Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 8 - Episode 2: "Plastique"



Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

Now that's more like it. No wait... That is not quite right because in some ways there has been nothing like it yet.

See in this episode there is one thing that stands out as something you have never seen on Smallville. One simple thing. This episode starred Superman.

Yeah... You read that right. Not future Superman or the boy who will be Superman. It was Superman. Flat out, full on Man of Steel.

Some folks watching this show over the years have been waiting for the moment Clark took that final step in becoming Superman and after watching this episode I am 100% convinced he already took it.

I know he doesn't fly yet and he doesn't have a "real" costume but to me those are not needed for Clark to be Superman. It's all about his attitude, motivation, and response. This episode showed me what I suspected last episode. Clark Kent entered the Fortress at the end of last season and Superman came out. Heck you could say Lex Luthor knocked the Superman out of him which is actually kind of neat when you think of it that way.

Clark is everything we dreamed him to be in this episode. Confident. Sure of what he must do. Being proactive, brave, and willing to look out for the little guy (or gal in this case). What sold that more than anything was how in the end he didn't get into superpower match with the "Villain" but instead used compassion and understanding to talk her down. AWESOME! I mean Super AWESOME! Heck he was even smart. Looking over the autopsy report Lois "borrowed", Clark keyed in on the evidence right away with no help from anyone. Not even Chloe's new brain power. Now that's what I'm talking about.

There might be some details left for Clark in his journey to become the world's greatest hero but after this episode I will never again refer to him as the guy who "will be" Superman. He has become and is Superman now. Now we just need to see how he gets the name. (Hopefully from Lois) and hopfully we'll see him developing a costume. (Though I am okay with them using the red jacket sudo-costume). None of that matters for him actually being who and what Superman is. He is that now. Maybe I'll use SuperClark instead just to acknowledge those things but never future Superman. To borrow from another series; the future is now!

Let's talk a bit more specific here though. Clark's first day on the job started amusing with his wardrobe choice and it was fantastic to see Lois taking him under her arm. It's obvious they are playing up Lois' growing feelings for the Man of Steel which is nice to see. They need to be careful they don't overdo it though. She needs to keep the snarkyness on full because that is Lois and if anything Lois would be more likely to bury her feelings under a barrage of Snark than let down and open up. (At this point anyway). There was a couple of times I thought maybe they backed off her attitude a bit too much, but in the end I think they did well. Maybe just cut back a bit on the many longing moments of Lois watching Clark walk away with that look on her face and we'll be okay. You know the look I mean.

Clark rushing off to the sound of an explosion was great. How awesome was it to see him totally ripping the roof off the bus? Nice that they included a haze of smoke to cover his actions. Seeing him helping people out and working with the paramedics was cool. I like how they naturally accepted him in the midst of the action. Sure that's the script but in a way I think it showcases Superman's natural presence in the middle of trouble. I liked that.

Clark's first confrontation with Lady Lex was pretty interesting. It is neat how they had him saving her much like his first encounter with the real Lex. One big difference though... She's already on to him. In fact I get the feeling she knows more than she lets on and may know it all. Which kind of leads to maybe the only knock on this episode. How did Clark get hired at the Daily Planet? They never really said. I am okay with him getting the job based on Lois' referral. That is cool but there is a feeling there that Lady Lex might have given him the job to keep an eye on him which is not as cool. Not the end of the world but still not as cool. Anyway she knows he's lying and is on his case. That's trouble without a doubt especially with the revelation at the end of the episode.

Yeah, I was shocked too. Team Lexcorp is being built and that cannot be good. She might have been playing it off to Plastique that she was bringing "Heroes" together but you, dear reader, and I both know full well this is not going to be a roses and puppies team she's putting together. We already have the budding Justice League. Now we're getting an early form Legion of Doom for our newly emerged Superman and his Superfriends to face down. I just have two words for that. TOTALLY AWESOME! or maybe three words; BRING IT ON!

We are also introduced this week to the Paramedic of Doom and I have to say, I liked him. I don't know. Maybe it's because I just spent a week playing a digital version of him swinging a lightsaber and force pushing Stormtroopers around but Davis Bloome came off to me as a really nice guy which is credited to Sam Witwer's acting presence I am sure. It's kind of neat with press releases spoiling who he is or is going to be that I find myself thinking he's pretty cool to start out. We get a glimpse of trouble at the end but it's really too early to comment more on that forming story line. Let's just ride it out and see where it goes. For now I like the actor and not just because the Star Wars nut in me thinks it's cool that Darth Vader's Apprentice is now a major Smallville villain. He can do friendly and I can't wait to see how he pulls off going bad.

Really I think both new cast members have hit the ground strong. Cassidy Freeman is doing a great job playing Tess Mercer (and she has the most amazing eyes). She comes off as evil with little bit of sugar and is not a copy of Lex which I think is very important. There are still some questions I have about her character but I trust we will learn more about Tess Mercer as the season goes on so no need to bash anyone for not getting it all in episode 2 of the season.

Not sure where they are going with the whole 'Chloe keeping the Jimmy proposal from Lois and Clark' and what's with Chloe having those "moments" with other men. Not just Clark but the Paramedic of Doom too. What is with that? The Clark scene seemed off because I really didn't believe Chloe's motivation there, but they saved it with Clark's reaction to it. (Yeah, another very Superman, I mean SuperClark moment). Still the one with Para-doom was really off because he came out of nowhere (even if he seems like a really nice guy). I guess I need to see that one as more a one-sided deal from his side but I hope we don't get too many more of those moments with Chloe. She's Jimmy's girl.

Also of note is I really like how they found a believable and realistic way to get Chloe out of the Daily Planet. No one really wanted to see Lois run her over so it's good to see we have a valid and actually interesting twist in Chloe's character growth that moves her out of Lois' way and still keeps her a major part of the show.

Also lastly there was one other MAJOR big deal that I think we should all take a moment to stand up and applaud the "powers that be" on this season. This may be the biggest deal in the season so far. See for once (in all the time I can remember watching this show since Metropolis became a major part of it) someone injured in the city was actually treated in the city instead of being driven 3 hours to a small town medical center. Yes, you read that right. They actually used a hospital in the city. Can you believe they actually have them there? Smallville Medical Center might have the best doctors in the world (with the Luthor's always flying them in, it made sense for them to just stay) but it always baffled me why someone needing treatment in Metropolis would drive all that way to see a doctor. I don't care if it is the same set re-dressed. It's Metropolis General now and it's about time!

So I have to give this one nothing short of a solid A. Call it 5 out of 5.

Next week looks like we get to learn a little bit about Oliver and his past. That could be a fun ride. I'll see you then and thanks for reading.



Reviewed by: Neal Bailey


  • A gal named Bette has freaky explosion powers, per the comics.
  • Clark stops her and gets his first print article.
  • We meet Davis Bloome, who has freaky naked nightmares.
  • Chloe tells folks she's engaged.
  • Tess Mercer is explored, and perhaps creating a Suicide Squad.


    This is not the same show I was watching last year. Not even by a long shot. This is a GOOD show. It has iconic moments. It has character and feeling. The actors are trying. The plots are going somewhere, moving forward.

    When I watch this, my mind is telling me, man, this is an awesome new Superman show! Isn't that great after all that crappy Smallville? Seriously. I'm not using hyperbole here, that's what's going through my brain. It's to the point where, when Lois says that she remembers when she would kill for an obit, my brain doesn't go, "But, uh, she skated in after sleeping with her boss with a front page UFO story!" My brain goes, "Man, that's such a better Lois than the one that was on Smallville." And I forgive it.

    My brain is in forgiveness mode, mostly because the errors of this show are so surrounded by character that you can actually disregard them and get lost in the moment. The characters, with the exception being Chloe's arbitrary romance with Davis, are actually wholly sympathetic in this episode in most respects. Even Tess.

    Fantastic casting on the part of Tess, I insist. I'm totally captivated by her character, and there's no gratuitous chest shots. They're trying to go somewhere with her, even if there are double entendres. Davis? I'm not sure. He was wooden at times, sincere at others. I think it's because the guy looks like a statue as opposed to a human being.

    But to the blow-by-blow:

    Clark puts on his press pass, looks nervously out to the bullpen, and descends. Heaven.

    Clark wearing a flannel to work. Still heaven.

    Lois taking him to a phone booth to change. Brilliant. A BIT on the hokey comedy side, but enough of an example of his character developing to justify it, and the rest of the episode is serious enough to forgive it.

    Clark stepping out, nervous, "How do I look?" Great.

    I stop here, taken out, realizing, "Hey, that's not Clark Kent." It's not. It's a dude that would attract Lois Lane. No glasses. No slump. This is not a secret identity. It kills some of the efficacy of the scene, but the rivalry and friendship between Lois and Clark that works like a charm mostly negates it. This is a definitive, iconic Clark and Lois after just two episodes. Fantastic. Now give him glasses, fool!

    Then that dude from Spider-Man needed to show up. You know, "HE STOLE THAT DUDE'S PIZZA!" guy. "HE STOLE THAT DUDE'S SUIT!"

    And hey, since Al and Miles wrote it they could conceivably contact the guy. Provided they were not doing, uh, Mummy 3 stuff and hadn't abandoned the character they started crafting. Now thankfully, I might add, given the stark and sharp rise in quality of the show.

    Bus explodes, Clark gets out there and saves a bunch of people. It's so rad, you just don't care that he's exposing his powers by ripping the roof off. Good filming, great shots, good acting, awesome scene.

    It reminded me of House's finale. And anything that reminds me of House, by the law of association, rocks.

    Tess' feet must have been bound, alas, because her shoes didn't fall off despite the explosion. Those are some hard pumps, man. Still, good scene with Clark carrying her, a scene that could have been hokey had the actress not pulled it off excellently.

    Great opening. I said to myself, "This is a Superman show, sans the suit." Not a Smallville show with Clark Kent, but a Superman show with Clark Kent/Superman. Clark is ACTING like he should. He is HEROIC and not moping like he should be. THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN FOR THE LAST FOUR YEARS. And for not doing this until presumably the final season, I should smack the producers in the bippy. What's the bippy? I dunno. Monkeybella's third eye, who knows?

    Question, though: Why didn't Clark blow out the fire? Oh yeah! Because he got those powers back on that Smallville show.

    New distinction for the reviews. SMALLVILLE and Smallville. We are watching SMALLVILLE right now. AKA Metropolis. Smallville (lower case) has ended.

    So we meet Bette. Plastique. The actress playing her was on and off, sometimes great, other times struggling, I'm imagining because they gave a "fifteen-year-old" lines referencing Thunderdome, which had been out for more than a decade before she was even born. Well, that and the arm and cleavage tats on a minor. And the utter disgust I feel with myself being inclined to look at the cleavage tats of a minor.

    Checking IMDB:

    Meh. No age. Anyway, same uncomfortable feeling as when they made "14-year-old" Lana strut in Nicodemus. Not so kosher.

    Still, she's a DC character, I learn (why such an obscure one? I don't know. But she has appeal and a history, I just haven't been party to much Firestorm or Captain Atom), which is cool. At least it's a freak with an in-house history, making it less an iceman and more an ICEMAN!

    Chloe suddenly has decided not to be a journalist? Why? For her later in the show revelation that she's taking over Isis, acourse. But it makes no sense in the first scene. It's her passion. That she has given it up and that Clark and Lois are suddenly into it is insane.

    How is she surviving? Most of this episode she plays the beneficent rich gal. SHE HAS NO JOB and was INCARCERATED FOR TWO MONTHS. She should be near bankrupt. At least a throwaway line to Ollie, perhaps?

    Lois and Clark's chemistry in this episode cannot be denied. It's insanely good. Lois looks different, I've heard people complain. Yes. She does. You know what's different? All of her clothes are not revealing, silk, or dresses. She's dressing like a normal woman with a job would. She's looking like a REAL PERSON. And she's suddenly, damnably hot for that to me.

    "No casualties" Clark tells Lois, from the bus accident. No, wrongo. No FATALITIES. Casualties are just injuries. Bad English, whereby people say "casualty" and mean "fatality."

    Tess and Clark's scene was terse, great, tense. I got more out of it than I did last season with Clark and Lex bantering. His regretful pause to tell her not to become Lex, her delivery of the "to do" list such that it was entendre without being so at all to anyone but her (Clark literally is SEEN missing it, the acting is that good). Amazing.


    (I think it's gonna become a motif with a paramedic character.)

    How is Plastique not injured? She took a fire blast straight to her chest, so she must have some invulnerability...

    Lois with the cop worked really well for me. In a show where hot chicks used to get a pass just for being a hot chick, this is refreshing as hell. It's even played to comedy. A pretty face will only get you so far, like, say, 3 million viewers. Heh. I wonder if ratings are up. I'd imagine they are.

    There are a few MAJOR clunks in this episode. One of them was when Clark looks into the medical examiners. They're... it's just hammy, bad acting and dialogue. "Why, LOOK, Stephen! There's no explosives here at all!" "Yes, Brian! Amazing! Why, it must be a meteor freak!" It felt that blunt.

    There's STILL a silent film festival going on at the Talon. WOW.

    The skate punk scene was, top to bottom, a total abortion. Hilarious, hilarious abortion. I got a good laugh out of it, so it's forgiveable, and I don't feel bad poking fun at it, because whereas it's usually 95% crap with one good scene, this episode was 5% crap and 95% good scenes.

    "Excuse me, kid!"

    "It's a dude in flannel! GNARLY! RUN!"

    "I don't want to hurt you!"

    "Lying gink!" Drops skateboard, ditches. "You know my name!"


    "My name! 'Hey kid, get back here!' It's all I've been called since I was twelve!"


    "Yoink!" Tappity feet.

    He ditches his skateboard (you know, that thing that can go thirty, forty, fifty miles an hour on a hill?) Then they chase him to a dead end. He acts like he's on PCP, the girl looks at him, and he vaporizes. Doesn't explode, he just... disappears.

    Now, this is beyond suspension of disbelief for several reasons. First off, his suicide is retarded illogical. "I just blew up a bus where there were 'no casualties!' Obviously a jury will decide that I can conjure fire from my brain and incarcerate me forever! Better blow myself up!"

    He even stands right behind jugs of FLAMMABLE LIQUID as the gal he knows has explosive powers is staring right at him. Bright kid. Lousy punks! Get a job! I kid. Punk rock forever. He didn't blow up... be imploded in. HAW!

    Beyond that, Clark can see across the spectrum, and he's faster than almost anything. He'd SEE the power coming from Bette, or, barring the fact that he didn't, he'd hear the direction it was going, or, barring that, he'd have been able to save the poor kid, so this makes it seem like he chose not to.

