Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 7 - Episode 20: "Arctic"



Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

So we've reached the end of the season and with it the end of our journey with Lex Luthor on his path to darkness.

You know before I get too much into this specific episode I think it's a good time to look back a bit on Lex's part of this story or more correctly this version of the Superman story. Don't worry. I'll try not to get too long.

I think it is fair to say that Lex's path is one of the things this show has done very well over the years. I think a lot of viewers watching the show about young Superman or Superman as a young man will miss the fact that up to this point the show was just as much about Lex Luthor as it was about the Mild Mannered Clark Kent. Heck I'd argue, and I am certain many would agree with me, that over the years they have done a better job with Lex's part of the tale then they have with Clark. I know part of that was simply the fact Lex had a bit longer journey so it was easier to see the steps but I think that is only superficial.

Clark was already a goodie goodie when we first met him in season one. Sure a bit naive and kind of a bit on the dopey side but then when you get down to it that is the way Clark Kent will be his whole life. Superman is a goodie goodie who is naive and, yes as a fan, I can honestly say a bit on the dopey side. It is the very thing that baffles his adult companions. The reason why people like Lois, Perry, and Jimmy fail to see beyond the glasses. How could such a doof be Superman? No way. It's why Batman will shake his head at Clark's ability to look through rose colored glasses.

Sure Clark needed and still needs to do some growing but when it comes to the basics about what he is and what he will become Clark was already there when Smallville's story began. Lex on the other hand could have gone either way and I think over the years we as viewers have been given a treat with watching this journey even if we did know all along where it would end.

When we first met Lex he was your standard son of a billionaire with a bit of a sneaky streak to him. He began his friendship with Clark with motives that may or may not have been pure. There was some sneaking, some investigating, but yet there was something real in that friendship as well and I think they did a good job of showing that. Sure Lex wanted answers but those answers had more to do with his own life than with Clark's and when confronted, tossed it all away in order to preserve the friendship with what was arguably his only true friend.

Over the years, as Lex took more and more steps towards his path of evil, Clark and he grew apart and that only made things worse for Lex. Going back to investigating Clark, even letting loose goons from Bel-Reve at one point to try and force Clark into exposing himself. We were never sure what Lex suspected about Clark beyond just believing him a meteor freak but it is clear Lex was convinced there was something there and that drove him to maintain some connection to Clark's life. This also drove him towards Lana which was part of Lex's journey I also enjoyed. Not because it was Lana. It really could have been anyone that Lex truly loved but they went with Lana and that is fine. What made it worked was the fact this was perhaps his one and only chance of avoiding his path of evil.

The finest episode of Lex's journey is when we saw him have a vision of what his future could have been had he chosen love over ambition. Lex was a good man here and he and Clark shared a great friendship in that future. Can you imagine how great a team it would be with Superman and Lex Luthor as partners instead of enemies. Unfortunately the path of goodness often requires some sacrifices and Lex learned that sacrifice would be his wife. Without the power and money to help her he would have to let her die and sadly Lex's greed becomes a big weakness. He wants it all. Not just part of that happiness. He wanted it and he wanted to keep it and instead of seeing the truth. That his wife would have gladly given her life to keep him good he instead chose to seek out more power in a vain attempt to have it all.

I truly believe this was Lex's final step into evil. Not killing Lionel, the kidnapping/torture of Aquaman or any other of his 33.1 experiments, or even when he had people killed. No. Lex's final step came that night when he decided that power and money were his path to happiness instead of honesty and integrity.

From there he just became more fun to watch. He was no longer the friend lost. He was the enemy and a very dangerous one at that. He pursued the woman of his dreams who just happened to also be the hero's girl. But isn't that what great villains do? He expanded his evil. Sneaking to any low he needed to win his objectives. Making a girl think she's pregnant? No problem. Have a gal shot just for a necklace? No problem. Kidnap and kill people just because they can knock over bowling pins with their mind? Again no problem? Push Dad out a window? Just another evening for Lex Luthor.

It was a great ride and I could probably go on and on about great moments Lex Luthor had over his run on the show but I know I am mostly preaching to the choir here. None of it would have worked though without the fantastic work of the actor playing the part. Michael Rosembaum did such fantastic work over the years. He really made us believe Lex Luthor was a good man with just a few issues at first then left us wondering for a little while but when it was time to be evil Mr. Rosembaum turned it on and made what is in my mind the greatest live action version of Lex Luthor we as Superman fans have had the pleasure of seeing brought to film. Yes I will admit that I think the Bruce Timm/Clancy Brown Lex from the animated universe was the best ever but that was a cartoon where I think Superman and his story is an easier sell. What Mr. Rosembaum did over his years on Smallville is nothing short of amazing and this is one fan who just has to take a second and say thanks. I know I'll be watching with interest any future projects he is apart of.

With all that said I do have to bring up one little tiny disappointment with Lex Luthor's journey and it is directly related to this last episode and the season.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVED how it ended. Lex sacrificing himself to protect the world from the danger of the traveler. FANTASTIC (Plus the fact that I am sure his survival is something that will be hinted at in the future). I loved that in the end Lex knew the truth about Clark, my only disappointment was they waited until the very end for him to learn it. My mind is just reeling with all the future possibilities Lex knowing about Clark brings. This version of Superman will have an Arch Enemy that is even more dangerous than past versions of Lex Luthor. This one is a former friend who knows EVERYTHING about him. I get chills thinking about that story. Which is why I wish maybe we could have played with that a bit here. I am not hating on the episode for it but I know this is the last we will see of Lex Luthor on this show so I think we missed out on that chance and it's too bad. Knowing that story is going to be part of Clark's future is fine but it still would have been fun to see it ourselves. But then maybe I am just being greedy. It will be interesting to see how they deal with Lex's disappearance in the arctic ice. Will he be believed dead? Will everyone know he survived but in hiding, content to pull the strings that mess with the Traveler's life from afar until he is ready for open confrontation? I eagerly await seeing where they go with the story from here. I know we will likely never see the best part which is that confrontation but then that is something that should be saved for when Superman is on the scene and thus really is not part of the story Smallville is telling.

