Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 6 - Episode 19: "Nemesis"Reviews:
NemesisReviewed by: Neal Bailey
Much like last week, this episode had much promise, and some flaws. Unlike last week, however, this week's flaws overshadowed critically what was, in essence, one of the better ideas that Smallville has had this season, even if that idea is an old one:
Take two guys who hate each other, handcuff 'em together, and make 'em talk.
It's a gimmicky trick, to be sure, but it often produces neat dilemmas. Heck, the resolution of Star Wars is one big turn of that device.
"I hate you, Dad! But I'm gonna chain myself to this here Death Star until we figure this out!"
Anyway, Lana abounds in this episode, which is another dragging factor that Progeny lacked. Her contribution is nil to the plot, her characterization is contradictory and annoying, and refer to any one of the last ten thousand reviews. I'll go into detail, I always do, but it's really obvious by now. Criminally obvious.
LANA DOES NOT WORK, NOR DOES SHE CONTRIBUTE TO SMALLVILLE. Et-hem.
She took this episode, which might have been a four with a prudent subplot, down.
Blow by blow:
Project Ares intrigues me. I doubt it'll have anything at all to do with the Wonder Woman villain, but I have hopes for Lex's so-called army that was mentioned in interviews earlier in the seasons. I had my hopes for a square-off between the Justice League and villains past, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards. These ads they're putting out talk about Luthor soldiers, and this episode offers insight into the fact that Luthor's probably manufacturing his own freaks, but not familiar ones. We'll see.
The story opens up with a freak of the week, a nail in the coffin right there, but she's dispatched quickly, actually, and without prolonguing her to create arbitrary character drama. If you've gotta have a freak, that's a good way to do it. Show the person, then move on to the important stuff, the actual characters who make the show what it is. In this case, Lex and Clark, squaring off.
Lionel's head a-splode. Poor guy got thrown like a bad pitch. "Hi, son! I'm back after a few episodes off, I...GAH! BOOM!
AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES!
Clark finds out Lex is in the cave, and Lex, in the cave, gets taunted by the chick, but for that whole first scene, I'm hitting rewind again and again. Why? Because there are a bojillion producers. I don't know what it means, but I'm stuck there, clicking, reading, absurdly fascinated.
One co-executive producer. Then two. Then three. Then four. Then five. Then six. Then seven.
(Not kidding here).
Then they show a regular producer. Then a second.
Then they show a SUPERVISING producer.
Then another regular producer (why that order?)
Then there's an EXECUTIVE producer.
But only one writer.
I suppose it's a cheap way to say I was pulled out of a scene, but I was. I'm sitting here, thinking to myself, why so many producers? I mean, is the budget that slashed, that they have to bring people in? I don't know this business or claim to, but usually the more of a given title there is, as I understand it, the more the pie is cut into pieces and the project suffers, especially with writers. Movies with three, four, five, six writers, they generally stink.
I got my Darth Helmet on, sitting there, playing with my dolls.
"I'm an executive producer!"
"Oh yeah! Well we're three co-executive producers, making us the victor!"
The door flies open.
"Oh yeah? Well I'm the supervising producer!"
They all turn. "What does that even mean?"
Supervising producer: "Who said that? There's no speaker tag?"
Lana walks in, blah blah blah...boom!
But back to the story, which at this point is pretty silly. A military gal, who suddenly, from average military experience, knows how to conduct CIA style informational espionage, has Lex tied up, asking him about her boyfriend, who he JUST KNOWS is alive.
How does she know? Because, she says, she's wired ten thousand million bojillion tons of explosives, knowing that when the person you love dies, you KNOW it, and her intuition tells her that her husband is not dead!
How romantic, if you find retarded gestures romantic.
See, there's some more feminist commentary for you. She's a TOUGH GAL, she can DO IT HERSELF, she's...I dunno, ARMY STRONG! And yet she's willing to set up five miles of C-4 on a hormone inspired tirade. Sounds like the girls I knew in college.
That's another thing. Five straight miles of C-4? Give me a BREAK, man. Like, I'll accept even a half mile of tunneling wired to explode, if the person has a week, and super-secret access to government explosives. But FIVE MILES? What did she do, just drive eighteen trucks full of C-4 off the army base? I wonder if the general on that base JUST KNEW he was a categorical dumb@$$.
And bang, a TIME CLOCK! We all know how much we love the time clock device. TICK TICK TICK TICK! It's not as bad here, they didn't show it constantly like in that finale, but it's still a cheesy device. You wire five miles of tunnel with C-4 and then you give it a twenty minute timer Dead Man's Switch?
To top it off, and I know I've been told by my doctor not to mention it any more, but she's got the most awful, blatant, annoying LuthER in the history of LuthERs.
So Clark arrives, and gets caught in the explosion. He doesn't pop in and knock Lex out, take the detonator, and take Jodi to the hospital, he just kind of sits there, dumb, and BOOM! Explosion with kryptonite.
I don't need to get too obvious here. If you're next to Kryptonite and you're Kryptonian, you get covered in boulders, you're in trouble. You don't just toss them off and stand up. As this show has painstakingly pointed out, you don't die immediately, but you can't...even...move!
Clark, despite the wound on his arm and in front of Kryptonite, lifts all the debris, stands, goes over to Lex, and doesn't even notice (despite having hardly ever bled in his life) a giant chunk of rock embedded about three inches into his arm.
