July 31, 2021

Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 9 - Episode 9: "Pandora"



Reviewed by: Neal Bailey


  • Lois recalls her time in the future.
  • Lois forgets her time in the future.
  • Zod is planning to use the tower to turn the sun red so he has powers and Clark doesn't.
  • Wait, what?
  • What do you mean, wait?
  • Well, dude, it's like, he's like, Kryptonian too.
  • I know, I know, but save it for the review!
  • It's too late now, we might as well have our say. We already screwed up the format.
  • We? There's only one of us.
  • Well, I know that, but writers are schizophrenic, so maybe it'll play as a bit.
  • I don't think so.
  • Why not?
  • Well, look, over there.
  • In the sky? Is it a bird? Is it a plane?
  • Nah, just monkeybella with the whip.


    Knowing the internet the way I do, tomorrow I'll surf the rounds and find a Smallville review that boldly proclaims that the person sooooooooo felt for Lois when she was standing over the Chloe that she knows will live in the past going, "You're gonna be all right! You're gonna be all right!" as if it weren't the single most cliché thing ever.

    I was part of an inadvertent social experiment this weekend when I watched G. I. Joe. I found, without realizing it, the single most cliché-filled movie on the planet, complete with soldiers that dance to swing music in 2009 (excuse me, THE NEAR FUTURE!) and the ninja with the guy who killed his master played badly.

    Why is this a social experiment? Well, it's a polar extreme thing. You know, like when you walk outside on a cold day, run around a bit, you come in the house and it's fifty degrees and you're like, "TURN THE HEAT DOWN! IT'S HOT!"

    So when I watched G. I. Joe, I inadvertently did Smallville a service, given that you can't watch the single suckiest thing on planet Earth next to Transformers without watching other shows and being GRATEFUL for any little twist on any cliché.

    By these standards, perhaps I should grade this episode in an even harsher manner, given the fact that I'm still shaking my head and asking myself wherefore art thou such crap, and what hath made it climb my balcony?

    Aw, who am I kidding, I can't afford a balcony.

    As I said a review or two back, there's a good way to make people buy things like a red sun being put in the place of the yellow sun despite the fact that, as I've been led to understand, a red sun universe would immediately liquefy a regular human because of the new power of gravity, to say nothing of Earth being sent spinning off its axis.

    That's by making a compelling enough dramatic construct. This episode didn't. It had all of the hallmarks of a bad alternate future story, including all of the clichés. Expected tension when a main character dies despite no reason to feel tension. A single item that will make it all right (in this case the Legion ring). A romantic encounter that can never happen in the "regular" world for the benefit of shippers. On and on, there are multiple examples, those are the most blunt.

    If you take this and add into it the whole magical brainwaves synching and then you go to the future or the past (which this show has done multiple times, and which never ends well), you get a recipe for crap. And not warm crap, leftover crap, given that we've already seen it. The zoner episode. Lexmas. With Kara. These episodes are done to death, and they're never memorable, so why keep repeating the pattern?

    Well, it's obvious they were trying to exploit the cool factor of a world ruled by Zod, but then you've gotta ask yourself, if they're not really going to SHOW any of that, if the worst you get is the barn converted into a concentration camp that's so incoherent you laugh, why bother?

    Then there's the question of how a Legion ring that Lois used without knowing how it would get her back to the past, or for that matter, ah, you know what? Not worth your time to even try and figure it out, because THEY didn't spend the time trying to work it out.

    All this amounts to is an entire episode set around justifying a bad plot idea, Lois grabbing the ring to get out of a fight with Tess.

    Like I mention in the summary, I am just absolutely oblivious as to why there would be a red sun where Kryptonians have powers. It has two possible explanations that negate the rationale:

    ONE) They make the sun red so that Clark won't have powers while (given that they have powers) they have the ability to control Kryptonian powers.

    TWO) They can't control Kryptonian powers, in which case a red sun would only make them worse.

    To be honest, I am sick and tired of the ridiculous way with which this show displays ignorance and inconsistency with regards to the way Kryptonian powers work, and I sound like a big nerd saying that, but I'm not being a BIG nerd. I'm not saying, oh no, Clark's shirt can't be frayed because he has a one-inch aura! I'm saying that if you establish in the show that you get powers from a yellow sun if you're Kryptonian, and under a red sun you lack powers, and you also establish that the tech is there to grant powers and take it away, the only way to make that ANY MORE CONVOLUTED is to make a red sun while having Kryptonian powers, which Zod does.

    Here's the deal, and I know this is hard for you Smallville, but here's how it works.

    Superman is a Kryptonian. Under a yellow sun, he gets powers. Those powers can't be taken away by technology without completely altering his genetics in a way that would kill him.

    Zod is the same as Superman. You can't put him under a Red Sun and give him powers, because the powers are not derived from altering the genes, they're the result of SOLAR POWER from a YELLOW SUN.

    And by the way, Kryptonite is fragments of Krypton AFTER it exploded. Any attempt to say, "Well not in this continuity!" is just, to me, an excuse to justify bad writing. It ruins the coherency, just like putting Kryptonite on Superman for three hours and having him live, or having him drink Kryptonite, is retarded.

    Kryptonite is a green rock that kills Superman. When you turn it into gas, you get eyerolls for a reason.

    Red suns weaken Kryptonians. When you use it to POWER Kryptonians, you get an eyeroll for a reason.

    Future/past out of character stories have been done to death. When you use it on Smallville, you get an eyeroll for a reason.

    This is, of course, assuming that we understand in any way the reason Zod wants to turn the world into a depot of ruin and hate in the first place, which has in no way been established. We understand he has a motivation to be mad at Jor-El, perhaps a reason to want to live and resurrect his son, but the leap is much, much too large.

    As is the leap that Lois has now twice seen Clark virtually outed as a Kryptonian (in the Phantom Zone, and as the ONLY HOPE of this future) and has no idea that he's the red-blue blur, especially since last episode she almost nailed it.

    And hey, while we're having this weird, unjustified alter-future, let's screw up Chloe some more by suggesting she's still a cold-blooded killer, snapping a bolt off in Tess for no apparent reason.

    I am unsurprised at this stage that Smallville has lapsed right back into crummy plot like this, but it still hurts after the faith I put in the last few episodes. I mean, when you look at the way that Tess has Lois kidnapped and then shoots a guy before leaving the scene of the crime, a guy who lives, and yet she's not in jail, you know they just don't care.

    Heck of a note to go out on for a while, too. Too bad.

    1 of 5.


    Daniel Spady wrote:


    I agree with you with the whole sobriety issue with Ollie. My friend had a Alcoholic father and literally every day his father would tell him, "No more im done". He couldn't even have peace of mind as he worried every time he left his father at home alone with his sister and mother, something dangerous would happen. Literally the longer your own the road of Alcoholism, It will take twice as long to recover.

    Alcohol, though I've made my peace with it, does more harm than good, I'm convinced. I have no desire to limit the freedoms of others to experience it (I believe in near total freedom) but for me, I can have a beer or two on a weekend in a rare mood, but I've seen it destroy too many lives to endorse it.

    Hell, it's destroyed my life already once, threatens to destroy the life of someone I love again, and I've never seen someone who jumps in and then just jumps right out.

    Even though what Ollie went through was quite extreme...

    I would give him 2 days and then he is binging on Vodka cause he let a criminal getaway...

    maybe he will slip up? Maybe Smallville will continue with this continuity?

    ...meh i didnt think so.

    I am sure in Smallville he will continue to drink, but now with no compulsion to binge. That's TV for you.

    random dog?

    ...i hope he was able to doge that car

    And how did Ollie survive that head on truck crash?

    nvm...forgot what show i was watching...

    You know i am not rich, and maybe my concept of money is a little off...

    But i was under the impression that Ollie and his company was broke?

    Yes. This last week, as I recall. That's what's screwy.

    Did he have 4 billion dollars in his PERSONAL bank account?

    ...sigh and i thought it was wierd that this Asian decent woman had such a excellent American accent...

    (was that racist...?)

    Yes. And honestly, I'm real tired of racists lately.

    watch out for that invisible bullet!!!!

    ...too late

    Uh, yeah.

    I thought i would add to you cliche' check list.

    - "I can't find a game to satisfy me"

    - Flashlight in coffin scene (Kill Bill)

    - "Game on" written in blood

    - Lois Lane embarrasing comment to Clark

    - Clark embarrsing comment to Lois (holding a bra)

    I like this much better. I think if I listed the clichés, I'd fill the internet.

    I enjoy your reviews keep em coming.


    Serethiel wrote:

    Hey Neal, how goes it?

