Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 7 - Episode 1: "Bizarro"

Reviews:

Bizarro

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

MAIN POINTS:

  • Lana didn't blow up, Chloe dies, Chloe comes back, Supergirl takes Martha's place.
  • Bizarro is like Bizarro, only a little more bizarre. And dies.
  • Lois smacks Clark, Clark smacks himself.
  • Lionel is missing, and Lex is in Jail.

    REVIEW:

    Not bad. Not bad at all. Not Unbreakable, but not bad.

    What do we expect from a given premiere? Well, usually some good effects, epic storyline, elevated beyond previous levels, to a degree, and some character motion, hopefully. Do we get that here? Nah, not really. No major changes, nothing too epic, and effects with a little struggle to them. But still, all in all, a solid episode. It felt like what a good middle season episode in the first three seasons would have been. But for Smallville, post the last three seasons, relatively speaking, it was decent fun.

    It was rife with inaccuracy, I know that much, and have noted as such at length. That drug it down. But it also had a lot of good little moments that added up. Maybe I just missed the show. That's an odd thing, no matter how many times I've been disappointed, I always want to come back to Smallville. I feel like a battered wife who refuses to leave her abusive husband, because he was a good guy in the early years.

    It's hard to get introspective or summative with the first episode of a season, and I didn't have many revelations over the summer or new angles, so I'll go straight into the blow-by-blow and leave what I did on my summer vacation (hah) for the lower portions of the show...

    The dam bursting, and the special effects that followed, rocked my world. It's very evident they dropped some cash into varying effects, and left others to slack, and the dam breaking and the water flowing were not skimped on. Very good water effects for TV.

    Clark jumps up from his catastrophic head-over-head flip. It's like that Monty Python bit (at least I think it's Monty Python, I can't recall the specifics) where they have the main characters about to get into this catastrophic, world-shattering space fight, then it cuts to subtitles that say, "HUGE, CATASTROPHIC FIREBALLS, ERUPTIONS OF WARFARE, but we can't afford to show you this" and etcetera, then cuts back to the two guys, now dusty, going, "Whoa, that was epic!" When Clark rose, that's what I was thinking. What knocked over that tree, and why didn't we see it?

    Bizarro pops down, plows through the tree, and somehow there's no hole in the tree. It's pretty odd. The face effects are then a bit clumsy, and remain so for most of the episode. It's hard to do Bizarro, I know, and they tried, but it came off odd in this scene.

    Bizarro kicks Clark, and it's cut pretty badly, given that it's two actors. They should have either used a stand-in or another angle, it's a bit odd.

    I loved the deeper Bizarro voice, and following that up with a punch through the tree and into the power lines was RAD. Solid rad. I bought it wholeheartedly, it rocked my face. Great effects there.

    Cut to the kid and the dad who really, really need to die. Why? Because they're fishing, happy, in love with each other. That leads to death in most fictional mediums worth their salt. Here comes this big wave of water, and I'm thinking, YEAH! YEAH! GET THAT POSER KID! HE CAN'T FISH! ROCK HIM! NYAH!

    Well, not really, but you gotta cheer for the wave with a kid that cute.

    So you're all, "GO WAVE!" and here it comes, and the dad starts running. "Run, Johnny! It's an eighty foot wave!" and the kid's all like, "Dad, I forgot my teddy bear!" and the dad, giving the kid up for Darwin, starts to run on his own, then engages in the most epic phail of phails in the history of epic faceplants, conking his head and knocking himself out. Actually, I don't particularly buy the faceplant, it didn't play well, but still, good. Head injury. That ruins the kid for sure.

    Darwin says, let dad die. But oh, no. Here comes Superman. Great. CURSE YOU, SUPERMAN!

    The effect here was, sad to say, pretty horrible for such a cool idea. Clark melts a fricking DAM full of water with his vision, and how do they do it, visually? Clark blasts one point in the water. The water then crackles with Emperor lightning, only red. Clark then stops. Then it instantly vaporizes about a second later. Huh?

    Why not just have him open his eyes full spectrum, have a huge red wash, and have all the water gone, and a huge fog cloud with an explosive sound? Cheaper, and more rad. Though when the vision was pouring from his eyes, it really worked.

    The kid nod moment, though, almost made up for it. It's a secret identity reveal, which sucks, but somehow, saving kid moments seem to make up for it. Remember the season four finale? I didn't look upon it as favorably then, but now I'm more down.

    Cue the new credits, which feature some moments from season six, and no Annette. Add Vandervoort. No biggie, not revolutionary. BUT, there is a bit of subtext in the fact that Lana's big character moment they choose to highlight is when she shot the suitcase. Har. I dunno if you remember, but it was just an epic moment of character hilarity.

    Okay, kids. Science! You know the drill. Clark has just vaporized all of the water from the dam, recall. Lex, meanwhile, is handcuffed in a car, stuck in the wash of water FROM said dam.

    Clark then dissipates all of the water with his frickin' laser beams that come out of his head. This, presumably, stops the raging flow of water. ERGO, according to Neal's complex systematic deconstruction of the obvious, there is one of two potentialities.

    1) Lex Luthor is caught in a lake made from water that no longer exists, or

    2) Lex Luthor flipped over the dam in the opposite direction of the water, thus negating Newton's laws.

    That is, unless you assume that's the normal water level, which I can't, because the water level has clearly risen from the establishing shot of the exploded dam.

    But hey, that's not nearly so odd as the police lights that are still working, and swirling, in a car now flooded with water at the bottom of the lake. Dramatic effect, I guess. No, wait. Meteor rocks! Must have infected the car...yeah!

    Lex sees Kara under the water... very visually pretty. Probably my favorite moment in the episode.

    We cut, very quickly, to Bizarro stuck on a piece of metal on the electrical lines. A piece of metal has pierced all the way through his body sideways, making him either paralyzed or destroying all of his lower internal organs. He pulls himself free, however, and apparently can still walk around. This REALLY pulled me out of the story and bugged me. Even Superman can't walk around with no spleen or a broken liver. PARTICULARLY given that they've just established that this guy's weakness is THE SUN. You don't then show him in the sun, pierced in half, but still fully powered. It doesn't make any sense.

    You can argue that Clark still has his powers in the shade, yeah, but he doesn't when he's hit with Kryptonite. The sun HURTS Bizarro in this show, just like Kryptonite, so he should be dead. Or they should have made the fact that it's an "inconvenience" clearer, if that's the case.

    But if it's just an inconvenience, the ending doesn't follow.

    It then occurs to me, if the sunlight weakens him and makes his face crack, then why does he still retain the ability to fly? (From the dam).

    Also, he's directly in the sun, but his face doesn't crack. Doesn't really make sense.

    The corrupted heat vision, however, and the brutal murder, more than make up for it. It's sadistic, it's scary, and it establishes Bizarro as a credible threat. I liked it.

    What I absolutely DIDN'T like, at all, is the fact that Clark is nowhere to be found, is not pursuing this monster, and essentially has the death of the electrical worker on his head. He has super-speed, the advantage of the sun, he knows where he punched the guy to, and he doesn't pursue? HUH? In what world would Superman do that?

    Here again, the face cracking is a bit forced and unpolished.

    Lois runs around with her head cut off, and sees into a room where... all of the super-soldiers are dead. Well, great. That's a heck of a big plot device to cut off at the pass. Nice tease, Smallville. Thanks for no payoff.

    So Clark, you have this intergalactic serial murdering guys with your powers, except he can fly, going around and making people cry. Who is the FIRST person you secure?

    LIONEL LUTHOR? No. I say that again, with more question marks and exclamation points, like a seventh grade love letter. LIONEL LUTHOR?!?!?!?!?!?!

    Do you like this? YES OR NO. Circle one.

    NO!?!?!

    So he sees Lionel's little Gucci loafer, or whatever, and he doesn't look under it, he doesn't x-ray, he just, I dunno, kind of malingers, then goes after Lois and Chloe second. Nice guy. You could argue that he didn't know they were there, but HE CAN SEE THROUGH ANYTHING.

    Lex Luthor is saved by Kara, finally giving him a reason to hate aliens and carry out his war against them. Wait...

    Clark saves Lois and Chloe by the luck of the roof unsupported schtick. Okay. I dig that. What really, really irks me is that Clark realizes Chloe is dying (and, point of fact, she DOES die), and he protects his SECRET over her life, instead of grabbing her and bolting for the hospital, consequences be damned. THAT just sucks.

    Bad Clark broods in the barn, wearing a new black shirt. He takes a piece of green kryptonite, and prepares to hold it to his skin, healing himself. He TEARS the shirt off, dramatically. Of course, if you're paying attention, you realize his other shirt was ruined by the horrible stab wound that would make it impossible for him to walk, much less change shirts, but Bad Clark is so bad, he puts on another shirt just to RIP IT OFF. That's what I'm like on the weekends, so I understand. RRIIIIIIP! ("Not another shirt, Neal!" Sorry, ladies. That's just how I roll.)

    But I guess we've gotta fill that man nipple quota, for the ladies. Or the gents, I dunno. (I'm SUPER(man)! Thanks for asking!)

    AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES.

    Chloe dies. Yawn. If you want us to feel suspense, don't put her in the opening credits. Martha has my concern.

    Get this. Lois doesn't connect her healing to Chloe. She thinks it was a Lex goon? Boy, is she bright enough to be an investigative reporter, or what?

    Lois then follows this chain of causality to go and find Lex for information on how to save Chloe. But she doesn't call ahead to make sure he's home. Sigh.

    She's like Lois Lane, only a little more bizarre.

    No, strike that.

    She's like Lois Lane, only clinically retarded. Though I like the Dr. Evil line. Especially following my laser beams from his frickin' head joke.

    Cut to Lex, pining for Lana, the girl he was so hacked at he smacked her last time he saw her. Now, she's back to perfect again. In fact, he stares at her picture more than Lana stares into a mirror while combing her hair, which is like, a LOT.

    "Soft skin... and her hair... her face in the morning, like she hadn't woken from her dream... the gentle floating unmolested flatulence that smells of newborn puppies and has healing properties... the Neutrogena wave of popularity that filled every room she entered... her trips to Paris, where she spent my money while everyone calls her a great philanthropist for starting charities... twisting Lionel's IV to manipulate him into getting what she wants... those beautiful doe eyes... the dangling earrings... the manipulation... soft skin..."

    Brody: "SHE'S EATING YOUR SOUL!"

    Holden: "I LOVE HER!"

    At any rate, Lex Luthor doesn't pine over the women he has killed, or women who have angered him to the point of blows. He lights a cigar and moves on to the next woman. This is not my Lex Luthor, at all.

    Apparently, Lois' butt is another weakness for Bizarro. Nah, that's not exploitive or denigrating to Lois in any way.

    Bizarro, seeing womanmeat, decides to get some of that fine somethin-somethin. He walks over, puts on his mack, and grabs Lois' butt. Lois smacks him, continuing the great Smallville tradition of beating any guy who decides he's horny.

    Granted, he touched her without asking her permission, and was being a putz. But here's the deal. Ladies, you have to say NO! loudly when the guy's getting in proximity. Or if he invades your space, and touches you, you say NO! loudly and step back. He keeps coming, THEN slug him.

    Neal, that's sanctioning Clark's behavior!

    No, it's not. That's me saying that I've flat-out had women grab my butt, playful, or attempting to seduce me, and if I had slugged them, I'd be in jail for five to ten. Clark's being a jerk, but being a jerk isn't enough to make hitting someone the right response or the proper character motion for a role model.

    The proper solution is to write the scene differently, so that Lois doesn't have to do that. Have Clark move in, have her say no, and back away. Or have him move in without permission and get slapped while forcing his way in.

    But that doesn't get you the butt grab shot, which I contend is the true purpose of the scene for the vicarious fourteen-year-old they're trying to snag. Which is even more exploitive. Butt focus with abuse. Grand. Crap.

    Scrubs:

    You see, everything comes down to poo! From the top of your head, to the sole of your shoe! We can figure out what's wrong with you by looking at your poo!

    That's, I think, the best parallel analogy for comparison contrast in sociological examination of television. A stool sample. Either that or the Fonzie jumping the average fat middle American guy who oogles gals like Lois for their butts. I dunno.

    Don't worry, I'll wait. Let me know when you catch up. I love Don Rickles.

    Chloe's back after the commercial break. I don't know how I survived those two minutes of tension, but I did. She finds her death certificate and steals it, which somehow means multiple doctors didn't see her die and there are no records and will be no questions. Like when Clark died. Ah, logic!

    Clark finds her by using his super-hearing, which is odd, considering he just found out she was dead. I mean, when someone tells me my mother died, the first thing I do if I have super-hearing is listen for her scratching at the morgue door.

    It doesn't really matter if it's hard or if it's loose, we'll figure out what's ailing you, as long as it's a deuce! Yes! Everything comes down to poo!

    Lana Luthor apparently gets a death certificate without a body.

    Lex rambles about Model 503. Not sure what the heck that is, but hey. I'll bite and wait with interest. But if it's another Wes, I swear I'm gonna shoot the screen.

    He also rambles about having been brought back to face his demons. HE DIDN'T KILL LANA. What demons? C'mon guys, that shtick was stupid when Lionel first did it two seasons back.

    I dug the idea presented about Lex siding with the new Clark who would trust and befriend him. Good little twist of dialogue, and I'm surprised they didn't do more with it.

    Chloe on Clark flying: "God, Clark, you've gotta get on that one!"

    No kidding. I mean, first, he learns he can fly from Kara. Then, he flies, three years ago, while possessed by Jor-El, and Martha sees him do it. Then his DNA flies, through Bizarro. It's getting ridiculous.

    Manhunter's eye effect was neat. I think it's the first thing they've actually shown related to the Manhunter. Kidding. But seriously, how is this guy Manhunter in any way at all? What's his deal? He flies, and has powers?

    He says that he goes to space, and space heals him? Wha? This is like Thumb Wars. "I escaped somehow!"

    Lex is knocked out when he betrays Bizarro, showing what a bad guy he is by trying to save Clark. Wait...

    Here the effects start to get better. Bizarro's face manipulations are pretty good from here on out, particularly the one where his face is half melted in the sun.

    Clark and Bizarro face off, and I see a YTMND in motion. Clark runs, leaps up Leonidas style, and gets two to the plexus, knocking him back and into a wall. "You got knocked the*#%^out!"

    The screen really needed to stop, right then, and have PWNED! Flash across the center. In fact, anyone who makes a YTMND showing that is my new best friend and gets into the main review next week. Ultimate Phail. Owned. Move, bich! Get out the way!