For the rest of the show, Clark can confusedly walk around without any injury or impact from Kryptonite, but his wound doesn't heal. One might argue that because he's not in the line of the sun he's not able to, but when he's next to the Kryptonite in the air hole, there's no reason that he can't toss the K if he can lift a boulder. With a wound like that, he shouldn't even be able to LIFT that arm, much less other things.
There's also the fact that with an open hole they could use cell phones.
Like I said, lots of holes to punch in this story, many more than the Moira one, even if the characterization hangs in there a bit.
AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES!
Lana goes to rendezvous with Lionel. OOOH! Drama! What will Lana do next! Will she escape her marriage that she CHOSE to enter into? How much more sympathy can we pull from a character for acting like a total moron?
I know! Let's put her in the room with the man who "made" her get married, and totally reverse his position! RADICAL!
Lana lie, to the doctor, with doe eyes: "The man lying in that room is the only family I have left!"
Nell, watching the show, spits out her coffee. "You ungrateful bich! Fourteen years, I raised you, before impossibly you ran a business and never seemed to run out of money! Just like my children to turn on me!"
John Glover has big hands. Just sayin'. Or Kristin's a carnie. You decide. That may be our next poll.
Lionel: I made you marry Lex...to protect CLARK!
Me: BLAM! (slump)
So the idea is that Lana's supposed to be spying on Lex for Lionel? Is that what he's implying? Well, why not just ask her, then? Instead, here's a great plan. REALLY, REALLY tick her off, then expect her to work for you. Uh, yeah. Good going, Lionel!
And then Lana, showing how smart she is, tells Lionel how screwed he is, because while Lex is away today, she has POWER OF ATTORNEY and is in charge of making his MEDICAL DECISIONS!
Oooh! She's bad@$$! I mean, she might TOTALLY tell them not to give him Jell-O. He's RECOVERING, idiot! It's not like she can suddenly say, "Yeah...pop his eye out and amputate a leg. I'm LANA! Mwu ha ha ha!"
Though that would be cool. And the doctors probably would do it, given that this is Smallville.
There's that, and there's also the fact that Lionel is conscious and can revoke the power of attorney, and beyond that, there's also the fact that after forcing Lana to marry Lex, he'd probably have his lawyer note, in his legal affairs: "If ANYONE, etcetera etcetera etcetera, dangly earrings, doe eyes, quid pro quo, give her the boot. I like my eye and my leg. Failure to remit will result in five miles of C-4. Sincerely yours, Lion-O."
Beyond that, there's the always-endearing character trait of Lana threatening to kill Lionel over persuading her to make a decision she could have not made. What a hero! Face it. Amazing.
Lana, secure in her snooty tomfoolery, humbuggery, organized malarkey and chicanery, stalks out, confident. The police stand before her glory, about to be...owned?
Lana takes their BRIEFCASE PLOT DEVICE OF NO REAL RELEVANCE BUT MUCH SEEMING IMPORT. "Mine!" she says, and stomps.
The detective clears his throat. "Er, ma'am, that's, uh, you know, like, evidence and stuff. Huh huh huh."
Lana sneers. "Oh yeah? Well I'm an ATTORNEY now, chuckles! You saw me back there? I was given power of attorney. And we attorneys know that my BRIEFCASE PLOT DEVICE OF NO REAL RELEVANCE BUT MUCH SEEMING IMPORT belongs to my Lex, and was in his trunk, so you can't take it without a WARRANT! Hah! Objection! Overruled! Yahtzee! Jumanji! Jenga! Uno! Hi-Ho Beriberi! Booya, son!"
The detective clears his throat. "So, uh, by your logic, probable cause is not enough?"
Lana's already out the door at this point. "Yoink!"
But to reiterate the point, if a cop sees a dead body, and there's a gun with a smoke trail coming out of the barrel sitting in your front seat, it's not violating your right to avoid search and seizure, because there is PROBABLE CAUSE.
So too, when trying to find a billionaire that's missing, and conducting an investigation into where he is and what's going on, I would imagine that searching his car for rational evidence leading to his location is legal.
Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, no doubt. Regardless, the point is that Lana's little impromptu speech to make her feel smart and attain the BRIEFCASE PLOT DEVICE OF NO REAL RELEVANCE BUT MUCH SEEMING IMPORT fell arrogantly flat and annoyed me to the point of homicide.
So Lana takes said BRIEFCASE PLOT DEVICE OF NO REAL RELEVANCE BUT MUCH SEEMING IMPORT home, turns up the music, and gets a gun out of the case on the mantel. I mean, I'm just guffawing at this point. The locks are about a quarter inch thick, the briefcase looks like you could hit it with a finger flick and get it open, and here she is pulling a gun on the d@mned thing. DRAW!
She sets it on the table, holds the gun to the side, and fires into the locks at close range. The angle of the camera is such that you see the case jump, and the way she's holding the gun shows her firing into a GLASS TABLE, and yet it doesn't break.
She's also sneaking around, firing into a briefcase (presumably to avoid Lex finding out what she's done), and yet she's leaving bullets all over the place where he presumably spends the most time, his study. She doesn't clean the gun, she just tosses it back into the box shy a few bullets, and there's this briefcase, opened pat.
I can just see Lex the next day. He walks in from the hospital, holding his broken briefcase. Bartlett right next to him.
"She shot it, Bartlett. She shot the thing."
"I know, sir."
