Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 7 - Episode 18: "Apocalypse"

Reviews:

Apocalypse

Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

OH MY GOSH. THAT WAS THE BEST EPISODE EVAARRRRRRR!.

Okay... Maybe I am going a bit too far but OH MY OH MY OH MY. It was FANTASTIC!

First of all GREAT STORY IDEA! Sure we have seen this kind of story before in other forms or shows but I still think it worked extremely well here. The timing for it was spot on. Execution was fantastic. The set up, means, and conclusion were all spot on fantastic. Not only all that, it allowed us to really see Clark at his Supermanly best.

I read that Tom Welling directed this one and I have to say he is now the best director on this show.

It starts right from the get go. Clark in the barn reflecting on the danger at hand. Brainiac is going to take him out of existence and Clark thinks about what that would mean for the world around him. He comes to a logical conclusion that maybe everyone would be better off without him. There is certainly plenty of evidence that this would be true. Clark makes a choice to sacrifice himself for the people he loves. To give up his own life so that the pain he has caused to others would have never happened. That takes a lot for a young man to decide.

Jor-El steps in to teach his son a lesson and to keep him from making a mistake. An understandable mistake but a mistake none the less. He shows Clark what life would be without him.

At first? Yea. Everything is better thus giving truth to what Clark was willing to sacrifice himself for. Clark is even willing to let Lana go in this moment. She's happy, Chloe's happy, Jimmy seems happy, and even his parents adopted someone else and are living a happy (and more importantly) longer life without him. Yep. Things are well. But this is where the story really starts to shine.

A few people might have better lives but the rest of the world is in A LOT of trouble.

We learn a lot of bad things happened without Clark around to stop it. Lionel was searching for his traveler and never found out the Kent's had picked up Clark during the meteor showers. So he kept looking and obviously found Kara instead which is not a good thing. The Kent's getting to Clark first was the first thing to go right in a bad situation. They made a sacrifice right there in opening their home to an alien child and yes it would cause them some heart ache and maybe even shortened Jonathan's life but yet they made that sacrifice and the world is better for it. Without Clark there Lionel kept looking and ended up finding Kara's ship instead. He took her in and raised her along with Lex and this allowed his son to manipulate her and use her to gain power.

We also see that without Clark around to keep the Krypto Freak population in check they became a major hazard to the world and Lex used this fear and Kara's powers to get himself into an ultimate position of power. Clark also learned that the meteor shower would have happened with or without him. It was not his fault.

As I touched on above the loved ones in Clark's life may have had some hardships due to being friends/family of the Man of Steel but these are sacrifices these people made willingly and the world is better for it. It shows us that Clark is not the only Hero here. Others in Clark's life are heroes too for the support and love that they give him.

With all that said though I think the most important lesson Clark might have learned here was the simple fact that Lex became a villain without him. There are reasons Clark might believe Lex's fall was his fault... I believe Lex even blamed him outright at one point...or at the very least there were things he could have done to stop Lex's fall. Yet now we see that this fall happened without Clark. Heck, you could even argue that Lex fell further and faster without Clark around to slow him down on his path to evil.

Clark doesn't know this is just a vision given to him by his father. He really thinks history has changed. Had things really been better off he probably would have been happy to just settle into this new world. I think it really showed how far Clark has come when he willingly accepts that Lana and Chloe are happy and that his parents have addopted someone else and are alive, well and happy without him. Sure it sucks for him but that is something he is more than willing to accept for their sakes. Still it did not take long though before Clark sees things are not right. I loved that his first clue came from Lois. If there is something wrong with the world then it only makes sense that Lois Lane would be the one with her nose in it. Clark gets another slap in the face when he sees that it is Kara who drags her off. (Nice touch using Linda Danvers as her public name BTW).

We see the best in Clark at this time. Clark refuses to stand down when people tell him to back off and proves he wont stop until he saves the day. The scenes between Clark and Jimmy were fantastic. Clark wastes no time going into Superman mode and tracks down the DHS agents to save Lois in what is now my favorite scene of the series. I loved how he used his super speed to take out the guards and sweep Lois away like that. Interesting that without any "loved ones" to worry about anymore Clark pretty much says phooey on keeping a secret and just does what he has to do. An interesting note anyway. I loved the scene in the alley with him carrying her in his arms. Even in a totally new world they are drawn together and without the baggage of her preconceptions about Clark in her way Lois is smitten with him right away. Nice touch. It really helps that both actors really brought the chemistry out to the surface in their performances. I hope this is a sign of things to come in season 8.

Tom Welling was just so on his game this week. Clark's emotions ranged from accepting his fate for his family and friends to showing genuine happiness when he found them to be living good lives without him, then to square-chin steadfast resolve to stand in the way of evil. Each moment perfectly played by Tom Welling.

Lois giving Clark his "disguise" was down right perfect. I loved it. For one this is another reality so she will not remember, so no need to worry about that. Clark will remember and that is the important thing. Having her be the one that puts it into his head for the future is just a really great idea.

The episode does lose a bit of steam once Clark reveals himself to Kara but there is still some greatness to be found. Lex's villainous president is just a joy to watch. Michael Rosenbaum obviously was enjoying himself in the villain-unleashed roll this time out. James Marsters did not do much with Brainiac this time around. Despite him being the real villain of the plot, he had hardly any screen time, but in the end I don't think we've seen the last of him so that final confrontation is yet to come.

