Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 8 - Episode 18: "Eternal"Reviews:
EternalReviewed by: Douglas Trumble
Super Short Run on Sentence Summary: Lady Lex finds daddy Luthor's diary, blows up, patches up, and tells bed time stories to Davis involving flashbacks and old scenes all which lead him to remember being hurt by Kryptonite which causes him to enlist Chloe's help committing suicide by Kryptonite shower.
The episode needed to happen I guess. Davis' "place" in the story is really fleshed out. We learn how he came to Earth. We learn how he ended up in foster care. We also learn that Lady Lex knows everything; and I do mean everything.
Some really important stuff in the over all story of the season so you really do not want to miss it if you're a fan who follows the series. Just do not expect much. It will give you some info, make you wonder what is going to happen next, and basically take 40 minutes to an hour of your time depending on if you watched it live or like me DVR'd it and fast forwarded through the commercials.
And that is it really.
The biggest thing with this episode was the "recon" with Davis' back story fitting it into the Traveler story and the Kewatchee cave paintings.
There were a couple of problems I had with that.
Why did Lionel cut Davis loose? Did he think he was just an Earth kid found in the meteor shower near Clark's ship? I know that he was tested and all the tests came back normal but you would think Lionel Luthor would need more than that to believe it just a coincidence.
We are talking about Lionel Luthor here.
How'd that conversation go?
Thug: "Sir we found this naked child in the field where the ship crashed. What should we do?"
Lionel: "Well nothing really. I found out about another kid who was found naked in that field. I'm going to watch over him instead. Just toss out the spare and bring me my Scotch"
Thug: "Yes sir! Oh By the way. Will you change your mind about the kid if I come back squished like a bug on the windshield when I go drop him off?"
Lionel: "Excuse me. Where is my scotch?"
The only thing that makes sense is that Lionel was keeping an eye on Davis over the years but lost interest when he got confirmation on Clark's powers, yet they never said anything about that. It seems really out of character.
Another thing about the recon that bothers me is the diary that Lionel left behind. If it details the second boy then why didn't Lex know about that? Tess is there as Lex's proxy. Lex is, or at least was, still alive and she was just there to do his bidding while he was hidden whether she knew it or not. She was/is just his tool. I don't think it would be going too far out on the limb to question her having access to a super secret Lionel diary that Lex himself never knew existed. There is now way he would not have hunted Davis down if he had ever seen that diary and I can't believe she would have found such a diary when Lex did not.
So let's just say I found that Diary too convenient to swallow.
I was also very disappointed in the recon of the Kewatchee cave story.
I liked the idea of Lex being the great enemy in that story and Lex fits more with the whole thing than Davis ever will.
Lex Luthor is and always has been Clark's greatest enemy. In Smallville's version or any other version of Superman since Lex Luthor was created. Heck Smallville's Lex is even a bigger threat than some other versions because of the friendship they had and because this Lex knows Clark's secret.
Doomsday is just a tool of Zod in this version. A thug. An indestructible muscle mass that whole existence is to just squish things. He is the squish monster. This version might have a bit more of a personality and the thing with Chloe might add a bit more drama to its existence but he... or it... is not the kind of enemy Segeeth was described as in the Kewatchee caves. The brother that turns into the greatest enemy of the savior? No. It is just something for Clark to punch really really hard.
I know Clark's naivety at learning Davis' past leads him to see Davis as a fellow Kryptonian that had a rough life. Someone who maybe can be saved but that's just our Superman being, well, Superman. That adds a bit of drama from Clark's point of view while he's punching it really really hard.
So let's be clear. Davis is not good in anyway. A killer born and bread. It didn't turn out that way because it was raised bad. Heck it squished Lionel's thug weeks after hatching. Certainly long before its "rough life" began. That spells B.O.R.N. E.V.I.L. in my book. Superman may, and even should, try to redeem it before punching it really really hard but that doesn't mean it can be or will be redeemed. It even oozed out of an egg. You can't redeem something that oozes out of an egg. Come on. Everyone knows that.
Segeeth was described as more of a tragedy than that. Someone who could have been good or even the hero but went down the wrong path. A brother first, enemy later. He certainly was not something that oozed out of an egg and passes his time squishing things.
It fits Lex, not Davis and it is as simple as that.
But all is not lost here. There is something to consider here that may bring it back to Lex. Tess read a summary of the Kewatchee caves and VERITAS stuff in Lionel's diary and that is pretty much the source of her information. It could not have been complete. There are things we know that Lionel did not. It would not have contained anything about Lex being Segeeth. Lionel had no reason to see that.
With Lex believed dead and obviously human she simply might not even consider him a possibility. She seems to be mixing her faith into this. I don't think she would ever even consider a mere human to be the greatest threat to something she sees as a god. She can be wrong about Davis' place in the story but that mistake on her part could explain her motivation. A reason why she becomes fixated on Davis.
Maybe that is where they are going with that. I don't know. I am just a fanboy trying to wrap my head around this change. I don't like it as presented but there is some hope that it could turn out okay.
I hope she is mistaken and Davis is not Segeeth but if not I don't like it and I hope they don't dwell on it because it'll irritate me every time they do. Sorry but it will.
Ok. Enough of Mr. Negative pants. There were a few good things in this episode even if it was not the best EVARRR.
I liked Clark trying to talk Davis out of killing himself. I said a lot about it above so I wont go into it much more here but that was really in character for Superman in my opinion. It's not that Clark was going to let it out to kill more but he did feel bad about Davis' tough life and was willing to help it through some kind of rehabilitation. Something other than letting it die via Kryptonite shower anyway.
