Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 8 - Episode 20: "Beast"Reviews:
BeastReviewed by: Douglas Trumble
Super Short Run on Sentence Summary: Chloe is sad and trapped, Clark does something smart but is shocked into stopping when Chloe stabs him in the back, Oliver still wants to kill anyone who so much as jay walks, and Jimmy is still looking to get high.
At its core this episode was not much more than an alignment episode. An episode heavy on the main season plot but one that doesn't do much more than move everyone around in preparation for the final. That may be a bit harsh to put it like that but it really is the truth. While there was some movement on the main plot of the season nothing is really resolved in the end. Jimmy is still looking like an addict, Chloe is still with the Squish Monster, and Oliver is still acting like a murdering jerk. Pretty much the same place they were last week except now Chloe and Doomsday are on a romantic road trip and Jimmy has a job. Oh and the Isis office has one less pink file cabinet.
Yet there are some intense drama moments and Clark actually behaves like Superman so I think it turned out pretty good for the most part. Just don't go in expecting anything major and you just might enjoy the ride.
The stuff with Chloe was intense. I really felt bad for her. At first she really believes she can save everyone. She believes she can keep the monster from going after Clark and she's looking for a way to cure Davis of the monster inside of him. A win win for everyone in her mind. Sure she's not being honest with herself and hiding a mass murdering super monster in her basement is NOT a good thing but at least at that point there is some nobility in her misguided actions.
Things turn from bad to worse in this episode for the formally spunky blonde.
She believed she could save Davis from the Monster but we know better. Davis is nothing more than the Monster's Camouflage. Once Dr. Hamilton told her he couldn't cure Davis everything came crashing down on her in a big way and I really think she lost it at that point. She lost her last hope of getting out of it and now believes herself trapped in a no win situation. It seems as if she has resigned herself to that fact.
She sees herself as the only thing keeping Davis from going after Clark which would result in one of them killing the other. I don't know if Chloe has totally figured Davis' power of re-birth/regeneration. Does she know that killing him will just make him come back stronger? That could change my opinion a little bit but right now it feels more like she's just trapped and is not dealing with it in the most mentally healthy way. She's bonding with the creature more than I think she realizes but still believes on some level she's doing it for Clark and the world, not herself. In her view Clark either ends up dead or a killer and neither of those solutions is good for the world. Chloe sees herself as the only thing that can keep that from happening.
Truth is, it's probably a mixture. She's lonely after her divorce and she likes the devotion that Davis shows her, so her mind is using Clark and the world as an excuse to stay with him. The reason I say this is because if it was just about Clark and the world then she would not have stopped Clark from zapping Davis into the Phantom Zone.
Clark trying to toss Doomsday into the Phantom Zone was a smart move. It's logical and fits with his character. He would have succeeded if Chloe hadn't butted in. I am not sure if I fully liked how Clark was so shocked by her "betrayal" that he didn't try and stop her but since this is not the final they needed some way for Davis and Chloe to escape so I am not going to be too harsh about it. The only other option was for Davis to fight off Clark but I actually liked the fact that Clark won Round 2. Something had to happen in order for there to be a Round 3. It is believable that Chloe's "betrayal" would shock him enough that he would allow them to leave. It certainly shocked me.
Except for that one little question mark, Clark was on his game this episode. I liked how he Super speed tackled Davis after bursting into the basement then picked him up and carried him to the arctic. No backhanding Clark across the room with no retaliation this time. Heck this time Clark knocked the monster across the room like it was nothing. Nice. Too often they show Clark taking it more than giving it when it comes to fights and this round was all Clark. They so need to do that more often.
I even liked how Clark reacted to Oliver. Oliver is slipping deep into a kill first mentality and that is bad but what makes it good is how Clark didn't even debate it with him. I mean that. All Oliver seems to want to say now is "Kill it Clark, Kill it!". Clark simply tells him. "No, I am not. End of discussion." Period.
I liked it even more in the second scene when Oliver is yelling and Clark just ignored him. That was fantastic. I think that stoic silence sent a message more than any words would. Oliver just seems to want to shout and argue with Clark. I think his guilt over killing Lex is manifesting itself into a rage towards Clark. I think he is blaming Clark for forcing him to kill Lex. He cannot talk to Clark without yelling at him anymore. Clark just arguing back would not have done any good. It would have just escalated the argument. Right now it is at the point where words will not change Oliver's mind. Actions and examples will. I like that Clark realizes that and is taking that route with him.