Okay, this is supposed to be a review of this episode of Smallville though so let us get back to that now. It certainly was a good one... No a great one and you do not want to miss that. In case it was not as obvious as a semi truck, Brainiac was not down for the count and something was not quite right with the Maid of Might. Well I have to admit I was thinking perhaps Brainiac hitched a ride in her mind, I totally was not expecting that she WAS Brainiac in disguise. I think it is important to note how well Laura Vandervoort did with this part. She was just nasty evil when she was playing Brainiac and I loved it. She never really had to play Kara in this episode. Even in the short time in the barn when Brainiac was trying to not give up his charade to Clark she was playing him and not Kara Zor-El and I think that she sold it very well. In the plane with Mr. Teauge or even facing off with Chloe before changing form, the young actress did an amazing job.

I was floored by Brainiac's confrontation with Chloe. I thought she was hosed but when her powers kicked in when he was trying to jack into her head it was amazing. I loved how she drained him and forced him to run for a recharge. That allowed Clark to track him down and probably saved everyone from Brainiac's plan to use the Veritas item to control Clark. Not a bad job from a side kick. Not sure what is up with her ending though. Sure when Jimmy stood up to Lex we knew he would do something but now what will happen to our favorite side kick? I don't think Oliver can come to the rescue. That would put the whole Justice League operation at risk of discovery. Maybe he can but I am not sure? Would Clark break her out of jail? Could this be how they remove Chloe from his life? I don't know and I am very interested in finding out.

Speaking of removing her I was very interested in seeing Lois trying to get Clark to apply for Chloe's job. They are really doing a good job showing Lois' growing feeling for the big blue boy scout. I know this is a bit backwards from how the story is usually told with her falling in love with Superman and ignoring Clark Kent but you know... This is a new tale and I don't mind them straying a bit. Having Lois feel conflicting emotions for Clark may add a bit of spice to their relationship and I hope we see more of his feeling growing towards her.

Especially now that Lana is out of the way. I will not dwell on that too much but I do think it is long past time for the show to move away from Lana and time to start moving towards Lois. I am not saying they should or need to jump right into a romance between the future husband/wife but I think its time we see some bigger steps in that direction. Kicking the dead horse a few more times just isn't going to be as fun to watch.

I did not like the fact that Lana ran for the hills leaving only a "Dear John" letter behind but I did think it was powerful scene. Tom Welling sold the pain that Clark was feeling and I even think Erica Durrance sold the pain that Lois was feeling for her friend. A part of the story that irritate me was made great by great acting.. Nice job!

I was also glad to see the final show down with Brainiac was Clark Vrs Fine and not Kara or anyone else involved. Sure Chloe helped by making Brainiac run for more power but the final showdown was Superman against Villain and that is how it should be. The super speed punch was awesome but I think what I liked more was Clark showing the big brain that he miss calculated. That he knew Brainiac was just a machine and it was ok to overload it's circuits. We all know that was likely not the end of Brainiac but I don't think it tickled and it was cool to see Clark step up and take down a villain while still keeping his respect for living breathing people intact.

Clark was not at his best in the final confrontation with Lex but then I don't think that was the point. This was Lex's moment to shine. His grand final and moment of Triumph. Clark will defeat him someday but only when he is fully Superman. At this point in his life it is Lex that comes out on top when the two meet for the first time with all their cards on the table. There is no fist fight, or battle of powers. Its mind over muscle and this is a lesson Clark really needs to learn. Lex wins by bringing the fortress down on them both and I actually really liked that.

It's a great end too a pretty good season of TV and a great ending to Lex's part of the tale. Sure there are cliff hangers. How will Clark get out of the snow? Will they know if Lex did as well or how will that be covered? How will Kara escape the Phantom Zone? What will happen with Chloe? For once not everyone is in peril but I still think it's intense.

I have to give this one a solid A+. 5 out of 5 and no less. It is the end of this season but we do get one more before the big final and I am totally looking forward to it. Thanks for reading this year and I hope you folks come back next year as well. Have a great summer.



Reviewed by: Neal Bailey


  • Kara kills a few people; turns out she's Brainiac.
  • Clark kills Brainiac. Kara is in the Phantom Zone.
  • Chloe is arrested by DDS.
  • Lex finds the Fortress, and uses his sphere to destroy it with Clark beside him.


    If someone can explain to me how this is closure for the Rosenbaum Luthor, I am all ears.

    Beyond that, this felt like a regular series episode. Not filler, but not FINALE material. The dilemmas were all very slight in scope, the peril resolved before the end of the episode, and the ending so WTF that I don't even know if it was anything.

    Is this anything? Well, Paul?

    Beyond the feel not being appropriate for the occasion, on the cusp of a time where the show has to critically grasp us for continued viewership in the wake of the loss of Luthor, Lana, and Kara, we are faced with incomprehensible motives, a completely incoherent timeline where Lex KNOWS that Clark has powers, and Kara, and a hot bartender named Doomsday.

    I have spent most of the week asking myself if it is worth continuing reviewing this show. Right now, I think I will, if only because I'm curious to see if a paradigm change will lead to interesting stories, and because I PROMISED.

    Write me, folks. Tell me if you care if the reviews continue, if you want me to honor my promise. I want to know if anyone's still out there.

    Finales used to be a time for fanfare. We did favorite Lex moments, favorite episodes, Knockout Count contests. I didn't get a SINGLE email about this last episode while it was airing. In season three, I'd regularly get twenty to thirty.

    I mean, we're talking a substantive commitment here. 22-44 more writing days. That's almost a novel's worth of time. If these writers will not put forth the effort to be consistent, why must I be the better man?

    Allow me to explain the disappointment:

    We start off with a set of preview clips, the "season culmination" stuff. It has nothing to do with the events of this episode beyond the lockbox. Most of it is "cool" scenes, as in, a few effect shots or what are considered "character moments." The purpose of that kind of thing is to make us feel like we're about to see something awesome. Nothing there jazzed me up, or gave me a good memory. It was all BLAH crap.

    Edward Teague, who, last episode, was such a purely moral monk that he'd kill a man over a matter of potential principle, has now become a lush. But hey, that's okay, because Kara brutally murders him arbitrarily. Why? Because she's trying to figure out what a brief conversation with Clark as Kara would have told her. Brainiac is not the most logical computer on Earth, that's for sure.

    Kara: "Clark, I know you can be controlled. I need to know how, so I can stop it."

    BING! Level 2, Brainiac! You forget, he's as dumb as Clark.

