Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 6 - Episode 16: "Promise"

Reviews:

Promise

Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

Well I really do not know what to say about this episode. There was just something off about it. It seemed poorly put together, poorly paced, and even the acting seemed forced at times. Heck they even blew an effect on one shot so instead of Clark super speeding away like we saw in the exact same scene earlier Clark just vanished. A mistake I am sure but one that stood out as yet another reason why this episode just seemed off.

There was some major character movement in this episode. Lana setting a trap to catch Clark using his powers, Lionel's blackmail to Lana, and Lana marrying Lex to protect Clark are all major steps forward which were nice to see. It's just with some technical problems and pacing problems the episode fell flat and was almost boring to watch. I know they were playing with the whole chronology of the day thing by jumping back and forth in time but I do not think it quite worked as well as they might have hoped.

We see Lex kill a man and Lex seems distraught over it. Kind of odd I thought. While he hasn't anywhere near the body count that Lana has we have seen him kill someone before for less than honest reasons. That is not counting all the people he may have had killed by hiring someone else. So why was this time so upsetting to him?

Lionel's blackmail kind of came out of left field. I know they are going with him being the "good" father, doing anything to protect his son so the blackmail makes sense in that light. I just think he was too blunt about it. "I am going to kill Clark Kent. Bwhahahahaha". Ok, I added the evil cackle but it sure felt like their should have been one the way he delivered the line. It was just too Snidely Whiplash like. Lionel is usually more subtle than that.

The only real positive moment I came away with was Clark saving Chloe from the cooler. It is always neat to see him casually use his powers like that. Ripping the door off then heat-visioning it back together like it was an every day thing to do. I thought it was also neat that all this was going on with Lana hiding in the corner watching too.

So really I cannot give this one a good grade. Hard core fans of the series will need to watch because there are some important moments but casual fans should not be too upset if they missed it. An episode summary should fill in any blanks you might need.

I am going to give this one a 1.5 out of 5. Call it a D+

Next week however. Super throw down time! FINALLY! I know it's going to happen too because they showed part of it in the preview. So you know I'll be there with my "Go Boy Scout!" sign in hand and a bowl of popcorn ready to go. Oh it's on now. Zoners beware!

Doug



Promise

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

MAIN POINTS:

  • The characters all react to the Lana/Lex wedding.
  • Clark decides to try and stop the wedding, and tell Lana his secret.
  • Lana finds out the secret, but is blackmailed into marrying Lex by Lionel.
  • Lex murders a man who threatens to expose what he's doing to his child.

    REVIEW:

    Yea, though I have walked through the valley of the shadow of nerds, I will fear no evil. Fifty-nine hours on a bus, one lost piece of luggage, harrowing calls in the middle of the night and over a full third of Atlas Shrugged read in one, desperate, eye-bulging sitting on a diet of Pop-Tarts and horrible deli sandwiches.

    Called a poetist by an effete young woman with large, plastic mammaries offering caffeine gum and fake smiles.

    Shot business cards by men with no business.

    Lost in a sea of confusion and fugue, pressed to the very ends of my sanity to sell five books. Called a sell-out and a fake, journalistic credentials questioned, head aching and sore from head to toe.

    Over the wastes of California I landed on the edge of a freeway exit where a movie sign above the smog read "WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT?" with a picture of Hillary Swank and bugs. Up through the flat lands over Spanish speaking screamers and angry babies I fled through the night home to find three hundred letters, shaking appendages, and one... last... trial. A Smallville episode.

    Putting on my best Quint voice I then reply, "You all know me."

    I have taken a good deal of flak for the last month. I entered and got a finalist place in the Smallville Ultimate Fan contest. My video was simple, and to be honest, I didn't expect to make it in. Not because my video stank. Nah, it was direct, to the point, utilitarian. I thought it had a fair shot.

    Rather instead, I figured my predisposition to hold this show to its most exacting standards might disqualify me. And at any rate, mayhap it has. I am not, I am informed, in the top three, and will not be featured in any interviews they may present. All for the better, because I would have been, as I remain, myself, and spoke candidly, which is bad for promotion but, I hope in narcissistic hedonism, good for art.