"I mean, look. The case is still cracked open here." (Lex pulls out the clip). "She didn't even replace the bullets. Seriously! This is like when she berates me for leaving the seat down when she's the one leaving it up to vomit out demons."
"I know, sir."
"Well, at least she's away shopping for crack in England or something. You know, wherever she is when I do stuff at the mansion she's not supposed to see."
"Perhaps some relaxing music, sir?"
"Good idea, Bartlett." Lex turns on his music player, which blares at above-gunshot levels, because Lana just pressed "stop"
"Would you look at that, Bartlett? She used the music to cover the gunshots, then forgot to turn it down."
"I know, sir."
Lex walks over to his desk. "You know, installing this blast glass in this desk is probably the best wedding gift I ever got. We'll have to thank my father."
"I know, sir."
We see then that the case is so incredibly thin that you could jack it open with one of those Chinese screwdrivers that break when you use it to stir milk.
Well, I do, anyway.
Here. TRY A PAPERCLIP. They open cases like that.
Here's an idea. GO TO A LOCKSMITH AND PAY CASH!
Here's a better idea. HIT IT WITH A ROCK!
Here's an even better idea. ASK YOUR HUSBAND WHAT NEFARIOUS MALARKY HE IS UP TO BEFORE YOU MARRY HIM, because it makes your character unsympathetic and a bore to watch.
You know what Lana needs? Lana needs to meet Weng-Weng, the Impossible Kid. Weng-Weng is my new hero. I discovered him when looking up movies about pregnant midgets walking down stairs. It said, "If you like pregnant midget women walking down stairs, you'll LOVE Weng-Weng!" (I kid you not).
Right you are, Ken, to quote my buddy Will.
Check him out. Weng-Weng is a Filipino karate midget superstar who doesn't take crap from anyone. He'd sort Lana right out:
Weng-Weng owns that dojo, and Weng-Weng would own Lana. I mean, seriously, Weng-Weng would LOOK at that briefcase and it would fall open. Weng-Weng made a dude co-eat his own Bo staff and took out four blackbelts. They picked up his midget-y butt and threw him across the room into the bo staff rack, and dude co-CAUGHT himself. That is hardcore. He'd punch Lana so hard, she'd have a baby without getting pregnant.
Weng-Weng for Smallville! I don't care if the actor who plays him is dead. Weng Weng will use the power of awesome to come back from the dead. I mean, think about it. Mopey Lana, or Clark's new karate midget sidekick?
I know where my vote is.
I am mentally diseased and do not deserve this gift of life...believe me, I know it. But I know entertainment when I see it. Weng-Weng, thumbs up. Lana shooting a briefcase? A brick filled with cheese.
Well, anyway, the whole scene sucked and needs to die in a fire. Or be shot to blaring music melodramatically.
She finds the Pantagonia Phantom, the one from the premiere, and sees it suck the face off two unfortunate yuppies, coincidentally right after they start taping. That Phantom has MAD entrance skillz.
What's a Pantagonia, anyway, Levis with flowers stuck in it?
Cut to the commercial, and we see the next installment of this huge, Yaris promotional friendly comic book. It's at least passable and interesting. We get Ezra Small, who I haven't seen much of in a while, a decent chase, some hints into future episodes, and even a little bit of man talking to wolves. "I hate to shoot you guys, but...I must...speak...melodramatically!"
Worth a look. It's kind of an obvious Heroes rip-off, but it works. And anything with a Beppo reference pleases me. Ah, monkeys.
Clark and Lex's dialogue is exemplary, and continues to be so for most of the episode. The sad result of the conclusion I draw is that Lex remains the more sympathetic character. The show goes to great pains to try and point out how Clark, in the end, will never give up on Lex. But he has. The show points that out bluntly. He really believes Lex will leave him behind. He really believes that Lex tricked Lana into marrying him. He's given up. Even if all evidence indicates that he should have, it's still out of character for Clark Kent, and very much IN character for Luthor. Only on this show, it's reversed.
The dialogue draws attention to this flaw, but all in all, Lex's emotions and Clark's come out strong, and these scenes, despite continuity inadequacy, shine as the best part of this show, and it's a very big plus.
Speaking of continuity inaccuracy, let's go there, girlfriend. So there's K in the air, and it doesn't stop Clark immediately, he can still walk around, but he can't heal. He's stopped by the rocks when Lex goes through the hole, then he can work through the pain and climb through. Lex doesn't hold out a hand to help him, good going there, Lex, but okay. I'll buy that. It's still rough. Clark shouldn't even be able to think next to Kryptonite.
Chloe has a moment where she leaves a "stalker" voice mail. That made me giggle. Fine stuff.
Clark line: "We were never really friends, were we, Lex?"
This is like when Lana says, "You never really knew who I was!" or "You never really loved me at all!" She says it twice a season, and it loses impact with each use.
Of course they were friends, and still kind of are, even if they throw down on each other. They still help each other out in a pinch despite philosophical differences. This is not a hatred and rivalry of legend. Otherwise, Lex would have left Clark. Point of fact, I say he should have.
Clark is covered in rocks in an avalanche and suffers no cuts or bruises or broken bones. Very convenient, there.
The door behind Lex, which was previously locked shut, also miraculously opens in a piece of camerawork we never got to see. Lex was actually standing where an avalanche would have to happen to open that door. Bad editing there. Maybe bad filming.