I also liked that Clark was shown tracking down a story on those missing persons. He did not care if his story lacked enough evidence. He wanted to find the killer and warn people of the danger. The heck with whatever Tess was telling him. He was doing his hero job. Good for him.
I really liked where they went with Chloe here. When she learned the truth about Davis she didn't even try to excuse it. She showed remorse for being wrong and then sucked it up and worked with Clark on the case.
When Davis came to her after she knew the truth she did not fall for any baloney. She only stopped running when it agreed to let her lock it into a kryptonite cage. She took a risk to stop the monster.
She was even willing to kill it to save Clark. No, not at first. She's not a cold blooded killer. Yet when it started smashing through the cage to squish Clark she did what she had to do and flipped the switch. Now we all know that the kryptonite would only kill it once and that it would come back immune to Kryptonite but Chloe did not know that. She was protecting Clark when she flipped that switch. Davis was a monster. She was in the right there. She showed Doomsday who's sidekick she really is.
In the end when she found out the Kryptonite did not kill Davis she used her last weapon, herself.
She and Davis both believe she can keep it from transforming. I doubt that will remain the case forever. We saw in the time line Clark reversed that Davis can get mad enough to transform and squish her but for now they both believe she can keep him human. So she stayed and locked herself in there with the monster to protect Clark and the world from the monster. That is noble even if it will likely fail in the end. That is how I saw it anyway. A major self sacrifice on her part.
Plus that also means this episode was technically a cliffhanger. That fact gives me hope that some of my "issues" with the "recon" will be further fleshed out, improved, or even corrected. I hope so anyway but until then my feelings stand.
No big Shocker that Lady Lex knows Clark is Kal-El. That has been pretty obvious for a while now but at least it is all in the open now.
So anyway. Important info on the overall story of the season but nothing that's going to rock your world. A few changes to the series history I didn't like but nothing that ruins everything for me or can't be fixed later. At least by some fanboy creative thought processes.
Plus Chloe proved she's still got Clark's back and Clark proved he will even try to empathize with Doomsday.
Couple of good things but not great. I am going to give it 2 out of 5.
Next episode Lois? Dang... No pink tights this time but it looks like a new version of Ultra Woman is coming to Smallville. I will be watching.
EternalReviewed by: Neal Bailey
Five lines up there in the summary means something. I think for the last three weeks I've only needed three lines or so. Point being, there's more to bite off in this episode, and there's at least attempt at character work.
Despite this, the episode is, as ever, rife with inconsistency in many ways that pull one away from the plot. Thankfully, you can overlook them more in this episode because of the emotional strings being pulled. The problem is, if you pull on the strings a little bit, everything unravels. Burdened by the continuity as thick as tissue paper, the show struggles in this episode to find a footing, and is ultimately taken apart by the fact that the footing isn't really to walk anywhere.
The episode establishes that Doomsday is an unredeemable monster destined to kill Superman, and that if you try and kill him, he only comes back to life, and will be calmed by Chloe. Also, Tess knows Clark's secret, and likely Bloome's.
We knew this last week, so the question then becomes, what does this accomplish? What is the episode doing?
One thing, and one thing alone. Establishing that Davis is immune to Kryptonite, and shoeing him into the past of the show. The Kryptonite thing is okay. The shoehorn renders much of Smallville incoherent, significant portions of Lionel's character in particular. But then, that was the case from previous episodes as well.
For all that, though, it plays at mythos, which is something I want to encourage, and yet, on the other hand it stomps on the established and already fragmented mythos in ways that make one cringe.
We're also spending most our lives livin' in a shipper's paradise, and we ain't got no Coolio.
BLOW BY BLOW:
"It's so nice, I want to watch the same show twice!" (Sublime, I think). (Paraphrased).
I am utterly perplexed as to why Doomsday would arrive with Clark. Jor-El, whose motivations already revolve faster than the door when Superman is changing in the first movie, just threw in an ultimate destroyer for a few chucks. "Have at it, sonny boy!" All the time he was spending on doing that might have been spent on building a second rocket for his wife, or getting in one of those dimensional portals, or jumping in the Phantom Zone, or...
But it's a coincidence, Neal! They just arrived really close to one another! Psssht.
I can just see Bertron now, sitting in his lab. "Well, almost done."
"Sir, it's millions of years before the planet explodes, and Doomsday leaves Krypton in approximately five minutes after killing us both."
"No, silly! You can't take Smallville continuity and compare it to comic continuity! The internets will say you're unfair! If U don lik it, don wach it! LULZ!"
"Okay. Very well. If we suspend logic, must I still wear pants?"
"I made you these out of fish and protoplasm, but you wear them on your head. Begone, and put them on. Now, Davis, my wonderful creation! I know you'll never turn on me like all the other babies I shot out for wolves to eat, why, I-"
"Et tu, Jurgens?"
We see that someone has sketched that moment in time, and put it in Lionel's journal. But Lionel is dead, and he didn't know Doomsday was Doomsday, he thought it was Clark, so who the hell drew that picture? Honestly, the curiosity point in the episode was me wanting to find that silly idiot, and ask him how he could watch a young naked boy in a dirt hole and sketch him right as men with machine guns chased him.
But apparently, the person must have been Jonathan and Martha, because there isn't hardly enough time after they scoop up Clark and the men start chasing Davis for them to have departed.
"We didn't find him, Jonathan! He found us!"
"Righteo, babe. Let's go. Got a pizza in the oven, after all. Leave quickly, now!"
"HUT HUT HUT HUT HUT HUT!"
"Jonathan, what's that?"