    A lot of people find it irreconcilable that I have hated this last season for the most part, with a passion, and yet still consider myself a fan. To these people, who have made threatening calls and put messages on my private site and tried to make me look foolish on message boards, well, let me put it this way. It took you about twenty minutes of time to do that.

    It has taken me six long, beloved, lasting years to ACCOMPLISH this, and I'm proud of it. It takes a fanatic. I don't know if it's healthy. I just do it, it is, and if I were on the outside looking in, I'd say that's all of what fandom should be, which is why I entered.

    The point of this deviation is to accomplish two things. To thank all of you for a fine ride in helping me secure a place in the Smallville mythos with a fine number of votes that flattered me. My head is still so large it's somewhere across the Oregon state line.

    Secondly, I want to indicate that I admit and know that as of right now this season has disappointed me the most of any, and I have just come off of a very long, very hard trip with many sensory inputs that have dulled me to intractable anger and weariness. I would not have been surprised had my television burst into flames the minute I saw the first second of the new show, this is how ready I was to tear this episode a new one.

    And despite all of this, I liked the last show. It was a great show. It was one of the best Smallville shows yet, defying all odds, all previous inconsistencies. It may even, if any of the things that it accomplished stay true, help turn the series about.

    Wrestlers and common sense lead me to worry otherwise, but regardless, that's how this episode made me feel, making it like that last slice of pizza in a room full of six role-playing men, an impossible accomplishment to be savored in those rare times that it occurs past the first kick and kill.

    Blow by blow:

    Fundamentally there are a number of beliefs you must suspend in order to enjoy this episode. Firstly, you have to assume that Lana knows Lex is a fink deep down and has been hiding it. Previous episodes have shown this to be false. In the context of this episode, it seems easy to believe, so you suspend disbelief. Odd, but it happens with good writing.

    You also have to take Lionel from crazily half-good and trying to move in on Martha back to devil-man manipulating people per the good old days. Easy to do, because it rocks so much.

    Other than that, there's not too much horrible here. The main end goal of Lana's line, as much of Lana's story, are convoluted by the history, but in the context of this episode are written so strongly, it's insanely good. I don't know how or why.

    I'm doing something I don't usually do, and looking at the writers, to try and figure this out. Usually I don't try to do that, but this is such a 180, there's something weird afoot here.

    Well, no surprise on my end. It looks like this is from a group that did Arrow, Hydro, Crimson, and now Promise. Two of those are among the Smallville reviews this year that have rated above a one, and one, Crimson, would likely have scored higher had it not been an endlessly repeated concept in context.

    The opening is bittersweet, with the music playing over the preparations very well. Clark, frustrated, hurls the picture of Lana from the window. You're immediately thinking, "HOLY CRAP, HE JUST TRIED TO KILL THE CAMERAMAN!" or where it will land, but the emotion stifles it. I mean, continuity aside, I do sympathize with Clark here. Not Lana, but Clark. You want to smack him and tell him to get on the stick, and in this episode, he ACTUALLY DOES, finally, which makes it all the more redemptive in my eyes.

    Throwing the hay, the frustrations, it reminded me a lot of President Luthor, where Superman goes and punches a moon. It was outlandish, because you say to yourself, man, he's knocking planets out of alignment, what the heck? But then you realize that Superman just can't burn off anger, and so he has a supreme patience. So when he's burned, it has to be something that makes him just annihilated. Like love. Or wanton murder. Or Lois. HAH!

    Clark readies his clothes in his bedroom, which... hey, wait, he has a bedroom? Double take there. I realize from the scene with Lana bouncy bouncy that he did, but it never clicked until just here. My mind told me he slept in the barn, odd as that sounds. That shows attention to the scene, because I'm drawn to notice it by the emotion. Which is good work.

    Clark has his nightmare, the first of three bookends that explore character and their reaction to milestones. THIS is the right way to do a repeated concept, guys who did the Lana stalker episode. Stop squirming. You know it's true.

    There's nothing funnier than a tiny coat on a fat man. Converse to this, there's nothing stranger than a tight corset on a woman who is at least five months pregnant with no significant damage to the fetus.

    I base the five months in the fact that the episode where Lana finds out about her pregnancy is in November, so we'll assume four months here and a month before she could test and find out. It also fits, given this picture of a fetus and the one on the show from About.com I found.