    Why would Brainiac dress up in the flight uniform and craft a subterfuge? Why not simply assail Teague on the ground, provided there was a rationale for it in the first place. Is Brainiac afraid of human authorities at an airport? Why does he operate covertly anyway?

    Glover's still in the credits.

    Lex sends TEAMS to this Arctic fortress without knowing what's there, after having a billion baddie underlings abuse his power and take it. He obsessively goes after everything himself... until this episode. Why? Because the plot called for him to be at the Fortress at the end of the episode, that's why. Easily seen through, bad writing.

    Extrapolation through dialogue, when Lex turns to Jimmy and explains to him that "I made that phone call to the DDS for you so..." Jimmy well knows. It's unnatural to repeat that information in front of him save for us, and we don't need it unless they're anticipating that we haven't been watching. Even so, it's bad writing.

    Jimmy's "Full court power of the press" line clunked harder than "Oh, this is such a drag!" from Threepio.

    Lois magically converts Clark, despite three years out of college and no stated desire, into a future reporter, via one application. And the best part? He's TAKING CHLOE'S JOB. What a pal.

    Lois makes a big point of indicating how she's been researching how far back Clark and Lex go, when SHE WAS THERE WHILE THEY WERE STILL FRIENDS, LIVING IN THE KENT FARM. CHRIST.

    Lois has now begun making lovey eyes at Clark arbitrarily. This usually starts right as they're about to do a lightswitch romance. As in, next season, when Clark and Lois will be in a relationship while he's still in Smallville. Oh, I don't know that for sure, but if I were a betting man, I'd have 9-10 odds on it.

    Chloe and Clark research the flight Kara destroyed. Chloe indicates that the co-pilot went back and got knocked out. All they have is a black box. HOW IN THE HELL WOULD SHE KNOW THAT? I mean, seriously. It's utterly ridiculous. Grunts? Quite an extrapolation. Through dialogue.

    How would Brainiac not know about how to control Clark. I mean, his THING is controlling people. He's the repository of all Kryptonian knowledge... and this is certainly Kryptonian kno. aw, screw it.

    Cut to this bizarre commercial where someone eats a five dollar bill (for Quiznos), and there is actually a label: Dramatization. Do not attempt.

    That this disclaimer need apply says something about people watching television, it really does, and it's kind of insulting on a fundamental level. I mean, the scene with Brainiac should have had a "Do not throw people into electrical conduit towers" disclaimer, right? Bloody nanny coddling crap.

    Kara rips the safe at Lex's mansion open. Apparently, there are still no cameras, despite the cameras we saw a few seasons back with Flash. Clark gets in too, and superspeeds them to the barn.

    Kara has adapted to the leg trick apparently. Only took twenty episodes. She kicks Clark, but... well, anyway, maybe it's just me, but Clark getting kicked by Kara is like me getting kicked by another human, right? Her kick is superpowered, but his block is, too, right? So shouldn't he be able to stand his ground, particularly given that she's in the air and not anchored to anything? Granted, it's a comic convention to smash the guy and have him fly away, I was just somehow rubbed wrong by the grab/kick.

    Cut to a beer-swillin' Lois, role model to the stars. Why? Well, because they have a cool new set they want to show off. Of course, they rationalize it. Lois doesn't want to write her expose for the Daily Planet on Lex IN THE DAILY PLANET! Of course, this doesn't touch the logic of publishing an Anti-Lex piece in his own paper, but why would it?

    How would Lois have any idea about Lex's arctic missions? Even LEX is just getting the information. And if she's that savvy, why does she believe Jimmy on heresay? Out of character, and just an utterly ridiculous subplot.

    Yeah, Lex as a manipulative SOB who abuses people is GREAT. I dig that. But Jimmy's half-hearted enactment of this just shatters it.

    Clark and Chloe plot to kill Kara. Do I even have to explain that? They plot to poison her with Kryptonite. Don't tell me, "Oh, Neal, no, they just want to subdue her!" Okay. So say they put the K on her, and subdue her. What? They just keep Kryptonite in front of her indefinitely?



    Chloe is zombified, which is supposed to be a big, dramatic moment. Somehow, her power stumps Brainiac. He says, "What the hell are you?"

    This is, I suppose, trying to be harsh, but it's out of character for a machine, first and foremost, and it's also ridiculous, given that it's obvious she's a meteor freak. It might be an epic, scary moment, if only Chloe wasn't fine again ten minutes later.


    Why does Brainiac have heat vision? If he has Kryptonian genetics (which you need for heat vision), he should be vulnerable to Kryptonite. For that matter, if the Kryptonite key destroyed the ship, it should harm another inanimate Kryptonian object.

    Why does Brainiac go to an electrical plant when the Talon apartment has a PLUG?

    Why, for the love of all things holy, did I just see a preview for a new 90210 show? Are they... is that serious? Beverly Hills 90210 gets a new series, but Firefly is gone? HOW STUPID ARE TELEVISION VIEWERS?

    Clark kills Brainiac. Clark chooses to consciously kill Brainiac. Brainiac is a sentience. He was alive. He could make choices. At least he didn't chuck him forty fee... oh yeah.

    So he sticks Brainiac with electricity, and... kills Brainiac by charging him up. Brainiac, who was looking to get charged up, gets charged up, and it... it kills him.

    Okay, I give up.

    You know, I might even be willing to extend some credit for the death making Brainiac appear to have tentacles, but I'm guessing it wasn't intentional.

    Cut to Kara in the Phantom Zone. Why? Well, because instead of just letting her die on Krypton, it's much easier to LET HER LIVE IN THE PHANTOM ZONE, especially if she's a very powerful enemy. Sigh.

    Beyond that, if Kara was Brainiac the whole time, why the heck was she having a headache two episodes ago?

    Lana is back, and alive, and recovered, and in hiding. Which lasted all of one episode last time they pulled it for arbitrary dramatic tension, but hey. Who am I to criticize? Just the fan.

    So Lana leaves Clark so he can achieve his greater destiny, a destiny not inhibited by her presence, and a greater destiny she can't possibly know will occur yet, and somehow does. Retarded.

    So Lois Lane becomes Clark's second choice because Lana is in hiding. Even more retarded. I need a drink. Doomsday!


    No. I want a Salty Dog.

    SLLLL..TYYYY.Dog? Hurr?

    It's a Greyhound with salt.