"Just get in the truck, hon. We have to make the plot plausible. And hey, free baby!"
"But the truck's upside down."
"CURSE YOU, LOGIC!"
"Don't curse! The baby!"
"The baby my fish pants, woman!"
At any rate, I'm counting the unnamed person who made that sketch as someone who knows Clark's secret who we don't know the name of yet, because that's the only logical possible conclusion I can arrive at.
Clark goes to Tess. "Miss Tess... I have a bunch of dead people! Let's run a story!"
"I won't run a story with no facts!"
"I have dead bodies, police reports, and eyewitness accounts."
"I won't run a story with no facts!"
"I saw a few of them myself, and took these pictures on my iphone."
"I won't run a story with no facts!"
"All right. All right. There's a huge gray hulk ripoff. I saw him!"
The idea that Tess, who is being introduced as a Lex type character who believes in fairies and people who can shoot fire from their hands (and Clark knows this), would suddenly indicate that she won't let her reporters chase crazy leads, just smacks of false conflict.
The astute message board fan who never rates any show below a 5.5 of 5 then shouts, "But Neal! She's throwing Clark off the trail!"
And I respond, "Clark's dumb, but he's not that dumb. He's spit out chalk once he realized it had a bad flavor and wasn't candy cigarettes."
Davis crying, and they pull back and it's onions. AHHAHAHAHAHAH! Murder and regretting it is SO FUNNNEEEEEE! But alas, I had already written my note: Cheer up, Emo Davis!
The sad thing is, we can easily accept that as a scene, which the writing plays off of, but it emphasizes a flaw in the disposable nature of the emotions of the show.
Bloome and Chloe are now apparently okay, despite all the shippy ship crap they went through about not wanting to see each other again. A to C. It makes Chloe a worse, less sympathetic character, and it makes Davis one of the show's famous "INSTA-BOYFRIENDS! (TM)" that appear to develop ties so lasting that the woman in love with him or the man in love with her will turn her back on their friends and declare them persona non grata for the sake of a pretty face.
Sure enough, by the end of the episode, she is rebuked, with nary a sorry for any involved, including all the dead people she could have saved had she listened to Jimmy. Not that I would have, given how he was written.
Davis heals in front of Chloe, Chloe doesn't even really balk, raise a question. She covers for him the minute Clark enters the room, and is belligerent thereafter, up to and including giving him sanctuary after it's known he murdered many, many people. She has SECRETS, and LIES, which we all know is the moral backbone of this show that teaches us how to interact and love morons, idiots, and sadists.
'Cause superheroes ain't about the moral play, baby! It's about the SOAP OPERA. At least in the Elseworlds that is this show.
Davis stomps out because Clark appears, abandons dinner. Forced shipper dilemma, cry me a yawn, got over it, but sleeping.
Doomsday's a Catholic, it would seem. We've known it for some time now, but I just realized how utterly hilarious that is, given that I attended a Catholic school. It shows that Doomsday is out of character, generally, because if there's anything I've seen that uses guilt to stop people from doing things... it's murdering bums. Hah! You thought I was gonna say religion, didn't you? HEATHENS!
This episode was rife with the Jesus injection. They got a big ole stereotype needle, loaded it up with platitudes, and shot it into Superman and Doomsday. They even went so far as to suggest that Naman and Zegeeth were not Lex and Clark, but rather Clark and Doomsday. This is, of course, utter crap. If there is a devil on this show, it's Lex. If there's a Jesus, it's Clark. Doomsday is at best one of the beasts of the apocalypse. He's a dull, mindless killing machine whose sole purpose is to kill Superman. Judas is a close metaphor, but Judas doesn't beat Jesus to death, he sells him out to the Romans. He wasn't a hero.
Lex is gone, and so the writers are trying to insert importance upon a temporary character, and this undermines the efficacy of the previous legend, which is already more undermined by the minute with the cheap ploys and absent characterizations that make up this show.
Tess blows Davis up as he hides the bodies, which he's done on his own in a field for quite some time with no one noticing. How? Who knows. Though we know he heals, just like Clark does, instantaneously (see establishing of this five, ten dang minutes ago), he wakes up with burns that aren't healed, healing, or healdest.
He indicates that suicide won't work, even though he's died before. At this point, in the future, he knows about what effect Kryptonite has on him. A kid would remember that, because it's blood boiling in the vein.
The small scene where Davis gives Lex his Warrior Angel, and where we see the dead bird, it has some potential. It's formative for both characters, and has some merit as a way to evoke sympathy. I enjoyed it. The dead bird at the end was neat.
It also opens up the gaping plot hole later exacerbated of Doomsday having been around since Davis was a child and yet never making another appearance (and surprising Davis when he later becomes cognizant of it some twenty years later). I mean, if you go on a violent killing spree randomly or whenever you get mad from the age of 9 on, folks are gonna notice.
There's no crime scene for the exploded vehicle. Clark and Chloe wait despite knowing that Davis' vehicle has exploded and he might be up to something from night until morning despite the place being one super-speed second away. This is to cover for the dead bodies, because if cops come, they see the bodies, I'd imagine. It's still sloppy.
Clark discovers a field of bodies next to his glaringly new, out of place truck that is pimped. If you pause the screen, there are many more than twelve, near thirty, point of fact. It's like reading Countdown, with that scene set in the multiversal monitor crash pad where all the monitors are shown and you realize there are 95 for 52 universes. Just sloppy.
But Neal! There may be unreported murders!
In response to your assertion, I encourage you to join the Southern Tenant Farmer's Union.
Because it's a funny acronym, and it's good for formerly adversarial people to work together.