    It would have been better to have Chloe in this scene instead of Clark.

    Davis and Chloe have a scene that starts like a ridiculous soap opera (help me fix this light, OH! I'm staring straight into your eyes, how did THAT happen!) but turns, very well, into an encouragement from Davis and a light character moment for both. My fear is that this will lead to a Davis/Chloe thing, which could derail an otherwise so far perfect season in ways. But still, it recovered in this episode.


    Clark won't reveal his source when it's Davis. Good for comedy and character.


    Clark indicates that they didn't find any meteor rock in the blown up kid. Problem is, there was no body to examine that I saw.

    "psycho spice" KLUNK!

    Chloe's admonition for Bette had me chuckling. "You don't just go start killing people!" It sounded like a line from my review. "That's a bad Bette! A bad, bad, Bette! We don't kill people! Naughty Bette! She must be given a spanking!"

    Regardless, she attacks Chloe, kind of arbitrarily, and Clark arrives, saves the day. The power is visible where it wasn't before, negating critique on Clark not seeing it with skater dude, but at very least this awfulness is tempered by one of the more powerful redemption speeches from Clark I've seen on the show. He goes to her, persuades her she's not a villain, tries to redeem her. It's GREAT. It makes what could have been a point eater into a point saver. A pitying, sympathetic end. She had some CHARACTER, making her less a freak of the week. This is important. She's not arbitrary, thereby.

    Great lighting and camerawork for the Tess/Bette scene, and a very intriguing concept of a team. I'm guessing this is the 33.1 group Lex was supposed to have gathered a few years back that never occurred, and a Suicide Squad in the making. I DIG. Very much I dig.

    Lois gets Bette on the front page, and yet she's succinctly removed from prison without charged or a public outcry? Odd.

    Iconic desk scene with Lois and Clark. All in all, grand.

    The Doomsday tease even has me excited.

    No Kos. No mountains. No typical KO Count fodder. It's tight. All I've got is powers in front of people, and even then, amidst smoke. They're PAYING ATTENTION.

    I am ENJOYING SMALLVILLE. Someone check my temperature. A few pitfalls take me out, but mostly great. 4 of 5.


    Words of caution: There are fifty-four letters here. Some date from May, because I don't do a "post-season" letter column. If these letters thereby seem out of date, many are. Bear with me. I will clearly demarcate the NEW letters in case you don't want to slog. For me, I feel I owe these folks a good response.

    Also, last season, I was pretty down. An awful season and a lack of response had led me to consider stopping the reviews. I didn't expect a response when I asked, and yet, TONS of people responded, asking me to continue the review. If you do skip the below, at very least read my thank you, because it's well deserved. You wouldn't be reading this were it not for the MULTIPLE responses. Thank you. Thank you ALL. It's hard as a writer to be vulnerable and actually say how you're feeling. You guys have always rewarded it with honesty and encouragement. You ROCK.

    Scotty V wrote:
    You know Neal, in your review for Countdown 26, you mention there are 72 Monitors in the first scene. I didn't even think to count it, and it seems the editors and artists didn't either.

    And that's why Countdown was Countdown! Heh. New benchmark for awful.

    But when I count it now, and I'm not going through it again so I could be off, I got somewhere around 80, counting all of the little pink supposed to be heads in the back. The best way to check would be to actually mark everyone of them after counting, but I'm not going to do that.

    Yeah, I went with my low number to be nice. And safe from trolls.

    So I've just read this issue and it's actually the last one I had stocked up on before I stopped buying or continued reading. I knew it wasn't as interesting to me as 52, because I was dying to get to it every week, so when I saw all the reviews and that they were mostly negative, I decided from the point after I'd already bought I'd just read the synopsis on these reviews and that'd be enough. I HAVE heard it got better once Batman and Darkseid and Superman started facing off in issue 11 or something, but I'll just read the synopsis, cause I'm poor.

    It didn't. People often, in comics, mistake forward motion for a good story. I see it a lot in lay (non-reviewer) folk. As long as something is happening, even if it's categorically retarded, they enjoy it. I did as a kid myself. Now, I don't, so I have fewer comics to read.

    Amirali wrote:
    Hi, Neal.
    I've been lurking around your reviews for the best part of four years now, even a good two years after I stopped following Smallville regularly. I love your work! I've finally come out of the woodwork after seeing the season 7 finale though.

    Rad! Thanks.

    I was surprised to see that this isn't the end of Smallville apparently, and they have more coming. If they have another season of Smallville, do you think they can recapture the quality of season 3? Call me an eternal optimist, but without Lana, I can actually see things being interesting again. Even though I'd lost hope earlier around end of season 5, but I want Smallville to surprise me.

    If you had asked me two weeks ago, I'd have told you I probably wasn't going to watch the finale. I didn't even until Friday. Now I'm totally re-invigorated. It's a new lease for me.

    Now, to the moment that made me blow my top. What the hell is Superman doing killing Brainiac like he's the Punisher???!! And what was the bs about Superman only vowing to not kill humans? As far as I recall, Superman would never take the life of any sentient being, whether that's aliens, AI, the Joker or even Darkseid, who is most definitely not human.

    He killed Brainiac in the comics once, but only because it's what Brainiac wanted, what with the nature of Our Worlds At War.

    Once I cooled down a little, I challenged myself on whether Superman would never kill. And I have to admit there are two points in the comics where they essentially showed Superman killing someone and I bought into it:

    1) When he executed Zod on alternate Earth. Given the threat he posed to HomeWorld humanity, the horrible crimes he had committed, and the fact that there were no survivors on that the last representative of humanity, I can see Superman feeling that he had no other option but to act as judge and executioner on mankind's behalf. Even if I didn't agree with the characterization, it's quite plausible.

    I think Superman would kill if he had to, but a good writer would never put him in that position. I think Pocket Universe Zod was a mistake, if a novel concept.

    2) During the Imperiex saga, when Superman eventually had to send Brainiac and Imperiex back to the start of the universe; the time of the Big Bang. While it's not shown, it's implied with high probability that Brainiac is killed. Well, unless I'm forgetting something.

    Aha! That's what I get for typing before reading. Yeah, that's the other occasion. I liked Brainy, disliked Zod.

    Both those times, I wasn't turned off by the writing, although of course it was shocking. So, I was wondering why can't I justify Superman killing Brainiac this time? What's different now? I think the main reason is how he seemed to take glee in it. The other is how he disregarded Brainiac's valid point that murder went against Superman's core values. If Clark had sorrowfully agreed, but said that he has no other way to save humanity, I might have understood. I always try to give writers maximum latitude so that I can enjoy tv. Instead he just says "you're no man" and kills him unflinchingly.

    He does it with TV logic. In TV logic, you can assume he will live. We don't, so we're taken aback.

    That's how a Hollywood action hero acts in my book. Not Superman! You've been calling out Smallville on Clark's excessive violence regularly, and I think he finally crossed the line here.

    However, I am curious though how you feel on this. I still wonder if I'm being overly harsh on how they portray Clark, especially given what a serious threat Brainiac was to humanity. How do you think an in-character Superman would/should have reacted to that situation?

    No. I think they were abysmal about making him kill. I think, confronted with that situation, Superman would come up with a better solution. OR, I would write it again, and into a situation where Supes had a solution. The dilemma is created by the writer, it's not something that really happens, so it's mutable.

    I'm sad that in a episode which has such epic moments (especially near the end), that I'm made queasy by the writing choices.


    MATT! wrote:
    Seriously you need to continue to write Smallville reviews. I enjoy them more than I enjoy the show!

    Thank you. That's an awesome compliment, man.

    G.V. Golwitzer (GeorgeHouseofEL) wrote:

    The seasons over, which is sad, because it means no more Smallville reviews for a few months.

    I was cheering, honestly, after that season.

    I can honestly say, if you stop the reviews...I may stop watching Smallville alltogether. Especially with that realy bad episode that ended the finale. Its my opinion that Gough and Miller just weren't was their last episode and they didn't care. And, Unfortunatly, the season had just started to get better...but alas, Smallville has disapointed us once again.

    Now it seems to have new momentum. Woot! And Al and Miles are gone. Coincidence?

    Hopefully, if my birthday present comes through allright, I should be seeing you at Wizard World Chicago this summer (If, that is, you're going), and I look forwards to meeting you. I may bring my smallville magazine for you to sign, since I have Madly and Benji's Dream allready signed (amongst some other things..)

    I want to VERY badly. It all depends on the next few months. I am in awful desperate financial straits, but jobs are coming through left and right. We'll see... I hope I get to see you, man. If not, I will be touring again. Bank on it.

    Hopefully the crappy season ending wont turn you off of writing these reviews, I don't think I could stand it...heck, I don't think the world could stand not getting their weekly dose of Bailey.

    That kindness keeps me going, hombre. People think because of the way I put myself out there that I'm immovable, but honestly, I suffer from a lot of self-doubt. Letters like this say to me, "Don't be an idiot." And thank you for that.

    I'm out
    Have a good summer, and hopefully I'll see you at Wizard World Chicago.
    G.V. Golwitzer (georgehouseofel)

    I hope so too.

    Julian Finn wrote:
    Neal, I'll make you a deal. (hey that might be my first rhyming half couplet ever lol)

    Couplet? I don't write poetry, I'm just a construction worker...

    You keep writing the reviews, and I'll keep watching the show. Pretty much the only reason I keep watching is the slight feeling of commiseration I get seeing my pain reflected by you on this site.

    Deal. A new deal, but deal.

    A couple of points I noticed that you didn't mention in the review for Arctic.

    1) Jimmy tells Lois that Lex is just drilling for oil in the arctic and Lois believes him? ? ? I don't know about you, but if one of my friends came to me unsolicited and told me that they'd "overheard" a conversation about my boss being had by an unnamed and suspiciously (complete with shuffling shoes, coughing, and inability to maintain eye contact) referenced coworker, and then said friend went to tremendous effort to produce pages and pages of documentation to back up the veracity of this story, I might be quasi suspicious. But hey, I'm not an investigative reporter. Maybe that's just how they roll.

    I'm drilling for oil every time someone asks me why I don't have a novel out yet. Sounds perfectly rational to me!

    2) Assuming that Clark leaves Brainiac's free floating ashes, checks in on Chloe for 4.2 seconds and then immediately super speeds over to sweep Lana into his arms (and really, given that Clark has been incapable of going more than 3 lines of dialogue all season without busting out Lana's name Wrath of Khan style, this is a fairly safe assumption), when, exactly, does Lana have time to find a video camera, record a 5 minute message, clean all her belongings out of her room, and get far enough away from the hospital that Clark can't find her in less than a second.

    Lana can travel through time and record things with her mind. Face it, she's amazing.

    3) The glorious McGuffin- The device that is purportedly designed to control Clark, which can only be activated in the Fortress (assuming that the McGuffin of season 4 was faithfully found and the Fortress is built in the first place), and only if both the device and Clark are in the Fortress at the same time, succeeds in controlling Clark by......destroying the Fortress??? Pardon? Did someone do a find and replace on the script with the words cold and control?

    The writers are drilling for oil!

    Maybe the CW's target audience of women aged 18-34 doesn't care about plot or continuity as long as there are plenty of gorgeous men floating around. Er....or not floating as is the case on Smallville.

    Oh, hunky men. Rowr!

    This whole season has been one harrowing flashback after another of that South Park episode where it turns out the Family Guy writers are actually a bunch of Manotees selecting plots by playing with beach balls. The only high point has been your confirmation that I'm not the only one who feels this way.

    URP! URP! (tosses ball)

    Please keep it up :D



    Thanks. :)

    Jim Smith wrote:
    One last time...


    You wrote, "This was the biggest #*$@ you to an audience I think I've ever been party to."

    And other expletives I deleted for the family friendly aspect of the site.

    I could not agree more. I want to blame the writers strike but no. This was beyond stupid. I sat there at the end and could not believe my eyes. I kept going back to the interview you did with Rosenbaum, nice job by the way, screaming NOOOOO over and over in my mind. He won't be back. He must know how stupid this show is getting. Even if they could do it without shaving his head, I doubt they could give him enough money to keep going.

    I think they could (and will) do a phonecall, or a shadowy scene. For a bojillion bucks.

    What should have been the greatest moment in the history of this show failed on an epic level. Failed like an 80 year old who ran out of viagra. Failed like the Ford Pinto. Failed like New Coke. Anyway. You get the point. I think this was a good jumping off point. I think I would rather watch Ugly Betty than any more of this crap. Doomsday is right. Push the button and just nuke it from orbit. It is the only way to be sure.

    Failed like Anakin saying "Wizard!"

    Speaking of Doomsday, how much you want to bet he will be a super sexy bartender that 'hulks' out when something happens to him. I am not watching anymore but I will still read Neal. Hell, your reviews might save the show for me as of right now that review was the best part of this past weeks show. Take care of yourself and if you are ever in the Detroit area, drop me a line.

    I shall! But you're so wrong, man. He's a super sexy PARAMEDIC that hulks out. That's... it's night and day!

    Jim Smith


    Eddie Colton wrote:

    Are you doing a special letters column after the finale? If not, you should. Seems like a shame not to, even if you're not obligated to review anything next week. If so, here you go.

    I didn't get a SINGLE email about this last episode while it was airing.

    We're all in shock.

    It sounds arrogant to say that, but by god, I usually get three or four. People like to watch and commentate as they go. It felt as if people just didn't care any more.

    Why would Brainiac dress up in the flight uniform

    Actually, I was thinking, "Why would he take time to change OUT of the flight attendant uniform?" Oh right, he can probably just morph.

    That too.

    He's TAKING CHLOE'S JOB. What a pal.

    Now that Lex is dead-ish, why couldn't she just re-apply for her old job? I don't think Lex added a note - "She hid something from me in plain sight in her desk."

    She, uh, she's tired of reporting!

    As in, next season, when Clark and Lois will be in a relationship while he's still in Smallville.

    Yeah but in the Smallvilleverse, there's no reason for Clark not to still live in Smallville, even if he works at the Daily Planet. No Clinton Street here. Or "Sullivan Place," although I guess with Chloe and Lana gone, that will just be "above the Talon." With Lois! He also won't have an elderly mother to send checks to. She'll make more money than he does!

    And probably be president before Lex.

    Kara has adapted to the leg trick apparently.

    Remember, it's Brainiac. So while girls mature faster than boys, inexplicably super-powered, kryptonite-immune supercomputers than can replicate and morph and aren't powered by the yellow sun mature even FASTER.