    I also found (surprisingly hard to find) an image of a woman at five months pregnant on the internets on this interesting looking blog.

    That seems about right to me. I watched my mother go through five pregnancies, and by the fifth month, I don't think she could ever fit into a corset. Of course, with me she tried, which is why we're here today.

    I tell you, though, when I have my kid (in about five to ten years, I anticipate, willing woman pre-required or bought in monkey overlord credits), I'm gonna take a permanent marker and put BORN TO KILL on the girl's stomach. No Beethoven. That kid gets the Clash, then Rancid, and then my guitar playing. He'll come out harder than stone and already smoking. Then we'll enroll him in a sensitivity course to correct his behavior. He will then kill everything on the planet, hitch a ride on a freighter, then go kill Superman. His name will be Ian. Then I'll have a daughter, and name her Dame. The two tattoos on their head, like Zak and Jayna, will read 333, so when they combine, they can...

    Er, wait. I know there's a reason I got a C in calculus. Dame and Ian? When did Chaucer buy a beer in this joint? Anyway, Lana's kid will likely fill that devil-child gap before mine anyway.

    At first I thought the dream was some kind of Lana fantasy of two men fighting over her. I think this is intentional. Clark wakes, shakes his head, and it's a nice moment of characterization. All three dreams work well for me. Clark imagines his failures as a hero, which is relevant to the theme, and it sat me up.

    Odd that in Clark's dream Lex wears the white, evil suit he has in the future as president.

    Hah! My next note: "Scary. Strong character so far. Please advise. STOP."

    I was about to start yelling about how they're in the downstairs that doesn't exist (remember that, anyone?), but then he's... Clark using powers? What the... and covering his tracks? And discussing character issues and resolving them?

    I've just started to check out the mail, and I see a few people are disgruntled that Clark doesn't see Lana. I am too. In the end, however, I think the dramatic escapade it puts forth (and especially its execution) makes it worthwhile. In hindsight, especially, because the scene from both angles was really worth exploring, and it's a great way to put Lana in on the secret. It even justifies the odd, rather off-putting and constant ARBITRARY PLOT DEVICE MCGUFFIN in the form of the tiny gift.

    Ten bucks says it's knife-wrench. For Lex.

    Chloe pushes Clark to stop the wedding, even calling Lex a monster. It makes sense, given what she went through last week. I don't buy last week's story, but at very least, in context, it played well with what they have done. A tense scene. In fact, most of this episode was pretty well acted and written. I can think of few exceptions.

    The statements Chloe makes are apt, and they indict the show, actually, through Clark. They bring up the objection from an awesome film too few people saw, Angus. In Angus, one of George C Scott's last films, we have a fat kid who is afraid of rejection, and thus avoids stepping out and being himself. Scott points out, "Superman isn't brave. He's invincible."

    Not entirely true, but the point is that when you rely on your invincibility over your character, when you do not brave risk to accomplish greatness, what good is any gift you may have, consequences be damned?

    Chloe points this out to Clark, and our show, and in the end it serves two purposes. It makes the scene strong, because the point is to get Clark away from this, and it shows Lana, as she learns Clark's secret, that he's really being quite a lot like she is, making her character justifiably sympathetic enough to plant that kiss on Clark and risk her future for him later. REAL peril. On Smallville. I know.

    The sad part is that it points out that Clark on this show is reactionary, not pro-active. BUT, given that this points it out and seeks to improve it (something that may not be followed through, but at very least is here attempted to be dealt with), it's an epic scene for me.

    Clark, true to form, runs from this conclusion. Sad in the first scene, but beautiful in its second appearance, where Clark's powers are finally seen from the perspective of a total outsider. People are deriding that scene, I see, but I found it one of the most profound I've seen in the series. It shows the emptiness of Lana's existence, and actually made me feel sympathy for her.

    That's right. You just read that Neal Bailey felt sympathy for Smallville's Lana Lang again. Boodily. It's not April 1st. Crazy, baby.

    Clark with his dad's watch, another continuity touchstone here. Fine work.

    Where is Lois? An important question. She should have been party to this episode, especially given her later role.