There might be a cow that hovers above my bed and produces invisible milk into my mouth and made me gain three pounds. But my guess is it's the pizza.
Chloe on revisionist continuity: "That's a pretty big coincidence pill to swallow!"
STOP TRYING TO STEAL MY JOB.
And right after she says it, with the damnable chimes again. ALWAYS with the chimes!
Tess gets the slap KO. Note how when a man slaps a woman in anger while out of character, it's completely reprehensible, for longtimers. And with good reason. The trajectory of the slap is way off, it would have taken her head off, you know the drill.
AND AGAIN WITH THE SQUEAKY SHOES (Not sure which town. Knowing Smallville, Metropolis.)
Okay, kids. Pop quiz to see if you were paying attention when you applied for your "Smarter than a rock" permit. You want to kill yourself, but you're invulnerable to all things that are not Kryptonite. You need to die fast, before you kill more people. Do you:
A) Find the nearest possible chunk of Kryptonite and insert it into any orifice you can find.
B) Find two chunks of Kryptonite, and shove one in one orifice, and find a friend to shove more in another.
C) Take three steps in the town of Smallville, and collapse under whatever Kryptonite happens to be nearby, given that every square inch of the town is conveniently five feet from Kryptonite.
D) Take the cage from the Battlestar guy episode, and rig it with the slime machine from You Can't Do That On Television with a form of liquid Kryptonite you must have synthesized somehow after breaking into a secure facility and setting up a shower for said goop and arranging for her to pull the lever.
You Can't Do That On Television, young punks, was a show that started Nick whereby when you said the words, "I don't know!" you were covered in green slime. Or if you said water, they covered you in water. Or, when commies took over, they'd cover you in red slime. Awesome show. Like public access on crack with bad jokes and playing to kids.
I think we should bring that back, actually, in schools.
"Johnny, what's an ad hominem argument?"
"I don't have to answer you! You're a dummy who makes less than my dad!"
"Correct. But what's the associative property in mathematics?"
"I don't know!"
There should just be a word like that, where if you say it, you get covered in poop. I think any euphemism used outside of irony should result in a poop shower. Or if one speaks in metaphor.
Adding fun to this is the fact that after all that prep, THEN Chloe chooses to have the moral debate with Davis. "I dunno, man! It's not right to kill!"
Davis: "WE SPENT TWO DAYS SETTING THIS UP! NOW KILL ME, BLONDIE, BEFORE I HULK OUT AND FIND WHOEVER WROTE THIS!"
So he's righteously thereby showered to death. Clark, just before it happens, pleads with Davis as he is passing out. He bangs on the cage with his fists, crying out, "If only I could break a pane of glass, I'd save you!"
Cut to Chloe yelling at Clark for not having the gumption to kill Davis, because Davis was a threat to all humanity, not seven episodes after Clark saves Chloe's life despite the fact that she was a threat to all humanity.
Davis is not revealed as a killer. The bodies, so far as we know, are not exhumed, leaving the families in agony and Clark a royal butt nozzle.
Tess sneaks up on Clark despite superhearing to berate him, and hears voices coming from an oddly shaped Superman symbol for no apparent reason.
Chloe hooks up with death incarnate!
Welcome to THE HOLDING PATTERN!
Truth, kids: The appearance of mythos is not, point of fact, mythos. And playing at character is not, point of fact, character. But a kryptonite shower is, point of fact, a duck.
(Poop falls on my head)
1 of 5.
LETTERS: Ah, refinement!
Before I would post every letter that was sent. The new policy is that I'm not gonna post the ones that are either outwardly baiting, asked and answered (IE, I've covered it), or hey, if it doesn't strike my fancy as much. Hopefully, as friend Azor suggests (and wisely) this will make for a better letter column, and that way I can give longer, better responses. Let's give it a try!
Bruce Kanin wrote (RE Turbulence):
I just read the Super-Menace story a while back in the Showcase trades, if I recal correctly. Cool stuff! Lots of fun stuff in the Silver Age, though it'd be like bringing back movies with no sound to continue to try and keep comics like that around as more than history. And yet...
I hope I haven't scared you off writing reviews because I was off my footing with the letter column. Bruce, among all the people who have written in over the years, is my constant. His, I believe, is Desmond.
Just read your review of Smallville's latest episode, "Turbulence" and felt that for a change I'd make a few comments.
First off, I love your reviews - they're sharp, straight-to-the-point and simply skewer a show that has had no real direction since, well, ever! I think the showrunners, like Clark Kent, need some glasses. Still, like you, I continue to watch it. Why? Am I crazy? Certainly. Pathetic? Possibly. But I do rationalize it: Smallville is a guilty pleasure; it's silly but it's fun.
Great! With me it's down to a promise I made and the hope for a few small moments of mythos now and again. Oddly, like the folks who say they're watching the show for my review, I'm watching for them. Isn't that weird?
And yet, this last season for me, barring the horrific Lana mini-arc, has been something more than just empty entertainment, a least a little anyway. There does seem to be a general shift in the same direction, as if the story is finally going somewhere. WE all know of course that Clark Kent is destined to become Superman, but internally the show is finally getting there as well. I like that.
Earlier this season it was easier for me to just discard past continuity to a degree. But then it went back to the old pattern.