    And who's to say that Brainiac is a guy? He's just a really, really mannish chick.

    Clark and Chloe plot to kill Kara. Do I even have to explain that?

    I love this scene, because Chloe says that the Kryptonite will floor any Kryptonians in the vicinity. Like all of a sudden, the catch-all meteor rocks have a very certain effect, and of course Chloe knows all about it. Hell, even I'M not sure how it works and I've seen more Kryptonite than Chloe has.

    Well, it's one of two things. A half an hour of minor annoyance, or instant death. Whichever is convenient.

    Brainiac, who was looking to get charged up, gets charged up, and it... it kills him.

    Hey Neal, for fifty points... how did Clark kill Bizarro?

    You remember that episode? Heh.

    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.

    Test@#les? It's okay, I think all Clark did was blow Brainiac into a million pieces, thereby assuring that there are now a million Brainiacs who will reform themselves and maybe join back together. He is still the T-1000, right?

    Ah'll be back.

    What, no mention of the fact that Brainiac, the smartest guy around, TELLS Clark that if he kills him, Chloe and Lana will be free? Even if that's true, why not LIE? Say if he kills him, Chloe and Lana will DIE? Or is this one of those computers that can never lie. Oh right, he impersonates people and lies constantly. Hmm. No survival instinct on Krypton? Explains why it also blew up.

    James Marsters, he hot.

    So Lana leaves Clark so he can achieve his greater destiny

    This is the equivalent of a groupie leaving a rock star because they're holding them back. Something we know would NEVER HAPPEN. What a wonderful fantasy world Smallville is. Like, I bet fat chicks aren't even clingy there. Oh right, there are no fat chicks in Smallville.

    There was one, but she was a homicide case who ate deer. And I think it was just makeup.

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

    Did I imagine this, or did they have a shot of Lex in a big winter coat a few episodes back? I imagined that, I suppose. Nah, a trenchcoat and black gloves is good enough. I hoped for a little too much here, like, "Hey guys, we have to fly to this little airport in Greenland and then take a boat to this ice floe where we will then disembark to the secret location with a helicopter." I mean, they even had Superman Returns to rip off here. They could have even used FOOTAGE from it. Oh well. Why should a finale have a budget or logic?

    But we have had the T3 scene twice now.

    "Mild mannered farm boy..." CLUNK

    Mild mannered... huh... mild mannered? From Lex's point of view, Clark would seem pretty RUDE, actually. Always barging into the mansion uninvited and never being stopped by security, accusing Lex of killing Jesus and starting the Crusades, stealing his wife, etc.

    LEX! I hate you! Now gimme some snack cakes! I need 'em! A-hil!

    Lex cites the good things he could have done with Clark

    You liked this part? Why can't Lex help Clark become a hero NOW? Why does it have to "end" here in "this" way? Become some deceptive angel chick who was actually a lying imposter told him Clark will destroy the Earth? Because he has an ice fort, and only an evil visitor would have a beautiful crystal palace of solitude? Lex sure is easily duped. And let's face it, he was duped. By his ex business partner, Brian E. Ackerson. Yeah, Clark must be here to destroy the Earf. He's just been really busy the past... 19 years. Logical assumption there, criminal mastermind. Oh right, this is the dumb, overprivileged, paranoid Lex. Maybe when he wakes up from his coma in a Canadian hospital, he'll forget not only everything weird that's happened, but also what a bonehead he is, and then he'll put on a little weight, actually run his empire as if it offers some tangible product or service, and never waste his time on peons from Smallville or nosy reporters ever again. And then focus on what's really important... LAND!

    That and getting with Kelly Brook again.

    0 out of 5 is being generous. But hey, they ended it with a crane shot! That's fitting closure, right? A crane shot? When you get the chance to interview Rosenbaum again, wear a ski mask and shave his head and give him a plane ticket to Vancouver.

    I like him too much to send him back to the show as it was. The new show? I'll think about it.

    Azor wrote:
    I've never been to Calgary, so that probably wasn't me who approached you and asked for an autograph on World War Hulk #3. But it is such a good story that I now want you to sign my World War Hulk #3. In fact, I encourage anyone going to a convention that Neal is attending to have him sign World War Hulk #3.

    I will always sign World War Hulk 3. And kiss a baby. And cry during Moulin Rouge. CRAP! Didn't mean to say that out loud.

    Mark Sposato wrote:
    Long time reader. Since season 1 I think.


    I've written once or twice, but have read just about every review of the show. As a true die-hard Superman fan, I want to love everything and anything that bears even a slight resemblance to the Man of Steel. While I usually agree critically with your analysis, I find myself to be way more forgiving.

    Good! I'm glad you enjoy the show. That's a good thing.

    I want to love the show so badly that I make constant excuses and rationalizations for all the BS. That is until now. I have finally given up.


    I, a fan who loves this character as much as humanly possible, have given up on Smallville. I will still watch, even if they go another 8 seasons (God forbid), but any hope of doing the character justice, or even making up for past mistakes has been shattered. The thought of Smallville's version of Doomsday makes me shudder. I honestly feel enraged at whoever decided this was an appropriate idea to pursue. The resolution to the major conflict of the past 7 years (Lex & Clark) culminated in half-hearted whisper when it deserved to go out with a bang. The writers make me sick.

    I understand this frustration. Hopefully the new season is as big a surprise to you as it is to me.

    I know some people are less than impressed with some of the current cast, but I honestly feel they could ALL pull their weight with writers worth a damn. The show has become so foreign to my concept of Superman, that I have to keep reminding myself its still about Big Blue. These writers should be ashamed. Whoever else makes the creative decisions when it comes to plot and structure should be ashamed as well. The very least they can do is at least communicate with one another. (Are there still 20 something writers on staff? It seems like they don't even read each others' scripts from week to week.) What they are doing is blasphemy, and should NOT be tolerated.

    Meh, blasphemy is a religious term, mostly. There's no sacred text for Superman. I will say it sucks, and sucks hard.

    Isn't there anything we can do? I'm being serious.

    I'm close to folks in Smallville now. I've tried writing Al Gough in the past. I've found the best thing to do (as we are not part of the creative process) is to enjoy what you like, hate what you don't, and do your best to convey that message to those who are involved. It seems to be working now that Al and Miles are gone.

    What if we all wrote a passionate and well-crafted letter to the CW execs explaining how terribly they are abusing a character we love.

    They'd ignore them before they'd hire a letter writer. They care about the bottom line.

    A character that the world has loved. For 70 years. What if we all wrote letters, just bombarded them with complaints, and demanded at the very least, more research into what Superman is about. What if we organized some kind of protest? I'm sure there are many that would be willing to participate, if only we were had a united presence.

    That's why they have producers, writers, directors, sound men, cinematographers, and suits. So they can all point to other people for the blame or be snootily assertive of perfection. See: politics.

    What they are doing has crossed over to blatant disrespect. I don't know. Isn't is sad that a show I once loved so much, has finally caused me to feel such anger, that I'm talking about protests? I know it's just a TV show. And I know Superman is just a character. I just am so tired of getting my hopes up and being let down in such an extreme way. Anyway, keep writing. I'll keep reading, and I'm sure theres a lot of us out there. If Superman can teach us anything, maybe its to always have hope, even if things look as bad as they do right now.

    YES. Exactly.

    P.S. Maybe the Smallvilleverse is really just one of the more bizarre 52 earths. Maybe its even the product of the Bizarro earth itself changing (only slightly) when Superman-2 was pounding the crystal wall.
    All the best,


    Adam wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    You asked for feedback about if you should invest the time to review this show next season, and I have to admit, I can't come up with a good arguement for you to stay. I've enjoyed your reviews ever since I started watching the show back during season two, but if there's one thing that seems apparent to me over the last stretch of episodes in particular, it's that you seem to invest more time in critiquing the show and trying to puzzle out the inner logic, than most of the writers invest in CREATING the show!

    True dat.

    Part of the appeal of your reviews for me has been that like me, you're a "comics guy" and I think that's why your reviews are my favorite. There's a definite distinction between being a Superman fan and a Smallville fan. When it comes to sites that review the show, I often run across the latter more than the former. I've been reading Superman comics almost since I could read. I got into the Superman titles in a big way at the age of six when an aunt got me MAN OF STEEL, and I've never missed buying a Superman issue hot off the stands since Superman #28 in 1988. Though I know your readership doesn't extend back that long, your history with the comics definately gives you the informed opinion that I look to to validate my own disenchantment with the show's recent direction.

    And we're not too far off. I started in 92, and have read most of Byrne.

    I think sites that review the show tend to play ball more because it's less abbraisive and gets them more access. I prefer honestly. And hell, I still got access! It just took longer.

    I don't want to be one of those crazy fans who turns ever discussion of Smallville into a shouting match about CANON! CANON! I mean, the first Donner film deviated somewhat from the comics of the time and there was nothing wrong with that, right? But, when Smallville starts playing so fast and loose with the myth that my roommate (who doesn't read the comics and has only followed the Reeve and Routh movies) has an incredulous reaction to what's on screen, I know the show has strayed too far from its source.

    Yeah. But then, there are still little gals who wonder if Lex will turn out to be evil. I speak to them.

    I decided this year that the only way I could really enjoy the show was to completely divorce myself from the idea that this leads anywhere near a future where Clark dons the cape and tights. For me, this is just another alternate Earth that exists in the multiverse to demonstrate how things could have gone wrong. It's an Elseworlds that ultimately shows us why a heroic Clark Kent is the lynchpin of what makes New Earth (or Earth-1) great. If you watch the show with that filter, it's actually pretty entertaining. Just look at all that has gone wrong on this Earth because Clark has run from his destiny rather than embrace it....

    ... Since Superman hasn't arisen to inspire the people and instill a public trust in the super-powered, people who are meant to be heroes on New Earth have been more or less forced into operating from the shadows and are branded as terrorists.


    .... Without an overt "overgrown boy scout" threat to his power, Lex's ambition has grown unopposed and his darker side has taken a slower and more insidious path. Had Superman/boy arrived sooner, Lex's evil might have accelerated to the point where his true colors could be revealed before he got too close to Clark's secret. By hiding his nature, Clark has failed to provoke Lex's true nature, and in turn made himself MUCH more vulnerable than New Earth's Clark did.


    ... Had Superman debuted sooner, it's possible that Lois's interest in journalism could have been sparked by the arrival of this costumed hero, as opposed to tabloid fodder.


    ... Being forced to hide his true nature from Jimmy has resulted in Clark seeing him as a potential liability to his secret, thus preventing them from developing the sort of trust they enjoy on New Earth.

    And heck, he's stealing one of his potential girls, too!

    Granted, some of these require a little fudging, but I think the overall premise has merit. We're not seeing a prequel to the comics or movie continuity. This is an Elseworlds - "World Without a Superman."

    So far, yup.

    The other way I tried to give Smallville more of a chance this year was to make a conscious effort not to nitpick too much. I was willing to spot them their complete failure to manage long-term continuity, and only get riled up when they couldn't keep details consistent within a storyline. And even with spotting them that, and allowing all the minor errors, the final stretch of episodes left me wondering....

    1) How was Brainiac able to travel back in time to Krypton?
    2) More specifically, why was Kara apparently somehow the key to this time travel?
    3) How is it possible that the Fortress is able to send someone back in time to Krypton? It seems like there should have at least been some speech from Jor-El explaining why this isn't an easy trick to pull. (Had they given us something along the lines of the Donner Cut where Superman can only get his powers back at great cost, maybe this would have worked.)
    4) When did Brainiac take Kara's place and how did he trap her in the Phantom Zone? (As you point out, the scene with Kara dropping the milk makes no sense if we're to assume that's "really" Brainiac, but "Arctic" implies Kara never made it back to the present with Clark.

    Yes, all very lame.

    and for me the big one is....

    If the device was capable of controlling Kryptonians, how do we know that it wouldn't work on Kara as well? Why is everyone acting under the assumption that it's a Clark-specific remote control? We know it was sent to control "the Traveler" but how do we know that KARA isn't the Traveler? As I see it, this was the biggest missed opportunity of the season. Veritas was built around worshipping the sole survivor of Krypton - so what happens to that faith when suddenly there are TWO sole survivors? Shouldn't that at least cause people like Lionel and Teague to wonder if maybe they've been proceeding under a false assumption? It would have tied Kara into the main storyline in a more intergral way, and possible give them a way to use her without having to resort to amnesia and dopplegangers.

    But then she'd have had a PURPOSE!

    Well, I've gone on long enough here with my pet theories. In any event, if you bail out on next season, I'll miss your reviews but I can't say I won't understand.

    Thanks. I'll be here.

    Have a good summer. Hope to meet you in San Diego!


    Irwin Santos wrote:

    I care...keep writing your review.

    Aloha from Hawaii..


    Thanks, Irwin!

    David wrote:
    Please keep reviewing Smallville! For the past two years, the only things that have kept me going with this failure of a series is:

    1.) Hoping the dying tragedy can finally be put to rest
    2.) Being amused and wholly agreeing with your scathing (and accurate) reviews.


    I used to think that Smallville was the most creative and entertaining ideas ever. I actually watched the first three seasons in three weeks and loved it!

    The first three were utterly brilliant comparably.

    Lately, I only take solace in watching the episodes knowing that I can read your reviews and forward some highlights to my friends that are also suffering. This show should have ended long ago so I appreciate that you've stuck with it.

    I will too.


    Bret wrote:
    Don't stop writing the Smallville reviews. I may not agree with you on every point, but you echo a lot of my frustrations with small issues or general bad episodes (Arctic for example).

    Cool! Thanks.

    This show has turned into something that resembles a heroin addiction... I know heroin is bad, and I know my life would be better if I just stopped using it... but chasing the dragon is just too addicting. Smallville is that for me. This season was a constant frustration for me... and I know it would have just been better if I stopped watching altogether... but no, I suffer through every episode. I watch as Clark continues to sit on his @ss and mope around the farm.

    There's so much potential for this show, but it's on the brink of being totally lost.

    I think they finally saw that.

    Dave from Houston wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    Just a note to say: I love your reviews, if for no other reason than to assure myself that the show has become a load of horse crap and I'm not the only one who thinks so. All of the sane, mature, critically-thinking voices have left the other S-ville boards I read, and have been replaced with (constantly-misspelled) adulation from uber-fans who give this show 10/10's every episode, regardless of content. There have been times when I questioned my own criticism of the show, but reading your reviews assures me I'm not crazy to expect a show that's been on 7 years to make sense within its own universe and to produce plot that is driven by characterization, and not vice versa.