And hey, MORE Lana! Joy! Just what we needed. Fire up the stab-o-meter!
Now she's not only a lawyer AND a doctor, she's also a MAD hacker. Instead of having Chloe fill this role, for some reason they made Lana a hacker in this episode. She breaks right into Lex's files, "pole vaulting his firewall!" Chloe says with wide eyes.
Uh, dude, she entered his password, which she probably stole by telling him that she needed it to, uh, save puppies! Yeah, that's the ticket.
At any rate, it's another Lana lie, this time of omission. She sits on tunnel blueprints (which she took from the police, who would probably have used them to find Lex and Clark, only to SHOOT at them) all day, which Chloe points out. Lana basically gives her a look and says, "Just use them!" Like, oh God, how dare you criticize me for nearly getting the two men I love who irrationally love me back killed?
Lex leaves Clark in debris, he screams, "KAAAAAAHN!" and it's very dramatic, poignant, and warranted by the story. Clark's talking s#%t while covered in debris, I would have left his butt too. Lex returning is pat, and unfortunate. Not because Lex's character doesn't obligate him to return, it does, but because if you're trying to turn Lex Luthor into a bad guy, which he apparently is, whole hog now, you don't make him start saving people at the end of season six. You make him leave Clark to die, and then Clark REALLY knows he's a bad guy. Now, how can Clark think badly of him? How can we?
There's also the fact that Lex would just say, "Be right back, dude." It shines a light on the fact that the dilemma was arbitrary.
They sprint for the exit, which is thankfully left open. Clark starts climbing, at first not favoring his injured hand, then favoring it. It's confusing, because I want to say, "Ah! He's using his hurt arm!" at the same time as I want to say, "Hey, shouldn't the sun have healed him?"
Either way, it drew my attention away from the scene. It's also especially bad form to have a dude whose arm is royally mucked up holding Lex up. It's hard to buy. Especially when the actor doesn't even seem to wince at the horrible pain he'd be going through. But then, if Clark is healed, he wouldn't. But then, if Clark were healed, why does he have trouble pulling Lex up? See? Oddball stuff.
Lex doesn't grab the ladder right in front of him. It's just bad camera continuity, like with the gate that just blew open.
The cops arrive fortuitously the minute the tunnel blows. Yeah, I know, Lana showed them where they were, but you're honestly telling me there's only one potential exit? And if so, why weren't the police there before? Oh yeah, they wouldn't go anywhere near bombs. But they would if Lana asks them too, all of a sudden, later?
See, holes everywhere.
So here we have Lana, waiting in the smoke, coming up and hugging Clark. Oh, so dramatic (or at least, it's supposed to be, I think.) Problem is, I don't feel for Clark, and I hate Lana. Clark shouldn't like this woman in his character, so I can't see how he does, so any scene where he just instantly pines for Lana falls flat.
Also, last week, as I recall, Lana pushed him away squarely, lying to get him not to love her anymore. Now they're doe-eyes again? Barf out, dude. Come on.
It also makes Clark trying to break up a marriage, no matter how corrupt that marriage is. Lana chose to enter that union, she's responsible for it, and yet we look to Clark to save the day by...homewrecking? I don't get the angle that's supposed to draw my sympathy here. Maybe someone can clue me in. Clark doesn't know for sure that Lex did the baby thing. Heck, even Lana doesn't. They just assume it. Again, reiterating the point of this episode, that Lex is a bad guy without much rationale. Yeah, he killed a guy at his wedding, I get that. Yeah, he IS behind the baby thing. I get that too. But Lana and Clark have no reason to think that.
AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES! (We should have a count, with number of producers vs. Squeaky count.)
Good to see Clark soaking up the sun. It's a connection with the comics, and a great way to indicate that he recharges above ground, making SOME of what happened below a little more plausible. But not much.
Hey, ANOTHER Lana scene! Oh boy!
Lionel tries to explain himself further, telling Lana "Clark is lucky to have you!"
Yes, even murdering manipulative psychopaths think that Lana's special.
He compliments her further, though it seems like a slam, when she threatens his son's life over coercing her into doing something she chose to do. (ah, heroism!) "Finally, you're a Luthor!"
Because she resorts to lying and threatening in order to get her way. Hate to break it to you, Lionel, but she's been a Luthor since season two. That's The Lana I Know, as opposed to The Lana Chloe Knows, who farts sifted sugar. And apparently, The Lana Lionel Knows.
Now the real question: When will LEX become a Luthor?
Lana also indicates that she wanted Lex to die, and yet BEFORE she knew Clark was down there, she was trying to break into that briefcase. If she wanted to let his head asplode, why did she want so desperately to get into the briefcase? Internal inconsistency.
Hey, yet ANOTHER Lana scene! Oh boy! One for every producer?
She hands Lex the briefcase. "Uh, the police really wanted to get into it!"
Lex just takes it, and says thank you. Very...HEY, WAIT A MINUTE! When you steal Lex's briefcase, he finds you and KILLS you! He sues you into oblivion for violating his search and seizure rights, right?
Hey, yet ANOTHER Lana scene! Another! Oh boy!
This time, Lex confronts her about Clark, who told him that she had the jitters at the wedding.
Lex: "Uh, Lana, did you tell Clark that you didn't want to marry me?"
Lana: "Yes, but only because I needed someone to talk to! I thought I'd lost the baby. I thought you wouldn't love me, and I didn't want to lie!"