    Martha Kent and Clark have a great conversation about relationships and their nature. It's been done on the show, but it plays well here regardless. A strongly written scene overrides the "already been done" factor.

    Clark and Lana have their kiss scene, and immediately I begin noting and readying an evisceration with the U TURN note. I figured here was where it turned into an arbitrary complete character turn and "drama" hilarity ensuing. Instead, I was fundamentally floored by a justified plot that makes great use of this dichotomy. Surprising, given the show this season, and MORE than welcome.

    Oh, that's another thing I'm gonna do with my eventual kid. Watch the fetus on a gigantron monitor. Except when he turns and looks at me I'll go, "Good. GOOOD! Now UNLEASH YOUR ANGER! Strike me down."

    Fart is gonna be such an awesome kid. What? I changed the name. He's my hypothetical kid.

    In all seriousness, though, the turning fetus scene freaked me out, and played right into Lex's misgivings, segueing into his role in this episode, and revealing the structure well. Awesome.

    Lex's speech with Lionel was great, the parlay impressive. It felt, as I've read in a letter, like something from the first two episode. Yes, his character has completely turned, but at very least Lionel is CLEAR in this episode, not doubly inconsistent in two consecutive scenes. More on that later... his knowledge bugs me.

    The cue card with the time, in any universe, should have been cheesy. Somehow, it enhanced this show. I have no idea how, it just really felt right to me. Unfortunately, it exposed a categorical inconsistency, but the device itself worked for me. Sometimes it doesn't, like the INDEPENDENCE DAY clock, remember that? But sometimes it does. I think it depends on the necessity in the plot. The ID4 one was ridiculous, this one plays on the disjointed narrative.

    Then, we hit the only scene in the episode that's just categorically absurd and sucked, the scene with the good doctor.

    Lex has done something with the baby, we get that. The doctor is about to expose him. Okay. But then the scene enters a black hole of irrationality. I'm guessing this has to do with the last-minute edit suggested by my TV guide. The screen info suggested that the catalyst to this episode was Lex getting a blackmail call from the doctor. I can see how, were the doctor the focus of dilemma in this show, they'd want to rearrange it as they did. Wise. But then, the scene is just so absurd that it sucks for multiple reasons.

    One, the doc would not stand in a quiet, dark area with Lex Luthor, a man he knows capable of monstrous acts (fetal manipulation) and demand money. It's just clinically stupid. Two, assuming he thought Lex would pay, why would he think Lex would let him live? And three, most absurd, the doctor would not be Dr. Evil stupid about money. "Mwu ha ha! Lex, you will give me...TWO MILLION DOLLARS!"

    "Dr. Evil!"

    "Yes, number two?"

    "Lexcorp medical facilities saw profits of ten million dollars in the last year alone. They have about eighteen hundred subsidiaries pulling in a gojillion dollars every day in all states, including the Negative Zone."

    "But... that's in the Marvel Universe!"

    "I know. They're that good."

    "Ah. Yes. I see. Well then, Mr. Luthor..." SWOOSH! "One... hundred... MILL-ion... boodily!"

    Tim Robbins made that scene, didn't he? Anyway. Andy Dufresne fan here.

    There's also the vague talking to cover a plot device, which is whatever Lex did to the kid. Here's the problem. Me and Steve have conspired to overthrow Levitz and install ourselves the new ruler of DC. To do this, we have appropriated the Anti-Life equation and we plan on reading it while he's in the bathroom.

    We meet in clandestine fashion in the Marvel offices. He walks up to me.

    "Mwu ha ha-day, mate! Shrimp on the barbie! A trunk is a boot!"

    "When you're in this country, we speak English. EN-GLISH!"

    "Oh! Sorry. I just figured I'd speak in simplistic terms you yanks could understand. Anyway, you got that thing?"

    "That thing that I know of, that we will use on... HIM?"

    "Yeah! That very thing! Well, I was thinking about telling Levitz about that thing."

    "You wouldn't dare!"

    "Oh yes. That thing, if I told Levitz about it, could net me a really big knife. We Australians always carry really big knives. I need one."

    "You fiend! Over my dead body will you tell Levitz about that THING!"

    Steve then pulls a spoiler off the back of a limo and decapitates me with an expert boomerang throw.