    What a hottie.

    Beyond that, Lana recovers and boogies in what must be record time, given that Clark would likely go directly from killing Brainiac to seeing her.

    Jimmy proposes to Chloe. The DDS guys wait until he's made the proposition before pile driving him and arresting her. Nice of them. But how did they know where they were, how did they get in the obviously closed Talon with no door breach, and how are we supposed to take the scene seriously when it takes fifteen large guys to take down one benign hacker in a ridiculously calm situation with no resistance? It's DRAMATIC, or at least, played to be. But fails, because it's just a bunch of big guys descending without logical rationale on two little people.

    Jimmy is released, and runs to Clark. Why he's not an accomplice or taken in for questioning, hey, that's not for me to say. And apparently not for the show to say, either.

    Lex is in the Fortress. What of his plane? Where are his goons? Why is he not wearing a hat in subzero temperatures.

    Oh, but wait, folks! Here's where it gets FINALE-EY!

    Clark and Lex square off. Lex finds out Clark's secret, the one thing in continuity they hadn't totally screwed up yet. Clark reveals his powers arbitrarily, without rationale, and why? Because it's the finale. Why would he go to Lex, when Lex has the power to control him? Why would Clark, when he realized that the sphere was the problem, not blow it out of his hands or attempt to fry it? Why... oh, wait! Listen! Dialogue!

    "Mild mannered farm boy..." CLUNK

    Clark: "I've never done anything to hurt you!" Well, except that whole giving up on him a few years ago without much rationale, stealing his wife, sending terrorists to blow up his businesses, not telling him the secret, standing by as his father gave him ECT, working with Lionel as a son while Lex was spurned... there's a few hundred more things, but hey.

    Lex cites the good things he could have done with Clark had Clark told him his secret. In this continuity, it's hard to deny that. Lex is right. Had Clark trusted Lex, they would have done good things. Instead, Clark sowed mistrust and acted like a fool protecting a secret identity he didn't even have yet, and turned Lex into what he was.

    Lex calls Clark Kal-El. How could he possibly know what Kal-El is?

    "I love you like a brother, Clark, but it has to end this way." Honestly, I half sanction what he's doing, with the Lex I know from Smallville. Not the arbitrary Hitler one we saw two episodes back, but the one built up from the first episode as a man with good intentions never given the benefit of the doubt.

    "It's my birthright." Decent reference. If it was. I think that's my first compliment this episode.

    The Fortress retracts, breaks apart, Clark writhes on the ground, we have no idea what the heck is happening, and suddenly we're left with empty snowy wastes.

    This is closure for Lex? This is the closure we get?


    All right. Fine. I keep getting letters, I've gotten letters from the beginning, asking me if I would give an episode a zero. I say, no, because that's not really a review. 1 is the end of the scale of awful. 5 is the best of the best. Zero would just be something that didn't even register. Something that didn't exist. Something less than nothing to me.

    This is my closure for Lex after all this invested time and effort? An unfinished poor CG fortress collapse in the midst of cheesy dialogue?

    0 of 5. This was the biggest #*$@ you to an audience I think I've ever been party to. Even Phantom Menace did better by Star Wars fans.


    Every year, I take a look at the past year and do slight statistical analysis... here's the last six seasons, in retrospect:

    Bizarro: 4 of 5
    Kara: 3.5 of 5
    Fierce: 1 of 5
    Cure: 1 of 5
    Action: 1 of 5
    Lara: 2 of 5
    Wrath: 3 of 5
    Blue: 2 of 5
    Gemini: 1.5 of 5
    Persona: 2.5 of 5
    Siren: 1 of 5
    Fracture: 1 of 5
    Hero: 1 of 5
    Traveler: 4 of 5
    Veritas: 5 of 5
    Descent: 2 of 5
    Sleeper: 1 of 5
    Apocalypse: 2 of 5
    Quest: 1 of 5
    Arctic: 0 of 5

    That makes:
    1 x 5 of 5s
    2 x 4 of 5s
    1 x 3.5 of 5s
    1 x 3 of 5s
    1 x 2.5 of 5s
    2 x 2 of 5s
    1 x 1.5 of 5s
    8 x 1 of 5s

    That's an utterly dismal average of 1.775. That means the average show is less than a two now. Granted, there were fewer 1 episodes this year, but there were fewer episodes to boot, and of these, only four offered a "better than average" viewing. There was only one episode that I considered exemplary, like last year. But last year there were 7 episodes that were "above average." This year there were three.

    The show's marked progression downward doesn't lead to any real optimism, and even the diehards are realizing that the show's Swann song, forgive the pun, has come and gone.

    If Smallville wants to retain any kind of legacy, it needs to get its ass in gear. Now.

    Season's past:

    Season six:
    1 x 5 of 5s
    3 x 4.5 of 5s
    3 x 4 of 5s
    2 x 2.5 of 5s
    1 x 2 of 5
    1 x 1.5 of 5
    11 x 1 of 5s
    (2.272 average)

    Season five:
    2 x 4.5 of 5s
    5 x 4 of 5s
    1 x 3.5 of 5
    1 x 3 of 5
    4 x 2.5 of 5s
    4 x 2 of 5s
    2 x 1.5 of 5s
    3 x 1 of 5s
    (2.591 average)

    Season four:
    5 x 1 of 5s
    2 x 1.5 of 5s
    4 x 2 of 5s
    1 x 2.5 of 5
    3 x 3 of 5s
    1 x 3.5 of 5
    3 x 4 of 5s
    3 x 5 of 5s
    (2.63 average)

    Season three:
    2 x 1 of 5s
    2 x 2 of 5s
    1 x 2.5 of 5
    2 x 3 of 5s
    3 x 3.5 of 5s
    3 x 4 of 5s
    3 x 4.5 of 5s
    6 x 5 of 5s
    (3.66 average)

    Season two:
    0 x 1 of 5s
    7 x 2 of 5s
    1 x 3 of 5s
    1 x 3.5 of 5
    4 x 4 of 5s
    10 x 5 of 5s
    1 x 6 of 5, if you count ferrets.
    (3.76 average, 3.80 if you count ferrets)

    Season one:
    6 x 5 of 5s
    9 x 4 of 5s
    1 x 3.5 of 5
    3 x 3 of 5s
    2 x 2 of 5s
    (3.92 average)


    Eddie Colton wrote:
    RE: Sleeper

    Chloe suggests to Clark that he go and look at Swann's journal ...
    and I don't know how Clark would get to it

    Patricia Swann gave Clark the journal. Geez, Neal. Short attention span for 20-second plot additions involving one-shot guest stars? :P

    To quote Ed McMahon: YOU ARE CORRECT, SIR!

