Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 8 - Episode 9: "Abyss"



Reviewed by: Neal Bailey


  • Chloe's losing her memory, so Clark rebuilds the Fortress.
  • The Fortress rebuilds Chloe, expelling Brainiac.
  • Clark has Jor-El remove his secret from Chloe's mind.
  • Brainiac takes over the fortress and prognosticates Doomsday.


    Last week, I spent sixteen hours in an airport before an hour flight after storms followed me from Washington to Texas. That was Smallville: WEEK EIGHT.

    Week nine. Food's running low. I may eat the dog soon. Seriously, though, as I recall, this is the first season where they've done more than eight episodes in a row without pause, and there's still one next week.

    I think the problem's not that there's so many, but that it's such an emotional roller coaster. There's one good episode, then one crap episode, then one good episode, then one crap one. It's kind of like season two to a degree, except the subplots were still pretty good if the main story sucked in season two, if my brain recalls correctly.

    But now, it's much, much more antagonizing, because this is the eighth year of the show, and by now, one would figure they'd know what was absolute crap and what pleases folks. My guess is they DO know, but can only afford or are told to only do that half the time. And why would they do that? Because that's what happens when there's suits between writers and their product. Or directors. Or actors.

    Irony is, perhaps, a show about losing one's memory that you'd rather forget.

    I know a guy (certainly not me) who has read Smallville scripts, and he told me that they look really, really cool on paper, and then, when you realize them on television, often an essential element of heart is missing. Whether it's an emphasis on kryptonite gum, fetishistic camera work for a certain dark haired devil witch, or just a general bad realization, these things can happen. Too many cooks, I guess.

    This episode, though, can fall to the writers. The assumption that we care about the Jimmy/Chloe relationship as a lynchpin was big flaw number one, and big flaw number two was, despite that bad lynchpin, taking forever to define it.

    It actually takes this show fifteen minutes to establish the fact that Chloe is losing her memories, because they spend so much time showing them disappearing and her rushing to Clark to tell him about it. And then, after that, they show the Clark memories disappearing, and it takes another fifteen minutes to get to Jimmy and Davis, repeating the same dilemma three times. One could argue it's escalation, but all in all, it's just a reason for Chloe fans (of who I am one) to sit there and feel sympathy for her. The problem is, we don't, because we know they're not going to remove her memories, or kill her. Why? Because of the internet.

    Regardless, the story then ends with possibly the worst plot Smallville has yet used. The memory wipe/reset button. Recall that the reset button is the thing that has hurt this show the most.

    But beyond that, I'll even go it one further. I am absolutely positive that this isn't permanent, this is just to piss the fans off and get people talking. But get this. If it's permanent, it sucks, because then Clark has no confidants with his parents gone. If it's not permanent, it sucks, because it's arbitrary drama. It's just all around a bad story decision.

    There's just hardly any story here. I have a page and a half of notes. Nothing happens besides fanservice spank, and in the end, that's not enough to keep me captivated. It's frustrated, because it's a compelling argument AGAINST my initial suggestion for fixing the Smallville plotline, because it's an episode with no freaks, focusing solely on character. The problem being, the character is so shallow, it's like putting a bowling ball of crap on a paper towel. OH! Jimmy is being forgotten! But given that we've never consistently known what Jimmy and Chloe are to begin with, who gives a crap?

    Blow by blow, before I burst a blood vessel:

    Jimmy walks in on Chloe with a problem. Lana has not RSVP'd. Well, yeah, given that YOU DON'T KNOW HER ADDRESS. Dur.

    Chloe begins the sublminal spin, where a lot of stuff disappears from her mind and is supposed to be scary. It's great effects, and I've gotta compliment the effects for the whole episode. They were spectacular. But alas, it doesn't particularly blow me away as a plot device. Visually, it was excellent.

    Clark ripping off the P trap was hilarious. It sounded like he was rending metal in half. Ever changed a P trap? It's not quite so dramatic. In fact, it's more squidgy.

    There were a number of clunky lines in this show. Here was the first, from Jimmy, "Bridal wave." WTF is a bridal wave? Is that like a rectal wave if you're a toilet? Oh! I get it! Tidal... and Bridal. THEY RHYME! You know what else rhymes? Abyss, and...

    Well, now we're back to the P trap.


    Chloe goes to the hospital... for recent research on memory loss? Hello, oblique and random excuse to see Davis.

    Oh hey, and look! Davis! What a surprise.

    Soap opera amnesia schtick, to put it plainly. Memory loss is used to recreate used drama and get the same high. Problem being, it's like crack, never as good as that first hit, and always subject to the law of diminishing returns.

