Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 6 - Episode 17: "Combat"



Reviewed by: Neal Bailey


  • Clark enters a fight club to find and stop a Zoner.
  • Lois gets mixed up and involved with the affair.
  • Lana miscarries her baby.
  • Lex murders a man who threatens to expose what he's doing to his child.


    So...this is odd. I just did this yesterday.

    And now...I have a completely flipped around, opposite review. It's like opposite land, and it's creepy.

    I understand the backlash for my five last week. The folks who hate it when I trash the show didn't step up to thank a good rating, but I think I can see why. The people who were perplexed and angered I didn't suddenly ram it remind me of, well, this scene:

    In it we see Dr. Cox, one of my favorite all-time critics, suddenly go off on something I very much love, Dr. House. He's got a good point, but you still want to whack him if you're a fan. I dig it, guys, I do.

    So for all of you out there who demanded evisceration, my response is that you'll just have to wait until the next crappy episode, because I'm honest. No. Really.

    The good news is, you only had to wait a day. And hey, if the last episode bugged you, take solace in the fact that it was beaten twofold in the ratings by a show called "Are You Smarter Than A Five-Year-Old?"

    Top to bottom, this episode was filler, an episode that's already been done, and rife with cliché. The acting on the part of the guests was sadly lacking, the gal didn't really have a point, and it relied on many devices that have failed this show in the past.

    Its one redeeming scene, the fight, is utterly annihilated by the fact that the central dilemma and accomplishment of this show is that CLARK KENT beats a man to death in a rage because he is frustrated over his issues with Lana. Not in self defense, not really. Not on accident, not really.

    If you're to believe that this man is not Kryptonian, also, you also have to think that with Clark's incredible speed, he LET the fight occur, and did nothing to avoid saving this man from his own fate, awful murderer or not.

    His excuse, that he has no way to stop the Zoners other than killing them, is utterly ridiculous. This is SUPERMAN. Not the Punisher. Certainly not the Batman, who enjoys beating people and elates in death he doesn't cause directly but that silence a killer for good.

    Clark is not a creature of vengeance, he is a creature of VOLITION and IDEALISM.

    Ah, shower scene, you old standard, you bring us such joy. A hot chick half-naked, dressing in a locker room into a naughty schoolgirl outfit to much eros, you inform the plot so!

    Now, here's a stone-cold fact. Usually, the exploitation scenes in Smallville are petty, adolescent, and do not get me going. Honestly. In this show, the blondie was H-O-T hot. Lois was SMOKING hot in vinyl. I LOVES me some chicks in vinyl. The only better thing is a chick half out of vinyl, and this show had that too.


    Neither of these things informed the plot or made plausible sense. Blondie didn't even have any point at all except as an arbitrary pointless guest star wrestling fanboy moment, hot though she is. It's like a purposeful reason to use exploitation to sell a missing plot. From last week to this?

    No character is forwarded anywhere in this episode. If anything, Clark takes a step back. Lana certainly takes a step back, because now we've repeated the tragedy for sympathy plot, lessening the dilemma she faces and negating most of a year's sub-plot with no real reason whatsoever. She never showed the pregnancy in the first place, so why in the world would we fear or be sad at its consequences? The only remaining dilemma is what the deal behind it was, and if that's not a BIG payoff, it was a big waste of our time. More on that jury, but they have work to do to make the case.

    There are a number of little, nice moments. The call to Ollie rocked, as did the little shot in the camera number, even if it was another actor (I couldn't tell).

    This episode tries to do what the last episode did. Pitch a disjointed time narrative and make it work. The teaser was pretty good after the dressing scene, but everything that leads up to it fails.

    Starting with, of course, Clark taking joy in beating criminals. Sigh. Throwing hay is one thing. That's GOOD characterization. Taking joy in beating people up, like he slightly did after Jonathan died and very pointedly does in this episode, is not only out of character, it's VILLAINOUS.

    Couple that with his "I'm not human, Ma! It's time I stopped pretending to be!", and what do you get?

    Well, it's a combination of the single worst elements of both the Azzarello and Austen run, two of the worst Superman comic runs in the character's history. Azzarello's denial of Superman's humanity, and Austen's desire for Superman to pop the heads off of everyone who ticks Superman off.

    The thing about these Zoners is that they're all the same. They have no real difference, per ce, in the end. Plant girl had plants, but Batista, Titan, Bow Wow, they all have very arbitrary powers that wilt in the face of Clark's fists, and are not unique or relevant. The bone protrusion is the way Titan dies, but it serves no real evolutionary or logical purpose of character beyond OOOOH! DAT IS ZO BADA#Z!

    And nothing speaks to an intergalactic villain who lives for combat and has nothing but the basest of motives than the desire to subtly contact a place known for supercriminals and arrange a clandestine series of death matches over a period of six months. I mean, what do you expect, that a brainless monster like that would suddenly just start tearing things up all over the place? Nah, that'd be logical.

    Attention to premise MUST be paid for a story to achieve suspension of disbelief. It's why I spend sometimes YEARS examining my premise for my novels before beginning. I could start my new novel now. Heck, I could have started it half a year ago. But you've gotta THINK this stuff out. Not necessarily outline, but make sure you know who each and every character is and what their motivation is, and what they would do, and why. Titan, the character, as shown here, would not organize a fight league. He'd start indiscriminately killing until he found a match, if he's as much a Doomsday style figure as he's made out to be, bony protrusions and all.

    The cowboy announcer character is also abrasive. He deserves a kidney punch, and he didn't really get one. Something just co-fell on him. Smallville, I will raise the rating of this show if in the DVD you will shoot a pickup with him getting kidney punched.


    Well, okay. Had to try. Pretending my opinion matters is fun! Tastes like Tori Spelling!

    Here's another gem: "I don't think flying off to some foreign country is good for the baby!"

    But hey, Lana, getting knocked down a flight of stares, knocked unconscious a bunch of times, risking your life regularly... Lex buys it, too. He gets the Dumb as Clark this episode.

    Clark: "That's a Kryptonian prison tattoo!"

    Ah-wha? I didn't know Clark had done time. I can just picture that during the learning session with Jor-El.

    "This, son, is what we call the CKS gang tag. Roughly translated, it means 'Cappin Kal-El Suckas.' You will, of course, note that the 's' at the end is replaced with a 'Z.' This shows that one is not held to the convention of grammar as a way of protesting... well, I'm not exactly sure what. I live in the suburbs. I have many prisoner friends, just none I can name. Regardless, even our advanced logic fails to-"


    "I told you to stop that! You can only use it once. ONCE! And only in the event of a great emergency. Now behave."

    "But... I love her!"

    "You don't love her! You just want... GAH! I will not make you human for such base needs! Broom her fast! Denied, sucka! Now listen. The son becomes the father, and the father-"

    "Clark want yogurt!"

    "All right then. Naked in a field it is, you little bas-" VWOOOOOSH!

    Lana's cheek kiss. Ah, boy. That's a kidney punch too. Well, provided she wasn't pregnant. But there's always after the devil pops out.


    Here she lies not to protect the baby, but to be selfish and cope with the choice she made willingly to be with Lex instead of try and solve her problem here. It's a LIE and an annoying one, because it's so paper thin even the ANTI TRAVELLING WITH BABY SOCIETY can see it's BS.

    Lois comes back from searching for the chupacabra. HAH! Check the Luthor mansion, kid, it's about to drop like a bad CD.

    I'm just fascinated because the chupacabra is going to be in my next book in the chorus. I love the concept of a blood sucking monster that goes for babies. Reminds me of politicians.

    Now that one's just scary. Reminds me of Lana, though. I think he's saying, in Spanish, "Look! This is like Nealos Baileyos described in his review!" or something.

    The only way to destroy chupacabras is with a knife-wrench. For chupacabras.

    Lois Lane, the same woman who berated Chloe for potentially trying to steal her story earlier, co-jacks Chloe's story this episode, Chloe doesn't say anything about it, and there's no assertion of her lacking character for doing so. Kidneys!


    Lois as a stripper again. What is WITH that? Maybe it's continuity. They play it off as such. I'll give it a pass.

    Then there's the lesbian scene. Like Cox says. You've gotta COMMIT! I mean, if you're gonna make Lois go undercover as a lesbian and exploit the naughty, bad-girl lipstick lesbian thing, you MAKE THEM KISS, you bums! At very least make your pointless titillation follow through! It's like Lois's half-hearted strip dance. Come ON! If you're gonna take the character and punt it, at least squeeze the Charmin.

    Director kidney PUNCH!


    Chick fight. Lois wins. That makes sense, given Lois's history. I still didn't really feel any worry or fear about the fight at all. It had the air of pure exploitation, and failed as such.

    Clark WANTS to kill, or so he says. I give up. Come on, dude, you're 21. Killing is wrong, you should have known that at least, I dunno, well, the last time you got someone killed on accident, or for that matter, any time in the last hundred twenty-seven episodes.


    They're getting more frequent. Someone's gonna be peeing blood. Crap. It's me.

    Lana's miscarriage, I'd like to say it affected me. Lord knows, my personal experience with friends and family having miscarriages predisposes me to agony at the subject. It's like watching a movie where a mother drinks herself into catatonia and bad motherhood. Not that hard to hook me with that one. Or dogs, I'm a sucker for dogs because of the two I lost. But this one just fell utterly flat, largely because no real effort was made to show Lana's connection to her baby or the point of the pregnancy. She even threw baby caution to the wind, almost leaving Lex, waffling with Clark.

    It felt like a cheap way to get out of the Lex marriage, and the sub-plot, and another way to make Lana the eternal victim. Which sucked.


    Clark goes up to the dude who's running the fight club and CATCHES A BULLET to get into the fight club. Clark REVEALS HIS IDENTITY to a guy who's responsible for a murder fight club.


    Clark goes to the fight club, involves himself with a fight with Lois, and actually lets her punch him, which should have broken her hand. Instead of simply whizzing away before he meets Lois and searching for Titan, which would, I dunno, be in character and make sense.

    The announcer guy reminded me of Crispin Glover, only a predictably stupid Crispin Glover with no intelligible random genius.

    Clark wears the "red" jacket, to show that he's in his uninhibited mode. Bad cue for the audience when he's about to kill a guy. It makes us think our hero is a murderer.

    It's a comical situation, Lois fighting Clark, don't get me wrong, but it's so forced it plays as simplistic and ridiculous. The tension is that Clark has to not hurt Lois and yet still fight her, but he does hurt her, he has no explanation for Lois later (quite obviously), and there's a body lying around in the end.

    Like every other Zoner, Titan knows Kal-El despite the fact that there's no way he would, given that Kal-El was a baby or unborn when he was imprisoned, likely.

    Titan kills a guy and Clark doesn't stop him. That's pretty much another murder Clark is responsible for.

    EEYORE PUNCH! I'll tell you what that means when you're older. Don't look it up.

    Lois gets knocked out, and it's absolutely ridiculous. She rolls out. I mean, seriously. At least TRY to show some head trauma, guys.

    Here's where the episode gets good for a moment. Clark's punches, Titan's blows back. It almost makes you forget that Clark is being beaten mercilessly, but not insta-healing from his bloodying (as this show has indicated he does barring Kryptonite). He also operates at normal speed against an opponent he could defeat at super-speed. Clark would simply mop the floor with this guy, and instead he takes a good beating. Great effects, much better than usual, and a neat fight, but it begs the question of why the effects were used for an episode like this in the middle of such an obvious, contrived setup for a wrestling promotion, the second this year. Bow Wow, Tori Spelling, Batista, these two... come on, now.

    Ex-Wonder Woman? Yeah bob, that's a good guest star (so says KSite and others, that she's coming, anyway). The others? Not so much.

    Clark doesn't try heat vision? Super-breath? The Phantom Zone thingie? Did he lose that? I forget.

    Martha supports Clark's abysmal failure, essentially sanctioning his murder. Clark is consoled after saying, "I wanted to kill him with my bare hands!"

    Oh, but you didn't want to, or you wouldn't ask that question, Martha asserts.

    But he wanted to kill him with his bare hands and DID. A fool could see that. It's passed off, and that's lame.

    Cut to Lana, sitting in the nursery she loathes, because as she says, she likes it in there.


    Lex offers a Nell visit. What's up with Nell just being back again? Do enough people remember such a minor character from five years ago? I mean, even PETE makes more sense.

    Lana apologizes for losing the baby, which is supposed to make us feel sorry for her loss, but given that it's obviously not her fault and she would know that, and given that she hasn't seemed to care or worry much about the baby before this, it echoes in the room. And, of course, an obedient lap-dog, Lex goes right along with it.

    You even feel sorry for Lex, crying over the baby in the end, and get the feel that maybe he's not actually behind the death or whatever's wrong with the baby. Which is, given his villainy, a bit odd. It shows that he's not perceived as a villain, not entirely, even if he's treated as one.

    Bittersweet ending, though.

    All in all, the fight scene was pretty epic. I did enjoy that aspect, even if the logic failed. It's only on later scrutiny that I gave it a knock in my head. That's not enough to make this show below average, though (2), because it was honestly near dismal except that scene. I'm gonna go 1.5 of 5. Worth it for about three minutes there.

    Sounds like a short stretch of the show, but considering it was just THIRTY NINE MINUTES and TWENTY-TWO SECONDS LONG, that's a significant portion.


    Why are there so many shows about wrestlers? And where do they get these guys? Some writer thought of that, producers believed him. Look what it's done so far... Calling it good TV, and some choose to believe it. I know they're wrong, wait and see. Someday we'll find it, the character connection. The writers, the viewers, and me. Who said that every plot would be seen and answered? When heard from the Hollywood sign? Perfect shows are visions, but only illusions. And perfect shows have nothing to hide. I've said it too many times to ignore it. It's something that I'm supposed to be. Someday we'll see it, the Superman connection. The writers, the viewers, and me.


    Boooyakasha! I'm in bold, because I'm a boldalist.

    Ric wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    Once upon a time, I believe Smallville was a truly great show. It had great writing, solid acting, clever plotting and damn exciting action. For a while there I believe, it was unlike anything we had EVER seen before (and have seen since).

    Heck, it was once.

    So yeah, my first question is, what the F@*K happened? And why is it suddenly all crapola?

    I honestly don't blame the premise of the show, or even the current show. I think it's less contact/work from Al, Miles, and Jeph, coupled with bringing in new writers that don't get the concept as well, lower budgets, a new network, tiring actors, and an audience that is easily pleased and thusly doesn't demand better.

    My second question is, have you EVER tried writing a script and sending it in just for the hell of it? I mean, you know, I suck, and even I could write better crap than what they put on.

    No, mostly because I know the business, and they don't look at unsolicited work. When my work makes them notice me, I will write them a heck of a script, on that you can rely. Otherwise, I'm going to work on my own original stuff in the meanwhile. Like this.

    Seriously. I have to say, that what was once the sharpest, most original writing on TV has desended into something that would make a cheesy 80's sitcom writer cringe.

    This season, yeah. Last season tried to pull up, but hey.

    And my final question is: You ever watched any Arrested Development? Now THAT is writing!

    Nay, but I keep hearing about it. I keep trying to plow through stuff you guys recommend, but I only get a good half hour to an hour of rest a day, so I generally watch one show at a time over three months. I'm already way behind on the Daily show.

    Anyways, thanks again. And know that you aren't suffering alone. I've been watching every week for 6 years.

    Peace out buddy.


    Thanks, man.

    John wrote:
    Hey Neal!