    I do like, however, that they keep pointing out that a group of guys
    who go around blowing up buildings seemingly randomly would be perceived
    (rightly) as terrorists.

    You are still correct, sir.

    Well unfortunately, this was NOT pointed out. It's just the natural conclusion you and I came to based on the logic of the continuity they've established. DDS lady did not have any idea about the connection though. She only knew Chloe hacked a .gov website. That they accidentally mentioned the JLA in this episode just shows how all these great plots are right under their noses and they keep missing them because, "Lana is all that matters!" Your supposition that Lex wants to kill Chloe for being involved in these attacks is probably too much to hope for.

    Yeah, that does seem more likely, in retrospect. Thinking large equals an effect budget.

    Lex has been redflagged by the DDS, and yet later in the episode
    he can fly there unmolested?

    It's called Instant Drama (just add water). That red flag really kept you on the edge of your seat for the 10 seconds it lasted, didn't it? Fortunately, Lex told his random cronie to contact somebody higher up than the highest-up higher-up, and he did. Problem solved!

    Yeah. I mean, pretty soon he's gonna be like, "Oh, you need a papal bull? Dude. I'm on that." Or wait. He's not. He's not on the show any more.

    Character X visits a computer, hits three keys, and does
    something impossible.

    Usually they hit dozens of random keys, as if they're typing, instead of using the mouse like everyone else on the planet Earth. Oh but silly me, this is only Earth Prime. In Smallville world, the computer mouse is full of minty fresh Tic-Tacs. Sorry, I mean Sprint gum.

    I hit the keyboards like that. In my sarcastic comedy videos...

    They did another "Clark staring at the key" scenes.

    That drove me seriously nuts. I just about started screaming. In this case it was just so somebody could sneak up on him again. Remember LAST TIME he was staring at the key, dozens of government agents with Kryptonite tasers snuck up on him? Now Jimmy, the severely curious reporter's sidekick, has seen the mysterious alien key. Mhm. Last time I was this annoyed by blocking was when Lex's middle-aged secretary was inching slowly towards him while he was telling yet another Ye Olde War Storie.

    Tension through stupidity... I LOF it!

    Jimmy says it takes a half a tank of gas to get to Clark's farm.
    That's... by my calculations... using my car as a basis... 113
    miles. A two hour drive.

    It's okay, Neal. I've got this all figured out. The Smallville-Metropolis commute is located in an area called the Smallville Triangle. Depending on varying circumstances (usually the urgency of the situation times the need for complaining about the length of the commute), the trip will take either three seconds, three minutes, or three hours.

    Or, even if you can run at superspeed, at times be so utterly impossible that you make others drive it.

    Beyond that, he reaches for his data device,

    I'm not sure I understood this scene at all. Help me, Neal Kenobi! What was that thing? A PDA? A PDA in 2008? It should have at least been an iPhone, right? So Jimmy Bond takes Chloe's iPDA, and replaces it with another, puts hers in his pocket, and meanwhile his pdaPhone is "copying" what's on hers, which is in his pocket, after which he picks his up and puts hers back? Did I get that right?

    I think so. It's spy stuff. Beyond my pay grade. Cough.

    Remember when they used to have ads for Sprint phones on this show, and now it's Sprint gum? So why does Chloe have some generic retro PDA, and Jimmy is playing a fake handheld gaming device? If they're going to advertise, at least use products that fit the plot. Why can't they have an iPhone and a PSP? The companies PAY for that, right? Money = more special effects budget? Or at least have a product that's clever, like Clark Bars!

    And Lex's lockbox scene was straight out of the Bourne Identity. Even the non-filler plot was a ripoff. Oy.

    I watched the first two Bourne movies, and fell asleep in the middle of the third, and remember next to nothing about them. But I believe you.

    Azor wrote:
    Will you sign my World War Hulk #3?

    Was that you, Azor? :)

    This is a great story. So I'm at the con in Calgary, and a nervous guy comes up, hands me a World War Hulk 3, and asks me to sign it. I explain, "I, uh, I didn't work on this." He says, "I just... like the signatures."

    I figure, what the hell, and sign it.

    If that was you, Azor, WELL PLAYED, man. If it wasn't, if you're that person I remarked to about it, why didn't you reveal yourself? Ah, Azor, ye work in mysterious ways. :)

    Either way, it reminded me of the Bendis signed "Stan Lee Meets" story I have. Bendis visited my local store randomly and signed a bunch of comics, and signed one on accident he DIDN'T work on. So I bought it. Figured it might be a neat venture investment, and it's funny, anyway. So please, World War Hulk gent, keep that comic and rub it in my face later!

    Bruce Kanin wrote:

    Due to vacation, I only just watched the most recent two episodes of SMALLVILLE. Suffice it to say, the show has sunk to new depths. It's clear now that those behind the series have a surface-level knowledge of Superman, basing stories on one-sentence descriptions of concepts and characters provided whatever Superman source they have.


    The writers obviously are going for shock rather than substance, momentary ahh's as opposed to logic.

    Word squared.

    There are many examples of this, but the most offensive was Clark going back to Krypton to save his baby-self from being killed by Brainiac - then placing himself in the spaceship that is bound for Earth - and with Jor-El and Lara nowhere to be seen.

    Word WTF.

    It's beyond ridiculous, and is the low point for the series.

    I dunno, man. Stride's Kryptonite river? ...

    It is no longer a Superman show - it is a show that coincidentally uses Superman names, terms, etc., but that's it.

    It's super-crap.
    Bruce Kanin

    Generally speaking, I agree in most respects.

    G.V. Golwitzer (georgehouseofel) wrote:
    First off, I like Voyager too. I get a lot of crap from my fellow Trek fans, but Voyager was what I grew up with...I mean, there was TNG and DS9 when I was little, but I still remember watching the first episode of Voyager and watching the series through to the end. That being said, The Doctor was (and still is) my favorite character on that show, So I am very psyched to see him doing something in his Post(waaay post) Voyager days.