Plus I have to admit I was a bit disappointed in Clark's return to Krypton. There just was not any time to explore that part of the plot any more than they did. Obviously Brainiac must have killed Jor-El and Lara before Clark arrived. That is the only thing that makes sense but I think it was an unfortunate story choice. Maybe budget had something to do with it. Terrence Stamp and Helen Slater would have upped the cost of this episode more than a little bit I am sure. Still, one has to wonder how cool it would have been for Clark's birth parents to be there when Clark arrived to save the day. I guess this way we avoid the 'why didn't they go back into the future with him' questions. There are ways to answer that but not in the time allowed so they went this route instead.

That does bring up a good point as a minor knock on the episode. This story was fantastic. Epic even. How much more fantastic and epic could it have been if we had spent two hours with it instead of one? Or even three hours? I can name a few filler episodes I would have gladly traded in to make this story a 3 part episode. Still if your one knock on a story is that you just want more of it then I guess that is a good thing.

I loved how they wrapped things up in the "real" world once Clark returned to his reality. Clark would not risk giving Lex any information about Brainiac because he knows the world could be in big danger if he does, even if that does mean closing a door on a possible solution to help Lana. You can see the pain in Clark's eyes for having to make this choice but he does and we know it is the right one to make. Nicely done!

Then it is Lois' turn to save Clark. She steps in and in her own, one of a kind, way reaches down to give Clark a hand before he falls into self blame and depression over Lana's condition. Seeing those two walk out together as close friends leaving a futile search for a cure for Lana behind them was nice symbolism I think.

I cannot grade this anything other than an A+ since A++ is not a legal grade. Call it 5 out of 5... One of the best of the series. You do not want to miss this.

Next week? Smallville goes holographic! "Please state the nature of the medical emergency"/ It looks like Robert Picardo is coming on board. Don't know who or what he's playing but I think it looks interesting. We're in the home stretch till the final! See you then.

Doug



Apocalypse

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

MAIN POINTS:

  • Clark finds out that Brainiac is trying to kill him in the past.
  • Reluctant to stay in the world, he is caught in a reality where he hasn't existed.
  • In this reality, Lex is president, and nukes the world.
  • Clark, seeing this, goes to Krypton and saves himself as a baby.

    REVIEW:

    Well, you REALLY don't want to think about this episode, or you'll hate it.

    For iconic moments, it did pretty damned well. I actually found myself, despite implausibility, loving certain parts of this show. The reason being, it started being a Superman show. We saw Clark as CLARK for the first real time. We saw Lois as Lois, Jimmy as Jimmy, and Lex as Lex.

    It made me realize something. It made me realize what I'm really hoping for for this show, and the reason we've been watching for so long. It's because the show is the most awesome Superman show ever made... at some time in the far future of this show. Same reason we watch Lost. We want to know why the statue has three toes or whatever, we want to know where the polar bear came from, we want to know why Ben can call the smoke.

    This show promises glimpses of a modern, awesome Superman with a cast that looks the part. That it never really delivers this is the tragedy. This episode either rubbed that in, or gave us some of our wishes, however briefly.

    But it's so mired in the contradictions and folly of Smallville as a concept that it fails in many critical ways...

    This episode is a big ripoff of "It's A Wonderful Life!", essentially, taking a guy who has no reason to want to not exist, forcing him into that hole, and showing people acting out of character. It's an out of character episode. The screwy thing is that out of character for Smallville is exactly as the characters are supposed to be and act, so it's confusing and elating.

    Chloe rushes into the barn, breathless, wondering why Clark needed her immediately. The rationale is that he's found something in Swann's journal that's disturbed him. Okay.

    Superman is a #%@$! I mean, he could run to her in three seconds, and yet he makes her drive all the way to Smallville just so that he can show her something? Lame! #*%@!

    I'm confused, with this whole plot, as to why Brainiac would need Kara. Apparently, she was the way he was able to go back in time. This is... unexplained, to say the least. Brainiac has all of their powers, correct?

    Beyond that, there's the simple point of Jor-El having the ability to travel through time and space and yet not being able to save Krypton OR Jonathan Kent. It's all very henky. Once you get past that, there's fun, but that's a lot to get past. A LOT.

    There is the argument, the fatalistic argument, that YOU CANNOT CHANGE THE PAST WITHOUT SCREWING UP THE FUTURE!

    Hooey. If that's the case, then why does Clark go to the past to save himself? Because at that point, in the world where Lex is president and blowing up the world, if he goes back in the past and changes it, he will SCREW UP THE FUTURE, right? No, wait, he righted the future. So that argument is ridiculous with a counter-example set right in front of it.

    Clark goes to his default emo kid. "Everywhere I go, all I bring is pain and suffering!"

    Oh, boo hoo hoo, you whiny little bich. I mean, seriously. How do you forget saving the world? I can't forget the time I helped a little old lady across the road! Maybe I pushed her over at the other side, but still... they waffle on this point a lot.

    So WHOOOOOSH! He's in the alternate timeline. Or rather, Jor-El's imagined alternate timeline. The timeline to show him how his destiny is to watch over Earth, again reiterating that being Superman isn't Clark's moral choice, just something he's kind of forced into, which disgusts me a good bit.

    Clark Kent meets Clark Kent, Martha and Jonathan's son. The actor leaves something to be desired... very wooden and unconvincing.

    Clark walks around, talking to himself, extrapolating through monologue, which is worse than extrapolating through dialogue, winning the "crazy as Clark" award.