    I'm just amazed that there are so many blind followers, but then, I'm not so surprised when I think about it. Look at politics.

    But if writing these reviews become too much of a time-suck, and your time is better spent writing other things to help provide for your family, that's your obvious #1 choice, and I'll back your play.

    I thought about it, and decided, meh. I can still write these and do other things. It's worth it.

    I'm just saying: as long as you're writing, I'm reading.

    Thank you for that.

    Sorry you haven't been getting as much email lately. I think most of us fans are just at a loss of things to say at this point. The Smallville we grew to love is either dead or dying. It's just up to us whether we have the stomach to sit at its bedside as it experiences the death-throes.

    Yep. And let me make it clear, it isn't about me being concerned with getting emails. When I started this, I got maybe one a week. It's more me saying, "I could write X column, and get people exited and entertained, or Y column, and have no one interested at all." I'm secure in myself, largely, but I want to do things that are good for the site, which is why the Caption Contest goes by the wayside in favor of Smallville and other stuff.

    I'll save you a seat.


    Bill Warren wrote:
    Hey Neal!

    I for one am emphatic when I say please continue to write Smallville reviews. I know it's painful watching this show go down the tubes like it has. Especially when they dangle those awesome superman-esqe moments we've been waiting for forever in our faces, and then snatch them away and ruin them somehow. But your reviews always filled in the gaps for me and also comforted me to know that I'm not the only one on this planet who likes GOOD stories instead of flashy CGI.

    Thanks! I will continue.

    keith price wrote:
    Neal, Not since Bobby Ewing appeared in the shower on Dallas was I so, in a better tone, bummed by a season finale. I watched, and said to myself, WTF!!!I figured out from the start of the episode Kara was actually Brainiac. Don't know how, just did. Question: where does a pilot land a jet in the arctic?

    Answer: Where the polar bears aren't. Hey-o!

    Are we not supposed to think about these things. I have a good friend who up until season four, would not miss Smallville. He gave up when Clark/Lana got to be too much. This season finale has just about done it for me. If Lionel was killed by Lex, why oh why is Glover still in the credits? Could it have been a clone of Lionel? Lana leaving? Please!!! These goofy writers will have her back next year(with or without Kristin)! Then when Kara gets out of the PZ, she'll bring the prisoners with her, giving Clark someone else to fight until the writers run out of ideas(think they already have).

    I shared your sarcasm. I really did.

    Neal, thanks for the reviews. Yes, even though I didn't comment, I did read and appreciate your reviews. If WB wants Smallville to have its last season next year, they are well on their way. Losing the two main creators, and two of its top stars isn't the way to keep a show on the air. More the pity though because the first seven years, give and take some episodes, have been good. You would expect better from a team of writers for the Superman legend. But the bottom line is the mighty dollar. Neal, keep writing your reviews. People do read them!!! Take care, Keithcl

    Thanks! I will.

    Rob Desmarais wrote:

    I am a regular viewer of the SupermanHompage, although I don't contribute much as a member. I guess I'm just a mild-mannered lurker.


    I just wanted to let you know that I do look forward to your reviews after each SMALLVILLE episode. It reminds me that I have not lost my mind and others see the faults in these "Superman" stories. (Of course, I use that term loosely.)


    SMALLVILLE has become something all to itself. I realized its universe has little or nothing to do with the comics, tv, cartoons or movie versions that co-exist with it. After every episode this becomes more apparent. Realizing this makes things a little easier to take, reluctantly so. This is not the hopes I had after watching episode one. I never dreamed we would be where we are now, watching the inane babble and out-of-character hijinks of characters that somewhat resemble the characters that I grew up with and know and love. This show and these characters are on their own path. One whose end result may or may not resemble anything close to what we know to be Superman.

    Well, what's done is done. No changing the past. The only hope lies in the future, that the show, someday, might make some type of sense to a Superman fan.

    Or maybe a turnaround! Heh.

    So I will still watch SMALLVILLE. I started this ride from day one and will see it to the end, even through the episodes that boggle the mind.

    And with each episode comes a special added bonus: your review. So please keep up the good work, so I may enjoy more SMALLVILLE episodes to come...

    I shall!

    Thank you for all your work and the many reviews you provide.

    Thanks for your faith.

    Rob Desmarais

    Chris supes wrote:
    YES! ok...u asked for people to write and give you their opinion? all i know is that i wait every week after watching the show JUST to read your reviews. most of the stuff i agree with you, and even when i don't, its mostly because you point something out I missed or something.


    I feel let down a bit when i read the fact that you are at convention or something, and i have to wait an extra few days for your review. (although that's just me being spoiled)

    I'll forgive it, man. That's awesome flattery.

    I truly admire the fact that you continue to review the show and write/type it for us to read...but I wanted to give you another reason besides honoring a promise (which is reason enough) The reason is..because I look forward to it SO much, and it gives me a time to 'get away' If anything, even crappy episodes are that much better, because i know i get to 'rewatch it' through your eyes while reading the review. Please continue, once again, i appreciate everything you do.

    -Chris Supes Fan

    I will, Chris. Thanks for the vote of confidence.

    Chris wrote:
    After watching the finale for Lex, you summed up my reaction as well.


    BING! Yes.


    Hang in there, man. It's almost over. And then maybe in another two or three years, we'll get a new show about Superman instead of a moping depressed wretch of a young man overly fixated on a pretty girl with shiny hair.

    Or hey, maybe they'll sneak it in this year and surprise us...

    paul schaefer wrote:
    I'm still watching. Why I'm not sure. I keep thinking it will get back to where it once was. Thank you for giving Artic a big fat zero. At the moment I'm watching season one. Its like day and night. I was reading your reviews from season one and two . If your were to re review them would you have the same
    opinion of them?

    You know, I started to, with audio commentaries, and realized that I would probably feel about the same in most respects. Unfortunately, I haven't had time of late, but yeah, they stand up pretty well, I think, though the spectacle of the review has obviously gotten bigger.

    I would hope that you stick with it for next year. At least
    I would know someone else is still out there. Its turned into a really bad soap
    opera.Have a great summer. Paul.


    Matt Wreede wrote:
    You asked this: "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."

    Yes. Please, keep writing. Your reviews are the only reason I watch Smallville anymore, in all honesty.


    It's a disgrace. It's horrible. But, to me, it got me into comics, ironically enough, and that showed me how horrible it really is. But it's been going on for so long now, it's routine to watch it. Every week it hurts, but I know, a few days later, I'll get one of your reviews, and see that someone else hates it too, and my life is filled with joy.

    That's fandom for you. I know the feeling.

    So please, keep up the reviews. It has to be over for good at some point, right? I mean, hell, who is watching this anymore, besides you and me?

    Apparently a bunch of people! I was surprised!

    Bruce Kanin wrote:

    You ask us if you should continue your reviews. SMALLVILLE isn't worth the time, but I'll put my feelings this way...hopefully you recall the "Emperor Joker" Superman maxi-series. I have the trade paperback, and have read it, oh, about fifty times. I hated it at first, but then it grew on me and is now one of my all-time favorite "modern" Superman sagas.

    SPOILER ALERT: I'm going to spoil the end of "Emperor Joker", so if you haven't read it and/or this gets published and someone reading it hasn't read it, beware.

    At the end, Superman realizes that the only way to get The Joker to give up his magic is to remind him that as long as he (The Joker) exists, so will The Batman. With that being the one thing that The Joker CANNOT do (get rid of The Batman) his magic unravels and order is eventually restored.

    I remember. I also remember hating it, and then loving it myself.

    So, I submit that, as long as there is a SMALLVILLE on TV, there must exist a Neal Bailey review. It's that simple.


    I don't think the show - or I - could live w/o it.

    Thanks for publishing all my stuff, as always.

    All the best,


    Now there's the pressure of if I get in an auto accident, shooting derails and the execs lose their show. You hear that, CW? Buy me medical insurance!

    PS- Loved, Caped Bailey Stuns City! Awesome! Every Superman fan should have that with THEIR name on it...!

    Yeah! That was awesome!

    Zubair wrote:

    Please do continue writing your reviews. I've been reading them for a long time, and most of my enjoyment derived from watching Smallville comes from reading your reviews afterwards. Otherwise, I would have probably given up years ago.

    I will! Thank you.

    Or possibly I would have taken the approach my brother has to watching the show, which is to fast forward any scene with Lana. It greatly improves both the quality and the consistency of the show.

    I was going to do a review where I didn't watch the Lana parts and see if it was coherent... alas, too late now.


    Kevin (bax_el) wrote:
    Hi Neal, I just finished your review of the season finale, and your profile picture definitly conveys how i feel at this moment.

    Twas me with long red rage hair, folks!

    I have watched smallville since season one, i have read your reviews since then as well. I relied on them if i missed an episode or just wanted to see what others thought. I along with my circle of friends used to get together every week and watch Smallville, and in recent years that circle has gotten smaller and smaller. I would have once called myself a die hard fan. I defended the show, saying it will get good, things will be awsome. An at times they were, there were some good episodes and the sweeps and finales were good as well. I can say though that the show is practically done for me.

    It was for me too, for sure.

    I did not watch a single episode this season, save for the opener, work and life constraints forced me to put it to the back burner. I read your reviews and spoke to my friends about the show and they agree its done. I don't feel that i have missed anything. I know that they want to do an 8th season, I am going to try to give it a go. I will simply wipe this season from my mind, and hope for the best one more time.

    If you did, I hope it's as good for you as it has been for me.

    But that is all i have, So really to get to the root of this letter. I am torn, I want you to write the reviews, because i think that yours is a balanced review and you tell it how it is and you don't pull any punches and that is what i like. But on the other side of that, i know how much time it takes up, and you are absoloutly right, why should you continue to go on if all they are giving us is crap, I don't understand why, iwth other shows with Supers that Smallville can not start to create good shows around one character with "powers and abalities far beyone those of mortal men". When they can do it with many. (are they not owned by the same parent network) So really what i am getting at is I hope you continue, but I understand if you don't.

    Thanks! That's kind, and a good response.

    The time has come for this show to either step up and become what it cam be, or stop breaking our hearts and giving us false promises. So thanks for everything, I love the writing, i have read a few things, trying to find more, I love the reviews, keep up the good work. PS the only thing that is going to save the whole "Doomsday" scenario is if he and Clark fight it out, Clark dies etc.. well you can see where i am going with this.

    Yep. :)

    Thanks again

    sorry its so long.

    Kevin (bax_el)

    No worries.

    thebrakeman wrote:

      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.

    If Clark could block her kick, and stand his ground, then he'd be able to fly. Superman's flight is not about jumping so hard that he stays airborne, right? It's about willing his body to move against gravity. If he can't yet will his body to move against gravity, how can he will his body to resist the kick (or punch) from another Kryptonian?

    Because he can fly and doesn't know it? Even so, he can stop a speeding locomotive, so say she flies at him super-fast, he should be able to stop her flat if she has equal power to him, right?

    Then again, the fact that he could hold onto Kara, preventing her from flying away, means that he was willing his body to remain on the ground...with more force than what she was exerting to fly away...right? That's why I've questioned why he isn't already flying.

    Me too.

    So, like you often say, this is just another inconsistency that they never really thought thru.


      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.

    I guess this sort of has things set up for Superman 3. Although, as strong a relationship as they had in "Smallville", it will probably never really fit.

    I want to see Brad in Smallville now.

    David Wilkins wrote:
    I know how to end the series: Have the anti-monitor come in and destroy the whole universe. that way, it can tie-in with the comics.

    Geoff Johns needs Black Lanterns.

    Dave K wrote:
    First I want to say how much I enjoy your reviews of not only Smallville but also the many Superman comic titles that you cover from month to month.


    Many times I find myself wondering how you've gotten into my thoughts about the show.

    Brain-mo-tron 5000.

    'Artic' left me more confused about where they are going with the story then I've ever been. I understand that each creative team wants to tell 'their' story and things will be different from writer to writer but some things are better left untouched. Like for instance Lex not knowing anything about Clark's powers or his former home. It seems everyone in Clark's life, with the exception of Lois and Jimmy, know that he has powers. (Excuse me while I take a break. Wow this Stride gum is so refreshing! And it seems to last forever.)

    Chew, chew, chew!

    I've been with this show since the beginning. It had such a great start. I loved their take on Jonathon Kent. A former high school superstar who has a son that he can't let follow in his footsteps. I loved it! I miss Martha and Jonathon Kent on Smallville! It made it Smallville! (Another break. Wow, you would think my eyes would be tired but thanks to my new Acuvue lenses everything is great. My eyes are not irritated at all!)

    I can see clearly!

    WHY ISN'T CLARK WEARING GLASSES?!?! If this is the way we are going to go then Lois Lane is the dumbest woman in the world and I don't want to think of her like that! They set it up so wonderfully in the early series episode where he learned to control his super hearing. The Kents could have told Clark, "Son, you are going to have to wear these glasses for a while because we have no way to explain to people how you suddenly healed your own eyes when you were blind last week."
    PERFECT! There are so many things that are right with the show and so many things that could be right with just a little more effort.
    I'm going to keep watching and if you'll keep writing I'll be here to keep reading.


    Doug wrote:
    Hi, Neal!

    Long time reader, first time responder.

    Cool! Welcome to the fray!

    I hope you'll continue doing reviews. I enjoy reading them every week during the season and it's always better to share one's pain. :)

    In your Arctic review, you mentioned "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."

    The other thing about that scene that drove me nuts was that, beyond recovering and boogying in record time, Lana found the time and resources to record a video, edit the video, burn the video to a CD, and give it to someone with the instructions to give it to Clark. All in the time it took Clark to zoom over there.

    Yeah, very amazing.

    Obviously, Lana is a time-warping meteor freak from having worn the Kryptonite necklace for 10 years or so. :)

    I knew it!

    Thanks for all your great work over the years and I hope to keep reading your reviews next season.



    Rosana J wrote:

    I haven't written in a while, but I'm still watching and still reading your reviews. After this finale aired, I had pretty much the same reaction you did as respects the exit of Lex Luthor, coupled with an extra-strong shot of confusion and utter disappointment. This is not an unusual reaction, given the rather lackluster and repetitive season we've experienced, but Smallville has been able to deliver moments, scenes and minor transitions in their finales, but I didn't see any of that. Many have written about Lex's transformation from ambiguity to evil, but though he's clearly the latter, there's still much too much of the former involved given the insane amount of time this show took to progress his journey.

    Yup. It's very unclear.