    Clark stands, musters himself, and says, "HEY!" He says it in such a dead-on Superman way, I got gooseflesh. It channeled Reeve, quite literally, and is my favorite moment in the whole show. Watch it again. It's chilling.

    The face punch Clark then gets is very Matrix. You know, when Neo knocks Smith's face sideways? Just as funny here, too.

    Clark then does the Popeye. You guys remember Altman Popeye? Well, I do, and I love it. Anyway, Robin Williams actually cranks up his fist fighting in the ring, about three times, then lets it go, knocking the boxer stupid. That's what Clark does here. They even use music that sounds Popeye-ey. Awesome. It works, somehow. Bizarro flies up, gets grabbed by the Martian Manhunter (all according to the semi-impossible to predict plan, I guess, but okay), and Bizarro flakes apart and goes bye-bye.

    I'll buy that, though it's unclear it's the Manhunter at first.

    "Hate is so clean." One of the better Smallville speeches, and great acting by Welling. A very strong scene.

    Here's more Lois logic for you: Shock over Lana means Clark will then hit on her and grab her butt.

    Cardiovascular and lymphatic, yes, the nervous system, too! All across the nation, we trust in defecation! Everything comes down to poo!

    Oh, and hey, Lana's still alive, blending in perfectly in China with... A BLONDE WIG?

    Kara sits on a water tower (Animaniacs!), puts on a bracelet, rises, puts her hands to her hips, and flies. The flight rules, the hands on the hips looked awkward. I'm not entirely sold that this is Supergirl for me, but I'll give next episode a whirl on that one, as the preview indicates it may be interesting...

    All in all, TONS of great moments, as is fairly standard for a premiere, a sweeps, or a finale episode. The effects were on and off, the story was pretty sweeping and grand, and though there were a ton of awful inconsistencies, I still had fun.

    4 of 5.

    SUPER SHORT REVIEW:

    People wanted this back in word form, so here goes:

    DOO DOO plus Lois logic means that I can hear a dead person in a cabinet, reverse Newton's law to put a light on a cop car under water, and kids need to die when their dads are Darwin failures. Here comes captain blonde Lana, DOO DOO, Lex loves looking at pictures and betraying people repeatedly. A loafer, a bad effect, a good effect, but most importantly...HEY! 4 of 5.

    ARTISTIC RE-ENACTMENT:

    WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION:

    I'm sorry this review is late, folks...the reason is 7. Henceforth, it will be like regular clockwork, as far as I know.

    Hah! Vacation. Feh. I haven't rested in years. But anyway, since you guys ask, to cut it off at the pass in every published letter to not repeat myself, here's what I did:

    1) Started my sixth novel, a thousand page epic called "Work" and got 100 pages in.

    2) Submitted my fifth, Quarter No Soldier, with reasonable success. I can't say what degree of success, because you're only supposed to submit to one agent at a time, and that's exactly what I did, for the record, instead of submitting to many and getting several potential acceptances. Et-hem. Cough.

    3) Bought the new house to work on to support the writing, and began working my butt off on it. I've ripped up floor, done another roof, cleared walls with thirty years of nicotine stains, knocked down shacks, cleared debris, etcetera, etcetera. The zen master says build an outhouse (IE do crap work) for enlightenment. Consider me enlightened this summer.

    4) Went to Chicago and met readers.

    5) Went to San Diego and met readers, had a blast reporting.

    6) Earned a green with blue belt in ninjutsu karate, from a white belt in February.

    7) Went on a bowhunt with no success, missing a 3X3. Which is agony.

    8) Dyed my hair green.

    9) PUBLISHED MY FIRST PAID SHORT STORY IN SMALLVILLE MAGAZINE, NOW ON THE STANDS, FEATURING A CHARACTER THAT IS NOT SOLOMON GRUNDY, LEGALLY SPEAKING. NO, DEFINITELY NOT SOLOMON GRUNDY. Purchase it at your local Borders, if you like, or here, subscribe! (I'm told I'll be in future issues, and you can get your fix)

    Tha's... tha's about it. But that frickin' rocks.

    LETTERS:

    I'm in bold. Some of these letters come from before last summer, and some are on comics, but all are relevant to addressing the style, so I'd say, so they're included...

    Dear Neal Bailey,

    I'm a big fan and loved every one of your Smallville reviews last year. I look forward to season 7 even more because I get to read more reviews.

    Thanks! I love writing 'em.

    I sent in some fan art last year which you posted on reviews and I created a fake Smallville ad, which I though you might like or might be able to post somewhere or save and post it later. I apprechiate anyhting you can do.

    That's awesome! It's posted below, and it rules.

    Blessings,

    Caleb Garcia
    Calabasas CA

    Bruce Kanin wrote:
    ACTION COMICS: "Crisis of Faith"

    Neal,

    Took me awhile to get to this issue, but once I read it, I wanted to respond to your review. The title is apropos; as mentioned before, I am having my own "crisis of faith" re: comic books. As you write, "Countdown" has been, basically Grade A Crap. I stopped following "Supergirl" awhile ago, but continue to read with almost amusement the Superman Homepage reviews. "Supergirl" may make "Countdown" look like Brad Meltzer's stuff.

    Yeah, many of the people I know are experiencing out and out comic revulsion right now from both companies. I myself am seriously considering cutting back or stopping on all comics save those I review unless something happens to amp things up.

    Anyway, "Crisis of Faith" may restore my faith in some comic books (though I've said similar things before). As you so correctly observed, there is more quality in this relatively short story than the garbage presented in "Countdown" to date. It was just a wonderful story, period. It had "action" (appropriately), but not unnecessary action such as you see in "Supergirl" or other junk that's there only to pull in a four year-old.

    Agreed.

    Every scene was put in "Crisis" for a reason - it all fit together. Too bad more stories today aren't like this one.

    It's weird, there are so many gems in the crap, but yes, when they're good, they're really good of late.

    Take care,

    Bruce

    jeff wrote:
    Got done reading your review of Phantom and even you can't figure it out. This show has become such a mess. For all the forward plot, maybe 4 or 5 episodes at most were enough. The rest were just fluff.

    Yep.

    So, let me get this straight: Lana marries Lex to protect Clark from Lionel (she doesn't even know that kryptonite can kill them; then again, neither does anyone responsible for creating this show). She takes it on a whim that Lionel is truthful in his threat, instead of warning Clark and professing she knows his secret and Lionel claims he has a weakness. Rather, she waits till the finale to say something. Then, she decides to leave Lex to protect Clark. HUH?

    Yep again. Crazy talk.

    Good lord, it amazes me that people lucky to be in this business have such shotty writing ability. Maybe Chloe told Lana about kryptonite or that Clark has a weakness but it's difficult to remember with so much bs and nonsense on this show. Lionel enforced Lana to gather inside info on Lex's secret projects, which had almost no ramifications in the end. Lionel possibly could've used his LuthorCorp and/or government connections to bring down Lex, but he did practically nothing with whatever Lana reported. Hell, logistcally, Clark had no idea Lex was chasing after phantoms for his freak army. Again, what resolution came about directly as a result of obtaining insider info on Lex? Nothing.

    It's just the end result of showing arbitrary "cool" moments without thinking or planning for the ramifications.

    Clark threatens Lionel for blackmailing Lana, with Clark's life as the bait, and we're supposed to believe that Lionel is a good guy (fyi, there's no need to bring up why Clark threatening Lionel is out of character; let's not beat a dead horse)? Manhunter justifies it, as well. Speaking of, why did he wait all this time to tell Clark he worked with Jor El and he came here to stop the phantom menance (pun intended!)? Stupid.

    Yes.

    And suddenly Jor El is also good. What is with this show and its total disrespect for intellectual integrity of the viewer? Do they think we'll just accept everything at face value and not rip them for glaring logic flaws and internal inconsistency?

    What's really, really scary is that most of us just DO.

    Furthermore, what the F was the point this past season for Lionel to close his notebook filled with kryptonian writings at the sight of Clark? There was no point. I also recall in earlier seasons Lionel scribbling down kryptonian symbols in a possessed-like fashion, as, somehow, Jor El was channeling himself through Lionel. This past season, his eyes weren't glowing. He wasn't writing in a merciless fashion. He was just writing like a normal person would write. Why the change?

    Because the show is catastrophically internally inconsistent of late.

    And they totally fudged the great moment of Clark revealing his secret to Lana. They should've just left Lana dead and buried last season.

    Yes.

    Trent wrote:
    One thing I haven't noticed you comment on is SV's tendency to use a CG wide shot of the Narrows from Batman Begins as, well, a generic establishing shot of Metropolis. At first (I believe in the Bow Wow episode), I thought it was sort of a clever wink to fans.

    I haven't seen it, but now I'll be watching for it.

    In season three, it just might've been.

    No, it's actually intended to be used as Metropolis. Beyond being jarring (I loathed Batman Begins and even *I* recognize where that shot comes from), it's just so... CHEAP! Ya know?

    If so, it is, yep.

    What say you?

    Don't make me angry, boy.

    I wouldn't dare... I'm so busy, the last thing I need is Trent chasing me with a machete...

    Josh Beaver wrote:
    Hey, Neal. First off your reviews of "Smallville" are hilarious. I wonder how many people actually get your hidden jokes and references. I about die laughing.

    Thank you. The number is 42.

    Anyway, I just need to get some frustration off my chest with "Smallville". This season sucked. Period. I rate it at an overall 0.5. The characters were all over the place. They didn't even focus on Clark much at all. It was just Lana, Lana, Lana. Personally, I think she used to be attractive back in seasons 1-3, but for me I need intelligence and personality in addition to looks. Lana has neither intelligence, nor personality.

    She's probably still attractive to those who are attracted to doe eyed, virginal women with an exotic streak. Personally, I've always dug women covered in dirt who spit curses and could toe the line with me in a fistfight with ginormous breastage and a mouth to match. Call me crazy. But anyway, point being, it's not her looks in question, it's her shallowness.

    Clark is not developing at all. In fact he is actually falling backwards. The Fortress was used in what, two episodes? Even after it was magically repaired. There is no more Jor-El interaction after the first couple of episodes. I am pretty sure that Jor-El was supposed to make an appearance this season, but he rarely even spoke. I also think the whole Zod thing was done too early in terms of overall story and then resolved too soon. I was expecting it to last a few episodes. I didn't like the whole possessing Lex thing either, but it was interesting that Lex was possessed by Zod, while Lionel was possessed by Jor-El.

    Yeah... I really dug Zod, actually.

    The Justice League was poorly done too. Again, too early. The Justice League isn't supposed to be formed until after its various members have come into their own. Not while they're freshly out of high school. Bad writing. A device used to up ratings.

    Pretty much, though it was interesting, at least.

    Lois and Jimmy. Neither one is supposed to even make an appearance until Clark becomes a reporter at the Daily Planet. I think it would have been okay to have Lois appear breifly on the show like Perry White, but Lois knows Clark too well now and has sees him WITHOUT HIS GLASSES!!! She will know who Superman is the moment she first sees him. She makes this distinction in the Donner cut of "Superman II" simply by drawing glasses on a picture of our favorite Man of Steel. Jimmy is supposed to be a lot younger than Clark. Having him the same age is throwing away all kinds of continuity. Not that there IS any continuity with Superman anymore, but you get the point. Also, same as with Lois, he would recognize Superman as Clark Kent immediately. I know Jimmy is dense, but not that dense. It kinda goes back to Clark using his abilities all over Smallville and no one noticing. :(

    Yeah, they've thrown the future history to the wind in favor of rating-grabbing ploys like Lois, Supergirl, Jimmy, etc.

    Lana discovering Clark's secret. Big deal. They've done that so many times now, that its been done too much. My first thought when I saw it was, "what kind of mind wiping gimmick are they going to use this time?". Then they answered it with a HORRIBLY done explosion where Lana is SUPPOSED to die. Yeah, I bought that scene hook, line, and sinker. As many times as Lana has been kicked, thrown, blown up, tossed around, and killed one would expect some scars to mar that pretty face of hers.

    Yeah, no doubt.

    Martian Manhunter. Don't even get me started. When I first saw him, I didn't even know who it was. They actually had to say who he was before I got it. That's how bad they wrecked him. His entire back story on "Smallville" is full of holes. I'm one who likes back story, so I happen to pay attention. This was another example of poor research and writing.

    Or just a production that can't afford a guy with Superman's powers, much less Manhunter's.

    Bizzaro was the ONLY thing that saved the finale, but even so, I'm not sure I like his introduction. It seemed rushed and lacking. Using a phantom as Bizzaro with a piece of Clark's DNA? That just stunk. They even said in the episode that he needed to INHABIT a Kryptonian to survive. Not just steal his DNA. Horrible. The writers didn't even pay attention to their own writing. I smell George Lucas, don't you?

    George Lucas uses continuity editors. He just decides to let some things slip, but he's paying attention. Smallville actively sabotages its own future continuity if it seems cool.

    Speaking of phantoms, what happened to all of them? Clark stops a few, then all of a sudden the Bizzaro phantom is the last one? Nonsense. I thought this season was going to focus on him stopping the Zoners and then going of to good old Daddy to learn to be Superman. That's what was stated early on. Instead they just focused on the Lana-Lex relationship all season, which frankly made my vomit more than once. What happened to the character development and plot lines of episodes past?

    Well, the Zoners were all caught, actually, one or two more than were released, as I recall.

    I hated Clark killing people and/or letting them die. Some people say that this is what develops his character later on, but come on. As Jolee Bindo once said in reference to Revan discovering his true identity, "You are what you are at your core". Something the writers of "Smallville" have yet to grasp. Hopefully next season the writer's will come up with good forward motion instead of pulling everything out of their butts as they go along. :)

    Heh. I wouldn't bet on it, but I've been wrong before.

    Well, thanks for letting me rant and rave. Peace.

    Josh

    Likewise.

    Bruce Kanin wrote:
    Re: SMALLVILLE "Phantom"

    Neal,

    I awaited your blockbuster review with the same anticipation - perhaps more - as with the season finale. Unlike "Smallville", though, your creation lived up to expectations, and actually exceeded them with your various retrospectives across the series and season six.

    Thanks. :)

    Your observations are all correct, of course - Lana's ridiculously faked death (missed the ice cream truck) and Lionel's nonsensical chase to "rescue" Lana; too much else to mention. Glad you liked Bizarro and forgave the writers for that horrible, horrible ... almost funny ... line re: "bizarre". It at least hearkened back to how Bizarro was named in the Silver Age.

    Yeah, and it's just hilarious to use all over the place.