    But anyway, the point being, comedy aside, in the above you can see that it's not how we really talk or act when conspiring. It's more like:

    "Hey, Steve."

    "Hey, Neal."

    "Got the Equation?"

    "Yeah, man. Let's sock it to 'em!"

    "You think we should?"

    And then we have a segue into a cool character discussion, because Steve is having second thoughts, but little does he know, I've already read it, and the DC bathroom is totally decimated. You wouldn't believe what the Anti-Life equation does to poop. It's transmuted into a VHS copy of Velocity played on an eternal loop while Lloyd makes the most annoying sound in the world.

    NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!

    The strange thing is that I can buy Lex beating the guy to death. His main character modus, as I see it, is to seek love. He is deluded into believing he has it (and in this episode, with his acting, I believe him), and this man threatens it. If he will raise an army to defend that love, he would kill. And this death is an accident, almost forgivable.

    His knuckles aren't bloodied, we see them clearly. The next scene he is covered in blood and washing it off. Bad continuity.

    He hides the doc in a crypt, which is also weird, given that churches with crypts are usually found in Europe, and here we have one in Smallville. Like I said, absurd.

    BUT, I liked the crazy music (it grew on me) and I dug the emotion of the scene. Lex would probably have him coldly liquidated, typically, but nonetheless, I was caught up in this.

    Lana's cyclone dream is another tie to continuity, and a fine one. I remembered back when every episode was a practical joy, and felt oddly younger. Twenty. Seven years. Such a strange progression. When I started watching this show, I was living on approximately thirty dollars for food a month. And it did the job. The show was on fricking tape. VHS, kids. Buy the ticket, take the ride. No more melancholy. Don't worry. This won't hurt.

    And besides, if I survive eight more months, at least I can laugh at Morrison, Hendrix, and Cobain.

    I realize at this point that I'm actually ENJOYING, top to bottom, an episode of Smallville. This is incredible.

    Here we cover the time issues this episode presents... and it's a doozy. Lex and Lana awaken (all of this according to the cards) at about 7 AM. Lex has a conversation with Lionel before going to the chapel to have the wedding (in Metropolis). Lionel talks with Lana at 1:35.

    Here's the fail. The wedding is in either Metropolis, or Smallville, or between somewhere, but likely in Smallville (given that this is where Lex and most of the people live). Assuming it's in Metropolis, and occurs at five, it can theoretically happen. I assume it's in Smallville, which would be impossible for both Lex and Lionel. Either way it's impossible for someone, because of Lionel's actions.

    Lionel speaks with Lex in Metropolis and Lana in Smallville. That means to speak with Lex, he'd have to have been in Metropolis at either 10:35 or 4:35 to speak with Lex, because that's three hours from when he's talking to Lana. But to talk to Lex before 10:35, Lex would have to have left the instant he woke up after dressing. Possible? Yes. Unlikely, given that there's no reason to be there. OR, conversely, If Lionel were speaking to Lex at 4:35, there would be no way for Lex to get to the wedding in time and still murder and hide a guy. It's just a careless mistake, but a big one.

    In the end, though, Lionel's role works so well that you forgive it.

    We have a good share of Lana SECRETS and LIES in this episode. Most of them are sympathetic, which makes them better, but they're still from the person who berates anyone else for a lie and acts as if she never perpetuates them herself, even in this episode (more on that line momentarily).

    In this episode, she hides Clark's powers from everyone and Lex, a secret, as we can see from her looking at the book where she keeps scraps of her rescue and then hurriedly walking to Lex.

    She LIES, telling Lex that she slept like a baby when she is in fact overwrought.

    She marries Lex, keeping SECRET from Clark that she's being blackmailed.

    SECRETS! LIES! Amazing.

    They mention four hundred game hens, but that church looks like it barely holds a hundred people, and seems like a modest ceremony for a guy who is PLASTERED ALL OVER THE TABLOIDS! But that's okay. I loves me some hen. I'll take the leftovers.

    Nell appears, which might be a cool moment, but falls flat, because honestly it's been so long, and her disappearance was so awkward, it calls attention to a failure of the show. It'd be like if Pete showed up right now. Since he left so arbitrarily, it would be very hard to make cool. What's even more awkward is the fact that Lana seems to confide in her as if she's been there all along and knows what's up. She has been, according to dialogue, but as a viewer it's disjointed.