So here we have her lying, ironically about not wanting to lie. Sweet Samson. Lex also totally buys it, meaning that the greatest criminal genius of our time is beloved of a woman stupid enough to believe that he won't love her if she loses a baby. He buys right in.
He also doesn't ask the obvious: "Uh, honey, if you wanted to talk to someone to relieve the stress about the pregnancy, why didn't you just ask him about the pregnancy? What's with this 'I don't love him?'"
But that would be sensible, and in character.
Here's my next note: "Soap opera Bulls$%t. God, I am so sick of this."
That sums it up pretty well. Sara, next to me, had her head spinning around on its axis too. We can't be the only one this annoys. It's just too...annoying not to be somewhat universal.
Lana is also hiding Ares from Clark, knowing his powers and what he could potentially do about it. It's not shown on the show that she's explicitly hiding it from him, but my guess is that she doesn't tell him. Since she didn't this episode, I'm counting it as a lie of omission, and one that could get many people killed.
Martha urges Clark to give up on Lex (hoo boy). Clark responds that she hasn't given up on Lionel (hoo boy). Then Martha says that because Clark has hope, he'll never give up on Lex, and he's right.
Both characters reverse their roles. Both should believe in the potential of redemption for both characters. It's inane. The sad thing is that Martha is not only forgiving, but forgiving to the point of forgetting past behavior, and Clark, the ultimate priest of forgiveness, doesn't even hint at trying to reconcile with Lex despite him just trying to save his life.
It makes me say to myself, "The Superman I know would go forward in friendship and try to persuade Lex that he doesn't have to create this army." In this show, he never does. Not once. He accuses Lex and treats him like garbage constantly, but he never questions the bad things he does in a way that might redeem him. That's what Superman does.
Forty and a half minutes of show, which is the seeming standard now. Of that we have maybe five, ten great minutes of Lex and Clark interaction, and one neat line from Chloe. Other than that, a plot that can have about ten thousand holes shot through it.
The show is in an uptick, I'll grant it that, from its dismal first half. The problem being, nothing substantial is being done to change the directions of the characters into something intriguing or constant, and even when something is done, it's rife with plot holes.
This show, with a better subplot, like I said, would have been a 4. Maybe a 5.
As it stands, it's a 2.5.
SUPER SHORT REVIEW:
WOW. You know, I tell you, letters have dropped off quite a bit in the last year. I used to get 75-80 a week. Now it's down to some 20-30, the season two range. This means one of two things. I either totally suck now, or Smallville has fewer fans who want to comment and interact. Or a little of both. I hope I don't suck.
But anyway, the point being, I got five viable letters this week for publication, and one drug spammer, that's why this is so short. Also, no one showed up for the Smallville chat for the second week in a row. It's just after the show, Pacific Time, 9 PM. I go there to jaw at folks who want to interact, but it's been pretty quiet...
Mark Palenik wrote:
I've probably written in too late to make it into this weeks set of e-mails. It doesn't really matter, though, since I only saw about the first 5 minutes and the last 5 minutes of this episode. I got really sick this week, and between the prednisone I was taking and severe pains in my throat, I didn't have the patience to watch any more.
I think I wanted to say something about why I thought Lana's pregnancy being faked was a such dumb idea, but I don't really remember now. I think it had something to with the fact that, although I never liked the idea of her being pregnant with Lex Luthor's child in the first place, at least there was some sort of difinitive direction that the plot would have had to move in. Her having a child would have raised issues. Even having a real miscarriage would have raised some issues. Just about any other way they could have delt with her "pregnancy" would have required tact, intellegence, and the ability to address complex problems and character dilemmas. It would have meant a real change in the characters and direction the plot was taking. . . ok, so the writers would have screwed it up--but they didn't even give themselves the chance to do that.
I thought it was a neat twist, but it's stunted by the question: Uh, why is Lana here?
I don't know, maybe I missed something. I just couldn't put up with the entire episode this week because of the way I was feeling, and I barely remember the parts of it that I saw. Maybe something really clever happened somewhere in the episode to justify all of this, but it seems like just another desperate, pathetic attempt to maintain the status quo.
Don't get me wrong, I think TV shows can do just fine maintaining the status quo a lot of the time. Not everything has to be fresh, controversal, and unexpected. On the other hand, when the writers spend so much time building something up and making it seem like an important, life changing event for one of the characters, and then just throws it all away in one episode, it's nothing more than a copout.
And it's not even a really good cop out, either. Was Lana using birth control? Did Lex ever wear condoms? Sure, pregnancies still happen, but nobody ever said anything like "gee, I wouldn't have thought you'd get pregnant, being on the pill and all", which makes you think that she probably wasn't. But now, she's not pregnant. Should we be surprised? They obviously had to be having sex, so was she on birth control after all? Maybe I'm just overthinking this.
Nah. You're analyzing. That's what happens when they story isn't good enough to just carry you away.
I'm sure the writers will try to make this seem as important as an actual pregnancy by playing up something along the "look how evil Lex is" lines. The problem is, that's the same type of drama that we've seen over and over again in the series, and ultimately, it's not going to lead anywhere. At least, not anywhere new. Maybe it will lead into more whiney, annoying, teenage-esque passive agressiveness on the part of Lana, and actual physical, life threatening agressiveness on the part of Clark, but nowhere new.
Ding! Your burrito is ready.