    Anyway, let me focus on one thing you talk about: the Martian Manhunter. Let's see..."Smallville" got most of its characters "right". Clark, the reason for the show, except for the fact that he kills - a no-no - is about right from a "young Superman" perspective, give or take a brick filled with cheese (say, what is that?).

    I was improvising when I was singing the Smallville rock opera, and I needed a metaphor for Clark. I said, "Clark, you're just like a brick filled with cheese!" I've been using it ever since. I can't imagine a better metaphor for a lunkhead brain.

    I've applied it further, though. I don't know why, but I do. Say I see something really pathetic. I just go, "Man, that's a brick filled with cheese."

    It's nonsensical, but I think it's hilarious. It makes people laugh, too, so I dig it.

    They more or less got the JLA right - sort of not really - Impulse, well, OK I guess; Cyborg, sort of kind of sort of; Aquaman, probably about right sort of; Green Arrow, well, maybe but not the disgruntled Dennis O'Neill version nor the Bruce Wayne clone (though closer to the latter), but decent and even likable, despite the mask-that's-really-sunglasses.

    Yes. I agree.

    So, "Smallville" got all the superheroes "right", or at least, got them to be "JLA-worthy" enough so that they're semi-recognizable. Why couldn't they get MM right, then? Why even bother suggesting it's him, if he's nothing like the established character?

    I think they're trying to, but he requires effects they can't afford with their ratings.

    In fact, "Smallville" is making MM seem like anything but the MM, what with him having been on Krypton with Jor-El - huh? What happened to Mars? Green guy? John Jones, detective? Powers-like-Superman-including invulnerability? Shape-shifting?

    Budget, no doubt.

    DUH!

    Anyway, 'nuf said...see you in October (at least, from a "Smallville" standpoint).

    Thanks. :)

    Take care,

    Bruce

    PS- Did I thank you for including TWO of my reviews in yours? My god - my series retrospective and "Phantom" review. You are someone special. Thanks Neal!

    No worries, man. It's good bantering.

    thebrakeman wrote:
    [quote]Clark fights the Phantom, who rushes at him, and then splits him in two. For a split second, we see the Superman symbol. Why?[/quote]

    It looked very similar (white/silver projected beam) to whenever Jor-El's crystal was used. Even though MM and/or Lionel said they didn't THINK it would work, it makes sense that Clark would give it a try. I tried slowing it down to find out, but I can't confirm it. It was probably in a CG effect that they cut out...

    Yeah, or shortened to save cash, I'd guess.

    Thebrakeman wrote:
    [quote]So either all the Phantoms he spent all season catching are free or dead.[/quote]
    ...OR
    They were never really captured IN the crystal. I'll bet those captured phantoms when straight to the zone (without their $200!).

    Could be, actually. Hadn't thought of that. I'm more concerned Clark busted it up and then didn't express a concern or the writers didn't elaborate.

    SCOTTY V wrote:
    Hey there Neal,

    I just got around to reading Action 845. Originally I was waiting until the Donner/Zod story arc was finished but now, based on things I'm reading (that Christopher is in the stories that are now considered current, even though his adoptive father is trapped in the phantom zone and therefore the story isn't finished!!) it seems like I hasve to get current on all the books. There's something I like about collecting all the parts to a story before reading it and then reading it in it's entirety. But it looks like, since they've got Chris in stories that can't even be happening yet because Superman's still trapped in the PZ, I have no choice but to read them. If you have any input on this, even though I know we all have problems still with the continuity, in terms of how we can possibly understand this conundrum - Chris is here but if the Action storyline takes place later, since it hasn't been finished yet, how could he be here and if it takes place before but just hasn't been finished yet, dosen't that take away from the drama of having Clark trapped since we know that he's out and that all is well? Not that we wouldn't know he'd get out anyway but...I don't know, why finish it, we already see him happy and healtyh right?

    It's comic politics. Can't tick off Adam, so we wait while the story is messed over. Kind of like how Countdown superceded Sinestro, and thus we know Rayner survives his ordeal as Parallax, which is REALLY lame and kills suspense. I wish I had a rationale for the crap.

    Just a couple of things I wanted to say about your review and the issue itself. I definitely don't like the whole Silver Age vibe. It totally makes a much more compelling, interesting Superman when he grew up mostly normal while experiencing the weird quirks of his manifesting super-powers. But it looks like it doesn't matter what the generala public would rather, it seems DC is satisfied enough with barely hanging onto the few readers Superman books already have and hopes that at least they'll stick around through the changes. The biggest criticism I hear from non-Superfans is "He's too perfect." The idea that a hero who can do everything, does everything right, has no weakness save a radioactive substance that is supposed to be rare but, as evidenced in this very story-arc, never really is. "We're going to use Kryptonite on the cells to see if he's Kryptonian." As another oft-heard complaint, apparantly everyone has and can readily get Kryptonite.

    Yep. And Byrne addressed those rather well, I though. I mean, I'd be all for bringing most Silver Age things back save the hokeyness, the things you mention, and Clark with powers younger. Oh, and Lex should be a serious character, not a caricature like he is now.

    As far as the scene where teh Kents and Lois give Clark a hard time for attacking the convoy. There were a few things I thought about this scene. First, I thought it was a little odd that Superman was going in and assaulting a transport with grenades. He says in the scene that they were a few harmless smoke bombs but there is clearly one shot in the last issue of an entire truck engulfed in an explosion. For a while I was thinking that Luthor has attacked the transport, which then had me saying "Where's Superman?" But once I realized that Clark must have staged it I thought THAT was a bit out of character. Remember, Clark follows the rules and laws of our civilized society. If the Joker murders Lois, the Joker needs to stand trial and be punished however the courts decide to punish him. In "Justice" on Smallville, you made sure you mentioned how the junior League acts like terrorists, blowing up a privatley owned storehouse and that Clark, uncharacteristically, just goes along with it. I don't know that I see too much difference here. Clark attacks a legal army transport. His parents as I know them would question his methods I think. They would probably still come to the agreement that the child needed to be rescued but tehy'd still ask him questions about making sure he didn't hurt anyone and wonder if it was the best course of action.

    Yep. I agree, actually.

    The scene also reminds me that we're no longer talking aboutt he same full of lofe Kents that we've had the benefit of over the past few years. We're now talking about Donner's Kents, the Kents whom, if Donner completely had his way, and I'm not yet convinced he won't before his time with DC is totally through, he and Bryan Singer would kill off Pa Kent and make sure we knew that Martha was not only useless but that Clark barely respects or even thinks of her. Statements like "We're too old and won't be around forever" and "I wish we could give you some advice..." are VERY uncharacteristic of what the Kents should be and have been over the years. Now, as Donner would have it, we're' inching back toward the very old time notion that some unnamed elderly couple found the baby in the ship, took him to an orphanage and washed their hands of the whole situation. Then we flash forward to the present in Metropolis and we have Superman with less connection to humanity, a greater range of limitless powers than ever and no reason for us to ever think Clark Kent is the real guy and Superman just the creation. Why does Superman have the morals he has? Because Kryptonians are born that way and they don't make mistakes and they're perfect and they are born with sueprpowers ON KRYPTON and even the clothing has superpowers and the yellow sun of the earth has nothing to do with anything. Blah. Lame.

    Agreed. Clark's humanity is essential for me as well.

    The biggest thing that makes totally no sense to me and never really has in these Donner stories. I consider Returns a Donner story since it adheres so closely to the Donner film. Why can Jor-El see Clark or Kal-El and answer direct questions about things he wasn't around for and couldn't possibly know about, but he can't stop Lex Luthor from coming in and stealing Fortress tech? Why can he say things like "I do not know who this boy is..." as if he can see Clark and Christopher but then still call Zod and friends and Luthor "My son..." as if the computer intelligence is limited? I don't know if you review 846 or not but much like Superman II and Superman Returns, this opening scene irks me. It's a little better here because at least Zod says the computer intelligence recognizes Kryptonian DNA. That dosen't explain why Jor-El can see a boy enough to know he doesn't know him but not see that Zod and two other people are most definitely not his ONE SON. Worse, it certainly doesn't explain why Luthor can go in and get whatever info he wants.

    Yeah, they really do have poor security there. Beyond the giant key.

    I'll say it again, would it be so bad to introduce some of the Fortress security into these movies so that it would make a little sense. In a world of complete and utter fantasy I would still like to see something that makes sense. This is why I said originally when SR came out that in essence it was completely Superman's fault that all the bad stuff happens in the movie. First, he leaves Earth forgetting or not caring about Luthor's hearing and him not being there is the reason Lex goes free. If he isn't free, he can't reak the havoc he reaks. Then, because Clark just leaves the Fortress open to all and unprotected and leaves the deadly, dangerous crystals around for anyone to mess with, it's then his fault for neglect, that the world COULD be destroyed. He then stops it from happening but I'm sure some people died or were horribly injured in the process so explain to those families that he wasn't trying to be neglectful or that he's sorry. "Hey I saved myself and Lois's kid and Lois's husband and Lois. What more do you want from me!!???"

    Good point...I hadn't thought of that.

    Oh well, I guess they're never gonna get it right for the big screen. I enjoyed Returns but there were too many issues and too much linked to the Donner film. And now they're invading the comics as well. While I like this story idea and most of it seems to be going pretty well, it certainly seems like they're really trying to adapt many of Donner's ideas, which sucked in the 70's and are even worse now, to our comics and our hero for a new generationa nd however long that lasts.

    I liked them for what they were, and still do, but I think that the medium needs to move forward, not live on nostalgia forever. People may say I'm Byrne nostalgic and demand it, but really, they can move totally away from all the things I hold dear, so long as they rationalize it in story. Now it's just change for change's sake.

    Oh and by the way, I remember recommending you watch LOST just about 3 years ago and you told me you tried and couldn't get into it. So has that changed and are you actually watching it or are you just making statements about it because it's popular and people will understand?

    Actually, I tried, couldn't get into it, then tried again, watched four episodes, and have been diabolically hooked ever since. It's insanely good.

    I only ask because I really don't remember a time when Kate unrealistically or without explaination takes out a man twice her size or copes with unrealistic overly gratuitous torture. If she had a weapon or was trained to do it in one of her flashbacks or if she happened to win against a guy because of good luck once or twice, I don't know that it's totally impossible. Jackie Chan beats countless people who are larger than him. Robin is 9 years old for godssake! Batman's even worse! They put him on even keel with the rest of the super powered Justice League and he's got nothing! Not to say Kate has been trained like Robin or Batman, but if there were times, which I can't really remember, where Kate took out men easily over and over who were twice her size it might start to bother me a bit, but once or twice and with reason and explaination, anything can happen. Heck, an intelligent 7 year old can kick out an adult's kneecaps and run when he's bearing down to kill him. Not likely but it can happen.

    True.

    Anyway, talk later.

    Scotty V

    SCOTTY V wrote:
    Hey Neal.

    I just now got caught up to issue 4 on the JSA. I'm trying to read all the issues that supposedly come before Countdown starts. That way I hope to be up and in tune with whatever continuity they've decided on and I can read the weekly series at the time it's supposed to be read. Of course, if they haven't yet really decided on a continuity, then I'll be ready when they do. I kindof hope they haven't, because I totally agree with you that making Supes into the Silver Age Supes and changing his entire development just doesn't work well.

    Cool.

    Anway, I really do love this JSA. I've never read it before. I actually thought the JSA operated in Europe, which I still think would make more sense, but perhaps that was just wishful thinking on my part. Let me explain what I mean by that. How could the United States, let alone the world, possibly need another super-team, when the JLA is always around? The reason I think costumed superheroes is sometimes a bad idea is because there are so many of them that it just starts to lose any of the little credability it might have had. When I imagine, in a Superman movie, for instance, that Supes is the ONLY super-power around (other than the villain that might get made in THAT film) then it puts Supes on a grand scope and of course the citizens of the film would find him special.

    Actually, JSA has addressed that, and I buy it. The idea being, they're not just another superhero team, they're the mentors who teach the current generation how to be heroes. Many of them are old, have been retired, or are extraordinarily young and learning.

    However, if then I turn around and say that the thousands of heroes in the DCU all exist as well and are around at the same time as Supes during the film but that we just don't see them, two questions come to mind. One: Who the hell would care about Superman in terms of him being this superstar famous celebrity that everyone points at int he sky if every hird person is flying around beating up villains and carrying helicopters? And Two: Why AREN'T the other super-powers around for these major events? If an entire city was going to be destroyed, later possibly the world (such as what happens in SR) wouldn't Wonder Woman and Green Lantern and the JSA come out to help? Or wouldn't Superman, when all these heroes bloodlines are being killed and a massive explosion goes off in tourist central Philadelphia, show up to fight for the American Way? It just doesn't make alot of sense. I've always thought anyway, that when you have Superman, who needs a sexy woman with a glowing rope? Or a guy with Bat ears and a cool car? Okay so Supes can't be everywhere at once, but thousands of costumed heroes? I don't know I think it's a bit much to buy into.

    I'm very much in agreeance that in a world like DC, big events can't happen without outside help. It's why I don't like stories that only involve one hero but a major dilemma without an outside reason (See Four Horsemen for a good example of how to make it a small gathering affair well).

    Heck now we even have Powergirl, who is essentially a female Superman and Supergirl, who we're being told is faster and more powerful than Superman. I thought Clark was the LAST Kryptonian. I understand that PG is from a parelllel Krypton and that SG is from Argos, a sister planet to Krypton, but again, isn't it overkill? The problem is, I do like the stories and the characters. But when I think abotut he implications it irks me. I mean, Batman routinely admonishes Superman for being the most powerful being on the planet and that he must be careful, but in this example alone we have two other Kryptonians who, at the very least, are EXACTLY THE SAME AS HIM (except they look better and are sexier) and might even be MORE POWERFUL?!!?

    They don't really show Power Girl cutting up too much with her powers, I agree. But then, maybe they don't want to diminish Supes? I dunno.

    So Bats is the greatest detectivea live huh? I don't know. Not when he can't remember that there's a Supergirl and a Powergirl just around the corner.

    Heh.

    Oh well. I still like the characters and the story and the art and basically everything about these JSA books so far. It's just when I think about superheroes in general that it starts to bother me there are so many and that they all exist at the same time. I think it would work much better if, in their respective books, each hero was alone in thier super-poweredness, except for the villain of the week who is usually stopped by the end. In the team books then we could have a Supes and WW and GL together but that woudl be a seperate entity and not tied into the solo books at all. It would just seem more real ands more special and more likely and believable to me were it that way. Now I know then that we couldn't have cool teamups and world shattering events where all hereoes are involved but I just think there are so many heroes that would get involved every time any other hero was dealing with a problem so that they don't come sometimes but do other times can't be explained away; it just is that way cause it's a solo book.