    Still, the dialogue is well-written, it's a nice effort, and I enjoyed it.

    Well, up until the laugh-out-loud Lana line of the show. This is roughly paraphrased, but here's what Lana said to Nell:

    "If there was something you had to put past you to move on with your life... if you tried every way that was FAIR and HONEST and it didn't work... is it really wrong to bend the rules just ONCE?"

    Emphasis mine.

    In other words, what she's saying is, "I need to rid myself of Clark because I love him but don't want to, so is it okay to not be fair and honest one time in order to delude myself into that?"

    Which is funny, because any viewer of the show knows she's used dishonest and unfair ways to delude herself and punish others regularly for more than five years, but the dialogue seeks to reflect perfection, which means they want to say that Lana is subtly nave (not supported by her treatment) or they honestly believe she's a great, honest, fair gal.

    Offputting, annoying, and ruinous to a great scene.

    Cut to Chloe and Lana walking around before Lana tricks Chloe into the freezer (another LIE! That's four this episode). It's kind of subtle, but if you're looking, you realize Lana is making Chloe carry all her crap, ordering her around like an errand boy, and generally treating her like a secretary. At first, it seems like two friends helping each other, which is how it's supposed to play, but Lana ignored Chloe repeatedly until she has to talk about naked dudes, she sends her on errands, and isn't this the show that indicated that Lana took a plane ride to Paris to shop for dresses? And yet she won't hire an assistant and instead harries her friends on her wedding day?

    Again, offputting, but then, when is Lana not? What? Later this episode? Okay, Neal, I'll listen.

    The scene where Lana sees what we've already seen again works for me. Often these fail, but here, because it's such a big revelation for the show, it makes a massive impact and works, particularly when you didn't realize that it would lead to this later, and my writer sense didn't tingle, which rules. And plus, the use of the vision of Clark's powers through the eyes of Lana, GREAT way to save budget money, and also a nice tease as to how the powers look different to us or people in real life (as opposed to the comic illustration and expectation). Really cute and cool, especially with the Chloe hair blow.

    My next note points out, given Lionel's ultimatum and Lana's discovery, that this is another point, like when they killed Chloe and sent Lionel to total evil, to totally turn Lana and the show in general into viable entities, and re-align. Lana as a sympathetic character. Clark with a reason to close his ties with Lana. Lionel as full-on evil again, no matter how arbitrary. Lex totally to the dark side, and even if you don't like the how, now he can open up both barrels, which is something beautiful to await.

    Only Chloe's subplot lacks advancement here.

    When Lionel comes in, Lana sends Clark off as if they're having some secret council of evil. Reality being, Lana is alone in a house on the day of her wedding. She could tell whoever it was (she's assume it to be security or a service person, likely) to run off and continue talking to Clark, which is why I don't buy the put-off to five o'clock at the barn. An arbitrary thing for drama, I found.

    Then there's also the fact that's conveniently glossed over by this whole plot, and something that isn't really the fault of this plot, but still weighs heavily. LANA STILL ALLOWED HERSELF TO BECOME PREGNANT WITH LEX'S CHILD. It shows a profound failure of judgement on her part, and virtually, in my eye, binds her to be with him until she sees any reason not to. She has no idea he's manipulated her child. In the end, she selfishly chooses to be with Clark because he has super-powers, and decides to leave Lex because she loves Clark, but SHE IS STILL PREGNANT WITH LEX'S CHILD. How selfish, to have such a moral failure and then assume to push that baby into Clark's life because she didn't assess Lex right despite Clark's warnings. And in the end, what is she doing to this child?

    As I've stated before, it makes Clark a homewrecker per Superman Returns, Lana a wanton single parent (you know it's coming), and Lex the sympathetic figure (at least in the eyes of those around him BEFORE they know about his manipulations. Right now, an outside observer has no reason to condemn Lex aside from the freak gathering, which has a semi-logical explanation, beyond Clark and Chloe's experience with the "freak finder").

    Lionel threatens to kill Clark, and Lana just buys it instead of telling Clark. It's ridiculous, because there's no way any rational person wouldn't talk to Clark about it, but at the same time, it makes her motives sympathetic. She's protecting Clark.