    Well. Just finished a new book, I'm home from a funeral, I'm optimistic again.

    You know... for such an important character as ZOD is supposed to be... have you noticed how startlingly absent he's been from the season? By the time he finally does show up again, which I think it supposed to be the November 6th, nobody's going to care a flip about him because he'll be lacking what all new characters should have by episode 7 of a season... CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!

    There is no character development for anyone on this show except Clark, and more recently, a few Lois episodes. Everyone else is corrupted, morally bankrupt, and consistent on a regular basis. This show is a prime example of how NOT to make consistent character work.

    It's a great example of how to try and make clunky, over-long dialogue like Buffy had flail, though.

    But then, after watching an episode like "Roulette," it would almost seem as if character development were taboo to the Smallville universe.

    Totally is.

    I can't make any gripes about the character of Victoria compared to her comic book counterpart because I know nothing about the real "Roulette" except that she owns a gambling house. But I can gripe about the fact that THIS Roulette was a total ding-bat. Chloe hired her, why? What made her think Victoria was trustworthy? Me, personally, if I had been Victoria, would've taken the money and ran straight to the police... "Hey coppers, I know who the Green Arrow is!" and probably collected a nice reward on the side.

    I think the scene that chafed me the most, though, was the "Chlollie" scene at the coffee shop where Chloe is acting like some bada$$ paragon of girl power. Don't get me wrong, as a female, I totally appreciate "girl power" to a point... and that point ends with kidnapping and attempted murder. And Ollie wasn't going to press charges? Because she "saved" him? She's something to be respected now? She wouldn't even tell Clark what she was doing because she knew he wouldn't go along with it. She's d@mn right he wouldn't go along with it: it was ILLEGAL! It wasn't because he lacked the ability to "do what is necessary," as she phrased it. I mean, geez, just the last episode he vowed with the utmost sincerity that he wasn't going to give up on Oliver.

    Girl power is, at least to me, a woman who stands on her own. I don't see girl power (or guy power, for that matter) in violent manipulations. In fact, that's what I call "sociopath power." But the TV watching public excuses it for gals, for some reason, or it's written that way a lot.

    Do the writer's forget we have memories? Or do they simply forget everything they write on a week by week basis?


    But now I'm ranting... and I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. lol.

    Take care,



    P.s. I couldn't dig the "Matrix" reference with the red pill, either, because it wasn't even clever. *sigh*

    Matt B. wrote:

    Hey Neal, I was a little surprised when I saw you reviewing Smallville after your vow to not do anymore reviews after last season. (A little bit of a masochist?)

    I can see you didn't read the review. I forgive you.

    Anyways about Echo, regardless of you not really doing a review besides a rating

    Now I can REALLY see that you didn't read the last review, either.

    I was surprised you gave it as high of marks as you did considering Clark knocking a guy across the room who he thought was toyman just for the say of socking him it seemed, and later on where he's ready to throw toyman off the balcony even before he realized it wasn't really him. I'm sure there are many more things to pick apart but I'm afraid I don't have the knack that you do. All in all I appreciate your reviews because I agree with most of what you write. I guess it's more enjoyable if we just realize this isn't a show about Superman and never will be, alas. I'm just waiting for Lana to make another appearance /cringe.

    Likewise. It's important, though, to actually read the review before commenting on it. Last season for the finale I simply said I was no longer taking notes, and I DID put a review in for Echo, I just put it in the letter column.

    Jeffrey Frawley wrote:

    Very little has so far been made of the plot of "Roulette" being essentially aggravated assault, kidnapping, menacing, impersonating a officer of the law and (possibly) wire fraud and grand theft. It is in character for Clark to have nothing to do with this brand of idiocy, but Chloe is usually depicted as being too intelligent to commit crimes for which she could die in prison of old age. This is all beside the fact that Oliver is usually depicted as a highly skilled martial artist and improviser of weapons: This is the sort of thing that can result in critical injuries to attackers. I generally enjoy the show more than you seem to, but this is very sloppy plotting.

    It's really just capitalizing on the drama, which is a failure of writing. It's very easy to put a kitten in the middle of the road and have a semi driving straight for it. It's very hard to make that tension last for a whole hour. The same thing happens when you have a wrong-man plot with no bones behind it, which is what that attempted (badly) to be.

    Bruce Kanin wrote, RE: Crossfire:


  • *D+*. I'm jet-lagged from getting an extra hour of sleep. Go figure. I kind of sleep-walked (or is it slept-walked) through this episode.


  • Lois admitting her love for Clark to Oliver. And here I thought she loved The Blur. Oh wait...

  • The second live-action TV series appearance of Cat Grant, the first being Lois & Clark. And the first appearance on Smallville of a John Byrne Superman character, um, that being Cat Grant. Wonder if she'll appear again?

  • The first live-action TV series appearance of Speedy, the Wonder Arrow Boy. Oh, wait, it's a girl...but we know she'll be Speedy. But is she at all a likable character? No. Nor realistic. Give me Dick Grayson.

  • Clark's rescue of Lois & Ollie - looked suspiciously like a scene from "Superman Returns" with bullets approaching eyeballs and such but it was kind of cool. When they showed the bullet really close up like it was gigantic bullet, it reminded of a scene in "Top Secret!" when we see a telephone from a close-up perspective and it looks huge, and then a Nazi officer goes over to it, and it really IS huge! Ah, great, hilarious, movie that will always be in "Airplane!"'s shadow.


  • Oliver running away from the scene with Lois. Why didn't Ollie kick @ss some more? Why did he leave Speedy behind? Of course, so that Clark could come to the rescue.

  • Speaking of which, so Clark rescues Lois & Ollie. He did this because he heard trouble over the earpiece. I'll buy that. But that only tells him that there is trouble, not WHERE it is. How did Clark figure out where Lois & Ollie were?

  • The cute-sy thing between Lois & Clark and the morning show was not well-executed and was barf inducing.

  • The British accent on Zod is still annoying. Zod is annoying. I did like Tess showing him up by presenting Zod with his henchman's dog tag. Neat.

  • The subplotz were all stupid.


  • I hate it when one character starts a sentence and other one finishes it. Chloe and Clark do that a lot.

    We used to note the "I affirm you, but now I don't affirm you" style of dialogue Smallville is rife with, more. This is also, however, something that bugs me, a lot. Along with the adjective that goes on for too long:

    "All right, british, dark, surly and Darth Vader, if you want to swing a bat at me, that's fine, but don't be surprised when I put my Buster Browns up your Diane Keaton!"

    Your brain immediately shuts off and is pulled out of the drama. I agree.

  • The Kandorian thing is getting thinner by the minute.

  • Doesn't Stewart fear a reprisal from Tess if he join's Chloe's ranks? I guess he has nothing to lose, eh, since Tess threatened him with "termination". Wouldn't that be wild, at our jobs, if our bosses threatened us with "termination", and they meant "death"? Man, you'd see me work some really long hours or resign in a hurry. I guess that kind of "termination" is one way for a company to get out of owing severance pay.

  • Hey, so Speedy didn't become Speedy with the arrows and all that jazz. I'm disappointed.

  • Lois & Clark finally kiss. Now what? Isn't it time for Clark to reveal he's Super-Blur to her?


  • The return of the hula-hoop things from the first two Superman movies that held the Phantom Zone prisoners on Krypton - and - the big Kryptonian heads!

  • But Jor-El visits Earth again. GAAA! How does that version reconcile with the voice in the Fortress and even the version that appeared on Earth "years ago" - the one in an episode from several seasons ago who looked, um, exactly like Clark. The Jor-El who shows up next week doesn't appear to look like Clark. And once again, this show reinforces the fact that this Clark isn't at all the "Last Son of Krypton". If Jor-El can come to Earth, he's his father's son, so Clark isn't the "last". Well, and Zod is someone's son, too...

    Bruce Kanin

    Copacetic with all of that on this end.

    Rob wrote:


    Have the Smallville writers been getting their ideas by trying whatever was in the unmarked packages they kept buying from their old friend Sam Jones III?

    The Boss should be an upcoming villain.

    The bullet scene in "Crossfire" seemed to me an exact duplication of the bullet scene in Superman Returns. The camerawork as the bullets flew towards Oliver in slow motion before Clark arrived was similar.

    I dug it, I did.

    One of the things I find annoying about Smallville is in most continuities Superman is the first or one of the first costumed heroes with a secret identity, but here he'll just be a filthy plagiarist by the time he puts on the full costume.

    Yeah, and they're gonna emphasize that more with the JSA, I note. Not that I don't anticipate that episode, like, a lot. I do.