    Solo books that focus on the locality can be great. The problem is, everyone wants to make their imprint and goes crazy.

    But I'm like most in the big crossovers too, it's so fun to see. I guess I just have to not think about it. Even in 52, I thought that Clark would have done something, anything, to keep up the good fight. The last time he lost his powers that I can remember, he came in shooting, with machine guns and bullets strapped to his chest. Why is that any different? Just that this time they didn't want the big three involved so they each (Bats, Supes and WW) decided that it was ok to let countless millions die and be tortured while they all found themselves? Just doesn't sit well with me. Again, I thought 52 waws a great series, but it's pretty hard to get past that. At least from what I know of Clark, he wouldn't just sit around doing nothing while that was going on. We could still have a year without Superman if he dressed as a different hero and helped out. Heck, John Henry deos it and he has no powers. But then we find out that Clark Kent, when offered a Green Lantern ring to compensate for his loss of powers, TURNED IT DOWN!!???!?? Not the Clark Kent I know. THIS Clark sounds more like the whining, "I hate my gifts" Clark from Smallville. I really thought he was gonna start using the ring only then to discover that his powers were returning anyway. Why? Because I think that's what Superman would do. The only difference would have been that he'd have been using armor or a yellow shiled with a star on it or a cop uniform or something way before the GL opportunity fell on him.

    That's one of my MAJOR problems with 52, but I figured that wasn't 52's fault, it was the fault of editorial that didn't do a mini showing what Supes did to keep up the good fight parallel to the events of 52.

    I'm sorry I got off on a tangent there. Your thoughts?

    I have thoughts? :)

    Bruce Kanin wrote:
    Re: Action Comics #851

    Hey Neal,

    I dunno - jury's out. The 3-D glasses were a pain in the arse, and as you wrote, the artwork pretty much sucked.

    I didn't get the glasses, myself.

    And as a die-hard Silver Ager, that aspect of the story - and what DC seems to be trying to do - bothered me. The aspect I'm talking about is Mon-El. Yes, I know that they re-introduced him and a semi-Superboy not too long ago. The problem I have is that DC doesn't seem to know whether they want to go back to the Silver Age or not.

    Oh, they want to go back. They just don't want to tick off modern fans who realize it's largely nostalgic schlock.

    So what we have is these snippets ... suggestions ... that the Silver Age is "back" ... but not quite. It's as if the other die-hard Silver Agers who are at DC want it, but the newer blood doesn't.

    And DC wants cake to eat and have.

    It just makes things unclear and me uncomfortable. It's like Superman continuity is a stream of mud. You're not sure where it began, where it will end, and you can't hold it.

    And I hate that.

    Do I hate it? No. I sort of enjoyed this story, anyway. I sort of really like the Donner arc, despite the delay (nothing beats the All-Star B&R delay).

    I just wish I could touch it...

    Take care,

    Bruce

    Likewise.

    PS- Ever finish watching "Heroes"? BTW, I was disappointed to read that Morrison's run on All-Star Superman is coming to an end. Like you, I absolutely ate up the latest installment of Zibarro story. As with Star Trek TNG, all good things...

    Yeah, it's lame. I hope they'll con him into more.

    I never did finish Heroes, no. It just couldn't keep my attention. Many stereotypical devices, characters I can't identify with, and a lot of random stuff for the sake of randomness, like Lost, but without the intrigue for me. I've seen much better.

    Matthew Guy wrote:
    I agree with your rant about Adam's art delays. After this arc is finished I will never ever get this artist's work again. Adam should do specials or annuals but not monthly books. This looks bad on Donner & Johns when the delay was not their fault. DC should also fire Matt Idelson because his column makes me so angry tried to justify the delay when in reality there is no excuse for it.

    I don't know if Matt should be fired. I know I am currently dissatisfied with many aspects of his run.

    SCOTTY V wrote:
    Hey Neal

    Just responding to your Labyrinth review. Finally watched the next episode after "Justice' and I've gotta say, I found it pretty darned good. It gave me various emotions that I don't often experience anymroe with this show and I thought the premise was actually pretty good. Sure they've done similar storylines before but I felt this was one of the better ones.

    I'm thinking that the reason we "see" the Phantom trying to dissect Clark's mind is simply to accentuate what a Phantom must do to a person in order to use their body on this plane. The phantom must find some way to get rid of the other consciousness in order to have full control and with Clark, this was the way this Phantom chose to go. My take on it is that any phantom, when invading someone, such as Lil' Bow Wow from some episodes back, must go through a similar process in order to take over. I also think it's entirely possible that this entire episodes events, at least the ones in Clark's mind, didn't havec to take as long as it seemed to complete. It's possible Clark experienced all of what we saw in mere moments and then chased the Phantom away. MM showed up because, as before, when he killed the last phantom I seem to remember, he must be trying to help Clark stop thse phantoms. Because that's what other heroes do.

    True... my issue, as ever, is why if that's the case, they don't tell/show it.

    I also wonder if, perhaps, he didn't kill the phantom, but simply killed the lifeless body that the phantom had already taken over. And since the phantom already removed and destroyed the spirit within, and the phantom is re-trapped after being chased from a body, it's the phantom that has killed the person's body that was stolen and the MM who merely scares the phantom back out. Once the phantom then is gone, the body goes back to the state the phantom set it in - death.

    Hah! I see that reaching, buddy.

    Also, if a phantom trying to take someone over is alot like a dream/fantasy sequence, to which we can all attest can sometimes be extremely vivid and yet only last moments to a few minutes, Clark's mind is simply to establish some sense of what he remembers as his reality and not necessarily being stupid by running from strange changed place to strange changed place.

    Might be at that, I'll concede.

    For instance, I've recently had two seperate dreams about my place of work. By the way, I work at the Charthouse and my co-workers tell me these dreams are called Chartmares and that others have had them. To me, once I start having nigthmares about my horrible job, it's really time to get out. Unfortunately I really have no other way to make money at this point. Anyway, in these Chartmares, the restaurant looks totally different, the problems I have with management and with customers are exaggerated greatly and the situations I find myself in are often absurd. However, it takes me at least a little while before I start to think "this must be a dream." Sometimes that thought doesn't come at all and the dream just ends or I wake up or whatever. If we look at Clark's invasion situation in this manner, we could say the Phantom is either accidentally or purposely using Clark's dreams, fantasies and nightmares to work it's way in. I think it fits too.

    I do as well. You know, I worked in a restaurant for three years, myself. I can't stand the work. You're a braver man than me.

    "They start in about here with the annoying (thankfully later ceasing) repetitive "YOU'RE WITH LEX!" or "YOU'RE IN ON THIS!" dialogue that makes no sense given the situation. It's the beginning of where Clark clearly should have wised up and moved on to part B: Where the hero realizes that looking at absurd situations won't solve anything, and that people who are smiling at you and trying to help you, the first, second, third, and eighty-fifth, are not out to get you." The problem with this statement I find is that the people he suspects in his fantasy/nightmare/dream ARE out to get him and ARE with the bad guys in this case.

    True enough.

    In so far as Clark accepting that he has to "kill" the doctor. MM does tell him that the doc is a phantom and that in his fantasy/dream/nightmare he has to kill him so Clark knows that, if MM is true and the situation is what he says it is, which Clark finally decides is the case, he's not actually killing anyone but a representation of evil that's tryignt o take over his mind via dreams.

    I still don't buy that, but it's a good explanation.

    "Lana is allowed to spend private time with Clark, unsupervised, before his "treatment" that Clark asks no questions whatever about. If Clark doesn't see something's weird with reality here, he's dumber than dumb as dumb as Clark."

    I disagree with this statement based on my theory that Clark's circumstances in this episode are shown to him in fast moving, quick jumping dream-form, in which we all simply float through and wait till it ends. In general, as far as I've seen, we can't typically tell our dreams which way we want them to go. We can KNOW until the cows come home that the thing ain't real and yet we're helpless to do anything but ride it out. I think that's what Clark's doing here, and therefore not "Dumb as Clark."

    Fair enough.

    "This though we don't see Shelby, and though there's no indication that he sees or hears Shelby in any way. Not even a faint bark that I caught."
    Shelby, which I'm sure 4 months after the episode aired someone has told you by now, was growling through the entire episode off and on. I heard her but didn't realize what it was. Perhaps I should have, but I said to my wife at least twice: "What the hell is that rumbling noise?"
    This even after telling her that the sad part of this entire episode, which I thought was cool, was that I felt it was probably likely he was still in the barn and not trapped anywhere because it just wouldn't make any sense. I even said one of the phantoms must have invaded his mind. Still I didn't realize the rumbling was Shelby growling and this actually gave me more satisfaction when Clark's, to me, clearly stated line about hearing Shelby and still being in the barn was stated.

    If I hadn't missed that bark, it might have been clearer, true.

    I think Clark just went to see Lana because he wanted to.see Lana. I realize that there are wedding's to invade on coming up but that hasn't happened yet. And per the preview for next week, he only tells Lana to leave Lex and marry him under the influence of red K. I loved this final scene because I thought everyone, for the first time in a long time, was indeed, as Lex says, sincere and truly regretful over the way things ended up between them all. That doesn't mean he's flirting with Lana or that Lex wants to be best friends again, but it is evident, at least to me, that they all wish it could have been some other way and that touched me.

    Heh, and then, now, we realize that what they wish depends on the week, heh. Ask blonde Lana.

    " I mean, on a simple quantitative level, Lex is rich, beneficent, powerful, and more dedicated than Clark's been, as far as Clark knows. Clark believes (true or not) that he's lied and hurt Lana constantly. He has no job. He's not going to college. He has no car. He's constantly putting people in danger who live around him. His next logical character decision is to...try and break up Lana's engagement and get in on that pregnancy? HUH?
    Clark, Lex, and Lana are friends again now, apparently, despite being constantly at each other's throats when it's convenient. How...repetitive. "
    Clark also knows that Lex is a lying, manipulative, deceptive person who studies others and spies on them because he selfishly wants all of their secrets. Clark also knows that Lex has been purposely violent and threatening to others as well as a torturous interrogator toward another hero. Sure, Clark has admittedly stated that he's hurt Lana by lying to her about where he goes and the powers that he has, but I state again, keeping THAT secret is his right. It's not exactly the same but it can be likened to someone who is gay CHOOSING to stay in the closet, keep the secret and not tell others. Is it right for me to tell them they're wrong for keeping that secret? Everyone, gay or straight, super or not, has a right to their own personal secrets until they are ready to release them. Clark decided, for purely unselfish reasons and it hurt him greatly to do it, that he needed to end things with Lana because he kept hurting her. And yes, people he loves are sometimes put in danger because of the life of heroics he lives, but that's not his fault and it's not done on purpose, as it is with Lex.

    True. I guess my point is, they've left interpretation open that Lex is a good guy, and Clark a bad one, which I just don't get.

    Furthermore, I didn't see Clark try to break up their relationship but if he had, we all know there are more reasons not to be Lex, based on what I wrote above and so much more, than there are to be with Lex. Money isn't everything, especially dirty, evil money. Admittedly, I'm not happy with the way Lex has been shown to be suddenly evil on this show and would have rather seen a gradual change that made sense instead of back and forth from evil to altruistic to a great guy to kinda bad to the devil and now back to ok guy, but his finances have been acquired through Lionel who acquired them through questionable means.

    Heh. But Clark goes to check on Lionel first in the premiere, so he MUST be a good guy! I kid.

    In the letters, when referring to Lex, you say:

    "I also know he doesn't waste time lurking when he hires people to do it for him."

    This is interesting because I totally agree with you. But as for live action, with the exception of L&C and sometimes this show, Lex is shown as a guy who's a loner (except for a few stupid henchmen and women) and who dose things himself. I hate when they portray him this way, but it seems like the films, which is the way most of the general public knows these characters, like to make him a sometime rich, sometime poor hermit sociopath who kills just for the fun of it. That description is much more the Joker than Lex. In my view, the Lex I know would NEVER wear a wig. At all. Let alone to storm a museum to steal a rock. He'd have others steal the rock and then, if they were a liability, he'd have them killed. He'd never do these things on his own. I'm not sure why they find this to be the more interesting route. Maybe, like in the Smallville episode where he tortures AC, it's because Kevin Spacey and Rosenbaum are the stars and they would have much less screen time, if any, if it were always people they'd hired to do stuff.
    In letters:

    I don't think so. We just show them doing other things, more mellifluous things. I think good writing could do that. For instance, say Lex has a goon go get something. Then bang, we show him plotting from the sides. Show him hitting a button that burns the orphanage that causes the dog to run out into Cruella's hands, gleefully ruminating or considering the rightness of his actions. Etc.

    "It's hard to hate Lex when all this is happening to him. He doesn't have knowledge of everything the fans do. All he knows is that Earth is in danger from things like Zod, and that the freaks are crazy murderers and stuff but have useful powers to save people, and now these new people are showing up blowing up his buildings. :O

    Agreed. Of course, the poor, poor Lex was in the process of torturing another teenager when they decided to blow up his building and stop him. Lex isn't exactly the innocent victim who's done nothing wrong here. Again, not saying the writers escalated to the evil, torturous Lex properly, but the character was nonetheless shown doing it.

    True. He's done bad things. But I still say Clark's body count is higher... no matter where his intention is. Not to get into politics, but hey, compare the good done in Iraq (which is substantive) with the some forty to fifty thousand civilian deaths, and very real questions can be asked.

    But that's it for now. I hope to get to some more episodes soon, especially after how much I enjoyed this one. I'm sure though, that unfortunately the next ep won't be nearly as good. You always hope, when you watch SMallville and see a good one, that they'll continue that way and be continuously good but alas, it rarely happens that way with this show. Talk soon.

    Scotty V

    Yeah, I know what you mean, man. Thanks for writing.

    Jeremy wrote:
    Oh Countdown, why must you suck so much? I guess 52 is a tough act to follow. More happened in five issues of 52 than these ten we've had of Countdown. I really wish I could enjoy it, but it's all fluff! Tell me if I'm wrong here, Neal, but didn't DC (Didio) say Countdown was to form the spine of the DCU?

    He did. Instead it's become the plug-hole. And it's leaking.

    Wouldn't you think that means that all the good stuff happens in that title? Instead we're seeing all the good stuff happen elsewhere (Green Lantern, Flash, Amazon's Attack, JLofA, and probably Action Comics) while Countdown ties it together...loosely...poorly.

