Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 8 - Episode 7: "Identity"



Reviewed by: Neal Bailey


  • Jimmy gets wind that Clark is the mysterious hero.
  • A mind reader seeks Tess' crystal for her, and attacks Lois.
  • Oliver poses as Clark and saves his secret, coming to terms with Lionel.
  • Jimmy stops suspecting Clark, and Chloe kills the baddie.


    A lot of the reviews I'm seeing of this episode coming in are largely positive and saying that this is a revival of the show, the classic bits that we watch for.

    I disagree, and I know this review will thereby get me flak.

    To me, this episode absolutely reeked of shipping, fanservice, and a dilemma that wasn't really a dilemma.

    You guys see that video about the Dark Knight with Superman in it? No? Well here:

    See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor.

    What does this video emphasize? That suspension of belief relies upon a Batman world without Superman in it. Fanboys will write stories about a Batman Superman fight, the utility belt, if Batman had time to prepare, etc. And I will concede, if Batman had Kryptonite, and the moon was aligned with Pluto, and the movie script rocked, it could be fun.

    But Superman would hand Batman his lily #$$. And you know it. Why? BECAUSE HE SHOOTS FIRE FROM HIS EYES and Batman dresses like a bat.

    Now, consider Superman vs. Jimmy Olsen, which is essentially the focus of this episode.

    Clark gets caught saving Lois from a mugger. Jimmy takes out his camera, and by a miracle, snaps a shot of Clark. "Oh! The mysterious visitior! Whoa! Dudes! I have an exclusive that will expose his identity!"

    WHOOOOOSH! The camera disappears, and Clark, in a costume he's appropriated from a shop store in Topeka appears, domino mask on, stares at Jimmy laughing.

    "Ha ha ha, runt! You will never catch... THE PHANTOM!"

    Clark then makes a bunch of whooping noise, and Jimmy's camera is suddenly stuffed in his hand sans one digital picture.

    "Oh, you mean these missiles, Lex? I'll never have time to... oh, you must mean some OTHER missiles."

    Yeah, I mean those missiles.

    Point being, when you establish a dilemma around something that Clark, with his powers, could have easily avoided (like, say, having a crystal with Tess that Clark can steal at the speed of sound, used twice in two weeks now), it doesn't engender my sympathy or cause me to worry for the character's fate, it makes me go, "Huh? Damn, man, I need to watch me some House."

    And that's about 40 percent of the episode.

    Also, get this. Jimmy is actually taking a picture of Lois being hit by a car. What a dick!

    Now, what's the rest? Well, we have Lois falling in love/researching a doofus who has no character and isn't really worth anyone's time. We have a scene where Green Arrow wears a cape and acts like Superman, before Superman exists, which seems cool, because we get to see him flap his cape and act like Supes, which is what we want to see, and then you realize, hey man! This only rubs in our face the fact that we don't get Supes, and turns the cape not into Clark's idea, but to Green Arrow's, just like Clark's desire to be a costumed hero has become.

    The idea, which the writers and this show capitalizes on, is that it's enough to show a cape flapping in the wind without Superman present, and then we'll forgive the fact that this is a Superman show without Superman.

    That worked. In 2001. It doesn't work now, unless the vision is truly beautiful.

    It's not that the episode went out of its way to be sucky, which is why I feel bad bashing it. It didn't. There was nothing overly complex or awful here. But it did revert to FOTW mentality, its character development hinged on a ridiculous conceit, and in the end, we are no further at the end of this episode than we were at the start save that Clark now hates capes... uh, yeah.


    We start with Jimmy thinking Clark is a mad powerful guy, some sweeping super avenger like akin to something no one has ever seen. Why? Because he can throw a tire and move at superspeed. So essentially, Jimmy's going gaga over the Flash in a world of Superman. He hasn't seen Clark's other powers, he doesn't know Clark to have incredible strength, all he has is heroism. To be frank, if Jimmy were going to get this worked up about it, he would have done so long ago. It's lightswitch.

    Lois attacks the goon with the gun, and her fighting resorts to near brawling which, speaking as a martial artist, kinda rankles me. Either she knows martial arts, or she doesn't. If she does, she wouldn't go to ground being the smaller opponent, she'd take him out with two sharp kicks or a punch to the throat. If she doesn't know martial arts, she ain't doing whip kicks. Why the hell can everyone do whip kicks on TV? I KNOW you think it looks cool. But it stopped. A long time ago. So stop doing it. I hate it. Stop. It sucks. Wrong. No more. Cease. Finito. At least make it something interesting, like the mandible claw. Any idiot actor can cheerleader kick. Die. Enough already. It's like my urgings of cessation, going on too long. Have I made my point? Enough yet? No more whip kicks.

    I hate them.

    They are stupid.

    Now, when Jimmy says that he's stuck in Lois' shadow, I was irked, because...