    Tom Welling as director I again found no different from a typical piece, unfortunately. Last time there were a few genuine moments that were well put together, but this felt like a typical Smallville episode.

    I thought it pretty amusing that they spend a good deal of time showing how the world is a better place without Clark around. His big thesis is that because Lana was put into a coma, it's better that he should never have lived. I thought it'd be great if all of a sudden they reveal, "Yeah, buddy. You being alive sucked." How would someone confront that? Do you assert that you have a right to existence anyway? But that's far too philosophical for this episode.

    Chloe's hubby looks a lot like Clark, which is kind of amusing. I love how a show that makes people get together and break up on the constant completely ignores Chloe's unrequited love, despite her doing nothing to curry Clark's disgust. And not being haggish.

    The "Jimmy taking pictures" scene from both Superman Returns and the first Superman movie homage was great, and well played. I loved it.

    Lois meets Clark in the way that she should have in the story anyway, and that was terribly amusing. It pushes in our face what Smallville has failed in, and it's fan service, but it was at least enjoyable.

    Lois Lane, in this scene, makes me believe she won a Pulitzer. That's something.

    It just occurs to me, though, now, reading these notes, that most of my positive assertions with regards to this episode are based in scenes that are entirely irrelevant to the larger plot, put together merely to make fans squee. For instance, is it exciting to see Clark put a cape on, if, in fact, we will never see him fly and stop evildoers? This occurs to me now, and disgusts me somewhat.

    Kara as government agent Linda Danvers is nice.

    I am utterly baffled as to the motive of Brainiac's plan. As I recall, the finale to season five was Zod using Brainiac to take over the world's computers easily. He didn't need any special access to launch nukes and cause "Black Thursday," I believe it was. What's stopping him from taking the launch codes? Beyond that, why even create a new Krypton when he can, by going back in time, potentially save Krypton anyway?

    PRESIDENT LUTHOR UPS MILITARY BUDGET! Again, fan service. But still, fan service that made me smile a good bit. How to look at that?

    Well, considering that Luthor at this point is thirty, and you must be thirty-five to be the president, as I recall...

    Another argument for the world being better without Clark being around... Luthor stopped the second meteor shower.

    Point of fact, the only thing that's screwed up about a world without Clark in it, here, is when Brainiac survives and comes to Earth. Once Brainiac is dead, why does Clark return? Answer seems obvious, yes. But if Clark's motivation is that he's so despondent he believes he'd be better not existing, it's lightswitch once the atomic problem is solved to want to live again.

    Clark roughs up Jimmy over what a message means. I LOATHED that. Any Clark I can know and admire would have persuaded Jimmy with logic and kindness. Very out of character and disconcerting, for humor.

    The Ace of Yuppies makes another appearance. I can't say I'm enamored of this bastardization.

    The dead sherrif, however, is a novel guest appearance. I did enjoy that, even if her makeup was very, very caked on.

    The superspeed effect he uses in front of her lacks a sound, and is also a bit oddly shot. I don't know if they were going for that "Through the eyes of others" thing, but it's in front of a crowd of people, it was awkward, and it didn't play well with me.

    Clark gives up his secret and over roughs up the guys taking Lois away. That struck me as rather odd, given the situation. Lois didn't have to escape that dramatically. There's nothing to say he couldn't knock all the guys out and then catch up to her after she ran away, etc. It's just odd story choice so we can have the Clark carrying Lois moment, which is again, fan service.

    It's STILL a good moment, in terms of iconic portrayal. But it's NOT an iconic portrayal, if that makes sense, because it DOES NOT HAPPEN in the main story. In other words, yes, we see it, but it's like a Superman movie where Superman has a brief dream of fighting Brainiac and then it cuts back and he's fighting Loophole with none of his powers except invulnerability.

    Youtube Luthor was a bit cheesy, but still interesting. Milton Fine as chief of staff was quite creative. Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of creativity here. I can see that.

    I like the "You're an android, aren't you!" line. Commentary on Welling's acting? Zing?

    I like how Luthor decides to have his press conference in SMALLVILLE? Huh?

    Durance is a dead-on Lois in this episode, I have to concede. It was very nicely played.

    We see CLARK KENT, at last, in Smallville. The real Clark Kent, visually. Suit, glasses, hunched shoulders. Incredibly. It lasts for, by my count, twelve seconds. My note says, "OH MY GOD. IT'S CLARK."

    And it is. So do I give them credit for showing him, finally, only to rip him away and leave us with what we have?

    Rosenbaum is dead on in this episode in every respect. It makes me sad that he's leaving as his character is finally hitting its stride. Note I say the character, not the actor, because Rosenbaum hit his stride in episode 1.

    Lex puts the best and the brightest in bunkers and decides to nuke the world. Honestly, in some sick way, I feel like I wish that would happen sometimes. Lex is a sympathetic villain. Who doesn't feel the urge to wipe the world of the people who cut you off in traffic and can't find their home countries on a map? Still, it's wrong. We mustn't. Right?

    Clark is shot with a Kryptonite bullet, which is pretty shocking. Kara wins the "dumb as Clark" award for, after seeing Clark get shot by a Kryptonite bullet, not running like hell and waiting to get shot and killed.

    T3 rears its head again in the form of stolen shots. While poignant, now that we've already seen it for what it is, it seems a bit of a cheap move.