    Well, I'm am very ashamed at myself, and it all your fault. (this is a good thing)
    After watching "Freak", I actually thought it was a good show. And it was a better one than the last few, as some of the scenes were cool. But I am still ashamed to say this, because it's amazing, after so much bull$#@& has been served our way, that I would think that this was worthy of a 3. It seems to me that we have come with such a low expectation that when I see even a mediocre show, I think it's the greatest thing on earth at the moment. "Yes!! The writers of Smallville actually did a decent job!!!!" But then, you open my eyes once again, and even though I think this was worthy of a two (because if this was a one, than Trespass, was a one-half - seriously, Neal, you should consider going below a one for some episodes), the plot was still a rehashed one, even if a little different than usual. I say that the guest star who played Tobias did a great job with his acting, and some of the writing was pretty good (When Tobias "finds another one"). Hey, Michael Rosenbaum directed this episode! Yes! I think he did a great job with what writing he had to work with, so kudos to him.

    I fall into that trap too. I'm trying to decide if my five last week was based in such a long string of bad episodes, or if I actually enjoyed it. Right now I'm still with enjoyed it.

    Oh, well. Keep up the good work Neal, I know that evemn when there's a bad episode I will still find entertainment from Neal!




    Bruce Kanin wrote:
    Re: "Freak" (Smallville)


    Holiday morning...more time to spend on the PC, including reading your latest review, which, as always, gets me to see things in a new light. First, though, thank you for publishing three...count'em...3 of my missives.

    Hey, you send em, I run em. I like your work.

    As for "Freak", I was disappointed that you didn't like it, but then again, every one of your points was right on. I continue to just not see them, wanting this show to be good. I suppose that nowadays, when I give the show an "A", it's not the same "A" that I would have given the show in its first couple of seasons.

    Pretty much. And that's cool that you can enjoy it and overlook things. I would if I weren't reviewing, likely. I tried to decide whether to adjust my baseline and decided not to. If I had, each season would probably have drastically different ratings. And heck, maybe an overall re-review at the end of the series might accomplish that.

    Still, I won't backpedal any more - I was really entertained, especially by the Super-Clark scenes. It made me think that he's moving up the mountain towards Superman, just while Lex (inexplicably, since he was seemingly a good guy for a few seasons, esp. compared to Dad Luthor) is slip-sliding away into evil-ness.

    Backpedaling one last time: maybe I've accepted this show as Superman-lite (extra-lite), and so in that context, the "A" felt good.



    And there's no problem with that. Like I have said, I'm extraordinarily happy when people enjoy it, because that means they're having FUN! Hey! Simple, huh? What bugs me is when someone decides that because I'm not having the fun they are, they have to correct me! Differing opinions is just fine.

    Shannon Loomis wrote:

    From a reader:
    4. Superman has not always been the "moral compass" you make him out to be. Chris Reeve had pre-marital sex with Margot Kidder in Superman 2, something they're exploring in the current movie. (Correct me if I'm wrong, but Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher did the same thing in Lois & Clark.)

    I know this is not Smallville related but they made a very big deal in Lois & Clark about Clark being a virgin in the third season. And were very adamant that they not have sex until after they were married....

    Pretty much, yeah. People love talking out the butt. It varies according to the version, but the general rule is that covering it never goes over well.

    On an unrelated tangent, I noted that someone replied also stating that Clark was unemployed. I will say again that a mid size farm in Kansas can be profitable, and obviously was for Jonathan Kent to have raised a family on without an outside job. Also, I will restate that even Superman would use a tractor and baler to make those square bales he is always carrying around the barn. We bale hay all summer and I sure wish I had Clark to help load and stack!

    I think Clark could very easily have enough cash, too, with Ollie as a friend and on board. Characters like Chloe are the ones that perplex me.

    Thanks for the reviews. I wish I had a recorder to rewatch the episode after reading your review, as I don't think I always catch the nuances that you point out....


    I should build that. It might be a way to make profits... ha!

    Olivia wrote:
    Hi Neal!

    It's been some time since I wrote, and my observations have been piling up.


    First, about "Freak". I'm surprised you didn't realize what Chloe's special power is. She's been displaying it for a few seasons already: it's her miraculous hacking ability! We'll wait and see, but I'm sure of it.

    I dunno. Seems a bit pat to me, otherwise they would have declared it long ago, right?

    Then, there is this problem I have with Clark's outfit recently. Have you noticed that of late his style has been reduced to wearing jeans, blue t-shirts and red jackets? Or maybe, once in a season, he puts on a red shirt and a blue jacket. It's so boring.

    Oddly enough, the wardrobe never seems to bug me. When it stands out, cool, but I'm really focal on the words and the plot.

    And about Lana's pregnancy not showing yet. She's been pregnant for what? Four, five months? It is still quite plausible that she can hide it if she wants to, and we know she does. I knew a woman who hid her belly until seventh month, and even then you could tell rather by the way she moved than by appearance itself.

    Maybe my experience it unique, but I've never known a woman five months pregnant who's not like, BO SHUDA!

    Hm... I was sure there were more. Never mind. I really think the last couple of episodes were somewhat better than what we got used to in this season; sure, they weren't brilliant, but at least they weren't lousy. My hopes are a bit up again.

    After the last episode, my hopes were up, actually. This one dashed it, but it could have been a fluke.

    And, finally, let me say again how much I enjoy reading you reviews :) Watching a new episode is only a half of the fun, your review is the other half, and often even more. I even got my boyfriend to read some of your stuff, and now he's thinking about watching Smallville so he could follow your humor better!


    Awesome! Tell him I said thanks, and you too.

    Kyle wrote:
    In Smallville continunity how many weeks passed between the episode "Trespass" and "Freak"? Do you remember in the climax of "Trespass" Lana was fighting on the Luthor mansion roof during a snowstorm and now in the climax of "Freak" there is a rainstorm complete with thunder and lightning. There wasen't even any small snow mounds in the bowlling allay allay. With the heat in Nov ("Subterranaen")Kansas has has some weired weather patterens this year.

    Heck, I even remember the football game in mid-spring on the football team. No, really. It happened.

    This next letter appeared on my personal message board at Freedom, Beauty, Truth and Love, my daily content blog. This commenter subsequently left a ton of truly awful messages that I delighted in pwning for a few days. They're NSFW, so I won't post the chain, but feel free to head over and check it out through, if you want.

    This one appears because he said I wouldn't dare post it in the column, so here goes:

    Matt Royle wrote:

    seriously, if u you win the ultimate smallville fan, i will be devastated. why? hmm because you dont deserve to win it! thats y. i think you can be a cool guy an all, but seriously though, how can u even put yourself up for it, when all you do is complain about the show.

    Because I love the show? Simple enough, eh?

    Yes i have to agree that the show has gone down sometimes, like wither for instance... but thats not my point. I love every episode, some are crappier than others but i still enjoy them. i look forward to watching Smallville when its on! And so do many others who entered the compitition, it woundntlet me enter because im not from the US, but that doesnt matter with what im trying to say.

    I read your reviews and i dont always agree with them, but they make me laugh. So im not saying that you cant complain, or criticise the show, because every one has a right to an opinion.

    You're just saying I can't say I love the show, eh? Well, here's a clue. Anyone telling me I can't say or think anything is wrong. I'm a free human being.

    You have a really good chance of winning because of the publicity from, but if you win your just a hippocrite. and u must know it. imagine them coming round to film you for the dvd, are you gonna mention how u rip into it every week? Your video doesnt even prove your a fan like the others do.

    I see. I like the show, I enter the competition, I win, that makes me a hypocrite. And yeah, if they came around with the crew, which they're not going to do, I would say that I have issues with the show but stand on its premise, and always will, as unique, incredible, and worthy of devotion.

    What does make you a fan, if not a million words of work and devotion? You want blood?

    My guess is that you wont post this on ur review, or mention it. and in the slight chance you do, i will get hated. but im not arsed. coz im not the big hippocrite. The title of ultimate smallville fan, should go to a true fan, who really enjoys the show and doesnt go out of their way to slag it off.

    You're not hated, your action, however, is from a position of ignorance. So I'll simply try to correct that ignorance. If I wanted to "hate" on you or give you trouble, I'd simply post your email address and encourage people to flame you. But see, unlike some, I understand an opinion is just an opinion, no matter how odd.

    marklar wrote:
    Hi Neal,
    I decided to check out the description for the new smallville episode. This is how it went:
    " On Lex and Lana's wedding day, he receives a call from Dr. Langston threatening to tell Lana the truth about her baby; Clark decides to tell Lana about his secret."
    Although I hate to side with lana, really, WTF does clark think he's doing? Perhaps read it paraphrased:
    " On Lex and Lana's wedding day.....Clark decides to tell Lana about his secret."
    I mean really? W-T-F? Are they gonna make lana stop an effing WEDDING, with the ONE person who loved her enough to follow through with it(although he's somehow evil), because of a farm boy's secret? And is clark dumb enough to think it'll actually work (in real life, not smallville i mean)??? Oh wait, I forgot, he is.....
    I'm interested how the writers are gonna make clark in the right, and make lex out to be bad or downright evil 'cuz he's pissed at clark for ruining his (soon-to-be) marriage.

    I noted that issue. I believe Lana WOULD do that, which is why it followed for me. Is it logical? No. And does it fail to sympathy soon thereafter? Yes. That's why this week, when she didn't come to her senses, my pity disappeared.

    Steve Sanders wrote:
    I was just reading your review of the recent issue of Action Comics...I too noticed the continuity changes in this arc in comparison with the For Tomorrow arc a few years ago. At Wonder Con in SF, I asked Dan Didio if For Tomorrow was now out of continuity. He said that that story is now "on the other side of Superboy punching on the walls." That is ok...except that the reason why Superman has this new Arctic Fortress of Solitude is because of the Amazon one that everyone and their brother seemed to know the location to (this was mentioned in One Year Later) and was created in For Tomorrow as a result of the old arctic fortress being destroyed in that book. So this creates an inherent contradiction in continuity.

    Just thought I'd throw that out there.


    You're 100% correct. Honestly, they're just going to throw waffling statements like that out there indefinitely until they come up with a plan. What I wouldn't give for an hour with an editor, swear to apes.

    Scotty V wrote:
    Hi again Neal,

    Just reading the second of the reviews for the eps I watched with my sister this week. "Rage" was decent in some ways I thought, but painfully horrible in most, as the inconsistancy and the consistant inconsistancy mounts.

    You say:

    "Lois attacks Ollie, who throws her backwards through glass. This is a good argument for why not to date drug people. This episode conveniently skirts the issue, because she never knows that Ollie threw her through plate glass and hospitalized her. But WE know, so that means we see her dating a guy who threw her through a plate glass table and hospitalized her is supposed to be okay, because he's sorry."

    I thought of this early on and at first I kindof thought the same thing. But then, as I rethought it I realized that Ollie didn't see who attacked him. All he knew was that he was in HIS apartment and that someone hit him from behind. His reaction, rather than to wait until the assailer finishes him off, is to throw said person away from him. He then realizes it's Lois and feels bad about it. She still attacked him in his house.

    Right, but stick girl vs. big dude? Still, good point.

    You say:

    "She asserts that she broke a few of his ribs, even though she hit him in the shoulder."

    You know, I often pay half-hearted attention to this show at this point. I watch the cool scenes sometimes with rapt attention, but since they are so few, I often miss alot of dialogue and character stuff. I was paying somewhat attention to this scene, but I could have sworn she said she broke a few of HER ribs. I'm sure I'm wrong since by the end of the episode she's walking and moving about just fine, but if she did say his ribs, that's just plain sloppy. She doesn't even hit him again does she?

    Nope. And they rely on that lack of attention, actually.


    "He jumps, snaps his neck, and without administering the serum suddenly heals, contradicting the already shady rational framework we had."

    My thoughts were, after I first was shocked and incredulous that the guy leapt off the roof. I then obviously knew he was going to have powers which made me more incredulous because I could see no reason or logical sense to it. As I read your review and write a response to it now I find myself trying to come up with justification for it. I wonder if, since the doctor has been using the serum on the criminals at the halfway house for however long, is it possible that the prolonged effect it has is that, not only does it make you more permanently Rage-filled, it makes you more permanently Wolverine-ish with the healing factor. I know, it's another one of those times I have to come up with an explanation for something they don't write in but it could be plausible that they actually meant for us to think that. (sheesh I'm sure I'm stretching their deserved credit.)

    Oh yeah.


    "Clark...saunters past security, apparently, and deals with the above-mentioned Lana passive aggression. Great. Such fun."

    It seemed to me that Clark asked to see Lana and that security let him in. I simply figured that Lana had rights to visitors and for the security team, so long as Clark came as a visitor to someone who lives in the mansion and not to barge in and make threats, this might be a grey area. Again, not really said by the writing team but seems to make sense...even though it ultimately probably doesn't hold up since Lex would have left standing orders with the security not to allow Clark in. But it is possible that his orders regarding Lana, since we can see he now bows to almost her every whim, may be a bit lax. Based on the way they're showing him now, he may have even said: "Give her what she wants."

    He explicitly stated that Clark was no longer welcome, though. I think that'd override Lana, I would guess.


    "Lex is foolish for having sex without a condom/choosing to have sex with a failing condom and birth control. That's his idiocy."

    I'm sure it's been covered by now since I'm several episodes behind but my assumption is that Lex normally would be careful enough to avoid this. Unless, and I believe we're being asked to accept that this particular case is the exception, Lex wanted it to happen or for her to believe it had happened so that he could keep her on a leash. Then it would be perfectly within his cold, calculating character design to do such a thing. The only problem with that of course, is that we still have no logical reason why Lex would be that needy of someone like the Lana being portrayed on this show.

    I agree. In fact, there's no reason Lex uses women in his future save as garnish or business partners, so why start making Lex soft and lovable this late in the game?

    You said:

    "Regardless, they just killed Lex as a character for me, which was the main reason I still loved this show."

    I think that it's possible Lex is still the cold, calculating dark being we've always figured he'd be. Sure it doesn't really make sense that he'd covet Lana but, if we accept that he does and is, it's definitely in character for him to try and deal himself the best (under)hand he can in terms of keeping that which he so desires. That, at least, is definitely the Luth(or) way, whether him wanting Lana is plausible or not. I guess we've heard and could still come up with other believable reasons, in a slightly disturbed and unstable mind such as Lex's, where he could desire her. Even if his desires were purely illogical. After all, sometimes love is the most illogical human condition.

    If they make Lex out to have played Lana the whole time, and plausibly, it'll bring his character back for me.

    Speaking of Luth(or), I have this debate with my brother almost every time I say Lex's last name, no matter what media we're speaking of. He says every time, I think just to try and argue with me, which we love doing with each other, "I still don't know if that's the way it's pronounced. He has a point when he says that many different words and names are pronounced differently depending on what region your from or how lazy you are with the English language. For instance, actual British people in general speak the words of the English language properly and the way they're meant to be spoken. Americans, however, are much much more lax and lazy when it comes to speech patterns. The word "man" for instance. It's meant to be pronounced with a long 'a' sound. But locally and throughout regions nearby, people tend to say mien, if you can gather sound from my spelling. Just say it quickly the way it looks as spelt and it should be close. If we say that it's fine for words but names are what they are then we can take the example Eric. I personally tend to say Errick as pronunciation, where others I know pronounce it Airick.

    My take on this is that regional morpheme shift is fine. Some words, however, just stick out as having a proper pronouncement to me. Luthor is one of them, particularly given there is another name with different spelling if you want the ER sound. LuthOR for OR, and LuthER for ER. Does that mean Sean should be said "seen?" No. And heck, one of my best friends is Shawn written Sion. I understand variations.

    It could just be growing up, always hearing the OR, and there's been a shift, and that drives me personally crazy. I'm going to stand with OR no matter how much people goof on me. It just sounds better and right.

