Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 7 - Episode 16: "Descent"Reviews:
DescentReviewed by: Douglas Trumble
Lex takes his final step on his path to true evil.
Do you really need to know anything else? That's what this one is about and that is all you need to know to know that you do not want to miss it.
Major spoiler warning here. Lex Luthor KILLS Lionel Luthor!!!!!!! Que dramatic music here.
Sounds like I might be making light here but honestly? Not only was it the opening act but it really was something we all saw coming since Season 1. Honestly? Did anyone really think Lionel's part in this story would end any other way? The question was never "if"... just when, how, and why.
Maybe the disappointing thing was this really was not the big final step in Lex's journey to evil anyway. Lex had crossed the line to evil a few seasons ago so pushing Lionel out the window was not a big step at all. In fact in some ways Lionel probably had it coming to him. Sure he was so-called reformed even if his way of doing good leaved a lot to be desired but he did enough in his days to deserve a grizzly end. One can certainly understand why at first Clark was more concerned about finding Brainiac than he was that Lionel jumped out the window.
I am still a bit unsure why Lex did it though. Maybe he wanted to catch up to Lana's body count? (kidding... Kind of.) I know Lex wanted the keys bad enough to kill for it. I get that. It just seemed to me that Lionel would still have valuable information on the Veritas vault that Lex might need once he has the keys, so why not lock him in a vault or a 33.1 cage instead? Keeping him alive would be smarter but I guess with all the built up hatred over the years it just became too much. The show has done a good job over the years building up why Lex wanted to kill his father. I am not questioning that. The question kind of left hanging was why now? He already took the locket so I guess he just did not want Lionel coming after him to stop him.
The more surprising fact was I don't think this was the "final step" we all thought it would be anyway. That came later in the episode when Lex was confronted by his subconscious. By destroying Alexander from his mind he also destroyed any hope for redemption. That, more than killing his own father, was Lex's final step on his path to true evil. I kind of liked it. Maybe would have worked better if we would have seen this more over the past few episodes but I suppose it was better this way. Or maybe it would have been better if this snap came before killing Lionel. Then my "why now" question would have been clearer. Still I can understand why the did not do it that way. Lex is evil, not insane, and this might have played off as insanity so it was probably best to limit it like they did.
This was Lex's big moment and Michael Rosenbaum was on top of his game here. Lex's emotions ranged from cold blooded murderous, to almost insane, to smug satisfaction, and Mr. Rosenbaum played them all to perfection. Nice!
So moving on. Lionel Luthor's story comes to an end here. I do have to say I liked what they did with this character over all. There is no doubt the character was pitch black evil when we first met him. Now we know he came to Smallville to find Clark and to use him for some nefarious reasons. Lionel helped the Kents adopt the boy and kept his own close so he'd have a reason to be there watching and waiting until the time came to control the traveler for his own needs. Yet along the way he was touched by the goodness in Clark and Jor-El and this caused him to look into his soul and change the man that he was. I liked that. I liked that a lot. In fact it is probably one of my favorite parts of this show.
I think they did a pretty good job of Lionel's journey from evil to good and making his true allegiance a question to us until the end. I am not going to say they did a perfect job. I do think they threw in a couple of "bwhahaha" evil moments in there that are a bit hard to reconcile with a "former bad person trying to do good but bad is all he knows how to do" kind of person. Still overall they did a good job with it and I was certainly entertained watching the journey of the character.
It sure helped that John Glover is such a fantastic actor and he played Lionel so well that he made the character fun to watch. I sure hope they find ways to give John Glover a few guest shots in future episodes. Maybe some flash backs to when he was alive or use him for Jor-El again. Either way I hope this isn't the last time we see a new performance by what is arguably the show's best actor. I mean no disrespect to the rest of the cast who I think do fantastic work but Mr. Glover is the top of that particular food chain. If this is the final for him then I just wanted to say thanks! Thanks for 7 years of fantastic performances!
This was really Lex's episode but let us not forget about the star of the series here. Clark was in good form this week as well. I really liked that he was totally (insert naughty word for mad here) off at the start. Sure he was kind of snappy with Chloe but he had reasons. Lana is being tortured and Kara was being held hostage. He needs to find Brainiac to save them both. I also really liked how he went from somewhat apathetic over the news of Lionel's death to realizing that Lionel was someone important in his life. It was a really nice touch to this episode. This will be a valuable lesson for our future Superman. It shows him that even someone you think is evil can change and to never be apathetic when someone dies. I think Tom Welling did a fantastic job showing Clark going from angry, I don't care about Lionel, to truly sad that yet another father figure in his life has passed on.
Of course this all leads to the final scene which is just FANTASTIC. I loved it. Lex banning everyone from the funeral was... well evil... and I liked it. Clark saying phooey on you, I am coming anyway was just... well... Superman like... and I liked it. The two of them silently standing there across Lionel's grave; Clark looking like he wants to just heat vision Lex off the face of the earth; Lex smirking because he knows he got away with murder and hurt Clark in the process. PERFECTION! I mean it. That scene was just perfect. Both actors were on top of their game there without a doubt. So much was said through posture and expression alone that no words were needed. In fact words would have ruined the perfect moment. Whoever came up with that idea needs a good old pat on the back.
I also loved seeing Lois and Jimmy on a case and getting in over their head. Sure Lois got shot and they almost froze to death but that's why these two need Superman in their life. Without him they would not live very long. So good thing Clark was there to save the day just like things should be. Plus Clark using his heat vision in a warm mist-like way to save them was pretty cool. It was also a nice touch that the Mercy wannabe found the answer to the big question Lex was searching for but he had already ordered her dead and missed it.
So great episode. Some questions on why kill Lionel now but everything else was spot on. I am going to have to go with a solid A. 5 out of 5.
The preview I saw looked more like a promo for the rest of the season. Not just next week but I do know next week is a new one.
DescentReviewed by: Neal Bailey
Okay, folks. Here's the problem.
Take that first scene, the one where Lionel Luthor is shoved outside of his office window by an angst-ridden Lex Luthor. Ignore the motivations, the box, the key, the rest of the episode.
Take that other scene, where he takes the child, the innocence of his life, and, tired of its nattering, drags it to flames and BURNS IT ALIVE.
Now put it in the context the show put it in, and you have: "Lex killed his dad over a box he could have broken into with a hammer, and murdered his 'good' because he's afraid of being weak immediately after being strong enough to kill his own father."
You can bookend those two scenes with ANYTHING, and the concept will be rad. For instance, watch Spell. Add a scene at the end of Spell where Lionel indicates that he has an ungodly power hidden somewhere in a vault, and that he is holding the last key and that Lex has one. This episode can immediately follow that. Okay, okay, so Jonathan isn't dead at that point. Thirst, then. Point being, those scenes are the scenes we dreamed about when this show started, and to see that payoff will be enthralling no matter what comes before it or after it, so I give them credit for that.
Only, if it's bookended with crap, and happens in an episode filled with crap, how can the death be impacting, meaningful, or what we'd hoped for? There are TENS of things that Lionel has done more worthy of being thrown out a window then hiding a key which opens a vault whose true value Lex doesn't even really know. Clark does, and we do, but he does NOT.
Do I feel sorry for Lionel's death? In the same way, I suppose, I do for Annette being off the show. It won't change much, because none of the plots I've seen for the last three years really hinge on Lionel's presence. The plot is ALWAYS regardless of the characters, which is unfortunate. It didn't use to be that way. Lana was the love interest, Chloe the requited character, Pete the friend, Ma and Pa the good parents, Lionel the bad parents, Lex the pro-antagonist.
Now they're all just dealing with whatever comes up on a random basis as serves the plot. For instance, computer dilemma? Jimmy, Kara, Lois, Chloe, and even LANA fill that hole. Need a mysterious baddie? Lionel, Kara, Lex, or Lana. Need a parent figure? Well, not on this show. But anyway.
Do I feel that this is an appropriate way for Lex to go from good to evil? That's the question of the show.
I'm sorry, no. There have been great moments of brilliance, things that would persuade me to believe that Lex as a character would ponder being evil. The times he has shown true evil have been very lightswitch, very unpersuasive, and quite arbitrary. Ultimately, it has proved a disappointment, right as he leaves the show.
And of Lionel's arc? Sloppy, in the end, and sadly unbefitting Glover's amazing talent. He started as a "guest" and became a regular. In the first season finale, they flirted with his death. It soon became clear that Lex's descent would come as a result of offing his own father. Two years passes. Three. Four. Five. Six. After several palpable times where Lionel could have been offed in order to let the show flow and run free, he was pulled back.
As I've said multiple times, I think the show jumped the shark after Transference. Lionel goes from bad guy to good guy, escapes from literal murder and blowing up Chloe's house unscathed, and henceforth Spell and stone drivel filled what was once a good show with contrived, plot-based crap and stunts.
Lionel went from manipulative sociopath with a semi-decent son he sparred with to a good guy competing with an "evil" son that was never really evil. His dynamic was lost. Then he became the vessel for Jor-El without ever really doing anything with it save knowing strange things. Then the REAL Lionel came back, and after he did, he saved Martha and Clark and became good again. And then evil again. And then ultimately, he knew Clark's secret all along and simply did nothing with it, despite having a prolonged period where he was Clark's adversary and knew he could control him, according to these last stories.