    Clark in Hula Hoops of Krypton was neat. Also, the explosion of Krypton and the establishing shot was fricking EPIC. Insanely good. Probably two of the best shots on the show thusfar.

    The scene ON Krypton, however, was chaotic, odd, and incoherent, as most Smallville deus ex machina scenes are. Brainiac hesitates over killing Kal-El illogically. He has a BABY in his hands, and instead of just (forgive me for this image, they set this stage, not me) bashing it on the ground, he puts it on an altar and finds a knife, which is odd. Also, where the hell are Jor-El and Lara? Where is Kara for all this? How is Clark teleported in?

    Another whipkick and a cheesy line: "You're not in Kansas, any more!" and we're supposed to ignore this, I guess.

    The scene takes place in what is obviously a redesigned Fortress of Solitude set, which is easy to see, alas. I can forgive this, though.

    Kara also uses super strength to lift a huge boulder... on Krypton. That's... yeesh.

    Anyway, back to Kansas, where we find out that with Brainiac's death, Lana is worse than ever. Okay, okay. Then we can stop going to see her, and ignore her? I mean, cripes, Martha doesn't even get a call, and here they are, fawning over Lana. It's ironic, the most annoying character on the show gets mentioned constantly, and yet when a truly compelling character, like Ryan, Martha, Jonathan, or Pete leaves, we never hear about them again. Lana's state is, quote, "Irreversible." So let it be so, off screen.

    Lex appears, and they rub in the fact that Superman is a #$%@. Clark won't tell Lex that what's affecting Lana is Kryptonian. He doesn't even have to imply how he got the knowledge, but it might help Lana. He refuses. What a #$%@! Why do they continue, if Lex is supposed to be evil, to have Clark do morally reprehensible things even as Lex is trying to do altruistic things? Why not an anonymous tip?

    Lois buying Clark a beer somehow works for me. It felt right. Not sure why.

    And then. KARA GETS CRAMPS! Or something. Confusing. I guess she ate the Brainiac worm or whatever.

    Next week... THE DOCTOR! That could be good. Criticisms be damned, I liked Voyager. I did. Sue me. And no, it wasn't because of Jeri Ryan's hoo hahs, though those are two enviable objects I would love to put on my mantle.

    I am torn. I am torn because when I finished watching this episode, I was immediately saying, "3-4." This is because I didn't think, I just watched, and enjoyed. Then I realized how much of a cheat it was to give us a taste of what we want, how much it's deceptive storytelling and kind of smacks the longterm fan in the face with what could have been. This isn't necessarily mean spirited on the part of the writers, but it wears on you when you've invested so much, for them to use such a device to pull on your heart and then smack you around by totally reversing it. It's like when they killed Lana in the 100th episode.

    Well, this is episode 151, and frankly, I want my show, dammit. So 2 of 5.

    LETTERS:

    Scotty V ( HYPERLINK "mailto:vynn007@comcast.net" vynn007@comcast.net) wrote:
    Hey there Neal,

    Just reading your review for "Traveller," and I came across the first thing I wanted to comment on. Early in, you mention that Clark buys Lionel's excuse for capturing him. I thought perhaps you had just written wrong or something so I read on. Now I'm at the point where you say Clark gives up on Lex and Lionel and for good reason. But you still say that Clark buys Lionel's excuse and that's it's awful. Clark didn't accept Lionel's excuse as far as I saw. In fact, it's why he drops Lionel like a stone and decides he no longer believes anything Lionel says.

    True, yes. It's just he never said, "You're full of crap, man!" just "You're irredeemable." Like he bought the story, but didn't like him any more. It was just odd either way.

    Overall I did think this episode was better and I really enjoyed Kara bursting into the lab. I said to my wife and sister that her rescue is one of my favorites from the entire series. It may be the very best. It was just so heroic and exciting. My biggest problem with the whole thing though, is that Kara had her powers taken away for no reason. It was never covered, talked about or resolved. The Fortress took the powers away, sent her to Detroit for some reason and then gave them back. She moves in with Lex last week and now moves out this week. It's just scene-time and lines that have no purpose!

    Yeah... it's arbitrary drama, my biggest problem with the show. Dilemmas should flow from character interaction, they shouldn't arbitrarily come with the plot, along with attitudes.

    Really short review but I know you've been busy. And now, to letters!

    Busy doesn't begin to cover it. Holy hell, I am melting down. I can understand why some writers turn to drugs. I am a caffeine guy, but I keep it to low dose stuff. Tea. I've been moving to COFFEE and ENERGY DRINKS lately. But I'm slowing it back down. Still, I'm at about 200 ounces (kid you not) of tea in a given day, if I guess my cup right.

    I didn't think the Insect Queen storyline in Superman Comics was THAT bad. I'll admit, it wasn't fantastic and many of the points you mention were valid. But it kept my attention and I enjoyed some of the stuff with Chris and the baseball gimmick. It was a gimmick yes, but it actually surprised me, made me wonder what hit her, and when it dawned on me what it was before they told us, I smiled and thought it was cool. So it worked for me. You thought Chris would have to be mentally deficient or something to react the emotional way he does. I've met a lot of six year olds and from what I've seen they often search for validation, worry about being accepted by their parents and hope they don't disappoint them. Plus, Chris comes from a really strange family with that whole unfinished Zod story. I'm still hacked off that they introduced this character in a multi-arc story that they didn't finish and we have to just continue to read about him as if he were a regular that we fully understood. Overall though, I think his emotional reaction here was believable.