    Chloe tries to hide the fact that she's losing her memories from Clark, which is retarded. She later rationalizes it in character as a fear of Clark going off on the handle and doing something that makes things worse. This makes the audience go, "Oh, she's wise!" because of the few times where he's done something that has ended poorly. The reality, looking back, is that this is the exception rather than the rule. When Clark learns of a problem, he solves it. The reason we believe Clark goes off the handle and does awful things is because, ironically, Lana emphasized it for years and ingrained it. Lame. Lana lives on even despite not being here.

    I, Chloe vs. I. Q. line... KLUNK.

    Chloe says, "I'm being taken over by Brainiac!" and there's this AWFUL string of chimes, like it's the hugest surprise ever. But we've known for months, so it's just annoying.

    Davis drives all the way to Smallville to see Chloe without real pressing danger instead of a call.

    The doom symbol is cool.

    Clark decides to go fix the problem by rebuilding the Fortress, so he leaves Chloe behind, and tells her that if she starts to lose more memories, she should just think of the memories she has of Clark. Anyone see why that's hilarious? I do.

    See, if I were Clark, I'd handcuff her to something with a sign that says, "STAY!"

    I used to work with people who were really losing their memories. Alzheimer patients. I was pretty good at it. They'd get up, get really pissed, "WHERE DID MY WIFE GO! I'LL KILL YOU!" and instead of saying, "She's been dead for twelve years!" and making them experience the pain of her death all over again, you say, "Oh, she went out for a while and sent me over to do the jobs you wanted done. What did you want me to do again? Nice weather, huh?" "Yeah, stupid rain!"

    But anyway, there was always the wandering issue, and you can't very well chain them up, so you just follow and hope they don't decide to do something self-destructive you can't stop before the person they've imprinted upon the most comes home.

    With Chloe, it's different. She's not got dementia, she's got memory loss, so a sign, per magnolia, that says, "You're handcuffed for an unsinister reason, stay here for twenty minutes!" would probably solve the problem."

    Instead, she's left to wander, earning Clark the Dumb as Clark award.

    More Jimmy/Clark "Oh, you went to Clark first!" jealousy and shipper crap. I ain't havin' it, daddy. No way, no how. Same with the Bloomsday "I was the last thing you remember... ERGO WE ARE IN LOVE!"


    Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't MRI machines, I don't know, provide MAGNETIC resonance imaging? And wouldn't that pull Brainiac out?

    The Clark/Chloe kid memory was supposed to be epic, and it tried, but the problem was, when the ADULT Chloe spouts the "gotcha" line crap that's been popular ever since Buffy, it sounds clunky. Put it in the mouth of a kid, and it REALLY clunks.

    Examples of what I would call "gotcha/Buffy dialogue" like "I, Chloe, I Q":

    "If you've hurt one follicle on her head, I'll take you down harder than the dow, Chewbacca!"

    "I know I totally pulled a House of Wax back there, but if you don't save us, I'll know what you did last summer!"

    "Your face went all lawnmower man and I found myself eating more pi than counting it."

    ETC. There are people who speak articulately, which some people say is bad dialogue (I disagree, because I can speak articulately on command, with large words), and then there's being able to conjure obscure pop culture references awfully in superspeed talk, which no average human does regularly or well. A good example comes later, with, "If you hadn't hit me with your best shot, I'd be..." RAME.

    I do like the Scrubs "Let's kiss and get it out of the way" thing. That's in character for Chloe.

    Chloe with Davis: "It's like you've become my entire world!"

    It's like the writers are trying to arbitrarily put Davis and Chloe together!

    The kiss clunked, was strange, and honestly, way out of character for Chloe. They have an attraction they can't deny? When? Where? How? But I will admit they have the same amount of development Jimmy and Chloe did. Cripes.

    The sedative KO scene was clunky. It looked like he stabbed her about three times. And why go for the neck? It's not like Chloe can run from a dude that big. Hold her down, POIT!

    Brainiac seeps into the Fortress, predictably. You gotta wonder why he ever left, or how the heck any of this works.

    I have "You're amazing!" down. I think it was a line referring to Chloe, I didn't note it, but I put it down because I think it should be a Bill Maher NEW RULE for Smallville that no character should ever be described as "amazing" after Thirst.

    Metropolis is now apparently a two hour trip. Why? Why, guys? Why even mention it, if it keeps changing? Just ignore it if you're not gonna keep it straight.

    "Slow down and put your ambulance in reverse, Davis!" KLUNK.

    The only real redeeming thing was Brainiac and Jor-El talking smack with "DOOMSDAY IS COMING!" in the end.

    I can't rightly fault the awesome special effects for a crappy episode, so I'm gonna give those effects alone a point. It was remarkably well executed memory rips and strangeness in her head, so I'm gonna go 2 of 5.