I also really liked that after Clark got over his initial shock about Chloe's betrayal he was all business. Ticked off and ready to fight but yet not so far to give into Oliver's death parade. Sure he did take out a helpless file cabinet but that thing really had it coming. Squeaky drawers? Gaudy pink colors? That's just asking to be pulverized by a ticked off Kryptonian. Seriously, who makes Pink file cabinets anyway?
How awesome was it when he was talking to Chloe on the phone and swearing he would find her? I like seeing that side of Clark. It's like Superman or something.
Not much more I can say about Oliver. We did see some flashes of the good guy in him with his willingness to help Jimmy out with his problems and even talking Davis into killing him over Jimmy but he is in a dark place. Not so dark that he's un-redeemable but certainly a low point. His insistence on Clark killing Davis is scary but I think that is meant to be that way. I am very interested to see how he comes out of this low point.
I felt really bad for Jimmy when he was captured by the squish monster. You could just feel how low the man's life had gone when he told Davis to just kill him since it had already taken everything else from him. Having him work for Oliver was an interesting twist. The comments about "Action Man" Jimmy were amusing but only mildly so. It's too soon to be happy about Jimmy's place but this is a good start for the character to turn things around.
So anyway. Pretty good with some intense drama, important plot points, and some character progression but ultimately just an alignment episode with everyone getting into their positions for the big finish. Yet Clark did go toe to toe with Doomsday for the second time and this time he was the one giving it.
I am going to give it a 4 out of 5.
Next week Tess finally calls out her team of Supers. I am glad they are finally doing something with that plot point.
BeastReviewed by: Neal Bailey
The problem with the above summary is that we already knew all that stuff. And in fact, this stall episode has already been done, only instead of Chloe doing the stalling, it was Davis. As a dilemma then it was okayish. Now it's just repetitive. When it was Davis questioning whether he deserved to live or die, that had some potential. But instead, this time, it's just Chloe acting like a stone-cold out of character idiot harboring a murderer.
I was, predictably, unimpressed, and I really don't have to say much more to justify it than the obvious... no new information was presented in this show, and what was presented was put on a bed of conflicted, ridiculous, badly plotted garbage. Which I now scratch at:
We open with Chloe getting a call in her house. I know it turned out to be a dream, but the idea that in this show, where people drive three hours to have two minute conversations, I was grandly amused by the idea that someone in the same house would call the floor above. Like, you know, if there's a floor between them Doomsday will somehow not hurt her.
Shippy ship ship, on the good ship, you know the drill. I'm Chloe! I barely know you, but I'll leave my husband for you! And I'm Davis, and I hardly know you, but you stave off the beast inside of me! Pah. Feh. Mort. Blarg.
So romantic, making out with a dude who's killed fifty people! So wise! So endearing! You know, I knew a lot of gals growing up that just loved a guy on a motorcycle, or a guy who had done time. I understand why. Unpredictable is cool. But there's a line where unpredictable cool becomes stupid and dangerous. For many, that's jail time. For others, it's taking a plate and throwing it into a wall. Apparently for Chloe, it's well beyond fifty innocent people being ripped into segmented pieces.
Chloe as a character is now sadly bankrupt for me again, as she was in the second season. But unlike that bankruptcy, where she worked with Lionel to expose Clark (which is reprehensible), now she's looking out for a guy who killed dozens of people. This, to me, puts her right where Ollie is. Completely irredeemable. I hope she dies in the finale, and if she doesn't, she's like Lana to me.
Thanks, Smallville. Take the only character I still like next to Clark, and butcher her, will you? Then make a show about how selfless what she's doing is.
Clark's dead, broken up body is the premiere poster, quite plainly, including the S. Why or how they thought we wouldn't know this iconic image for the show is beyond me.
Clark informs Chloe that Tess has named Davis the killer. Which tells me that Clark didn't, and Chloe didn't. Which means Clark kept Doomsday's secret and left all of those families without peace so that Tess could grab a headline. But he wouldn't, it's just bad writing in that regard. They needed Davis to be on the run, and though he was DEAD to the world, they introduced a manhunt post-mortem. Hokey.