    I can't actually speak to the Chris arc without revealing certain things I know, but with regards to the Insect Queen storyline, I just didn't see anything there that was so character compelling I'd want to read it again. Interesting plot devices? I don't know that I'd even go that far. But I am glad you enjoyed it, and encourage you not to let my opinion sway you there.

    I will say though, that when the entire TOP TWO FLOORS of the apartment building were destroyed but no one was killed or even hurt, I had to go back and check just to make sure I wasn't seeing things. How in the world does Lois tackle the baby-sitter woman and save her life? Let alone even survive herself? I mean, she tackles her into the hallway, but then they show us a wide shot and ALL OF THE WINDOWS on the entire floor, as well as the one above it, are blown out by exploding flames!

    Yeah.

    In letters, I mention that the dumbest use of the K for me was the kool-aide episode. See "Hero" for why that statement no longer holds water.

    Heh. What, you don't like magma Kryptonite? :)

    The brakeman writes that Zor-El is the one who sent Kara away and somehow sapped her powers. That makes much more sense to me now than Jor-El did it, just to give them back and have it never explained. I could see Zor doing it because he was angry his daughter no longer believed in him and that she was disobeying him. Speaking of "Days of Krypton," I HATE how Smallville insists on having every family, even the famous El's, be dysfunctional. In "Days," we see the true Zor-El, the one that is also a hero and helps to save the world. The one who loves his family and would never do the abominable things he is shown doing on Smallville. Why must they do these things to us, when they know I will kill them for it?

    Because dramatic tension is what floats an audience's boat. They don't care about being true to the myth, they want butts in seats.

    Bruce Kanin writes in his review of "Hero" that it was racially insensitive for Chloe to ask Pete if he is one of two black baseball players. What I was wondering is when, if ever, they'll stop giving Allison Mack these horrible lines to speak. Some of them were cute back in seasons one and two when they were somewhat fresh and didn't sound contrived. Now though, it just seems to me they're trying way to hard to come off as clever with witty dialogue from Chloe and it's just that.man nobody talks like that!

    It's referring back to her character type instead of trying to make her real. It bugs me too.

    When I have to groan at the TV because of something Chloe says when there's just so much to else to groan at during the Smallville 39 minutes, my groaning muscles get all achy.

    Yes.

    Bruce also notes that it's odd Kara would say she's from Minnesota when she was lost in Detroit. True that she was lost in Detroit, but Clark was initially using the story that Kara was his cousin from Minnesota.

    And besides, isn't Underland just outside of Minnesota?

    Tom Roberts mentions that the FDA would be breathing down Smallville's throat because of the K laced food products. This reminds me that.there's no WAY the government wouldn't have been ALL OVER THIS TOWN years and years ago with all the Freak activity that goes on there. Deaths and murders and superpowers would certainly have gotten media outlets there. And people like Perry White, Chloe Sullivan and Lois Lane would never be poo-pooed for their stories about it because it happens all the time and with devastating effects!

    Thus the KO Count and endless hilarity.

    I didn't notice the gum flying out, but I did notice that Pete showed us he had the powers no longer before the fight really began. I think Pete needs to replenish the gum. Like any of us, when we chew gum (I usually don't) depending on the brand the flavor and juice eventually go away. I think his powers had already run out and he needed a new piece but didn't have one. If a piece was in fact, knocked out, Pete had already lost his powers and so that piece was dead.

    Maybe. It was just... brrr. Hokey.

    Why am I even trying? We're talking about Kryptonite gum that gave long-lost Pete Ross stretching powers. Do THEY even care anymore?

    I dunno. This apathy you have wears upon me as well.

    Ann wrote that Chloe mentioned her and Pete were Best Friends before Pete met Clark but that couldn't be possible, she says, because in one episode Clark says he and Pete used to play together when they were young but Chloe didn't come to Smallville until Junior High. With this show and the writers inconsistency and lack of attention to what THEY wrote, I'm really not surprised. In my memory, it seemed in that first episode, when Clark has to run because he missed the bus and Chloe and Pete bet on whether Clark will make it, it seemed to me that Chloe and Pete were the closer friends. At that time, that might have been the case. However, if Chloe didn't come till Jr. High, and Clark and Pete played together as small children, obviously the above point isn't the case. Just more inconsistency from the writers.

    It's because it's been so long since they've had to refer to Pete's history, no doubt. I forgive stuff like that far more than basic character ignorance, like turning Pete into a bum almost instantly.

    Ann also wonders since when did Kryptonite become like a mind altering drug. I think it's been since the beginning. Everyone who's ever been affected by it on an immediate, per-episode but then cured by eps end basis, has always been mind-altered as well. They always go homicidal and try to kill everyone once affected, but they weren't killers or even violent beforehand. That to me is what makes it mind-altering.

    Yeah. And also not Kryptonite. Heh.

    Daniel wrote that Smallville succeeded in making Clark's powers part of his growing up and having them associated with puberty. I'm not sure exactly where those ideas came from, but I do know they did not originate with Smallville. For some time now, possibly since Byrne, Clark has been the real person and Superman the creation, and Clark developed his powers through puberty and had them all around 18. Smallville often gets credited or takes a lot of credit with modernizing Superman by making Clark the real person and adding Lex in Smallville and making Clark's powers part of his growing up when in fact, they did not originate any of these elements.