    C'mon, Smallville. You were getting better than this. Doomsday next week? That's your chance. If Doomsday pastes Lana, then I'll give you a six.


    Eddie Colton wrote:

    I haven't written in this season yet, but you and I finally agree on an episode, Neal! The shipping, absolutely. I just don't see why this tenacious Lois would be into Clark. At what point did she stop making fun of him and start making eyes at him? Do we get a flashback? Or are they just doing it because there was a show called Lois & Clark? Zipping up a dress, big deal! What are you, eight? This is the same Lois who said, "Tell me we didn't..."?

    Yeah, as I recall, he's seen her naked. What's a little zipper gonna do?

    The fan service, right on. Why don't they just put a CG cape on Tom Welling? That way he can't refuse to wear it. It's like the in-character commentary from Reno 911 where they talk about the producers replacing one of the officers with a digital Jar-Jar, and how there's nothing they can do about it and they will never know.

    Heh. Well, there is that little lawsuit that would come of it...

    Superman vs. Jimmy Olsen! Ha! Has that ever happened? I should hope not. "Oh noes, I has been discovered" is quite Silver Age, but to inject that with serious, soul-searching drama is missing the point. I would love for the show to just be Silver Age cheese. I love cheese. But it's not. I mean, I liked the Mxy ep because I don't care about the cartoon character (he's a real cartoon). But the idea that you'd take someone like Mxy, and make him dark and serious, is silly.

    You bring up the superspeed-out-of-any-dilemma argument, which can be unfair. At the same time, completely right. A SMART Clark could get out of trouble this easily. You know... a smart Clark. Even a GED-smart Clark could have heat-visioned the film (or the microchip) through the camera lens. Frankly, I'm not even sure how Jimmy saw "The Red Blur" with his own eyes.

    Well, if Clark's distracted, he wouldn't probably be able to ramp up in time. But the way I see it, that's part of writing the character. I've spoken with other writers who have actually worked on Supes and they labor, AT LENGTH, to deal with that problem. Others simply ignore it. Guess whose stories tend to suck more?

    You know what's ironic, Neal? The Mxy episode you hate is the one episode where Clark does what you suggest. He superspeeds to save someone and then speeds right back to where he was with no one noticing, not even a blur. Where's that continuity?

    See, and then there's the whole breaking the sound barrier problem, heh. People say it's tough to write Superman because of stuff like that. No. You just don't put him in situations where he has to deal with crap like that, because it's see-through.

    Clark hates capes now. Why was that necessary? That wasn't funny, like in season two. It was sick. SICK. I think the Joker produces this show. It would all make sense. "Want to see a magic trick? I'm going to make your hopes disappear."


    You know what would be cool? Whip kicks... in SLO MOTION! They do the 300 Slo-Mo thing on the new Legend of the Seeker show. It's not Spielberg, but at least it's something different for two seconds at a time.

    Whip kicks... you know, I DIG crescent kicks, I do. I'm pretty good with them myself. But they're an idiot's easy kick. You lift your leg and throw it. Bing! Problem being, despite being an easy kick, they're nothing compared to a good, solid front kick.

    This season is so octagonal disk. You know what I mean? Every episode has a bit of octagonal disk, us not knowing exactly what it is, what it's for, or what's going to happen to it. That was "red X" a few episodes ago, and it was Tess crying this week. We want to know what the deal is with Tess and Lex. Or as I call her, Flex. And Lex. It's not a mystery, it's just a question they won't answer all at once. The disk was a mystery. And it was cool. It had eight sides. It was from outer space. Why avoid character development for the sake of suspense? The characters are your focus, not space metal to wonder about.


    The Jimmy moment of realization is worse than you put it. He forgets that Clark has worn a red jacket nearly every day for the past eight years. But when he sees a picture from years ago of Clark wearing a red shirt that we've never seen him in, he thinks, "Clark must have decided on a whim to wear this shirt the other night when he saved Lois." HUH??? They might as well have had a picture of Clark as a baby with a red blanket, or Clark dressed as the devil for Halloween, or Clark eating an apple. Why is Jimmy even investigating things?

    It's his job. But his philosophy is crazy. Awful.

    I really really hated Ollie in this episode. I know they had him say, "It's okay, I was sad." But I still hated him. I am liking Oliver less the more he is not Green Arrow. Why did they think, "Green Arrow is popular. Let's make Oliver Queen a regular!" He's like Whitney, but rich. They think they're giving him more depth. Sad = depth, right? I'd rather Green Arrow be in a Superman show for no reason at all, than have him be the deepest character ever written, and never be in costume. And it makes me sad. Therefore deep.