    I grew up with TNG, and I'm a BIG TNG fan, but I don't see much wrong with Voyager. Or Enterprise, for that matter. Enterprise started getting good toward the end. What I DID see as mismanaged was putting the show on UPN. They should pitch a Trek show to major networks. Particularly now, as Battlestar is hot.

    anyhow, on to my comments about the review.

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

    on the topic of Time Travel I take the views of The Campaign for Real Time ( ) (which for the astute reader hails from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) Clark must be a member, he didn't want to cause a smilar situation.


    "put together merely to make fans squee"

    I have to agree that this episode was put together merely to make fans squee (which by the way, is a word I am going to have to start using more often), and I'm sure thats exactally what Gough and MIllar thought going in, which is to say...they were pretty darn sucessful

    I actually don't like the word too much, but it's in the lexicon.

    I didn't like the press conference in Smallville. It didn't sit well with me. I'm sure the only reason they did it is because the show is called "Smallville" and a reasonable amount of action is meant to take place in its namesake, so instead of holding a Press Conference where a PRESIDENT would hold a press conference (in DC...hmm..Heaven or Purgatory I wonder?) they go for a place that doesn't make sense. I think that about sums up everything thats been wrong with this show for a while.

    THat being said, Smallville really is on its way back to what it used to be. A few of the last episodes have made me felt like I was watching back in the first or second season, leaving me with that sense of wishing it was a week later and for that I'm glad I have continued watching the show.

    See, I had the exact opposite. But I'm glad it was good for you, man.

    Well, Good Luck and Good Writing.
    G.V. Golwitzer (georgehouseofel)


    Fred wrote:
    Neil? Hello? You didn't give that ep a 1??? They TRASHED the iconic scene of Jor-El and Lara putting baby Clark in the ship. That alone rates a ONE. Furthermore, how in the heck can Kara and Brainiac fly to the past to Krypton? Who does Kara survive hitting an area of space presumably LOADED with Kryptonite, and with NO sun? It's like that writers watched Superman 4, and thought, "Hey, that put back the Great Wall of China vision thing was cool. Let's one-up that by giving the Kryptonians the ability to create wormholes! Like farscape! But without muppets! Or characterization!"

    Why didn't I give it a one? I forget. Two weeks later, and I forget. Retention requires active attention, which requires a desire to actively be attentive.

    If the producers had b@lls, this episode would have been the season finale. Brainiac succeeds in killing Baby Clark, but Clark escapes into the alternate world, which "removes him from time" or some goofy deus ex machina. Kara is nowhere to be seen, as you ditch the "raised by Luthor's bit." The cliffhanger is BEFORE he gets shot, and Lex is pushing the button. Erase the gun bit for the season 8 opener (and Brainiac's presence in the room, BTW), and let Clark heat vision the thing to short it out. Now, NO one knows his secret, previously continuity is wiped, and bring on Season 8. Kara can be "discovered" as Linda Danvers somewhere later in the season if need be. You can gloss over the Kents raising a different Clark, because if nothing else OUR CLARK remembers it. Heck, just do away with the visit to the Kent farm in its entirety, by having him go there and see that they are both dead. Hey, it's not like anyone in the comics (or Superman movie) knew who the heck the Kents were originally. Hell, you can even MOVE Metropolis FAR AWAY from Smallville again!


    If I had a nickel for every time someone suggested a retcon for this show, I'd be at the Niagara Falls saving Lois Lane.

    Bruce Kanin wrote:

    Just watched the latest episode of HOKUMVILLE (SMALLVILLE). No more GOOD/BAD/REST review format for now. The show doesn't deserve my time, really.

    You're getting to my point.

    Perhaps the only thing I may have liked was that the priest (who should have first said to Clark, "Please state the nature of your emergency" (wink)) reminded me of William, from KINGDOM COME, who first worships Superman but then turns against him to become Gog. The green K flooding the table Clark was strapped to was kind of neat.

    Visually, yeah. Logically... meh.

    The rest of the story...this whole major strategic thread...the hokum. If you buy the business about Veritas, then perhaps it's more palatable. But to buy that, you have to ask ... you MUST ask ... why weren't their signs of Veritas from the beginning of the show? I'd probably appreciate it - Veritas - had they introduced it in one of the early seasons, even with just a hint.

    But Veritas is a silly contrivance that was created so that they could over-complicate the latest stories and make us feel that something of significance was going on. The clock, the gears, the castle, the murders, the little symbol in the Superman shield hexagon, those painful-to-watch carvings in Lex and Clark (yes, it happens to Clark AGAIN), the church in Montreal, the Scottish tune (which was kind of nice and made for a strange interlude with Lex) - all HOKUM because these writers have only surface-level knowledge of Superman and have failed to come up with a plot worthy of the Man of Steel.

    Doomsday was a bartender?

    Enough re: Clark's destiny to do battle with Lex. Anyway, it should be SUPERMAN vs. Lex. I'm sure that next week, when they do do battle at the Fortress, Lex will be semi-vanquished, but like Darth Vader in the first (really, fourth) "Star Wars", he (Lex) will escape in his mini-ship, vowing that "the son of Jor-El will kneel before me one day...after I forget that he's really Clark Kent!"

    Heh. We don't even get that.

    There is too much silliness in this show to take it seriously any more. I stopped a long time ago, anyway.

    As for next week, the last episode of the season and the last one for Michael Rosenbaum, all I can say is, I wonder what else they can screw up? We'll bid farewell to Lex - Rosenbaum did a world class, A+ job on him - and move on to Doomsday and some female villain that they're promising for Season Eight. Gawd, I can't wait...

    I am seriously disgruntled by this turn, myself.

    Bruce Kanin
    Truth, Justice and the HOKUM Way

    Charlie wrote:
    Hey Neal
    I couldn't help but notice in your last episode review of Smallville, Quest, you said there was a "nice establishing shot of Metropolis". If I'm thinking of the shot you are, I'm pretty sure that is a shot of Gotham City from Batman Begins. And I know Smallville has used that shot at least one other time. How very original. By the way, I have to have your thoughts on Doomsday as a bartender in Metropolis... WTF!?

    It wouldn't surprise me. They ripped off Terminator 3 again a few weeks back.