A while back, I bought the first season of Lois&Clark on DVD. If I remember correctly, that wasn't your favorite TV series, to put it mildly, which is fine. But I was watching an episode the other day called "Vatman", where Lex clones an immature, childlike Superman from one of Superman's hairs. All in all, it was a terrible episode (I got the feeling that they severely cut and rewrote the ending). On the other hand, it made me realize just how terrible the portrayal of clark is on Smallville.
I actually liked Lois and Clark at the time. I have the first season on DVD, but it hasn't inspired me to sit through it again. I think I'm four episodes through. It's definitely from ten years ago.
This "Vatman" Superman clone went around trying to fight crime, like the actual Superman, but he was far more brutal. After capturing some bank robbers, he picked them up by their collars and violently tossed them into a police van. They hit the bottom of the van, rolled, and were probably knocked unconscious. Lois looked at Vatman in horror, and she knew something was wrong.
In Lois&Clark, if Superman, or a guy they believed to be Superman, did something like this, not only was it considered out of character, but it was considered wrong. It was something he shouldn't have done because he was powerful enough that he could have resolved the situation without hurting anyone and because his own moral standards would allow him to do nothing else. On Smallville, when clark does something like this, they try to pass it off as heroic. And he does do things like this--all the time.
Not only heroic...but COOL.
At the very beggining of the series, I could have seen maybe that Clark would have a slight bit of moral ambiguity in terms of how he delt with violent situations. Presumably, he wouldn't be used to dealing with them very often and he didn't truly know the full extent of his powers. He might have overreacted at a time when he didn't know how to resolve situations peacefully, or before hew knew that there was no real physical risk to his body, or when he didn't realize how fragile and precious human life was. But if he hasn't learned by now, he never will.
That's my take, when I get letters like, "But Neal, he's a YOUNG Superman! He should be able to stab someone in the eye because he's still LEARNING!"
I liked the point you made a while back about how there were episodes that you've given low ratings now that maybe at one time you would have rated as 4s or 5s. Aside from the fact that the quality of the surrounding episodes affects your interpretation of the current episode, I think the context of the episode in the current continuity is equally important to the rating. And by that I mean, when we've seen the same plot lines, the same drama, and the same character interactions for six seasons, things that were good at one time just don't cut it anymore. A freak of the week is fine, but a season one freak of the week episode just wouldn't make sense in season six, for example. Not only have we seen it a thousand times but the motives of the characters should have changed by now. Their history has changed. You can't have them act the same way.
EXACTLY. I mean, imagine if in Return of the Jedi Vader chopped Luke's hand off and made him jump off a bridge. That'd be a 3 of 5 even if Empire were a 5 of 5. For that matter, look how Death Star #2 gets mocked.
And maybe that's one of the biggest issues I have with this show right now. The writers can't decide if they want things to change or if they want them to stay the same. It's like they know that we'll get bored if they don't give us something new, so they build suspense, but they don't want anyone on the show to deviate from some generic character formulation that they wrote up in season one, so they just let every opportunity they have to do something interesting and new collapse into meaningless pseudo-tension.
I enjoy reading your reviews. I've missed a lot of episodes this season because the TV tuner software on my computer isn't working correctly and it doesn't end up recording most of them. From what I have seen of this season, though, I've got to say, your reviews have been much more entertaining. Maybe that doesn't sound like such an impressive compliment, but I definitely meant it as one. I don't want to say anything as cliche as "keep up the good work" because I know you'll keep writing regardless of what I say, but like so many of your readers, I just want you to know that your reviews are definitely appreciated.
Thank you very, very much. Honestly, it's kind of weird, because my reviews are tied into the fate of the show. The crummier it gets, the more readers drop off, not because my reviews are failing, but because there are, literally, 1/4 of the viewers that there were when this started. Don't know where I'm going with that, but thank you regardless.
Luke Roth wrote:
First off - super congrats on the Smallville magazine. You've got my 4.99 (or however much the mag costs) once your stories start running. I look forward to sitting down with my future son or daughter with a Superman book written by you, and saying, "I e-mailed that guy a few times! And he actually responded!" And they will marvel at my sweetness!
Hah! I will actually continue to respond, and hopefully still be alive to say hello to your son or daughter. I'm not Stephen King...yet! Mwu ha ha ha.
I only have a superficial fan-boy peeve about your review - you said 'Kryptonite is not a cold, the Batmobile is not a beeper, and no, I don't do kissing. That'll cost you extra.' I believe the line is, "The Batsignal is not a beeper." Batman Forever has always been Luke-Fanboy's favorite Bat-Movie (Luke-CharacterConscious holds 'Begins' as the best).
No worries. You're right. I typo'd it. Generally I don't edit or proof the reviews so I can get them out fast for you guys, so I expect stuff like that occasionally. Thanks for yon patience!
Thanks again for the reviews. Keep up the great work.
Hey, honey! Miss my little comments to your review? Yeah - I know you did! ;D
Yar! Heck, I'm missing commentary in general.
I can just imagine you chasing Lynda & Annette around the set. But it brings such a silly mental image that now I'm giggling uncontrollably. Ah, well. The folks at work will just have to deal.
And they can't run away fast enough, either, their hips probably ache.