As for "Turbulence" itself, was I annoyed that suddenly Tess not just suspects Clark is the Red/Blue Blur, but is actually so confident in her sudden suspicions that she would engineer a plane crash? Yes. (NB: using Oliver's plane = obvious budget restriction. Might just be another sign of the economic crisis affecting everything!) In fact it's so stupid it pushed my acceptance levels to the limit, but I was willing to go along with it just as long as we got the money shot of Clark flying and landing, and moving ever closer to Superman. Well the flying (or is that falling with style?) and landing nearly all took place offscreen which really bugged me, but at the end of the day, if Superman can catch a falling woman in midair or halt a plummeting elevator in a split-second and not cause any crushing internal injuries in either instance, I can buy this one too. Since when did Superman obey the laws of physics anyway?
As for the rest of the episode, I'm with you - the less said about "shipping" the better!
I just don't want to be promised a cake filled with ice cream, take one bite, and hit the cardboard shell inside. That's what a promised cool effect scene that cuts away is like.
Back to Season 8 in general. Are there still inconsistencies? Loads! You spot them all of course, but because the story is moving towards a Smallville version of Superman I've been pleasantly satisfied with the season overall and mostly accepting of said inconsistencies. "Red/Blue Blur" might be cheesy, but I'll go with it. The question is, when will the Blur slow down and take full form?
I doubt ever, given the past...
Neal, I love your Smallville reviews. I have been with you from the beginning. I would understand if you gave up the letters section but I would miss it very much.
Dave, you are one of many people who pleaded to keep having the column, and so I will be keeping it, but reserving the right not to stress over it. Contrarian letters will go bye-bye, and letters may be edited, but it'll still be here.
Stepping back from the comments has helped. I feel much less stress now, much less of the pain of dealing with a few numbskulls who spoil it for everyone.
bruce kanin wrote:
If I had to choose between your review or the lettercol, it would be the former. No strong objection here, though I'll miss not only my stuff in "print" but the other often insightful comments. But your sanity comes first...
Hope you're ok!
I am now. My grandmother died and I declared bankruptcy in the same week, but some other truly great things I can't talk about happened. My life appears to be a paradigm of polar extremes. One minute I'm getting a heck of a kick in the pants in the form of having my comic book poked at on Craig Ferguson and Jimmy Fallon (Two weeks ago) and the next I am raiding my change bank to get 16 dollars so I can park at the Emerald City Con. It's surreal, and beautiful, but hey, the sun is finally out.
I apologize if I've dissuaded you from continuing to send in reviews.
Shafi S wrote:
I apologize for not emailing for such a long time, but I did read that this might be your last letters page. I'll and the rest will understand why you don't have the time to do this, its ok.
It was less the time, more the heart. I had a few real schmucks ruin my day for the last time on the comment board. I can ban them each time they come back and attack people, but ultimately I thought it'd be much easier to just step back, let others mod, and focus on my writing.
While idiots were spending their day bashing my work instead of making their own, I wrote sixty pages of script in one day and started a novel. So hey. It works! And plus I get to still interact with the cool people here.
Watching Smallville nowadays...its a hard task. I've been watching since day one..and the difference is night and day. I know you want to review next season too, but not have the letters page, upsets me a little. I won't get pissed and write a bunch a emails to bash you, I'll just miss these letters...not because I have my email/letter posted on a website (cool by the way) its because I get to read other people's reactions and comments on various things... of course I can go to forums and other websites for that, but I like to believe we're a different audience. I know you will take emails after...and it takes too much time to handle the letters. But its a thrill reading this guys comment on Lana or what the crap was that about Smallville. I'll understand either way...and thank you for reading our emails over the years.
It's because of this, the spirit of why I started the column, to help get folks interacting, that I'm gonna keep it up. It just sometimes takes a little wiping to get the windshield warmed up.
In the comics world, thank you for recommending Black Lightning...its was great! Greg Rucka of course is great...I hope Detective is good too. But Neal...as a writer and as a reader...do you agree with Superman and Batman not being in their books. I know there is a different Batman and Superman is elsewhere, but I did read Action...it was good. But do you agree about this whole pitch that both are them are MIA? Who do you think the new Batman is?
Personally, I thought when they said that they were taking Supes and Bats out that it was garbage. It's been done before, and it was done to death. Then I heard that Greg was doing Supes. And now I'm seeing that work. And I have no complaints. And then I heard that Greg was doing Batwoman. And now we're starting to see that. And I have no complaints. I think there are three men that could pull that off. He's one of them.
I am absolutely positive (without insider info) that Batman will be Dick Grayson. If it's not, I'm out of the bat-books save Batwoman, because nothing else makes coherent sense. But beyond that, I think RIP and much of Morrison's work of the last few years doesn't stand up, so I'm not emotionally invested either way. I care more about who Batwoman is. And that's fine.
Thanks again for reading all the time. I wish you luck on all your endeavors.
Likewise! Check in again!
Shafi Yes Publish This Letter
So, a few comments on the episode:
First of all, I love it when characters point out problems with the writing. Like how at the beginning, Chloe said something along the lines of, "It doesn't make sense, Lois is living my dream life, when I've been working at it for so long and she just kind of waltzed into the job." The funny thing is, we're probably not meant to see it as a problem with the writing.
Yeah. It's very Freudian. And it happens a lot. It's part of that "Acknowledge the oddity and it goes away" tactic Peter David suggests in his book. But it doesn't work if you use it constantly.
Clark wins the "dumb as Clark award," this week, I think for the "uh, Chloe?" moment.
I think Oliver's best response when confronted by Zatanna would have probably been, "yes, I work for Mr. Queen," instead of taking off his hood and revealing his identity.
This would require brain cells.
For the scene on the roof, it made me laugh, but only because it reminded me of the episode of Lois & Clark where Clark loses his memory trying to stop a metior from crashing into the earth, and Johnathan hits him with a baseball bat and pushes him off the roof. I was actually expecting Clark to lose his powers when his wish was granted, but I guess the writers went another way with it, and apparently that was obvious to Chloe as well.