    So I can see someone saying that each person will have their own take on language. Since the origin of the name was in written form and there's never been anyone to definitively say what it is, at least to my knowledge (and even if they did it would just be their opinion), it could be pronounced either way. I agree that it sounds much better and much more powerful pronounced what you and I believe to be correctly - LuthOR, but I'm not sure we have definitive proof. I simply say to my brother: "Look, I know what it's supposed to be." But then he comes back with: "Even Lex on the show and the characters from Superman the Movie and Superman Returns say it the lazy American way and those movies are written by the people who want it to sound how they have their actors say it so doesn't that make it right?" I tell him I think it's a matter of American laziness and that even I, who DO think it's pronounced LuthOR, in quick speech might sometimes rattle off a LuthER here and there and sometimes they catch me on it. It does seem like something you need to be fully aware of and concentrating on in order to say it in the way we believe is correct. I can't really argue other than to say "It just is," with him or anyone though because it does seem like more people throughout all the different incarnations have said it the incorrect way. Someone needs to correct it. The only thing I have is the best rendition of the Luthor character to date and that's from Superman the Animated Series, where they all said it LuthOR without fail.

    Heck, it's most mediums that they do that, and only recently that it's been lax like that. Script supervisor, hoooooo!

    Being into descriptive grammar, I like evolving languages. Sometimes I disagree, as in the case of neways, r u, 2, 4, and Luthor pronounced LuthER. And hey, in real life, I don't blanche. You stand before me and say it ER all you want. In formal expressions, however, it should be a formal expression. It's not Clork Kent, and if you heard that, it'd be odd.


    "Green Arrow tries to get Lex to sign a contract under duress that would not legally stand. As a billionaire, you'd assume that Oliver would know contracts under duress can be fought.

    But Neal, Ollie is enraged! He's not in his right mind!

    Drugged or not, you don't lose all critical faculties. It's a cheap, stupid device."

    I'm not going to argue that Smallville continually uses devices and arbitrary happenstance and excuses to have characters do things that make little to no sense. However, I will say that my take on this drug, not all drugs mind you, was that it not only enrages, but makes people irrational and incapable of clear and level headed thinking. Therefore: "But Neal, Ollie is enraged! He's not in his right mind," is fairly spot on based on that interpretation and I think it's supported by the episode.

    True, but the contract is still null.


    "Lionel is at Thanksgiving dinner. He's sitting NEXT to the girl he tried to kill and sent into the witness protection progam, who is smiling and laughing with him, and NEXT to the woman whose husband he fought and essentially caused the heart attack of."

    I can think of ABSOLUTELY NO LOGICAL WAY to explain or justify what happens in this scene. Even Clark, who you don't mention, is smiling and happy here. I do seem to reemmber Clark being almost buddy buddy, albeit in a cold shoulder kindof way, with Lionel in recent episodes. I've had so much time between these and "Arrow," which is where I stopped before and where I believe the scene on the building where Clark talks to Lionel as if they're chums occurs, but I think they've been much too close. I also read a comment from someone somewhere that at least Clark yelled at his mother for virtually forgetting all about Jonathan and almost climbing into bed with Lionel, or something to that effect, and I really thought that was going to happen here. The Chloe/Lionel thing? Again, no sense. It's like the writers just want the villain shift to be on Lex now and we're meant to forget all that came before with Lionel but there's no reason all these characters would suddenly be ok with Lionel. I'll admit, the Kents and Clark, as well as Superman later in life, believe in foriveness and rehabilitation so anything's possible, but it seems a little quick and very implausible. Also, there haven't been enough particular overtures of pennance on Lionel's part. Basically just: "I want to help you all now," and they say ok.

    What makes it bad is not that the Kents are forgiving, that's cool. But juxtaposed to how much they're demonizing Lex concurrently for far less, it plays as shallow.


    "I'm actually hacked the Manhunter thing got out."

    I actually find this happens all the time. I just watched the episode, in this two day, three episode stint after not watching for three months, that MM appears in and I already knew he was coming. The problem is, though they put "Spoiler Warning" in the news item, they show a picture of the character in cartoon form, or actor form, or comics form or they say it right out in the form of a question (Martian Manhunter to appear on Smallville?) with a picture to accompany it on most of these websites. It seems to happen less on the Homepage, but I think it happens here too. Kryptonsite is a huge offender of this type of thing, as is superherohype and comics2film. I only say this becuase I think it ultimately can hurt traffic to all of these sites. For me, it's almost at a point where, even though I like going to some of them, I have to avoid doing so for fear of finding out plots long before they happen. My suggestion for all of the masters would be to ALWAYS say something like a teaser about "A well known character from the mythos..." or "Another hero to appear..." without a giveaway pic and let people click to read more if they're willing.

    I've had to learn to never let a spoiler bother me with the letters I get.

    Anyways, that's it for now. Loved the review as always.


    Scotty V wrote:
    Hi again Neal,

    Just reading the business for "Rage." Sorry I already sent the email, I don't usually respond to biz I just read something that interested me though. In response to Clark saying he'll train with Jor-El once he catches the zoners, one of your readers says:

    It's all good.

    " "so this IS the last season." He's already caught 2 of the 6, and once he gets trained up, he's Superman of Metropolis, not Clark Kent of Smallville. Welling refused to wear the suit and doesn't want to fly, so that doesn't leave them many options."

    And you respond with:

    "That's how I see it."

    Of importance is "That's how I SAW it," I now assert. Now I believe otherwise. Is that what should happen? I don't know. I doubt it. Nothing is wrapped up.

    I also remember you mentioned it before as well. It seems to me that it's much more likely, especially since the Smallville folks like to string everything out as long as possible, we'll see Clark finish with the zoners by the end of this season, be delayed by something else throughout next season and then start the training. Whether he'll finish next season or if they extend the show to 8 "and beyond" as several Gough interviews have teased (even though it seems apparant they have no idea what they're doing), especially without Lex, we could physically SEE Clark's training throughout almost a whole season which might be cool and possibly much more grown up. But again, I know I'm giving them too much credit. But I do assume the training, or at least much of it will be a part of this show. Missions and such that will happen much like what we've seen so far. May not be good or different, but that's what they'll do, unless they're forced to cancel the show, which it doesn't sound like is a threat right now.

    Nope. I mean, it's the CW's big producer right now, even if it's not what it used to be.

    Another reader writes about Bow Wow:

    "...cast it with someone more menacing/cool than a 5'6 Bow Wow"

    Even though Superman is generally depicted as being big and tall and strong "looking," his physicality truly has NOTHING to do with his powers and abilities. My Uncle said to me once: "Why is that all the people who play Superman have to be pretty and handsome and big and tall and muscular? Superman doesn't have to work out and doesn't need muscles because his powers are powers and not related to his physicality at all. He could be a big fat slob and he'd still be Superman because the atmosphere of the Earth and the yellow sun is where his powers come from." Now my Uncle was joking somewhat, though it seems true to me. Bow Wow in this case, doesn't need to be menacing or imposing or big or anything, just as none of the superpowered beings have to because the powers is the thing.

    That all depends on if you believe Superman has to work out or not. I'm torn on that one, myself, because I can be a full-time writer, and I work out, but it does take away time, and I could hardly be a side super-hero. Kills some plausibility. But it's almost required.

    They did call Professor Fine the Brain Interactive Construct or something like that, which is where I figured they were saying we'd get brainiac from. Brain = Brain, Interactive = ia, construct = c. Brainiac.

    Scotty V wrote:
    Hey there Neal,

    Just reading your review for "Static," one of four episodes I've watched over the last two days after being off from Smallville for almost three months. In this review you mention:

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

    You know, I didn't even think about the fact that this attack happened right on the murder scene. Right around where all those people were investigating and therefore could have very well been witnessed by someone but wasn't. It didn't even occur to me that was the case. In terms of the crane not having an operator, I'm sure all civilians are cleared out of the area and work is stopped for the day since this whole area is a major crime scene, but that doesn't explain away the cops and investigators that likely would have seen or heard something.

    As I recall, from visiting my dad at his job on the docks, there has to be an operator when that crane is holding something. They don't just leave them hanging like that, because the crane is a loading device, not a storage device.

    What stood out to me about Batista throwing Clark into the crane was that Clark was thrown there at superspeed. I thought it looked a bit silly, considering that when someone throws you, you don't suddenly flash by at superspeed before you crash into something. I mean, Clark has superspeed right? But when he tosses someone they don't suddenly fly through the air at that superspeed, they simply fly through the air. It just seemed dumb to me.

    You also mention that Clark runs around a crime scene with a badge, despite not wearing a uniform. He says he's from the coroner's office and as far as I know they just wear regular clothing and not uniforms so I think that may be ok.

    Right, but they also usually know the cops, right? I dunno. It was too pay for me.

    You say:

    "He struggles with Lex, who turns the knife on the guy and kills him."

    I was also thinking that killing the guy might not have been the best thing for Lex to do, since he then has no idea if there's ever a way to get out of this other frequency. Had super-intelligent-Einstein Jimmy not figured out what "nobody even knows about" according to the villain, Lex and Lana would have been trapped like rats forever. The guy that Lex stabs and kills without thinking MIGHT have been their only way out but Lex kills him anyway.


    And speaking of super-intelligent-Einstein Jimmy... THIS guy can figure out this whole frequency thing??!! The entire scientific community has NO IDEA THESE OTHER FREQUENCIES EXIST but THIS GUY Jimmy can figure it out AND tap into the frequencies in, at best and giving credit where credit isn't dude, a couple of hours? Made me laugh.

    Me too.

    You say:

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

    Obviously Lana never uses her Lana-Fu beyond the one episode where she trained simply for use as a plot-device, but I almost think Lex is worse. A few weeks ago, when Lex was getting beaten down by Ollie, I kept saying "Hey Lex, why don't YOU use some of the martial arts YOU know???!" I really wanted to see a cool Lex at least knock Ollie down a bit of a peg. Even if he lost, because Ollie's such a highly trained vigilante, after all he trained for years on an island after being shipwrecked, it would have been cool to see Lex have SOME competence. But then, he is with Lana so...

    I've noticed, watching for it, that characters have fight skills when it helps the plot, and none when it doesn't, excepting Chloe.

    I actually find it quite amazing and am surprisingly impressed by the show's PTB that they managed to even have a similar origin to that which I read in 52 for GA. Or are they simply revamping Ollie to be more like what they show in Smallville, I never know anymore. When the Chris Reeve movies were out, suddenly Clark was a complete idiot in the comics and the villains were campy jokes that never could be taken seriously. Then, when Lois & Clark was on, the character were portrayed in the comics the way they were on that show. Now, with SR, we're seeing copies in the comics there too. So GA didn't train for years on a desert island because he was likely a small child when the ship went down, but at least there was a ship wreck. Is it just me, or did it seem like they were alluding to the fact that Lionel might have had something to do with the Queens' demise as well? When I wen tback and looked at the pilot for verification on the headline, I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT WAS ACTUALLY THERE! I'm SURE, based only on what I"ve come to expect from these guys, that they couldn't have possibly had this GA thing plannes out since way back then, but it was still cool to see it there in the paper.

    I dunno. I don't have a cell, so I didn't see the origin.


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

    I don't know for sure because it's been so long and I no longer have any clear ideas about the plot arcs this season, or in other seasons for that matter since they're not consistant and there's no way to even guess where they might go or what might still be important; but wouldn't Zod have had to be a phantom in order to take over Lex's body. After all, if he already had his own body, like Batista, he wouldn't have needed Lex, right? Like the Bow Wow guy a few weeks back, Zod needed to inhabit someone else's body in order to manifest didn't he? Or am I missing something. Again, it's been so long.

    I don't know. It's confusing to me.


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

    I feel I have to call you on this but if I'm wrong I'm sorry. You've been making a big deal about how you could have had the scoop of the century since you knew MM was going to be on but you held it in. Now though, before it's been revealed that this character is in fact, MM, you're saying it anyway. I'm not sure how it was in the media back then, perhaps it was already common knowledge, other than spoiler knowledge, that this guy definitely WAS MM, but the show certainly doesn't tell or show us that so it seems to me that you're giving it away after saying it took all your will power and coolness not to give it away. Again, if I'm wrong because it was clearly out at that point I'm sorry, but even in Doug's review, he doesn't say it so it sounds like it wasn't out yet. To me, it certainly appeared as if MM could have been another phantom or a meteor guy or whatever, not necessarily MM.

    What I mean when I said that is that before any major internet sites knew who it was or who it would be, I knew from an anonymous source, and I kept a lid on it, because that's what good journalists do, even though I could have gotten good press splashing it. But that's not the point. The point is that I was eager to see this thing (I REGULARLY hide all kinds of secrets like that, that's just normal, but it's rare they excite me that much), and it flopped for me, which hurt.

    By the way, DOES MM actually like oreos in the comics. Seems a little un-intimidating to me. I also don't remember ever reading anything about that in any JLA books I've read, seeing him eat sandwich cookies on JLU or ever hearing anything about it at all. It's definitely cool if it is an actual character trait.

    It used to be a staple of MM that he loves Oreos, yeah. They do it less now that they've turned him into an inhuman monster who I can't sympathize with to make him more "edgy" or whatever.


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

    I was thinking that maybe they actual used MM's phasing ability here and it just looked like a burn. What if MM phased his fist through Batista's back and then solidified it? Makes it much more gratuitous and further points out that DC superheroes don't kill but I think it might actually be a better explanation than a burn, although admittedly that's what it looked like. Perhaps it's been explained in later episodes by this point, I haven't seen them, though I tend to doubt it, but it sounds like it could be at least a decent theory.

    It was smoking and bright red, though.

    You say:

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

    I was thinking about this when I first saw it. The first time they showed the Oreo earlier, I didn't know it was an Oreo at all. I had no idea what it was. Then when I saw it was an Oreo I thought it was funny at first, then I thought "Wow, he's eating Oreos after he just killed a guy. Now I already knew it was MM, like I said before because I had seen several not very well hidden spoilers, but I didn't know anything about him liking Oreos.

    It was big more four or five years ago and beyond.

    Anyway, my thoughts on this were two. One, if MM came from a Martian society where immediate capital punishment for horrible murderers was commonplace and he hasn't yet learned that on earth the criminal justice system doesn't work that way, at least not in America, it could be that he's just doing what he knows, and what the villian (debatedly) deserves. Once he learns how to work within our justice system and what the rules are to being a DC superhero, it won't be as forgiveable; if, in fact, this is the reason. Second and in total contrast is this: I think I've heard something akin to MM being like a mentor in teaching Clark that he needs to be proactive in his approach to heroism. If this is the case then he's not new and fresh out of hero school but he's posing as a veteran and as someone Clark should look up to and the killing thing is much worse. Plus I already don't like that because Superman is supposed to be the first, the leader and the guy everyone looks up to and is inspired by. For Jackie Stiles to show up as a MM that's already years and years Clark's veteran just once again throws any reasonable doubt that this Clark and these heroes will ever or could ever have become the Superman and Justice League we're familiar with. Sigh.

    It's kind of stretching it for the writers to go that far, I say.

    You said:

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

    It seemed to me that due to Lex's obsession with the meteors and the meteor freaks and powers, that he really has no choice but to consider a partnership with Lionel since Lionel says he won't tell him where any of what he's collected is until he does agree. The thing that stood out to me in this scene is that, as of a few weeks ago, Lex was still ordering Lionel to put materials on his desk "by tomorrow morning" or something to that effect which seems to indicate that Lex is at the very least Lionel's boss. But now, Lionel is chastising Lex for being in Lionel's office. Lionel, in his hot business suit looking like the big daddy of the corp even though I can't see any way he still would be. Oh wait, of course I forgot. Lex, because he's extremely forgiving and loving of his father, must have first given Lionel a job with him and then turned over control of all assets and the company reigns to Lionel as well. How could I have forgotten something that makes such complete sense?