In other words, they didn't know what to do with him, but people loved his character, so they wrote him in anyway. I KNOW THIS URGE.
People always whine or yell, sometimes rightfully so, when I say, "I could have written this better." So, to make it clear, I'm not saying that. I am relating through the framework of my life to what they did. Onward.
I know this urge because I've written five novels, with number six and seven in progress, and there are characters that I just love. I love them to death. They're amazing, even if I don't write them to their best potential. And then, something happens. It's the plot wheel, fate, whatever, but in your head, you know it's time. It makes logical sense for this character to die. It's the plot-tense I've mentioned before. If you ignore it, your story will unhinge.
I think Lionel is a large part of why Smallville unhinged. Lionel and Chloe. They were like specters, walking through the show after their time had passed for a coherent narrative. People know that Chloe and Lionel are not a part of the larger myth, but people loved them, so they stayed. Consequently, we ended up with characters filling the same role and losing distinction. Lois and Chloe. Lex and Lionel. Same essential characters for FOUR YEARS.
So yeah, I think his death was dramatic, but I think it was too late. And I respect John, and admire his work, and am sorry to see him go, but it's long past time. Sadly, Lex, whose story can now begin in earnest, is about to leave.
On to the blow-by-blow.
GOSSIP GIRL, ALL NEW IN 4 DAYS! Yeah. I get it. You like to advertise, CW. But when you're doing an absolutely PIVOTAL AND CRITICAL scene in your flagship series, please do not put your logo feces right over the character about to be killed, because it engenders disrespect and furious anger toward GOSSIP GIRL and anything associated with it. Okay? And don't do it three more times in the episode.
They actually moved the logo up and in, too, not the normal lower right, at least in the version I saw. Pathetic. Advertising is just getting pathetic. Yes, I know, people don't watch the commercials, so you have to put it somewhere. FINE. PUT IT ON THE INTERNET. PUT IT IN THE LOWER RIGHT. OFFER EXCLUSIVE CONTENT TO PEOPLE WHO WATCH THE ADS. Whatever. But not in the middle of the Lionel death scene, idiots.
Lex coming from the shadows was handled well. Very creepy.
Lionel gambits, calling Lex the traveler. Good idea, poor execution, drawing attention to all the near-death experiences. It's an attempt to rationalize a plot point, I get it, but it doesn't.
Lionel's fall was a bit cheesy, with the wavy hair, but it was still decent. Chilling, nonetheless.
The Daily Planet gets the news, and everyone starts running out to see what's happened. Chloe, who Lionel attempted to kill brutally and never really did anything, goes out in a rush to check on Lionel. Clark cannot be bothered. I will restate this with capital letters.
CLARK (aka future Superman) CANNOT BE BOTHERED. He is more concerned with a dead lead on the computer than rushing to check on a dead former mentor. LAME. LAME LAME LAME. Bad character.
Lex stands before his dad's body on the steps. A remarkably intact body for that kind of fall. The police let him stand on all of the evidence, despite the obviousness of Lex being primary suspect numero uno. It's good to see Detective Sawyer again, but the end result, her dialogue, wastes it. She asks Lex, in plain view of a bunch of clicking cameras, to identify one of the most identifiable figures in local major media after he's been utterly mutilated by a giant fall despite Lex proclaiming that he heard Lionel scream just before the window broke, and there Lionel is, dead. Detective Dumb as Clark, at your service.
Clark appears, and gives what is actually my favorite scene in the episode, even over the death and the burning. He stands there, Lex looks, Lex walks, Clark follows, Lex stops, sees Clark over his shoulder, keeps walking. Metaphorically it just struck me very, very well as an iconic note. It's strong.
Why does no one except Clark suspect Lex?
Chloe poo-poos the locket connection even after making all kinds of shady connections all through the series, and despite Lionel's obvious suspicious death. It seemed out of character.
Martha's reaction is unheard, as well, which is odd.
Lex seeing his younger self is played, but it doesn't ever strike me as incredibly heart-wrenching. I think part of it is that any idiot would have killed Lionel, so it doesn't seem like a big dark step. I mean, Lionel constantly tried to kill Lex, it's almost self-defense. If Lex had killed CHLOE as a way to go to the dark side... that might chill me more.
His innocence asserts itself right next to GOSSIP GIRL.
I like the idea that Lex enjoyed things that fly, and the line about killing his father for an empty locket shows how callously Lex treated one of the most important lives in his life. But it also enunciates that Lex killed Lionel over what is essentially nothing semi-randomly.
Clark breaks and enters into Lionel's office, tampering with evidence that could potentially link Lex. Bright job. Dumb as Clark.
He finds a little flashlight that gives a message from Lionel to Clark, a message that informs Clark of the danger he faces, and tells him that Lionel always thought of Clark as someone he needed to protect, contradicting most of Lionel continuity, including Lionel continuity of just two episodes ago, where he locked Clark in a box and lied that it was for his own good.
Neat to see Beyond Good and Evil (for 2,000, Alex) on the shelf. Made me titter.
I find it a stretch at VERY BEST to believe that Jimmy accidentally caught Lionel Luthor's murder and Lex on camera at the exact same time. It just... yeah, it reeked.
Lex's hot new assistant is far too familiar for being unfamiliar as of this episode, and her actions with Jimmy and Lois are very pat and ridiculous. Jimmy and Lois are trapped in a freezer with glass doors right above the locks, and Jimmy doesn't break the glass?
And when in the hell did the Daily Planet get and/or need a freezer? Huh?
Chloe is fired, rather arbitrarily, over a key she may very well not have known of. This after never really looking into Lex, and serving him pretty loyally. Odd, and not really treated as devastating to her character. She basically says, "Yeah, that old place? I was quitting it anyway!" when she did awful things to get this job, recall, and was desperate to keep it.
Clark, looking at the amulet after breaking and entering into Lex's office, opens it. A guy with x-ray vision.
Then Lex sneaks up on a dude with superhearing. I mean, seriously, folks. Do they even read these before they approve them?
Clark says that he could have had his father's approval if he'd only tried. Which is really pretty offensive and rotten of him. I mean, here's Lex, for the whole series, struggling in his father's shoes and trying to please him. And here's Clark, ignoring his father's warning and guidance, playing football, running away to Metropolis, exposing his secret, and ultimately KILLING HIS OWN FATHER over a girl. Who tried?
Beyond that, Lex blames Clark for stressing his father into death, and it's played like, "Ooooh, Clark, you gonna take that?"
But LEX IS RIGHT. Clark was warned that saving Lana would have consequences, and he chose to, and he killed his own father.
So the crazy lady has to kill Jimmy and Lois, but she just knocks Chloe out. Uh, yeah.
Beyond that, Chloe has seen that Lex is the murderer. She can testify to this, right?
Clark arrives immediately after the woman, and he doesn't 1) Hear her, or 2) Search for her. What? That counts as sneaking up on a guy with superhearing, because he should have heard her. Or looked.
He just stands there, extrapolating about his secrets and powers, then disappears. At least that cool effect was brought back, I dug that.
Clark insta-heats the pair with a low level burst of heat vision, which was kind of neat. Wouldn't that damage someone suffering from hypothermia, though? Aren't you supposed to heat them up slowly? Regardless, both would be shrieking from the pain of being reheated, and he just abandons them both after Lois has been shot and is likely bleeding out. If they stayed there long enough to get icicles on themselves, she'd be dead. Lame.
The lady, about to reveal her secret to Lex, is killed, no doubt for getting "too close." With an asthma inhaler.
Seriously. An asthma inhaler.
Lex burns his "good self." Admittedly, it might have had more impact without the GOSSIP GIRL logo right under my dramatic moment. Still, it was brutal, more brutal than I thought they'd go, but still, irrational, so not as cool as it could have been.
I loved the end scene, with Clark and Lex squared off under the spinning Daily Planet globe. Very well filmed. I'm surprised the paparazzi weren't there, around, or mentioned. Lionel dying unmourned as a concept plays more than the reality in that case, however.
All in all, as I have said, I'm excited to finally see that payoff, but the payoff does not refund the investment, if that makes sense. I'd give those scenes a 4 of 5.
I give this episode a 2 of 5, which is pretty generous for scenes that amount to about five minutes out of forty-one and a half (time lost to ads despite GOSSIP GIRL, note).
Bruce Kanin wrote (RE: Veritas):
This episode had all the ingredients of a decent one, but the sum of the parts just never made it whole.
I'm converting from school grades to stars. It gets ** (two stars).
Brainiac is as chilling as ever here. The scenes where he sticks his "evil Terminator robot" metallic finger into Lana's head - and then when Clark discovers Lana transformed into Brainiac's semi-drone - were chilling. He's a nasty computer.
Nice scene between Chloe and Lionel, especially the way Chloe appears to be on the verge of believing the elder Luthor, but doesn't give in.
Funny scene where Lois calls Lana's lair weird or scary (can't remember which) but Jimmy calls it "sexy". Speaking of which...
...for a few moments, we had another instance of Lois Lane & Jimmy Olsen, together, sleuthing around. Yes, a tradition that began in the comics, continued in the Superman radio serials (I think), in the Superman movie serials, the Adventures of Superman TV series, the Chris Reeve Superman movies (sort of - I don't recall Lois & Jimmy doing a whole lot together, really) and the Lois & Clark TV series (for sure).