    In many scenes this season, I could sense what MR was trying to do as Lex. He tried to visually project the cold distance of the character. Perhaps it was just me, but I just saw the disconnect and disparity, both of the character and of the show in general. Two of the strongest actors on this show (the excellent John Glover and of course, Michael Rosenbaum) were given exits that were, at best perfunctory and serviceable to the plot of this season.

    Yeah, and that sucked.

    They deserved better.

    I agree.

    As for your continuing to watch and review, what type of begging works best? I need a logic source for this, my continued addiction, to put the nonsense into perspective. Many times after watching an episode, I'm aware that what I've seen makes no sense. Trying to put it verbally or on the page into words doesn't always cut it, but you've got it down pat. I don't think there's been a single review of yours that hasn't brought to light something I've missed, something else that didn't make sense or the ever present SQUEAKY SHOES. Stay with us, Neal Bailey. You're our only hope.

    You've got it. I don't need begging, just knowledge that someone's enjoying it...

    Take care and see you next season!


    Guy wrote:
    "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."

    I'm still out there and, quite frankly, the only reason I watch Smallville is to better appreciate your reviews. Christ, on occasion, I skip the show entirely and move on to where the *real* Smallville-related entertainment is.

    Woo! Too kind.

    Simply put, the way you critique this show is leaps and bounds ahead of the show itself, which jumped the "S" a long time ago... and I don't just mean "shark".

    So, uh, yeah... there was a point here: keep reviewing, because I demand (well, politely ask) that *something* good come of the fly-ridden corpse of this once brilliant show!

    You got it.

    G.V. Golwitzer (GeorgeHouseofEl) wrote:
    Hey Neal,
    I've allready e-mailed you an end-of-the-season letter, but I've been watching some old episodes and reading some old reviews and I wanted to point somethings out, to help clarify for the future ;-)

    First off, in "Apocalypse" when Clark and Jimmy are trying to look up Lana they find that she married some yuppie in Paris named Pierre Russow. I'm shock, and mildly (only midly, mind you) appalled that no-one noticed that name being INsanely close to that of our good pal Pete Ross.

    Heh. Nice!

    And secondly... The use of kryptonite has been old since the first season, in your first few reviews you even state that kryptonite as a plot device is getting old (and thats around episode 3 or 4 of the series) but recently we've seen the use of Kryptonite in "ANCIENT KRYPTONIAN RITUALS" (I used my best scary-story-telling voice their) and "ANCIENT KRYPTONIAN JEWELRY" which just doesn't sit for the typical Superman knowing that Kryptonite is the exploded fragmants of the Planet Krypton (Therefore people on Krypton would not know of Kryptonite or have any Ancient Ritual or Jewelry).

    Yep. Very true.

    Anywho, on to my point. I was watching the episode "SkinWalkers" the other day (season three I think, maybe season two, its escaping me now that I'm writing this) the Kawatchi Indian girl that Clark is in love with that episode talks about her tribe's age old legend about their people being able to "SKINWALK" after strange people from the stars brought a glowing green rock to them. So, its safe to say that in Smallville continuity Kryptonite has been in Kansas for hundreds of years, not just from the meteor shower, and therefore the Kryptonians must have been pretty brutal to their planet (maybe explaining their destruction) to create enough Kryptonite to bring to Earth to infect an indiginous tribe. I really don't know the point I'm trying to convey here, I guess just that Smallville writers have adressed the issue of Kryptonian's having allready had Kryptonite before they met their ultimate doom, whether they realized it or not.

    Heh. Cruel scientists! I love it.

    I'm out.
    Good luck and Good Writing
    G.V. Golwitzer (georgehouseofel)


    Sara wrote:
    Regarding whether or not you should keep reviewing Smallville next year...I would definitely keep reading your reviews next year. They are always a highlight for me. However, although your reviews will always be of a high quality, I am not sure I can say the same thing about the next season of Smallville. So, I guess I am saying that even though I love your reviews, I would understand if you would stop reviewing Smallville. Maybe you could review Smallville next year as a way of laughing at how bad it is, but that might get kind of frustrating for you. Anyway, as long as you keep writing, I will keep reading. It is your call. Thanks for the last seven years of awesome reviews!

    Thanks for reading! I think I'm locked in now. I just thought they'd be done after seven. Really.

    Joseph wrote:

    Thanks for another season of entertaining reviews. My vote would be for you to continue until the show ends, but that is coming from a purely selfish standpoint as reading about your pain watching this show helps lessen my own. Plus if you stop writing about it I will most likely stop watching, and as much as I hated the past 4 seasons I am morbidly curious to see if the show improves with Al and Miles officially out of the picture. However, I would totally understand (although be disappointed) if you decide to devote your time to more lucrative and rewarding pursuits.

    I'll definitely keep reviewing if it keeps folks watching.

    Anyway, remember when the show started and Al/Miles were adamant about the "no tights, no flights" policy because they wanted to keep the show somewhat rooted in reality, and seeing the costume and/or Clark flying would immediately take it officially into comic book land? Well since the end of season 3 (not coincidentally the last truly good season) the writers have introduced the Fortress, Supergirl, Bizarro, time/space travel, Brainiac, basically the entire JLA, Phantom Zone, Phantoms, and more mystical symbols/artificats than I can recall (with Doomsday still to come!). What the hell happened? How did the show get so far away from where it started? And if they were going to introduce all those "fantastical" elements, why not just say f*** it and make an actual Superman show?

    Because it drags in ratings, I'd bet

    Hope you have a great summer and I look forward to (hopefully) reading your reviews again next season!


    Jon Hauge wrote:

    Just read your remarks about your time in Metropolis. I understand the feeling. I am a photographer for a newspaper. It's cool when I think I operate in a vacuum, have a bad day,etc and someone I don't know who notices I work for the paper says thanks for the pictures in the paper. It makes the other things fade away. Good job!!

    Yeah! I mean, it's like a letter like the above! When you suddenly realize, oh, people are quietly enjoying this! It's such a thrill.


    Scotty V wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    Just watched a few more episodes and I'm reading your review for "Descent," which I didn't hate as much as I thought I would. Many of my issues with it are similar to yours. I think that Lex killing Lionel was inevitable, but for him to do it now, for the supposed reason he did, int he way he did, was just a rush job because the writers knew their time was running out and that's unfortunate. I still remember how chilling and great it was tot see Lex standing over an injured Lionel during the tornado at the end of season one beginning of two and realizing that Lex thought about letting Lionel die. But now, seven years later, we see no real buildup or particular reason, just a rush to get it done.

    Yeah. Had they done it at the end of season one, it could have been rad.

    The Daily Planet could have a freezer if they have an employee cafeteria or restaurant on the premises where they cook fresh food.


    You mention that Lex's woman, who is killed by "DaVinci Code Guy" would only knock Chloe unconscious when she was willing to kill Lois and Jimmy. She wasn't planning on killing anybody, I'd say, because she does say to L&J that she'll be back for them when she's finished. I think Clark's heat vision trick was supposed to be a slow warmup, hence the expanded beam and not a straight on insta-heat. Maybe Lois being frozen was what stopped her from bleeding to death and dying?


    In your review of "Sleeper," you mention that Lionel gives Lex a passport to the bank. I'm not even sure what that means but I just took the passport as a passport. Lionel must have taken him to get it when he was younger or had it made for Lex and then put the inscription on the case.

    I was hoping that the DDS lady was a fake, if only because I'm so tired of there being government agents who act like villains. We've seen it in so many movies. Of late: "Transformers and "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." Then I figured she HAD to be, simply because there's no way any serious government agent would reveal whatever she reveals to Jimmy and then sit down with him and with a straight face tell him she wants him to do what she tells him to do here. It's ridiculous and I hated it. Also, here we have another episode in a show about Clark Kent where Clark is barely seen!

    Yeah, government agents as a patsy is easy, sloppy. I have to admit, I've done it myself once.

    I'm now onto "Apocolypse" where you mention that Clark, like George Bailey, is a person who has no reason to think the world would be better without him. Well, in the case of Clark for sure, his reasons are that he believes he's been responsible for the deaths and sufferings of two many people and that if he weren't around that wouldn't be the case. He's certainly, because of the show Smallville is, got reason to believe this. He HAS been responsible for much suffering and death in the lives of the people he loves. He has also saved a lot of lives, but in many ways, many of the lives he's saved and many of the times the world's been in peril, were seemingly brought about because of Clark being there. We see in Jor-El's vision that isn't the case, but on this show it's often ambiguous as to who or what the real cause of suffering is. And, if we contend as you do, that Clark was definitely the cause of Jonathan's death (because Jon's heart was first weakened when he took on the powers to retrieve Clark and then because Clark made a choice to save Lana, though he couldn't know what would have happened) then we give Clark another reason to think things would be better without him. When we are shown the early stages of the vision, in fact, this point is proven, as Jonathan and Martha are both still alive and both very happy.

    Yeah, but he's never done it with the intention of making the world a worse place, and things would have been worse without him...

    Of course, as the show goes on, we are then shown that bad things, worse things, would have happened to the world at large had Clark not arrived, but in the beginning, I can certainly see that Clark has reason to believe the people in his life would be better without him. We are even shown, by episode's end, that Lex became more fully evil much more quickly without Clark around, and that Clark is not to blame for Lex's fall to the darkside and that's good to know. And I must say that I don't think this episode points out how it wasn't Clark's choice to be Superman, but rather emphatically states that, being shown how needed he is, Clark decides that his emotional suffering is a sacrifice he must accept and live with in order to be the hero we know he's destined to be. Sure, so far this Clark isn't ultimately happy with that destiny, but he still makes the heroic choice and does what he knows needs to be done. Many of us regular folks might give up when so many things have gone badly for us, but in the end here, though he almost gave up in the beginning, Clark decides he's needed and he must fight on.

    In this, we're in agreement, because that's a rad thing for him to see and achieve.

    Then, just for kicks I think, you mention that Chloe has done nothing to earn Clark's disgust. I think you know that Clark has never expressed disgust for Chloe; he just never fell in love with her. Much of that was because he was always pining for Lana, the girl he had a crush on and then became infatuated with, so he never really noticed Chloe, who was essentially "one of the guys."

    Yeah, but in real life? That's what gets me. The "Just one of the guys" thing never ends that pat.

    It's not light switch to want to live again because Clark now knows the types of things that can and will come to pass if he's not here. The problem is solved in the "vision" of the future, but that's akin to what the future will be should Clark cease to exist so Clark knows he must stay and better, he now knows he's needed and more positive than negative. He knows too that sure, sacrifices must be made and there will be suffering, but that the suffering and sacrifices will be made for a better world. Something that should make all of us happy here is that, knowing that, our sometimes whiny, brooding Clark willingly accepts that now and knows it's for the best and what needs to be. Clark finally accepts that he is a force for ultimate good in making the world a better place, even if his life will never be perfect in return.

    In so far as Clark holding Jimmy up against some shelves, Clark dosen't really hurt the guy and Jimmy comes away no worse for wear. Clark isn't messing around here and he doesn't have time for some photographer screwing around because he's not sure if he wants to give his information away and lose the story to someone else. Logic and reason can be used sure, but Clark is in a hurry and very quickly, without wasting time, put to rest any thoughts of power plays from Jimmy or that Clark was interested in playing games when the world was about to explode. I'm okay with it because well, I don't want to get nuked because Jimmy thinks he's got a good story and doesn't want to give it up to Superman.

    This is true, but sometimes a soft word can work ten times as well as physical action, and Clark should know that by now. Hell, he used it last week on lousy punk goth gal.

    Kara lifting the boulder on Krypton could work depending on how you see the powers. The idea that Kryptonians store massive amounts of yellow sun energy so that they could still have powers away from the Earth is one possible explanation. If the powers work in that, as soon as it's dark Clark is powerless, then no, that wouldn't work. But I certainly wouldn't assume it's like that, especially in the modern telling. When Clark is away from the Earth he often has a few weeks before he loses his powers completely. So if Kara's only been gone for a few days, it's conceivable that she'd still have some of her powers. She seems to struggle a bit with the boulder too, if I'm remembering correctly, so that could indicate her powers are weakening with the passage of time. There is of course, the problem with the red sun of Krypton and again, it's a bit inconsistent as to how red sunlight affects Superman. Sometimes they show it as instantaneous sapping of powers. Other times it's another prolonged affect thing. So I guess it depends on which story they're using in the comics. Like with Smallville all too much, it's often a matter of what will work best for them in whatever story they're trying to tell. I'm not saying it's right, but that's often the way they use it.

    Yeah. It's inconsistent, that's the problem, and it's why no one ever really knows.

    When the ominous music was playing at the end and Kara approached the fridge, I half expected to see the altar of Zool from Ghostbusters. Then, when that didn't happened I shouted "Brainiac's in the milk!" Then she collapsed so I guess I was right with my second guess.


    But that's it for now. Talk later!

    Scotty V

    richard wrote:
    I love your reviews and agree with most of them. I was wondering if you can suggest any comics (1-2 issues long preferably) involving superman that you find definitive or character driven.
    I'm a big fan of superman so all star, action 775, alan moore stuff etc I already know about. And what else do you read outside of dc?

    sorry for the questions.

    Don't apologize, man! I would recommend, for character-driven Superman, the Rucka run, for iconic Superman, All-Star, and for a really, really great amalgamation, Up, Up, and Away.

    And dude, did you get to see chloe at the superman event?

    See, yes. Meet, no. They ushered her out and did not grant us time. Rosenbaum was much, much more kind and accommodating. I still love Allison, I just didn't get to interview her, no.

    Jeremy wrote:

    Yea, I know you don't likely read the Winnipeg Sun, but there is an article in there about "nuked the fridge" which is supposed to be a modern term for jumping the shark. Seeing as you use jumping the shark so much, I thought you could incorporate the new term into your reviews. Assuming of course you haven't given up on talking about how many ways Smallville has jumped the shark.

    Nuked the Fridge, eh? Well, that'd have to be assuming I didn't like Kingdom. I did, so I'm sticking with the shark.

    My wife and I are on "Blue" of the current season, so I don't know yet if you've abandoned hope for the show, or if things get better in the rest of season 7.

    They do not, but they do in season 8...

    Anyways, how are you doing now that summers hit? Take care.

    This last summer was insanely revealing in multiple ways. I dropped into catastrophic debt, but got my first indications I might be succeeding. I lost 150K in equity, but gained some peace of mind. It's still happening, even though it's fall...