    "Yeah, apparently future flight, fire from the eyes, super-strength, invulnerability, x-ray vision, telescopic vision, and freeze breath doesn't hold a candle hands and flight."

    I thought the same thing as soon as MM flew away and they cut to commercial. I remembered that in the promo last week they showed Clark giving that line about powers he could only dream of and I thought: "not as yet." All we saw MM do really. He could have used any method to burn or injure Batista's back which resulted in his death. Clark has a great deal more powers AND he KNOWS that he even harbors the ability to fly. The burn, which is what it looked like, even if my theory might sound good, Clark could create with his heat vision. Those are the only two powers a person could discern this mystery savior/killer might have had so I'm not sure why that line was used. But then, the writers don't exactly always use good logic. One other thing, on my screen at least, MM's eyes were glowing a hot whitish and not red.

    Really? Yeah, no they were red.

    You say:

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

    I'm thinking that she's probably just trying to manipulate him again, a la the "I'll get him to stop" line. Because it's Lana, she'll lie and say that it's ok but then when he admits it she'll stomp her foot and throw a tantrum and then try and manipulate him into shutting it down or ramping up production and study or whatever it is that floats her boat at the time of revelation.

    Pretty much.

    You said in biz:

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

    I think that annual was simply a joke book showing Mxy mixing things up. I didn't like it and I thought it made no sense and was silly but I don't think it was meant to mean anything or show an actual first meeting or anything like that.

    I still don't know what it was. I'm just plain lost on Superman books right now in many ways. It's become so scaled back and irregular, I could literally drop it and not miss anything, at least for most of the last year.

    Someone wrote in to say:

    "When a show loses it's way, it loses it's audience and perhaps it's a sign that the Superman loyalists aren't the people this show is designed to bring in. It's beginning to look more and more like another teenaged angst show that there are already far too many of."

    Oh I'm SURE this show isn't trying to bring in the Superman loyalists. This show is meant to snag 13 or 14 year old girls. Those 13 or 14 year old girls LOVE arbitrary tension, because they don't recognize it as arbitrary,passive aggression, because they'd like to see themselves as being that way and over the top unbelievable love connections, because they believe it's very romantic.

    I think that's very insightful, and correct. And the fourteen-year-old boys put up with it because they want to see the girls in skimpy outfits.

    That's it for "Static," now onto "Hydro." Oh joy, I missed "Subterranean," which probably wasn't good either but thankfully I moved onto "Hydro." See: Sarcasm.

    You mention:

    "An excuse to get Lois and Clark to kiss, an excuse to show more Green Arrow without him doing anything functional to the plot, and an excuse to have Jimmy there. Jimmy, Green Arrow, even Lois, they're all dead weight that add nothing to the overarching plot right now."

    I really enjoyed this part of the episode. Yes it was meant to be cute and yes it was meant to give CLark and Lois a kiss and yes in general Jimmy, Lois and the GA shouldn't be here but since they are I felt this was a nice way to use them. I thought it showed Clark in a great light. Protecting a fellow heroes identity and as a bonus, he gets to hear that Lois feels he has a better kiss than Ollie.

    That was cute, I'll give it that.

    You say:

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

    I didn't realize Welling had directed this episode, again I pay much less attention to everything than I used to, but I don't think we can blame this actor who sometimes directs for the terrible writing and choices made by the producers.

    On this much, I agree. I still wish him well with directing if that's what he wants.

    Great Scrubs reference Nancy, now why don't you go on over there and get me Lana's urine sample. After all, she's amazing so her waste material must be too, right newbie?

    Everything comes down to poo.

    You say:

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

    I say that Clark's way of broaching the subject is to tell her, once he finds out that she's pregnant that "It doesn't matter now." He's stepping out valiantly but, as per Clark still feeling for Lana on this show, disappointed that the one last chance he still thought he had has slipped away.

    Still, there's a baby in the balance. That's important.

    You again:

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

    Clark didn't go to the mansion to confront Lex about being with Lana, and in my memory he's actually civil to Lex in that "how's things goin'" sort of way. Clark went to the mansion to speak with Lana, which a person is normally entitled to do. Lana would DEFINITELY be the first to tell us that her bf doesn't get to limit the people she's allowed to see. Clark was waiting for Lana to come and Lex goes down there because he's pissed Clark's there because he just found out Lana still has feelings for Clark. In fact, I think the security peeps tell Lex that someone's here for Lana; it's Clark Kent. Maybe I heard wrong but I would almost swear that's what happened. Lex doesn't even tell Lana Clark's here for her. Security tells him quietly and he goes down to take control.

    Well, Lex has said Clark isn't welcome. He's still reacting logically.


    "Lex goes to Tori Spelling to get information about Clark Kent and Lana Lang...And what bearing does this scene have on any of the rest of the episode? None."

    I thought it was silly that he went there, but then, maybe he knows that she is a freak or heck, even one of his. However silly the plot is though, it DOES have relevance and bearing on the rest of the episode. Hydro lady is sneaking around Chloe because Chloe hangs with Clark, hence, she hopes to get said info on Clark. Also, Chloe is Lana's friend so, same thing. I think there's an extreme relevance (and believe me I'm not saying this cause I thought the ep was good) in that she finds out that Clark is an alien with superpowers. Lex would definitely want to hear that. Now obviously when we get to the end and nothing has been done with the secret, not for lack of trying, and the Hydro woman doesn't even seem to be out of commission by my reckoning, then we still have a loose end.

    If they ever tap it, which is unlikely.


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

    I don't think Chloe was saying that she didn't want to take any more secrets or help her friends. I think the ramification will hopefully be that Clark has learned not to take her for granted with the secret thing as much and that the secret keeping thing is hard on Chloe too.

    Again, though, never mentioned again.

    You say:

    "The funny part of all of this is that here, Lana has an actual reason to be mad at Chloe. There's no way that anyone could have gotten this information without Chloe, period."

    I think you were trying to say that under normal circumstances or in real life that there would be no way anyone could have gotten this information without Chloe. In this show however, Linda Lake is hiding in the office in the water cooler when Lana tells Chloe so she got the info from the actual conversation. I'm sure you knew this, because you said it, that's why I think you were speaking hypothetically. It's a happenstance that if we regular real people encounter we would have to assume that Chloe was the culprit. However, this is Smallville, so EVERYONE should know by now that there's always another explanation, or at least there CAN be, and that nothing is ever what it seems. On this show there's never any excuse to immediately accuse someone and all the characters should know that by now because they've all seen the hidden freaks and bad guys and people that set other people up. It should always be: "Hey, I wonder if Chloe would have done this or.if it's another meteor freak reading my thoughts or hanging out in the water cooler that heard the convo."

    I don't know. I think in a world of strange circumstances, logic still applies. Occam's Razor is the law even in a fantasy world.

    Actual Chloe line: "The Lana Lang I know would at least give me a chance to find one!"

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !! A furtherance of Joker-esque laughter comes from the Vinnacombe household after Allison Mack, as Chloe on Smallville utters this incredibly unbelievable line. Giddiness ensues, and not the good kind either, but the kind that forces people to kick dwarves and throw midgets out of windows (definitely the fantasy type peoples and not anyone of actual stature-handicap.) The kind of hilarity that makes a man want to get a crate load full of bunnies, unload them all throughout his house and then grab their ears in order to.wait for it.spin them around like windmills! The windmills of imagination where a man.a man of a place.a place like La Mancha would sing about himself and include phrases like: "I'm Don Quixote, the man who hates Lana, the man who hates lazy writers and episodes of ineptitude." "But wait," says his sidekick Pete. "That would mean you're altogether more toward hating this entire series then you are toward liking it." That's when our poor hero Don paints his living room in his own brain matter because the plot holes and ineptitude have confused him so much that he thinks his own cranium computer is in fact pink paint and that his skull is the pail in which it came.

    Hah! See, all naysayers aside, I'm not to the "the show has been more bad than good" point yet. Though this line did a lot of damage.

    I simply COULD NOT BELIEVE someone actually wrote that line - someone of considered intelligence and of a profession where characters and characterizations are extremely important. And then.then.poor Allison has to say it. I'm an actor and I can really feel for these people when they have to utter a statement that makes no sense or just sounds plain stupid. This particular case for example. Stupid. Just. Plain. Stupid. Careful now, the maniacal laughter is threatening to tear apart the fabric of reality again. Best if we move on.


    As far as Lois having enough confidence and high self esteem to never just decide she doesn't want to know. Once again, as with Lex, it could be that horrible thing called blind love. Sometimes, rarely ever in fact, is it logical and we've all often heard you can't control who you love.

    Right, but that statement is always foolish, because it should be, "You can't control who you love, but you can choose whether or not to stay with him/her."

    It's said the other way because people love being an innocent victim even when they're culpable for their own failures and don't want to be. Like kids that "just happen."

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

    It seemed to me in the scene before that Clark might have suggested attempting to fool Ollie into revealing himself. Clark was planning all along that he'd cover for Ollie and he said something like: "maybe you won't have to confront him" and then we went to either commercial or another scene. That left me to assume that Clark was in on the whole thing. Only Lois thought that he was out to help her prove that Ollie WAS the GA.

    Yeah when Lois hit Clark I too thought 'What the hell??' In fact, I said it out loud to my sister. "She's the one who kissed him!" My sister agreed and we laughed and laughed. Not quite as deliriously as above but it sure was damn close.

    Pretty much. It was an odd setup.

    "WE, the AUDIENCE, are the only one who knows Clark has done something "reprehensible," even though it wasn't."

    We do know what Clark is up to and Lois doesn't. You say it isn't reprehensible. It could be said though, that Clark is helping GA/Ollie to lie and deceive his girlfriend, which we know superheroes must do all the time but it's always a big deal on these shows, especially to the potential mates.

    She kissed him. He didn't force her to do it.

    There's also an explainable reason why Lois might slap GA once she realized he wasn't Ollie. She still thinks he's a creep criminal. Even though she kissed him, because she must have figured, when she thought it was Ollie, that she'd been wrong about his criminal activities, once she realizes it's not him she goes back to her original feelings on the GA.

    I've said it a hundred times, hitting over a disagreement is the height of contemptibility, no matter what the circumstance. Male or female. Lord knows there have been letter writers I want to smack (not you, obviously), but if I did, no matter what they said or how they deceive me, it's wrong. I actually had people write me letters under differing names once just to see if I was telling the truth and really sent a personal letter back to everyone. That's worth a slap right there... but no!

    I found myself hoping that at least the laptop Chloe smashed contained the only copy of the article but hen, even if it was, it's not like there was proof in it like a picture or something. Linda could certainly just write the story again.


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

    Not much of this episode makes a lot of sense, and when this happened I was thinking the same way you are. I tried to come up with some sort of reasonable explanation, even though the writers themselves don't seem to care about that, and I think I have a decent one at least for this part. At the beginning of the show, Lake doesn't immediately turn to water and attack the jock. Instead she bolts for the fountain. I wondered at the end, when everything seemed stupid and was, if Lake was more like Pyro than Iceman. Iceman can generate and manipulate ice, Pyro can only control and manipulate the fire once it is made by an outside source. Showing that Lake was in Chloe's bathtub during the scene where she found out about Clark further evidenced this theory I think. Not that it was done very well, but I was thinking the idea might have been to always show a nearby water source in order to cover the idea that the woman needs to be around water in order to change it or shape it or manipulate it. With the water cooler then, she could have simply dripped some of the stuff out of the spout and then went up the flow. This would also explain why she didn't, as I thought she would, turn to water and lunge through the closing elevator doors to get Chloe.

    Hah! You're covering for bad writing again...

    Unfortunately though, I think the whole thing falls apart closer to the end when, with no puddles or fountains nearby, Lake turns to water and attacks Chloe out on the street. If there's a way the theory could have still been applied here that you can see, please let me know. I can't really see a way myself. Plus, moments later, the woman who can turn to water AND reform, is hit by a car. She explodes in a burst of H2O and is.KILLED? I can't come up with any possible explanation as to why that would kill her or even hurt her. To me, it seems as though Lake was hit by Lana's car and let's say it actually injures her when she's attacked in water form, she then turned to water and flowed down the sewer drain. I can't see how she's not still down there or right out of there as soon as she stops flowing and back up to kill Chloe or re-write the story and expose Clark to the world. Even me trying to make excuses for these lazy writers doesn't work! Darn cock-a-doodie doodie-heads! That's not the way it happened last week! I saw the cockadoodie car go over the cockadoodie cliff! HE NEVER GOT OUT OF THE COCK-A-DOODIE CAR!!!! I'm sorry; sometimes I get a little stark raving mad in my misery.

    Oh, believe me, I'm with you on that one.


    "The Oliver Queen Chronicles are advertised, and actually interest me. I'd review them for you, but I don't have a cell phone,"

    You probably know already but I think I saw the chronicles available on the CW website now so you don't need the cell phone.

    No, I didn't know that. I'll have to check them out. This week is busy, but maybe next week.

    This may be the best subtle line I've ever read from you Neal, and I love it because I'm a huge fan of the show it's from: "AND NEITHER DO HURT YOU, IDIOT. Die in a fire. Make Picard cry."

    Well, you know, I was just watching Generations, and I know fire is Picard's weakness, so I thought that'd be a blasphemously funny bit. I thought of adding "Show Kirk to decks 15-18!" but thought that might be a bit obscure."

    "Burned in the fire."

    Why couldn't it have been Lana! Why??? KAHNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!


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

    It isn't, and it's BS.

    Word squared.

    Now onto the Biz:

    Your first writer on this episode is the guy who talks about your opinion of the people who don't run away when they know disaster is coming and they've had fair warning. I must say I totally agree with your views on this and think that guy's just another idiot. As you know, there are many.

    And yet, I didn't slap him. Yeah, that guy wins a prize. He even did something else afterwards I can't share, but yeah, he misses the point of life.

    A writer says:

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

    I've seen this too in a UK magazine about Superman Returns. The whole article was about how Lex LuthER was played by Kevin Spacey and about how this is a much scarier LuthER than we've seen previously, etc. etc.


    "Yep. And now there are kids who will assert with authority that it was always in Kansas."

    I actually had no idea that Smallville wasn't always in Kansas. I would have been one of the ones who thought it was.

    Oh, no, I meant Metropolis. Sorry. Typo.


    "It's a key example of why I defend Signs but hated this episode. Yeah, aliens who can't operate doorknobs and are defeated with water is stupid on paper, but the attention paid to character in that film makes up for it."

    Signs is one of my favorite movies. I try to tell people who talk badly about it that it's deep and about character and has so many hidden meanings and subtle clues throughout and that it's extremely well written. By the way, I don't think they couldn't operate doorknobs. The only times they couldn't get through doors, I think, was when they were locked and boarded up. The water thing I have to argue with people about all the time. I think that it's not THAT inconceivable that an alien race could be from a planet where they have no water. That may sound silly but think about it. Human beings need water to survive and the Earth is made up of mostly water, that doesn't mean all other planets with life on them would have to be. I think it's completely plausible that these aliens have no idea what the components of water are or what they will do to them. I see it as they've probably never run into water before. It's like Star Trek in that the crew could go to a planet where they can scan and know they need to wear suits to survive, but then run into a non-scanable substance, at least by their scanning equipment, that kills them on contact.