The episode was billed as "Kara teaches Clark how to fly". What a lie that was! Although I don't like the thought of Kara being more advanced than Kal-El and her being the one to teach him how to fly, once I accepted it, I was looking forward to it, but it never happened.
Why does Lionel need Lana to help him clear his name of the Swann daughter's murder? Makes no sense.
It bugs me that there is this Veritas society which knows that someone is coming to Earth ("The Traveler"). This, coupled with Kryptonians having visited Earth in the past, Jor-El engineering his infant son to end up with the Kents and other nonsense, steals heaps from the idea of Kal-El being a lonely last survivor of Krypton who lands on Earth and happens to end up in Smallville with Ma & Pa Kent, unbeknownst to everyone else. The dumb Smallville writers have strip-mined Superman's origin to the extent that there's nothing left to the imagination. While the Veritas back story has some degree of merit, it probably was unnecessary.
Sub-plot nonsense: What's with the keys to the Swiss vault? What's in the Swiss vault? Why does Brainiac need Kara? Silliness that wasn't explained and doesn't leave me wondering.
The final scene with the silhouette of Clark, Lana and an angel was supposed to be powerful. But I felt little sadness for Lana, not because I've grown to dislike her character over the years, but because severe conditions such as death and impairment seem to mean little on this show. It was spooky to see Lana's eyes - and to hear her utter "Kal-El" - but not overly so. The scene should have generated waves of emotion, but for me, it didn't.
They showed Metropolis Hospital - not Smallville Hospital - for a change!
Mercifully they did not show Dr. Swann from the old days. I don't know how they would have portrayed a young Chris Reeve, and thankfully, they didn't.
In the opener, why was Kara wearing gloves while doing work around the farm? To get a good grip on things? Not necessary, with her powers. To keep her hands clean? Perhaps, but she could easily clean them with a super-washing. I know, a nit-pick.
Looks like the kid who played young Lex was the same one from a recent episode that featured a flashback in Lex's mind.
A "gamme break moment": when Lex flashes back the first time, we see young Oliver Queen with his arrow gear.
Did Clark and Kara lose their x-ray vision? In the opener, when Kara heads towards the barn because she's suspicious of something going on there, she apparently doesn't take a look-see ahead with her super-vision in order to peer inside the barn. When Clark returns home, just before he discovers that Lana's been overtaken by Brainiac, he kind of looks around and starts talking to her as if she's somewhere in the house (well, she is), as opposed to looking around with his super-vision to find her.
We see young Lex playing with what first appeared to be a Superman toy doll! Presumably it was that other hero from the comics in Smallville's parallel universe - clearly they don't have DC Comics.
I still can't get used to Smallville's Brainiac being so different from the Silver Age version. The latter wasn't from Krypton and had no super-powers. His major claims to fame were twelfth-level intelligence, an impenetrable force-field and a shrinking ray. While I like James Marsters as Brainiac, I don't like the fact that he seems to have Kryptonian super-powers.
When Clark and Kara surmise that Brainiac must have a power source to keep his computer body going, it hearkened back to sooo many TV shows, Star Trek especially, where the hero realizes that the only way to defeat the villain is to find its power source. A fairly well used-up, tired plot device.
So what's this horrible doom that Lionel tells Chloe about? The writer's strike?
No more episodes for a few weeks. What lies ahead looks intriguing, though...maybe.
Good call. I hadn't caught the whole "x-ray" thing with Brainiac. I was distracted by the flash... You gotta wonder, too, why Brainiac needs a power source on Earth at all, given that he was restored and there weren't power surges before...
Scotty V wrote:
Just reading your review of Gemini. You mention that the guy who planted the bomb on Chloe is a clone of Lex and that it's absurd he would have a failsafe just in case he would ever attack Lex. I don't remember exactly, but I thought it was a clone of Julian, just as Grant is, but that he was the first failed attempt because he aged too quickly. This is why Grant is the right age, because Lex found the right formula to age THAT clone correctly, right?
Probably... might have been a typo.
Also, I don't remember anything about a failsafe, just that the clone had aged too quickly and was now dying. He felt Lex wasn't doing anything to help him because he wasn't wanted or needed anymore and so he wanted to expose Lex and the whole Gemini project. Gemini. Is it me or do they have trouble coming up with titles for this show since they painted themselves into the "we're only using one word titles cause it's cool" corner? They had to MAKE UP a whole nother LuthorCorp project that we've never heard of and never will hear of again, just to get a title!
Heh. Veritas is the answer. Hey-o!
So you KNEW it was Bizarro, huh? You know, Bizarro didn't really occur to me. I thought he was acting weird, sure, and perhaps I should have thought of Bizarro, but he certainly wasn't acting like Bizarro. Bizarro wasn't a hero and why would Bizarro care if Chloe and Jimmy blew up? In the comics maybe, but in this show they've showed Bizarro to be a murdering menace. Evil. Of COURSE he'd fall in love with Lana, but that's only because EVERYONE does, but a hero...never! So I just figured that they were stretching the super-leaps they've allowed Clark to do again. Even though clearly he changed directions in air so it was flight. I even said it to the screen to which my sister said: "He's jumping," with a roll of her eyes.
It was just the visual, for me, of the blue jacket. And the lighting.
The other thing is that I had actually read a description of the next new episode that said something like: "Our hero is right where we left him, frozen by Jor-El in the Fortress while Bizarro and Brainiac are on the loose." And I went..."WHAT??!!"
I read the wrong description because I thought I was already caught up. I had somehow missed both this episode and the one before it. So I was totally surprised two major villainous threats had returned and that Clark was frozen in the Fortress. So when I watched this episode, I had already read that it was coming, but I thought it was going to happen in this episode, whereas he was already frozen. Since I hadn't seen the episode where Jor-El tells him "You must be punished" for some reason, and then the credits roll, I was way confused and out of time.
So were many, from what I read.
Jeff writes in letters that he doesn't understand why Kara saved Lex at the Dam. He states that she was hovering above Kansas and somehow decided to start saving lives...but only Lex's. You don't really address it his question so I thought I would. She's in the water, hibernating in suspended animation, until all the explosions and activity at the dam disturd the technology and wake her up. When she awakens, she sees someone drowning and (as someone frome the El family SHOULD do instinctively) she instinctively saves him. Then goes about her personal mission. The problem with this is that, aside from Clark (and he was raised by loving humans who taught him his morals), all the members of the El family that we've come to know don't seem altruistically good. Although Jor-El seemed like a hero when he visited in the 60's or whenever that was.
Also in letters, Ben writes that Kayla from season 2 gave Clark a "destiny item" that was meant to be given to the woman Clark was meant to be with. You tell Ben you don't remember what he's talking about. Someone probably told you by now, I'm always so behind, but Kayla was the Kawatchee Indian girl that could change into a wolf. Clark fell for her and then she died. She gave him the bracelet. You know, for the previews for that episode and during the first half or so, I thought they might actual say this girl would turn out to be Lois Lane. I think that would have been so much cooler, plus she looks the part.
I still don't remember, heh.
Finally, I wanted to mention Chloe and her powers. You've implied a few times now that Chloe should eagerly run into the night healing people and bring folks back to life. I agree that, as a superhero and Superman fan, I expect she SHOULD want to use her powers for good. However, even Clark in this continuity doesn't really WANT to use his powers to be a hero, doesn't consider himself a hero and hates his gifts. Chloe's are much much worse and more dangerous than Clark's are. Nothing can hurt Clark, whereas simply the definition of Chloe's powers causes her pain and/or possible death. There might be a person (possibly Superman himself) that would purposely use a power over and over without hesitation that they KNEW would hurt them and possibly kill them but I don't know how often we'd meet a person like that. Chloe is acting, in my mind, very realistic. Her fear and emotions are being expressed in much the way I'd expect many real people to react. Sure, a little pain is worth bringing someone back to life in theory, but putting that theory to use would be much harder and I think her concerns are valid.
It's less that I think she would run right out into the night, more that she wouldn't hesitate to use her powers if she needed to, especially knowing she's beyond death.
Reading your review for "Persona" now and you mention something interesting that sparked me to write this next thought. Back in 2001, 02, 03, I was always complaining that they kept using meteor freaks - regular kids who got powers via radiation and then became evil maniacs - instead of drawing on Clark's actual villains gallery, or at least using aliens. I always said, I know most shows have a problem with the fantastical and don't really like writing episodes about aliens but this is Superman and Clark IS an alien so they really shouldn't shy away from it. And yet they always did, and it always irked me. There was that episode with the kid who thought he was an alien, could heal people, and built a device with which he'd phone home. That character then died at the end and the implication (since the arriving ship was really a military helicopter) was that he really was just crazy. That hacked me off because I thought it would have opened so much more had the kid actually been an alien. Anyways, just your statement about imagining these storylines in 2002 got me reminiscing about how I actually felt back then.
As far as Lex killing the clone of Julian, yeah, I too am not really sure what to make of that. I think I remember that the reason he had him killed was because Julian was no longer willing to simply sit where Lex put him. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but I think the anguish Lex apparently felt after was the agony of defeat. The idea that a project he'd created had failed on so many levels and that, in the end, Lex needed to terminate the project rather than keep his long dead brother and that bothered him. It was a bit out of character but then, when our actual Lex Luthor provides something for somebody or makes something happen, he fully expects to be the one making the rules and pulling the strings thereafter. So, when he's then disobeyed and ignored, Lex would make some heads roll. Problem is, much like Anakin in ROTS, we haven't had a well-written or developed fall from grace.