    I mean, seriously! Enough with the chicks who can randomly do martial arts!

    So we have a dude... who can see into people's minds, who handshakes people to do so. Not that we've had a dude whose power involves minds (influencing, admittedly) who has to touch the hands of other people on this show.

    Why is Tess sad? Why is this introduced and never elaborated upon?

    Why would Tess suspect Lois as having taken the crystal? Completely irrational. As is having a goon with powers ask her instead of, I dunno, a couple of guys roughing Lois up. When you're a murderer, you don't seek the path of most resistance that avoids hurting people. Tess is a cruel person. Why send a liability out? Irrational again.

    And get this, the guy who shook Lois' hands knows she was a good person after having just met her and talked to her for five minutes. Face it, she's amazing!

    Or maybe... just maybe... they want shipper dating stuff to make Clark jealous of Lois and Lois jealous of Clark, etc. Note the scene when he reads her mind and Lois seems interested as Clark is zipping her up, etc.


    Clark yaks at Lois over her shippity ship ship shipping. He steps up to her half-naked back (sigh) and says, "Lois, don't date the psychopath! He might go all psychopathy and stab you in the boob!"

    Lois: "Blah blah independent woman blah blah shipper blah blah whip kicks blah blah can take care of myself until I need you to save me blah blah zip me up, hunk."

    "Drop off these papers and pick up my drycleaning." Subtle. Most would probably miss it. Good homage. Bad episode to stick it in.

    Jimmy sees a red blur on a camera. He sees Clark wearing a red jacket. Ergo, CLARK MUST BE THE HERO!

    Masterful logic, Watson. Here's a piece of similar workmanship. I have an extraordinarily hot chick on my desktop lounging half-naked in a chair. Jimmy conclusion: SHE IS MY GIRLFRIEND!

    There are dirty dishes in my sink. I am in the house alone. Jimmy conclusion: I MURDERED MY MAID!

    If I eat kippers... Jimmy conclusion: IT WILL NOT RAIN! YOU DO NOT LOVE ME ANY MORE!

    So Jimmy concludes that Clark is Superman, Clark denies it and superspeeds to Smallville. Just as he arrives, Jimmy does. Neal conclusion: The writers seem to think it takes Clark nearly as long to run to Metropolis as it does for Jimmy to drive.

    But wait, that one makes sense. I'll revise. Jimmy concludes that Clark is Superman. Clark denies it and superspeeds to Smallville. Just as he arrives, Jimmy does. Jimmy conclusion: YOU MUST HAVE SUPERPOWERS, BECAUSE NO ONE CAN DRIVE AS FAST AS ME IN ANY POSSIBLE WORLD!

    This also emphasizes another point of annoyance. Why doesn't Clark trust Jimmy? Could be because he cheats on his girlfriend over a note from 2003.

    Ollie turns into a drunk because his parents were killed by Lionel? How does that follow at all. They're still just as dead. Arbitrary conflict.

    In this episode, Tess is still simplistic, without nuance. I realize, as we go on, that I don't like Tess as much as I liked Lex, and here's why: Tess is just evil for the sake of being evil and there. Much like Spike was, at first, in those first few episodes I saw with him in it. I suppose he evolved, I dunno, I haven't watched far into Buffy. But anyway, point being, Lex was good trying not to be evil, and evil was consuming him (even if it was inconsistent). Tess is just evil.

    At least there's some continuity about Green Arrow and Clark covering for each other, I'll grant it that. And it's a complex climax, but oy, all of the dilemmas are kind of dumb. Lois again dates a psycho. Jimmy has photos he shouldn't. Green Arrow is doing what Clark could do himself.

    What do I mean by that? Well, assume you're Clark, and you're standing right next to Jimmy. You have to save a kid in the street being hit by a car. If you move fast enough to freeze time, you can save the kid and move back to EXACTLY the same position you were in next to Jimmy, and Jimmy wouldn't know. He'd quite literally be unable to turn his eyes or see you disappear in your periphery. This establishes two things, one, that Clark being next to Jimmy doesn't prove that he isn't the hero, and two, that this premise is retarded. QED.

    I mean, why wouldn't Jimmy assume another Freak was helping Clark in a world full of freaks?

    Again we see the ridiculous convention of Lois, in the middle of a whipkick fight, being able to pull out a cell phone. And instead of calling the police, she calls...

    CLARK. Yes, Clark. Mild mannered person she thinks has no powers. They even point it out later as stupid.

    Now, why, given that the goon was conscious, would he not tell Lois about Clark shoving him across the room and blurring out? Who the hell knows. Bad writing.

    Red cape, blue suit, okay, it looked nice. But like I said, fanservice. It wasn't Superman, so why do we applaud like it was?

    Resolution of the Ollie issue falls flat, because there's no reason he wouldn't have just done what he does here in the first place.