    Clark Kent becoming a TV host before he has glasses is a GREAT idea. What could go wrong with millions of people seeing his face as Clark Kent in this way?

    With his senator mom, too.

    So far, Toyman is really more of a Green Arrow villain than a Superman villain. That doesn't seem right.

    And now they're gonna go all Dark Archer. It's a Superman show, fer cryin' out loud.

    Even with Oliver Queen written as he is, I don't mind his presence as much right now basically because without him Clark doesn't hang out with any dudes on a regular basis. Can't let him get soft. I mean, we used to have Lex, Lionel, Pete, and Jonathan, but now the only other major male character who means anything is Zod and he's never onscreen with Clark.

    We have two original cast members. I can't get over that.

    Despite this, have you noticed how when they show each character's "epic character" moments in the opening credits, the image they show for Justin Hartley is of Oliver Queen sitting shirtless in bed. Says a lot, doesn't it? You'd think Green Arrow would be fighting someone in a series based on a comicbook.

    Or you'd also think they'd put him before Clark, huh?

    Daniel Spady wrote:


    First off:

    Sorry about the loss of your Uncle.

    I will keep you in my prayers...

    Thanks, and respectfully, no need. I'm an atheist. But I thank you for your well wishes and appreciate the intent.


    I liked your review...

    "Pimpin ain't easy in metropolis"...sums up the whole episode

    Absolutely, heh. I mean, they seriously turned a very real problem into a cartoon. I also love how anyone who sells their sex is immediately someone who needs to be corrected and at rock bottom. Very deep. Sigh.

    I have recently been watching old episodes of Smallville and reading your reviews...(I am all about wasting time and being productive...lol)

    I am going to make list of quotes from Neal Bailey referring to Smallville episodes cause the stuff you say is hilarious.

    I'll send it to you when I'm done...

    Awesome! Thanks. Very flattering.

    Smallville a.k.a "The Journey of the Green Arrow" has some potential. I actually thought it would be nice if Lois and Clark had their own TV show "Good Morning Metropolis". I mean Smallville in itself is it's own universe. And the chemistry between Clark and Lois is real. And if the show did it right it could be at the very least humorous...I don't know if you watch CSI but every show starts off the same way, as in there are just regular people and they somehow find a dead body, and then the theme music and credits come on.

    If it's the one with the redhead guy ripping off his glasses, I've seen a few opening credits. I tend to find the crime dramas not as cool as they used to be. I'm going back and watching Rockford and the like.

    I imagine Smallville starting off with a "Good morning Metropolis" vibe Clark and Lois have to report a story and then Clark and Lois go back and forth and then the show's credits and theme song go off. Something new to mix the show up...it's getting predictable and sometimes dry and boring. But this would only work if when Clark Kent actually became superman his face gets warped somehow... I wouldn't worry about it though in this universe no one really cares about the little details like that...

    The whole fight scene at the start was good except i saw this really REALLY fake punch that was thrown by the dude that took me out of the moment...It was really bad i re-watched it. The fight looked incredibly staged.

    Batman and Robin is good for that, too.

    As soon as Lois walked in and started talking to Ollie...I said to myslef, Speedy is going to walk out in a bra or something and Lois is going to get mad...Crap it's going to be like a Lana moment...sigh

    Yeah, that really was. Forgot to harp on that.

    I was angry at the fact that this girl could fight but couldn't beat a pimp...

    That has almost another dimension of the already thick sexism. First off, she's of weak character because she uses her sex to achieve a level of power in life, then she's weak because she fights in a cage, which is villainous, then she's weak again because she can't stand up to her pimp. All, of course, things that are resolved (like Ollie's alcoholism) in fifteen minutes of violence. You gotta wonder what they're thinking.

    I dunno pimps are notorious for playing mind games...the only example i could think of was the movie "Casino" where Robert DiNero's wife could work a room, scam a anyone...but she would always fall victim to that scumbag in the hotel room...But we will never understand the women mindset. To this day it is still a mystery the way some women act...

    Yeah, and there is a lot to be said for people who are beaten to the point that even if they can kick someone stupid they don't. I've known large men who are cowered by their fragile little wives as the wife beats the crap out of the guy, and he just takes it and walks away, because he's mentally beaten down, abused.

    However, in this case it's clear Speedy is portrayed as morally conscious, intelligent, and strong as well as beaten, abused, weak, and helpless. That's not a commentary on pimps, that's a commentary on bad writing.


    I was really hoping for a male "speedy"

    I think the last thing Ollie needs is a attractive sidekick...

    It's from a comic precedent, actually, I can forgive that one.

    Is it just me...or are there a lot of hot chicks in this Superman Universe... weird

    speaking of hot chicks...

    Tess is good...but not that good. Maybe she has some sort of hidden powers...meh

    Maybe he got over-confident i guess and she tricked him.

    But i think it's a huge assumption to think that a trained soldier could lose to a civilian...

    But she can whip-kick!

    I remember reading this quote from Katie Holmes about Rachel Dawes, it was along the lines of, "She's tough! She's strong! She's in charge of herself and her surroundings. Also she sometimes needs the Batman!"

    You can't be strong and self-sufficient and yet a damsel at the same time. There is no angel-whore. That assumes that all women are polar and encourages sexism. I don't dig it. Usually a person, male or female, is strong or weak. I dig strong women, and I don't know a single one who can kick a guy stupid and then just lets a guy rule over her.

    speaking of Tess...

    something about how she plays her character, her "eye movements" and "facial expressions" to Zod are priceless. I keep on expecting Zod to go...

    "Your Welcome" ~ Zod

    "I didn't Thank You" ~ Tess

    "Well you should...cause I put LexCorp on the map" ~ Zod

    "The question is what do you want in return" ~ Tess

    Zod and Tess stare at each other for 20 minutes

    Zod tackles Tess on the piano and rips off her clothes

    screen fade to black

    That's next week.

    I mean you saw Zod pinch her butt...Tess almost fell out of character.

    You can cut that sexual tension with a knife, lol.

    And the bad writing.

    The acting on this show has always been spot on and the dialogue most of the time is fun and interesting.

    All due respect, but I don't see this. I think this is like people who dig Grant Morrison. People assume that the appearance of complexity is brilliance.

    It's not, or I could just walk down the street talking about the subject/object paradigm and get a grant. In comics and TV, however, people allow it as a crutch in fiction for genius. I don't know why.

    As it returns to this particular show, long-winded dialogue with a pop-culture twist offers the appearance of complexity, but it's actually mostly crap.

    For instance Lois and Clark talking about online profiles, Clark did his in 10 minutes and Lois doesn't know what to put down. Just classic scenarios where Lois and Clark have chances to interact and talk make this show for me worth watching...I can deal with the horrible slowness of the shows progression and the plot about Green Arrow and his trials and tribulations...

    The Superman affect was cool, i was kinda half-expecting Clark to shy away from Louis for 6 episodes because he saw her hug Ollie...I guess that is some character growth. He learned that if he wants something he should take it.

    I agree with your rating of the episode. Because as for every good moment in this show it's overshadowed by multiple ridiculous scenarious and bad plot...

    I am looking forward to the Society and Legends episode. Every Smallville season is good for about 4 episodes and i am hoping 2/4 are going to be the ones mentioned...

    Keep the reviews coming

    Thanks. I will.


    V. Ellis Wade wrote:

    "Kandor" almost had me... ALMOST.

    That was, until, I saw the huge, gaping plot hole that the episode created.

    Remember Lois & Clark's trip to the Phantom Zone last year? They found Kara, escaped through the portal, and Faora (Zod's Wife) takes control of Lois's body. I seem to recall Faora mentioning that she and Zod could not have children, and as a result, Kryptonian science (read, Brainiac) creates them a son - our boy Davis/Doomie.

    And I was almost ready to praise this episode for decent-ish dialogue, good effects, and minimal shippy von shippy shipp. But a plot hole as big as Krypton itself is just too big to ignore. Grrrrr...

    On a brighter side, I think a Krypton spinoff would be cool. Maybe...

    I didn't even put what Faora said in my memory banks. Too much lost to inconsistency. They bank on that...

    Bruce Kanin wrote, RE: Kandor:

    "Rocketed to Earth by his parents Jor-El and Lara from a doomed planet, baby Kal-El, the Last son of Krypton, grows up as Clark Kent, in Smallville, discovering his super-powers along the way, ultimately to... zzzzziiiitttt! (Record scratch)

    Sorry...that's not relevant to THIS television series.