    Eeyore is the deepest character evar.

    So Oliver has decided to become The Red Cape and use ziplines to fight crime now, right? I've never read a comic, so I assume that's what the show is implying. *cough

    Chloe is a murderer! They might end up saying, "Iit's okay, she was being controlled by Brainiac." But that should have had some foreshadowing. Like Kara's tummy ache. If that had made sense. And wouldn't it be better to damn her character by killing someone who mattered? She was barely involved in this episode. I think Chloe is dog meat. Sure, Lana the witch killed somebody, but she was always doomed because she's not Lois. Chloe isn't only not Lois, she's not anybody. Actually I'm afraid she might end up defeating Doomsday to save Clark, and then die. And then we'll get "Chloe: Funeral For A Friend." Ideally, Chloe-iac will just kill Lana, because Lana is annoying, and it takes a superior computer brain to realize that.

    Don't bet on it, alas.

    We are so in sync on this episode, it's not even funny. I pretty much only liked Clark realizing his entire wardrobe is incriminating. Like the new clean white shirts, it's a reference to something bad about the show, and a potential fix. But next week he's in the red jacket again. Uh, thought process? Super-intellect? Anyone?

    In these writers?

    thebrakeman wrote:

    /[quote]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.[/quote]/

    Not sure I agree with you here. The episode (?) with Mtysptlk (I'm too lazy to look up the spelling, sorry)...already established that Clark can move near the speed you are talking about. Clark (as the football QB) leaves the field just before being tackled, knocks out Myxy, unties Chloe (?), and returns to the field in time to be tackled. That's fine for NOT being observed missing by a defensive man in mid-air, who probably closes his eyes by reflex just before tackling a QB.

    And the entire crowd watching him and only him?

    But when you are standing next to somebody (Jimmy) in a simple conversation, and you leave to go save somebody, even a person's peripheral vision is going to notice a blip, unless you imply that Superman can LITERALLY stop time. If you are saying that's the case, then how come Bart (aka the Flash) could outrun Clark? If that's the case, then Jimmy's camera would not have picked up anything at all (not even a blur). Maybe you don't like how Smallville is treating Clark's speed. But I think they ARE being consistent. They have him moving NEAR the point of stopping time, but he is NOT infinite-speed.

    So then I ask, what's easier, covering up being a blip, or covering up a photo? Beyond that, what's more morally correct, protecting your secret, or telling one person? At any rate, he could have done it while saving Lois, and Jimmy would have been none the wiser.

    Jeremy R wrote:

    So you think Chloe = Brainiac (villain) potential = Chloe's death eh. Plus is it me or are they alligning Doomsd... I mean Davis with Chloe already. The JLA is going to have to come back soon as well to deal with Tess' squad of misfits. I hope they show up soon, and now that Green Arrow is back in the saddle, it's all set up quite nicely.

    Anyways, I know you had said a while back (one or two seasons) that they needed to kill Chloe off to move the show forward. This would be a pretty good way to do it. Lots of potential anyways. Although... I guess a show about the place where superman grew up would have a lot of potential as well, and we all know how that turned out.


    Anyways, I have high hopes for what's coming. Call me naive, or a masochist.. or something like that.

    Take care keep reviewing.

    I shall, thanks!

    p.s. your pic on the superman homepage is much more normal looking that the old one. I miss it.

    I'm in an experimenting mood. I might change it again soon.

    Patrick wrote:


    Couldn't agree with you more on Identity. Something just felt off, I didn't really enjoy it at all.

    The thing that drove me nuts though was at the end, when Oliver offers Clark the cape, and he says, "Not in this lifetime". Its like, can't the writers just tease us to the idea that maybe, just maybe, we'll see old Tommy boy in the tights and cape? Instead, this statement reminds us hoping for this that we'll see Bruce Wayne in Smallville before we see Clark Kent with glasses and tights.

    I guess all you can do is try and not give up all hope.

    Or give up hope and just hope for occasional entertainment.

    Mitch wrote:

    Somehow Smallville is the only recent TV drama I've bothered keeping track of (well since The Sopranos ended). I think it's your reviews that are the icing that gets me to keep sticking my finger back in.

    Cool! Thanks.

    Never bothered responding before, but your Supe vs Batman observations begged comment.

    In all versions (not just Smallville) Supe is super strong, super fast, super tough and super stupid. Classic Superman has all the powers to handle any situation but he's just too dumb and needs humans to tell him what to do.

    Big disagree here on that one. Superman, in almost every incarnation since 1985, has been a world-class novelist and Pulitzer prize winning reporter. Before that, he had super-intellect, and some would argue, he has it now.