    And in fact, in my opinion, they regressed them a good bit, by exascerbating the concept to the point that it's tired with the fanbase, and running it into the capitalistic ground using a device that Buffy franchised. But hey, that's getting deep. Poo poo! Pee pee! Whee! Stride gum!

    I agree with Daniel when he says Pa Kent shouldn't have been killed. It has though, been a part of canon in several different incarnations of the character. Not only did Smallville decide to use it, but Donner did it in the original Superman movie (and I wish he hadn't) so Singer copied Donner in Superman Returns (and I wish he hadn't, in more ways than just this one) but there have been times, even in the comics, where one or both of Clark's parents has died. It just depends on what era you're reading. Heck, waaaaay back in the day, Kal didn't even have Earth parents. People who found him brought him to an orphanage and he never saw them again then grew up to be Superman. Would hate that origin myself, but that's what the passage of years does. Heroes and mythologies develop and change. Things become better. What they're doing now is a back-pedal of sorts, a re-imagining of certain aspects that lessens the character in my opinion. Go Forward! That's the key. But right now the powers that be in comics insist on going back. Reverting to a simpler, less character driven time. It's sad really. Now if only Smallville would go back to it's roots. That's when the show really had promise!

    Yes. And beyond that, if they're gonna change things to make them compelling, why not kill Martha? Why not try something that changes the status quo with real consequences instead of things that are solved by just not mentioning them again?

    Talk soon!

    Scotty V

    Yes indeed:

    Scotty V wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    Just reading your review for "Veritas," and you know, I may have to try and download it and watch it again or something, along with "Traveller," cause, where I did think they were better than normal, for some reason I didn't feel the high that you're feeling.

    Downloading? Illegal downloading, you mean! That's piracy! I can't condone such things! Cough. Not explicitly. I mean, the logic of those internet pirates, those awful brigands, that downloading a piece of media to regard it and later purchase will lead to increased proliferation, is obviously propaganda of commie pinko nazi hippies! Beware! Do not try the loco weed that is internet downloading! Turn back now, while there's still time! For the children!

    Maybe it's because the show has disappointed me so much and because I really don't know how to pay attention to it anymore so maybe I'm closed off to it, even when it's good as it should be. You mention that Lois' cleavage is very distracting. I'm paying so little attention anymore, especially when characters like Lois and Jimmy and Lana (sometimes Kara) are on screen that I didn't even notice. Usually when the above characters are on the screen, they're so contrived and/or annoying and/or doing things that I just care so little about that I totally zone out. I sometimes have full conversations during these scenes and usually I'm not afraid because I find out that I've missed nothing.

    Now imagine trying to take notes about these scenes and regurgitate things in a compelling way about what was said. Welcome to my world!

    Interesting thing about the lady who is Lex's assistant for me is that, last episode she comes in and tells Lex there's something he needs to see. She is interrupted and Lex, nor we, see the thing that was so important. Now here, the lady doesn't bring up the thing that was so vital, we don't know what it is, and it's seemingly forgotten. Bothersome. But yes, to my memory, before last week and the mysterious thing that Lex HAD to see, this lady had not appeared nor had she been mentioned.

    And now bang, we never see her again. Pay no attention to the men in front of the curtain.

    You know, I didn't even think about the mansion having been brought over when Lex was already grown up. Unless the meeting was in another home that looked an awful lot like the mansion somewhere else, OR the boxes and moving in stuff from the pilot episode where Lex says Lionel moved the mansion over from Scotland brick by brick "because he could" were simply from Lex moving in, that's a BIG faux-paux. Not that it's all that off for the Smallville PTB to forget their own internal continuity, but again, it's just bothersome that they'd do something like that. Thing is, I guess, since I now see first hand that it's something I didn't even realize, nor really remember till you brought it up, it's proven that the writing strategy of "ahh, heck, our viewers won't remember that" DOES kind-of hold water. Unfortunate. The main reason I probably missed it, as opposed to anything regarding Lana, Lois or Jimmy, is that I was actually caught up in the coolness of the storyline.

    It does hold water. Most people, I freely admit, do not analyze this show the way I do, and find nothing compelling in doing so. But that won't stop me from doing so, or holding a higher standard. Most people don't care to study the philosophy of writing and how to craft sentences. I don't do it for them. I do it for me. If you do as well and enjoy the ride, bully! And grand.

    By the way, I don't know if you've checked but I want to and just haven't yet, is the Veritas symbol in the stained glass of the mansion from the very beginning of the series? If it was, that might just show an amazing set-up and follow through that the creators and writers and producers had somewhat planned. Is that possible? The reason I think, in this case, that it might just be, is that the symbol is so specific. And a "V" isn't found in Lex, Lionel or Luthor so really has no reason to be there. I really want to go back and look, see if the symbol is in that glass from early on, because I might regain some of the once lost respect back for the PTB of this show if it is.

    I don't think it is, but I don't want to spend time checking. I've got better things to do with my time.

    Yeah I caught that necklace thing too. It seemed that they were trying to say they had to break it off and further injure the woman's neck in the process in order to remove the necklace. I didn't go back and look, but the only way that would make sense would be if, in the last episode, the necklace was so tight around her neck and fused there so that eh only way to remove it WOULD BE forcibly. I also thought it convenient that it appears Lionel has had this necklace since back in the old days when he was meeting in club Veritas with the group and yet we've never seen it. I'm sure there have been times where we've seen Lionel's neck and he hasn't had this thing on. Okay, you say, maybe he's had it stored somewhere. That would be possible except, why would he dramatically be wearing it right at this time?