    I'm conflicted about it, because it's having Lana actually make a morally selfless decision for once instead of just selfishly taking what she wants, which would be being with Clark no matter what it did to him. It's a big step, and it'll probably remain inconsistent, next week it'll be LANA LANA LANA again, but you've gotta want to love it here for what it is.

    EXCEPT

    And here's where I get conflicted.

    EXCEPT

    Now we have a profound irony. What's Lana doing? Well, she has a huge SECRET that if she tells Clark, will compromise his safety, likely even get him killed. Sound familiar? Sounds like what Clark's been doing all series, right? It reverses their roles, and puts Lana into Clark's position for once. That's why I buy her instant flock back to Clark. It's a realization of how awful she's been.

    Now watch. Will Clark in turn torture her for the secret she's keeping? Constantly, passive aggressively berate her for her heroism? No. She'll be portrayed as a positive martyr and treated heroically.

    The irony here is that if I dump on her for a positive, heroic trait, I'm wrong, but if I just accept it paralleled with Clark being an ongoing "fink" for doing the same thing, it doesn't jive.

    Lana also has no reason to hate Lex. She should be conflicted. She mistrusts him, but mistrusts Clark, too. The difference being, she's pregnant with Lex's kid. She should be conflicted to the point of agony about choosing between the two. Clark DID lie, even if it was for a good reason. What has Lex palpably done to upset her at all? If anything, she'd be leaning for Lex aside from irrational, emotional meander.

    Lois didn't attend the wedding. TOTAL SNUB!

    Clark proposing to Shelby played really, really well. Continuity ahoy! I love it.

    The end result of Lana's meanderings is not that she's doing the wrong thing. She's doing right. BUT, she's not a victim, know this and make it clear. She's simply an intellectual coward, in the selfsame style Clark is. My personal motto is that truth without discretion can save the world. Of COURSE you look fat in that dress. You're American. But I still like you, and that's the point, right? Now you know how I perceive you, and we can move on. Or I can lie to you, lead you into learned helplessness, and then you won't tell me when Nately's gal is coming for me with the knife.

    Clark has a secret and he didn't tell Lana. Intellectual cowardice.

    Lana is hiding truth that will invariably come out as a stopgap. Intellectual cowardice.

    Lex has intellectual bravery, but is maligned.

    This is one of the key ways to make characters hard to identify with. Here, however, since it saves life, it's less reprehensible. But don't call Lana brave. She's not brave, or invincible. The situation has washed over her, and her character reacts. It tugs at the heart because it's believable, unlike normal. It intrigues me. You can bet she'll be played as a victim, in actuality she's the defendant. She's caused ALL of this through manipulation, insecurity, desire for attention, and yes, SECRETS and LIES.

    But this is the culmination of her arc, such as it is, her comeuppance, and for such I enjoyed it.

    A few final notes. Is it just me, or was Clark in the Superman II looooooove suit?

    What happened to Lionel being on Clark's side? I hope this is addressed.

    The final scene is both strong and weak, because of writing and continuity, respectively. It's strong, in that Lionel cementing power over his son is a great drama and plays. It's weak, because like SO MANY THINGS there is NO WAY in any hell that Lionel would know any of the things he just suddenly knows. There was no camera, no people in that crypt. And yet he just suddenly knows about the murder, the body's location, and how Lex is manipulating the fetus. I can GUARANTEE we'll never know how, and that's ridiculous. It undermines his lechery and manipulation quite a bit.

    And beyond that, now that Lex is a murderer and to the dark side completely, why is Lionel Luthor still alive? Why has Lex not wiped him from the face of the Earth like an errant Klingon before the bowl post cheese sup?

    But for all of this inconsistency, which is far less than a typical episode, this show had character, it forwarded the mythos, finally. It showed Clark at his most passionate. There was no arbitrary villain. The dialogue and scenes sang.

    WHERE HAS THIS SMALLVILLE BEEN ALL SEASON?

    5 of 5.

    SUPER SHORT REVIEW:

    LETTERS:

    Because of Wizard World LA, I am running extraordinarily behind on many things. I will address last week's letters and this week's tomorrow with the new episode. Thank you for your patience.

    Neal



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