Your clip from Scrubs:
I almost teared up just watching that one clip. I've watched the show on occasion and I really like it. Someday, when there's more time, I'd like to catch up on them on DVD, but you're right about the character. I don't understand how some people can say that Scrubs is not a good or funny show. I've heard critics talk about Scrubs and mention moments like the one in the video you posted saying that these are cheap, ineffectual ways the writers try to pull at our heartstrings but then we realize we're watching an absurd episode of one of the most absurd shows on T.V. and we get angry instead of invested. I couldn't disagree more. I think the way they balance absurdity with genuine character and emotion, seriousness with stupidity and hilarity with sadness on Scrubs works in every way.
Scrubs is one of my fave shows of all time for the very reason that they balance meta stuff and realism. It's rare, because for some reason television stations think people can't handle it.
In letters, Luis wrote that we, the loyal fans who have been watching it since the beginning are the reason the show is even in it's 7th season. I must disagree. The reason the lamentable writing and ratings Smallville has garnered, pretty much since the beginning, has been allowed to continue for 7 years is that's it's on the WB/CW. Had this show been on any other network and had the ratings it has had, it would have been cancelled way way way before now. In terms of major television series and regular (see real) networks, this show has very few viewers and those few only keep the show on because it is the CW. So I guess in that round-about way, the fans are responsible, if only for the fact that even the CW would have an amount that surely would be TOO little. (Even though 2 million average viewers is enough for it to be considered a hit for them)
It's hard to say, given that we haven't seen a Superman show on a regular network since Lois and Clark in 1998, was it?
Bruce writes that Brainiac's name is finally explained. I'm SURE they've mentioned that in the past. This definitely wasn't the first time. But Bruce can't be blamed for missing it, it's REALLY easy to phase out on this show for the past three seasons.
Heck, I missed it.
It seems to me that the Blue K has to be touching Clark in order to affect him; therefore it would have to touch Bizarro in order to affect Bizarro. I'm not sayin' it's totally clear or that it makes sense, but that's what it seems like since it doesn't affect either of them until it touches.
Seems a bit odd, given that it's radioactivity in the rock that gets Supes...
Bruce further suggests that the writers should have let us use our imaginations when Lex's contract killer texted him that Julian (the job) was done. The problem with that is the writers have done that so much on this show that people like you Neal, are still saying Lex has never done anything wrong. J If they HAD just let us use our imagination, no matter how obvious it might have seemed, you'd be saying: "There's no proof Lex had him killed and they need to be clear on that if they want us to see it that way." They tried making it clear without saying it right out for a while with the pregnancy but that wasn't enough because the Lex apologists (that's you Neal) continued to say Lex had never done anything wrong enough to be considered evil. Don't worry Neal, I still agree that, for the most part, Lex on Smallville's descent to evil is a lot like Anakin's in SW ROTS and it's incomplete in way too many ways.
No worries. And I actually agree that it was good to show it.
Ok then, that's it for now. I'm almost caught up to current. I just have two reviews: "Siren," which was ok and "Fracture," which I loved, before I'm caught up to the shows I've watched. At this point in time, on DVR, I still have "Hero," where Pete Ross chews on some absurd gum, and "Traveller," where Lionel apparently reverts to crazy again, that I haven't watched yet. Time is scarce and I have other shows I usually choose to watch with my wife when we actually get that time together.
Yeah, I'm very much the same way now. I'm not even watching Smallville on the hour it shows, now, because karate is more important to me right now.
Mark Palenik wrote:
I'm teaching an astronomy lab this semester while Smallville is on, my DVD recorder stopped working (which is to be expected, I guess, since I bought it for $45 two years ago) and my computer TV tuner isn't working propperly, so I haven't seen Smallville in weeks. This is probably the because of fact that I haven't had much time to sleep all week, and I've barely been able to leave my apartment because of the work I have to do, but I just read your review of "Hero" and it was hillarious.
I haven't been reading your reviews lately, since I haven't been watching the show, but I decided to come back to the site, because I haven't had time for any entertainment in the past week and a half (aside from reading Kafka's The Metamorphosis one evening when I couldn't take doing physics problems anymore). I've got to say, that review was exactly what I needed.
I felt the stress melting away as I laughed incredibly loudly outloud while reading your review. Strideville. Awesome. I didn't even need to watch the show to enjoy that, although I wish I had, so I could know exactly what you were talking about at certain points, like the Webster reference. But that aside, it was incredible. Better than watching the show.
I really appreciate that, thank you.
Maybe it's the lack of sleep, but that seemed like the funniest thing I've read in a long time. Funnier than any sitcoms, more entertaining than television. It's times like this that I'm thankful that you keep watching and writing your reviews.
And that's the only reason I still do. :)
That's all I have to say. Maybe I sound like a crazy person. That doesn't matter. In your review, you mentioned that the episode made you consider renegging on your promise to write reviews for every episode. Although I don't think you'd actually stop, maybe a little more encouragement wouldn't hurt. Your reviews are awesome!
It doesn't hurt at all, particularly given that Al and Miles have left the freaking show, so I'm sitting here thinking, why shouldn't I? They won't even see their commitment through, but I'm going to keep lining their pockets? Letters like this are why I continue.
P.S. I must really need sleep. After rereading my message, I found like 3 sentences that made no sense whatsoever. I've fixed them, but I can't promise that I've cought them all.
Scotty V wrote:
Hello again Neal my friend,
Just reading your review for "Siren." Odd that this was one of the ones I somewhat enjoyed. I didn't think it was fantastic but I at least thought it was good and sorta cool. You start the review by stating you disliked it. Hmph.
Clark's ears bleed from Canary's scream but Ollie's hair doesn't even move and yes, the scream has no sound. Perhaps you mention it further into the review, but my take on it was that it was like those dog whistles. The sonic screech was inaudible to human ears, but like Luthor's secret message to Superman in the first film from 78,' Clark could hear it and because his ears are so good, it pains him. A similar event happened in an L&C episode where Clark sat close to the band in a bar and was listening to a private conversation when the drummer started up. Clark grimaced and missed the rest of the conversation. I think that Chloe and Ollie can't hear the sound and that's why it doesn't ruffle them.
I dunno. That seems a bit of a stretch to me.
The flip definitely looked horrible. I'm not an archer so I'm not sure about the exact strengths and weaknesses of bows and arrows and brick and mortar. My first inclination is that yes, with enough torque or power behind the bow and with a metallic arrowhead - possibly military grade or to the like - an arrow could stick in a wall. Seems logical, at least in the untrained mind, but who knows? In so far as carrying all these people Ollie fires at great distances? Seems a lot more far-fetched, but again, I don't know about the different sizes and/or types of bows/arrows so I can't really say. You say you've hunted deer with a bow and arrow, but do we know all the types and what all the types might or might not be able to do? Furthermore, if we do know all the types and we deduce that no, a real bow and arrow could never do that, do we know that a fictional super-hero character who is a billionaire couldn't have a device that could amplify his weaponry or just simply have weapons that don't really exist that are capable of doing it? I mean we are, after all, watching a show about a guy who can bounce bullets off his chest.
I can say, with utter certainty, that an arrow, even a carbon arrow or one made out of super-strong material, would shatter upon impacting a brick. I've seen them bounce off soft deer.
Yeah I'm not familiar with the Black Canary character, beyond the occasional appearance in certain comics I've read and the Birds of Prey T.V. series. Of course on that show, my understanding was that the scream was an actual scream and could be heard. This is just the Smallville take on it. I think it's kind of neat that it's a sonic scream that can't be heard by the human ear but causes great damage. Speaking of non-familiarity with characters.I don't really know much about Ollie other than a few appearances in books I've read and animated variations. My point is, I don't know what kind of force Ollie uses in his everyday practice. After all, he is only human and can be killed so if he were to allow time to villains who are trying to kill him or others, in this case Chloe, he might find himself dead before he makes the decision to use greater force. I know the general D.C. rule, but of course, that's not real life either. Someone in a life or death situation might just be doing what he needs to do to protect civilians and/or themselves. It's just split second thinking and trying to survive and protect. Police are akin to superheroes sometimes in the real world, in that they protect and sometimes need to defend themselves. And like policemen in the real world, Ollie CAN be killed. When they can, police will try to subdue before killing but if lives are in immediate danger, things are different.
I still don't see Batman killing people though, and he can be killed too. It's a general rule, as I see it.
Again, I understand that D.C. heroes don't kill, and I'm glad they don't. I'm just wondering if some of the heroes, in certain instances, might be given leeway. Mostly the human ones and in the circumstances where they can't afford to fail or there will be innocent death.
I don't give them that leeway even if they decide that they should as a company. The exception might be someone like Vigilante, maybe.
You say: "Very heroic, Ollie." But I wonder if the same can be said about a police officer, or a father, or anyone for that matter who shoots a would be killer just before the killer stabs a civilian, a child, or anyone for that matter, lethally in the throat.
That's different, though. That's real life. This is a fiction, where people are better than they are in real life.
Of course, we're not in that situation exactly either, but I just thought it was worth further discussion and yes, I know that superheroes are held to higher standards and that they don't kill. And again, I like this fact. It's just that sometimes it might not be able to be helped.
