the Justice League because he had
stuff to do, what happened to him doing that? He isn't in school, he isn't
capturing Zoners, he doesn't have a job, Answer:
Ollie can get him a tutor, the League can smoke the Zoners, Ollie can bay
the bills, and they can save the world from the man who finds inviting
someone to a wedding evil. And then Flash can make fun of him for moping for
a friggin *PARENTAL ADVISORY*.
That would be logical.
I know the reviews gonna be good, so get some sleep and write the crap outta
this episode, the sanity of the world depends on it!!!
I did...I hope.
Forgot one more thing, I am a huge Apple fan, been using them since my
teacher got me hooked on them in eleventh grade, four years later, I'm
selling them (at Circuit City), so seeing Green Arrow use a MacBook Pro
("Justice") and Clark a MacPro with a 20" Screen (which costs just under
$4000, bet Lionel picked up the tab on that, which by the way, why does he
need it?) was pretty neat. And then Lex uses a Dell, what does that tell
you? I can see it now:
First off it makes me wonder why the heck they didn't take some of that prop money for the computer and instead spend it on effects. Or writing.
Clark (Mac)- I'm a Mac.
Lex Earth 3(PC)- And I'm a PC.
Clark- I'm great for saving the world, designing superhero costumes, awesome
photo imaging of building explosions and lowjacking zoners. PC?
Lex Earth 3- And I'm good for sending out evil wedding invitations,
torturing shirtless superheroes, and e-mailing to my Sprint PCS phone with
awesome newscasts and watching my favorites green superheroes histories!
Lex New, New, New Earth- Sorry Clar... I mean Mac, I just got from
Apocalypse where I used my MacPro with B13 tech and a Quad Xeon Processor to
create this awesome purple and green battlesuit, what do you think?
Clark- That's awesome! I knew you'd come my way.
Lex NNNE- Wait, who is this m$%herf*c%3r?!?!
Lex E3- I'm a PC, look at my pictures of Lana!!! Crap, my harddrive just
Lex NNNE- WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!! (Lex liquidates him)
Clark- What? You just killed him!
Lex- He was insolent! I had him liquidated!
Lana (PC)- Lex-y-poo!
Lex- You let this happen? I thought you were my friend! DIE!!!
Clark- $h$%! (Flies into the camera, makes out with Lois, chills with the
You never answered whether you preferred Macs or PCs...
You completely missed that guy's point when he asked you why you said "I could care less about Anakin." He wasn't really interested in your opinion about Anakin, he was wondering about your grammar. The correct phrase would be "I couldn't care less about Anakin." If you "could care less" that means you care some, which probably isn't what you mean to say. But not being a prescriptive grammar guy, you probably couldn't care less.
I might have, but then, I don't respond well to inferred arguments, I like direct arguments. Makes misunderstanding less likely, and it's less passive aggressive. I'd have rather been called a moron for having bad grammar, and then debated the merits of that assumption.
But either way, though a prescriptive grammar teacher would disagree, I believe that given interchangeability in the lexicon, "I could care less" means the same thing. And, studying it, "I couldn't care less" is implied in the phrase "I could care less." only to a lesser degree. It's like the phrase "You know?" which can be literally interpreted to mean "Do you know?" which is incomprehensible at the end of most phrases it's used on.
"I could care less [than zero about the subject]." with the brackets as the implied meaning known through colloquial speech. I could probably argue that even with a linguist.
I will agree, as a minimalist, that "I couldn't care less." is more effective than typing out "I could care less than nothing about that," but then, a minimalist, seeking economy, could likely argue "I could care less" easily.
The point being, pedants are boring and never get the girls. I kick sand at them.
Best! One more week to blastoff!
Four hundred fifty articles in the kitty on Superman. Scary!
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