    Clark scorns the cape, and Ollie stands up for it, making Ollie more responsible for the cape than Clark... grandiose. Sigh.

    Chloe goes in and, presumably being taken over by Brainiac, murders the freak. But then, we have a little problem here. WHY WOULD BRAINIAC TRY TO HELP CLARK? IN WHAT WORLD IS THIS RATIONAL?


    Honestly, is there anything here that I found entertaining? Not really. Honestly, no. Even the cape thing was obvious fanservice.

    1 of 5.


    Xaq wrote:

    Dude! I've been reading your Smallville reviews off and on since the first episode. Good reviewer!

    Thank you.

    Anyway, about the episode "Prey", I just wanted to make a comment. I think Chloe is completely justified in wanting to protect those people's identities, and has motivation for doing so. She's trying to help them to not become evil psychos, as you noted the other 168 or however many have. She's started this group, and encouraged the people within it to trust her, so they're her responsibility. Her point to Clark is that he has no reason to believe that any members of her group committed any crime, and his only reason for wanting to investigate them is because they have powers. If someone has powers they must be evil, right?

    Generally speaking, it's the rule, not the exception. This isn't like the "Muslims are terrorists!" argument, whereby some people want to automatically search anyone who is Muslim and suspect them before they board a plane, irrationally convinced that if a person has brown skin or believes in Allah they obviously want to kill Americans. That's a crazy assumption, like assuming all Christians want to bomb federal buildings because one crazed one named McVeigh blew up a building ten some-odd years ago.

    This is a case where, out of 161 cases, there have been 164 murderers. This is like assuming that a member of the crips gang might be involved in gang violence. It's not an irrational correlary, given the logic of this show, just like it's not an irrational corrolary to assume that Clark is doing the right thing nine times out of ten, so you should just trust him.

    Wrong, because Clark has powers, and so do the other members of the justice league.

    Again, in 161 of 161 cases, Clark is the exception to the rule. The exception proves the rule.

    In fact, not two episodes ago, he appealed to such a freak-of-the-week with logic and compassion and she gave herself up.

    But not before attempted murder, and then she went and joined Tess' evil cadre.

    Powers may or may not mess with your head, but these are still human beings, and Clark-- although I understand his motivations in going after them-- what he's doing is racial profiling. 'This group is more likely to have committed a crime of this nature, based on my experiences, so I'll go question them simply because they belong to that group'.

    No, because there's nothing racial about it. I think you're trying to say it's /akin/ to racial profiling, but again, this fails. This isn't saying "Anyone who has a power is suspect." This is saying, "Someone with powers is killing people. Finding out who has powers is hard. May I borrow your list so I can question these people with powers?" He's not harassing them. He's not arresting them. He's just exploring possibilities. When you slam a random black man against the back of a police cruiser on a Friday night and assume he has drugs, an action which may result in an innocent being harassed, that's racial profiling. If the cops hear that a white dude has just robbed a store nearby and they start asking white dudes nearby if they robbed a store, that's not racial profiling. That's common sense.

    I think Chloe is completely justified in protecting her patients. When you go to therapy, you expect, anonymity. Clark is Superman, yes, so he feels he has to do whatever's necessary to protect people. But, with great power comes great responsibility. He can't be acting that way. As long as he's doing that, why doesn't he just round up all other super-powered people in the world and put them in a big internment camp? After all, super-powered people are more likely to hurt people, and thus he's helping to keep people safe.

    That's a slippery slope argument, and it doesn't apply here. He's NOT suggesting rounding up freaks. He's seeing fire and looking for gasoline canisters. He's not singling out freaks because they're freaks, he's singling them out because they're all holding cans of gasoline.

    However, I liked the way it was played on this show. Clark's motivation made sense, as did his apology at the end. "I lost perspective", which he did. It makes perfect sense that he would think like that, but just because the generalization has been right in the past doesn't mean it's okay to assume for the future. It's unfair and illogical, since most of the kids in the group seem to have been genuinely innocent and wanting help. The conflict between Clark and Chloe was well-played, I thought. The whole thing is a good moment in the overall development of Superman, and I dug it.

    Glad you did.

    Pretty much everything else about your review I agreed with. The Superman moments in the beginning? Badass. Doomsday? Badass, but I just hope they don't mess up when they actually show him. And so on and so forth.

    Me too. I hope Doomsday rocks.

    Anyway, dude, I didn't intend for this to be such a long message. I was honestly going for like two sentences, and just kept on writing. I'm sorry about that. I hope to have given you a different perspective on the situation to think about, whether or not you agree with me, and I hope you enjoyed it despite its longness.