You then complain about Chloe being knocked unconscious by a leg sweep saying that a black belt has done that to you and that it doesn't hurt. I'm going to assume you were in the dojo or practice area and that you were on soft, cushy matting in a spar-type situation or a demonstration and not on a cement roof where you might have hit your head. I know, I know, Smallville is notorious for KO ing characters all the time very easily. But then, all shows and movies do it, and I'm just saying Chloe might have hit the back of her head. In most cases in real life, hitting your head doesn't knock anyone out but that could have been what happened.
I haven't been swept on concrete, no. But I have been hit in the head with hard objects multiple times. It takes more than a slip, particularly a semi-controlled one, to knock you unconscious.
BC's costume, other than the makeup over the eyes, seems to be really pretty close to what I've seen on her in the comics, no? Fish nets and a tight black suit. And no, I don't like the short hair either.
You talk about the baby JL bombings again and side with Lex that they're terrorists. If the heroes are destroying factories that are nothing but 33.1 research facilities where people like Impulse are being tortured. AND the heroes clear them out, rescue anyone inside and make sure the place is empty first; it's sort of heroic, no?
No, because they're attacking property, not the source. It's terrorism.
Yeah I'm with you on Lois's punch in this one. There's absolutely no reason for it. I think it's their way of showing us that Lois is a strong chick and that she can hold her own with any man the show can throw at her but it's definitely a poor way of them showing us that. PLUS, they broke up last year and she cried then and was disappointed then. Here she acts like they didn't split and that she didn't already know and accept it. "That's for breaking my heart and leaving." Or something like that. If that's the case, why didn't she hit him back then?
Again with the hitting to unconsciousness. Indy does it all the time. And I'm sure it happens in all superhero films and other heroic fighting films too. So it's not just Smallville that does it.
Indy, though, is sensationalist. Smallville is supposed to be trying to be realistic.
Oh yeah, the changing of Dinah's hair. That was something else, huh? I thought it was extra funny the way Chloe was clickity clicking away on the keyboard just hitting random keys, as if that would make a difference with a magical program like that.
BC attacks Clark after she bounces off of him so I think she does know he's not just a normal guy. However, this might affect my theory that it doesn't hurt regular people cause they can't hear it. Reason being, she may know Clark is stronger than others because she bounced off him, but that wouldn't mean she'd know he had super-hearing that would make him vulnerable to the cry no one else could hear. Ugh! You see what happens? You try and make up a rational explanation for something that wasn't explained in the story and then you get caught in an endless paradox that threatens to make your brain explode. Oh well, gonna have to repaint the walls again.
I also enjoyed the fight in Lex's place. But I have to disagree with you on the whole allowing Lex to die thing. It may be that they didn't show the bullet vs. the knife clearly enough for you to see but Clark chose the one he thought would be lethal. It seemed to me that, when the knife was shown, it appeared to be heading for the shoulder area on Lex, whereas the bullet was heading straight for BC's heart. You're probably right though, Clark could have used heat vision or breath on it and then no one would have been hurt. I think it was a split-second decision. 'Lex's won't be lethal because it's not heading for anything vital,' Clark thought. 'Hers though, it's gonna hit her right in the heart, gotta stop that one!' And he was right. So it leaves it to us to read into it, but I think that's what happened. Cause why would Clark have stopped the original volley if he was just gonna let Lex die anyway? You're right, Superman would stop them both, though I really didn't read it as though Clark was allowing it to hit him because he didn't like him. I think instead that it was just a poor way for them to show he had to choose one and he knew Lex's wouldn't be lethal.
Also, I love that Lex uses the Lex-Fu here, but where has it been. How come when Lex is attacked by much lesser trained individuals he's taken out toot sweet but here, against highly trained Ollie, he holds his own to a standoff?
Yeah. It should be more consistent.
You certainly do point out most of the things I sort of take for granted now. What I mean by that I guess is, I must know that their characterization is always so off that I hardly pay attention. There are whole scenes and conversations I just tune out and, though I thought this one was one of the better ones of late, that ain't sayin' too much, cause clearly this show is in bad shape. It's too bad not much of anything they do can be really classified as great, or epic. Even "Justice" had the normal Smallville flaws.
I think the last time they really hit all points was "Memoria." They come close again, save for more of the same inconsistencies and bad characterizations next week, with "Fracture." It's a completely impossible idea, but suspending disbelief, I really liked this one. But I'll get to that review soon. For now, have a good one!
How can Kara fly away from a yellow sun?
The idea is that she stores up energy in her cells... though I dunno.
I, too, can't wait to see what they are doing, but the effect (some sort of hyperspace-sonicboom?) shows that they are really moving! Seems pretty obvious they're away from this solar system. Seems like Brainiac would have carried her, or had a ship waiting to go...wherever.
I don't know why Brainiac doesn't just go up to Clark with frickin' Kryptonite. I mean, sheesh.
Scotty V wrote:
Just now beginning the read of your review for "Fracture." I'll start by saying this one was my favorite episode of the season so far. I really dig episodes where we see what makes Lex tick and the way that he might still have redemption. The sad thing there is that, of course, we all know Lex will not see redemption, at least as the future tells us. But I also like how Clark is re-dedicated to watching out for the good parts in Lex. Strangely, it reminds me of Star Wars, that whole "I KNOW there is good in you" thing. I'm sure I'll agree with some of the inevitable negative comments I'm sure you'll remind me of, but on the whole, I really enjoyed this far-fetched episode.
Early in the review you mention that the time in this episode for people traveling is way off. First of all, this is something we've all known since they decided after Season 2 that Metropolis was no longer a "three hour drive" as Chloe once said. However, in agreement with you and wanted to add one thing. Lex not only goes all the way from Detroit to distant Smallville (though you say Metropolis in the review - it was clearly Smallville Med Center), but first the guy who shot him threw him in a ditch! That means he lay there in a ditch with a possibly lethal gunshot wound to his head for who knows how long before Lionel somehow found him and then brought him all the way to.Smallville of all places?!?
Yeah. But hey, they just recently said that the drive was a tank and a half of gas (Jimmy), which means MORE than a three hour drive. At least with my truck.
I suppose it's possible that if the bullet hit in such a way that it didn't damage the brain and he somehow wasn't bleeding to death but perhaps his mind sent him into the coma right then or near right then, then maybe he could have made the trip and survived, but yes it does seem way out there.
Lois and Kara can't climb a fence? You know, it never really occurred to me so maybe you're right but I guess I was thinking they were in a sealed off cage. Like a box made of fencing that was entirely enclosed and therefore climbing wouldn't make a difference. I could be wrong, but if that's not the case, I can't believe I didn't notice. Then again, as I've said previously, I find it much harder to really pay attention to this show anymore so who knows? Weird thing is, I watched this episode twice. Once because it had been quite a while since I'd seen one and I was jonesin'. So, whereas we usually wait for some of my family members who have still stuck it out with us to watch it together, the timing never seemed to work out and I couldn't wait anymore. The second time was with my sister, who is basically still the only family member who really wants to watch anymore.
Alas, such an episode...
It's sad, considering we all thought this was a much more serious take on the legend than L&C at the beginning. My parents will still watch the episodes I deem "must see" for one reason or another but I sort of make that judgment and pass over most for them.
The sounds being off thing? No, it wasn't just your setup. I watched it on my PC where I had NOT downloaded it in any way other than perfectly legally, and the sound effects and music definitely drowned out the sound for me as well. I had to rewatch several of the sequences to understand what they'd said.
Lois mentions that Kara's borrowed her jeans and I'm thinking: 'When and how in the world did they fit her or did she just borrow them to use as rags or something?' But then I just sort of let it pass, thinking that, what with my bad memory and my somewhat drawn out, weeks and weeks between watching an episode schedule, that it was possible Lois was still living at the Kent farm and that would be how it had happened.
Lex was shot in the forehead between the eyes but hey, it was from a pretty decent distance and it might have been a small caliber bullet. Plus, didn't you remember, JJ Abrams or somebody said that Lex was a Kryptonian anyway?
Now you're reaching. :)
Unfortunately Neal, I do think there's a difference between possibly risking one's life to save an innocent or someone you love versus saving someone that you think of as evil. We know that Superman does it and we're all glad when he does, but I don't know that that means he would urge his more human friends and loved ones to do the same. Not that I'm saying we've really been shown a Lex that is innately evil or that Clark should want to let him die, I just think that regular, human people would have a much more difficult time making that choice. Again, perhaps not for a helpless child or baby or innocent whoever, but the way these characters now feel about Lex, albeit mostly unprovoked through the writing at least, I'm not sure they'd do the same for him. I will say though, that they should really lay off the lines like: trust me Clark, I'd be the last to think I'd ever be risking my life to save Lex Luthor. It makes the whole dilemma even worse.
Real people would question it. Heroes would not. Chloe is a hero figure.
The mind-swap thing reminded me a lot of the Matrix. That's really what I kept thinking of when they were doing it. I even said aloud: "Now Clark take this red-pill and remember, you can't die while you're in his brain!!" Of course it's absurd and of course it can't be done but then: show about a guy who can bounce bullets off his chest and blah blah blah. You know, we can't hit warp speed either yet and neither can a horse talk or a carpet fly. Bunnies and Ducks can't get into speaking arguments that culminate in one of them getting their face blown off by a rifle but hey, it's entertainment right? It's fantasy. Some is definitely further out there than others, but then, there are some people who make a big deal that Lois couldn't possibly ever have a child with Superman, or even have sex with him. Heck, those same people think there's no way an alien would ever look enough like us to fit in. The suspension of disbelief with any of this is certainly required.