    Jeremy (from Winnipeg of course)

    calvin bowes wrote:
    I understand your thing for Alison Mack I have the same thing for Terri Hatcher and just like you I beleave it is ment to be . Alison and Terri just have to figure it out for themselvs so what do u say to a double wedding in metropolis CALVIN LOL

    Good idea! Bad choice of subject. I'm... how to put this delicately... I don't believe in marriage. And don't write me hate mail, if you do, great. Enjoy it. Good for you. I'm just not a guy who buys monogamy for me.

    But three great, fun days in Vancouver? (Mimes a telephone).

    Daniel Peetz wrote:
    Hey, Neal.

    My name is Daniel and i`ve been a long time Superman fan. I love to read your Smallville and the comic book reviews. They are very well written, funny, sarcastic. All in all just a good read. Always spend sometime in this site and I`d like to know if it`s possible for you to review the book "Superman for all seasons" in the classic post-crisis comics section. It`s to me one of the best Superman stories ever written and funnily enough it`s something that I think is missing in this website.

    You're correct. I checked up on it, and can't find it. As soon as I get a minute, I'll gladly do a review.

    Keep up the good work,



    Scotty V wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    Just reading your review for the finale and while I'll agree that it was a huge disappointment, confusing and a slap in the face to those of us watching Lex now for 7 years, but I just came across one comment I had to...comment on.

    You say Lois magically converts Clark into applying for Chloe's job. She doesn't. He says specifically that he's not interested in journalism and that even if he were, he'd never work for Lex Luthor. I'm not saying it makes sense that he's not yet interested in his life's work, just that Lois doesn't have him convinced to try for Chloe's job making him "what a pal."

    Well, yeah, but then, I saw that for what it was, the intro for what's going on this week... from the perspective of why they'd say something like that.

    Also, Lois hasn't really been living with the Kents for years and years since Clark and Lex were still friends. They were already on the outs when Lois arrived. The friendship strained to continue when Clark semi-forgave Lex for all the spying but it was never really what it had been before Lois was there so I think that's what she found out about.

    I wondered the same thing about how Chloe would know the co-pilot went back there, I kept thinking the guy actually survived!?!? But then I thought it could have been that the pilot yelled back "Jack, Jack what is it?" Then he went back to check, finding a hole in the plane and his co-pilot out. Then he had time to run back to the controls in an attempt to save them, reporting into his black box in the final seconds: "Something's hit us. Jack's been knocked unconscious and I am struggling to save the..." static.

    Yeah, it was odd.

    I think the disclaimer on the Quiznos commercial is supposed to be cute.

    Yeah, got it. Still... oy.

    I think the kick works on Clark because he's not expecting it. He still thinks this is Kara and that all her wrongdoing will somehow be explained and that she'd never kick him.

    I don't think someone drinking beer means they can't be a role model. I ain't perfect but I did have a beer last night and, oh my gosh, I have a child! I should be shunned. Sorry.

    Well, there's a difference, and a BIG one, between you, and Supes. You're a great guy who does the right thing. Superman's a role model who ALWAYS does the right thing in all situations for almost everyone. So for people who believe that boozing is bad, he's suddenly not a role model for them, and his drinking doesn't add anything to the scene. If it were seeing a movie, that's something different. That's something a lot of us do that doesn't insult non-movie goers. One would presume.

    I really expected we'd be shown that Lois was just pretending to believe Jimmy so he'd get off her back and stop trying, but that nevr came to pass so I must agree with you here.

    Clark and Chloe planned to subdue Kara with Kryptonite yes, and no they probably didn't kow where they'd go with it after that, but that was their plan. I know this because they said it. It's been done before, by the Kents themselves in order to restrain Clark. If it's ok for them then it has to be ok for Clark too since he learned from them and since the intention is just to temporarily stop her from being bad. Clark isn't there because Chloe told him to go away. She volunteers to go it alone because Clark can't be near the stuff and that if he were there and something were to go wrong he could be killed. Not saying he should have agreed or not, just that that's why he wasn't there.

    Yep, there's no way Clark should have known where Brainiac was. He just...shows up at the power plant.

    MAGIC! :)

    Oh sure all of this is absurd and I mostly agree with you, but I'd say a power plant would be much stronger than just one plug at the Talon, but I think you were joking. Brainiac having all the Kryptonian powers isn't new. It's always been annoying and kindof unreasonable, but this isn't the first time it's been shown.


    You know, I didn't even remember Kara falling on the floor with that headache. I do remember now screaming at the TV, "He's in the milk. Lookout! Brainiac is in the milk!" And then she fell over. I'm guessing she wasn't Brainiac the whole time but that he must have hitched a ride in her somehow when his previous vessel was destroyed on Krypton. What an absurd plot that was. What in the world happened to all the Kryptonian people? Most importantly Jor-El and Lara, whom after the changed the past, would no longer be in memory as the ones who saved Clark from destruction. Instead it would be: "Wow according to this cave wall and that Swann fella', seems a guy who lokos alot like me and a blonde chick who looks suspiciously like you are the ones who sent me to Earth. Weird, huh?" *Nods.*


    And yes, Brainiac is a machine and I knew that's what he was gonna say. Furthermore, I was with him on it.

    Not that any of this really makes any sense, but Jimmy did what he was asked to do when the DDS peeps came to him. They had no problem with him at that time and only said he'd be taken in too if he didn't do what they wanted. Lex called and inexplicably bailed Chloe out with the DDS but then when Jimmy wouldn't continue to lie for him he called and told them Chloe was no longer under his protection. So we're back to status quo. Jimmy is just some useless dumb schlub who did what he was asked and who is of no import. As another Luthor once said about Clark: "Kent is nothing, he's a...giblet." So here is Jimmy. We all know Chloe's the terrorist!

    And a super-smart one, at that.

    You know, in the preview three weeks previous, where they gave away that Lex was going to find the Fortress, they had a shot of him in the distance from the Fortress where he was wearing heavy winter clothing, a coat and had a backpack. I guess they had to cut it for time. But I too wondered where he landed his plane and how he got there on foot.

    Yeah! I remember that too, actually. I wonder if it was on the DVD set. I can't afford it, or I'd review it.

    Yep the writers have sure made it easy for people to buy into Lex's excuses, but then, the bad guy always wants to blame everyone else for their choices and actions so maybe, finally, that's something the writers meant to do. To sort of blur the line a bit so it wasn't so easy to see. I'm not happy with it, but it sure seems as though that's the direction they were going.

    I don't know if Lex was never given the benefit of the doubt as you say. Clark defended him for years against everyone but Lex proved himself untrustable by spying even after he said he wasn't. Even then Clark forgave and tried again but ten Lex released some thugs onto his family and endangered them to once again try and discover something about Clark. Just because someone's a friend it doesn't mean all of your personal business or secrets are always their right to know.

    I dunno. If it's, like, what a person likes sexually, I get how that's private. But when you think a dude is invulnerable and potentially behind an alien invasion, that falls into "right to know," as a friend, anyway. I mean, you're my friend, but if I had a suspicion that little Chloe could spit fire from her eyes, I would certainly ask some questions, and if you were evasive, keep coming at the issue. ;)

    Something else I think I mentioned years ago is even more prevalent now since it's happened again. Clark has had his iconic symbol-ish shield carved or burned into his chest so many times now I could never possibly imagine him ever wearing the shield on purpose and proudly; just something else ruined by the Ville.

    Yeah, true.

    Talk soon buddy,


    Scotty V


    Juan P. Valdecantos wrote:
    This will probably sound like rant, but... I read quite often your comcis reviews. Have to admit I found 'em very interesting, sometimes smart.

    Sometimes beats never, I guess.

    Damn, I have to confess, this mail is a stupidity: Why do you find so rare that Superman's using a spaceship in Action 867??!! Bwahahah, I know, you must be thinking "why does somebody wastes his time just to rub in my face his opinions about comics' universe and how should it work?". Well, I'm actually asking myself that question, right now...

    Nope. Good question. I find it odd because Superman can fly in space, and at speeds conceivably faster than in a ship.

    Bah, I don't know. Don't you think it's a very cool almost hard-core sci-fi detail? I mean, I can tell that Johns is doing a very good job in storytelling, I've loved the legion of superheroes arc. And I like the way he's canonizing again the Man of Steel mini series and core elemnts of the Byrne era, wich I personally think is best one. I don't know... Any way, great job, great web-site, have a good life!!


    Shafi S. wrote:
    Hey Neal,

    First off, how was your summer?

    70K in debt for writing + some incidents of hope - a strong economy where one can refinance based on the value of your house - about ? the value of two houses + many nights awake = Neal more than once looking at classified ads, then ultimately deciding 'tis better to go bankrupt than to compromise the things you believe in. Bluto went on to be a senator.

    The kid I can't have is somewhere in potentiality clapping.

    Mine uneventful, but Geoff Johns stuff was pretttty goood. Than some more good news, hes writing an episode of Smallville, GOD why havent' they got him before.

    I think I can say this without violating my NDA... in the next Smallville Magazine I quote him about that episode. It's not an interview, just a quote. And yes, I agree, why haven't they gotten him before?

    They had Jeph Loeb and Mark Verheiden (which they've should of kept), and if there were others I can't remember. Well the point is to me, I haven't been enjoying Smallville as of late, even past season I find a one good episode and keep on watching for fan services, but alas I can't season 7 was bad for me, I even think it was on par of season 4 (sorry). Neal do you think so? But I do wanted to tell you that I've enjoyed your reviews of the series and will continue to if you still do. I wanted to give you a reason to watch more cause its SUPERMAN, but they have stomped on its myths to a point of no return.

    I do think it was on a par, even with season 3. So far, it's been excellent.

    I understand wanting to be creative and do something wayyyy diffrent, but COME ONNN! We see viewer ship has declined over the years (wonder why), they don't see it why, and no its just not here but basically all over the internet and in various written media all over the world. Yeah, some agree with the preppy athmosphere, and Lana's crappy store, but I hope the majority do not.

    I think they finally realize this.

    In terms of changes for season 8, well I think its different, and Geoff Johns is saying ok with it, but were is the Rosenbaum. He knew its was going sour so he booked to doing other stuff. Ok we have Doomsday, but Tess Mercer? They need more of that crappy story than they already have. Neal did you notice only Tom and Allison are the only originals left. I mean Pete could've lasted longer if they knew how to write him, Pa Kent too.

    Yeah... Tom, Allison, and the Kent Far- er, wait.

    Different topic, did you enjoy comics land recently, besides Geoff Johns, for me his stuff is the only thing to stand out. Superman/Batman was one of my pick ups but have been bad lately, also wanted to ask you did you like hows Brand New day is going in Spider-man, people are still getting pissed by it. Also wanted ask if liked Grant Morrison Final Crisis things and his last issue of All Star, did you like it, will it change Superman mythos? Also did you like the comic book movies that came out. Iron man, Hulk, and the BEst The Dark knight, what did you think of them. Do you think the reboot stuff is going to be good, or even better than Superman Returns. Also last one, are you exciting about the Watchmen movie.

    I have enjoyed Johns. Robinson is very meh for me so far. He's writing a guy who isn't Superman. Superman berating Zatara? Acting cocky? Huh? I hated One More Day, and since then have not read a Spider-Man comic. Nor shall I until they restore the marriage. I'm not mad that they killed it. I'm mad that they did it in such a cheap, mischaracterizing way, and I refuse to support it.

    Final Crisis is VERY crappy to me so far, not because it isn't thick and layered, but because it's thick and layered with stuff no one (including die-hards) could give much a crap about. It's Morri-babble, which works with me approximately 50% of the time.

    All-Star has already changed the Superman mythos. I think it will be spoken of two decades from now. But not because it shaped any new ground, because, rather, it's a great condensing of all things Supes. It'll be like For All Seasons. To me, I'm more intrigued by going forward, but I loved All-Star.

    Iron Man didn't click with me. A selfish $@%hole who decides to finally become a philanthropist because he neared death. Not as appealing as, say, a kid who had his life shattered and never became a prat, but rather a bat. Hulk was great, enjoyable, but nothing epic. Dark Knight rewrote the book, I think. I loved it.

    Reboot stuff I'm not even thinking about outside of my capacity in KAL. I don't want to. I'll just set myself up for disappointment. Watchmen? Very eager.

    Last note, Neal TV is going dry for me, I don't watch tv as much as I use to , now its just Smallville (if someone tapes it), Heroes, Battlestar, and Dexter , nothing else seems good. But I truly recommend Dexter Neal, I liked it and its entertaining. I hope you enjoy it. Thank for reading Neal.

    I'll take a look. In return, I recommend House, Lost, Scrubs, and Rome. But I took five classical lit classes in college, so I'm Pullo biased.


    Bruce Kanin wrote:

  • B+. I'll never forget, many, many years ago, when THE MAN FROM UNCLE went into its fourth, and final, abbreviated season. It has just come off of a fairly bad third season in which comedy had been introduced into what was a tongue-in-cheek and sophisticated spy show. They decided to go back to basics in the fourth season, and it was back to being serious (perhaps more tongue than cheek). This opening episode of SMALLVILLE's eighth season made me think of that, because it seemed like they ratcheted down the nonsense and were trying to make it a little more sensible. So, a B-MINUS episode gets a B-PLUS for trying.


  • Clark's moving to Metropolis. Woo hoo. He's one step closer to being Superman. Cool. I guess they don't want to rename the show. That's ok with me. In a way, the title no longer refers to the town, but to Lois's nickname for Clark. Say goodbye to Smallville, the town (except for Chloe, who still lives at the Talon but works in Metropolis? Do they have MetroRail between Smallville and Metropolis?).
  • The new opening credits now show Clark with his "Clark Kent glasses". This is taken from one of last year's episodes, but is it a sign of things to come? Hope so.
  • No Lana! Not even in the credits! YAY! Yes, she does appear in the "recent seasons recap" and in Clark's pre-death flashback, but her appearances were mercifully brief.
  • When Aquaman is hanging in the Montana Luthorcorp place, it appears that his skin is drying and flaking. That is a nice touch, and would be consistent with his needing to be immersed in water every hour, though they don't specifically say that.


  • Tess Mercer, the lady temporarily in charge of LexCorp ... I mean ... LuthorCorp (presumably soon to be LexCorp ... as soon as Lex returns from the missing), had much too much eye shadow up in the Arctic. Maybe that was because of the ice glare. But it made her hideous-looking. She's not that hot to begin with.
  • When Clark is in Russia, it's raining cats and dogs, but you can see that this is fake, because the sun is shining virtually everywhere else.
  • I suppose I should accept it, but Lois gets around too much. First as a maid in the LuthorCorp mansion and then as a security lady in the Montana LuthorCorp site. You would think that in both cases there would be some sort of security check to screen her out. Then again, we know how bad LuthorCorp security is...
  • The corridors in the Montana LuthorCorp site were a bit too empty - not enough sec... - oh, there I go again.
  • Clark now works at the Daily Planet. At a desk next to Lois. He applies for a job and becomes a reporter, like her, right off the bat? PUH-LEASE!
  • Chloe now conveniently has the power to do super-deciphering, something she never had before. Where did that come from??