But anyway, on to the real reason I'm writing. I just wanted to point out that, while I would miss the letters column, I would be perfectly ok with it if you stopped having one. I enjoy reading the letters and I enjoy reading the responses, but I know that it's a lot of work. I'm amazed by the amount of time and effort that you put into this show and I think you probably deserve a break when it comes to Smallville. So I, at least, will understand if you want to stop answering them in your column.
P.S. I'm just getting to the "Life for a life" part of the show. So, Zatanna=villain, now?
Apparently. Heh. You know what's cool about folks? They're generally like, "You know, I love the heck out of this, but if you stop doing it, sanity first." I dig that. In return for this, I'm gonna go as long as I can, but if I have to fold it up at some point, I will have alternative stuff out there for you. Hopefully, by the time I finish this column, it'll be moving into print.
Just wanted to say that you've featured me in your letters section a couple times and I appreciate the correspondence. It means a lot to be able to converse with someone who is passionate about the same thing.
You gotta do what's best for you, so I can understand your wanting to cut out the letters section. I just hope that you don't give up responding to your readers entirely.
Looking forward to talking to you in the future,
I'd argue against the idea that Chloe is the most selfless character on the show. I think the more fitting descriptor would be 'arrogant.' Being the go-to girl one too many times seems to have left her with a misplaced sense of entitlement. She looks to Lois and sees the life she deserves. By what merit? She leaves her hospitalized husband high and dry in Star City for weeks, but fumes when Clark can't make it to her party. Lois is the bi$ch for not indulging the intern with the obvious crush? What about the cousin who tazered her spouse? Honestly, I'm tired of Saint Sullivan. Here's hoping she's on the chopping block. *I think all of the characters are so inconsistent on the show that there's no saying any of them are innocent or even evil. It's just ridiculously based around whatever's needed on a given week. It's why shippers and people who think one character is superior over another annoy my sensibilities. I should clarify that I point out that Chloe has been the most selfless in the way that is maybe 51% more than the amount of times that she's been an utter bint. The difference being, Lois is emphasized as pretty and Chloe brainy in general more, and Chloe is generally a sacrificial figure while Lois just gets what she wants for being hot.
But they've all done dumb things. But they're all so inconsistent it doesn't even matter.
An additional thought...
Lois only got her assignment that night. Should she have texted the interns from the airport that she wouldn't need her morning coffee?
Uh, yeah. How hard is that?
Your indictment of Lois seems to cherry pick the worst, while ignoring the good. Does she not know the intern's name? Sure. But she's quick to her cousin's defense, having her back during a painful divorce(?). She seems to be held in high regard by the Planet's staff (as evidenced by the general well wishes). She is passionate about her job, holding onto press passes from the multitude of events she's covered. She has the opportunity to lambast Clark for some really heartless behavior, but instead takes the high road and gives him an out. Compare this to the weekly Chloe/Lana sponsored guilt trips.
This is just nutty.
Is Lois an exceedingly thoughtful character? No. But that's the precedent. She's Mad Dog Lane. The General's Daughter. But I'd argue that when it counts, she protects her own. And that's an admirable quality. *So is being able to eat with a spoon. Doesn't make babies Pulitzer prize winners.
Hi Neal: First of all, my sympathies for your losses. Really hard to lose people you are close with, especially your brother. They will always be in your heart and never really lost!
Well, except for that whole being dead thing. But I do get your intended point (and with a sense of humor, obviously). Heh.
Just read your Hex review and found it rather enlightening to see your point of view, especially after reading a more positive one right below. Weren't there any positive aspects in your eyes?
"I'm sorry you lost a loved one, but here's my criticism!" I got three of these, believe it or not. I know it's not intended with malice, but it's still funny. The other two were cruel, so they're not getting printed, but this one raises a fair question, so to respond, no, there weren't any positive aspects in my eyes, or I would have listed them. Don't take that as a slam, it's just amusing to me as a construction.
I bristle at the idea that a review needs positivity in order to be good. It's a ridiculous concept. A piece of media is not a human being. You don't have to worry about its feelings. If you can't find any redeeming qualities in something, you're not a bad person. You're just a person who didn't enjoy something. It's not a crime.
What a review needs, and what many reviews that are utterly positive lack, is a set of strict criterion, an identity point, and consistency. I would argue that mine has those.
I did tend to agree with many of your points you raised, though I had personally got a lot of amusement from watching this episode. Your review certainly gave me a lot to ponder. It was definitely interesting to read and absorb. After watching it three times now, which is not my usual thing, I will have to view it again with your perspective in mind and see if I will feel any differently afterwards. Too bad the writers couldn't pass the script by you ahead of time! It would be rather intriguing to find out just how much would have to be changed to reflect a more honest episode with far less flaws. I look forward to reading more reviews in future!
Now see, THAT is a rad attitude, and something I can find positivity in. My belief has always been that if you enjoy it, great, and I'll try and see your perspective. I get tired of people who say, "I disagree with you, so you suck." You said, "I disagree with you, but I'll try and see it from your perspective and give you a chance to speak to things." That's maturity, dialogue, and more importantly, one of the rad things that can come out of the internet.
You said in your Turbulence review that Davis should just kill himself to prevent his Doomsday persona from killing people. What I don't get is that Davis has already died at least once in Bloodline and if you've seen the web clip for Eternal he dies again there too. In Bloodline he comes back stronger than he was before. Davis was gone for weeks between Legion and Infamous, is it not too hard to believe that he hadn't tried any means possible to kill himself in that time? He already tried to stab himself in the chest and that was before he was even certain of what he was turning into.