    That description applied to the Kirk Alyn serial; "The Adventures of Superman" TV series and even "Lois and Clark". It applied to the Superboy TV series; the Superman movies; the animated versions and of course, the comic books.

    And, for awhile, it even applied to the TV-series called "Smallville". That is, until the writers warped concepts from the World of Superman (e.g., Bizarro done bizarrely); brought in characters who should be dead (Jor-El's voice in the Fortress and his ability to affect Clark & others; Lara & Zor-El on Earth); turned cornerstone relationships into "huh?" (e.g., how a friendship between Clark & Lex turned sour); and rushed in characters before their time (e.g., Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Kara, Doomsday; the JLA).

    Recently, I decided to accept "Smallville" as if it were an Elseworlds series, going its own way. After all, there have been many incarnations of Superman. Why can't "Smallville" go its own way?

    The answer is: it can, but there are limits. And the limits are such that, if crossed, the whole concept of "Superman" becomes blurred and ultimately lost. The episode "Kandor" crossed into the outer limits and beyond. "Kandor", an episode that moves the core of "Smallville" somewhere - I hesitate to say "forward" - it is not a "filler" episode but a strategic one that reveals much about Jor-El and Zod. As well, it contains a major turning point for Clark, that being the scene in which Jor-El dies in Clark's arms.

    Yes, I wrote that correctly: "Jor-El dies in Clark's arms". And therein lies the reason why "Smallville" is no longer an Elseworlds tale to me. It has become unrecognizable as a Superman story. "Smallville" has so muddled the story of Kal-El and his family history that I might as well be watching "The Matrix", "Alien", "Total Recall", "Star Wars" or even "Star Trek".

    I'm half thinking they did it so that next season they can introduce Jor-El as a character. I mean, hell, they've done stranger things.

    So, in "Kandor", we learn that Zod and Jor-El fought side-by-side against "Black Zero" on Krypton (Black Zero was introduced back in the late Silver Age as a potential destroyer of Krypton, by the way). This, actually, had the makings of a wonderful and riveting story. In retrospect it was somewhat like Obi-Wan and Anakin. In fact, it might have been TOO MUCH like their story. But, even though the third Star Wars movie somewhat botched the falling out between Obi-Wan and Anakin, that was plausible enough.

    The rift between Zod and Jor-El was more like "huh?" After Zod's wife and son die in a spectacular nuclear explosion (great effects, too) that destroys Kandor (I've no problem with Kandor not being shrunk by Brainiac - if that was "Smallville"'s worst problem, it would be an Emmy Award winner in my book), Zod begs Jor-El to use DNA cloning to "bring back" his son.

    There are two aspects of this that bug me: first, Zod must be off his rocker at that point (and perhaps justifiably so, given that his family perished), thinking that cloning would "bring back" his son. But then, why doesn't Jor-El oblige him, anyway? What's the harm? The answer: because it turns them into enemies to further the storyline. And that's the only reason.

    Exactly. That's why I don't buy the villain thing with Zod yet, not as established.

    But then the muddle becomes muddier. There's some nonsense about saving their DNA for an "orb" that will end up on Earth (the orb reminded me of the tetrahedron from the awful and disappointing Supergirl movie) and allow them (Zod, Jor-El and other Kryptonians) to "help Earth". So does that mean that they were destroyed when Krypton exploded, and Zod, Zod's army and even Jor-El are clones? That would explain why Jor-El, when he appears on Earth, doesn't seem to be aware that he has a son.

    I don't like that story because it's overly complicated, but I think I can understand it, assuming that's the tale they're telling. But does that mean that /General /Zod - the one who presumably ended up in the Phantom Zone - is the /real /Zod? That there are two - the General and the clone that's a Major?

    Apparently, yeah. Convoluted, huh?

    So Clark's parents /did /perish on Krypton, and the Jor-El who dies in Clark's arms in "Kandor" is a clone? It was a poignant scene, but do we care, since this wasn't the real Jor-El? Makes me think of decaffeinated coffee: I mean, why bother? Or was it the real Jor-El? If so, then things are really twisted, since he should have died on Krypton, sending Kal-El to Earth.

    The high point (um, literally) of the episode actually comes when Clark and Ollie are on the Arrowplane - I mean - the Queen Jet. After Clark inexplicably reaches the conclusion that Jor-El is alive and on Earth (he finds Jor-El's dog tag in the Sahara), Ollie says something to the effect of, "Clarkie, if this Jor-El is alive, then who's the dude that's been talking to you in the Fortress all this time?"

    Man, Ollie, you made me laugh because I was thinking the same damn thing. I don't, though, recall a good explanation from Clark or anyone else. They do try to explain Jor-El's prior appearance on Earth a few seasons ago (when he looked like a ringer for Tom Welling, not Julian Sands, who played Jor-El in "Kandor"), but like that appearance, Jor-El's explanation of that visit seems lame.

    A few more things to note, along the lines of "good", "bad" and "indifferent":

  • At one point Ollie says "I'll watch your back" to Clark. While it comes during a decent scene between the two, since when does Superman need someone to watch his back?

  • I'm convinced that Krypton was once a part of the British Empire, given that not only Zod speaks with a British accent (both the "Smallville" Zod and the Superman movie Terrence Stamp Zod), but Jor-El as well (both the "Smallville" Terrence Stamp Jor-El and the Smallville Julian Sands Jor-El...come to think of it, the "Superman" Marlon Brando Jor-El spoke with a forced British accent, probably because he was filmed in Pinewood Studios in the UK!! ;) ).

  • It was kind of neat to see the return of the Kryptonian Phantom Zone hula hoops from the Superman movies along with the Giant Heads. What a twist to have Jor-El as the convicted and Zod as the one who saves him from being banished to the Zone.

  • Cute comment #1 (that worked): Chloe, trying to impress upon Clark that he's been ga-ga over Lois since Day One, tells him "you've been (crazy) about her since the 1930s". LOL, since Lois & Clark were introduced in 1938.

  • Cute comment #2 (that didn't work): in the flashback on Krypton, Zod brushes by his soldiers, telling them to "kneel". Groan.

  • Major turning point #1: Tess learns Clark's secret ID because Clark, angry, lifts her off the ground. Groan! Another person knows that Clark is Superguy.

  • Major turning point #2: Zod figures out that Clark is Superguy, too. This is actually OK, because it sets things up for a climactic battle between the two, assuming Zod takes on superpowers that have inexplicably not been granted to him (because he's a clone? I dunno!).

  • So now Clark hates Zod because Zod effectively killed Jor-El. Or the Zod Clone killed the Jor-El Clone. Think about that: Clark's raison d'être is now revenge because one of his parents was murdered. That's Bruce Wayne's reason for becoming The Batman - it shouldn't be Clark's reason for anything!

    Conclusion: the episode flowed from beginning to end. Zod became a more interesting character and Jor-El was somewhat interesting, although he seemed somewhat plastic, too. There were great special effects on Krypton and in the Sahara with Clark's super-breath. But the rest of this episode was foul for reasons mentioned above. I'm generously giving it a *C--* (well, if there's such a thing as C++, I can grade something *C--*!).

    I liked it better, but I was washed up in the idea of people other than the mains being characterized, toward a purpose. You're right about the inconsistencies, though, and especially about the way it's convoluted, for sure.

    Next week: the /Wonder Twins/! Hep me! Hep me!

    Bruce Kanin

    Antonio a.k.a. Dark.Shingo wrote:

    First of all, an apology: No, i've not abandoned my beloved habit of reading your reviews. It's just that i didn't find the strenght to write my comments. Why? Let's face it, 2 of the last 3 episodes were "Oliverville", and the last one took the only thing that has been working so far (Lois x Clark) and made it crap. Honestly, i was this close to quit caring for Smallville at all, when the last episode aired.

    Oh god.

    Now you know why I keep flirting with not writing the reviews, heh. I don't know if I can stand a tenth season. I really don't. I may hang it up. We'll see where my novels are.

    I have to say, i'm developing this phenomena: when an episode that actually advance the plot airs, first i watch it with passion ("Finally! Something is happening!"). Then, in the middle of it (by the second TV ad) i'm kinda frowning at some of the ideas thrown during it, but then i think i'm overanalyzing it and try to enjoy it. By the end, i'm thinking "wow, this was a good episode". Then, a fraction of second later, i'm like "Was this REALLY a good episode?". Obviously, later, after re-watching it and thinking about everything, i realize i've been victim of the old "smoke and mirrors" charade. And then i put my serious face.

    Yeah, it's so cool to see Jor-El around, isn't it? He's gonna give so much advice... ah, never mind, blargh, he's death. How? Who cares. Even he doesn't know that much. Oh, and guess what? Welcome to the clone saga. (ANOTHER SPIDERMAN REFERENCE?)