    And even beyond that, it could be air that kills them. It's not a movie about plausible geek technicals, it's a film about a man with a crisis of faith working through it, with a novel backdrop that is atypical (It's not the usual family reunion self-revelation crap piece).

    Just read a reader's comments about MMs burn looking mark possibly being his phasing power. I DID come up with that on my own before seeing this.

    I believe it. I came up with opening a movie with "Nothing But Flowers" long before Kevin Smith did. I have a draft from 1999. Great minds, is all.

    Ok then that's it. I'm very soory about this Neal and you certainly don't have to read it all in any particular timeframe. I know you're busy. It's just been a while and for some reason I tend to comment on alot.

    Nah, man, that's why I do this.

    I'm actually glad to be back in the mix with Smallville a little. I do like the show for it's good points, though I loathe the bad ones and there are many. So I'll stick with it to see how it comes out. Have fun!

    Scotty V


    Mark Boomer wrote:
    Hello Neal,
    I've been reading your Smallville reviews since about Season 3 and I always enjoy them even though I don't always agree.


    I was wondering if you could shed any light as to why DC(or whomever makes the decisions) feels the need to impose embargoes on certain characters? I think part of the reason Smallville isn't as good as it could be is because they want it to be a coming of age story, but they're only allowed to take it so far. And so they feel the need to pad it out with all the soap opera nonsnese. Does that make any sense? Well even if it doesn't I'd love to hear from you on this. That's all I've got so keep up the good work.

    Mark Boomer

    I don't know or understand DC politics. I know characters cost money and are embargoed for certain reasons. But I think the larger point is not that the show would be better if Wonder Woman appeared, and more why they are not doing better with what they have. I can name many shows without such outrageous devices that do just fine, that do incredibly. House, for instance, has no mythos to draw on, and doesn't leave a static setting, so it focuses intently on the characters involved and torques them constantly. Smallville's characters are inconsistent and the writing staff doesn't seem to be on the same page or plan.

    Magnus wrote:
    I saw the last episode in season 2 today.
    And I wondered about how Clark will going to explain the explosion on his farm (I saw that you wrote that in your review too)

    Hah! And they never did. Congrats on catching up, man! I envy you, season three ruled.

    I'm looking forward to the first episode in season 3 for I think that's one of the smallville's episodes I haven't seen.

    It's cool.

    In your review of episode 23, Season 2, You wrote

    "I thought that Clark's motorcycle was part of the things that were taken back that he bought while out of his head. Isn't it a bit spendy for a poor farm family? Guess it's just cool to see Clark on a bike, sure, but that doesn't mean it makes sense."

    I think you are wrong, I have a memory of that being Clark's father's motorcycle.

    Might be. Man, that's a gem from the past!

    Continue to write the reviews

    I can't stop! :)

    I remembered something I wanted to ask you know.

    When they are finished with smallville.
    How long do you think it'll take before a new Superman-series airs on television?

    It's never long, honestly. A new SUPERMAN series, like, live-action grown-up Supes? I think after the movies have run their course, because they're paranoid that way.

    Mike D. wrote:
    Glad you're getting blessed to go to the conference, get us some juicy info boss!

    Mike D.

    Thanks! DC didn't show in force, but I did my best. Hope it worked!

    Thom-As wrote:
    Neal, I have two words for you: CHEEKY B@ST@RD.

    I live in ND, so I'm sure that while I'm writing this you're waiting for Smallville to begin so I'll be short. Since season 4, I've been praying for the return for Lionel Luthor: Cheeky B@st@rd.

    Actually, that's a good call. I could dig it.

    I'm sure you're as thrilled as I am about it. In fact, having read read your reviews for so long, I know you are.

    I hope you'll forgive my lack of content in this letter, usually I actually sit down and think of what it is I'm going to say, but tonight just isn't that night.

    So Neal, until next time,



    Hey, that works for me.

    Bruce Kanin wrote (about Promise):


  • Great episode. A lot of plot threads were leading to this one. And a few key ones opened up. Grade A.


  • Neat opening - nice music - no dialogue - with Clark hurling his photo with Lana out the window. Cool.
  • When Clark lifted the wine cellar door off of its hinges, I recalled George Reeves doing the same thing countless times (but with bank safe doors and the like).
  • The return of Lionel Luthor! In spades. In quadruple spades. Lionel is The Man - THE Luthor - again - now. The nice, pleasant Lionel was a façade, as we probably all suspected. The Man of Evil is back, and we should be grateful.
  • So what's up with Lana's baby? Did Lex have the late doctor infuse some of Clark's DNA in the kid? Is the baby really Clark's kid? Intriguing. Poor Lana (see later).
  • Great scene where Lex kills the doctor in the mausoleum. How appropriate. The "Phantom" music was a bit much, but it didn't, er, kill things for me.
  • So Lana knows - for sure - that Clark is Superguy. But there's still a secret - Clark doesn't know that she knows. The truth is still "out there"...
  • Did you notice that when they replayed the wine cellar scene, the second time with Lana spying on Clark and Chloe, you see Clark pretty much through Lana's eyes. As such, when he turns to super-speed away, he disappears - we don't see him zooming in a blur, as we normally do. I'm assuming that was deliberate - this is how Lana would see him - suddenly winking out. If they intended this, it was a great touch.
  • Just when things get overly tense, they smartly have a tension-breaker, with Clark proposing - to Shelby the dog! For a moment, it allowed viewers to collect themselves. Great scene - WOOF!
  • Turnabout is fair play: now Lana has a secret because she wants to protect Clark. It used to be the other way around. Nice.


  • So why the jumble of scenes in the first half hour? And some imaginary ones, too (like Clark killing Lex at the altar). Seems like they were padding the hour with a gimmick. In the end, it didn't spoil it for me, though.


  • The return of Lana's Aunt Nell! Chalk up one for continuity going way back to the first season.
  • Poor Lana - she's stuck with Lex, and she doesn't have Clark - and she has this awful burden to carry around, courtesy of Lionel - not to mention whatever is growing inside of her.
  • Poor Lex - he thinks Lana loves him, but she doesn't - plus now his dad has the upper hand.
  • Poor Clark? Well, he lost Lana, but hey, he's going to grow up to be Superman - and get Lois Lane. Plus he'll hang out with the Justice League, including Wonder Woman. So...don't feel too sorry for him, despite the ending of this episode!


  • Feh. More wrestlers. And freaks-of-the-week, apparently.

    We agree 100% here. Good times!

    Ami wrote:
    Hi Neal! :D

    Ami! Hey.

    I just watched the new Smallville episode :O I'm surprised it wasn't named "Wedding" XD

    Or: Sigh!

    Luckily, I couldn't watch it when it aired, so I had to tape it and that allowed me to fast forward the repetitive parts involving Lana :D

    I should do that for one episode.

    I could have gone my whole life without seeing this episode and I wouldn't miss it .;; It was extremely painful for me to watch :(

    Sorry 'bout that.

    Lionel tells Lana that he can kill Clark and that she has to marry Lex or he will. .;;

    Lionel does steal Lex's gals.

    Does Lana

    a) ask Lionel to prove that he can and show her what this mysterious method might be?

    b) tell Lex that his father is forcing her to marry him

    c) tell Clark that Lionel threatened to kill him and has the ability to, thus allowing Clark to stop Lionel before he can do nething, or at least letting Clark know that somebody is a threat to him

    d) tell Martha, who would tell Lionel off, and then Lionel would throw away the Kryptonite for her and then they'd promptly rip off each others clothes and have wild smex on the floor XDDDD

    e) accept Lionel's threat without question and meekly marry Lex and then lie to Clark for the rest of the episode, ignoring the fact that Lionel apparently can kill him whenever he wants .


    VERY good points.

    I hate Lana so much! :O

    The Chloe and Clark bit at the beginning was predictable. So predictable I'm shocked that Chloe didn't suspect it XD Mind you, given how often Clark uses his powers in front of ppl or in public spaces and nobody is the wiser, I can forgive them for not expecting Clark to be caught XD

    So the person with super hearing doesn't hear Lana breathing right next to him? XD

    That got me. The character moment forgave it in my mind, though.

    And when he ran in looking for Chloe, wouldn't it be logical for him to use his vision powers to scan the room?

    How come Lex Luthor's mansion alarms go off for every little thing but there's absolutely no security or nething when somebody rips off a door in his house? .;;

    A darned good point as well.

    The whole "different perspectives" thing was annoying b/c it seemed very gimmicky and worse than that, we had to sit thru the same Lana scenes twice! :O

    How come even when Lex kills somebody it can't be clear cut to make him evil? XD It's like the creators rly dun want us to hate him, b/c all his evil acts are always mitigated by circumstances o_o;;;

    It's one of my big sticking points. They keep returning Lex to good guy.

    I know that if 2 ppl have hurt me emotionally as much as Lex and Lana has Clark, my mom would NEVER show up to their wedding no matter what ties she has to their families :O

    Weddings generally stink anyway.


    I'm actually wishing we went back to "freak of the week" episodes now :( I just can't stand Lana :( It's rly like she IS the main character of the show.


    Is this the last season btw? o_O;;

    Not as far as I know. There's been no announced new season yet, but that doesn't mean anything.


    neways, the good thing about Smallville being back is that your reviews are too :D I can't wait to see what you say about this :)

    - The Ami

    Hope it didn't disappoint!

    Daniel wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    Been a long time since I wrote something to you, but I suddenly felt inspired when you mentioned the show Heroes in your review. I don't know if you've mentioned it elsewhere (as in letters or other reviews) and if you have I apologize (unfortunately, I just don't have enough free time right now to check), but I was wondering what your opinion on the show was. I've watched every episode thus far, and while it has had some promise, I've become a bit disappointed in it. Drawn-out storylines, stupid catch phrases, inconsistent character actions, strange character development (when it is there), etc. Kind of reminds you of another show. That said, I find it more intriguing than Smallville right now. At least one has done some good things lately.

    I am not over-impressed. It started getting better before the break, and I watched it though, but I don't see too much unique about it. I plan on watching the latter half of the season this summer, perhaps, but I'm not incredibly excited, like I am, say, with Lost or House.

    And by the way, House is still amazing - I was just a bit surprised they returned everything back to the status quo when Tritter left (the conclusion to that arch was far from satisfactory).

    I wasn't. The whole point is to dig the whole deeper and then bring it back to status quo. It's a show based in said status quo, unlike Smallville, which is a show of evolution. The idea is that House will, through his genius, sustain his desires until, I'm guessing, in the end the drugs kill him. Or Moriarty does. I see that as clear as day, and I still dread it.

    Anyways, Smallville right now is dead, but unfortunately, they forgot to sign the DNR. Even during the horrible Season 4, they managed to put some nice elements in. Even crappy episodes had their redeeming moments. Now, wow, beyond Justice, I can't really think of a great recent episode. And even Justice had significant flaws that you had to overlook simply because it made the attempt to at least feel like an epic. Like you, I will continue to watch this show until it fizzles out, but I feel for both our sakes, that needs to happen sooner rather than later. It says something about the show when you wouldn't mind seeing Clark suddenly wake up and realize that the past three years have all been a dream.

    I liked the last episode. It gave me some hope.

    I look back at the first three seasons and I almost wonder what could have been. Season 3 was impressive. Almost epic. Really, very few bad episodes, and even those would rank as a 3 on your current scale. They did almost everything right through the first three seasons that I am amazed at how quickly they ruined it. I mean, how does a show produce an episode like Memoria or Shattered and then produce the current crap?

    Three was my absolute favorite season.

    Well, that's all I guess. Probably didn't really add anything new to what has been said in the past, but I guess I just felt compelled to put a word or two out there. You know, clear some air ;)



    Juan Ricardo Lopez wrote:
    Neal after waiting a month and now watching this episode (Promise) Smallville has gone beyond the bottom of the sea no "shark" can go were smallville is standing right now how boring and stupid this episode plot was. How possible is that after six seasons Clark decide to tell Lana the truth and i as a fan a true fan dint care about this.
    I know that in youre review you already wrote about this flaws that i cant count no more but this episode is beyond crap pure CRAP.

    Pure Stupidity
    Take care
    "A friend"


    Tom wrote:
    Hi, Neal.
    I just read your review of Superman #659. I'll start off by saying I'm an atheist as well, and I understand where you're coming from.


    I actually go to a Catholic high school (I'm graduating in three weeks)--as an atheist, I wanted to sort of get inside the head of the other to get a better understanding. And I've found that, through my own personal philosophies and developing an understanding of Christianity from the inside, as it were, people (theists and atheists alike) tend to argue the same thing with different words.

    From the time I was 15 to the time I was twenty, I explore Christianity in depth, through reading, epistemologies, prayer, attempts to commune with God, talking with people, going to churches. I even wrote a book. I can name no Christians who have done the same for atheism. It's the presumption you often find. Christians want you to try Christianity and tolerate them, but they will never try atheism or tolerate you, generally. Best of luck with it, however.

    This just goes to say that when it comes down to it, there's no need to distinguish between a moralistic atheist and a moralistic (as opposed to non-practicing) Christian--and indeed distinguishing between the two just causes problems and, let's face it, wars--because we're all really pushing for the same thing. So it ought to be--and, as David Hume said, 'ought' usually never implies 'shall'--that Superman can be represented in an entirely non-theistic light. However, the fact that we do distinguish between people based on a religious label of atheist or theist, creates 'teams' of sorts. And one always supports and roots for one's own team.

    I don't. But I'm a weird bird. I don't hope the atheists prevail. I hope humanity prevails. I like the recent South Park satire, where the Atheists are all fighting the other atheists in the future. So true. Group mentality, jingo attitudes, they lead to death and oppression.

    There is absolutely no difference morally between a Christian and an atheist, or even ethically. It can even be argued that a secular humanistic ethic philosophy is somewhat more inclusive, because many Christian theologies encourage the oppression of people over their sex, sexuality, belief systems, or land of birth. Many RELIGIOUS theologies, I should clarify, but I'm intimately familiar with threats of beatings from Christians.

    But then, there are crazy atheists, too, just ask Stalin. Hitler was a professed Christian, but was likely atheistic. George Bush is probably an atheist. Most politicians profess atheism in private but would never say that to a naïve and trusting public. Intelligencia, for the most part, are atheistic, because they question everything, whereas religion tends to make you not question, in fact, it's a pre-requisite.

    Does this mean atheists are better in their framework? I think so, but I can't prove it. They're equally valid from a theoretical standpoint. But one stands firmly outside of reason and rationality purposefully in favor of an idealized belief without proof. If that works for you, cool beans. Enjoy. I just feel your pain, having attended a Catholic school myself where I was flipped ten tons of crap for a difference of belief without any logic behind it save mutable tradition.

    I'm not talking about the idea of 'color-blindness' in terms of religion, because that's skirting the issue the same way that 'color-blindness' would imply overlooking the cultural background and requisite understanding of the individual or individuals in question. Having Jesus as a team mascot isn't the problem, is what I'm saying. It's the unfriendly competition and overdriven egos that take the reigns and drive the boats. It may always be this way, but of course that doesn't mean 'give up and shut up'.

    It will always be that way, yeah. And Jesus is CERTAINLY not the problem. Jesus is a great role model, for the most part. Like Huck Finn. Like Roland of Gilead. Like Odysseus. But not as endocaniballistic theophagy. At least, for me.

    I also wanted to ask if you think 52 will be released as a one (or many) volume chronicle-like thing (I don't really know the terminology--as a trade, maybe)? I had neither the cash nor the time to pick up a comic book every week this past year, but I'd still like to read the story and support the awesome effort that went into it on DC's part. Any suggestions, otherwise?