At least you didn't get harassed constantly for expanding and using your vocabulary! My brothers hate the "big words" - You would think that would reflect on their intelligence, but they're both fairly bright boys... as bright as boys can be anyway - (I'm sorry, but I totally couldn't help that one! ;D) I think it has to do with being an avid reader. Writers utilize the written word to bring their story to life but have to make sure they aren't redundant with language choices. So when you, I and other little nerdlets read their stuff, our knowledge of the language expands... so it only makes sense. Wow! That was a long little lecture. Maybe the harassment by brothers is still irking me.
Well, I get a lot of people telling me "I don't read books!" like it's a disease or something, when I ask them if they've read a given thing. Drives me personally crazy. I suppose it's how most people feel when they say "Did you watch American Idol last night?" and I say, "I don't watch much TV." Except I can articulate myself far better than they can, and they have an encyclopedic knowledge of utter, useless crap, like who Clay Aiken is, and if it's a boy or a girl.
I think the only continuity difference from before (although now that I think of it, it may have been in something I read, so doesn't really count when talking about the show) is that I remember hearing that Chloe had woken up one day to Gabe making pancakes and mommy dearest being gone. But I didn't care. I loved the scene and thought it played fairly well. My biggest gripe is that Gabe wasn't there. His *wife* was being **committed** for crying out loud!!! He should have at least been there for Chloe!!! Plus, when Chloe first went to the asylum, her mother was blonde from the back. Considering they're playing Moira as always brunette, that's a little off.
There was that...I'd forgotten that.
It's my understanding - & I think Lex's as well - that Moira could only control meteor mutants. (I'm tired of calling them and hearing them called "freaks".) So, because Lex isn't a MM (tee hee! I'm going to keep using that!), he had nothing to fear from being so close to her. But it was *incredibly* stupid for him to threaten her and *then* say bring this psychotic killer back to the lab for me. Gosh! What would I do when he's broken his promise for me to just see my daughter at least a couple of times already!
Not a particularly bright moment for the bald one.
I will say I think I understand Moira's anger at Lex though - Maybe not enough for her to send someone to kill him, but still. She hated herself for being able to control her daughter and is disgusted with her power. To have someone else trying to control herself and others with that power - Well, let's just say that personally I would have kept the pencil and sent the nearest MM to kick his head in - just a little, of course! The other considerating to be made here is that if she *does* kill him, her opportunity for continued lucidity disappears. Considering that she supposedly only wants to see Chloe, that would be defeating the purpose. (But you *are* right that neither Moira or murdering MM would know where the Luthor mansion is. But I did find that the PTB decided that she didn't control them absolutely. They could do some research or use their current knowledge to obey her. That seemed incredibly off, but I digress.)
I do have something to say, however, about her catatonia (Can't believe I spelled that correctly straight off!). Did she, with her powers, order herself to lose her connection with reality? Why did she *have* to go back to being catatonic? I don't understand that assumption.
I don't know. I really don't get that, actually.
I definitely liked the JL comic and I will make an additional plug for playing it online. It's good fun, if a little confusing at first. It currently is reading quite right with me for continuity, but I'm willing to ignore that right this second and wait to see how it plays out. I can see the game going through the end of the season. It's also nice because now all the historical records (the LuthorCorp annual reports, Torch issues, Ledger issues, Chronicle videos, etc) are all in the same place. Nice for a little geekette like me! But I will also mention at this moment that having Chloe involved seemed way off for me. Sometimes I wonder if they put her in there because #1 - they need an HQ monitor and they've used her before, #2 - she a MM now so she fits in the club, and/or #3 - it was a way for them to point out the Mikhail was there and she was almost killed by him once. But I digress - AGAIN!
Hah! Continuity? Impossible.
I was also surprised that she just came out and told Clark. It was totally beyond my comprehension, but still didn't distract me from how *uncomfortable* she looked lying back on those pillows. And (as hard as it is for me to defend Lana) I think that the "first person I told" thing isn't *necessarily* a lie. To me, I would have assumed that Lex already knew and that the statment just meant "first person outside my marriage I told" - more specifically meaning she hadn't told Chloe yet.
Right, if she had said that...my game is to never assume what is not written.
The "meteor rock in the blood" thing - Oy and a VEY! It was killing me! But I guess it would only affect Clark if he was around a *bleeding* MM because as we all now know, Clark is protected from kryptonite radiation by just stepping out the door. But if I had been Chloe under a mother-induced compulsion but still having my own knowledge and feelings, I would have just left the open box on the counter - because you're right. The way she did it and the way she left him with the knowledge/hope that no one was going to be there too soon *should have* killed him.
But then we need to remember, in this series, kryptonite makes his veins bulge (although we never see that anymore) but as soon as it's put away, he usually can get straight up to save the day. I thought it was funny that he took the time to get cuddled by Martha and sweating profusely (when you didn't see him sweating just before that). I also find it interesting that Clark couldn't find the strength to get the rock out of his pocket and throw it behind the kitchen island, which should have given it enough distance and a barrier to protect him. They are now using kryptonite as the easy way to knock Clark out temporarily. There's no struggle against the effects anymore. It's just straight to the breathless accusation (if being used by someone that knows his secret) and then he's out like a light.
It's the biggest complaint I have about Kryptonite. People say it's a cheap device. I disagree. I think it's a cheapened device.
Borg Queen - Tee Hee!!!
Looking at the episode again, I think it wasn't so much a bullet as it was a tear gas canister or something similar. After all, after it impacted the wall, there was lots of smoke - unless they want to try to pass that off as dust from the impacted wall.
I know. It was sarcasm in the review.