    I had repressed that!

    So much potential wasted... Come on. And do not mention all the wrong things done:

    a) Chloe is a peeping tom. Chloe, two steps this close to become as good as Lex. Really, she hides Doomsday, she ran away with him, and now she spies on Clark to protect him. If she becomes more protective, were gonna have an episode where blue kryptonite is used on Clark to prevent him doing anything heroic for his own good (please, oh please, tell me it hasn't happened yet!).

    b) "Why Jor-El never told me about this?" That would've been a good plot device... until one realize he never goes to the fortress to ask about it. Well done. Jor-El is at large on planet earth and he doesn't take the time to question the other one about all this.

    c) What was Tess plan, anyway? Making Jor-El pose as the blur... yeah, right, because you can fake powers with clothes alone. Using him as bait? What for? Zod is practically there all the time and surely he's not acting like he's hiding all the evidence.

    d) Clones. Really. Clones. I have to say i'm honestly surprised it all comes down to "he's not the real one, he's a clone". If kryptonians were all over the cloning thing, wasting it on soldiers instead of using that on the brilliant minds and the leaders. Really, come on, your master plan to save your race (save it from what, one wonders, since this was prior to any knowledge about krypton going boom) is cloning your soldiers, you got somehow your priorities messed up.

    e) They're pushing the boundaries of the character. First, since i've been not watching the latest episodes, it took me by surprise noticing Clark is wearing black even in his civ identity. Not only that, he goes all berserk against Tess, and i'm risking to bet he's gonna get darker, judging by how he's thirsty for vengeance. Vengeance in my Superman? It's more likely than you think.

    f) So now we must feel sympathetic for Zod, since he lost his family and all. And then we could blame Kal-El, because if he had accepted cloning his son, maybe he would have not killed so many and blah blah blah. Damn, what the hell. Not to mention how "Lie to me"esque was the scene when he finds out that Jor-El has a son. That's something.

    All in all, i liked some of the touches. Nice to see Julian Sands, Warlock rules. The clothes matching the ones of the movies during the trial, Zod shouting "kneel" to the soldiers, etc. Somehow, i got a glimmer of hope this gets better before they hit the bottom. But then again, i still believe in the tooth fairie and that OJ is innocent.

    At least I got a dollar under my pillow, with OJ all you get is a shaking head.

    Thank you once more for your excellent work. Looking foward your next review, as always. Let your heart guide you and enjoy the things you do to the fullest. Have a good one!


    Dave Lewis wrote:

    Hey Neal! Two weeks ago on Bailey Planet you talked about comic books being $3.99 an issue. The only thing I can say is that at least with DC you get 10 extra pages and a back up story. Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy paying that much for a book, but, I feel that you get a little extra something for the extra buck, unlike Marvel. Anyway, keep up the good work. Love your show!

    I'm pleased to get ten extra pages, I just get annoyed when it's not directly related or as powerful as the rest of the issue. In the case of Detective/Question, I'm having a hell of a time, but given that I'm not a big Captain Atom guy, coupling it with Action (which I am otherwise enjoying) bogs it down a bit. At least now it's relating to the overall story, though.

    Honestly, I'm slowly culling all comics as I have less and less money, and even if I do like it, the 4 buck ones are gonna go soon, or come in the trade.


    Daniel Spady wrote:

    Again sorry for your Uncle...

    Again thanks. He was a good guy. Loved him. Miss him.

    But unfortunately i cannot comply to your request...

    There is no way i am giving my sister a hug.

    10%? 4%? She is ALWAYS mean...

    Actually, I have folks I can't stand to hug in my immediate family too... but you miss them when they're gone. Trust me.

    When i mean "ALWAYS"

    I am referencing the Big Alien dude in Space Jam

    When he says, 'the customer is "ALWAYS" right..."ALWAYS"'

    I can't even remember anything in Space Jam.

    I don't know if you have a sister but there is nothing more horrible then having a little annoying sister that yells at you out the mouth and then threatens you physically...when you know you cannot do anything back to her

    Well, I've had family members hit me with bats and try to stab me... so I dunno. It's all relative. You STILL miss them when they're gone.

    Anyways back to Smallville...

    I enjoyed the symbolic relationship between Jor-El and Zod...

    It reminded me of the whole Lex Luthor and Clark Kent relationship...

    I miss Lex Luthor...

    I always saw Clark Kent and Lex Luthor becoming friends on Smallville and Clark Foolishly trusting Lex with his secrets of his life and Abillities.

    Then Lex needs Clark to use his powers for some selfish reason. however Clark refuses because it's not right...Then there would be this ultimate betrayal...like the death of Chloe.

    There are a lot of great stories that use the foundation of 2 best friends or brothers. That are great friends then become great enemies...

    But there is no more Lex...

    My point is I can see Zod hating Jor-El because he did not save his son. It's that Lex Luthor mentality. "Using Ultimate Power without thinking about the consequences"

    (btw...is there a reason Zod doesn't have a "El" ending like Jor-El?)

    He does, they just don't care enough about consistency to use it. To see it done right, check Action Comics.

    (Zod quoting Shakespeare???...Zod must have a lot of time on this hands to familarize himself with the culture of Earth. I think he should make a Facebook page)

    There goes that sexual tension between Tess and Zod...

    They should just bang and get it over it.

    Clalrk just revealed his secret to Tess...sigh

    She should just bang Clark and get it over with...

    Super breath...haven't seen that in a while.

    Can't Clark run on water?

    Im pretty sure he doesn't need Ollie's help to get to Africa/Egypt

    Even so Im pretty sure he can swim faster in the water then it takes to fly there.

    Clark should invest in a GPS phone map so he can tell where he is in the world

    Why the Heck does Chloe have cameras in Clark's Loft?


    what a HUGE convenience.

    w/e another day in the life of Smallville


    Thomas wrote:

    Neal, some quick questions: I know that Jor-El said in the episode that he used blue kryptonite to neutralize his own powers and than corrupted the Orb so the Kandorians would not have theirs. Does that mean that the blue crystal he zapped the Orb with right before he put in Zod's DNA was blue kryptonite?

    No clue. I'd ask the writers.

    I personally thought that it was a blue crystal similar (if not the same one) to the one used by Zor-El way back in season 7 to generate replicants of himself and Lara. That would make sense right? I mean, basically all the Kandorians are replicants like Zor-El was (except Zor-El had powers).

    That seems to be the case.

    Also, I loved the reappearance of the Stones of Power but wasn't one of them found in an Egyptian tomb by Lex in Season 4? Which would mean Jor-El would have had to send them back through time considering the time of the flashback was (conservative estimate) 40 years ago. I also thought the Kawatchee had seen the stones or something. The annoying thing about this is that Smallville has steered away from its source material so much that in trying to steer back it loses track of its own mythology.

    Long ago, it did.

    Oh well, I still think Kandor might be one of the best Smallville episodes ever. I liked it.

    dustin V wrote:

    I just ran across your Smallville review page a few weeks ago and have been reading through them. A few months ago I decided to obtain and watch Smallville. SO, I had already watched all the episodes through season 8 before starting to read your reviews. For this reason I have not been sending in comments, because well, the reviews I am currently reading are several years old. I cannot hold back any longer! I have to comment on a few things.

    First, Season 3 - Episode 21: "Forsaken"

    You mention something about assuming that Chloe's mother was out of work or was a stay at home mom. It is well established by this episode that Chloe's mother had left at an early age, I believe that is mentioned in the first season. So, no mom around to be out of work. Of course now we know she is in the insane asylum.

    Aha! But you are incorrect! Chloe's mother is Wonder Woman! Keep reading. You'll get there. God help you.

    And, I see you talk about the no tights no flights thing and count things like balloon rides and helicopter rides. Come on man! we all know they are talking about super flight and not common ordinary everyday flight!

    Yes, that is tongue-in-cheek.

    But it is nice to see that I am not the only one the thinks all the kryptonite is out of place. Kryptonite is supposed to be rare, if it were as common as it appears to be in Smallville, Clark Kent would have been dead long before he officially becomes Superman! At the very least on would have thought that he would have made an effort to round it up and get rid of it, I would have!

    OK, i will keep reading, hopefully i will catch up to the current reviews before the show reaches the end of its run.

    That'd be neat!

    Dustin V wrote:

    Season 4 - Episode 3: "Facade"

    I saw your picture, and have to poke fun.. You talk of all the rich poor folk in Smallville, but look at that TV behind you man! I am jealous! I have to watch Smallville on a tiny laptop screen! Thought I would just poke fun at that.