  • The opening "recent seasons recap" was both good and bad. It was wonderful seeing Jonathan and Martha Kent. I don't recall seeing Lionel, though. But what was bad was that this mish-mash stressed how silly and confusing the recent seasons were. The recap was a jumbled, illogical mess.
  • I'm still bothered that the Martian Manhunter is one of Jor-El's helpers, but will get over it.
  • Speaking of MM, it was kind of neat that he took Clark for a trip to the sun to restore Clark's powers, and that the sun's fire impacted MM. It's full of holes, but was a nice trick. The holes, though are these:
    o If the sun could restore Clark's powers, why wouldn't any exposure to the sun have helped? We did see him under the sun in Russia, when Oliver came by, for starters.
    o Fire weakens and kills MM. It's a further twisting of continuity to have his powers obliterated.
  • I like the black-haired Dinah Lance, but not the butch-blond-haired Black Canary. The former looks zophtic; the latter looks ho-ish.


  • Not much to tell. Seems like there's a super-powered girl (no, not Supergirl), who reminded me a little of the Angel-of-Death girl on last season's HEROES.
  • I will say that Season Eight looks promising. In the 11th episode, the Legion of Super-Heroes arrives from the future. They're supposed to be very much like the comic book version. I can't wait.

    I am stealing "ho-ish." We can put it on my tombstone. "Neal Bailey: Ho-ish. Died by the sword."

    Beyond that, I agree with most of your critiques. I have been given some flak for daring to point out how odd MM's flight was, but it was absurd. They're like, "Sun equals fire, Neal, don't you know that?" and I'm like, "Dude, I'm a nerd, of course I know that! I never leave the writing room!" But that's not the point. The point is that if MM goes to the sun, there are two options. It de-powers him, or it doesn't. If it does, he can't make the flight back. If it doesn't, he makes the flight back with powers. The only other option is gradually losing his powers all the way back, which, given that he's going FURTHER from the sun, and being at the proximity of Earth's distance of the sun GIVES him power, it's insane.

    What's even more insane is that folks would rather haggle that point to death rather than just say, "Yeah, that's a valid critique. It didn't bug me, though." Instead they say, "I disagree so you much change!"

    Which is fascist BS.

    Rockin' review, Bruce, as ever! I think you're actually being the conservative one this time... I'm really curious to see how you react to the next few if I stay positive, which, given how they're going, I can see happening.

    Bruce Kanin

    Ann wrote:
    Hey Neil,
    I hope you enjoyed the summer, and things are going well for you.

    I hope I did too, heh. Ask me in three months if I still have a house. HAW!

    Well that was a dud. The very beginning I see 4 weeks later, and I'm already annoyed. Then the credits were jarring- Allison Mack right after Tom Welling and a cast that is truly unrecognizable...
    makes me feel all the time that has passed. I didn't really need that tonight.

    Yeah... makes me feel old.

    Points...this new hack chick being more deceptive than Lex-- yeah right. I'm not bowing down to Rosenbaum because I think he helped paint the writers into a corner (not that they need any help)but LEX is a supervillain, and this woman is--- annoying. Of course Rosenbaum is why we miss Lex--but I'm not admitting that again, unless he gueststars before or for the finale.(Yes I'm bitter) Nothing against Justin Hartley- but it's probably not the best idea to have the more proactive superhero be forever shadowing Clark now-- it's Superman's show---er used to be.

    If they keep him as a sidekick following Clark's lead, I'll accept it. The minute it becomes season 5? 6? (I honestly can't remember) and Green Arrow is the star, I'll stomp my feet.

    I'll give him props for one line though-- "'re useless." Lmao--summed up the last 3 years.
    But they bit the big one again when Clark made that lamea-- speech to Martian Manhunter.
    Living a lie on the farm where there's no life, blah, blah , blah... writers wrote me into this melodramatic soap opera, blah, blah... (During which, if he had powers, Martian Manhunter would've flown himself right into the sun).

    The sun which, uh, powers him and takes away his powers.

    And we got a Clana!!!!! He d*mn near dies and the first thing he sees is Lana!!!! C'MON!!! And then his parents, and then Lana and Ma again. No Pete, no Chloe, not just his life through his own eyes-- just 3 people who have all been written out of and left the show.

    Yes. THAT ticked me off.

    Aaaaand the preview before the show stunk too. Previously....somewhere during seasons 5-7 of Smallville... much has happened. Yet somehow we should forget that Kara is floating out in space.
    Let's not remember that Martian Manhunter just flew Clark right up to the sun and all that jazz--they just happened to miss her out there.

    Yeah, she was suspiciously just gone. Like Martha.

    It's not time to bring her back for her one episode.

    They seem to be saying they will... we'll see.

    Duh moments-- Lois the french maid taking one flashdrive from the case, and it just so happens to have Chloe's exact location on it-- but good 'ole reliable Luthor security let her right in again.
    Tess- has a footprint...isn't that the subplot of Harry and the Hendersons? And of course the very crystal that created the Fortress of Solitude-- I don't care if they think that makes it relevant for them to show the very clip of him creating the Fortress with it. In my opinion, if you need to see that clip to be told as to what that crystal is, you shouldn't be watching this show, because it means you're not a fan anyway. Go watch repeats and figure it out. That opener was filler.

    As a kid, I loved Harry and the Henderson. I would wait until I was in a quiet place in the dark and go "AWOOOOOOOOOOO" at night. Yeah, I was... am... strange. And it's funny, there's this scene in my new comic where a Cthulhu monster goes ROOOOOOOO and that was the sound I heard in my... ER, if I HAD a hypothetical comic where a Cthulhu analogue is featured, that is... (Cough)

    What was your question again?

    And the writing of how Clark got out of there was not just a vague retelling, it was poorly written.

    I ESCAPED somehow!

    Now we find out that Jor-El was just going to strip his power with the device-- been there, done that.
    Not to mention that Manhunter taking him right to the sun to heal him, creates a plot hole for me.
    He wasn't really mortal, just unable to fly close enough to the sun to "power up". Was that the case the last time he was so-called mortal, or he was just unable to get himself close enough to the sun?

    Got me.

    "We have to get Lex; he knows my secret." Well what the h*ll would he do with Lex if he got his hands on Rosenbaum---(again--I'm a little bitter right now) how does he stop Lex? Rubber room? Crazy glue his lips shut? Why doesn't Lex come after Clark once he knows he's alive? Why doesn't he tell the government, and attempt to trap Clark?

    I think he would tickle Lex until Lex agreed never to talk. No, wait, that's a fanfic I read.

    Just how do 2 mortal? men survive an avalanche? Let me guess--- it was all sucked up into the crystal.... get outta here.

    Well, if they hold each other tight, and... no, that was a fanfic too.

    Slightly enjoyable, was the Lois and Clark banter--more so at the end, to see Tom Welling be funny with Erica-- because that was what made me like their relationship in Season 4(only to see that squashed in a Clana avalanche).
    Finally-- Doomsday -- as seen in the opening credits only. My first inclination was that this could only end REALLY bad, because after 7 years Lex never really became a villain, but more of a misguided savior, atleast in his own mind. I remember that he killed Lionel (which took forever to do anyway) which "so what" after all of the things that went down between them. At that point it was really-- OK, now he's killed Lionel, so that means he is completely evil.

    Eeeeeeeeeeeeeevil. Like the FROO-its of the DEV-EEEL.

    As this applies to Doomsday- I don't want another villain to sympathize with. Lex being good and going bad at the beginning of Smallville is intriguing because we all know he is a villain later in life. So to see that unravel, as he fights with what is inherently bad within himself, is compelling to watch. Just as the goodness and truth of Clark is supposed to be what compels him to be at the forefront of helping mankind. His recognition of his importance in the world is truly compelling to watch-- if well written.
    For youngsters who weren't brought up on it, but were learning Superman through Smallville, it should still be intriguing to see this other pretty good guy (Lex) become evil, and see Clark triumph against that.
    Doomsday is not the Incredible Hulk, so why do we have to get this version of Doomsday-- why not go all out and make him the monster that he is? That would require big time writing, and the fight of Superman's life-- that I want to see.

    Me too. If they do that.

    For me tonight---thin plot, coming off of a weak finale, and a truly changed cast-- made it feel like a shoot'em up action flick-- here's where we put the dialogue, now an action sequence, throw in a fight or two- roll credits. Which I'm always up for, but not from my Sci-fi, or my Super-Hero retellings.
    I'm not feeling it right now. Feh!
    But I'm glad we're back to Reading You Later Neal, Ann

    Thanks, Ann!

    Tom Roberts of Athens, Texas wrote:
    When Clark jumps into the truck, it sounds like the door shuts. But as the camera moves in, we see the door still open. Jump cut to the next view, outside and behind the right rearview mirror, and the door IS shut.

    Good catch.

    Martian Manhunter said the Sun stripped him of his powers, so how did he get Clark back to Earth? Ninety-three million miles is a long way to walk without powers.

    Caught that, to my regret.

    I presume Clark's clothes were vaporized when MM took him for that empowering suntan, because he was wearing something different when he woke up in the barn. I'm going to have to count how many letterman jackets Clark has burned through:tossed into a furnace by superstrong thugs, a bomb blasted his pickup with him in it, riding a nuke missile into the ionosphere then a fiery reentry,...this is gonna take a while. Clark better go for tights soon, so his skin-tight aura of invulnerability can kick in.

    HAH! Didn't know that. Maybe Manhunter just changed his clothes... no, wait, that was a fanfic too.

    Radical Dreamer wrote:
    Dear Neal,
    First off, let me say that I liked this episode. Why? Because something has changed! (At least I hope so). Clark moving to the big city, getting a job and actually moving towards being Superman. We now have the possibility of a total change in how the series is being done... we won't get it, but it's nice to see there is a chance.

    Bing! Agreement.

    Now if only they'd ditch the stupid "no flights, no tights" rule. While it was a good and novel rule that worked well for 2 or 3 seasons, it should be clear to everyone by now that it only hampers the show from going where it should. (aka - SUPERMAN)


    I assume you liked the movement of Clark's character as well (because moving anywhere is better than staying the same). But, just because we want to like the episode, we can't overlook the plot holes. And boy were there some big ones... plot canons really. Though not a list of them all (I shall leave that in your capable hands), here are some that ripped me right out of the story.

    I think Trinity proves that any motion is NOT better than staying the same, but I agree in principle. Generally a change of scenery will make a bad story more tolerable. But it has to move in a good direction.

    Walk in the Artic:
    So Clark, wearing nothing but a T-shirt, wind breaker, and jeans, "went as far as he could and the next thing he knew he woke up on a fishing boat in the Arctic Ocean." So, what? He walked five steps and passed out in shock? How convenient that there was a fishing boat docked at the fortress. He's damn lucky it has a working harbor.... and an shoreline near by (which can clearly be seen in all those wide shots of the excavation).

    When I point out an implausibility like this, people, instead of going, "Yeah, that's henky!" like to write a big fictional impossible rationale FOR the writers, which I don't get. So I'll do that for you, to be funny. Or try to.

    The residual energy of the fortress warmed him. He clung to one of the still warm chunks of the fortress, floated beneath the ice into open waters just as the last of his air left his lungs with his fading super-powers. Aquaman then pulled him to safety. Then they made out. When he woke up, he was on a fishing boat in the Arctic Ocean, and Aquaman had no lips.

    Flying into space:
    ...MM picks up Clark, a normal human, and flies him not only into space, but into the sun. Do we wonder about the lack of, oh I don't know, AIR? But let's not forget we have extreme hot and cold to deal with too. His eyes would explode and all the fluids in him would freeze. Oh and if he was dead, how did the sun restart his heart?
    PS: And how did MM get back with no powers and Clark unconscious? ... wait a tic, and how come he didn't freeze and suffocate! Crap!

    They had a spaceship you just didn't see. And Solaris took MM's powers. Chloe is also actually Lois.

    Green Arrow after Clark leaves:
    Right, so MM and Clark go off to sunnier skies (see what I did there, it's a pun and therefore funny), but that leaves our hero, Green Arrow, in a dire situation. Let's tick it off shall we.
    +Bad guy's got hostages (Canary and Aquaman)
    +GA's unmasked himself
    +Must protect Chloe (and an unconscious Lois)
    +Many armed goons out to get him.
    +Main baddie has mind control powers and 2 superheroes to use said powers on.
    +Must escape leaving no evidence

    They used a Watchtower prototype telporter. DUH!, I guess what I'm really asking is... why the hell didn't I get to see this?! Honestly Neal! This must be the most awesome scene in Smallville history and I had to watch Clark cry about how his dad, mom, and Lana are gone! BLARG!


    Job at planet
    Do I really need to say anything...?
    Yes, yes I do. I just saw a college dropout, with nothing on his resume but a 3 year stint at a high school paper, skip all the crap jobs and go strait to being a reporter and the world's most famous paper. Christ.

    He got an online diploma at superspeed.

    Well, keep on writing, no matter how bad it gets. Your reviews make it entertaining to watch even in the worst of times.
    ~Radical Dreamer~

    Thanks! Hope I wasn't too snarky.

    Ralph Silver wrote:
    Hi Neal:

    Since you are the Smallville reviewer, I want to share some thoughts.

    Doug is too, I must add. And a good counter-foible.

    I enjoyed the season opener. It was good to see the nascent Justice League again, although I wish they had also brought back the Flash. I am also pleased that they are expanding Lois' role this season. Out goes the bad air (Lana); in comes the good air (Lois).

    But there is an issue that for me detracts from my overall enjoyment of Smallville. It is precisely this: the depiction of Jor-El.

    Yeah, it's really lame.

    In the season opener, Jor-El took Clark's powers away, again! I reject this!

    Yes. It was stupid.

    Let's get this straight. Jor-El died when the planet Krypton exploded. Jor-El is not alive! "Jor-el" should not be able to intervene in Clark's life the way they have him do over and over on this show.

    It's Donner's fault. Damn him and that film nobody loves! Heh.