    I'm always flattered to inspires such passion... and I'm glad you had a good time!


    thebrakeman wrote:

    Hey, Neal:

    I think Clark's jumps (like up to the Ace of Clubs) looks cool, too. However, I think they could easily do better to make it look more like a super-jump, rather than flight. Whenever Clark does these jumps (be it in Metropolis or at the Fortress when he proposed to Lana, etc), they always have him moving at a constant speed. That can only happen if he's flying. If he were truely jumping, then he would start out fast, and slow down on the way up, since gravity would be acting on him. It's a subtle difference, but it's things like this (along with things like him holding Kara back from her flights) that make me state that they really ARE showing Clark already "flying".

    Yep. That's how I interpret it too. And it's part of that whole inconsistency that bugs me so much.

    Detective Manhunter: I didn't like how they dealt with him saving Clark. They keep hinting at Clark returning the favor. Hopefully they do that better.


    I LOVED how Chloe recognized that her relationship with Davis was crossing a line. She did what people really should do in such tempting situations...RUN. It's best for everyone. I agree that it's the smart (you said "rational") thing to do. Unfortunately, it's not the human thing to do.

    I dunno. It's what I would have done, and I'm human. I think too many people equate "irrational, dumba## behavior" with "being human")

    Dan Fenton wrote:

    Hey Neal,

    While the last episode didn't suck as much as the previous three (I personally gave it the 3 out of 5) did set up one scenario that I wasn't all that crazy about. Davis Bloome all but broadcast the idea that he may have been the killer...which kind of gets away from the idea of developing the character. Not that I bought for an instant the idea of him as the Mr. Nice Guy type. He just has that 'bad guy' look to him.

    I think it made me sympathetic to him, to a degree. I wish they had torqued it more.

    Obviously his purpose is is to attempt to screw things up between Jimmy and Chloe...and the other is to wreak destruction on the world, etc. Anyway, his admission of his suspicions puts him in the prison lineup every time a rock smashes a window, etc. They couldn't have given him 4-5 episodes before letting the cat out of the bag.


    Speaking of Jimmy and Chloe...I've come to the conclusion that romance isn't something that works on Smallville. After beating my head into a bloody stump with the constant Clana moments during the past few seasons...I almost feel that Chloe and Jimmy are there to serve the purpose that would still have lingered had Lana stuck around. They more or less began to develop the Chloe and Jimmy relationship last year knowing that Kristen would not be back (at least full time) this season. They needed the required dose of romance...and it's too soon for Lois and Clark.

    And it just shows me, quite starkly, why I am not this target demographic.

    That said, if the marriage were to happen and to last, it at least allows an excuse for Alison Mack to stick around past season eight since it looks like her role as Clark's close confidente will likely come to an end in a few episodes if I am reading the spoilers properly. If, as one site says, Clark "decides Chloe might be better off forgetting a few things" can only conclude this would have something to do with Clark's powers (a dumb move, if they pull it off...with Clark playing God, etc.)and renders her pretty redundant. Since Jimmy is part of Superman lore...his wife could still play a role...though I don't see Alison playing that role.

    I don't see Jimmy as married, frankly. It's odd. Why marriage as an endgame for drama? Marriage should be an endpoint in fiction.

    I like the idea of Lois and Clark coming closer but I had a problem with the way Lois got all jealous when seeing Clark with another woman. Not so much a problem with her reaction as much as more of a "where did this come from". There just wasn't enough precedent to suggest that Lois now has feelings for Clark. One day, he's the guy she picks on and teases and the next day she's saying that she loves him, as she did when strapped to the lie detector, (I loved how Clark braced for the electrocution after she said "yes"). Again, as with Davis, there's no build-up to this aspect of her character. Perhaps Lana's presence will help bring some logic to things, however.

    It was shippity ship ship sheroo.

    I see the return of Lana not as an oh-no-not-again thing...I see the potential for a few cathartic moments.

    I see it as hell on Earth. Ragnarok. Like whipkicks.

    Firstly, for Clark, when he is able to see Lana and find out that he has moved past her...finally.

    You seriously think it'll be like that? HAH! Poor fool! I hope so too, actually.

    Secondly, for Lana, when she realizes that good ol' tried-and-true is no longer waiting for her...that hse no longer has a hold on him.


    Thirdly, for Lois, when she is able to confront Lana face to face and is able to let slip the admission that her apparent feelings for Clark have been there much longer than any of us would have thought - whether she admits this to Chloe, Lana, whoever. We might find out that Lana's leaving brought this to the surface - remember the scene where she comforted Clark after he watched Lana's tape? This was a side of Lois with Clark we had not seen before.

    I dunno. I just don't care about the dilemma of people who hide their feelings. I never have. I despise people who do.

    Finally, it might also be cathartic for Clark again in the fact that he realizes one of the reasons he can move on from Lana is perhaps he also has feelings for Lois...though he wouldn't admit it.

    So, maybe there is room for romance...Smallville's just had a way of sucking at it.