    EXACTLY.

    I hate to say things like that about this title too. I loved 52 and I'm enjoying some of the things happening in the DCU. But Countdown really isn't doing anything for me. I want to drop it, but I'm obsessive, so I probably won't.

    I've enjoyed the ideas. The execution is awful. It's ALL in the execution, which is why spoilers don't bother me. I mean, think about The Question in 52. If you had told me we'd have a year long, prolongued death of The Question, and that it'd be worth the time and have a payoff, I'd have smacked you with a chicken. But if you had told me that a story featuring the multiverse and Monitors would suck and have little material to draw from, I'd have done the same. It's the writing, that's all, and the writing on Countdown flatly sucks.

    Anyway, thanks for the reviews, I enjoy them. Good luck with the Wizard World tour, hope to see you guys in Chicago! Take care, Neal.

    Did we meet? I hope so. Remind me, my brain is a frazzle.

    SCOTTY V wrote:
    Hey Neal, yesterday - Sunday the 5th of August - I finally had a Smallville marathon of sorts. My wife and I watched three episodes in a row. The first episode, Crimson, was mostly painful to watch. I am right now in the process of reading your review. Before I do I just have to say that I know you're going to say, and I agree with you, that this story has been done before, almost exactly verbatim. Now though, we have a Lois who has been affected (why?) by red Kryptonite even though it's never affected humans before. For a minute I thought Chloe was gonna make up some sort of Pheromone excuse like they used back on Lois and Clark in that episode where love potion made them all nuts and of course, Lois fell for Clark, but then Chloe didn't offer that excuse other than to say the word pheromone. There was no, not even a barely passable Smallville excuse, reason why any lipstick would cause Lois to immediately fall for Clark when she sees him (hence, "for the first man you see.") other than it's a story that has been told in other mediums and is therefore totally ripped off as a tale that's been told for 500 years.

    Pretty much, yeah, only this one sucked.

    I said to my wife: "You know why the lipstick does that to Lois? Because meteor rocks, even red ones, have the ability to do whatever the bearer of each particular episode desires them to do."

    True dat.

    Because the lady with the potions wants red meteor rock to make Lois fall for the first man (Clark) she sees, that's what it can now do. It slices, it dices, it can even core a apple. Big points for you if you know that one.

    With certain cues from almost all of the music in this episode we are told that this is a goofy comedy episode and that would be great if:
    A. This were a comedy show and
    B. The things people did in the show to each other were even the least bit funny.

    Ding! Your point is ready.

    I mean, right after Clark throes Lex across the room through a table and some fancy dishes (and this AFTER Clark comes in, insults everyone at the party and then kidnaps? Lana) Chloe and Jimmy laugh because Lois is acting silly. Ha ha. That's cute and funny. And maybe it would be if something terribly alarming hadn't just occurred. Also, where are the security guards again? I imagine that Lex would have left the security lax since many different people were coming to a party and they might not want to be made uncomfortable by being questioned and searched at the door but I'm sure since Clark wasn't invited and Lex and Clark haven't been on good terms for quite a while that there should have been standing orders that Clark not be allowed in.

    Ding! Again.

    Then we get to see Clark and Lana show up at the barn. Did they walk all the way there from the Luthor mansion? That would be very hard to believe considering Clark has no inhibitions and could easily have run to the barn super fast. If he had done that though, Lana would have known he was super so therefore they couldn't have run at super speed. I suppose it's possible he had a motorcycle or car but I don't know where he would have or why he would still have a motorcycle. And did Lana just walk all the way to the barn with Clark simply holding her arm? Who knows? Then Lex shows up and holds a gun to Clark's head and Clark pushes him through shelves, stacks of hay and finally lands with his hand around Lex's throat and pinning him against the wall. My problem with this is it's the producers yet again giving viewers another reason to forgive Lex. Another way to say "see Clark made Lex what he is." And after all, how many times can you do these types of things to a guy before he wants to kill you? Also, add another point to the list of times Clark has used his powers on Lex and also right in front of Lana and yet they don't notice. I suppose there are drugs that could have made a regular guy strong enough to throw Lex across the party room and then push Lex through the barn so easily but I'm just sayin'!

    Yeah, it's hard to buy.

    I have been saying for a while though that Clark should confront his mother about Lionel. Not JUST because Jonathan's barely in the grave but because well, it's Lionel, and I think his statement is totally correct but of course, he retracts it as soon as he's normal again. That's another case of almost exact verbatim from the episode where Jonathan tells Clark he always means and feels the things he says when under the influence. Martha here says almost the exact same speech to Clark and we know it's already what they believe so why is it restated?

    Yep. And that's a big point of contention for me, as well.

    Oh and for the record, I knew Lois would conveniently forget everything she learned and everything that happened while under the influence cause.well, because that's the way it works on this show with these episodes.

    Now onto your review:

    Quote: Chloe is apparently still living at the Talon.

    I thought the same thing when I saw this, except that I thought, "Since when does Chloe live at the Talon? The last time I saw Lana or Chloe in a residence, other than Lana in the mansion, I'm pretty sure it was a college dorm. Remember when they were all going to college for five minutes? Now apparently they're not going to college anymore, Chloe works at the Daily Planet, which should be at least 3 hours away, according to what's been said but it probably only 15 to 20 minutes according to what they do, and yet lives at the Talon?

    Yep. But it's the truth. Crazy, huh?

    This quote of yours reminds me of something else I thought about this episode. It's not really a new thought because we say this about Lana all the time but I'll mention it anyway. Lana comes to Chloe's to somewhat apologize and beg Chloe not to let her lose her too. Too? Who has she lost? Clark broke up with Lana over a year ago and Lana has already accepted that Clark's nuts so who else is too? Especially recently. Unlike most people in real life, these characters each have one or two friends. Lana has lost no other friends that I'm aware of and neither does she really have any. Plus, after she comes begging Chloe to not let her lose her, Lana then does the Lana thing and tells Chloe not to discuss with her the very thing Lana came over to discuss. In other words, Chloe tries to offer advice on the situation Lana claims she's chagrined to be in but Lana immediately, rudely and demandingly shuts Chloe down.

    Amazing! Heh.

    Yeah I thought it was strange Lionel wasn't at the party. Of course, I don't have any faith at all that many of these dangly storylines are ever going to be resolved, including Lionel. He's good, he's bad, he's Martha's love interest, he's Clark's father figure. I'd really like some sort of explanation as to what Lionel's deal is but I'm pretty sure we're never gonna get one. I hope to hell they prove me wrong. Please do, Smallville people please do.

    Well, with Martha now gone, what's his point?

    Quote: Lex does a kind thing, Lana rebukes it cruelly and with a bichy-ness, and Lex ends up made out to be the bad guy.

    Actually, here I think and maybe for the first time on this show, Lana looks like a lunatic and Lex, being as gentle and kind as ever I've seen anyone, makes people think he might actually really have Lana's best interests at heart. Lana makes him out to be the bad guy (which he's ultimately supposed to be) in this scene but in this scene I think it's clear she's being ridiculous. And yes I thought the same thing, though I thought Lana was about three months along as I'm way out of time with this show, that people aren't going to think: 'Oh gee, I guess they must've gotten pregnant AFTER they were married and they just had an unusually short pregnancy. Wow they married for love.' No, people are instead going to know she was pregnant beforehand either way.

    Yup.

    Quote: Now, apparently a human exposed to green K negates the effects of red K on a human, with both Lois and Clark,

    Not that Smallville has any further credibility with me, but I took it that being weakened and therefore, almost dead (as in normal medium about Superman kryptonite can kill him) by his mother who brought the deadly dangerous green K, the "infection" within Clark was killed and when the Green K was removed from his exposure, he was normal again because his blood was, remember, boiled. Therefore, in this instance if we're smart enough to remember that green K used to make Clark's blood boil, that COULD have been what happened so that's what I've written in my head as having been the explanation. No reason for it to work on Lois but then, there's no reason the lipstick should have done what it did to Lois in the first place so oh well.

    It's weird, you know? Odd logic.

    Quote: Chloe gives him his "first" bowtie.

    Is that what she said? Wow. I didn't hear that. In fact, I never noticed that he ever wore a bowtie. Unless they were all in formalwear at the engagement party or something and there it would go unnoticed because I don't really count a tuxedo bowtie as an out-of-place bowtie. What I mean by out-of-place is that in this day and age, Jimmy or not, Superman Returns or Smallville, Bowties on other than tuxedoes are way way out and don't belong anywhere, homage or no. But she definitely said that he wore bowties when she first had her fling so if this happens here that's another inconstant continuity issue for our beloved Smallville.

    That's the point, though. Jimmy is out of style. A nerd. A guy Ogre would stomp. He's not a hip, romancing dude.

    Yep, I said to Michelle during the show that I thought it was weird the lady at the shop knew of Lois and Clark even though their names were never mentioned and there's no reason she should. The knowing of the future thing was supposed to be a laugh line, like earlier in the series when Lex tells Clark their "relationship" will be the stuff of legend. It had to be written that way because "friendship" wouldn't have worked cause they don't stay friends, but who would say "relationship" when referring to their guy friend? In that episode though, it was touching and had weight. Here, when the herbal lady says it, you can't buy it because she knows anything about Lois & Clark even though she shouldn't. If she had known their names somehow through the plot, it wouldn't be impossible that a person could have a feeling about a couple, even if she couldn't see the future.

    Yeah, but it's still just metagaming.

    Quote: Lex line: "This couldn't be further from settlement!"

    What Lex says is "This couldn't be further from settling" and what he means is that marrying Lana is far from settling for something. He meant it in a reverse romantic way. In other words, people can't believe Lex Luthor would settle down through marriage and a baby and he's saying that being with Lana is far from settling. Like someone could say: "Well, I settled for her even though she's not as perfect as I'd like her to be but then, look at me." Lex is saying the opposite.

    Yeah, but it's still a horrid clich...

    Lana doesn't really make out with Clark though it is a little nonsensical that she'd have a conversation with him or be at all civil after what he did. What I saw was that she resisted the kiss he was giving her but then gave in a little, which I could see happening from someone that actually loved Clark. Not that we've ever SEEN Lana actually act like she loved Clark, other than now by hesitating with Lex and saying it to Chloe out of the blue.

    Well remember, when you talk about Clark calling Lex the enemy that he is acting against his normal character under the influence. Although Lex DID torture AC and Bart Allen and Clark knows that so essentially, Lex would be the enemy against the things Clark believes. Clark doesn't normally believe in torture or kidnapping, he doesn't believe in researching friends continually behind their backs and he doesn't believe in using other people to top someone else so technically, Lex COULD be considered the enemy. In fact, I almost just convinced myself that Clark and Lex suddenly not liking each other isn't all that sudden and that Clark's reasons are actually pretty good. We still don't have any good reason why Lex started doing these things, I guess we just have to assume that he was always torturing and doing tests on people but that they just never showed us until now.

    YOU DRANK THE KOOL-ADE! AAHHHHHHHH! ;)

    Quote: Not now, even out of wedlock. That's part of the problem, I'd say.

    It's still a stigma, especially with religious people. I don't think on it negatively, you sound like you don't, but I definitely know people who think pregnancy, sex and living together out of wedlock are morally wrong and also dangerous. My mother isn't very religious, but still wasn't happy when I moved in with Michelle, who is now my wife but 7 years ago when we first moved in together was simply my girlfriend. My wife's grandmother, who portends to be VERY religious and goes to church several times a week, wasn't even told we were living together because my wife's mother was afraid her mother would ostracize them for allowing it to happen and us for doing it. In this case, if Lana thinks that everyone thinks of her as perfect and pure, the Lana we know would want to keep that image and not let anyone think she was tainted before being married or at least in love.

    I just can't conceptualize it, personally. It's so odd to me.

    It really would have bothered me that they totally threw last week's nicey nice meeting between Lex, Clark and Lana right out the window if I hadn't known by the preview that that's what they were gonna do. Actually it still bothers me because I was really touched, mainly by Clark and Lex and the regret the two actors brought so well across.

    Quote: Are you honestly telling me they needed an effect for a green mist, but they couldn't tack the end on that jump to Green Arrow's pad?

    Not sure what you meant by this one. You don't really mention it in your review that I could find and I thought the effect was complete. I'll go back and check again but let me know if you would.

    I'm not sure either, it's been so long. Meh.

    Quote: Lex pulls a gun on Clark, Clark throws Lex through two walls (Gee, I guess that's not... uh...r evealing your identity), and begins choking him to death.
    Martha arrives, grabs Clark, and the two leave.
    Lex doesn't press charges.
    Lana doesn't press charges.
    Whatever. I give up.

    I mentioned above about the identity thing but as far as pressing charges, Lex did pull a gun on him and Lana didn't really resist Clark. She pouted and acted indignant, but he didn't really use extreme force to take her. He guided her by the arm and she went. Then, as far as being shocked that Superman kidnapped and choked someone, this isn't the way Clark would normally act and there have been plenty of stories in the comics where Superman has done bad things under some kind of influence. In the last few years even, he was trying to kill Wonder Woman because Max Lord controlled his mind. I've never been crazy about the way they explain it in Smallville when he purposely puts the ring on and does bad things because he KNOWS he's going to do bad things and yet he purposely puts the ring on. That always disappointed me. It would have been much better if whenever he was under the influence it were accidental. But here, at least, he doesn't purposely go bad, he's infected by surprise so it's not his fault he's acting the way he is.

    True, he pulled a gun, but it was obvious self defense. But beyond fault, I was talking about real-life ramifications.

    Quote: I mean, I thought the tattoo itself was subtle, but how crafty, to create a permanent body modification in the plot that disappears after on week!

    I'm sure you know this and that you were just making a joke, but there are temporary tattoos. I too thought it was awfully convenient that the smitten and out of control Lois would have taken the time to have a personalized temporary tattoo designed but I guess they do exist so.she could've.

    Heh. I didn't see it that way. I thought it was supposed to be real.

    Quote: Anyway, in reality, my writer sense tells me that they'll make the baby Clark's, and use Kryptonian gestation as an out. If they do, that's somewhat creative. But honestly, the creativity of it doesn't make up for making Lana a mother out of wedlock committing pre-marriage adultry, Clark a homewrecker, and Lex a victim.