    I would concede that he's often portrayed as dumb. By writers who don't get the character, at all. Boy scout doesn't equal moron. Still waters run deep.

    I imagine Jor-El thinking "Oy how did I end up with such a dumb putz for a son? Good thing Krypton blew up and saved me the embarassment of everyone finding out!"

    That's SMALLVILLE, where it is true that he's dumb as a post often.

    Batman could surely outsmart and defeat Supe. I'm sure you read Miller's "Dark Knight Returns" - remember the excellent Batman vs Superman battle? (If somehow you haven't read it, stop everything and get hold of it NOW!).

    I've read it, yeah. And that's not Supes. That's the Reagan Supes. And it makes sense as a character in context, but that's not Supes. That's government stooge alternate Superman. That's like saying that the Red Son Superman is Superman. He is... in a way, but he's really not.

    Supe is like the girl in the typical horror flick who always does the polar opposite of what any sensible person would do (hmm, I hear a noise downstairs, do I a)grab the gun, b)the flashlight, c)call the cops - naw I'll just go downstairs) C'mon if Supe had half a brain he'd come up with a portable kryptonite detector to keep him out of trouble. Supe HAS to be dumb otherwise you get stuck with ques such as "Why didn't he kill (ok, stop without killing) Hitler (or BinLaden etc).

    Well, you could say it's because he lets humans determine their own political destiny, which would be my response.

    I still say in any real world Superman would cream Batman. Left and right. Up and down.

    Did enjoy the spoof video.


    Don't know why some get annoyed when Clark shows hints of flying. Yeah they promised Clark wouldn't fly, but the show's been on for a while, everyone is in Metropolis, Clark has a flying cousin - it's getting time.

    Makes me think of late "Happy Days". Richie's been off to college for years, The Fonz is well into his 20's still living with the Cunninghams and never seems to seriously date any girls...things are getting weird.


    Writers: Don't kill Chloe unless it's the last episode of the show! Even without Lana, the show still needs her. Oh, and thanks for sidelining Lana - don't bring her back.

    Neal, I've been able to forgive the show of many transgressions. Only two things will always stick out to me.

    1) Lana. I don't think the writers wanted Lana to be evil, maybe it's Kreuk's bad acting (or her evilness creeping into the charchter - is Kreuk evil?).

    Thanks Neal (and others) for supporting my opinion by confirming my discomfort on this.

    2) Lionel. This one's the writer's fault. Glover did a good job, but I still can't figure out what Lionel was supposed to be. Lionel was part of some great scenes but the plotlines around him sucked.

    I'm done venting, but don't you stop!



    Bruce Kanin wrote:

    Re: Identity.

    Hey Neal,

    Guess I was surprised that you didn't like this episode, though I continue to gloss over the warts that you see (what surprises me is that I don't catch them). You struck a chord with: "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..."

    Great, great point. However, in this episode, before Clark even sees the crowd on the street or at the DP, he's sitting there listening to the police band. Then he heads out on his "rescue patrol". He's been saving people all the way back to Season One. It's only now that he's finally coming of age, realizing that this is what he was meant to do. That doesn't bother me. It's happening at about the right time, for me, in the show.

    In this show, I agree. I think they should have started earlier, but at least it's happening.

    Regardless, I hope you agree that this season is the least sucky one in awhile. Now the question it the last one? Or will it morph into "Metropolis"?

    This season is probably the best season since 3 for me. It's been really, really enjoyable for once, even if some episodes clunk.

    Don't ever stop your reviews...they are more entertaining than "Smallville".

    Take care,



    CHRIS wrote:

    hey neal

    Love the reviews!!!! I got a quick question for you. Does it annoy the crap out of you in Smallville when Clark refers to his powers as "my secret." For some reason this bothers me to no end. It sounds more like he is trying to cover up homosexuality rather than super powers. Just a pet peave of mine. Hope to see you at wizard world texas!!!


    Hey! I actually got to meet Chris at the con, which was rad!

    I'll give the same answer I gave there. Yeah, it is weird, given that he's just a dude with powers right now, not a guy with a secret identity. They've always done it, but I think dialogue mentioned it about three times last week. It got really annoying.

    Bruce Kanin wrote (RE: Bloodline):


  • *C*. It was a significant episode in that it advanced the major plotline for two characters (Kara and Davis/Doomsday), but it was a mess.