    As far as the introduction of Tess Mercer is concerned...well, she's hot I'll give you that, but we know that the only reason she's there is because the Baum isn't...and a lot of the lines coming out of her mouth sound like lines meant for Lex for the sex scenes with Ollie Queen of course (have to admit, I loved the "I had an itch, you scratched it" line, though). In a way it serves to remind us that this is a different Smallville and the landscape has changed (the moment Tess pulls a Britney and shaves her head will be when I know it's time to give up).

    And who knows, Lex might have had an itch for Ollie too! Ah, I kid. Sigh. Slash.

    Does anyone else have the suspicion that Chloe may in fact be Brainiac? It would explain a few things. If Brainiac can make himself look like anyone, who is to say he couldn't split himself in two and be both Brainiac and Chloe when they do scenes together...just reaching but I think that'd be a cool idea. It would also lead us to ask what happened to the real Chloe?

    I see it a mile away, actually.

    Clark's embracing his destiny better now...Superman has a so-called presence in this new version of Smallville...and more scenes like the opening of the last show will create a great deal of interest...

    ...odd though that this was an episode that excluded Lois Lane...just one week after she made the admission about her feelings for Clark...I'm thinking a deliberate attempt to stunt the momentum.


    Well, that's it for always, I enjoy your reviews...but I have to stop reading them before I'm able to watch the episodes during times when I have to tape them and watch later...better to watch first and see which points we agree on after.

    Hey, I'm just glad you enjoy them, man!

    Take care,

    Dan Fenton

    Burlington, Ontario


    Bruce Kanin wrote (RE: Identity):


  • Two really good episodes in a row. That hasn't happened since, well, I can't remember. Gets an *A*. The show is barreling towards a grand finish, with Clark all but becoming Superman in the final series episode. That is, if the show isn't renewed for a ninth season. If that happens, they have to rename it METROPOLIS.


  • The opening sequence in which Clark saves Lois from the car and gives the mugger a love tap into a wall - great stuff. Minor nit that, in the middle of a mugging, Lois would want Jimmy to take a photo of the mugger's face, but it's plausible enough since Lois is a story-hungry reporter. And that led right to Jimmy snapping the blurry Clark. It all very nicely set up the rest of the episode.

  • Birth of a hero: first Chloe tells Clark that Metropolis needs a hero ... then Clark sees the looks on bystanders' faces as they look up in the sky at the caped Oliver ... and then he sees the buzz back at the Daily Planet over, effectively, him. All very believable...all very well done. Absolutely loved it - it was all a nice transition of Clark into a believer that he should be a superhero.

  • Although I hesitated at first, I eventually bought the idea of Jimmy realizing that Clark was the Red Blur. Jimmy had lined up quite a bit of evidence leading up to that moment, and the red-jacketed Clark, in the photo with his foster parents, sealed it. That was a neat sequence.

  • The scene at the Isis Foundation between Clark, Chloe and Jimmy, was riveting. I kept expecting Clark to reveal his secret to Jimmy, but what topped it was the predicament Chloe was in, having to lie to the guy she supposedly loves (Jimmy) about the guy she supposedly no longer loves (Clark), whose secret she continues to honor. Great stuff.

  • I was all set to classify this one under THE BAD but then the SMALLVILLE writers turned it around: I thought that Lois all too quickly accepted Sebastian, the Memory Stealer Guy, as a reporter, going on a date, etc. But then we learn that it's a ploy on her part since she remembers that he was in the Montana prison. A minor nit is how she remembers him - after all, Lois may be Chloe's cousin, but she didn't inherit her Brainiac memory powers. Anyway, it was curious, too, when Lois asked Sebastian about his experience in prisons - it didn't register with me that she knew about his past. The SMALLVILLE writers seem to be writing a bit more sensibly, and logically these days. Hope it lasts!

  • The entire sequence in which Clark schemes to convince Jimmy that he's not the Red Blur was crackerjack. You had that scene on the Metropolis street, with the three protagonists - Clark, Ollie and Chloe - on the verge of tricking Jimmy - going on at the same time as a great fight between Lois and Sebastian - then with Jimmy being abducted, resulting in Ollie going into action as the, er, Red Cape. Yes, one has to wonder, why does Lois call Clark and not 911? That's pretty silly, but I'll overlook it.

  • The return of Jonathan and Martha Kent! Oh, well, only in a photo, but even that was welcome!

  • The Adventures of Super-Dude! Well, that's what Clark's alter ego is referred to at the Planet.

  • The introduction of Justice League Europe - the JLE from the 90s DC Comics! Well, Ollie did say that he was going to Europe to team up with his super-brethren.


  • I can't stand the Kryptonian crystal subplot and Tess herself is wearing thin (she is a bit thin, too), but this didn't detract from the episode. In a lesser episode, it might have.