    I think Jesus would love four collections of 13 issues each. Or maybe that was Didio I read about.

    Dan Fenton wrote:

    I gotta say this about "Promise"...I didn't hate it as much as I could have.

    Me neither.

    I thought it was interesting seeing how the day unfolded from several points of view and it seems now that Lana knows all she needs to about Clark...though I'm sure a good smack on the head will take care of that.

    Not from me.

    Maybe Lex is more evil than we've given him credit for as well. The one thing I did like above all was the apparent return to evil of Lionel. I was getting a little tired of his father-figure pandering and it's nice to see him smack around his son and threaten to kill someone for a change. I believe that was what he was put on this Earth to do...

    Sounds good to me.

    Question though, when Lex killed Lana's physician, I could swear I saw blood gushing from his head but when he loaded him into the crypt it seemed to disappear. The only blood concerns seemed to be that on his hands and on his shirt.

    I noted that too. It's odd.

    So Lana's now in loveless marriage and Clark is left to pine over things for now...but we know things will straighten themselves out eventually....and the world will return to spinning on the proper axis soon.

    Talk to you soon.

    Dan Fenton
    Burlington, Ontario


    Zel wrote:
    I have to make this very just dying to read your review of Promise once you get the chance to watch it...then I will post my comment later.
    But just for the record, I feel Jonathan Kent died in vain and the only people who acted in character were Shelby and Lionel. How low for Lex to sink to the depths of willing to do anything so that he can stay with Lana. And what the heck happened to Clark's brain? Is it on vacation? How can anyone convince me that this same person becomes the Superman I know and love?

    That's a tough question. Clark does have a ton of growth to get anywhere near heroic.

    I better stop before I rant and rave the nihgt away
    Do haev a pleasant day, Neal


    Bryant Bradby wrote:
    Dear Neal Bailey,

    I KNOW this the Superman Homepage, but I would like to discuss a very important issue. What happened with Cartoon Network's Toonami's Slogan "Building You A Better Cartoon Show".

    Not sure. I'm completely unfamiliar with the concept. I watch little TV.

    Toonami doesn't have that excitement anymore, like during the days that they aired Thundercats & Voltron, Batman Beyond & The DBZ Cell Sagas, or The DBZ Buu Sagas/DBGT & JLeague/JLU. I hate how this network or this Cartoon block in particular has sunken. Toonami has treated their star shows (season 5 of JLU, DBZ, etc) that could compete w/whatever good star shows on other networks are left like crap and in return, result to their lowest common denominator, by airing numerous promos of Naruto marathons, showing the SAME anime shows every week, & rarely showing good shows or airing promos of good shows like JLU (unless it was getting ready to come on) & Uncut DBZ & what not.

    I would probably watch the Cartoon Network if it did more shows like He-Man and JLU over anime stuff.

    Let me put it to you like this, they need to change Toonami back to the way it was, replace Muguzi , & all that Naruto & Hobobobo mess with Toonami, The REAL Toonami & at the same time, (eventually) restore Toonami back to its prime, by airing the shows that actually meant something. Show the programs that put Toonami on the map, show the cartoons & air the promos that kept people tooned in to Toonami, regardless if it was the Thundercats, Beast Wars, Batman/Superman, UNCUT DBZ/GT episodes, JL/JLU,...... or even the Powerpuff Girls for Pete's Sake, or have another New Year's Evil, Villiantine's Day or something, gosh !

    To me, cartoons have been royal crap with rare exceptions since Saturday mornings in the eighties and the comic stuff from the early and late nineties. I miss innovation like Animaniacs and Tiny Toons, where adults can chuckle and kids can enjoy.

    Back then regardless of when the new DBZ episode was coming on or not, people were willing to give the lesser liked shows (such as Hamtaro & Megas XLR) a chance, not just because their favorite show was coming on afterwards, but because it was just the feel, the vibe that Toonami had. Toonami does not have that anymore. Now I can barely make it through 3 minutes of Naruto before turning the channel. I don't even watch Toonami anymore, period. I can even remember one time when Toonami had taken the Powerpuff Girls, a lesser liked, but still popular kids show that aired on the CartoonCartoon Fridays block & aired it on Toonami along the shows of DragonBall Z & Sailor Moon, making it even more popular by bringing a bigger fan base to the show. That's just like when Fox Kids accquired the rights of the Magic School Bus (an education kids show, my gosh!) from PBS Kids, making that show more popular w/a bigger fan base. Now you can tell that Toonami is getting desperate, by one, showing the same/boring anime lineup every Saturday & still showcase those shows like everyone's looking forward to watching them, and Toonami tries to act slick by skipping over DBZ movies 7 through 11 & airing Fusion Reborn & Wrath of the Dragon out of the blue, expecting to get good ratings, & cutting away footage at that. Toonami is desperate, just like the so called World Wrestling Entertainment. Toonami has no excitement anymore whatsoever.

    The funny thing is, you're probably making great points, but as I have no point of reference, I have no idea...

    This letter goes on for a bit, but since I can't really address the problem too much, I'm going to have to stop and say thanks for the letter, but alas, on this one, I have no opinion. :) Please don't take it as a snub, and thank you.

    Erica wrote:
    Dearest Neal,

    I'm still awaiting your marriage proposal as well as your review of Promise, which I promise was the crapfest to end all crapfests. Until the next episode, of course.

    Promise has arrived! I imagine, however, you might not want to wed, given my positive review. But then, I'm good for caterwauling on my guitar and fine dirty jokes on a Saturday night. That's better than the marriages I've seen, anyway. Well, most of them.

    Our mocking hearts seem to beat as one, though I could, and would, learn a thing or two from the brilliance of yours.

    The line between brilliance, insanity, and poverty are... but thank you. :)

    If you get bored, or just feel like reading the ramblings of an overly sarcastic, girlish dork (read: hot, hot piece of dorky woman-flesh) please check out the myspace site (

    Nothing is hotter than dorky woman-flesh. Or woman flesh. I don't know, I haven't been caffeinated today. But nice site, actually. I friended ye.

    Good to know you.

    I started in the hopes that someone might be capable of, and have the power and desire to, save Smallville from the pits of crap television. Hey, I can dream. And search for pancakes naked. To each their own.

    Naked is the only way to search for most anything. Especially when the doorbell rings before 12 noon. That puts off solicitors fast, especially since I walk unafraid.

    I don't know if Smallville can be saved from bad plots. But I know it can't be extricated from awesome, caring fans.

    I still love you.


    Awesome. :)

    P.S. Organ donation is regulated strictly on need and compatibility. They start at the top of the list and take the first person who's compatible with the physical composition of the donation. The only way to get bumped to the top of the list is through either corrupt means or what I refer to as deliberate selection. Any person, at anytime, can make a "donation" and designate a recipient. There's politics in everything, even harvesting organs, and vultures are rampant. I'm not sure offering up the intact cornea of the "villain" Oliver shot through the face is really the best way to go about getting a transplant, but once again, to each their own.

    I see it a lot on House, too. I'm constantly amazed at what money will get you. First you get the money. Then you get the power. Then you get the cornea.

    Kevin wrote:
    Hey Neal loved the review.


    It's a shame that you had such a bad experience when it came to the Wiizard World Convention. Fanboys seem to have an uncanny ability to forget that they are watching a show or reading a book and treat the characters as real people and anyone who puts them down or changes some of their qualities will never hear the end of it( as will most likely happen when Transformers comes out).

    Oh, the con was awesome! It was the busride that ate me up. And that "sellout" thing was on the site, not there. Everyone there rocked socks.

    I totally agree with everything you said Especially where they showed how Lana saw Clark use his powers. The comics have shown Superman use his powers and they have said that only him and those like him can see the actual power as opposed to just the effect of them unfortunatly, the artists themselves tend to forget this because they have a tendancy to show things like light effects or as in one case, Superman used his heat vision in some sort of flash effect that blinded someone suggesting that they saw the light of his low level heat vision.

    That's one thing I'm cool leaving up to interpretation.

    I think I understand why Lex doesn't just kill his father if he is totally evil. Lex has spent at least 4 of the last 6 years trying to get his dads love and like you said Lex has a twisted sense of what love is; so killing Lionel would pretty much be the exact opposite that. For Lex to kill Lionel he would have to be doing it in a way that he either hated Lionel 100% or he believes that killing him would be the final act needed to get his father's love(Lex is supposed to be twisted enough to think that). Aside from that I just want to say that I liked the review and like you I hope the rest of the season turns out to be good but I suspect next weeks episode is just filler.

    Thanks! Alas, it 'twere.

    Jim Smith wrote:


    When I first watched the episode I had a mixed reaction. It was like an odd tribute to Pulp Fiction, Clark with the watch really drove that point home for me. As when I first watched Pulp Fiction I did not know what to think at first. It did not help having my offspring telling me, that it was a stupid episode of Smallville. But in the end I liked the episode.

    It was like Pulp Fiction, but Pulp Fiction was more disjointed. This was straightforward.

    As for Lionel knowing about Lex doing in the doctor. I think old Lionel was the one pushing the doctor to betray Lex. This would explain how he knew about the body so fast. That being said, I don't think Lionel is evil or good. I take it you have played D&D from reading your review so I see him as more of a chaotic neutral. He knows more than he is letting on. He knows about Clark and what he is meant to do in this world. He also knows from the writing on the (cave) wall that there is one person that stands in opposition to Clark. In his past his ego led him to believe that he was the one, now he knows it is Lex. So he is just playing the board before him, making sure all the pieces end up where they belong.

    I have played D&D. I keep getting kicked out of games for insisting I can shoot lightning out of my butt if it's a ranged spell, or insisting on having a snake familiar named "Trouser." You know, like, "KILL, Trouser snake!"

    I think it's funny. They say it's meta-gaming. I shoot lightning out of my butt at the DM, and I find myself outside having my dice thrown at me and sobbing.

    But seriously, I see Lionel as Chaotic evil, but he has a really high bluff and uses it to make people THINK he's chaotic neutral. I can't believe I just wrote that.

    Why do I say this? As evil as he has looked the last couple shows he has done nothing to Clark to use or expose him. He must see a way to use both Clark and Lex to lift himself even higher than the two, all the while working them against each other. A place on high to give and destroy as he see's fit. Megalomania at its finest. I could be wrong but it gives me something to think about here on the third shift.

    I think that's less his character, and more a lack thereof.

    Anyway, I enjoyed the review. If you get a chance at the next Con you attend to corner Jim Lee ask him about the DC MMO. Take care and until next time...


    I dunno. I have very little desire to meet Jim Lee. I like his work, but I resent his deadline failures to the point that it undermines said work.

    Jeff wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    Just a few points to discuss about Promise.

    Suspending disbelief that Lionel is truly evil (as he should be) and Lana knows deep-down that Lex is not the archetype of a saint, so to speak, was a bit much fo me. I couldn't do it. I'm a firm believer in coherent, logical, and contiguous progrssion in story and character. If the viewer has to assume to make the story work on every level, leaving no gaps unturned, then that is the fault of the writing, unless the assumption(s) is intentional and greatly amplifies the message (i.e. the uncertainty of the protaganist in the final moments of THX 1138).

    I'm very much with you, actually. With this episode, I found that possible... disregarding the episodes I didn't enjoy for the past few months. I looked at it like a direct jump from the pregnancy and the engagement to this, and it worked that way for me.

    In the context of this episode, all is forgiven. But taking into account that this show is somewhat serial-based, I think it falls a little flat. However, if the writers explain Lionel's reasoning and his betrayal of Clark and, by extention, Martha, great. Lex and Lana, on the other hand, is another matter. Where was the build up for this great relevation by Lana that Lex is not on the up-and-up? Lex has shown nothing but devotion to Lana throughout their relationship. How is she trapped in a loveless marriage then? It felt too sudden, that her allegiance would switch over *like that* from loving Lex to loving Clark. And how is he a monster in her eyes? Chloe has a right to call him a monster, not b/c of the abduction, for she's unaware Lex was behind it, but she knows all too well what the Luthor family is capable of, because she's either heard about it from Clark or experienced it herself (i.e. Chloe and her father, 33.1). But Lana doesn't have this excuse.

    Duly noted in the review. Lana was definitely the weak link. But then, she played her part, and this was more of a Clark episode, for sure.

    Another thing that bothers me is this whole baby angle. Does Clark know she's having Lex's baby? If not, then Lana is a real schmuck. Even still, if Lana keeps something like this from Clark, Chloe MUST tell Clark, given that Chloe encourages Clark to pour his heart out to Lana. He must know. If Clark knows, then he must pull a Superman Returns.

    Pretty much.



    Rosana J wrote:

    Glad to have you back and glad you made it back safely. Naysayers and spammers to the contrary, I've always taken your erudite and complete analyses of Smallville as proof positive of the fact that you are a fan of the show. No one could put that amount of care, detail and precision into writing the most complete analysis - more than reviews, in my opinion, which is why I refer to them as analyses - week after week, despite the many disappointments, contrivances and retcons of the past three seasons. Congratulations and I'd vote for you again in a heartbeat.

    Thanks. That's why I entered. I feel the same way. It's not a hubris thing. I wouldn't enter the House ultimate fan competition. I just watch the show and enjoy it a great deal. Smallville I have some work in.

    Compliments and general gushiness aside, I disagree strongly with your review of "Promise" and find myself in the strange situation of, for the first time since I started reading them, being of an opinion that contrasts sharply with yours. Please know that I mean no disrespect and in no way rescind my admiration of you as either fan or writer, but there are some things about this episode that simply cannot be swept under the rug as payback for a handful of good scenes and the superb acting of John Glover and Michael Rosenbaum.

    No worries. Look at it this way. If you always agreed with me, it'd be very, very strange. It shows you're not a blind sycophant, and I thank you for that.

    You write - 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.

    Do we suspend disbelief or do we blatantly ignore the fact that Lex being a monster has been conveniently tossed to the side in favor and was inconsequential to the plot. Lana chose to marry Lex due to Lionel's threat, not to any action, plot or conniving that she may have discovered. For the past three episodes, the focus has shifted from Lana's suspicions of Lex to Lana and Clark's romantic pining yet again. Good writing would have some transition from one subplot to another, but we saw none of that here. Instead, what we were shown was each and every one of these characters acting out of character, omniscience, and a Babelesque timeline with dream sequences, all done badly.

    With me, it was more that Lana's love for Clark, which she hides in petulance because she sees Clark as a liar, overwhelms her passion for Lex tenfold, but she doesn't act on it because he's lying. She finds out the lie is her kind of lie, she would obviously feel a total resurgence of feeling. I can dig that. I don't EMPATHIZE, I would never do that, but I see it as in character.

    This I agree. They need much more subplot, transition, and work in that respect.

    You write - 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.

    The Glover does rock and Lionel has always been a fascinating creature to watch develop on this show. However, his omniscient ability to look within crypts to detect corpses and detect a re-emerging love affair are blatant plot devices to make Lionel appear as the villain while Lex, once again, takes the role of the ambigious.

    Yep. Long-term, that's going to do more show harm than good it did this last episode.

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

    It does indeed work, but not so well that the logical jumps he took in his Godlike position can be ignored.

    Nor shall they be, agreed.

    You write (regarding Lana) - 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.

    Except that it doesn't parallel because of the way Clark's fear of revealing the truth to Lana has been developed. First of all, during the Lana/Lionel confrontation, she actually stated that Lex would never allow him (Lionel) to blackmail her and invoked his name at least one other time. Even during a pivotal, verbal argument, she needs the recourse/defense of either the hero/anti-hero to protect, save and/or defend which, to me, negates the implied heroism of her actions.