Yes, but the framework is what decides to what degree we do. I would argue that if I said the writer character Neal can make irrational conclusions because that's one of his powers, you'd still stop reading if I did... even though I told you that's how it would be and it's just suspension of disbelief stopping you.
I have two things to say about why Clark might have jumped right to the brain-entering machine. Wow, that really does sound cheesy when you type it like that. Huh, guess I should call it something else. How about.the Matrix? Anyway, all the ideas you mention: triangulating and coordinating with the police and running around at super speed and listening for Kara and all that. Those methods would take a lot more time then Clark might be ready to take considering that a dangerous person was involved and that Clark thinks Kara might be in danger. I think he even says she doesn't have her powers at one point. The second reason I'm thinking he might do it is two-fold. One: Clark might, deep down, still want to save Lex. And for you to berate him for not knowing why before he leaps in seems kind of against what you'd usually preach. Because normally you'd say Clark should want to save Lex just because that's what he does. Even if Lex was the devil incarnate, like these characters are trying to make us believe he is, Clark should save him anyway just because that's what he does. So here, and I can only assume it would be because it's against the character of Clark that these writers have established, instead of being happy that Clark is willing to try and save Lex, you complain. Sure, the excuse is that he's only doing it to find Kara, but maybe deep down he wants to save Lex as well. The second part of my two-fold reason is that Clark may be feeling some guilt since it was Kara that Lex was searching for and Clark himself hadn't even gone on a search and now, because Clark himself didn't bring her back, Lex has been shot in the head.
Actually, it's just because the way he chooses to save Lex is ridiculous.
I did, in fact, catch the Stride gum display. But it really only registered for me after I watched the teaser for the Pete episode. Then I was like: "Wow they followed up with the Stride gum. Wasn't that shown in the diner last episode?" Speaking of which, you ask how many of us have seen gum displays in restaurants. I think Kara's working at a diner and I've seen plenty of gum and candy displays in diners. By the way, I didn't know until I watched beyond the teaser in the Pete episode and saw the Stride commercial on T.V. that it was even a real gum! I find it odd that an actual gum company would want to be connected to such negative advertising for its product.
You also complain that Lex should rub it in that Clark is poor instead of showing the memory of Lex having sex with Lana. Well, for the family show this is supposed to be, though as early as "Cool," in the first season and probably even before that there was a lot of gratuitous teen sexuality that made my parents uncomfortable when my sister was 15, this idea might work. However, sex is a carnal act and it is much more hurtful to see. If Lex really wanted to hurt Clark, showing him this would probably be the best way. Plus, being poor doesn't really bother Clark all that much. Nor does being a farmer or taking care of a farm bother Clark. In fact, at least at this point, Clark would rather have more mundane responsibilities, like the farm, forever. So I don't really think that would work but I do get your point.
I also caught the third person memory stuff. Lex sees himself in those memories, which you wouldn't see. But again I let it go because I knew it had to be that way in order for us to see the characters and understand the memories as shown, and I did think the story was cool. I don't think Clark picks up anything until the end when he picks up the transponder and I called that out too. Plus, you're right, there's no way every word in every conversation and all the exact coordinates on the locator would ever be remembered.
I can't remember exactly, but don't both Clark and Lex's brainwaves go flat? That would mean that Clark's body was also dead but that his essence was still trapped in Lex, or something like that. So then when Chloe brings Lex back, since Clark was stuck in his mind, Clark is able to get back to his body. Plus, and not that it matters much, Clark does mention early in the process before he enters Lex's mind, that he's "different from other people," and maybe that DNA difference allows him to survive when other men couldn't have. Same as like, say, bullets to the chest or flying around out in space.
Still seems like rationalizing bad storytelling to me...
I knew you were going to mention Clark tossing the guy at the end, which he does constantly and consistently, and when I watched it, I called it out too. Not that I want to defend it, but he is emotionally involved and even Supes in the comics sometimes reacts in a more violent or angered way than he would normally care to. Because not only that but, moments before, Clark tried to drop a stack of cars on the guy. It only missed because the guy jumped out of the way, which Clark couldn't have known he'd definitely succeed in doing. I think it could be chocked up to the emotional "don't mess with my family" type of reaction. I mean, most of us would never kill or even think about killing, but if someone hurts our family members, our children or sisters, all bets are often off, for the sheer reason that we're so emotionally affected that we can't often act as we normally might. And yes, I know that Supes is held to a higher standard, but I've even seen him go off. The guy not being fully unconscious, I think they showed that for people like us who will be annoyed that Clark used such force on him. That way they can have us know that look, the guy's not really hurt.
Still, it's bad role model behavior. It's realistic that if someone rapes my sister I will go out and kill them in a torture, leave to bleed, and die way. That doesn't make it entertaining or heroic just because it's realistic and avenges.
Clark doesn't really berate Chloe at the end. He's clearly worried about her, and he should be, but I think he agrees that she did what he would do and that she felt she had to do it and it was the right thing to do. He can't believe she did it and, after waiting 18 hours by her bedside hoping she'd survive, his emotional concern again overrode his immediate ability to say to Chloe: "Hey great thing you did back there and definitely the right choice for you personally."
I fully expected Clark to go to Lex and yell at him for his dastardly deeds and I wasn't completely wrong. I don't think it was as bad as you thought, though, as again, I think Clark is just concerned for his cousin and his friends and he's trying to figure out how he should deal with Lex. Clearly he doesn't always go about it correctly and Lex does tell him here he tried to call. The worst part of it for me is that, even after Lex says that, Clark says he doesn't even know anymore if Lex can even see beyond his own lies. Are we supposed to now assume that means Lex is definitely lying and that he didn't really call? That's a really bad way to go about proving to us that Lex is wrong and evil and Clark isn't. I can't remember the wording exactly, but I think Clark did make it a little better at the end of the scene though, when he told Lex he knew Lex could still be a good person and that he'd be waiting to see that person again.
You then say that Lex did nothing wrong by shooting a guy who tried to kill Lois and Kara. First, and I have to call you on this; the guy hadn't tried to kill Kara and Lois at that point. He had them in a cage and he shot at Lex but he hadn't tried to kill them yet, unless my memory is faulty and it really could be. Second, and this one's more important. You make it clear pretty regularly that killing someone is always wrong no matter what. In general I agree with you, though see above for times when I may think it's forgivable. If Clark ever possibly killing someone is un-heroic and wrong, then how can it be not wrong for others? Again, I understand that Clark is held to a higher standard because he doesn't do those wrong things that other people do, but that doesn't make it less wrong when someone else does it, it just makes it a wrong that Clark shouldn't do. Therefore, the statement Lex doesn't nothing wrong just doesn't hold up.
I can't recall any place where I said that killing someone is always wrong no matter what... and Lex was stopping a man who was chasing the pair with a gun. That's pretty clearly trying to kill someone, or at very least a lethal force acceptable situation... Clark killing someone is fine in the event that it is last-ditch, but my belief is that a good writer will not write that kind of a situation. And it's more important for Clark because Clark is a moral arbiter. Lex is clearly not. That's not Lex apologism, that's just common sense. Of course Lex does wrong, and he has done awful, evil things. My contention with Lex lies in that he is not as evil as everone has made him out to be. Or, more clearly, that they have not seen what we have seen, and yet they act as if they have. They do not know he's murdered anyone until this last episode.
You Lex apologist, you!
Overall, I certainly liked this episode A LOT more than you did. My favorite this year, as I've said a few times. I'll agree that, in general on this show all the time, the characters either have poor direction or are out of character completely and that the continuity is usually off or unable to be followed. But these are things we know already. So for me, going onward, because I know they're constant and not likely to be fixed. And because I've already decided I'm not gonna stop watching, which believe me is certainly a viable option, I've decided to tune those things out and garner what enjoyment I can. We can't do anything about it so, as another Clark said on another show about Clark's adventures: "It takes as long as it takes." or it'll be what it'll be and for us, unfortunately, if we're with it till the end, that means we have to take it.
But Neal, I'm with ya, it's sad the show's fallen so far and that we ever have to make excuses or come up with our own explanations. Oh well.
Cool. And yes.
In letters, you answer someone complaining about the changes to BC by saying they didn't know the character and that they should write what they know. The problem with that statement, as I see it, is that they really don't know much about any of the characters that have ever been on this show, including the main cast!
Well, that's the problem with the show, not my statement...
"Never talk again." Priceless.
Faisal Ali wrote that Lex will be searching for information on Clark inside Kara's head which will then lead to another character (Kara) hating Lex too for no real or good reason. How is it no real or good reason once Kara would find out that Lex's only true interest was finding information on Clark and his family? I know we all liked the Baum and his version of Lex and I know we all hate the way these writers have chosen to change things up and not really explain Lex's transition. I agree. But in so far as Clark having a problem with the way Lex abused Clark's trust by continuously searching for information with secret rooms and the like, I don't see how Clark can be faulted for his feelings. I also fail to see how, if in fact as you surmise, that Lex would again seek information on Clark within Kara, Kara hating him for that would be no real reason.
I'm not sure I totally follow, alas.
Part of this is directed at you as well Neal, because your arguments for how much Lex is great and always the good guy and never does anything wrong.