  • My wife came by towards the end of the episode to prepare to watch CSI. Her comment was, "What? Does everyone have powers now?" She was referring to Chloe, although I could have taken what she said as a reference to Sebastian, too. The show is getting too much like HEROES in that too many people have powers. It detracts from Clark's uniqueness. This, too, didn't detract from the episode, but it's tiring to find yet another person (in this case, Sebastian) with super-abilities.


  • I noticed that the disguised Ollie was sporting a mask - not green sunglasses. Wonder if that's permanent.

  • Clearly something strange is happening to Chloe - need we say "Brainiac"?


  • The return of Kara! The return of the Phantom Zone! But this is the scwewy SMALLVILLE Phantom Zone. We'll see just how good this episode is. I think the streak of *A*'s is in jeopardy.

    Bruce Kanin

    For me, the idea that Clark has to see other people enjoying his heroics in order to want to be a hero bugs the hell out of me. For me, I think Clark should want to be a hero simply because it's the right thing to do, and have wanted to do so for some time before becoming Superman. I think it's one of Smallville's biggest failings...

    Mark Palenik wrote:

    Ok, so I'm watching Smallville as I write this, my viewing being delayed by MMA practice and watching It's Always Sunny in Philidelphia over with a friend over AIM.

    Mixed Martial Arts?

    I just thought you should know how much your reviews influence my viewing on the show. I tend to agree with your assessments most of the time, but I find myself wondering, while I'm watching "Is this a actually a good episode or do I just think it is? I'll have to read Neal's review to find out." Then when I see that your rating is about what I would have given it, I think "oh, thank God I got the write answer." I detest myself for thinking this way, since I've always been a firm believer that it's a good idea to, you know, have your own opinions. But at the very least, I can console myself by remembering that often times you point out things that are objectively bad about the writing, and that I have respect for your ability to do so.

    Well, that's kind of a review's point, to a degree. To compare your views against another joe's, and then see if their view is better or worse based in their rationality. It's why guys like Ebert survive, because they put a rationality to their work, while other guys flail in their readership.

    It's not about right or wrong, it's about, for instance, in my case, watching King Kong, enjoying it, reading reviews, seeing why some people loathed it, some people liked it, and then ultimately deciding I still liked it. If a glaring flaw is brought to my attention, it'll help me realize how some media is superior to others. It's definitely saved me time. I owe my own debt to reviewers in that respect, and only hope I can be that to you guys.

    Even as I watch, I hear your inner monologue running inside my head (along with my own, but mine is quieter).

    Lois asks Clark to zip up her dress. Arbitrary sexuality. They start insulting each other, I guess it's supposed be flirting, but it just comes across as mean. And then there's the sexual tension, which really shouldn't be there, but it is, or at least, they want us to believe that it is.

    Yup! You got it. Mentioned above.

    And so on. It actually sounded more like you the first time, but that's the best I can remember it.

    The women leave

    Oliver: Look what you did

    It's not like they won't be back. They're on a plane, with a rich guy, surrounded by luxury. Where are they going to go?

    Sorry, I slipped into you mode again.

    That's actually good! I forgot that! Sometimes stuff slips by in the notes because of boredom, or simple obsession with another point (like the Jimmy camera thing).

    Lois: The last time I went to a fortune teller, he told me I was destined to fall for a guy who flies a lot and wears tights, and fights crime, and has the initials "CK"



    I'm going to proactively say, I think I'm enjoying this episode, although I'm not sure. Maybe it's a 3? There's the wierdness with Jimmy seeing red streaks in the picture, then suddenly assuming it MUST be Clark because he was wearing a red jacket in a family photo, and Lois holding hands with a guy she knows can steal memories when she has information in her mind that she should specifically be trying to keep from him, but the words "not that bad" come to mind as I watch this.

    A lot of people seemed to like it for some reason. I think it's the cape thing.

    It did almost seem like Lois deliberately kept Clark from shaking hands with that guy, but that would imply that she knew he had something to hide. Or maybe it was just out of respect for his privacy. Or maybe it wasn't deliberate at all, just incredibly Deus Ex machina.


    (edit: I see now that Lois has just called Clark for help. Is she supposed to know something, or is this just sloppy writing?)

    Sloppy writing.

    I think maybe the reason I'm having such a hard time figuring out what to think on my own is because I feel like I expect the Superman mythos to progress a certain way and the show goes so contrary to that, I don't know what to think. Then if I drop everything I know about the Superman mythos and just let it progress on its own, none of the cool (or incredibly lame, sometimes) "inside" jokes, comments, and foreshadowing mean anything.

    That's the hard part.

    I was thinking today about what I used to like about the show at the beginning. My friend and I used to watch, and the next day we would make fun of all the plotholes and inconsitancies. But it still felt more realistic, somehow. It tried to be less epic, I think. It didn't try to do too much. And even though it often left me wondering how it was going to fit into the regular Superman mythology, for most of it, I felt like it could somehow. It was a story of discovery, for Clark, about his powers, himself, and about heroism. Now he's come of age, but he hasn't, or something. It's in a wierd place that feels a little uncomfortable, which makes me wish they would just push it forward. Go all the way. Make it Superman, now, for the last couple months, then end it at the end of the season. Because I have no idea what it is now.