    Hmmm. I hadn't thought of it being Clark's baby, but it would be somewhat creative if they explained that Kryptonian gestation was longer. And didn't you just get finished saying that no one cares about sex before marriage or babies and pregnancy before marriage? Clark being a home wrecker again only occurs here because he's under the influence but when he's normal he also knows that Lex is bad and dangerous and worries that Lana shouldn't marry him. So far Clark has made it clear he won't interfere because there's now a baby involved and she's engaged. So far as Lex a victim, it's clear by the accusations Clark throws and by previous behavior that Lex IS using Lana just to win over Clark and that everything he does is a game. I'm not crazy about it either as I said earlier because it makes Clark seem almost as culpable as Lex in what Lex becomes. I don't think that's exactly the case, but the line is so blurred (and I think that's what the creators want) that it's sometimes much harder to tell.

    Yeah, which is their goal. Make up for inadequacies by blurring the line...

    In the letters section you mention a philosopher you read. I'm sure he has many more theories and maybe he's a great writer and has really developed his belief system. The way you describe it here though, is what I believe. What a lot of people I know believe. It seems to me that, any normal, not crazy or evil member of society who isn't particularly religious might have a belief system such as this. Richard Rorty wrote it down so I suppose that's why you're crediting him, but I've never read Rorty or heard of him and I've believed this way as long as I've known how. It just doesn't seem all that revolutionary or original. Not insulting what you're saying you subscribe to, cause I do too, I was just curious as to why he would particular have your attention. I tend to doubt you or someone else would need to learn this belief from someone like him in order for you to think it. More likely you probably always thought these things and performed tasks by using those thoughts. You may not have written those thoughts down and neither have I, but that doesn't mean Rorty discovered the beliefs.

    Actually, the reason I like Rorty's beliefs, as I understand them (and I'm only an amateur philosopher, and it's been a few since I read the books) is because of what you mention above. It's so obvious, and it's a general philosophy that most everyone believes. Most of philosophy is geared up into a conflict between epistemologies of perfection and existential deconstruction. Neither do anyone any good, really, most of the decisions that are relevant to our daily lives are those made in the realm of ethics. To have an ethical epistemology, you have to have a generalized, but firm relativistic, semi-utilitarian viewpoint that revolves around "Do No Harm."

    That's a very simple viewpoint that most people, even non-philosophers, unconsciously share. And I think THAT is what we should focus on as a way to live live, not the pedantic pre-word bullcrap that we idle over in philosophy courses.

    BUT, that means that philosophy is largely a crowd of self-referential, elitist @#%@s (which it is), but people don't want to admit that, so people like Rorty tend to fall through the cracks. It doesn't help that he's an atheist, that tends to make your prominence less as well. People equivocate atheism with immorality, falsely.

    Quote: They'll never kill a hot chick on a major show.

    I'm not going to give anything away incase you haven't watched it yet. I think you mentioned you had started watching but on a show that I watch and love and that you originally said you couldn't get into.
    But some shows, like an NYPD Blue or 24 or something that is really meant for a mature audience don't really objectify or sell sex like teen shows (such as Smallville) do.

    Heh. Lost doesn't count. Lost is an exception, and a damned good one.

    Quotes: Clark has consistently taken the easiest path or done absolutely nothing unless he was forced too, while Chloe actually seeks out trouble or tries to rectify wrongs. Makes her more of a hero in my books.
    THE hero, actually.

    Clark saves people's lives in every episode. He's always gone out and tried to help people even though he complains about his powers and his life. He never lets anyone get hurt if he knows about it. Clark under the influence of the K is different and I've already said it would be better if it were always accidental, but normally, Clark is always the hero even if he's against being called so. Chloe sold Clark out to Lionel a few seasons ago, or was going to, because she was jealous. Admittedly that was a one-time lapse in judgment, but she did it under the influence of nothing.

    True, but he only does that because he can. Chloe goes beyond her abilities constantly. The point being, like Angus said, Superman isn't brave...he's invincible.

    Paul Carroll wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    I'm a huge fan of your reviews! I often disagree, but at least they're always entertaining. Pardon me if you've done this before, but I would love it if you could rank/list the WORST Smallville episodes of all time. Although I'm a big fan of the series as it revolves around the Superman mythology, I don't think I've ever loved a show so much with so many abominable episodes. Some suggestions off the bat?

    "Bound" (4)
    "Whither" (6)
    "Spell" (4)
    "Lucy" (4)
    "Tresspass" (6)
    "Thirst" (6)
    "Spirit" (4)

    I'd love to hear what you'd have to say about some of these if you forced yourself to watch them again without forwarding through the parts that make your eyes and ears bleed......

    Heh. I did a "Worst" list a few years ago...but the standard for crap changes each year, I'd say. Off hand? I'd say Velocity, Lucy, Thirst, Spell...and that recent Lana stalker ep were all horrid. But there are MANY clinkers that wouldn't go down the bowl...

    Ami wrote:
    Hi Neal! :)

    Hey! Good to hear from you again!

    Even tho Smallville is on summer vacation, I still read your comics reviews and I'm still pleased by them (even I disagree you're a rly fun read XD) :)

    Thanks! I try.

    I dropped Countdown recently from my reviews and from buying b/c... I just couldn't take it nemore! I feel so bad you still have to read it XD But at least you're not paying money for your copy apparently right? :D It's just such a huge monetary investment and it sucks so much!

    Yep. I borrow it from a friend. Note that I say borrow it from a friend, because the exact opposite, which is not what I'm doing, of course, no, no, is to download it illegally and use that as a way to send a message to DC that I am a responsible consumer, but will not pay for crap.

    Beyond that, DC should have started comping us for our free publicity years ago, but because we're honest and thus sometimes condemn, we keep getting the mysterious, "Sorry, no extra room on the comps to give you four comics a month!"

    So I don't feel bad or angry at those evil, evil people who do steal the comics they hate that they have to review. Who aren't me.

    It's like after 52, instead of getting the idea that a character driven story is intresting, entertaining and will get ppl to buy it, DC got the idea that ppl like stories told in 52 parts. =_=;;

    Ding!

    From your review, I'm so glad I haven't picked it up! XD

    I hate to lose money for DC, but I believe you'd be better not reading it right now.

    Also what do you think of Supergirl on Smallville? :o I'm suspicious... and annoyed that she's.. basically as old as Clark XD And Jimmy... .;;

    As ever, depends on what they do and how they execute it. I could buy Clark going gay for a week after stepping into a gay-ifying machine so long as the points made were poignant and character was strong.

    Is Allison Mack gone for good now or is Chloe magically returning? :( Plz plz plz dun tell me they're replacing Chloe with Supergirl as the "blonde of the show"! :(

    She's coming back. :)

    Neways, just wanted to say I still luff your reviews :)

    Thanks!

    Ami

    PS: Will clicking on the box to be published in your reviews actually do nething when Smallville isn't around? :o

    Oh yeah. I save 'em all for the next review, and will to the end.

    SCOTTY V wrote:
    Well hello there my Star Warsian, Smallville writing, excellente compandre in fiction and fun Neal Baileyman, (I mention Star Wars cause I don't think there's anything wrong with plugging something we're all involved in - remember to listen everyone on November 10th, episode 1 of Star Wars Blue Harvest, created by everyone's favorite Smallville reviewer right here!)

    And starring Mr. Scotty V as Palpatine, rocking the mic. My God, it's awesome, folks.

    The episode with the poet crush WAS Lana yes, but he didn't really try to kill her did he? Not that I remember. In fact, I remember him saving her at one point near the end. I think it was the resolution of the episode, something with a helicopter? So I don't know if this one really counts as the same thing as a stalker who tries to kill her when she won't be his.

    I just remember the physics argument over a guy holding a heli and not getting lifted off the ground.

    In the episode where the gill boy stalks her in the pool, you say he's shot and killed before he can go nutty. I say he's already stalking her and then grabbing and pulling her underwater so I'd say he's already nutty. He just happens to be shot before he can do any physical damage.

    Again, I don't think Seth tries to kill her either; he simply tries to kill Clark in the amusement park when Clark tries to break Seth's hold over her. I could be wrong on this one though cause I do seem to remember that Lana is in the haunted house as well when Clark accidentally allows Seth to be thrown into a coma, but I don't THINK Seth was threatening Lana.

    Also, I don't think Jason ever tries to kill Lana and I'm not even sure he's a stalker. His mother sends him to meet and intends for him to have a relationship with Lana so they can find the stones so it COULD be said he starts off as a possible stalker but not really. Then, before he can really finish his job, he actually does fall in love with her and then he's chagrined to even spy on her or use her to get the stones and he feels bad that his intentions weren't initially true. I'm not saying the plot with Lana and the Teagues and the stones was good or anything, just not sure he can be lumped in again with stalkers who try to kill Lana when they realize she doesn't want them. Furthermore, Lana DID want Jason very much so even if he later DID try to kill her, it wouldn't be for that reason because she was broken up about Jason breaking it off with her.

    True enough. Damn, you think about this better than I do! :)

    Yeah I too thought it was pretty obvious that they were going to have one of the security guys be the stalker. Alternately though, I figured it wouldn't be Brady because he was named and therefore thought it was the other guy. However, before I read further in your review I will say that personally I thought they did a decent job of making me think it might be this paparazzi guy instead. However, once Clark stopped the papa only about halfway through the 'sode, I obviously knew that wasn't the case because there was still so much more to go. This episode, already entirely unoriginal as it's been done several times throughout the series, even goes so far as to use the security guy thing, which I seem to remember as even THAT being done before.

    You call the instrument that Lex used to stab Clark "Of little significance but obvious desire." I would say the tool holds great significance because it at least appears (and we know that it has for sure) to Lana that the thing was bent when stabbed into Clark. Therefore Lana has developed a curiosity about the item because she thinks (correctly) that his secret might have something to do with the secrets that are always tearing them apart. Plus, had Lex realized it (though I can't see why he doesn't since Clark wasn't injured by it and doesn't spend any time recovering) it would be much more a dangerous tool then it would have been were it still functional.

    And now, it'll never be seen again...

    You: Lex stabbed Clark with this tool, and I just passed it off last week, firstly because there's no way that Lex's hand would be able to hold the tool hard enough to bend it like that without super-strength, secondly because the tool would simply go INTO Clark when Clark was being hit with K, thirdly because Clark would be under the influence of Red K and wouldn't care about protecting his secret by crumpling, and fourthly because there was no way as that scene was filmed that Lana could get that tool, really, the way she did. I had hoped it would be something they would just conveniently gloss over.

    Do you remember waaay back during the good times of this show when tools and knives and such would shatter out through the camera at us when someone stabbed Clark? What happened to those times? I think we agreed that it was something that probably wouldn't happen but that it still looked cool. I guess budgetary constraints don't allow them to use that effect anymore. However, since we've come to expect that sort of implausible stretch in the laws of physics (a knife shattering like glass on someone's chest) I think that I can accept that the tool Luthor uses on Clark might bend as well. After all, it's definitely not the first time a knife or other weapon has broken or bent against many various Clark's in many various incarnations in the history of the Man of Steel or Boy who would be Steel-man in this case.

    I miss it. But then again, I miss decent effects in general on this show.

    Plus, my take on it is that the reason he crumpled was not because he cared about his secret so much as that it DID hurt, because he was under the affect of regular K from Martha and the reason it didn't stab through him under that affect, as you say, is that he's weakening and not completely vulnerable yet because the attack was still a distance away and Kryptonite doesn't instantly take away all of his powers (at least not the green kind) but gradually decreases them as he weakens near death. I also think that since it seems the green breaks the hold of the Red, Clark might have instantly realized that he'd been in a hypnotic haze and that something was wrong with the current situation and so he might have collapsed simply from the shock of that. Lana getting the tool however, I cannot rectify and I said as much to my Lois (wife Michelle) when we watched the show.

    Yeah, it's probably a bad cut they made.

    You:
    I don't know about you, but when the neighbor's dog poops in the yard, I take that poop inside, stare at it while brushing my hair in the dark morosely, and try and figure out the secrets and lies the neighbor has against me. Because I'm totally sane.

    You're a funny guy Neal, and I love your reviews and your writing style, but I must say I really have no idea how you mean this applies to this situation. The tool, to my mind, is MUCH different than a neighbors dog's poop and DOES have implications pertaining to said lies that Lana does obsess over and, though we both agree she's acted insane on many occasions, it's not all that strange and is in fact totally logical that, were she to see the affect Clark's body had on the tool, she'd be interested in it. Not that she could get it or should just inconceivably have it at the end of the ep but definitely she'd have an interest.

    Oh, I'm with you. I was kidding around. But that poop really is beautiful.

    I took it that Lana's photo-taker was outside the open window by the time Lana saw the picture and no longer in the room so she couldn't find him.

    Lex dropped the tool after he stabbed Clark and after he saw Clark crumple to the floor after the attack so he probably just assumed that Clark had been stabbed by it, didn't notice there was a problem and so had no reason to suspect he should look at the tool to see if it had been bent. In this case, at least immediately, Lex had no reason to be suspicious of Clark's invulnerability because Clark did react as though he'd been hurt by the stab when in fact he'd been hurt by the incoming K. The problem comes in later though, when Clark doesn't have to recover and feign injury in the future and no one calls him on it. At first I thought the writers had covered well and I could justify why Lex stabbing Clark and him reacting that way made sense, because of the K that Martha had and that therefore Lex knowing the item didn't actually injure Clark (or that Clark didn't remain injured since he heals super quickly once the K is gone) but then they drop the ball again by not following through. I think it was Martha's duty to then tell Clark about the attack and let him know he should feign continuing injury recovery just so there were no further questions asked.

    Off camera, of course.

    Furthermore, since you sarcastically remark that it wouldn't logically lead Lex to assume Clark was invulnerable, what would YOU assume, about a guy you already previously suspected but were proven wrong about having powers, had you stabbed him and had the weapon bend on his skin and not injure him? I don't know, makes sense to me that Lana might expect Lex to come to that conclusion. In fact, it makes so much sense to me that I'll even say that, for the first time I can remember, Lana is actually acting here in someone else's best interests instead of her own. She doesn't want Lex to find out about the tool because she knows that if she's right in her assumptions, she's found Clark's secret and that Clark wouldn't want others to find out about it so she's therefore protecting Clark; for the first time. Now she hasn't been given any recent reasons not to trust the man she claims she loves and wants to marry, but I think it's less a matter of not trusting Lex and more a matter of guarding someone else whom she maybe thinks she might now understand better than ever.

    Yeah, but she did the same thing with the stones to her own benefit. The point is not whether she's altruistic or not, but why the heck anyone would care about this storyline...