    Ha! And that's my old television. Actually, I've had two really massive televisions, a 65 incher, and then I went to an LCD rear projection 60 inch Sony in 2004. I'm a big movie buff. But make no mistake, I'm also as poor as the day is long.

    I bought the first television with the profits from the first house I fixed up, and the second with the profits from the second, and they remain the only thing I own of any value next to my car and my computer. I declared them both in the bankruptcy I filed last summer.

    So I guess that proves my point, yeah, you can buy a Yaris while trying to prove your dream, but where I am now bankrupt to cover for my house I tried to own, Chloe still has a giant loft in the equivalent of New York while effectively jobless. Go figure.

    Bruce Kanin wrote, RE Idol:

    Every once in awhile this TV series gives us a glimpse of what might have been and pulls victory from the jaws of defeat. "Idol" was just that. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. They interwove some really good plot threads together, what with Lois discovering Clark's secret; the evil DA wanting The Blur to step forward; Lois dangling by a, er, flagpole; and the live action premier of the Wonder Twins!

    Everything was well-balanced. The Wonder Twins, who I expected to be nauseatingly annoying, were limited and, quite frankly, pretty engaging. They did re-create the somewhat annoying fist-pump but didn't utter the more annoying "Wonder Twin powers - activate! Form of an Aardvark! ... Form of an ice fart!"

    Yeah! I wondered why they were even there. Didn't serve much purpose.

    The usually dumb "Smallville" writers reined in their appearances and I was left almost wanting to see them again one day. Not soon - but one day. And Clark's little speech to them about being heroic wasn't all that bad, although once again he's exposed his face to more people.

    What "made" the episode was the Lois-Clark-Blur triangle and all the trimmings that went with it. They packed a lot into that major thread, and it was wonderful. I won't even attempt to go through it all. They even provided some convincingly cute humor, with Lois telling her psychologist's little girl patient that her parents were the cause of her ills just so she would flee and allow Lois to talk to her shrink.

    The evil DA, though not an original concept, was nicely done and created an element of tension for Clark - whether he should expose himself as The Blur - that was solved by Lois's inspiring speech defending The Blur and his being secretive. And this was topped by the DA using that for his own devices.

    They upped the ante by getting Clark to reveal his secret to Lois: that he's "near-sighted" and needs glasses. So, does this mean that the "glasses version" of Clark is here to stay? Hope so. Not sure how that'll help him right now, but I'll bet it's a stepping stone leading to Zatanna and J'onn J'onz mind-bending everyone into forgetting what Clark looks like without glasses. We'll see. Funny of Lois to suggest that Clark wear contacts. Doesn't she know the story of Superman and why he wears glasses as Clark?

    The glasses are now gone, sigh.

    And finally, to top it off, we get glimpses of Lois's visit to the future between last season and this, in which all is revealed next week (including revealing shots of Lois & Clark, wink-wink).

    A few more comments:

  • LOL re: the Wonder Twins' phone having a drawing of Gleek the annoying Wonder Monkey on it. Glad they limited Gleek's appearance to just that!

    I wanted MONKEYS!

  • When Lois was at her shrink, she looked just like Sarah Palin sans glasses.

  • They're coming perilously close to calling Clark a super-something. Already he's referring to "the shield". It won't be long before the "S" morphs into "Super". Don't mind that a bit. Loved the "S" coffee mug.

  • Um, the Keanu Reeves look is starting to grow on me.

  • Seems like they have one obligatory scene at the Kent farm to remind us of why the show is called "Smallville".

  • How dumb was it when Lois was dangling from the flagpole and her fabulous co-workers called for Clark to gawk at their poor colleague, rather than somehow trying to help her. I'd push'em all out the window if I worked with them!

  • I did love Lois's sacrifice when she was dangling from the flagpole, thinking it was more important to protect Clark's ID. On the flip side, Clark sure seemed more concerned about his secret ID than saving Lois, to an extent, because he let her dangle. He could have rescued her at super-speed without the masses seeing him. His "exposure" would only have been to Lois. Then again - he doesn't know how to fly, so could he have even reached Lois? Not sure.

  • Know what helped this episode? No Tess, no Zod and no Kandor nonsense. They've screwed up Clark's Kryptonian origins, so any episode that omits them is fine by me, unfortunately. And Tess has become a Captain Dunsel for me - plus annoying at best.

    Grade: *A*. First "A" in a long, long, long time!

    Coming attractions

    Looks like a concept done a bit too much - an alternate version of Earth run by a tyrant (apparently Zod). Let's see...who else did this? X-Men comics; "Heroes"; "The Flash"; I remember one neat 2-part Superman comic book story with Vandal Savage running things; and so on. But this one looks potentially neat and I hope it turns out that way.

    Don't forget, Smallville has already done this twice as well (Lex future, Lexmas). And I mean despot in the future, not just synched brains. Sigh.

    Bruce Kanin

    Antonio a.k.a. Dark.Shingo wrote:

    Hi Neil, hope you're back. My condolences about your Uncle. Once again, as i told you the last time, i bet he's in a better place, watching over you. And i hope not all the time...

    Being an atheist, I think he's just dead, but it's okay. I'm at peace with that. I mean, it makes me angry that he had to die.

    This year I lost three relatives, and one of the most annoying things I heard was the idea that they're in a better place (not to slight you or your sentiment, which I appreciate).

    I had a relative with complex spina bifida who died and lived in a wheelchair, and I loved the hell out of him, and people would clap me on the shoulder and say, "He just caught a football Jesus threw. Isn't that great?" after he died. And that's literal, that phrase was said.

    It made me angry. Firstly, I loved him just fine in his wheelchair, and thought he lived a nobler life in it than most men who can walk, and second, there's the presumption that when he's not here, life can be in some way better. It can never be. He is dead.

    It's an especially antagonizing thing to hear as an atheist, but I can't shame you for honest good intentions. I just think it's important to point out to people that on the one hand, when you say Merry Christmas, I hear what it would be for you to hear "Have a nice day! There is no God!"

    Now, in terms of Christmas, I can say "Well, they're just wishing you well!" and move along without any bother at all. When we're talking about a grieving relative and someone challenges what I believe, it actually makes things worse.

    At the same time, there is something to be said for the end of the suffering that is life. And that's a better place, to an extent, but I'd still prefer to be living, and have my relatives living. Not to preach, that's just my take.

    And let me make it clear, I'm not crapping on you for raising that sentiment, I'm just exploring it as an idea. I appreciate the attempt to console me, I just figured it's important to raise the issue of implications for folks that might not consider it. It's an issue of philosophical pragmatism, to tie it into Supes, given that he operates under those auspices.

    Oh, i had so much fun with this episode. Again, watching it with my girlfriend, and she loved it too. We overlooked any flaw it had because it was a blast having the Wonder Twins, all the references to the old cartoons and, obviously, love, love, love. It was a nice episode for me, a little overshadowed by the Big-Sister-Chloe issue. But oh well. I won't write more because i'm waiting your review this time.

    Great! Thanks.

    A big hug from your mexican fans. Keep it up!

    I will. And one of these days I'm gonna get south of the border. I really want to, but the sun frightens me.

    Scotty V wrote:

    Hey there Neal,

    Long time no see or speak. I'm way behind in my Smallville watching and way behind in my comics reading. But Ijust got around to started the "Brainiac" arc from Aug. 2008 and something was irking me. Hasn't Superman had the Bottle of Kandor in his Fortress for...as long as I can remember? I like that they're addressing the continuity and that they're saying all those versions of Brainiac still came and tussled with our man but that they weren't the "real" Brainiac. After all, even though they're calling this one the "real" one now, that could change based on the concept they present here so it's all good.

    Yeah, they retconned it.

    But since when has Superman n ot known about Kandor and not had the bottle city? It's kind of important for me to know because if there's no reasonable explanation it's gonna haunt me all through my reading of the whole New Krypton thing of the last two years because I know that's the foundation.

    After Infinite Crisis, it's apparently erased.

    I write because I know you know more about recent continuity than I do and maybe I missed it and you caught it, but since events in Superman's life were still supposed to have happened after "Up, Up and Away," what happened to make Superman not know about Kandor?

    Superboy punching a wall, basically. Honestly, I'm digging this story more, so I can stand by it for now.


    Michael wrote:

    Hi Neal,

    So I'm trying to wrap my head around the continuity behind this episode. The Kandorians on Earth are clones, that's simple enough, and it makes sense that since they would have the technology, they (Kryptonians) would want to back up their society. Jor-el I assume was killed by the same Kryptonian-Ninja chick from "Savior" since she was one of the last people to be with him. Tess would not have time to kill him as Clark saw her immediately before he saw Jor-el dieing. And I don't buy that Clark would go all Darth Vader on her to be quite honest.