    Yeah, it's so hit and miss. But at least it's starting to hit again, which is cool.

    Still the scene near the end with Oliver Queen on the rooftop almost made me gush like a fanboy. Almost.

    Tim wrote:

    Dear Neal,

    Wow! I just finished watching Identity and I'm going to just go ahead and say its the best episode in probably the last 6 years. I'll say its the best episode ever if by the end of the season he's actually some form of Superman, and all the pieces that were put on the board today are properly assembled. Man this was a great show! Plenty of good homages to the mythos (Faster than a Speeding Bullet newspaper headline, the cape, Jimmy's endless fawning), and a lot in the way of character development went on too.

    I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    Clark even plays the hero this time to Oliver and draws him out of alcoholism. I know this was a bone of yours that Oliver seemed to be the only one wearing the tights around here, but Clark really stepped up in this episode. Really great stuff. I even bought all the tension between Clark and Jimmy about his secret. Clark had a legitimate reason for wanting to keep his secret (that Jimmy would get hurt), and I think they played this one pretty darn well.

    AND OH MY GOD CHLOE MURDERED SOMEONE TO PROTECT CLARKS SECRET!! Now I grant you this is maybe against character, but it was so cool and I hope this is leading up to the evil Brainiac takeover ala JLU Lex Luthor. It was a really appropriate combination of powers and death though, you have to give the writers credit for dreaming that one up. I knew he was dead as soon as Chloe walked in the room, but I figured they would go for the cliches, unplug his IV drip, smother him with a pillow, you know, the usual. But overloading his brain? Tell me you didn't get goosebumps.

    I can tell you that I didn't, alas.

    As for the SMALLVILLE Superman, I wasn't feeling the blue leather jumpsuit, loved the cape though. My only bone is that Ollie clearly didn't have superspeed. Now to the public at large that doesn't particularly matter, but I thought Jimmy might realize that the guy who saved him wasn't the real deal, especially after Lois tells him that she was being saved in Smallville at the exact same time, but leave the writers their traditions (plot holes, bad dialog, and low cut dresses for Lois) and I can forgive it especially if this is a sign of the awesomeness yet to come.

    I'm glad you can.

    By the way, loved your review for Prey, I laughed out loud (lolz) literally about 6 times because Lana really is, frankly, amazing. I only wish this show was happening like 4 years ago, it would have saved us all a lot of grief. Can't wait til next week and your next review!



    Jon wrote:


    For the last couple of years I have watched Smallville out of habit, not because it was good, but because of the potential. Honestly, if it had ended at season 4 I would have been happy.

    However, the new Brainiac/Chloe storyline gives me hope because I have always seen Chloe as a potential villian. This new direction actually made me want to see the next episode as opposed to just seeing how they could screw with mythology anymore.

    Hope that Doomsday doesn't suck!


    Me either. You know, I think Chloe as Brainiac has potential... if it ends in her death.

    Thanks, all! More next week!

    Don't forget to check out the updated KO Count.



    Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

    So Clark super speeds in to save Lois from a mugging getting caught on Jimmy's camera in the process. Jimmy, armed with proof of a super good Samaritan, goes on a mission to find the whole truth and ends up wandering into Clark's double life. In a bid to protect his friend and his identity Clark enlists the help of Tony Stark, I mean Oliver Queen, to throw our favorite photographer off the track. In the mean time Lois goes on a date that surprisingly ends up putting her in danger. Clark manages to save the day, protect his identity from Jimmy, revive the Green Arrow, and manages to give the people of Metropolis a little hope in the process. All in all not a bad day's work for our Superman.

    You know I have to admit that there was a moment in this episode I was getting really close to just tearing it apart. I liked the set up and the scene at the Kent farm, when Jimmy figured it all out, was awesome. (Not to mention Clark going through his red and blue wardrobe was priceless.) The scene was just so well played. Jimmy's growing awe as it all clicked was perfectly played by Aaron Ashmore and Clark's growing panic was perfectly played by Tom Welling. I have to say it's my favorite scene so far between these two actors. Nicely done. Just as nice was when Jimmy caught Clark at Isis with Chloe. How awesome was it that Jimmy demanded Clark show him his "short cut" on the map. I thought that was a great line, delivered greatly.

    After that though I started to have a problem. My first reaction was, "Ok. So Jimmy knows. Different but so be it. Clark can trust him so let's ride with it." I mean he's about to marry Chloe who is a member of the Justice League. You'd think he can be trusted with the secret. So I was kind of angry that they seemed to be so set on continuing to lie to him. I actually started feeling bad for Jimmy at that point and it kind of ticked me off.