    My thoughts on Doomsday in Metropolis are that it could work, but it'd take a damned miracle. I mean, I can imagine Clark Kent as a gay black guy on the west coast. I can. Doesn't mean it'd make a good story.

    But Superman as king of the commies was a hard sell too. Writing tells all.

    Aaron K. wrote:
    I agree with your review for Quest that now that we know that Rosenbaum will not be back these last few eps have seen rather anit-climatic. The only question for the season finale will be how they explain Luthor's memory loss. Also I don't know if anyone else noticed but the shot of Metropolis in the rain that you mentioned is actually the shot they used of Gotham City (the ghetto part) in Batman Begins, check it out. Will you have a booth at the San Diego Comic Con?

    Ding! I didn't know that, but now I do.

    I will NOT have a booth in San Diego, but I will be there, and will meet up with SH folks. Watch the main page for updates on that.

    thebrakeman wrote:
    [quote]Clark finds a fountain with Kryptonian letters on it. Okay. This I can dig, kinda. He reads that there is a symbol underneath the fountain, and instead of using his x-ray vision to see what it is, he lifts it high above his head without checking to see if anyone is around.[/quote]
    Not true. Clark did check the room around him before picking up the fountain.

    Heh. Then Teague must be one HELL of a ninja, because Clark can see and hear for miles.

    [quote]As I recall, that was just a big mess of crap about getting stones for power, and yet, these stones, when combined, simply made Clark's Fortress, which only he could create.[/quote]
    You make it sound like the Fortress was something different than the power they sought. They only knew that the stones would lead to a storehouse of universal knowledge...which is what the Fortress was. Whether the Teagues could have accessed it or not is another matter. But I don't see any inconsistency.

    Well, there is the fact that they were trying to kill Clark's friends and family, which typically runs countretempts to someone who's your ally...

    [quote] Yeah, this really should have been explored over several episodes. I've been waiting for years for them to tie all of this back to the cave symbols, but they did it FAR to abruptly. It's almost as if the writers were on vacation (strike, whatever...) then they has to jumpstart the whole system. Why they didn't introduce these connections in the last 2 episodes, I don't know. Why Kara seemed to be passing out at the farm 2 episodes, but she's not in this one at all...I don't know. Did they film these out of order?

    [quote]Chloe flies all the way to save Clark without calling Clark. Sounds reasonable, Clark can't be bothered, he's strapped to a table, right? Except presumably arranging a flight would take hours.[/quote]

    Chloe use the Green Arrow's jet. I think she said something about a "perk" for being on the team (?).

    Yeah. A jet, even a personal one, still takes time to get to and fly across Canada.

    [quote]Why does Clark destroy the clock? It's as much a clue for him as it is for Lex. It just seemed odd, Clark destroying a magnificent piece of art when he can just whisk it away.[/quote]
    I don't think that was intentional. I think he was just knocking something out of Lex's hand. Intentional by the writers, but not by Clark. Also, I don't think Clark knew anything about what the clock was, right? I don't think he ever saw the little what-cha-callit that Lex put in the clock. He didn't even know to pick up the medallion that Lex had dropped. All Clark knew (by some miracle) is he needed to go to that church.

    Well, what stopped him from just taking it out of Lex's hands and sprinting?

    [quote]Chloe points out to Clark, who is hesitant about being controlled, that some day he's going to have to play God. And why? This is knowing the future without catalyst, and bad writing.[/quote]
    I think she's just frustrated at justice not being served. Right or wrong, it's frustrating for bad people to keep getting away with things, while good people refuse to put themselves above the law. Chloe is showing some real frustration. Just be glad that Clark is showing proper restraint.

    Proper restraint to a fault... Teauge went free after attempted murder while knowing his secret...

    Bruce Kanin wrote:
    Re: DC Universe #0

    Hey Neal,

    You're right - death should be forever. If they bring back Barry, it'll cheapen his demise in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, which, along with the Silver Age Supergirl's death, gave that maxi-series its poignancy.

    I don't know about this whole "cheapens his death" thing, because the death will always be awesome. I just hope it's done with rationale, instead of to make money.

    Then again, I do miss Barry, his relationship with Iris, his being late and almost the Clark Kent of police scientists. Moreover, I never cared for the two guys who stepped into his boots. Wally was fine as Kid Flash and a Teen Titan, but should have remained frozen as a young lad. Bart should have remained Impulse - or - since there were already enough speedsters - should not have been hatched.

    I liked Wally when Geoff wrote him. But Flash has always been, to me, Superman lite.

    Super-speed is far from a unique power. Superman, Wonder Woman, the Martian Manhunter and even GL, via his ring, all have or can approach super-speed. It becomes uninteresting when you have three...four...five...more? characters whose ability to do things real, real fast is their sole (ahem) claim to fame.

    And that is why I'm not a big Flash guy. I like Wolfman (I think it was Wolfman)'s idea of constantly running for his life, etc. There needs to be a unique angle. The Speed Force ain't it for me.

    So, I'll be OK if they bring back Barry. They can keep Wally and return him to the Titans (I think that's happening). Bart is gone. Jay should retire. And then things will look more like the Silver Age in the brand new DC Universe.



    I don't want stories that evoke an age. I don't want stories that pander to creators. I want GOOD stories that forward a universe. I'm sick of the Silver Age. I'm sick of the Byrne age. I'm sick of the Berganza and Idleson age. I want a GOOD STORY age that is irrespective of creators. Because there are petty fiefdoms and because they don't take risks, this has ceased happening entirely.

    Bruce Kanin wrote:

    This was it...the final episode of the final season of SMALLVILLE. Well, yes, there'll be a Season Eight, but the show might as well be called METROPOLIS. After all, the only known returnees next season will be the three Daily Planet stars of the future - Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. Everyone else will either be gone ... is supposed to be gone ... has gone ... or will make limited appearances. (NEWSFLASH: apparently Allison Mack willbe back...and as such, so will Chloe...).

    It's verified by TV Guide, yeah.

    So, back to the old review format one more time. What does this get? Well, for old time's sake, I'll give it a "B". It doesn't deserve it, given its foundation - the last several episodes, if not the entire Season Seven - but it was decent enough.

    It was, for the most part, an exciting episode. It kept moving, more or less, throughout. It was riveting enough. That's lukewarm praise, mind you, but more than I'll give most of the Season Seven episodes.