    Very true.

    But back to my main point , this being Clark's fear of revealing the truth to Lana. In the first trifecta of seasons, his fears were all based on her possible negative reaction, her personal experience/loss during the first meteor shower and the possibility that she would not only hold him responsible for the loss of her parents, but also for the hordes of Kryptofreaks that were set loose upon Smallville (and the world) once the effects of the meteor rocks were absorbed by the populace affected. During the latter portion of the fourth season, however, and into the fifth, Clark had additional fears to accrue when witnessing first hand her fanaticism and slow involvement in astronomy.

    And sanctioning the freak army, pointedly. Good call.

    Lana's attraction to Lex initially came about because the two were drawn together after she witnessed the spaceship landing and saw the two Zoners attacking and disintegrating policemen after the second meteor storm. Lex chose Lana - of al people - to help him study the spaceship he was keeping in a secluded hangar and she kept that information from Clark. Constantly. He asked her what was going on at several points in season 5 and she always deflected and redirected his questioning back to the ongoing problems they've had in their relationship. When she finally revealed the work she was doing for Lex, the look of fear on Clark's face spoke volumes. This particular fear was reflected in her offhanded comment to Lex earlier this season where she passively stated that she would understand his possible need to experiment on HUMANS if it meant understanding the effects of meteor rocks.

    Oh, she said that several times. Very true.

    What does all this tell us? That there's more to Clark's fear than a romantic contrivance and that Lana has the potential to either contribute or defend Lex's experiments so that the ends justify the means.

    You're entirely right. I stand corrected.

    You write - 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.

    1. For the reasons I've stated above, I have to reason this out to being 'personal protection'. Despite her almost turnaround and return to Clark in this episode, Lana isn't steadfast and there's every possibility that she could project all of her fears, insecurities and hatreds born out of the meteor shower on him, passive aggressively making him 'pay' for what she's endured.

    I should clarify... Clark is intellectually cowardly AFTER experiencing that Lana would not freak in episode 100. He knows her ultimate reaction now. Before that, it was more about safety. But she's not right to torture him, don't get me wrong there.

    2. I'd qualify this as 'spur of the moment' cowardice. She attempted to use Lex as an escape clause, which didn't work, and didn't even think to give either Clark or Chloe the benefit of the doubt that either one might possibly know 'the one thing that could kill Clark Kent' despite the fact that she surmised from the Clark/Chloe conversation that Chloe, in particular, had been in the know for quite some time.

    This is true. Why DIDN'T she ask Chloe?

    3. Lex, to me, has tragic yet ill-founded romanticism. Ironically, of all the character on this episode, he's the one that I simultaneously pitied and felt the most sympathy for. Yet, I'm upset by the fact we're 16 episodes into the sixth season of this show and he's still an ambigious 'villain' at best.

    Yeah. In fact, he's still just misled, not villainous.

    I'm going lower than Doug's score for this episode - 1 out of 5. Take care Neal and don't hate me too much for the opposing yet rambling arguments I've made here.

    No! I LOVE it when people pointedly and smartly disagree with me. It's when they write saying I need to retract and that they hate me that it gets heated and ugly. You were awesome!

    thebrakeman wrote:
    For a first pregnancy, it's not out of the ordinary for a woman to not show into their 5th month. Muscles, ligaments, etc haven't been permanently messed with, so it's not a "stretch" (sorry...). Later pregnancies show up sooner.

    They may. I've just never seen it as such...

    Other things get bigger before the belly, I've found. Namely, noses and ... errr...mams. Neither of which look different on Lana yet (also not a surprising lack of detail...)

    Well, there is that. :)

    thebrakeman wrote:
    "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."

    I'm glad you liked that second scene, too. Some thought it was a special-effects overlook or error (forgetting the "blur"). I thought it was a wonderful opportunity that they took advantage of. The blur is for the viewer. But if Clark moves fast enough to avoid a football tackle, save Chloe from Mytzlpt...(whatever) and get back in time to be tackled...he must seem to literally vanish (as they show in this scene). Wonderful!!

    Yeah! It actually does a lot for the show, and they didn't even have to waste money on an effect!

    John Rockweiler wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    Enjoyed reading your Promise review, hope you enjoyed Wizard World. I realized in my last email that I sent that you actually covered a number of those things I pointed out so I'm sorry about that, I kind of found and got into your rreviews late in the game, and when I have the occasional downtime I've been watching an early episode here and there. But your reviews really do heighten the enjoyment for Smallville, especially in an episode like this one.

    No worries. It's not about being perfect, or I'd be much tighter on the editing. I like the loose feel. Structure is for novels, this is teh internets.

    Before I launch into my take on Promise, I found something interesting in the show Labyrinth that I forgot to mention in my last email. If you still have the show, go to the end after Chloe finds Clark in the barn and they are back in his house by the fire, and tell me if the music in that scene at the beginning doesnt sound a lot like the Goonies music from when they find the gold (the rich stuff!). To me it was identical. I know they use those type of tracks a lot in different productions, but after hearing that, I half expected Chunk to pop out of the kitchen yelling "They got Chocolate Eruption, and Rocky Road!" with Sloth right behind him.


    Ok, as for Promise, I liked the fact that Lana finally knows, although at this point, I think before the show is over, everyone will know and Martian Manhunter will make them all forget. Well, maybe not, but you would think if you are hiding the fact that you are an alien from another planet, you give a cursory X-ray glance around a room you are unfamiliar with to see if anyone is watching. But that's just me. This is the Clark Kent that just superspeeds away in full view of everyone at the Daily Planet after talking with Chloe on more than one occasion.

    I think they don't care about compatibility with future myth as much any more.

    What I didn't like was the abrupt change in character for most of the cast. Lionel suddenly going evil, but I'm sure he has something up his sleeve, as now Lex supposedly owes him one. Lana suddenly realizing she loves Clark and not Lex (although they did kind of build up the mistrust in to lex in Freak and the growing affection to Clark in Trespass) and this is the girl who hates being lied to, so if she suspects Lex is lying to her about his experiments, why should he be any different than Clark lying about his secret? Now she can finally go to Wichita and declare her undying love for Pete, who hasnt lied to her that I know of.


    I didnt really care for the acting in this episode. I got the whole retelling the same day through the eyes of three people, but what I didnt like, was especially with the Chloe Clark scenes, they completely changed the dialog when Lana was there versus when she supposedly wasnt in the first scene. The whole part about the Kryptonite boulder wasn't there the first time, and it looks like Allison does some ad libbing for her lines the second time around, which took me out of the scene for one because I saw it already, but for two, the different dialog really made me feel like I was watching two actors rehearse instead of seeing the scene through someone else's eyes. Even Tom at the end changes his line from "You must not know me as well as I though you did" to "You must not know me very well" I like Tom as an actor and as Clark, and I absolutely love Allison Mack, but in this episode I thought there were some inconsistencies not just with the characters, but with the actors/writing too. Especially when a lot of the second scene shots since they had a lot of the same blocking and pacing, could have just used the footage from the first scene with the same dialog. (But, Allison, if you read this, it's all good, you are still my favorite!)

    I didn't know they did that! Crazy.

    As far as the scene in question where it looks like they missed an effect, I can see your point about seeing through Lana's eyes and he would just be there one second and gone the next, but they used the blur effect before when we were seeing through Chloe's eyes when she found out the secret, why would it be different through Lana's? And, what really gets me is that it's the same shot as before! As far as saving money, all they had to do was copy the first scene effect and paste into the second scene placeholder! I could do that for them in Avid or Final Cut Pro! It was the exact same shot, so I really dont see why they picked now to have an absentee effect when it would have cost them nothing to include it and it would have kept up the continuity of what it looks like when Clark uses his powers. (Another powers continuity issue is that Lana saw the Heat vision from Clark's eyes, but in every other instance of him using that power in front of others, even when he reveals that power to others, they cant see the vision part, only the fire it starts, which is why they say "How did you do that"? )

    I think it's because it was intentional. So good point, no money saved on the effect, but a cool idea, I say.

    And honestly in some of the interviews and previews I've seen for this episode, none of the cast looked remarkably happy to be on set, maybe it was a long day when they were interviewed, but I think some of that lack of enthusiasm leaked into the show. Maybe. Maybe not. I don't really know.

    I don't either. I wish I could find out in person.

    As far as your pointing out that Lionel/Lex couldnt make it to the wedding if it were in Smallville/Metropolis, I agree with that logic unless they are using their jet or helicopter or whatever to go back and forth instead of driving.


    Overall, it was another episode of Smallville, and I like Smallville, so it was ok. But for some of the script/acting inconsistencies and character 180's I only consider it about average. Look forward to your next review, looks like fun, more WWE wrestlers, bet it comes chock full of plot and development! :)

    Oh, pickles.



    Dave wrote:


    Dude, after waiting for days for your "Promise" review, I was sure that you were doing to utterly decimate the episode. And now that I've read your review, I don't know if I'm more relieved or disappointed! Part of me wonders if you're still too road-weary, and that it's taken some of your edge off. Maybe by season's end, you'll return to your ascerbic ways. (Respectfully kidding.)

    I think it was a string of bad eps with a passable one, and I just enjoyed it.

    I love your reviews. And heck yes, six years is an accomplishment. It infuriates me that people actually take the time to write you hateful things. It's almost enough to degrade my belief in the inherent value of each person. Or at least make me want to smack them around a little while. But, as I've said before, your work here is some of my favorite TV commentary on the internets, and the highlight of my websurfing week. So carry on (as I know you shall).

    The factor of hate to fan mail is about 50 to 1 right now, but I too am amazed. I mean, I DESPISE a number of people. Paris Hilton. Lindsay Lohan. Britney Spears. George Bush. Dick Cheney. Anna Nicole Smith. Any show on Lifetime.

    I don't write them hate letters.

    People might then say, "Well, isn't your Smallville review one big hate letter?"

    No. It's not directed at the staff or creators of the show, it's just an independent analysis. I don't care if they read it, and would honestly prefer they not, because I don't want to hurt any feelings. It's just unbridled honesty. There's a difference.

    The closest I've ever come was petitioning Eddie Berganza to bring new blood in on Superman. But that wasn't because I hated Joe Casey, and wanted to send him a nasty rebuttal. I just was paying for a service I wanted difference quality for.

    But yeah, I really liked this episode, and not for any single reason. It just worked for me. Granted, I haven't been extremely critical of this season (aside from eps like "Wither" and "Subterranean"), but this was really one of my favorites, for all the reasons you mentioned--especially because it moves Lex forward.

    My biggest complaint with the show this season (post-Zod) is not that Clark isn't becoming Superman, but that Lex has given him no reason to be. He's been evil in various small ways, but I keep waiting for him to make that big leap from nefarious to diabolical. The death of the doctor, while accidental, may be that transition, I agree (and hope). And I think when Lex finds his true path, Clark will be forced to find his.

    I hope they get there at some point.

    And yes, for the first time in a long time, I didn't despise Lana. I'd like to think this is personal character growth, but I'll concede that it's probably just better writing on the show's part.

    It's one episode, so far. I'll keep watching to judge.

    I'm excited to see what they do with the "Chloe's abilities" storyline this season. As predictable as it sounds, I still kinda hope that it's related to her mad computer-hack skills, just because it would make the previous six years of password-solving and decryption make sense. Maybe a flashback of little Chloe scribbling in a word-search or puzzle book during the first meteor shower. Her brain firing away with all that problem-solving activity when it's first K-infected. I think that would be a satisfying resolution, personally.

    I see that as too pat... we'll see.

    Funny you should mention "Superman II" (okay, maybe not funny in general, on a Superman website, but funny for me particularly). I watched the Donner cut for the first time last night. The scenes where Clark goes back to the Fortress to ask Jor-El for his powers back resonated for me with Smallville's early S5 arc. Granted, the circumstances were different. But there were little things. I don't know, I may be projecting more than what was in the film. For some reason, the tan jacket Reeve was wearing seemed very Smallville-Clark-like. Anyway. Thought it was cool that you brought up Superman II.


    Well, I've jibberjabbered enough. here's hoping "Combat" is not as bad as I know it will be, and that the rest of the season will justify the faint and flickering hope I am maintaining for it.

    We'll keep reading, and I trust you'll keep writing. Happy almost-Easter.

    Houston, TX


    TheBigBuddhaFan wrote:
    I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading others thoughts about the show. I did have a thought I'd like to share, a prediction about the pregnancy, and I just wanted your take:

    Sure! Thanks.

    I have a feeling that the mystery of the pregnancy is that Lex tricked Lana into marrying him by having a sort of "fake" pregnancy procedure performed, in which Lana showed all the signs of being pregnant but nothing was really happening and it was all a fake. Eh, just my take. Thanks.

    Interesting concept. It would explain why she wasn't showing, certainly.

    Bruce Kanin wrote:


  • C. Feh. I hate wrestlers.


  • Crackerjack opening. Just when you thought that there was no series regular in the teaser, it turns out Clark is the object of Titan's disaffection. Cool.
  • Nice effect having Clark's super-wind (ok, his speed) knick over Chloe's latte.
  • The scene with Lois and the blonde - yowsers! Call it "The LL Word". J
  • The return of Green Arrow! ...if only for a moment, on Lex's laptop.
  • Clark is anointed the Man of Steel. Cool! Kind of reminded me of Peter Parker when he went into the wrestling ring and was called The Amazing Spider-Man.
  • Neat fight between Clark and Titan. Hey, why didn't he use his heat vision to sear Titan? But he was really letting loose, for the first time that I can recall. Then again, read THE BAD...


  • Contrived Alert! Flimsy way to get Lois involved - she happens to notice that the fake wrestling arena is an old army base. C'mon...
  • Clark continues to risk his secret by showing his powers in public. Fortunately for him, there's usually a 50-50 chance you'll die once you find out (like the Master of Ceremonies in this episode).
  • The writers thought it was cute to have Lois and Clark face each other in the ring...but I thought it was a... Contrived Alert! Gimme a break.
  • They are sure dragging things out with the baby. Here's my take: they removed the baby from Lana while she was in the hospital, and it's in an incubator somewhere. It's either going to be a Bizarro, Zod or Clark's love child (I doubt the latter, although after "Superman Returns" and the super-kid, anything is possible).
  • When Titan throws Clark around - against a fence - against concrete - what does he expect that to do to him? Titan's super-fists can hurt Clark, but ordinary materials on Earth shouldn't have any effect, even if Clark is hurled against them at a 1000 MPH. But it seemed to drain Clark for awhile.
  • Worst of all, Clark killed. I mean, this time, even though there was some mention of it being an accident, it wasn't. He killed Titan with his bare hands. Clark - Superman - doesn't kill. That's part of his code. In the comics, he didn't kill until the very end of John Byrne's run on Superman, in which Superman seemingly had no choice but to kill three Phantom Zone villains (talk about coincidence re: this episode) that were in a parallel dimension. So, in the comics, there was an exception. However, following that story, Superman was so distraught, he exiled himself in outer space for what seemed like months. In "Smallville", Clark is upset, but with his mother's help, it seems like he's not terribly upset. Not good. Even Captain Kirk, on the verge of killing someone countless times, would throw the knife away at the last minute so that some higher intelligence could say "You did not kill". And Kirk would say: "No, we... do... not... kill. I can... bore... someone to death...with this Shatneresque... manner... but... I... we... do not kill!" Anyway...
  • Contrived alert! Lana tells Lex she wants her medical files. Why? The baby's gone. What will the files tell her? Well, a lot, but all this was contrived to giver her a new plot thread and quest.
  • No Lionel this week. Did he get used up last week?