You Lex apologist you! J
Uh-oh, you mention that you KNOW Indy will be good. My proof that it's possible it might not be is that Lucas is heavily involved in the story and he's the guy that ruined Star Wars in the end. Indy looks great, I'll give ya' that, but so did the new Star Wars trilogy in previews.
Leave me my dreams! Heh.
Scotty V wrote:
Just about to read your review for "Hero" and before I do, I thought I'd just say.horrible, simply horrible. Almost every beat, almost every minute of the entire episode was horrible. Way to go CW. Way to go Al and Miles. Way to go amateurish writers of the week. Way to bring back a character people have been waiting to see in a horrible way. Way to create what is possibly the worst episode of Smallville ever! Nice accomplishment and WHAT a claim to fame! If I haven't said it clearly, I thought "Hero" was simply horrible.
The Stride factory and the boxes and boxes and pallets and pallets of gum was just too much. Pete telling the DJ he HAS to have gum and where can he get some in a STRIDE FACTORY in Smallville where there are boxes and boxes and pallets upon pallets of gum was simply too much. That there is a Stride factory producing so much gum in Smallville.in SMALLVILLE is simply too much. What did Stride decide? That Smallville, a tiny town infested with meteor freaks and horrible radiation was ripe territory for gum making? And furthermore, if you were the Stride gum people, would you want to be associated with this tripe at all? Let alone to have your gum represented in such a negative way?
It's really almost more than I can take.
I considered quitting.
I will say though, that I think all the pallets and all the boxes and therefore the Kryptonite River infected all the gum. It's interesting to note that, this giant festering KRYPTONITE RIVER doesn't really bother Clark at all. I realize that they've never been really good at consistency when dealing with the effects of Kryptonite but listen guys: in this ONE episode you show Clark wince and double over a bit when he walks near to the Kryptonite river but then he's able to walk over and look at it AND walk away! Then, when Pete places a tiny stand-alone rock of the stuff on Clark's chest, the guy crumples over and can't do a thing till Lionel comes to the rescue. C'mon guys, not only is that lazy (as per usual) but it just makes absolutely no sense whatsoever! Are you all just stupid or what?
When Pete reaches and saves Kara, I was thinking it was just a reaction to throw his arms up and say, "Look out!" I think then, that before he could realize what was happening, his arms did what his mind would have wanted to do if he could have reacted more quickly instead of being stunned into inaction, which most of us probably would be. Although why I'm even trying to explain anything or understand anything anymore is beyond me.
Exactly, yes. Don't apologize for their failures...
Man you're right about that effect for Clark lifting the logs. For a while, during the effect sequence, my mind saw it as them actually lowering the logs into the truck with a crane and rope or something, but then I realized Clark was meant to appear to be doing it himself. It really looked bad! There's something about physics and Superman that I've said for years though, you still need to balance something correctly in order to carry it. Even if you have the strength, and I've tested this myself with stacks of books or dishes or whatever, you have to have the objects center in order for it not to tip or fall. This is because the wait of the object on the side that you're not holding will pull it from you hands. So in this scene, once Clark moves out from under the logs and starts holding them just on one end, they'd probably crash violently into the truck.
No probably. They just would. Heh.
There's no reason for Pete to act the way he does at all. And yes, at least they covered why Clark and Pete hadn't seen each other in the four years. But it's stupid. It reminds me of when Clark told his parents he couldn't possibly go to far away Met University because he wouldn't be able to help out at the farm or be there for his family. There's no reason Clark couldn't just add half a second to his commute and super speed wherever he needed to in just that much more time. It's the same with visiting Pete. Clark doesn't say he tried to find him or anything, though apparently he did call and Pete didn't call back. It's as if, when it's required for arbitrary tension, the writers pretend they're writing a show about regular people with no powers. Sure, a regular kid who worked a farm with his parents couldn't go away to university without giving up his time with his parents. And sure a regular kid couldn't run 40 minutes away to see his friend in Grandville in seconds. Though even a regular kid could drive there once in a while. Heck, if Metropolis is less than three hours now, how could Grandville, which is the closest town North, be too far to even drive to? But again, Clark's not a regular kid anyway. No distance with his powers is too far.
But they do tell us with dialogue that Pete didn't stay in Grandville and that he's been touring as a roadie so he could stay away from the scrutiny of those who might want to know Clark's secret.
Still, Clark would try and find him, one would assume.
In so far as Lois endangering her son in SR. Lois didn't know she was going to endanger anyone by doing what she did. She went to that house to speak with the owners and had no idea there would be any danger involved. As soon as she discovered the strange wig room and got a little spooked though, she tried to escape the boat before it was too late. Alas, it was too late and Lex insnared them both. But Lois never had any reason to suspect she or her son would be in danger and so when people say she endangered her son irresponsibly, I feel it necessary to point this out. It's as if you or I stopped by someone's house to ask them something and it turned out a murderer and kidnapper had taken over the house and decided to grab us up. How were we to know?
Because she traced the big blackout that almost killed her in the plane to that residence, making it a place of extraordinary danger.
Well, if the powers I've often heard described are "force of will" related, it's possible that not remembering you had them could cause you not to activate them. The biggest problem is the writer's penchant on this show for never making anything clear. We can make stuff up, sure, but who the hell knows what's really what that way?
Flying is force of will. None of the others save heat vision really are.
Lana chastising someone else about them looking through somebody's stuff, especially Clark's, is just further sickening me with this show.
I think Jimmy already knew Chloe was a meteor freak. She told him some weaks ago, hence the reason they invented the politically correct verbiage they use now when referring to meteor freaks. Remember, Chloe healed Jimmy's finger in the elevator.
Not only does he pick Pete to go retrieve the bracelet, which may or may not be there, but then when Pete tells him he didn't find it, which is entirely possible, Lex doesn't believe it. Lex instead beats Pete to a pulp, because he's incoherently evil. You mention that Pete and Lex parted friends. Not only that, but the last time Pete saw Lex, Lex was saving his life. He saved him on the dock from the guys who were beating him for Lionel. Lex then told Pete that Clark was right to trust Pete with his secret because Pete was clearly never going to crack. Of course, Pete's twice threatened Clark that he'd tell Clark's secret just because and not even under threatened duress.
I think we were shown that Pete needed to keep chewing the gum in order to keep his powers. He took a piece of gum when he was about to break into the vault, as if to power himself up. Then, when he was grabbed up by Lex, we were shown Pete attempting to use his stretch-power, but it wasn't working. I assume he needed more gum, but was out of luck.
Which reminds me, I think in hoping for some really good episodes of this show, we too, like Pete, may be finally out of luck.
Brian Knippenberg wrote:
Spot on review of All Star Superman #10. Fantastic Issue. So many great moments. Hard to pick a favorite moment, but if I had to choose, it would be the bit with Superman's final visit to the young cancer patients. The one thing I find interesting is how Morrison has been tying together his recent work at DC. The main threat behind his 7 Soldiers project (The Sheeda) and the infant universe Qwewq, along with Earth Q, were both introduced in his first 3 issues of JLA Classified, with Ed McGuinness.
I remember that vaguely, but alas, like most Morrison stuff, it's just so odd and unrelatable in ways that it doesn't stick with me.
Andy White wrote:
Thanks for taking your time each week (and more!) to review; share and challenge the written works of Superman.
I always appreciate your thoughts and am grateful for what you do.
Thank you, Andy. That is much appreciated.
Bruce Kanin wrote (RE: Descent)
A very uneven episode - maybe even a bad episode - pretending to be a good one. One and a half stars.
The return of Jonathan Kent! Well, only in a photo. Dang.
No Lana! Yay!
Tom Welling does a lot of brooding in this episode. Not good. He needs to be mix of stoicism (Superman) and regular guy (Clark). Leave the brooding for Bruce Wayne.
Lionel dies. Boo hiss. But it was kind of logical. It was either him or Chloe, and Chloe already "died" once or twice. However, I'll miss those father-son discussions, with each trying to one-up the other. John Glover was a class act. The last true adult on the show bites the dust (yeah, the other actors are kids).
So all these years Lionel was a good guy. Could've fooled me. All this sadness over his death - especially by Clark - how it made no sense. Clark all but blamed Lionel for Jonathan's death.
And then Clark speaks fondly of his real dad, Jor-El, i.e., "the guy who put me on the ship". He speaks of him as if he died back on Krypton, ignoring the fact that someone that seemed to be Jor-El had survived to be a pain in Clark's arse for several seasons.
Why did Clark walk into Lionel's vault? What was he looking for? How convenient that he found this never-before-seen Kryptonian artifact that just happened to tell him about the two keys. Puh-lease. Speaking of the keys...
...another McGuffin - two keys that will unlock something which can in turn cause Clark to be controlled. There's never been anything in Superman lore like that, and it makes no sense. It's just contrived crapola. Surely they could have come up with something bigger and better, and don't call me surely.
The scene at the Luthor Mansion between Lex and Clark was supposed to be climactic - and I say that relative to the entire series, because the two of them effectively recapped certain major events that went on between them. I wish I could play it back (I could have, but deleted the DVR recording), because it would have reinforced the hogwash I thought I heard. For instance, Lex said that Jonathan Kent always looked troubled, and suggested that it might have been due to Clark, and thinly suggested that it must be because there was something different about Clark. That's nonsense and was only said to counterbalance what Clark was saying about Lionel to Lex. Their conversation was supposed to have punch and be a punch line for the episode, the season, the series, but it was punch less.