    I dunno. It's all retcon stuff, at any rate.

    I have NO idea why you have the Star Wars clip after your spiel about being annoyed that Clark made a poor excuse not to learn to fly! I watched the whole video, thinking it'd be doctored or something but it wasn't, I couldn't see a connection. There isn't much of one with the wicked witch dance from Oz either, but at least there's the Kansas connection. Explain yourself boy!

    They're celebration videos, because Lana is off the show. :)

    There was a point of dialogue where Clark explained to Kara he sent Lana to the Isis Foundation in Metropolis?? Really!? Wow I really am no longer paying attention to this show. I think it's their fault. I'm not sure though. I mean, in this case, I think it's because I zone out when we're shown more evidence of how Kara, a character who shouldn't even BE yet, has more control over powers she just HAD upon emergence from her ship, which was submerged in a river until four months ago, than Clark does. Another case of another hero trying to teach Clark how to be one and how to do what only he truly can do so well. Why is Superman special again, at least in this continuity?

    He's not, beyond his morality, which is shaky at times.

    Yep, I gotta admit, I don't really understand how any of these clips you've inserted have any connection to Lana leaving the show. How is Lana Darth Vader, Luke's father? Is she Clark's father? Is she the Dark Lord of the Sith? (possible.) Ok, I guess I get that she could be the Ice Queen and the Wicked Witch, but those were weird inserts man.

    I try. ;)

    You know, when Lana was in her catatonic state and Clark was whining over her, I said to my wife and sister that he shouldn't be acting that way and gosh darnit, I was right! My sister said, well he would be upset because he loves her. Ha ha! I said. But that's the point! He shouldn't love her! He should no longer believe she's the one! She's killed people, tortured people and made it clear that she's lied about her evil outright. They even broached the subject a few weeks ago when Clark called her out but then they simply forgot and dismissed it. I'm so sick and tired of the dramatic camera zoom up onto Clark's face and then: "Lana!" Off he runs to save her yet again! Thankfully it will all be over soon but it's just so not dramatic anymore. It doesn't make any sense that Clark is still that attached and I'm so tired of the whole "everything's my fault" angle they've used for Clark since the beginning. Enough already!

    Everyone's a saint after they die except Hitler. Even Darth Vader. Same concept here. Lana's gone, so people will bemoan it irrationally.

    I hated the Warrior Angel action figure, just as I hate the whole idea of the Warrior Angel character. Why? Because it irks me that Superman's future archenemy as a child and young adult would play with and be interested in a superhero that wears the exact same outfit that Superman will wear in the future. It again demeans Superman and makes him seem like nothing more than a copycat of a hero who shouldn't even exist!

    I dig it, mostly because I think Lex Luthor, though he won't even admit it to himself, does what he does out of envy.

    I don't think it really comes off as totally out of character that they've decided to stop buying Lionel's crap. I mean, last week Clark was almost killed because Lionel had him kidnapped. That's enough to question the man's motives. Not that it's been played well, but the reason he has been allowed into their lives is because he has acted altruistically and as the emissary for Jor-El, stupid as that is. But now he's done more than enough for them to begin questioning him again. My problem with it is that I think perhaps his warning DO matter and they are valid. Again, there's no plausible reason why he would know anything or have these warnings available to give, but he seems genuine.

    And was.

    Wholly Moley! A Neal Bailey 5 of 5 for the TV show Smallville! I never thought we'd see the likes of this again. Now I know I have to download it and watch it again because I must have missed the point. Again, I think it's their fault I have, but it doesn't matter.

    It might be the last. We'll see.

    For me, I thought the ending fell a little flat. I didn't care about Lana. Didn't think Clark should either. Don't think Chloe or anybody else should, and I don't think it's believable, within the framework the PTB have set up for this show, that Kara would give herself up to save evil Lana. They know she means nothing to Brainiac so they should know that if they said: "Screw you buddy, she's evil and she does nothing for you!" that Brainiac would be SOL and he'd have nothing. I realize that Superman is supposed to attempt and be willing to save anyone and thus, so should Supergirl. The problem here is, that no one would ever put Superman or Supergirl in the position to save someone evil by giving themselves over to destroying the Earth, because they know that in that instance, the hero would have to way the positives versus the negatives and then we have a case of "the needs of the many." It just didn't play as natural or believable to me. If the writers hadn't made Lana into what she is it probably would have, but sadly, they have so it didn't.

    Exactly.

    In letters Bruce mentions that the K-cage reminded him of a Superman comic from the 60's. I forgot to mention that for me, I was reminded of the wedding episode finale at the end of Season One of L&C. Man great episode that was! Anyone else?

    Was that season one? I haven't seen it in so long I forget.

    Bruce also says that Kara kills the madman Lionel hired to run the cage. This is not true at all. Lionel kills the guy after Kara frees Clark. Though it was a little silly, since both Kara and Clark have superspeed, that ehy would just sit there and let the guy hit them with his tazer. He didn't hit them, because Lionel stopped him, but did anyone else find it stupid that ehy seemed to be frozen in awe, staring up at him before Lionel finished him off?

    Yeah... weird.

    Ann mentions that someone else Clark knows has now ended up dead and she's speaking of Patricia Swan. I don't think Clark ever met her or new her at all. Nobody, except Lionel even knew she'd been here or that she was on her way back to Metropolis.

    Well that's it for now and hey, I'm all caught up! See you April 19th or so!