  • Like the previous episode, we have "flashback time" again, although not as much as last week. Can't they tell a story in "straight time" from start to finish?
  • The Master of Ceremonies looked a lot like The Prankster in the current Superman comics.
  • So there was a Sprint (Red) commercial. And we've seen Gap (Red) commercials. And the Target commercials seem awfully red. These would not have been broadcast in the 1950s during the McCarthy Era.
  • So we have John Goodman doing Dunkin Donuts commercials. And Paul McCartney just signed up with Starbucks. Is nothing sacred?
  • I knew Lois would be knocked out in the arena, just so she wouldn't see Clark fight Titan.
  • Funny how Martha tells Clark to "let go", and then a minute or so later, Lex tells Lana to "let go". I wonder if anyone on the "Smallville" set ever "lets go" with a nasty one...they'd have to rename it "Smellville"...


  • None. Boo. Hiss. Just two episodes, and they're back to reruns?

    Pretty much sums everything I said up. You rated it higher, but yep, all of that got to me as well. Wrestlers, meh.

    It's funny, you say, "Wrestling is fake!" and the fans always say, "Try saying that to a wrestler, see what happens!" like some actor who's three times my size who beats me senseless because I point out he's acting would undermine my point in any way.

    RMF wrote:
    "Promise", to me, was really a Victorian penny dreadful, complete with a hapless, beauteous heroine who becomes the pawn of rich and evil men, a gothic murder, and a heartbroken swain who tries to save her. Stories like this worked in the 19th century because a woman who tried to flee a situation like Lana's would have genuinely had no place to go. In a 21st-century heroine, it's all a bit silly. Lana can't just say, "Psst! Clark, Lionel threatened to kill you"?

    Penny dreadful is a KILLER way to put it. Awesome parallel.

    I absolutely hated that they made Chloe and Martha pull a 180. Not one or two episodes before, Martha told Clark to stay away from Lana, and Chloe urged Clark to put on a tux and attend the Lexana wedding to show he'd moved on. Of course, Chloe said that despite the fact that she has known about the goings-on at Level 33.1 since at least "Justice", and in that episode found them horrible enough to help blow up a facility. So one week she wants him to ignore the situation, and the next week she dumps on him for not getting involved. That sets up the unpleasant implication that Chloe turned against the wedding only because she herself was experimented on. It's a bad case of ad hoc writing.


    Anyway, the emphasis on Clark's secret in this episode is absurd, because if the reason to stop the wedding is to prevent Lana from marrying an evil guy, then what Lana needs to hear is not Clark's secret, it's Lex's secrets. True, she didn't want to hear about them before, but Clark and Chloe know even more now, and they haven't had the opportunity to lay out their evidence. So the crucial problem with the Chloe-Clark scene in the wine cellar is that with her knowledge, Chloe has just as much responsibility here as Clark, but she puts everything on Clark's shoulders. Somehow it's okay for Chloe to hide what she knows, stay in the wedding party, and act as if everything is hunky-dory, but Clark is just an enormous coward?

    TRUE! Very good point. I hadn't thought of that.

    Let's look at their own continuity. Chloe claims that when it comes to putting his heart on the line, the Man of Steel is nowhere to be found. But what happened just last season? Clark worked up the courage to tell Lana his secret, in part to keep her from getting tangled up in Lex's web, and she died. She got in a car chase with a drunken, obsessive Lex and wound up in a fatal crash. When Clark tried to fix that, his father died instead. But in the conversation with Martha, Clark inexplicably says, what if all those reasons I had for not telling Lana, like thinking she couldn't handle the secret, were because I was just scared? The events of "Reckoning" -- not to mention the small army of people who have lost their minds, obsessed, been locked up, experimented on, and died for Clark's secret or their own -- show us that his fears are not irrational, and they're not simply about rejection. And, ironically, although "Promise" appears to want us to condemn Clark's reasons, the episode demonstrates once again that Lana can't handle the secret. She finds out, and inside of five minutes, Lionel uses it to blackmail her into marrying Lex. And she caves. In her place, Lois would have kicked the crap out of Lionel, and as for Chloe, she's already handed Lionel his @ss once before.


    Chloe and Martha don't take the attitude they do because it's logical. They wouldn't flipflop so much if they did. They do it because the writers want to martyr Lana, and they're hijacking the "sensible" characters as mouthpieces to convince the audience to go along with it. As pleasant as it may be to think that Lana's gotten her comeuppance here, it plays much more to me like they want us to blame Clark for Lana's predicament and to punish Clark for keeping secrets by turning the tables on him.

    I don't know about that, but I see that as what they're TRYING to do. Does it play? Not with me.

    It's not that I don't agree that Clark has to learn to brave risk in order to come into his own, it's that the series can't hold a consistent viewpoint on it. They show us abundant reasons why Clark should fear the danger to Lana and others in knowing the secret, then try to convince us it was really all about Clark being afraid to put his heart on the line. Same thing with their giving Clark plenty of reasons to fear and reject Jor-el, then trying to pretend that Jor-el was just a tough taskmaster. Or with Clark warning Oliver that he had to tell Lois his secret in order for their relationship to work, then doing an about-face and saying, "Who am I to stand in the way?" Or....

    The bottom line is they use version A when it benefits the plot, and version B when it benefits the plot, because most people don't function operationally on plot enough to notice it. Even, I would postulate, many of the writers. I've used tricks like that deliberately, but much more obtusely, because I know people are going to be watching. For instance, in my new book, a guy kidnaps a family, and says he does it so that he can have a new family, and then it becomes because he feels a moral duty to FIX the family. Like WMD vs. liberation. A subtle shift will fool many. When you do that, though, you need a catalyst to point to (which WMD notably lacks). In my book, I used a pivotal event. Smallville just goes back and forth.

    I also think that the writers are making the cardinal error of writing with foreknowledge of how the baby storyline will turn out rather than basing the characters' actions on the knowledge they're supposed to have at present (if you don't read spoilers, my objection will take time to become clear). Intervening to save a pregnant woman from marrying a bad man is reasonable; intervening because you want her for yourself is not. Ditching your fiance at the altar and leaving him only a note is bad; it's wretched when he's your baby's father, too.

    Yes. And I do read spoilers.

    Speaking of the baby's father...ugh. The hype for "Promise" was that Lex would be at his darkest, but instead he was a pathetic wimp ready to sacrifice everything, including LuthorCorp, for Lana, and who needed Dad to fix his life. Just last episode, he was a coldly calculating man who had the doctor snuff out multiple meteor freaks to hide LuthorCorp's complicity in kidnapping and human experimentation. This week, he's a guy who panics and kills Lana's doctor by accident -- in a church crypt hilariously equipped with dry ice and Andrew Lloyd Weber. Surely this character is at the point at which he could have killed the doctor quite deliberately? But no, he can't plot his way out of a paper bag here, and Lionel plays him like a fiddle, as he richly deserves. What happened to the guy from "Lexmas", who took the dark path because he wanted it all, LuthorCorp and Lana? Why does the already unbelieveable Lana obsession have to take precedence over character integrity?

    Hah! Maybe that's why I gave the music a pass. I'm a sucker for Phantom.

    We actually agree on the overall dreadfulness of Season 6, but I don't see "Promise" as breaking the pattern, just as more of the same in an artsier package. Clark still needs to be told what to do. He still can't move on from Lana, and now it's worse than ever. Lex's nefarious ambitions still take a back seat to Lana lub. Martha makes no sense. Chloe says out-of-character things just to steer the plot. And key characters whose destinies are more important still serve Lana above all other causes.



    I think, when none of the ramifications come to pass (or I should say, if), then you'll be right, and the re-review will reflect that more.

    John wrote:
    So Neal, it looks like you and Trumble kind of reversed roles this episode.


    However, can you honestly tell me that Promise was better than Zod?

    In context, sure. I mean, Zod is a PREMIERE. It has high, exacting standards, and needs to be top to bottom near perfect. For a mid-season lull episode after ten tons of crap, this episode was more entertaining for me than Zod was. The fight scene in Zod was epic, but there were many strange inconsistencies that tore me out of it.

    And its surprising that you didn't mention the dodo with Clark just vanishing. So are we supposed to believe that Chloe has better eyes tracking ability than Lana or something? Can Lana not see Clark move at all? Whatever, it's kind of a moot point.
    So while I agree that this was a great show, I don't think it was the absolute best this season. Maybe you just saw a good show, and because almost every other show this season was wimpy, you proclaim the best of season

    I think the show was being told from Clark's perspective when he WHOOSHED, which is why we saw it, and not from Lana. I'm guessing most people can't see his heat vision or speed unless it's sustained, as they've almost indicated.

    It's honestly the most fun I've had this season so far, yeah.

    That being said, I think it deserved a 4. Looking forward to another review of tonight's episode (hopefully a lot sooner than this one came out - that "coming soon!" moniker really bugged me...)! Cheers, Neal.

    In the re-review, the lack of lasting consequences might push it to a four. I've gotta see.

    Lork wrote:
    Welcome back from your trip.


    The question is, where is the real Neal? Come on, I expected a full axe battalion to be pulled out for this Promise review. That's why I eagerly checked my PC for ur review. Ok, who are they holding ransom or something? Anyway, we all viewed it differently but this episode was just so OOC for Clark...and did you notice the usual Lanaville..everybody loves Lana show?

    I did. But since the episode was pointing out how that's been so wrong from day one, I did enjoy it. The real Neal did like that episode. But take reassurance from the fact that we don't always agree. That's a good sign you're not a crazed sycophant, and actually a fan.

    Neal, I surely expected a whip on this episode, but maybe you are still stressed from your trip. Glad to have you back though....Have a nice day

    Thanks! Take care.

    Liz wrote:
    Wow. I thought that you'd be right with me in thinking the majority of this episode (Promise) was a cheap soap opea storyline. I thought it was just plain awful. Clark still obsesses over Lana and on her wedding day- the guy that will eventually become Superman, a pillar of morality, kisses her! Pregnancy and impending wedding be damned!

    Oh, I got down on him and her for the ramifications of that. But that wasn't what I liked about the show.

    Also, I don't feel this episode furthered the mythos in any respect with the exception of Lex murdering someone onscreen. Now, we have a situation in which Clark will never fully be over Lana because he will always wonder what made her turn away with no explanation. This sets the stage for much more brooding and whinning on Clarks behalf, which I'm really not looking forward to.

    I liked the irony of Lana being forced into what Clark had to do. Also the character scenes really did it for me. Honestly written, if not in line with the last few episodes in terms of inconsistency.

    Just surprised that of all episodes this season, you enjoyed this one. I was so looking forward to reading your review tearing this episode to pieces. Crazy! To each his own, I suppose.



    Magnus wrote:
    Hi Neal!
    I have two questions on the latest smallville episode:

    1. How did Clark know it was a "Prison" tattoo? (What's the difference between a normal "alien" tattoo and an "alien" prison tattoo since he could obviously see the difference)

    I rankled on that above...check 'er out.

    2. Why does Clark say that they only way to get rid of these aliens is to kill them? (What happened to that sigil from the Zod-episode?)

    That bugged me too. It's inconsistent.


    Thanks, all! Catch you in a month, or sooner, if you come to the Emerald City Comic Con! And don't forget to check out the updated KO Count



    Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

    Let me start this week's review with a correction on last week's review. I had many people email me this week to correct me about the missing effect when they showed Clark super speeding out of Lex's basement the second time. I was told the missing blur effect was intended since the scene was from Lana's point of view and thus Clark would appear to just disappear as he zipped away. I have to admit that this is certainly a plausible explanation and may very well have been the intent of that scene. I still do not think the scene worked as well as intended but if true it means it was simply a creative choice and not an error as I stated so I feel I need to make that correction.

    Anyway on to this week's review. I was hoping Clark would finally mix it up with a super powered bad guy and I was not disappointed. It was everything I expected and more so.

    First of all I actually appreciated Clark's attitude. He was seriously ticked off (with good reason) and was not afraid to show it. It is not the most fun to watch but from a character standpoint it made perfect sense for Clark to be going on with a serious chip on his shoulder. I did have a slight problem with how he was treating Chloe and his Mom. It is one thing for him to be mad but I still think he was too harsh with both of them, more so Chloe but there was still a bit too much with Martha Kent. A minor issue, but one worth mentioning. At least he apologized. I really like how he was focusing his free time on busting criminals to sort of work out his aggression.

    Oddly enough one thing I thought I would be upset about but was not was the death of the villain. I actually liked how it was handled this week. I think they made up for the death big time in the scene following with Clark and Martha. She makes it clear that Clark did not intend to kill the villain and Clark was visually upset that the villain died even though it was more than justified. It is about time! I was so glad to see Clark finally figuring out that there must be a better way to stop villains besides killing them (or not saving them from being impaled on random sharp objects). Sure Clark was indirectly responsible for this villain's death but it is not the first time a villain has impaled themselves on something when fighting Clark. Since Clark did not directly kill the villain and was actually upset by his death I was not angry about it this time. Hopefully this will lead to Clark finding a way to put the villains back in prison.

    One problem I did have with the episode was the promoter giving Clark the name "Man of Steel". Not that he gave it to him so much but because they called him that in front of Lois. Maybe she will not remember after getting knocked out but I thought that was a bit too much. Plus I would have liked to see how Clark explained their survival to her afterwards. Surely she would not believe he simply won the fight. But again, this is just a minor issue only worth mentioning to be fair. It did not ruin the episode for me one bit.

    Overall I was very humored by Lois's part in the story. It made sense how she found out about the location and her motivation to get a story worked. I was very amused by her getting all dressed up in order to throw off any guards only to find herself coming up against a female guard instead. She did not miss a beat after figuring out the girl was interested as most men would have been. It shows Lois thinks fast on her feet and I liked to see that. Plus it was fun to see her brawl a bit herself, coming out on top making General Lane proud.

    There was some movement on other plots squeezed into the main plot of this episode as well. Lana losing the baby (assuming she was actually pregnant to begin with) and we see the Justice League has been shutting down some of Lex's labs. It will be interesting to see what Lana does now that the baby is no longer in the cards. Will she stay with Lex or break off the marriage? Will she find out Lex had something to do with the pregnancy, or lack of one? It's an interesting subplot for sure.

    Lastly a word on Clark's brawl with the Zoner. Actually two words. YEAH BABY! Now THAT'S what I'm talking about! I understand the sensitivities with violence in TV shows but I cannot help but to love a good fight scene now and then. Maybe I am a bit "low brow" when it comes to my entertainment choices but I grew up with Chuck Norris, Sly Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger movies and rather enjoyed them. You did not watch those guys for their great acting abilities or their artistic choices in film plots. You watched Chuck to see him roundhouse kick some bad guy through a window, Sly to see how big of a machine gun he would use, and Arnold to see if his biceps could possibly get any bigger.

    The battle in this episode was everything I could have asked for on a TV budget. Walls were shaking with each punch. Pillars were falling. Thunder was crashing. Bodies were flying. Clark was giving as good as he was getting which is a very big step up from any of his previous battles with villains. Clark stood his ground with the monster and when it really mattered he dug down deep and smacked it hard. I absolutely loved the super powered upper cut effect. Superman is a pacifist at heart, yes, but when he has to go fist to fist with some super powered baddie, he can, and he will.

    Okay, so on to the grade. It was fun, action packed, fairly well acted, good effects, slightly advanced the major plots of the season, and Clark was forced to re-think the value of a villain's life. I have to give this one an A- (call it 4.5 out of 5 super powered uppercuts). Simply said, I liked it.

    Looks like we are back to repeats next week. That is too bad but when we return we should be on the gear up for the season final and Smallville's season finals are always a treat.


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