  • TWO artifacts of Superman mythology are introduced: Faora, the wife of Zod. Yes, it was Faora who was introduced in DC Comics - I believe it was the "bronze age" back in the 1970s - as opposed to her "Superman II" movie equivalent, Ursa. Unfortunately we don't get to see Faora as "herself", but only as an inhabitant of Lois's body. Which begs the question - why is Usra a wraith in the Phantom Zone? Why doesn't she look like a regular Kryptonian while there? Never explained... * The other artifact - Kandor - is mentioned by Kara. Of course, it's not given much context, e.g., as a city miniaturized by Brainiac. Plus Clark seems to know what Kandor is, which is somewhat odd - he doesn't question Kara. Speaking of whom... * The return of Kara! It was nice to have her back, if only to have a semi-touching Clark-Kara scene. But she was wasted. Not only that, but Laura Vandervoort seemed to have this look on her like "you're only bringing me back for one episode? Why bother?" At least it provided some closure to her situation and opens up possibilities for future stories involving her and Kandor that I doubt we'll ever see. * So now Davis/Doomsday is explained as the son of Zod and Faora. Not consistent with the comics, but it is setting up a terrific battle between the Real and Artificial Sons of Krypton.


  • Green Arrow is back in his green glasses. And his deep voice. At least he doesn't have an annoying Christian Bale sore throat voice. * When Kara encounters Clark & Lois in the Phantom Zone and is wearing that head garb, she fights Clark as if she didn't know who he was. It takes the removal of her head garb for her to recognize Clark. Huh? Couldn't she see Clark without the head garb? * The Phantom Zone portal station (Next stop: Argo City. All abord!) looked like a blackened Bizarro version of the Fortress. * They used the expression "Lois & Clark" one too many times, almost like it's cute. It isn't anymore. Even Clark, when trying to comfort Lois in the Zone, says something to the effect of "nobody's going to mess with Lois & Clark". Too contrived. They're not a couple, not yet at least. * I can understand Lois not remembering the period of time when she was taken over by Faora, but she sure conveniently disremembers her time in the Zone - when she was her "normal" self. * Faora, in Lois's body, pushes Clark across a hospital hallway and through a window. Faora is a Kryptonian. Clark is a Kryptonian. Together they are the equivalent of, say, Chloe and Jimmy, since their super-powers make them equals (Faora and Clark, that is). If so, why should Faora be able to super-manhandle Clark? Especially when she's never had super-powers before this trip to Earth. And should need time to adjust to them. * Although the idea of Chloe using the crystal to bring Clark and Kara back to Earth was silly, it was plausible that she returned the super-cousins to her location at the Isis Foundation, because that's where Chloe and the crystal were. However, when Lois goes through the portal back to Earth, she appears to end up in Metropolis (can't be sure, but I'll bet it was). Why didn't she end up in Boise or Outer Mongolia (to paraphrase Captain Kirk, when asking Spock in "The City on the Edge of Forever" why the Guardian of Forever didn't deposit them someplace other than New York City)? * When Chloe gets into her Brainiac mode with the crystal, the two circles that revolve around the crystal reminded me of the same circles that, well, encircled the Phantom Zone criminals at the beginning of "Superman II", just before they were banished to the Zone. * What was that red crystal that absorbed Faora (held by Kara)? Kind of convenient, but who knew it existed? * How triply contrived to have Lois want to return to the Kent farm (so that she could go along with Clark to the Phantom Zone); Chloe show up afterwards (so that she could help Lois & Clark return); and Tess show up (so that she could confront Chloe). * I've lost track of all the different kinds of crystals and what they do. * I have a problem with the "S" symbol. I no longer know what it stands for. The House of El? Ok, well, that was like it was from the Superman movies. I just don't remember what it means any more. * Tess sees Lois talking like a madwoman about Kryptonians and then sees her super-speed away. Her reaction: she gives Lois a raise. Huh? Is that because Tess knows about Krypton (and Kal-El) from Lex's archives, and decides that Lois is worth watching closely at the Daily Planet? Perhaps. Not clear. * Red lakes in the Phantom Zone. Cool.


  • Looks like the November sweeps strike again, this time with the Chloe plotline moving forward.

    I didn't catch the Lois thing you mention... VERY good call. Why wasn't she, for that matter, in the Fortress? I thought the fight was okay, because yes, they cancel each other out, but kinetic energy is still kinetic energy. Assuming she could knock Clark off his feet, and assuming he can't control flight yet, he is then airborne and, though as strong as she is, subject to Newton's Law. I theeeeenk.

    Bruce Kanin

    daniel melville wrote:

    Just wondered what you thought about the fact that action and superman will be tying in much more closely from here on out. Personally I'm kinda annoyed because I was enjoying geoff johns work so much, and had basically dropped the superman title due to a run of bad stories (busiek and robinson) now I'm worried the geoff johns title will suffer if I dont read the lackluster superman title.