    Yeah, it was harsh.

    Okay, to the continuity. First, the orb. Until I read it, I didn't realize Jor-el was dousing the Orb with Blue Kryptonite. This explains Clark losing his powers after Lex brought down the house... err fortress. With that note, we can chalk the whole "controlling the traveler" up to being human's misunderstanding, rather than Jor-el setting that up in motion. In my mind, Jor-el rigged the orb against the Kandorians, not his son, it just wound up being a mistake that Lex used it against Clark. It makes more sense this way... I think.

    Now the tricky part is the timeline. You have Kryptonians and Kandorians who can travel through time. Jor-El shows up in 1969 on his walk-about (on Earth) and then twenty years before Krypton explodes is the most renowned scientist. And then Jor-El sends Baby Kal-El on a rocket to Earth in 1986. So that is what most people would figure and they think that all of this happened in the span of forty or so years.


    Noted in the review. I agree.

    In "Rosetta" (the epic Christopher Reeve episode) Dr. Swann knows where Krypton was, but there is no light from the star. If it takes 1.2-1.3 seconds for light to reach us from our own Moon, how long would it take light from Krypton, which is on the either side of the Milky Way (I'm guessing?) or even another galaxy to reach us.

    Good continuity there, but I've learned to assume they will never let a fact stand that's inconvenient.

    Of course, you then have to wonder about Clark's ship since that only took a few years to get here from Krypton. I'm gonna guess time-travel on this one. If Spock can figure it out, I'm sure Jor-El can too.

    The Time travel excuse also accounts for the orb and the tri-force. I figure these are the events, after weeding through the muddled continuity Smallville has made for itself:

    Zod goes agro because Jor-El won't clone his son (although Zod has Brainiac put the dna somewhere on spaceship at some point giving us Davis Bloome/Doomsday)

    Zod decides to nuke Krypton

    The Time Travel Teleporters have at some point been compromised or destroyed, seeing as everyone who came from Krypton came so before its destruction.

    He and Lara send Baby Kal-El off in his spaceship

    But... maybe the reason that Baby Kal-El was sent in a spaceship was because of the reliability of that teleporters. It's quite possible that they worked enough to send the orb and the tri-force, but were not stable enough to guarantee a given time-frame, thus the orb shows up sometime around World War II in Scotland (where the Luthor Mansion was before 2001), and the tri-force got sent back to the 17th or so century.

    Does that make sense?

    No! Heh. But that's not your fault, it's the convoluted writing's fault. Thanks for the theories, regardless. You're good to the show, trying to make it sensate.

    Looking forward to your review,


    TJ wrote:

    I stumbled upon this site a few years ago when Smallville was beginning its nosedive into mediocrity and wanted to see some more discourse on it. Since, I've been a pretty faithful reader of your reviews and enjoyed the thought put into it. I do miss the longer analysis, but c'est la vie; can't have what you want all the time.

    I'd bring it back, but honestly it adds about four times the work, and I found I was saying the same thing over and over again with rare exception. The term I want to use is vulgar, so I will use full Q Bert language for the kids. It was $#%^$# out. If you listen to Adam Carolla, you'll know the phrase.

    In your review of "Kandor", I wanted to draw your attention to what I thought was the writers' attempt at creating more parallels in the characters. See, over the past few seasons, the writers have recast Lex's slow downfall into EVOL as being not so much Clark's fault but Lex's inherent darkness and choices. Whether that's borne out by what we see in the show is something else, but anyway, the conflict between Jor-el and Zod in "Kandor" seemed deliberately made to parallel that. Zod and Jor-el were friends, Jor-el having even saved Zod from self destruction when Kandor was blown to dust. Later the friendship would be poisoned by their different desires; Jor-el to the ethical use of his science and Zod to his son. All this reminded me strongly of the initial relationship that drove the show: Clark saving Lex, Lex wanting to know more secrets, Clark being a selfish, cowardly prick. Heck, they even have Chloe repeat nearly verbatim the line about Lex's evil being a result of his own choices and not Clark's actions, only with Zod and Jor-el.

    This was there, and I did see it, I just didn't note it because it was a parallel they never slammed home, even though they could have. It would have made the episode much stronger, I think, but they wanted to focus on the death of Jor-El over that parallel, so hey.

    What could this mean? I've always hoped that the series would take the direction that Clark would eventually realize his deceptions had played a direct role in creating his greatest enemy and as a result, choose a persona which relied on openness and trust to achieve the greatest good, i.e. Superman. The series has only flirted with that idea so far, but could this reuse of the relationship structure of once-friends-now-enemies be a tie-in to bring that plot point back? At the very least, they should at some point acknowledge (and I think they will) the similarities present.

    I honestly think Clark in this continuity doesn't see any of the mistakes he made with Lex, I really do.

    Looking forward to your next review and your thoughts!


    Bruce Kanin wrote, RE: Pandora

    Not as good as last week but not bad. As mentioned previously, the concept behind the plot was unoriginal, that being a harsh alternate timeline in which the good guys realize it and hope to eliminate it by changing something in the past. STAR TREK did it with the all-time best episode, "The City on the Edge of Forever"; STAR TREK: TNG did it with "Yesterday's Enterprise"; X-Men comics did it with "Days of Future Past"; TV's THE FLASH did it in the episode "Fast Forward"; HEROES has done it; and so on.

    I have finally seen City on the Edge now, and MAN, compared to this... oy. And Yesterday's Enterprise knocks this flat too. Heck, all of those examples are better than any we've seen on this show.

    But I don't recall SMALLVILLE doing it, so I guess they're entitled. Trouble is, the episode had the potential to rock big time, but they kept spoiling all the fun we were having in Zod's red sun future by flashing back to the past. That put a damper on things, although they didn't to a bad job of weaving it all together.

    I think they've done four similar episodes, off the top of my head. Memoria, the Zoner one where Clark is stuck in an asylum, the one where Lex kills everyone in the future, the one where Kara is hooked up to the memory machine, Lexmas... is that five?

    The future goings-on were nicely done with everything seeming pretty dang grim in Metropolis, though I wonder why Clark was left by Zod to hang out in a camp with other humans. Clark is special to Zod, and one would think that he would have been held in the Luthor Mansion under Zod's watchful super-eye.

    Speaking of which...why would Zod set up HQ in the Luthor Mansion? Zod's movie twin, via Terrence Stamp, staked out the W/hite House/. Yes, I know that that would have moved the action away from Metropolis, so I'll forgive Zod and the writers.

    And the concentration camp on the Kent farm was like, HUH?

    The redness everywhere and the red sun were pretty neat, although there was one sequence when Tess got her dog tags when I caught a possible bad special effect in which the red sun looked like it had blowing curtains on it. Looked cheap. I even rewound the DVR to confirm. Yeah, cheap curtains or bright red laundry on a clothesline. Oh well.

    Still, there were some little touches that were good, such as Lois, after her arrival in the future and being confronted by one of Zod's super-henchmen, referred to the "Red-Blue Blur", not "The Blur". Given that she just travelled not only a year into the future but from last season, when Clark was still the "Red-Blue Blur", the writers got something right for a change.

    Another little touch was the tattered black Superman "S" flag flying above the rubble in Metropolis. Whether intentional or not, this was straight out of the 1990s "Death of Superman" saga in the comics.

    I saw it, figured it intentional, then realized it was black and got agitated.

    Hey, Green Arrow's appearance was neat - and he used real /green /(K) arrows! But they made too big a deal of Tess's death, when we know that she'll be alive again in the past. Same deal with Chloe and Clark. Hey, near the end, when Clark pulls out the Green K knife from his gut - when he has been re-powered - why would he die? With the K not in him, the effect of the yellow sun would restore him to super-ness. Yes, I suppose a few shards could have been left, but not enough to kill him.

    And just prior to that, right after the yellow sun was restored, clearly Zod became powerless, which makes sense, but why not his hench-lady, who clearly had super-speed? Unless she's not Kandorian.Maybe she's from Daxam like Mon-El. ;)

    It was beyond the pale in just flaunting the sun device.

    But oh how too convenient for Tess and Stuart to utilize Green K head plugs, cables and equipment, in order to inadvertantly incapacitate Clark so that he could listen in on the future (not exactly clear how).

    Yeah, I didn't mention that in the review, but apparently Clark's brain is in his hand. Sigh.