    In my humble opinion, the scene in the Kent home in which Lana bids a DVD farewell to Clark - and then Lois walks in (what is it with these people walking in unannounced - to the Kent home, the Luthor Mansion, hospital rooms...??) - was poetic. First, there was finally a tie-in to the John Byrne version of the Clark-Lana relationship in which Lana realizes that Clark belongs to the world. And second, whose arms does Clark end up in? Well, Lois's, of course. Contrived, but poetic. Or something.

    True, but out of the blue and out of context... at least to me.

    The scene between Clark and Lex at the Fortress was too short (see THE BAD) but it was a good one. The line where Lex says "I love you like a brother" touched me. It's as if Little Lex did live in him, somewhere, and was saying that.

    Yeah. I enjoyed that. But then, that's such an abrupt, odd cutoff.

    Moreover, the show FINALLY gave Lex a reason to be at odds with Clark. With Lex believing that The Traveler is really a bad guy - to be destroyed - he had cause to not only destroy Clark, but to look upon himself as the world's savior. THAT best approximates the Lex Luthor from Comicdom.

    And it was done well. Unfortunately, it was done in a way that leaves us more sympathetic to Lex...

    I liked Clark using his super-hearing to decipher the recording on Teague's plane. It reminded me a little of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN episode in which Clark (George Reeves) is listening to Jimmy's playback of a tape recorded in Tony's diner - Clark uses his super-hearing to listen to two thugs while jukebox music drowns everything out - except to him.

    When Jimmy visits Lex at the Luthor Mansion, it smacked of "filler". Their meeting seemed to serve no purpose other than to waste a minute or so. It appeared to contribute nil to the advancement of the plot. Then, at the end, when Jimmy is sent by Chloe to Clark for help, after she's kidnapped by the government, we see that the Lex & Jimmy scene was not filler, and crucial to the plot, because it is a way for Clark to go after Lex at the Fortress. Score one for the writers (for a change).

    Still, there are better ways. Off the top of my head, have Brainiac let slip what Luthor is up to before he's killed, etc.


    I have to admit that this episode had an ugly parallel with the first season final episode of HEROES. In that, they had this tremendous build-up to a final confrontation between Peter and Sylar. As the clock ticked down towards 10PM or so (maybe it was 10:05PM when it ended), I realized that there were, perhaps, barely eight minutes left - and there was no climactic battle between the good and evil guys. Well, same deal here...they left the best for last, but didn't leave enough time for it..."it" being the confrontation between Clark and Lex. Mind you, what they packed into it was good (see above), but it wasn't enough. This was Michael Rosenbaum's farewell to the shaved head, and it was too short. Shame on the SMALLVILLE writers.



    A new set of scenes has replaced the agonizing boredom of the Clark-Lana scenes: Chloe-Jimmy. Any scene with the two of them is worth a fast-forward or two.

    Brainiac, all-knowing and all-powerful, knows enough to find Doctor Teague (one more time: "please state the nature of your emergency") leaving on a jet plane, but doesn't figure out that Lex has the silly controlling device? Boy, is he dumb, and no Brainiac to me.

    Plus charging him up kills him. Sigh.

    Clark leaves it to Chloe to trap Kara (unaware that "Kara" is Brainiac) with Green K. He leaves her alone to do this, for a good reason - he needs to stay clear of the Green K rays. But instead of being nearby - out of range of the K but, say, on the street or the roof, looking on with his x-ray vision, he's nowhere in sight, and as such, when "Kara" reveals herself to be Brainiac, not available for a super-rescue. Not smart of Clark nor his writers.

    How did Clark know that Brainiac was at the power grid?

    Both points I saw and agree with.


    Clark kills Brainiac, finally. Well, I'll bet he's able to come back one day, and hope he does, because James Marsters makes for a great villain. Anyway, Brainiac went to the power grid to recharge after his encounter with Chloe the Meteor Freak. Read again: he... went... TO... the... power... grid... to... recharge. So when Clark sizzles Brainiac with electricity, why doesn't that make him super-charged? Maybe it overloaded him. Who knows?

    When Lex made it to the Fortress and approached the crystals, it reminded me of his counterpart, Kevin Spacey, doing the same thing, in SUPERMAN RETURNS.

    So...Kara's in the Phantom Zone. Shades of the Supergirl movie!

    Most of the season-ending cliffhangers have been chock full of stuff. This one left us hanging with only three players: Clark, Kara and Chloe. Since Lex is off the show and has to live, we know that the cliffhanger doesn't impact him. Lois and Jimmy weren't part of any cliffhanger. And Lana has flown the coup, thankfully.

    I've figured out that Smallville is IN Metropolis. There's no other explanation! How else do you explain scenes where they're in Smallville...then Metropolis...then at the Smallville Talon...the Isis Foundation in Metropolis...Smallville Hospital. Duerh.

    Lana's DVD to Clark reminded me of movie stars who "can't be attend the Academy Awards ceremony because they're filming on location" and record something for the Oscar show.

    Yeah, me too. Heh. Phoning it in.

    When Clark is in the hospital with Chloe and sees her eyes glaze over like Lana's, I half expected him to clench his fist, grimace, and mutter, "Kramer"!

    I finally get that! I'm watching Seinfeld! Woot.


    No Lex (boo). Not much Lana (yay!). No Lionel (boo). Kara? Not sure.

    Doomsday. Apparently he's a guy, not a monster. Uy vey!

    A female villain TBD. Ho hum. The Silver Banshee? The Yellow Peri? Lana Lang, Insect Queen? No, wait - she's a heroine.

    I'm waiting with un-anticipation and badded breath for Season Eight.

    Happy Summer, Super-Fans...

    Bruce Kanin

    Thanks, Bruce, as ever!

    I'll leave you with this fine piece by Aaron Price. TWICE this guy wrote me offering this fine piece of art, and TWICE I delayed like a dink replying out of time constraints. In return, out of kindness he sends me this fine piece, for which he is owed much respect. THANK YOU, Aaron. This will be my new desktop, and your effort is much appreciated.

    Known as Last Son of Krypton on the site, Aaron made this for me:

    Caped Bailey

    Woot! Isn't that awesome?

    Have some hope. Next year will have good moments, one would think. Until then, come see me at a con! Take care, guys!

    Billy "Chips" Weatherton, AKA Neal

    Check out the updated KO Count.

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