    I'm pretty sure Johns will bring you up to speed through character if you don't understand it... he's good that way. But Robinson is getting better, even if the run is still a bit clumsy. I'd give it a shot...

    thebrakeman wrote:

    Hey, Neal,

    You said that you still don't understand why some in the PZ are phantoms and some retain their bodies. Remember that what's her name (Jor-El's assistant) explained that the worst offenders were stripped of their bodies (which implies that others kept their bodies). That's already explained. Did you forget that explanation, or are you wondering WHY Jor-El and the other elders treated criminals differently in this way?

    I forgot the explanation, actually.

    I've never read the actual Superman comics (sorry), but recently did some research to learn about Doomsday. As Wikipedia often does, this lead to some tangents, including checking out history on the Zone. I found out that in the comics, Superman is noted as releasing some criminals from the zone when their sentence is served. So, it seems easy to see that if you get life in the zone, you probably lose your body. I you have a finite sentence, you keep your body. If you can survive, you can be released.

    Sounds plausible and cool to me.

    "Why does the PZ have 2 suns?" Why not? Seems that most sources state that the PZ was discovered, not found. So it's a place, not some thing contained in a lab. In another universe? I don't know. But why NOT 2 suns? I would rather have "Smallville" fill holes like this with their own ideas than have them re-interpret them, messing up continuity. Things like this, that don't screw things up, don't bother me at all.

    Well, I just didn't see the Zone as a planet, but rather an ethereal hell, as it's been typically described in the comics...

    "No one's gonna mess with Lois and Clark". I agree. Lame. By the look on Clark's face, I thought he was gonna say something cool. Not give anything away, but say something that would deepen their relationship or something. Instead it was just a quirky pep-talk. A slap across the face ("Pull yourself together!! in the Airplane movies) would have been just as effective. She could have then slapped him back, and they could kiss (like Frank and Hotlips on MASH). I digress...


    I missed the part about Martha sending the crystal. I don't have it recorded. Wish I did. Maybe you'll be getting a guest appearance soon! Steady, now!!! Anyway, I really think BrainIAC (not Lex) is Mr. X. Just my thoughts. I'll bet that he already has some control over Chloe, during which times she has no memory. Whoever sent it probably just used Ma's name to induce trust (so he would just open it). All speculation...

    I'll bet we never learn... though I hope we do.

    I can't stand how interviews play as if Tess isn't a replacement-Lex. Like she's being played as anything else. It's lame. The writers and the actress are doing nothing to make Tess original. It the same old, "For your sake, this has better work!!"...and the enslaved computer geak shrivels in fear as he starts the frequency-generator. From a developed character like Rosenbaum's Lex, it worked. From a new character like Tess, it's worthless copy-cat crap.


    "Bust a move!" - Thank you for that! Let me get my parachute pants. Ski-jacket vests!! Reminds me when Michael J. Fox in "Back to the Future"..."what'd you do, jump ship?". Great stuff.

    Yeah... and after I wrote that, I saw a chick walk past me in a ski jacket vest in the airport... scary.

    John wrote:

    First of all, let me say I've been a fan of your reviews for a long time. Smallville doesn't air here in Canada until the Sunday after it airs in the US so I usually get to read your review right after seeing an episode!

    Great! Thanks!

    Unfortunately, this tends to make me less enthusiastic about an episode I thought was good only hours before! LOL

    Alas... apologies.

    Anyhoo, I just wanted to mention a small error in your "Bloodline" review:

    You critisized Chloe for not calling Ollie before meeting him on his plane, but you forgot that Chloe quips "You know, Olliver? For a guy with three cell phones, you're a hard guy to get a hold of.".

    That's it, just wanted to mention it before anyone else (maybe).

    Ah! Very cool! I must have missed it when I was writing my, "This plane is Ollie's new set!" note...

    Goonies never die!

    Personally, I couldn't decide between the curly haired blonde chick or the gal with the glasses in that movie. But hell, ultimately, I would have been gadget guy.

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




    Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

    The Chloe-I.A.C. starts to have a hard drive crash causing her to gradually lose all her memories. These memories are replaced by Kryptonian symbols with the symbol for Doom being the most common. Clark, fearing his friend's life risks pulling out his crystal and rebuilding the Fortress of Solitude. Once there Clark is like, "Yo pop. You might have had some points but I ain't no punk anymore. Try your crap on me again and you just might end up with my size 12 1/2 work boots in your crystallized..." I mean... Clark tells off Jor-El and gets the program in the Fortress to agree to save Chloe. Clark returns to retrieve the spunky blonde only to find her with the Paramedic of Doom who for some reason is the only one she can remember. This super man isn't fooled by sith boy's so-called "good deeds" and quickly whisks the Chloe-I.A.C to the Fortress so the Kryptonian Geek Squad can install some super charged Norton Anti Virus. Jor-El purges the Brain-I.A.C program from Chloe along with her memories of Clark's extraterrestrial origins. In the end Chloe is back to being just Chloe, Clark's identity is a little less known, Doom boy is a little more doomy, and a talking black ooze that sounds like a blonde vampire has taken over the Fortress.