    My wife and I have just recently watched the episode "Combat" and now I think we're six or seven months into Lana's pregnancy and Lana still isn't showing. Maybe it's only five or something but I say still she should be. My wife reminds me that different people take different amounts of times to start showing and that my wife herself didn't really start to show till 5 or 6 months in. My wife didn't really pop till the sixth month and so, it IS possible. Though I remember my wife looking bloated and often having thicker ankles and feet and larger breasts, Lana here though looks skinny as ever. Later, I think it's in "Combat," when she loses the baby, she STILL doesn't show and like I said, I'm thinking we're now possible 7 months in. There should be something, but then, we're watching a show where objectification of women and using sex to sell is commonplace and apparently very important to the writers and producers. So important that even when an out-of-place and unwelcome storyline, such as Superman's future evil nemesis making one of Clark's future best friends and confidants pregnant, is used by them, they'd rather fall back on the old "we need attractive people on the show, not chubby pregnant women who are naturally chubby because of their natural states" mantra.

    Ding!

    When did Chloe start living above the Talon? Did I ask this one yet? Cause if I did, it still bugs me. By the way, my 14-month-old daughter's name is Chloe. That's 14 months at the time I write this in August of 07'.

    Cool. :) I don't remember when, but I'm pretty sure she is living there.

    In so far as Lana trying to look into Chloe's computer to find out something about what might be a "story," I have to say that this is something we've certainly seen Lois do in the comics and in other live action and animated shows. It's a very reporter-esque move. Not that I want to defend Lana and I did feel irked by it but when Lois does it to find the truth for a story in a bad guy's or a politician's or even a friend's office, we work with it.

    You asked if we'd prefer money spent on a nice shot of snowy Metropolis or Clark using his powers. I prefer a Clark power, but the shot did look nice, as does Lana in her non-showing whatever month of unnecessary pregnancy. Although, one thought might be: "Look, we've shown all of Clark's powers and you know that he has them so - unless we're going to do something new with them or show them in a new, cool way, we're just going to indicate that he's using them and then use the budget elsewhere. Something like, in the "Memento"-ish episode that comes later, "Promise," when Clark uses his heat vision to melt the hinges of the wine-cellar door back on it's different and a new looking use.

    Meh, I still didn't need the snow.

    You:
    Jimmy fights for Chloe even after the reason he broke up with her was because he questioned her character. By the end of the show, they're back together. It's so good to know that character actions have such lasting consequences that a character can break up and then get back together within one episode without a rational explanation either way that is satisfactory. That is high-quality writing, there. Dramatic!

    I don't like Jimmy being on this show. Not only being here, but the character as written is annoying and only there for the tension it might cause between Jimmy, Chloe and Clark. Therefore it doesn't really serve a purpose. I think both Lois and Jimmy should be a one-shot. We know it's something that is obviously done for the fan-boys and just to be cool and "awesome" and is a gimmick but that works, like Perry. Come on the show one time and then maybe make a return appearance when there is an actual story to be told, like with "Perry" and thnen "BE GONE!" because you don't belong here! But then, thank goodness "that's something we'll not have to address with this show!" (not exact quote - mainly because I'm sure no one would ever say anything like that about a hot property like Superman anyway, right?) Ha ha ha!

    Heh.

    You:
    The reason she does this, as it's later inferred, is so that she can snoop around in Clark's room

    I was thinking that it could be considered touching and also possibly smart, simply because she's always believed Clark can and has protected her, even when she's acting like a witch about it. In this case, even though she's wrong, she may well thin that she'd be safer at the Kent farm because Clark should be there, PLUS she wants to continue spying on him. After all, the Luthor security has never really been all that secure, has it?

    Maligned for it, so too.

    You:
    What about the panic room? Anyone ever think of that?

    No neal, no one thought of that because it was a one-shot gimmick deal that we've never seen or will hear about again because it worked for that episode and, like intraship transporting on the Enterprise, it's something that can't really be there on a regular basis because it makes the solving of dilemmas like these far too easy and less dramatic. It's much better to have Enterprise security teams RUNNING through the ship's hallways to stop an intruder from killing Riker instead of simply beaming there or locking onto said intruder and beaming him out into space. And it makes much more sense, in this particular case, to have Lana get attacked and almost killed rather than hiding out in the panic room.

    HAH! Heh. Funny you mention this, and bad for me, because I gotta fess up to the fact that I have played a Star Trek RPG. We used intraship transport CONSTANTLY. The way we explained it per the show is that it uses massive resources (you're going through walls, after all) as opposed to ship to surface (massive empty space). And now I will bury my face in my hands and cry at my own nerdiness.

    The necklace. Yeah I forgot about it too and it seemed to me that Lana was angry that he had it, like maybe it was a stalker thing and that she'd lost it only to find out now that Clark had it but again, I have no idea why.

    You mention that every time an actor has a cold we should have a line saying as much. I tend to think that, since the characters (except for Clark whom I've heard on more than one occasion sound like he's sick) are human that we can just go with it and know that they must have a cold, which people tend to get and don't always mention it or get asked about. Since I know that people do get sick, it doesn't bother me that much. I've heard Lex, Lana and Clark on multiple occasions all speaking very nasally, which may indicate a cold or allergies or too much coke but at least Lex and Lana COULD be sick. What the excuse for Clark? The show must go on.

    Yeah.

    You say that Clark would be an accessory to murder since the guard kills the photographer after Clark knocks him out but I don't think he would be. Clark didn't have anything to do with the guard deciding to shoot the guy. He was there and assuming there would be an investigation starting later, he'd be called in and he'd say that he was there and that the guy was helpless and unconscious and that the guard claimed the guy had a gun. That wouldn't matter because, even if he did have a gun, he was already out so the guard didn't need to shoot him. For some reason I took it that the guy wasn't unconscious and that he was moving again, or at least the guard was fibbing that was the case. It's also possible that the guard was within his right to shoot the guy, in defense of Lana, (because he wouldn't say that he shot the guy while unconscious, he'd simply say that it was during the stalking) and sure, there'd be an investigation, but we don't get to that before the show is over.

    The investigation is more what I was talking to, actually.

    You:
    The guard comes in, and says he's dismissed the whole security staff on his own. Lana's alarm bells don't ring, she doesn't demand he call them back, she just compliments his thoughtfulness.
    Actually, I thought that you could tell by Kristen facial expressions that she KNEW something was amiss and that she was immediately suspicious when the guy says he sent everyone home. In fact, it seems to me that she's trying to formulate some sort of plan of action the entire time he's in there talking to her and that she isn't surprised in the least once he comes clean to her that he's been the one. My take on it, based on her eyes immediately changing from gratefulness to downcast, realization was that she is wishfully hoping he might not be her stalker but that she already knows he is. So when you go on about how she's so stupid she deserves it.I can't disagree that she deserves to be beaten or killed due to her actions most of the time, in this case though I think she does know and is trying to figure a way out.

    We're not told that, though... either bad writing, or not there.

    Hmmm, but then you say that Lana's playing along, thereby indicating that you too know that she knows and so that contradicts the previous quote I copied above and the fact that because of said quote you said Lana was so stupid not to realize he was the bad guy.

    You:
    Lana falls a solid story after getting into a physical battle with a guy with an axe. STILL no problems with the baby.
    You know, I mentioned the falling down stair bit out loud because I thought Lana tumbled pretty violently head over feet down those stairs and that she should at least have some concern or complication to the baby. But then, when she fell through the glass I figured that Clark would catch her and I thought that he must know how to break people's falls easily so there wouldn't be that much trauma, in this case, to the baby. Michelle even said out loud: "I swear, if she falls through that window into the study or whatever and still hasn't lost the baby." but then didn't finish her statement because Clark had caught her. I then said something about at least he caught her, not like the stairs where she quite obviously impacted hard on many of the steps.

    Heh.

    You:
    Lex "formerly logical" Luthor: Oh! Well, that's good enough for me! (Noony noony noony noo!)
    Enough said there.
    The tool is...GONE! It meant nothing, but apparently we're supposed to be suspensefully displeased. Yawn city. Yawn nation. Yawn socialist soviet republic. Yawn Delta Quadrant. Yawn Garfield.

    I don't remember exactly, and yes Lex has been way out of character from the beginning with this whole Lana infatuation, but I think moments later Lex says something cynically, sarcastically about Lana going to her former boyfriend's house is totally cool when by his tone and inflection we can tell he thinks it isn't. In so far as the tool, again I have to say that it did mean something. Lana has never held to any suspicions that Clark might be a meteor freak or that he might have superpowers or at least has never had any definitive proof that he was, at least that the characters on this show hold to, and so the tool is her reason for really thinking he might this time and in fact, eventually leads her to discover that truth. So it means something and a whole lot.

    Perhaps, at that.

    You then mention that Lex giving the invitation to Clark in the barn like a gentleman is good, and it is, but Lex isn't being a gentleman. He's giving Clark the invitation because he wants to rub in Clark's face what Clark has lost. He's giving Clark the invitation because he knows there's nothing Clark has ever wanted more than to be with Lana and he knows that Clark witnessing the wedding where he loses that chance forever will hurt Clark the most. He's giving Clark the invitation because, as was made clear the previous week in "Crimson," he believes this entire relationship to be part of a game of power against Clark in which by marrying Lana Lex has won and most of all, he's giving Clark the invitation in place of spitting in Clark's face.

    Maybe, or maybe he's being a gentleman. The writing leaves it so unclear it could be either. Which sucks.

    If you look back over previous reviews in other earlier seasons, you'll see (or maybe you remember without seeing) that I mentioned how I hate the way this show's creators were really seeming to blur the lines between who was good, evil or at fault in the crumbling relationship between Lex and Clark. If you recall, at that time I mentioned that it seems to me that was the wrong way for them to go because young people who are just being introduced to the character will think that Clark's just as bad or totally responsible for everything bad that's been happening. The meteors killing lots of people, Clark being bad in Metropolis while under the influence and eventually Lex's downfall would all be Clark's fault to them. At that time though, when I mentioned all of this, you said something akin to: It really doesn't matter to me what the young kids who don't know any better think this means for the character because we know the truth and we'll always be able to see past Lex's excuses. Now though, it's gotten so bad that even you are harping on the bad light these producers have cast on Clark.

    Yep.

    In this case, as I said, I think Clark is still looking ok and Lex is still looking like the jerk but the line has certainly been blurred enough that enough people will certainly be able to say that Clark's as much the culprit as Lex in so far as Lex going to the dark side, especially due to the Red K episodes. Again, how many times can you throw a guy through glass and through walls and strangle them before they want to kill you? It would almost be justifiable at this point.

    I think it IS justifiable.

    In letters, one of your writers comments that Clark saying to Chloe that he knew she was pining for him was a horrible thing for him to say and that it proves he knew all along that she still had feeling for him and that now he was throwing it in her face. I would argue that somewhere deep inside, inside the side that only comes out when he's uninhibited, Clark may think that Chloe is still pining for him but that the hopeful, innocent and somewhat gullible side of him is trying to take her word for it that she's over it. Furthermore, in this case, Clark is under the influence and is saying things that may occur to him but that he doesn't necessarily believe. It's been made clear that while under the influence Clark says things that he's feeling or thinking in one way or another but that doesn't mean he really believes them all. Haven't we all said or thought "I'm going to kill him!" or "God I wish this guy would just die," knowing or thinking of it later that we'd never really kill someone or truly wish death on them? I think Clark under red K is akin to that. The idea that we all have darker thoughts from time to time but that we usually fight the worst of them off. Clark under the influence of Red K still won't do the most horrible things, but he does become much more abrupt and is more ready to say these things.

    I agree. I think they use Red K as carte blanche to do whatever a bit much.

    Another writer says the writers should give Clark a reason to hate Lex. I too believe that Lex becoming the bad guy has been so abrupt and with no real logical reasons behind it, one day he was just torturing AC out of the blue. But as far as Clark is concerned, even though he tried to be friends again with him, I think Clark's never gotten over the feeling of having been betrayed by what the writer calls "the best friend he's ever had" (that'd be Chloe) when Clark found out that Lex had been researching and spying on him and his parents all along. Then, when a depowered Clark finally lost it for good and punched Lex, it was because he found out that Lex had sent two Krypto-freaks to the Kent home to once again test Clark and it endangered the Kents and Lana. Lex had promised the research was all over and yet he was still clearly doing it and that was enough. Now, in addition to all of this, Clark know that he tortures people, kidnaps and tortures other friends AND that he's playing a game with Clark where Lana's the apparent prize.

    True, but think of Lex's motivations with most of those situations...as would Clark.

    Another writer mentioned the frog-eating scene from Lois & Clark where he says something about how bad it is but that it's grown on him and that you should admit it's grown on you too. You tell him that it hasn't grown on you. I've heard people complain, not only about that particular scene, but about that entire storyline and I've always disagreed. A lot of what I hear is that by that time everyone was so tired of the "when will they finally get together for good" story that's what made it bad. But I thought it was still pretty good. I don't know that I'm super-crazy about a hot lady cramming a love frog down her throat but the whole idea was a cliffhanger showing us she was a clone and that Clark hadn't yet found the real Lois. I went for it. I probably said "Oh Jeez," or something like that but I still thought it was a cool, if revolting way to show it.

    I think what killed Lois and Clark wasn't them getting together. It was the near-constant focus on the relationship issues.

    RMF says:
    One curious thing -- Lex is a manipulator who is experimenting on human beings while presenting a plausible face to the world, but RedKClark never outs him on that, not at the dinner and not in the later scene in the barn.

    This might be the most interesting thing about "Crimson" and I didn't think of it at all. It totally makes sense that Clark would say that about Lex and he doesn't. Now I'm even angrier about "Crimson." Good call RMF, that's an awesome observation and one that makes totally no sense for Clark not to have done.

    Well, it's true, it is a good observation. But I'm even more curious why Lex doesn't really ask any questions or explore in the wake of what Clark did physically. But that's expecting too much of this show...

    Another writer again mentions how Lex invited Clark to the wedding because (Lex says) he wants Lana to be happy. Again I have to say that I truly think Lex is simply trying to make things sound altruistic to Clark, to a point. Because he also mentions how badly he wants to hurt Clark by showing him what Clark lost and what Lex (the winner) won. Clearly the most important thing in all of this is that Lex is winning the contest that didn't even need to be.

    Yup.

    That's it for now I guess, later Neal,

    Scotty V

    bob hundhausen wrote:
    Hey Neil, met you in Chicago. Thanks again for the reviews. I really loved this issue but it is almost something that seems like it should be told in a mini outside of continuity, like All Star.

    (He means Action Comics with Bizarro, which I just reviewed). Thanks!

    When I compare your reviews, I don't know how you give Horsemen, with mediocre writing and art better grades than this one, which has beautiful writing and art.