Junkie Jimmy is hilarious. I mean, he really is. If you've ever known a real junkie, or if you ever have even met a yuppie junkie (and they can be the most hilarious kinds), you can see very plainly that the actor playing Jimmy and the people writing Jimmy really haven't ever known a junkie. I would even wonder if they have a clue what addiction is like, or its consequences. Because if they do, showing a guy jonesing like this after two weeks is kind of insulting. And it's kind of insulting if they don't. But bottom line, the Jimmy Olsen of Smallville, senior to Clark in time at the Daily Planet and now battling addiction, makes me just gush, THAT'S SO TOYMAN! And half-jacket.
The lonely road speech. Good god. Did I even hear that? Was that real? And does Jimmy Olsen even KNOW Oliver? I can't think of a time when they became friends. Am I missing something? Regardless, they set Jimmy up as having an addiction, then they make Ollie out to be a dink later in the episode because he didn't trust Jimmy. That seems to be a recurring theme in Smallville. Murder someone, date a psycho, steal stuff, attack people under the influence, and then, if people don't treat you as respectable or honorable, they're just not being good people. Especially with Lana. In this episode, we're supposed to forgive Chloe for the sole reason that SHE'S CHLOE!
No. Bite me. I have a brain.
Of course, there is that precedent, back in the sixties where Jimmy became addicted to LSD in that Curt Swann drawn issue, "Cub Rehab!" Or wait.
Unfortunately, though the show pounds on everything else in detail, I had no idea who the doctor was until I actually googled it. I was like, "Who is this dude? Is that Emil?"
Sure enough, it was. The last time he appeared, however, it was so fleeting and so ill-established I forgot. And here he is, just a regular old doctor, kind of, working with Chloe. I guess that would be neat, if this guy even remotely looked or acted like Emil. Cue the Smallville theme. Put him on a skateboard. Perish forbid they cast a guy with a beard.
Davis is portrayed as tragic because he can't kill himself. I don't, however, see this as the truth, or logical.
Logical: RING RING!
"Clark, it's Davis. Turned out I survived somehow. I feel terrible for what I'm doing, and what I've done. Help me find a way to die."
"That sounds consistent with your character as displayed so far!"
"I know, huh?"
Instead, Davis goes from repenting and feeling horrible to enjoying his power and doing anything he has to in order to survive and to bag Chloe. Which is condemnable, and something Chloe would see a mile away. HE KILLED PEOPLE. MANY MANY PEOPLE. Not one, on accident, beyond his control. He targeted and KILLED people.
Chloe knows about the Phantom Zone, reads my next note. Ergo not only does she harbor a killer, she knows a place he can go and be rendered moot. Clark even suggests it.
I remember I brought up the argument that the Phantom Zone is a crummy way to dispatch people, and I don't like it as a device, based in the way it's depicted as hell/limbo in the comics. You're disembodied, tortured, lost, and there's no hope. It's like, say, where you'd put maybe only Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot, and Lindsay Lohan, all under Carrot Top's whip.
Problem is, Smallville depicts it as a desert under a weird filter. You can survive just fine, if you're kinda tough. Heck, Kara did.
The show tries to retcon that. "I WON'T HAVE YOU CONDEMN DAVIS TO ENDLESS HELL, CLARK!" IE, they try and say it is what it's not, as a way to make it an unviable solution.
But see, here's the flaw with that logic.
DAVIS MURDERED FIFTY PEOPLE. If anyone ever deserved to have to grapple with hell, who better? After one death, he might have had redemption stamped on his passport somewhere between logic and mercy, but after ten, it's like, "Fool me once, fool me twice, SPLORT!"
And beyond that, CHLOE HAS HELPED CLARK SYSTEMATICALLY HUNT PEOPLE DOWN TO SEND THEM TO THE PHANTOM ZONE FOR BEING MURDERERS!
Smallville logic, folks.
Davis drives all the way to Metropolis to speak to Chloe when he catches her on the street. Anyone else catch that? But it's played like he crawled out of the basement down the block. If he can be that far from Chloe on a constant basis, it even further undermines his sympathy.
Ollie and Clark debate killing Bloom. Ah, yes, the ever-fun Superman should kill debate. Haven't seen enough of that, have we? I love how, many many days later, Ollie claims dirt underneath his fingernails. Such a stark metaphor, he said, with a sore back from sitting in this chair writing last week's review.