    Then the episode throws Lois on a date with some curly haired weirdo who just happened to appear out of thin air. Totally a What the fudge! moment for me. Who is this guy and why the heck is Lois just going ga ga over him! Enough already with her and the "love interests". I mean Lois already fell into the deep water by fishing off the company pier before. I could think of no credible reason she would be stupid enough to just dive in to that again. Especially considering her recent revelations about her feelings for Clark.

    BOY WAS I WRONG! TOTALLY WRONG. And that my friends was just awesome!

    They had me. I admit it. I bit on their set up and was totally floored when it all fell in to place. Every "problem" I had clicked into a nice and tidy place as the story progressed and it clicked well.

    Clark's desperation to keep Jimmy from knowing the truth had nothing to do with Clark being selfish or not trusting Jimmy. Clark was scared for Jimmy. His friend. He cared and was worried about his friend being pulled into a place that might endanger him more than he already was. NICE! What really made that work was the way Tom Welling sold it. When he was begging Oliver to help him for Jimmy's sake you really felt Clark's worry for his friend. Knowing how things turned out for Pete you can totally understand why Clark would be worried about Jimmy being in on everything. It all made total sense.

    Then there is Lois' "date". Another total curve ball. Sure we knew he was a villain. Anyone with natural curls like that just has to be evil. I mean come on, it was a total John Shea hair cut from Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. If the dude comes in looking like Lex Luthor from 1993 then dang it... He has got to be evil. So it was clear from the get go she shouldn't be falling for this guy but to my great pleasure it turned out Lois also knew it too and she wasn't. That-a-girl!

    She was just doing her thing as Lois does. Getting into trouble trying to get a story. Plus it did lead to a pretty good scene with her and Clark as she was getting ready. I love Clark's hesitation at zipping her up and his barely contained jealousy at her going on a date. Another great scene by Tom Welling who I really think was on top of his game in this one.

    Another nice thing was seeing Oliver get back on track. Sure the Tony Stark moment on his plane was a bit over the top. I know the billionaire superheroes all kind of blend together at some point but I think it played well enough to show where Oliver was in his head at the moment so I'll forgive it. I also found it really nice that he was kicked back on track after being forced back into action to save Jimmy.

    Then in the end what the heck was the deal with Chloe-I.A.C.? Wholly crap that was brutal. Totally brutal. Awesome but brutal. I was shocked for sure and that was the point. Now the question is: Is she going bad or is Brain-I.A.C taking over? Basically who was in the driver seat at that moment. There are plenty of reasons Brain-I.A.C. would want to protect Clark's secret from one of Team Luthor's thugs. You can also see Chloe-I.A.C going to the dark side after her mind upgrade too. Power does corrupt and it's just a matter of 01's and 00's to calculate an acceptable solution to a measurable problem. I can't wait to see where they go with that one.

    There was one kind of major plot hole though that I have to mention. Lois had the files on her "date". She knew who the loser was and what he could do. So why did she let him touch her? The first time okay.. She might not have remembered all the details when she recognized him but at her date? She wore an outfit with plenty of skin open to touch. Nice for us viewers who enjoy how she looks for sure but not too smart when you know the guy you are going out with is a super villain who can suck memories out of your skin. I am thinking a turtle neck, long sleeves, and maybe some nice gloves. You can understand that she did want the guy to believe she was really interested in a date but that is a weak excuse when you consider thousands of other wardrobe options that would have been nice for a date and less open for memory sucking meteor freaks to get at her skin.

    Oh well. It's an issue but it didn't ruin the episode.

    Another minor hole was why did Lois call Clark and not 911? Sure she was in the middle of a fight and might have just hit send on her phone thus dialing the last number called. It is explainable but it was never said. I am not one for useless tid bits like this needing to be explained to me in detail but there are story implications if Lois believes calling Clark is her best bet for help. So in this instance maybe it should have been touched on. I am nit picking here but I did notice it so I feel obligated to mention it. The "plot hole" above was a bigger deal but neither was really that big of a deal. I just need something bad to write about so I am not accused of writing fluff pieces. (kidding)

    Lastly I am closing this one by saying how awesome it was to see Clark soaking in people's excitement over his "possible" existence. This was there both on the street with Oliver playing him and in the Daily Planet when everyone was reading the article. It was really played well showing how, while Clark might not want praise or attention, he cannot help but thrive off the excitement and hope his presence generates. This is getting really exciting and I cannot help but wonder how far off we are from them dropping the "SM" bomb. There are only so many times Super dude. Super powered good Samaritan, or some other clever way of not saying Super "Man" can be said before it gets silly. I think it's time. This Clark is Superman now. It's time for Lois to give him his name.

    So I am going to give this one a 4.5 out of 5, knocking just a half point off for the big plot hole and cribbing off of Iron Man.

    Next week Kara is back! Do I really need to say more? You know I am not missing that.


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