    In the first Superman / Christopher Reeve movie, they introduced a novel concept: Jor-El placed crystals in baby Kal-El's rocket ship that were essentially computer programs; using Krypton's very advanced technology. And when Clark grows into manhood (in that movie), the crystals build the Fortress of Solitude and provide a training program for Clark, presented in the image of his long-deceased father. But this is not the real Jor-El; it is a computer simulation. If you watch the movie, this is very clear.


    But on Smallville, they have taken this concept much too far. The Jor-El simulator acts so much like a living, cognitive entity that he is indeed presented as if he were a living character on the show. But Jor-El is deceased! He should not be able to interfere in Clark's life over and over. They should make it very clear on the show that this is not the real Jor-El. Joe-El is NOT alive!

    On the holodeck I can make out with him. Rowr!

    Also, every time Jor-El takes Clark's powers away in a punitive manner, he is putting Clark's life at risk. This Jor-El program would clearly qualify as an abusive father, if he were actually alive! This depiction of Jor-El is way out of character from the heroic figure that is Jor-El in the comic books.

    I agree.

    There. I feel better! Thanks for listening.

    No prob!

    Ralph Silver

    Chantal wrote:
    Loved your review (entertaining as always, although sometimes they make me cringe out of embarresment for the show when you lay bare its flaws), especially since it was a positive one. I agree it is a very exciting opening to the new season. (out of curiosity, when was the last time you gave a 5 out of 5?)

    People give me flak either way. If I rip it up, they're like, "You're too critical!" and if I give it a five, they're like, "All that noise and he gave it a five! Hypocrite!" They fundamentally don't understand analysis, or the fact that you can enjoy something that has flaws. But you, like a lot of the readers, get it, which is cool.

    The last five of five was...

    Episode 15 of last year. And that was one of five 5 of 5s since season 3, to give you an idea. There were no 5s in season 5

    Fresh start much needed since it's so true that this show leaves us with so many loose ends that get very frustrating as they pile up in the closet labelled 'ignore', which I am assuming we are meant to put at the back of our heads and never speak of again. Although most individual episodes are good for me on there own, on the whole there are so many things that never get explained or acknowledged! Can I just list a few that I try not think about to much?(because like an old friend you continue to overlook their flaws as long as there is enough good in them to make it worthwhile putting up with)
    Here goes:


    - Martha leaving and never being mentioned, seen, or heard of again
    - School blows up nobody goes to school again. This could have been their fourth year in college if they had at least shown a few clips of Chloe doing homework or Clark speeding to campus and getting to a few classes late. I mean they went to high school with not to much of the show actually focusing on 'the classroom' itself. ARGHH!
    - The glasses issue, which you mentioned. But they could fix this by simply getting him glasses NOW! Would be very believable if Clark just told people he got a perscription. Lois would tease him about it. Good fun right?
    - Not being trained by Jor-El yet! WHY? WHY the delay?

    I am actually, more than any of this, perturbed by the fact that Chloe is not dead. That is a BIG loose end. You can't have a character that prominent and have them this far into the mythos without future mention. And in that, it's the biggest flaw of Smallville. That said, if they kill her (as this show is obviously NOT a full prelude to any real Supes myth, but rather an elseworld) I will kill them, because she keeps the show alive here.

    That's enough for today, I'm sure you have a lot more giant plot holes and loose ends that perhaps bother you, but maybe that will all be in the past. New Season! Clark reporter again (if you count the Torch right)! Total Metropolis migration. Although I will miss life on the country, but I guess that has been gone for awhile.


    Hope this season you are watching and reviewing out of enjoyment, not out of dreaded commitment to hang in til the end. :P

    Now it's enjoyment, which pleases me.

    look forward to reading more of your reviews!


    Serethiel wrote:

    AWESOME review, man, as always. :-)


    I have high hopes for season eight. Maybe I'm talking prematurely, but it seems to me like the elements intoduced in "Odyssey" are going to be MUCH needed shots in the arm for the series.

    and I'm not just saying that because I think Justin Hartley is hot. lol.

    One thing that I found disappointing, though, and it's a minor gripe, was that they didn't have Bart as one of the Justice Leaguers to make an appearance. Were the others okay? Well, Green Arrow and Aquaman, yeah. They have more of a history with Clark and would be more determined to see him found and safe. Black Canary has had only one episode backing her, and her and Clark were rivals for most of it. Even though Bart DID get lip service, I think it would've been better had they left Dinah out, and put Bart in.

    He was there, just moving so fast you couldn't see him.

    While Clark seeing Lana as he was "dying" was a bit of a groaner, I was SUPER happy to see that Jonathan and Martha were there too. It's the first we've seen Jonathan since his krypto-vision sequence in season 5's "Void." I won't lie, I've been watching some back episodes of Smallville, and it served to remind me just how much I REALLY miss Pa Kent. So, seeing him in a brand new episode was very nice. I hear *spoiler* that John Schneider is considering coming back for another episode? If this is true, I hope they make it meaningful, and not just a cheap gimmick to pull in the Jonathan fans that quit watching the show a long time ago (and there are many).

    Yeah. Jonathan rocked. I miss him.

    Next week's episode standard FOTW material, even though it's supposed to be a comic character. Whether or not they even get "Plastique" right will be over my head, because, until reading spoilers for the episode, I'd never even heard of her.

    And we'll also get to see if Sam Witwer is as nice a cast addition as Cassidy Freeman and Justin Hartley have proved to be. I hope so, because everything I've heard about him so far sounds really LAME.

    He's a bit wooden, but I want to see where he goes.

    Take care dude, and wish me luck. I start college in a couple of weeks.

    Oh, now you NEED luck. Ask your Phil 201, nay, DEMAND Philosophical Pragmatism and Richard Rorty. Tell him Neal sent you. But don't give him my address. Provided I soon have one, having been un-pragmatic with my finances. Ha-ho! A joke only I get. Sigh.


    Keith wrote:
    Neal, Did I read that right on the Smallville season preem -- 5 out of 5? Even with all the plot holes you pointed out?

    Yes. Errors in plot do not preclude enjoyment, or Star Wars would be in the bargain bins.

    The one HUGE plot hole both you reviewers missed comes right after the whole Martian Manhunter mess: how'd everyone get OUT of that facility? I mean, OK, you can reason that Martian Manhunter went back and helped, but you're not supposed to have to reason to sort out things that happen off screen. You don't read The Shining and at the end say, "Gee, I wonder why this place is haunted?" You don't watch Godfather and wonder, "Gee, why does everyone hate Fredo?" Everything you NEED to know is on-screen. As it should be.

    I did miss that. Mostly it was because I was so focused on Clark, and I think it's logical to assume that if they can infiltrate, they can exfiltrate. Like my fish tank.

    So how did Ollie and Chloe and, most importantly, Lois (who was out cold and left alone by Chloe apparently), get out of there?

    "I escaped... somehow!" -Thumb Wars-

    Also, I got a bit of a laugh from a number of things in this poorly written show (although I LOVED the Russians -- totally w/you guys on that...I'm guessing a 2nd unit directed it b/c it was expertly filmed), but the thing that struck me as odd was: they go through the trouble to say that Victor and Bart are searching all over for Clark, but they never bother to explain where they are once Oliver's got him. "Oh, they're still out there searching -- I like screwing with them that way." I mean, just don't mention those guys. Or say "They're off on another assignment." WAY too many holes in the story for a season preem.

    Yeah, good point there.

    It doesn't bode well.


    Irwin Santos wrote:

    You're too generous with Odyssey. I was looking forward to you ripping it to shreds.

    The Hawaiian Superman

    I'm SURE I'll get a shred-ripped at some point.

    patrick Beardsley wrote:
    Hi Neal,

    I hope you are well and had a nice summer. Let's get right down to it.

    Almost. If they'd get rid of the sun it'd be better.

    5 of 5 really? Really? Wow, it almost seemed like a different person was writing this review. Deus Ex Machina with the Martian Manhunter randomly showing up to save Clark, same goes for Green Arrow randomly finding Clark in Russia? Weak writing. What are these numbers that Chloe is identifying that locate individuals? How does Lois get into the Luthor mansion? As you said before what does the name Smallville have to do with anything now? etc, ad nauseum, and so on.

    I can see how folks can rip on it. It's gonna start here, shortly, I'm sure. "You write for Smallville Magazine, and that's why your reviews all of a sudden got positive!" and then "Your reviews are negative again! If you don't like it, don't watch it!" Heh.

    Honestly, I'm just enjoying the fact that they're moving things forward so much I can overlook the flaws. Just like the novelty fed season 1, 2, and 3 so well we could ignore the freaks more.

    Maybe a 2 of 5 since Tess played fairly well and they're trying to move forward, but how could this ever receive the same score as Rosetta (Christopher Reeve's first appearance)?

    Take care, I look forward to your response

    Because there's a 1 of five, and beyond one of five, and a five of five, and a beyond five of five. The baseline is enjoyment and utter loathing, but once something is crap, it can be MORE crap, and something can be good and then be good AND amazing. I had a great time watching that episode. And a great time watching Rosetta. Perhaps there should be a "MONUMENTAL EPISODE" vs a "GOOD EPISODE" distinction of some kind, but then, with 5 degrees, sometimes you've gotta do stuff like that. Which is why I write the words, to explain the nuance.

    Fred wrote:

    Dude, the Manhunter thing left me COMPLETELY baffled. Even for this show. I tried, I really tried to figure it out. Is Bizzaro the same race as M.M.? And how the F#$@ did Clark, who by the way, can't fly, get them back to earth? At light speed, it's 7 minutes or so to go from the earth to the sun.


    I give up. I'm so perplexed, I can't even rationalize, or fake rationalize, a solution right now.

    And I hate, hate, hate the "Clark loses his powers. Again." plot device.


    At least Lana is gone.


    Sweet Jeebus.

    I hear you. I do.

    Daniel Godnick wrote:
    Hey Neal its been a joy reading your reviews the last seven years and its too bad that this will probably be the last season for your smallville reviews. However I look forward to the analysis that you will give til the end of the show. Anywho I was wondering what other shows you watched and what were your opinions on them.

    Well, I still gots me some other stuff coming out.

    I watch only shows that captivate me utterly, as I have so little time. So all of them get very high marks. I never watch a show I am even just above average passionate about, which is why I have not finished or continued Battlestar, Heroes, or Alias (though I will probably finish Alias). I watch Lost, Scrubs, The Daily Show (I even cut Colbert to occasional because of time), and House. House is the only one that's good enough to watch repeatedly, every time. The writing on that show is GENIUS. People b#%ch about the fact that the plot is the same, but I watch it for the character, which is unparalleled.

    Mostly, however, I read, and what I read can be found bi-monthly on Cinema Crazed. I'm about to write a new one.

    That's the last one.

    later Dan

    Ann wrote:
    FOTW storyline returns!!! Oh joy.Is it just me, or does the firestarter chick bare more than a passing resemblance to Lana?

    I saw that too, but I know if I wrote that I'd get angry letters. About what, I'll leave for you to infer, but I know what they'd be. If I even say what they'd complain about, I'd get MORE letters about it, heh.

    I know it's Plastique, I get it - but let's deal with Doomsday. It bums me out (I know - let it go) that Tess is building the Super Army that I wanted to see Lex build.

    Yeah, me too, actually.

    Also, follow me here a minute - if anybody has seen some of the Smallville Youtube stuff they've seen the Clana vids (Clark/Lana) Clois (Clark/Lois) and the Chlex (Clark/Lex). Yeah, a Chlex - and the videos that do more than just bat an eye at the hint of their special friendship. No prob with creative license here, or personal preferences - BUT to see the attraction to Tess only makes me think that they can now add the romance twist with 'female' Lex. Sad, but true that my mind wandered to this-it's not important.

    I think it's gonna be more than a shipper thing. I'll bet they go somewhere with it.

    I think it still stings to me that the show is moving in new directions, regardless of how they've gotten there. I'm let down that they dug themselves such a hole that they just sort of regrouped and threw out the old while adopting a new type of show. It's focusing on Metropolis, but called Smallville, and characters still live in Smallville- but the action's in Metropolis, as has been said. So, if the action's no longer in Smallville...? Ya get where I'm goin.. Expiration date comes to mind...


    I do like the budding relationship of Lois and Clark, and I like that Lois is falling for Clark - much like Lois and Clark the series unfolded. I think they've developed certain situations over the years that make it absolutely reasonable for her to fall for Clark before Superman - although it was stifled many a time. And if this show is going to maintain that he is not Superman yet, it makes sense to me that they want Lois to pine for Clark - to write in some romance for them - since we're probably not going to see SUPERMAN until an ultimate finale. Not to mention that it doesn't seem at all believable (to me atleast) that she wouldn't recognize Clark.

    Not just to you, to anyone.

    What I felt was unnecessary was the Clark and Chloe 'hedging' over her engagement to Jimmy.
    Clark has no real reason to be let down. I'll explain - in this new version of Smallville, he's even getting over Lana...LANA. Why would he have any inclination to pine for Chloe. I can understand her being hesitant - because SHE pined for HIM for a very long time - whereas Clark let go of a chance with Chloe when she and Jimmy became a couple.

    Yeah, it was retcon character. Sometimes there WAS gonna be a relationship, sometimes there wasn't, between Clark and Chloe. It's for shippers.

    This is also an episode that features more of the Daily Planet, and I don't remember hearing any explanation as to why Jimmy was not around at all.With so much focus on Chloe not mentioning the engagement, I think it would've been appropriate to see Jimmy's reaction to her keeping this secret from Clark.
    More importantly -- did Clark use his powers in front of people at the site of the bus explosion?
    It looked like it when he pulled back some part of the bus wreckage. Nice to see Lois's rules to reporting, but Clark not knowing to wear a suit to work? Forced.

    I dunno, I dug it, myself. But I am like that. I don't dress for work, never have, and would show up to a paper like that.

    Superman being called a liar by Tess - I hate that. It justifies Lex's so-called turn to evil - like Clark made him that way because of his lies... blah, blah, blah. I already said it last week, that I don't care to see Doomsday as the new BEST FRIEND to Clark (the old Smallville would use that term, but maybe not so much now) become this evil thing beyond his control, he's misunderstood... blah, blah, snore. I want to see the supervillain, killing machine! I wanted Lex and his team to dig up Doomsday, and have that be the focus of his Ultimate Army.

    That'd be cool. :)

    Oh well. Read ya Later Neal, Ann


    Wow, folks! Great week. It's because of the long string above that things were a little late, and my apologies for that. I went to Bell-Con, which you'll soon read a wrap-up of.

    Check out the updated KO Count.

    More soon!


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