The thing with Moira and the drug - Well, she refused to let them get it because she was disgusted with herself, her powers and her use of such. Remember, Chloe offered to get her what was needed because she has some "amazing contacts". Not only that, but they only needed to get a sample to Oliver (who they'd already contacted to get Moira somewhere "safe") and he could get his people to manufacture it - but maybe that's being too picky. After all, it might even be possible to take a blood sample and identify the substance being used. Digression - my passion! ;D
That's like letting an alcoholic drink herself to death, though. I mean, sure, it's what she wants, that doesn't mean it's right for her. Break the bottles.
It was nice to *finally* see a truly bad and threatening Lex. It made me smile and Michael played it so well! Huzzah! It's about freaking time!
Aaaaand then there's this week, where he's a cuddly bunny.
Your video was funny - but you should have just had Al pretend to be the summoner! You were a little muffled. ;D Nice mood music!
Good point. It was actually rushed that week. As opposed to this week, where it'll likely be rushed.
I have to say, "Nemesis" was quite phenomenal. Smallville seems to be back at the point of its roller coaster ride where things are good. I'm also glad that they seem to be intentionally making Lana eviller, which could hopefull lead to her having an epiphany and perhaps becoming more likeable... or myabe they'll just kill her off.
I think the show is definitely getting better, but hasn't reached passable for this show yet.
Good to see the Luthors back up to their old tricks as well. Which one is the liar? I'd guess both. But the one thing that made this episode awesome was the examination of Clark and Luthor's relationship, including Martha's speech at the end (which was much better than the one where she told Clark it's okay to kill people).
Hah! She told him not to forgive Lex, though...
And on top of that, freak of the week gets replaced with Evil Chick of The First Ten Minutes With Reasonable Motivation, Perhaps Moreso Than All Freaks of The Week Combined.
Yeah, but her motivation was to blow Lex up on a hunch coupled with impossible intel. I dunno, I didn't dig it too much.
Hey Neal :) I officially like your reviews better then the actual show.
Tonight's episode was...errrrr...good if Lana was out of it. When she shot the handles off the case with the ease of a professional gunman I cringed.
Me too. I think with Lana gone it might have been a 4.
But do i care anymore? The only part I liked was when Clark got out of the hatch and lay under the sun regaining his energy. Did clark already know that he gets strength by the sun?
Yes, actually. I have researched this for, et-hem, my own self on my own time, and not anything else at all (at all!). Remember Perry? He had to deal with sunspots.
I remember the episode where clark's powers went haywire by the sun and he made a connection that he is linked to the sun, but does he realize it now in this epispode that it replenishes his strength?
No, but it stands to reason to me.
By the way, it would be nice to read reviews by you from other shows or movies. i know i would.
Check out Cinema Crazed. I put up movie reviews there when I have a spare minute and can. I just reviewed Bizarre New World, and awesome indie comic. I'll likely be doing Spidey 3 there.
Thanks for your reviews and keep it up!!!!
PS: Don't forget to check out the updated KO Count
NemesisReviewed by: Douglas Trumble
This one was short on the action but heavy on the drama. I liked it a lot.
First of all I thought it was a fantastic way to put Lex and Clark together like that. By trapping them together they were forced to confront their failed friendship. You could almost sense genuine regret in Lex for the loss of Clark's friendship. A glimmer of goodness in an almost total evil package. Something that is sure to give Clark pause in the coming "war".
That Glimmer is enough to give some small hope to saving him from the dark path he is on but I think things have been put into motion that will obliterate that glimmer.
I refer to Lana's story this week which I actually found to be rather entertaining as well. Seems not is all as it seemed with Lionel's threat. He might not have had Lana's best interests at heart but it is possible he was looking at a bigger picture and I think Lana is starting to realizing that. I was also impressed by how she called out Lex on the failed pregnancy. She masterfully laid down the gauntlet without giving it up that she knew. Lex is going to be desperate now and we all know he will end up on the losing end.
Once that happens any chance for a good Lex will be gone. This might be what Lionel is trying to protect but some how I think there is more to that. Lex seems to be very close to finding out Clark's secret. I do not think Clark's wound in the tunnels will be enough to change his mind. If Lana dumps him and goes to Clark, Lex would be more motivated to find out Clark's secret and be more likely to use that secret against Clark.
Well needless to say the possibilities are exciting and I am eagerly waiting to see how it all turns out.
A few other steps forward we saw this week in regards to Lex's experiments. I am unsure how the video of the phantom from the Phantom Zone and the dead soldier are related but all possibilities lead me to believe Clark is in for one heck of a challenge. Could the phantom now be inside the soldier or is the soldier something that is being made to capture the phantom?
The only down side this week was the somewhat inconsistent use of Kryptonite. It was not enough to ruin the episode but Clark is usually completely incapacitated by even a small amount of Kryptonite. This week he's able to fight through the pain which is ok but with the amount we saw should have laid him out cold. I did like the shot of Clark basking in the sun after leaving the tunnels though. I thought that was a very nice touch.
So with that in mind I have to give this one a B-. It feels like a B+ but I am knocking it down a half a grade for the inconsistent Kryptonite usage. Still a good episode and one you want to see. (call it a 3 out of 5)
Next week looks interesting but one can not help but feel that we are once again getting filler episodes leading into the final. Oh how that aggravates me. Aggravated or not I will be there ready and willing to see this little experiment. It could be fun to see the actors "play" a bit.
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