    I gave the art high praise on Bizarro. The story rating is because I hold Geoff to a much higher standard.

    You were bothered by Supes revealing Bizarro's Id. The only thing that bothers me is that noone seems to ever set a standard for Bizzaro speach. Sometimes it is fully reversed sometimes partially but rarely the same from story to story.

    True, but relatively speaking, he still essentially outs Bizarro in front of his people, which is kind of cruel.

    I loved Bizzaro putting Pa in his version of Fortress of Multitude.

    Yeah, that was cool.

    Yawar Amin wrote:
    Hi Neal,

    I guess you might have missed Grant Morrison's really cool run on the DC Seven Soldiers comics, where he introduced the Klarion the Witch Boy character. Turns out Klarion is from a secret underground community (called Limbo Town) descended from the Roanoke settlers, now living deep under New York. His people got their witch magic, along with their blue skin colour, apparently from mating with fairy folk a long time ago.

    That sounds pretty lame to me, no offense to Morrison intended. He's very hit and miss for me on a lot of things. I bought a few Seven Soldiers issues and was less than impressed.

    One really cool thing Morrison reveals is that these witch folk raise their newly dead relatives as undead zombies to till their rock-fields. They call them Grundies. Don't know if this fits in Solomon Grundy's backstory, but I found it very cool.

    That part sounds neat. I dunno, I just didn't see anything in those characters that really called to me, beyond Zat.

    Michael Johnson wrote:

    Hey there Neal,

    Big fan(of yours). Just read your review of Superman 667 and I must say I really don't think that Subjekt-17 died. He seems to have disappeared, to me. Would you not agree?

    Heh. I had a prolongued conversation about that with Kurt himself and angry people who got mad that I made that mistake. I do agree, actually. But I also still think that the reasons I made that assumption are not crazy, faulty, or odd.

    Also, I must say that I really have enjoyed Camelot Falls. I don't always agree with your reviews. I've been a Superman comic fan since Jurgens early days (pre-death). I like the continuity back then, but now I like this new direction they are going with New Earth. I think there is a lot of baggage (especially from the past ten years) that they are going to be able to get rid of while bringing a new twist to certain character elements (like Lana's new status). So far, the writers on Superman and Action are keeping true to the basic elements that I find important to my favorite character.

    Cool. I'm glad you're digging the stories. I'm not, so far, on Kurt's end, beyond Camelot Falls' first part.

    I also wanted to thank you for doing your part in making DC get their books out on time. Are you going to be at Wizard World Texas?

    I will be, yes, and I hope to meet you there. As for DC getting its books on time, heck, I don't think they'd listen to me, but I'm glad you think my opinion is worth their listening to. :)

    Sincerely,
    Michael Johnson

    Mindy wrote:
    Hello Neal, I love to read your commentary, and I think you are very insightful in the ways that Smallville has its characters behave unrealistically. I was wondering if you would take a look at this video I made about the problems with the Fake Pregnancy storyline in season 6 and tell me what you think.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zVVA8UHUSM

    On YouTube, it is called Smallville PSA: Fake Pregnancy

    Thank you,

    Mindy

    Mindy, that's a win on a win. That's a better video than I could have made, and I'm blown away. You all should watch that, it ruled. I was laughing through the whole thing. Great!

    Shafi S wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    How was your summer, mine was the same thing except some family members came to the states. But enough of that, we had a good Superman releated summer right? Well not exactly, but we got to see Superman/Doomsday. I read your review Neal and I agree with you. But my problem was it was short, I know of there are other things to consider like budget, time restraints, r-ratings. But if it was little not too much like adding in the whole storyline (Superboy, Supergirl, the Eradi guy, and Steel. I kinda would've liked the Cyborg though).

    Yeah, I could have used a longer show. But it's a big risk to do a PG-13 show, and I'm glad they did, even if it was shorter.

    But anyhow I missed a couple of Smallville episodes so I bought the new season. Money was it was expensive, but I'm a Superman fan. It was intersting but the best thing on the dvd was the Green Arrow Documentary. It was the best Neal whole bunch of people were in it Kevin Smith and Neal Adams, oh yea Mark Hamill narrated it. COOOL!!!!

    I'm about to watch and review it myself this week.

    OH also, Thanks Neal, cause of your inspiration I started writing myself. Took a scriptwriting class and a creative writing to class to improve my skills, but lets see. The hardest part on the other class is the poetry, don't know how you do it Neal.

    You poor fool! Run! RUN! Heh. I kid. You'll have to send me some of your work.

    Thanks again.
    Shafi

    Likewise. Best!

    Luke Roth wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    I was in the bookstore today and picked up the Smallville magazine in honor of the premiere tonight. I read your story and really liked it. It was an effective way to introduced Solomon Grundy into the Smallville mythos. I thought about the story as I watched the episode, mostly just because of the explosion at Reeves Dam was crucial to Grundy's awakening/escape. I look forward to your review of the episode. Please keep us posted on which Smallville magazines you write for. I'll pick up those. Keep up the good work.

    SOLOMON GRUNDY? For legal reasons, I cannot say it was Solomon Grundy, because it was legally NOT! Heh.

    Point of fact, I can't legally talk about the plot points. BUT, I am extraordinarily glad you enjoyed it. I haven't had a single person write me yet and tell me it sucked, which is odd for me. At least one person wants to think everything sucks. Heck, even I think Shakespeare sucked.

    But awesome! Thank you!

    Luke Roth

    Rob wrote:
    Dear Neal,

    I thought it was an okay episode, but not exceptional. As I had worried, they didn't understand the concept of Bizarro. He's not just bad Clark, he's like normal Clark only...less intelligent.

    And a little more Bizarre. Hey-o!

    Does Martian Manhunter actually do anything? All he does is speak about how Clark's father would have been proud whenever he does something. Excuse me, but I was under the impression Jor-El would have been prouder if Clark was ruling the world by this point. Did Jor-El send Clark to Earth to save him, save the world, or rule it? It's confusing.

    And inconsistent.

    If you haven't already, DEFINITELY add a KO Count category for characters being slapped needlessly. I'm guessing you'll be on them about that in the review. They should have an episode where Lois slaps every character whenever they say something remotely sarcastic or disagree with her or whatever.
    "Lois, you're wearing a silly hat."
    SLAP
    "Lois, I don't want to go the mall."
    SLAP
    "Lois, remember when I criticized your cooking three years ago?"
    SLAP SLAP SLAP

    I'd love to, but I don't want to draw any more attention to the awfulness than I have to. It has happened four or five times, though.

    Don't they need more evidence on Lex? Furthermore, how did they get what they had so soon--the voice recordings and all. They had no reason to initially suspect him that would stand up in court.

    Yeah, I know. It's kinda henky.

    Was I the only one who found it strange when Clark wasn't doing anything half the episode when he knew Bizarro Clark was still up and about?

    Nope. That REALLY hacked me off.

    Just out of curiosity, what do you think would happen if Bizarro Clark was given Red K? Would it make him good?

    I think all the characters would get half-naked and make out. This is Smallville.

    Clark KILLS again.

    Yup.

    Also, I just thought I'd ask you the question I posed on the message board: who would you want to win if Jason Teague fought Richard White?

    All of us if one of them died.

    When Lois was with the devil kid, I thought he looked eerily like the kid in Superman Returns. Even some of the camerawork was similar. The kid sure handled seeing a dead body pretty well. If I was that kid's age, and I was in a dam that had just exploded I'd probably be a little more...panicked, I don't know.

    Yeah, good point. I hadn't noticed that. Cool.

    Anyways, the reviews are awesome, and keep writing them!

    Thanks!

    Mark wrote:
    Hi, Neil.

    I really enjoy your reviews, although strangely I like the reviews of the episodes you judge to be bad more than the ones you judge to be good. However some of the things you said confuse me and others I disagree with. In Promise you said you felt sorry for Lana because she was forced to marry Lex but in reviews of later episodes you said that her marriage to Lex was her own fault. In Prototype you stated how Lionel offered Martha a position of power "in exchange for minor verbal pleasantries over a year". You seem to forget that Lionel was willing to kill himself to save Martha back in Mercy.

    With Promise, it wasn't revealed (per later development) that her logic (which was sound in Promise) later failed. With Mercy, I didn't forget, but I just know, by his inconsistent character, that Lionel's actions might not have been altruistic.

    I tend to get people enjoying the bad reviews over the good. It also makes people more livid. I get more letters saying, "Your reviews are all negative!" That's because people don't remember the ones I don't have any problems with. It's about 50/50 historically.

    I was thinking how I agree with you about the scene in Phantom were Clark almost kills Lionel, it was bad. I thought about how in Promise Lex killed a man because of his love for Lana. Was what Clark almost did any better? It might even be worse since at least what Lex did was accidental, Clark had to be stopped by the Martian Manhunter. I think the show definitely does a poor example of showing how Lex is a villain and Clark is a hero with scenes like those.

    Yep. I agree.

    Well that's about all I have to say, except that I liked the line "I'm you, only a little more bizarre!". Maybe I'm a little bizzare myself.

    Bye.

    Likewise. Thanks!

    norm wrote:
    Correction on your KO page.

    Lex Dies in the X-mas epesode where he was shot and sees his mom the first time. (getting dirt on Johnathen.)

    Aaaaand, the QUADRUPLE whammy: 1 so far...
    Lex Luthor (Died as a result of Lance's serum, then got better, 517. "Died" to become the vessel of General Zod, 522. Died before being resuccitated by Green Arrow's serum, 607. Died in Jimmy's Noir fantasy, 620)

    TRUE! Adding that in.

    Christine wrote:
    Hey Neal,
    Just wondering if you\'re reviewing Smallville this season? I can\'t imagine that you aren\'t it\'s just that it\'s Tuesday now and your review isn\'t up....just wondering. I know the whole thing with Steve okaying and the whole Australia thing so I wait till Sunday nights to see your review posted but alas...

    Yep! Sorry for it being late. I had scheduled a five day hunt before I knew when Smallville would be back, and couldn't change it. I wasn't back until Sunday, so here it is, Tuesday, with the review. Next week should be normal speed.

    Hope you had a nice, productive summer and I look forward to reading your stuff.
    A Fan,
    Christine

    Thanks, Christine! I did have a productive, fun summer, though I may need time for myself soon, or I'll collapse. Heh.

    Thanks for all the letters, guys, and the patience with the timeframe. Let me know what you thought of the Gru-er, Smallville Magazine story!

    Neal



    Bizarro

    Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

    Well we're back. Another summer down and winter is just around the corner. Well, unless you live south of the Equator then your summer is just about to start.

    It has been a long wait for Smallville this summer. No Superman movie to tide me over and we were left with a pretty good cliffhanger to end last season. Chloe looked like she was dead, Bizarro was born, Lana was dead, Lionel was dying, Lois was trapped, Lex was being hauled off to jail, and Clark was trying to keep his evil twin from getting away.

    Exciting stuff!

    So we get to the premiere and wow do they come out swinging this year. I hope they did not blow their entire budget on this episode because they didn't pull any punches here.

    Clark and Bizarro's fights were intense. The special effects were awesome and the fights really felt like an intense battle between two extremely powerful people. Walls crumbled, dams broke, power-lines fell, and in the end the bad guy was punched into orbit. Not killed, just ejected from the planet... All and all FANTASTIC!

    This version of Bizarro was very interesting. This was not the big stupid lug we've seen Superman have to deal with in comics and cartoons. This one could think. This one was evil. I actually liked that. I understand it is a big change from the established character and some fans might not like that but I found it did not bother me one bit. Part of Bizarro's "thing" was that he was just kind of a stupid idiot with Superman's powers. His mind is twisted and he thinks backwards. The problem is that can get old really quick. Plus the whole stupid thing can be something that rubs people the wrong way. On a TV show, that could end up coming off as insulting to those folks who might have actual mental disabilities, so I can understand why they might avoid that line of thinking. I know that they could have just called the villain something other than "Bizarro" but I for one enjoyed this take/twist on the character.

    He was the opposite of Clark which in spirit is what Bizarro is. Where Clark was good, Bizarro was evil. Where Clark was powered by the yellow sun, Bizarro was hurt by it. Where Clark was hurt by Kryptonite, Bizarro was powered by it. Where Clark would save, Bizarro would kill. I liked it. Bizarro was brutal. When he heat visioned that guy to death just for coming to help him I thought that might have been the most cold blooded evil thing we've seen anyone do on the show. It really set the tone for the danger this creature presented if left unchecked in the world. Plus this take on the character had the added bonus of introducing a reason for getting rid of a significant amount of the Kryptonite in Kansas. Fewer meteor rocks around town is a good thing for Clark and any other...ummm... family members who might be coming soon.

    Clark was on top of his game in this episode. Superpowers were on full display in a big way. Vaporizing the water with his heat vision on full and punching Bizarro into space were the two neat moments that stood out but also well used were his speed, hearing, strength, and his humanity, which is his most important super-power.

    I loved the new effect when they did the super hearing thing in the hospital. The wall of sound filtering down to what's important. Very similar to what they did in Superman Returns and I was happy to see them pull that idea into the show. Much better than the inner ear drum shot. Chloe even got a shot in for the fans telling Clark he really needed to get working on the flying thing. Which is nice because at least they acknowledge that he knows he can do it. He just isn't sure how to do it exactly and does not really want to try. Yet.

    Lex's story kind of takes a twist by him believing he was saved by an Angel. We shall have to see how long this lasts but my guess is once he finds out Lana set him up the evil will come back in spades. By the way: Did anyone really truly believe Lana was dead? It was not really a shock to see her in hiding in China at the end.

    Finally we have the arrival of a new girl in town and, wow! What a start to that character.

    Beautiful, just beautiful. I am not just talking about the actress who, yes, is a very attractive woman. Just the way she was shot for her introduction. I loved the shot of her in the water when Lex was seeing her as he passed out and the shot on the beach as she flew away into the clouds. Wallpaper artists out there? Call this a big hint for requests for additions to the Superman Homepage Wallpaper Gallery.

    They really did make her look like an angel and I loved it. The final shot of her flying off the water tower was fantastic as well. I would have liked to see Clark do stuff like that so that is one tiny knock on it but I was too busy geeking out to care. It was a fantastic shot to end the show. Something that really makes me excited for the season to come.

    I have to give this one a solid A+. 5 out of 5. Hardcore fans of the classic Bizarro might have some issues with this episode and want to grade it lower but I still think it is one of those you just do not want to miss. I loved it.

    Bring on season 7! I am ready

    Doug



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