I refuse to extrapolate for Smallville. It's stupid.
I call it like I see it and I see that Davis hates these killings he has to do. He knows they are wrong but he tries to justify them to keep his sanity. If he could lock himself in a cell or kill himself, I think he would. He knew the pills were no longer working in Infamous because, despite being on the meds, he was starting to turn before he killed Linda Lake. Killing to contain the beast is his only option now. If Davis was truly evil and thought that what he was doing was right, he would have killed Jimmy to cover himself and wouldn't be at all as conflicted as he is over these vigilante killings.
He threw away his meds and demands Chloe attention. It's inconsistent, and he's a murderer. I have no sympathy for him. He's not even trying, and he's being selfish.
He's not a larger than life hero. He's a regular man who's trying his damn best to try and deal with this crap situation he's in through no fault of his own.
He's obviously NOT trying his best though. He's hiding things. Stealing things. Killing people. Manipulating. He's not confronting anything save obliquely.
If there's one thing I fault him for it's finding out that Chloe can calm him yet continuing with his vigilante killings regardless. That though has more to do with his human flaw of being in love with Chloe. He doesn't want her to know who he really is and too be burdened with the fact that she's the only non-killing way preventing him from turning into a world destroying monster. It's wrong but it's human and understandable IMO.
Remind me, then, never to stick around you when you become a homicidal monster. I had no idea falling in love with someone excused murder.
You're mileage may vary, but I've always found Davis sympathetic. The man has not options and he's trying to make lemonade out of some really messed up lemons.
I've had a few moments of sympathy, but mostly he's just being a colossal continuing dumb@ss with few redemptive qualities. But of late, that's everyone on the show.
So keep up with the reviews. I'm sure season 9 will be a hoot. Don't lose your sanity even if the show has already lose theirs.
I noticed something interesting: any guy on this show who dates Lana will have his father die-w/o fail.
Whitney-dad died of a heart attack (i think)
Jason-dad had his plane crashed by Brainiac
Clark-dad died after heartattack after Clark reset time to save her
Lex-dad thrown out of a window
It's a curse!
Everyone's dad dies or disappears on this show regardless. Lana's dad, dead. Chloe's dad? Missing. Lois'? Absentee.
Joe Valentin wrote:
Just noticed in a recent review you remark that Mon-El, by virtue of his being Daxamite, is STRONGER than Superman? How is that so? Thanks!
According to the lore, Daxamites have sun-based powers like Superman's that are based around, if I recall correctly, a planet that makes them more dense than Kryptonians, so under a yellow sun they're stronger than Superman or Kryptonians. But the bad part is that they're allergic to lead, so they're much, much easier to kill.
Rosh Varghese wrote:
I just read your review of "Hex" and wanted to point out something. You said "How about a second use of superbreath, two years later?". I thought he used superbreath this season when he broke down the door in an attempt to rescue Lois from the jeweler in "Committed". Correct me if i'm wrong.
Honestly, I'm not sure. I forget. If it did happen, it was so lamentably forgettable that I don't have it in my brain six months later, which is sad.
Ryon Elliott wrote:
Keep up the good work, my friend. Glad to see you won't let the annoyances of forumite trolls get in your way. I've often given up on explaining to others on forums the reasons for being analytical of any show. And thanks for still writing reviews for the show. More often than not, I watch Smallville only to see what you'll be saying about it.
Thank you. I have learned that people who complain about someone who complains largely do not have their head on straight. I have further extrapolated that there are those who create, and those who destroy, and people confuse people who create reviews with those who destroy. They're sadly, hypocritically, destroyers. They're also people who don't care enough to realize that I've written six novels and have published comics and magazines of my own they're free to review negatively, so screw them. It's the folks like you who rock.
Thanks for clarifying that Chloe turned back to normal without any indication as to how. We had storms in the area and the show was interrupted twice. I figured I'd missed something, but it looks like I didn't. It's things like this that surprise me the show's being renewed for a 9th season.
I'm amazed it was renewed for a fifth, still.
p.s. Only post if you care to
p.s.s. But not the P.S. parts.
Absolutely, but... hey! Wait!
I'm confused... In "Turbulence", in the original timeline, Davis wanted to kill Chloe. She didn't calm him down. she immediately called Clark and warned him. Heck, Davis told her to call Clark and warn her.
Then Clark reversed time, knocked out Linda Lake, and that altered Davis' timeline. She tried to bring out the monster in him, he killed her.
So.. because he killed Tori Spelling, he doesn't want Chloe to warn Clark, and her presence calms him down?
It's Smallville, but still, that doesn't seem to make sense...
Doug Toland wrote:
It has been my utmost pleasure to read your reviews of Smallville over the last few years.
I LOVE Smallville. Superman is my favorite character in any medium. I feel that what those that happen to write Superman in movies and Television don't really like Superman, or have never, ever read a single Superman comic book. In Up, Up, and Away, the amazing story of Superman, Al Gough and Miles Millar actually admitted that Annette O'Toole new more about Superman Mythology than they do. They didn't even know she was in Superman 3.
What has happened to Smallville over the last four years is an absolute travesty. Now, I watch Smallville and instead of enjoying it, as I used to, I think to myself, I cannot wait to read what Neal has to say about this crap.
Season 5 was decent. Season 6 wasn't terrible. I actually enjoyed most of it. Season 7? I stopped watching it halfway through. I eventually broke down and watched them all after the season ended. I was appalled.