    And how convenient that the Legion ring takes people back & forth through time! Just why did it transport Lois to Zod's time, a year in the future, and then back? And please - no one use Spock's "currents and eddies of time" theory. That only applies if McCoy also shows up! ;)

    Though the reason for Zod and his Kandorian crew not having powers isn't explained, they did come up with a reason for them being powered under a Red Sun, although the explanation was rushed and seemed shaky. Plus, it all goes against the grain as established by Superman comics: Kryptonians get their powers under a yellow sun and lose them under a red sun. Period.


    I'll also have to assume that the Metropolis tower that turned the sun red merely put up a red Ozone Layer-type shield and did not affect the sun itself.

    Back to Tess - in the future, she talks about saving the Earth. From what? Not explained.

    Finally, I did like the way Clark wants to make nice to Zod in the spirit of Jor-El. And what a cool ending with Clark daring to meet up with Zod (well - "daring" - Clark's the one with powers). The "kneel before Kal-El" was neat - hey did you notice that everyone kneeled - except Zod? Of course, now all of the Kandorians know that Clark Kent is Superguy. By showing his face to Zod & co., Clark has put himself - and his loved ones - at risk. That's the whole reason for a secret ID! He'll learn, presumably, albeit the hard way.

    I'm kind of psyched to see what happens next, which is the correct effect the show should have, although it's not exactly a cliffhanger, because, as said, Clark still has the upper hand. He could in theory toss all of the Kandorians to the moon if he wanted.

    So now we have to literally wait 'till next year. The coming attractions were intriguing, with visions of Dr. Fate and others from the JSA. I can't wait for that, but have to wonder why these particular superheroes weren't mentioned before on the show. For instance, when Clark's foster parents found him - and then as he was discovering his powers - how come they never compared Clark's abilities to the JSA members? Or how come Clark never sought out the (presumably retired) JSA members? Since we don't know how the JSA will fit into the whole SMALLVILLE picture, I'll cut the show some slack - for now.

    Rating: *B-.* Pretty good episode. Held my interest. The grim future was neat but we needed more of it. Though the episode was sprinkled some of the usual SMALLVILLE silliness, I'm hopeful that perhaps the show has turned a good corner.

    I think it might have, but they need to sustain the energy, which'll be tough.



    Bruce Kanin

    Catch you all next year, and thanks!

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



    Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

    Super Short Run on Sentence Summary: Lady Lex kidnaps a comatose Lois in order to jack into her brain so she can see the red sun filled, Clone army ruled, future Lois had visited which of course ends up with Clark speeding to the rescue only to be plugged into Lois' brain instead.

    I really liked what they did here. So many things tied together in a nice way with what we've seen so far this season and even in seasons past.

    I had only two complaints and I will try to explain them.

    The biggest complaint to me was in the final "battle". There seemed to be a missing scene when I watched it. Did my DVR mess up or did something end up on the cutting room floor? When I watched it we were following Lois, Oliver, and Chloe as they tried to escape the watch tower and then Lois ends up running into Clark already getting the beat down from the Zod Clone. I know they said Clark was going to confront Zod Clone to distract the Clone Troopers but did we actually miss that confrontation? Maybe they wanted us just to assume what happened there but it felt a bit too odd to me to suddenly find Clark already post-confrontation. It didn't help that he was coincidentally in the street right where the rest of the rebels were running.

    I was glad to see them go back a few seasons to use the LuthorCorp tech to merge up brainwaves so we could see Lois' memories of the future. Not only is it something well established on the show but it's also completely in Lady Lex's character to use that tech in such a way. Yet as nice as that was it does lead into my second complaint. They used it to memory wipe Lois. Again? That poor woman is seriously going to get brain damage if they keep using the flashy thing on her. Seriously. I mean it. Not only that but it gets even worse because now that Clark "accidentally" plugged into the memory we have a situation where he has memories of making love to Lois where Lois does not also share those memories.

    Oh man. Way to kill a great scene. Seriously I have no complaints about the actual scene. It was well played with lots of passion and romance in a post apocalyptic this is our last night alive kind of way. Nothing wrong with that.

    I'm just upset that they took that memory from Lois yet left it for Clark. I know that really wasn't necessarily what their plan was but it's still a consequence of the action and I don't like it. I've criticized other versions of the character for having Superman bed Lois and then removing that memory from her and not him so it wouldn't be right for me not to mention it here as well. She has just as much if not more rights to those memories than he does.

    I do wonder though... Did Clark experience those memories from his own point of view, Lois', or as a outside viewer? I suppose realistically the person plugged into Lois' mind would be seeing it from her point of view so maybe my comment above was a bit too harsh since Clark's memory of the love making would be of him....ummm.. himself.... well... Let's just not put too much thought into that because it leads to a very dark place.

    I guess I should also point out that Clark slept with her WITH OUT telling her she was sleeping with an alien. Sigh. Again... But yet I really can't even call that a criticism since that seems to be the norm with Superman when Hollywood gets their hands on him. Either he sleeps with her without telling her he's an alien, removes her memory afterwards, or he tells her he's an alien but doesn't tell her he's really/also the co-worker in the desk across from her. Someday, hopefully, Hollywood will actually get it right. (Hey producers; give me a call and I'll help if you want).

    Anyway moving on.

    I do have to give them credit for avoiding the whole Lois finds out Clark is the Blur scene again. We've already seen that scene play out more than once before and even though they did mind wipe her at the end I had no interest in seeing another false reveal. It would have been easy to throw that in but they managed to avoid it and do so in a way that was at least believable.

    I am interested in knowing what exactly the Clones did to give themselves powers. Does exposing a Kryptonian to Blue Kryptonite switch them so they are powered by a red sun instead of yellow? Maybe, but if that was true couldn't Clark just find some Blue Kryptonite? Nah... There has got to be more to it than that. I hope they go into it a bit further just for my own curiosity. (Makes you wonder though how the red sun would affect Smallville's version of Bizzaro just as a point of random fanboy mind wandering).

    I really liked how they played everything in the future as something that happens because Lois wasn't in Clark's life. It really shows you how important that romance is to the legend that is Superman. Not having her lead to him cutting himself off from his friends and that lead to his defeat at the hands of Zod Clone. Nice!

    I also found it rather interesting that Zod Clone not only kept Clark alive but also used Clark's home as an internment camp of some sort. Yes I know they were just re-using sets for budget saving reasons and what not but I still found it an evil slap in Clark's face that is completely in Zod Clone's character. So yeah it worked.

    I loved the "real" steps in the Clark and Lois relationship taken in this episode. Their choice at the end to just take it slow and date was fantastic. I loved how Lois holds his hand in the elevator. Forget the steamy shirtless Tom Welling and half naked Erica Durance scenes. That to me and my wife are the things we want to see. Two people falling in love just hanging out together. Let them date a while. Let them just be boyfriend and girlfriend for a while. At least we as fans know they will not do anything to break them up until after the holidays. (wink)

    I liked how Oliver was played in this episode. In this future Clark wasn't there for him so it makes totally sense that he would end up as Chloe's "muscle" in her little resistance cell instead of leading the fight. Still despite being number two he came off to me as total hero material. The sadness he felt at Tess' death, his choosing to put on the Green Arrow costume for the final fight, and even the compassion he showed both Clark and Lois. He perfectly offset the hard edge Chloe had developed and I liked it.

    Speaking of that too I also liked how they played Chloe. Taking charge with that real severe side showing through. It's interesting because even though that future is not to be we can see Chloe growing towards that right now. Lois is back in her life so present Chloe will not be cut off from Clark like this future Chloe was but she's already on the same path. It'll be interesting to see how Clark's presence in her life stops her from going that far (if it can).

    (Anyone else find Lois' comment about Chloe's "Clubhouse" extremely funny?)

    Lastly I think my favorite part in the episode was the choice Clark made at the end in regards to the clone army. Sure we as fans know perfectly well that Zod Clone is a lost cause. No doubt he will still be a villain but what about the rest of the Clones? Clark reaching out a hand instead of a fist just might be the thing that separates Zod from the troops and that could make all the difference in the world. We shall see how it plays out. Even if none of them turn against Zod I still think it's a good thing for them to show Superman choosing to give diplomacy a try first. This is very consistent with how they have been developing Clark this season. Using his head and finding other ways to save the day besides just rushing in and heat-visioning people's faces off.

    So Lois' future is revealed to Clark who now knows what he's up against yet a couple of issues keep it from being perfect.

    I'm going to give it a 4 out of 5.

    Looks like we are done for 2009. I hope everyone has a happy holiday season and a wonderful start to 2010 and I'll see you in January.


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