It is presented that the portal opening might suck Clark in, and ergo is a bad idea. Sure. Thanks, Jor-El, for not telling me how it works. There is no cogent rational framework in this show at all, it seems.
Junkie Jimmy fails at robbery. I actually laughed, I paused the show and laughed, when it cut to Jimmy holding the money from the hiding place like, "Huh?" It's supposed to be one of those tragic, "OOOOH!" moments. Like when Lana catches Clark doing something. Looking at a girl being an example. And yet, here it's just sadly comical, a show trying to be edgy and show character depth by... showing a character stealing badly. This further undermines Ollie's rationality in later giving Jimmy another shot.
Regardless, Doomsday apparently didn't hear them until then, so Jimmy's a great burglar, but Ollie, the GREEN FRICKING ARROW, was loud enough to summon the monster. Yepper.
Davis calls Chloe. Now this is important, pay attention kids. He calls her and says, "I'm here, with two of your friends, and if you don't come here, I'm going to kill them. I'm probably going to kill them anyway. I'm having trouble controlling Doomsday."
Chloe, knowing that Jimmy and Ollie might die, does not immediately call Clark and send him. Clark has to (happenstance) come on his own, irrationally and out of context, and find them. As a writer, it's plain to see that this is an easy out to redeem Chloe. Have her call Clark, realize she's been wrong, and save them. The writers CHOSE to make Clark arrive on his own.
Chloe would let Jimmy and Ollie die to protect a homicidal 50 time murderer.
Face it. She's... she's utterly f@#%^#$ contemptible.
Oliver rams home the point when Chloe arrives, but Chloe's still determined to stick with Davis. Did I miss like, two years of a relationship here that would attach her so much to this guy? Because if I recall correctly, all he did was crush on her when she was about to get married and then toss her a few favors. He even gave her a kiss she didn't want. I don't get it.
It takes Clark quite a while to arrive at the Fortress, if you look at the timeline. But that's just bad plotting.
Instantly, for no apparent reason, Davis wants to fight Clark, because he won't live without Chloe. Clark, dragging his feet and moving slowly despite having super-speed, pops open the portal and stands and watches Bloom instead of throwing him in.
Chloe appears, and apparently can get to the Kawatchee caves from the Talon in full view of Ollie in the space of about a minute and a half.
She makes the astounding argument, "I won't let you put Davis in hell! You believe in redemption!"
Clark lets her walk off with him without even insisting upon some form of imprisonment.
Because later he promises to follow her to the ends of the Earth, when he had her right there?
And that's aside from the fact that there's no way in hell any Superman I'd respect would let a guy who killed fifty people walk away. Ever.
To put a cherry on this crap flavored bull#%$@ split, they give us a scene where Ollie tries to persuade Clark that this is somehow screwy. That Chloe is defending a murderer. That by proxy, he is.
Clark then tells Ollie, "The Chloe you're talking about does not exist."
EXACTAMUNDO, my next note reads. Because The Chloe That Does Not Exist and The Lana I Know and The Chloe I Know all belong to the class of dialogue characterization that has turned this show from a potential piece of modern myth into a black hole plot joke.
Beyond that, no piece of dialogue could more aptly explain why I disagree with this character direction. The Chloe they're talking about doesn't exist. It was forced onto the mold for bad drama. And it makes me sick.
I think there's a new squeaky shoes category. Since the plane got blown up, I'm gonna start a new one:
AND AGAIN WITH THE CHLOE CRYING!
I wish I had come up with that earlier, because it's happened about fiddy times this season.
This has been the "Let's watch Chloe be an idiot" hour. We now return to your regularly schedule programming.
1 of 5.
Bruce Kanin wrote (RE: Beast):
B+ (for Beast). They stripped away some of the silliness to focus on building up the menace of Davis/Doomsday, and that worked, for a change.
_THE BEST (THE GOOD)_
_THE BEASTLY (THE BAD)_
Glad it worked for you, man. To me, I looked, and I tried to see the Chloe sacrificing herself arc, and instead I saw the more, "I love him, so I'm going to protect him no matter what he does!" side of things.
You do bring up something I totally missed, however. Not only does Chloe have to go all the way to the caves in something like two minutes... she also has to retrieve the key!
Regardless, good to know someone liked it! Keep up the good work!
PS: Check out the updated KO Count.
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