Season 8 started out ok. In fact, by Bride, i was genuinely excited about the show again. Geoff Johns wrote an episode. My favorite Comic Book writer, who starts writing for a series and instantly makes it a bestseller, wrote an episode. I thought to myself, thank the gods of Television, Smallville is back! I even started selling Smallville to those who had stopped watching it. I spent over an hour in my local comic book shop talkting about how awesome Smallville was getting. I thought, Doomsday! The Legion! Geoff Johns! A guest writer who is actually a fan of Superman! Yes!
Then Lana came back. Then, over the episodes that followed, not only did I lose my faith in the show, I began to lose my faith in "adaptations" of Superman as a whole.
I write this rant to you because I don't know many fans of Smallville anymore. I see you as a fan who is as frustrated as I. I don't even know if you will read this, but I thought it would be nice to rant to someone who cares.
I'm utterly amazed, given how quantitavely similar the last four years of shows have been, that there are people who are constantly like "Five sucked, but SEVEN ROCKED!" And that's not to disparage you, because I'm glad you liked some and hated others. I just get a lot of "And if you don't agree, you suck!" where there's no real thought put into the analysis. Here, you've obviously put a lot of thought in, and that's great!
I used to grab a gaggle of friends and watch Smallville. For a few years, I had Sarah over, and that was occasional. Now I watch it alone, in my room, for the review. Whenever I have folks over, they're like, "You watch that?"
The ratings bear this out, and it's honestly a show that's like a show that's been off the air for years. There are a few diehards holding out, but the rest have moved on to bigger and better.
I think you are a truly gifted writer. I must say, your reviews are the highlight of my week. Your well crafted insults are visionary.
Thanks. I bust my butt on my writing, I really do. I don't want to be a reviewer forever, but I've always had a built-in heart for critique. It springs from being my own worst critic. When I write something, I hate on it until it's good. I do what I do to Smallville to my own work, again and again until I feel it's perfect. It's called editing, a process much of pop culture and in particular television balks at.
And you want a real mind-blower? If you think these reviews are well-honed, if you enjoy them, this is me when I'm just having fun. When I'm cutting lose. I never edit these. It's first draft, best draft. I don't care about the occasional typo, because this is what I do for FUN. This review, though many consider it my claim to fame, is less than five percent of what I do. It's less than two. I write books. I write comics. I post blogs. I write essays. I write stuff I never tell anyone about and never show anyone. I write poetry. I write songs. This is me when I'm relaxing.
That's a longform advertisement, and you can tell it hasn't been edited down. ;) As I have heard paraphrased of TS Elliot, about writing a letter, "I'm sorry this is so long, if I had had time, it would have been shorter."
I thank you for the time and effort you put into your writing and I hope it continues.
I would thereby say likewise.
I also want to offer my condolences for your recent series of tragedies. I wish I could write something that could say that in as beautiful a manner as you write. I cannot, much to my chagrin. I only ask that you not give up hope, as I have faith that your talent will bring success. A gift such as yours should be cherished. As a man without any reputable talent, I hope that men and women such as your self will follow their dreams as a showing of respect for whatever force of nature has saw fit to bless you.
Your letter shows talent. But that's besides the point. Everyone, on the inside, sees themselves to be the smallest thing on the face of the planet. I spend all day telling my friends how much I suck, and my writer friends say the same thing back. We're all stupid like that.
"We live in hope" is a damned good phrase to sum up how to get by. My grandmother was a tragic figure in ways, and she died in a way that impacts me daily. I write about it in more depth on the blog, but the reality is, as these things happen, that's when the hard times can rush in to fill the gap. But I see my life as one long series of attempts to push back at the wall of water, and one of these days, I'm gonna break through. It may kill me, it may end any talent I have ever had, but these things, while they make me angry, and send me away from comment boards, and have me cursing more than I already substantially do, steel me in such a way that no problem can hurt me. It's better than being Superman, the ability to look at someone so cruel that they try and end you and just to not validate it with a response.
One time I helped this lady in her car, which was stalled in the middle of the street, into a gas station. She had no money for gas, so I ran my card, and, trusting her, said, "Put in three bucks. I'll be right back." I turned, and by the time I'd returned, she'd pumped forty dollars in gas.
That's the internet.
The fact that I am now bankrupt, but happy and punching keys in a small room and satisfied with my life, is my revenge. Because she's out scamming someone else and unhappy, and I'm creating. Same with web trolls. They move from the Bendis board to the comic bloc to Newsarama and eventually, they turn the gun on themselves. I'm gonna get through life with no grandmother because the truth is made of sterner stuff, and when you wrap the truth in hope, you get a jingoistically metaphorical but literally warm blanket on cold nights. And for a guy who wants poop thrown on metaphor speakers, I have borked myself with this column.
Fight on Neal. My favorite movie of all time is Back to the Future. I do my best to live by a simple saying that I first heard when I was very young from said movie "If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything". Many great men and women were continuously met with defeat but fought on and found success. Donald Trump has gone bankrupt multiple times, and risen to the top again every time. That is the best example I can think of, I hope that it brings you some hope.
And I still have hair!
Thank you for reading this. If you find any merit in this letter, I very much appreciate it. I hope that things turn around for you. If i had anything but kind words to offer you, I would give it to you freely. I hope that one day I will have the opportunity to help an artist such as you reach their goals.
Of all the letters I've gotten in the last few weeks, this one meant the most to me. Don't downplay yourself or your talents, and thank you for helping me through a bad time.
Again, thank you very much for your continued efforts. I find your work stimulating. Have a wonderful and blessed day. I hope this finds you very well.
And THAT is why I keep this up. See you all in the pit.
Ckeck out the updated KO Count
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