Once again, someone who discovers Clark's secret dies. Lex's henchwoman dies after learning his secret, presumably by Lex's directive to his henchman.
Oh, and the henchwoman, when hiding out at Lana's Lair, has a heartbeat. Why didn't Clark pick it up? Does he not listen to these things? Maybe not just yet, but disappointing that the writers don't take advantage of something like that. It would have been clever. It's the seventh season, damnit - Clark should be all but running on every cylinder he has (including flying).
Clark walks into Lana's Lair looking around for Chloe. He doesn't x-ray the place, but looks around. He also walks into the Daily Planet basement looking for Lois and Jimmy. He doesn't x-ray anything. There's a neat effect of him using his super-hearing (thank god we don't see the inner ear canal and wax anymore), but an x-ray sweep really would have done the trick - perhaps from Lana's Lair, in fact.
So Clark bursts into the freezer to save Lois and Jimmy. He must know that Lois has been shot. How could he not know? Yet all he does was heat the air to help them both recover (yes, a nice effect). To protect his secret ID, Clark super-speeds away instead of helping Lois. Yes, he probably called 911. Maybe he x-ray'd Lois and saw that she just had a flesh wound. But if I were her, when the two of them hook up many years from now and he tells her how he didn't rescue her, she should say, "you dummy - I could have died!" and slap him on the cheek (ouch!).
The cemetery scene at the end was all right, but again, it didn't have the bang it could have had. The two of them looked like they were trying out for "Matrix IV".
Pretty gruesome when Lex dragged his imaginary kid-self down the stairs and snuffed him out in the fireplace. Two things came to mind: first, it reminded me of when Christopher Reeve, as the "good" Clark Kent in "Superman III", finally strangled his alter ego, the "bad" Superman, and made him disappear, restoring him to his normal self. And second, the kid version of Lex reminded me of the kid on "Two and a Half Men".
Looks intriguing...Lex at the Fortress...Brainiac...Supergirl...wonder how they'll screw things up this time.
My initial impression was 1.5. I think I went 2 just out of respect for finally changing something that will make the show differ in some way.
Dan Fenton wrote:
Long time no talk.
Well, I was intially diappointed with the way things turned out on "Descent". It played out exactly as people had thought it would but I had hatched a scerario in my head where, perhaps, Lana (a body double since Kristen Kreuk has said to her fans, "No more 'Ville." while she is off filming), controlled by Brainiac, is walking in a trance up the Luthorcorp steps just as Lionel comes flying out the window. She acts as a cushion for his landing and Lionel, though injured, survives. Lana, on the other hand, is road kill.
Heh. That'd be funny.
Sigh, one can only dream I suppose.
The funny thing is, opening scene as we see Lionel look up, you have to wonder if John Glover is thinking, "They better have the net in place...that's a long way down."
Sad, though, to say "goodbye" to hands-down the most interesting character in this incarnation of Smallville, I think they had to move the story forward and this was a logical step, not only for Lex but for Clark as well. We learn, in death, that Lionel may not have been as bad as he was portrayed to be and wonder if his playing against his son was all in protecting Clark. While his methods might be questioned, once he was eatablished as Jor-El's vessel, he seemed to look at Clark as more of a son than his own flesh and blood.
I didn't see it as consistent, but we'll see. I'm guessing they'll never mention him again, alas. That seems to be the pattern.
I also believe Lionel knew what lay ahead when he went up to see Lex, the reason he didn't have the key with him.
Some might say that the whole 'Veritas' mythology might be reinventing the series late in the game...the whole, "now that it explains it" mentality. But I think this has all come to light at the proper time. If anything, this redirects the focus of the show, and this will render Lana obsolete as, now that Clark has a realization of his destiny (not to mention a hate-on for Lex), it's time to put away childish things and move forward.
If so, good for it.
This means a major shift in focus. Lana won't play much of a role and Chloe will probably move on as well. While the timing of the introductions of the characters of Lois, Jimmy and Kara were all premature, these are the three characters who will have to be there as Clark achieves his destiny. Like it or not, they are all major people in the life of Superman. Lana was a childhood sweetheart...but childhood is long over (what is Tom Welling...35 or something?).
I see them as just skipping the entire exile/traveling the world phase. That's my guess.
Lex leaving sucks as Michael Rosenbaum and John Glover are hands-down the best actors on the show, but Lex will resurface later in Clark's life...there are others he has to battle as well. I think we have all been accustoimed to Lex being there ever since Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman had John Shea as a regular as Lex. Superman DOES fight other villians after all.
But... but... LEX!
It's time for those who play a role in Clark's later life to take over. We're near the end and this has all probably taken a season or three longer than it should have.
Or four next year.
On a side note, those who complain about Clark not flying in Veritas, I'm sure they just got the promo wrong: Kara teaches Clark to gaze up at the stars.
Bottom line: Finally some quality Smallville episodes. I'm looking forward to seeing where they go from here. Nice to be up in Canada where we actually get to watch it a day before the folks in the US.
By the way, I don't think we've seen the last of John Glover by a long shot. Even though Lionel is physically dead, I think he still plays a major role in Clark's life. Now I could be wrong, put I just don't think it's that cut and dried.
I'm guessing, like I said, we'll never see him again.
Keep up the great reviews. Nothing like pouring a cup of coffee and sitting back to see what you (and Doug) have to say about the latest episode of "The 'Ville" (to...um...quote Kristen).
The day is finally here, Lionel is dead- Lex did it- all stellar things to finally happen! Clark and Lex completely at odds. I loved that coming out of the strike they continued as though it was the same long night. It's eluded to by Allison Mack toward the end of the show (long night reference- nice double meaning).They continue with the fact that he has to save Lana- nicely thrown in.I never really bought Lionel as the Protector- but I'll take it. Also the death was rushed a bit, but it's only because they should've really been writing a lot of these things incremently, and now have to jump in to where we've wanted them to be for some time now. Wonderful epic feel.
I think the scenes where he died had an epic feel. In context, it was, like you say, rushed.
They seem to be showing what will be in the next year; Jimmy and Lois in peril at the Planet, and Clark as silent rescuer. Great heating effect around them. Chloe is out of there, just one more step toward letting go of her character as well. Little Lex is dead, and I thought this would result in Lex burning his hands and taking on the black gloves seen first in Season one. I would have loved to have seen that. There was a great fight in the Mansion, Clark standing up for himself to Lex.- Only flaws would be repetitive elements that they have got to kill- loft scene (this time with Chloe), Clark guilt, and Chloe's pep talk that I think I might've even given to Clark at least once during these 7 years. But I think they are showing some of these elements because we won't see them again next year.
I certainly hope so.
The culmination of this years' Season Finale will be the true change. Old characters will go, and Clark will embrace his destiny. I just don't see how they jump off with this for Season 8 if Rosenbaum goes, as well as Gough and Millar stepping down from the show. They've got to get Rosenbaum to stay for a half season atleast because we'll really miss out on a great battle next year. In my opinion, it's what the whole series has been gearing up toward, and I'll be so disappointed if we don't get that pay-off. The scene at the grave- the music, the exchange between the two- the smirk, the coldness, the lighting of the day- Epic. Just the fact that Clark showed up knowing Lex was having a private burial, the defiance in that action; standing directly across from him, looking back at the grave and disregarding Lex's presence -Perfect. Better yet, Lex could've found out Clark's secret but he hastily tries to tie up loose ends by killing the latest woman-servant before she can tell him- loved that. If the next episodes all give us this much to go with, there is redemption for Season 7 and high hope for Season 8.
Read ya later Neal, Ann
I certainly hope so... thanks!
Tom Roberts of Athens, Texas wrote:
Why does Clark cause so much collateral damage when he punches Brainiac out of the barn? Is Lana paying for it?
Haw! Must be.
Also, when Kara speeds outside, I noticed her hair doesn't swing forward when she comes to a stop.Since superspeed is may favorite power, that bothers me.
I remember from my youth the Shazam/Isis Power Hour,and Kristen looks a lot like the actress who plays Isis.Think that's why Miller and Gough chose the name Isis for Lana's foundation?
Not sure. I never saw that show, alas.
I know Kristen has to take time off from "Smallville" to star in a movie, but Kara should've asked Brainiac to relieve Lana's pain before offering to go with him.
I just got "The Last Days of Krypton" by Kevin J. Anderson,and thus the Kryptonian alphabet. Found a few spelling mistakes in the show.
Yeah, there are quite a few.
First, in a commercial for the show, they replace several letters in "Smallville" with their Kryptonian counterparts,then the letters all morph to English. But the K-letters make the show's logo spell "SMAELVILOE". Give me a Baldy award, or something.
Or something... ;)
In "Descent" when Clark touches the artifact in Lionel's vault, it has the K-letters for "HE TAR." Clark translates this as "For Kal-El in the event of my death." Then he twists the ends to activate the other letters. The complete message spells "FOR THE TARVELER"--Kryptonian dyslexia suffered by somebody on the show!
I would have translated the message projected on the wall, but it was past my bedtime and I was getting dizzy seeing the letters going back and forth.
No worries. It's not as exciting as it used to be....
Take care, all! More next week!
Don't forget to check out the updated KO Count.
Back to the "Smallville: Episode Reviews" Contents page.