    Scotty V

    Cool!

    Christine wrote:
    OK Neal, it's Sunday night at...7:37 and your review hasn't been posted yet. I understand the whole waiting for Steve to check it out (in Australia) and all but I, obviously, can not wait. I think of you after watching each episode, saying to myself; "can't wait for Neal's review....he has to have loved THIS one!" LOL.

    Thank you! And I do apologize for the lateness of the last few weeks. It's not apathy, though I have had some apathy issues, it's mostly that I've been doing conventions, getting sick, and playing catch up. I'm flattered that you'd worry enough to shoot me a line.

    If the review is not going to be posted for a couple of days, please send me it! I personally thought it was one of the best episodes. Story, acting, directing (especially the direction...Lex slo-mo in blue hues after identifying Lionel)....and NO LANA! It is "amazing" how much the story can move forward without all that romance crap. She serves no purpose except to inhibit Clark in his quest.
    So? Can you send me your review??!! And, if you do, thank you.

    A Fan,
    Christine

    I generally let people preview the review who shoot me an IM, or an email. I would have sent it to you with the caveat of being unedited, but alas, I didn't get to the email until it was already done... sorry!

    G.V. Golwitzer (georgehouseofel) wrote:
    Hey Neal,
    Awesome review as always. Small thing though, when Lex's assistant shoots Lois, the following dialogue goes something like this: "Hey, you didn't warn us!" -Lois. "Yea, thats not fair!!!"-Jimmy (imagine it with whiny voices). Anyhow...what the heck? You didn't warn us? Lois (as a character in the mythos, not this show) should be much smarter than this. It was so obvious that even my wife pointed it out (to which she said..."make sure you e-mail the review guy about that")...sooooo yea....thats it really. I'm really just hoping someone else saw (heard?) this and thought it odd.

    -G.V. Golwitzer (georgehouseofel)

    I didn't see it, but thanks for pointing it out regardless.

    Ann wrote:
    I just finished reading your Descent review, and I am still laughing my butt off. Completely agree on all points that they screwed up with this one. And I see that Tom from Texas said they even get the Kryptonian spellings wrong. God---- Something that's written for them and they can't even get that right! Lionel- Good, bad, good, really bad, and now the dead savior- very much like their theory on Kryptonite exposure. Do you think these elements will only get worse without Gough and Millar? I'm on the fence on whether or not they will.

    My OPINION, which is not based in fact or experience, is that Gough and Millar weren't doing much for the show anyway before they left, just from the way they don't do interviews, aren't writing shows, etc. My guess is that the show will continue in the same vein it is now. Which is... what it is.

    Thanks for the laughs- Read ya later Neal, Ann

    Thanks, Ann!

    Mark wrote:
    I saw Smallville today for the first time in several months. The show is awful. It's worse than before, I think, either that or I had become so desensitized from watching it for so long that I had lost the ability to fully understand how awful it is. There were several small things that were wrong with it, but also, there was this overarching problem that I can't quite identify that made the episode boring. It got a little more interesting at the end, but the parts that were more interesting didn't make any sense.

    Usually, yes.

    I'll start with the end. Maybe it's because I'm in physics, or maybe it's just a pet peeve, but I hate that plot device where something can get sent back in time, but not affect the characters memory of the past, although it clearly influences things in the past. Smallville isn't the only show to do that, but I hate it every time I see it.

    Good point.

    Kara sent a message back in time that Dr. Swan intercepted and wrote in his journal in 1989. Except it didn't appear in his journal until after the point in 2008 when Kara was sent back in time. If it didn't appear in the journal until 2008, how could he have written it in 1989? I absolutely hate it when they do that in TV shows, and you can't even weasel out of it with something like "multiple timelines" because there's no reason that the characters that weren't sent back in time should magically switch time lines.

    Yes.

    Next, Kara is trapped on Krypton in the past! Oh no!!! Except she's "trapped" in the past on her home planet with millions or billions of her own people, living her life exactly as she would have if she had never been sent to earth.

    And in a past that could save itself with time travel.

    So, even with all the people on Krypton, including Jor-El and Lara, the only way to save baby Clark from Brainiac is by sending a message to Clark in the future? No one on Krypton is capable of saving him?

    When they can travel instantly through portals... yes. Saw that.

    And what about the government agent that made Jimmy work for her? My first thought when I saw her was, "this has to be a trick, she's not a real government agent," because no government agent would really act like that. I mean, why send in a trained professional, when you can equip a suspect's boyfriend with high-tech spy gear and have him infiltrate a facility? But it turned out she was a real government agent--one who has no problem with beating suspects at a whim, who has no accountability, and will apparently then not chase after those same suspects at the request of Lex Luthor.

    It was rather cheesy.

    I stopped paying attention at various points because I was getting bored, but I want to ask, when Chloe did that really fake, extraordinarily convenient "I'm going to look over here now so you can download all the data off my palm pilot (or whatever that thing was)," was that on purpose, or not? I really hope it was, because otherwise, that was just awful.

    I dunno. I guess it must have been on purpose. I was, honestly, not that concerned with the intrigue so I have mostly forgotten.

    I guess that's about all, other than after tonight, I don't know if I'm going to watch the show again. More out of principle than anything else. I don't want to support this show in any way, shape, or form, and that includes with my viewership.

    I can understand that. I honestly can. Though I'm sorry you're not having a good time.

    More next week, folks! Two more until Doomsday!

    Neal



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