    Ok. I'll start off by saying this was in no means perfect. I have questions. Lots of questions about the outcome of this episode. Some may be answered later in the series so I am not going to be too harsh about it but in the end you will find a few things you are left wondering about. Still with that said if you are a fan of this show this is without a doubt one of the episodes you do not want to miss.

    Chloe is forgetting everything starting with Jimmy and ending with Clark. Everyone except Davis but that's to be expected once you find out what is going on in her planet sized brain. I didn't like that they were hinting back to Chloe's feelings for Clark but I guess it was hard to avoid going there. When Jimmy was insecure about her remembering Clark over him the simple answer could have been the fact that Chloe simply knew Clark longer. Really I don't see why it needed to be more complicated than that. Still Chloe's flashbacks were really well done. The effects of things disappearing out of each scene were great and I thought they did a really good job the few times they transition from old scene to something newly filmed from this episode.

    I really loved the scene with young Chloe and young Clark. The young actors they brought in to play those parts were fantastic. They both nailed Tom and Allison's mannerisms perfectly and really sold the scene. There was no doubting we were watching younger versions of the characters. It's amazing to me that they could find two young people who looked, sounded, and acted so perfect like the adult versions of the character they were playing. I don't know if that is a kudos to the director or kudos to the actors so I will just say good job to all!

    Chloe's situation is dire and is also very important to the over all story of the series but I am going to flat out admit that is not the reason this episode is a must see. She and her condition is the plot but it is the fact the plot causes Clark to rebuilt the Fortress of Solitude that is the reason you want to see this episode. Not the effect. It was just a re-use of the one when the Fortress was first built but that is ok for me. I don't mind them reusing effects when appropriate like it was here. The thing that makes this part great was Clark standing up to Jor-El and putting the program in its place. That was a long time coming.

    I just wanted to cheer when Clark told him off. What made it even greater was Clark acknowledging that Jor-El might have been right about a few things but still stood up for himself against how he was treated. He flat out told Jor-El he had learned what he wanted and wasn't going to stand for anymore "tough love". When Jor-El agreed and started actually treating Clark like his son I was grinning from ear to ear. I almost cried when Clark said he would stand up and stop the bringer of Doom and Jor-El simply said, "I am here for you too my son". That's the Jor-El I want to see. Not the jerk they played him out to be in earlier seasons. THANK YOU!

    It's interesting to see Brain-I.A.C. sensed Doomsday. I am kind of wondering if the "connection" that Chloe was feeling for Davis was actually coming from the thing in her head. I am not saying that Brain-I.A.C wanted to kiss Doomsday but Chloe's mind and body could have been processing it that way. Still they did sudo kiss after Brain-I.A.C was drained out of her so it might be more than that.

    Clark asking to have his identity removed from Chloe does bring up some questions though as I hinted above. Chloe was not simply another person who knew Clark. She was an active member of the Justice League. Does she remember Oliver's identity? Does she still have her Kryptonite power? If she still has powers and still remembers Oliver what's the point of removing the memory of Clark? That is why I am not sold on this choice Clark made. Of anyone who has known Clark's secret, Chloe is probably the one person it has least affected. In fact it has helped more than hurt. Both her and Clark. Sure I am certain if the chance came up to mind wipe Pete, Lex, or Lana he would. I am not saying he singled Chloe out on that. She is just the one who ended up in a situation where it was possible. I can't deny it will help her in her life with Jimmy so Clark was making a great sacrifice for her but only if she is kept completely out of the Superhero team up world. I'll be pretty miffed if in two weeks she's back working for Oliver.

    Pretty slick of Brain-I.A.C. to take over the Fortress like that. Yeah Jor-El should have seen it coming but he is just a program after all. Do not blame Clark. Jor-El was the one that should have known there might be some black oily discharge from the procedure. (Okay that did sound gross). It makes me wonder if maybe Brain-I.A.C. had planned Clark bringing her there all along. Did he send the crystal to Clark through Chloe? Was it him or Chloe that mind fried that guy a couple of weeks ago?

    Lots of questions but we are only on episode 9 so I am not going to hate on them right now. Maybe later.

    This week gets a 3.5 out of 5. Something you really need to see if you are following the show but not one that can stand on its own.

    Next week? I am not going to say anything about next week. If you did not see the preview you NEED to see the preview or better yet - be there to watch it. Some serious stuff is going down next week.


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