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Smallville 8.13 - Power - I worship at the television altar
tariel22
tariel22
Smallville 8.13 - Power
I'm going to give Power a rational review if it kills me. I may be sick to death of the Clana, and fed up to the eyeballs with the awesomeness that is Lana Lang, but you cannot write off my utter dismay with this episode to a personal bias. The story presented to us this week was fundamentally flawed, and it was served up with a generous side order of WTF. Our star and hero was relegated to sidekick status, and he reverted to behavior I thought he had finally left behind. I did find moments to love in Power, but overall I was left disappointed and a little depressed.

So let me get this straight. Lana wakes up from three months in a coma, during which she has spent every moment in indescribable, unbearable pain, only to be forced at gunpoint to make a goodbye video for Clark, and then be thrown into a van to be taken to God knows where. In that moment she's had enough, and decides she's done being the eternal victim. She overpowers her kidnappers, dumps them in the street, takes their van, and races off into the night. Okay, I can actually buy that concept. But how it played out was kind of redonkulous.

Step 1: Hack your hair off with a straight razor in a disgustingly dirty public restroom, giving the mirror your best crazy eyes while doing so. Yeah, I get it, it's a whole new Lana, and I love the new 'do. But it seemed way over the top to me, and a little cliched as well.

Step 2: Find a Jedi Master who lives in a dank, steamy basement, lit by boiler fires and lightning storms, and convince him to take you on. Earn his devotion by assuring him that by helping you he will help save the world and win personal redemption. Have him heap verbal abuse on poor, poor pitiful you to make us rally to your defense. And don't forget the false modesty to demonstrate how selfless you truly are. Are you for real, Smallville Lanaville? And what does lifting a glowing hot piece of metal with your bare arms prove anyway? I'm pretty sure that would have resulted in third degree burns and extensive scarring. Oh, and when you finish your training, have your Obi-Wan leave his entire life behind to go undercover and serve by your side.

Step 3: Use some of the $10 million you stole from your billionaire ex to finance your transformation into a genuine superhero, one who will finally show your other ex how to get it done. Toss off a few passionate sentences to inspire a long time LuthorCorp employee to abandon his career and worship at your feet instead. Set up a secret lab and use corporate espionage to steal both the technology and personnel you need to achieve your goals. Because although the suit would give Lex unspeakable power, and must be kept from him at all costs, it's fine for you to slip it on. With it you will be "saving people's lives" and "improving the human condition all over the world." I'm sorry, but Lana's sense of entitlement is mind boggling.

Why do we need this crazy, convoluted plot to bid a fond farewell to Lana? What I loved about her in the early years of this show was her heart and her humanity, and her ability to comfort, nurture, and inspire Clark. Why turn her into something alien? Why have her out-super Superman? And how much did the Street Fighter people pay for this promotional tie-in to their movie? Where exactly are we headed with this storyline? If the ultimate message is that Lana's decision is ill-advised, then why have Clark buy into it? If, on the other hand, the message is that this is Lana's destiny, how does that serve Clark's story? And if this is all to make Lana the martyr, AGAIN, I think I'm going to throw up.

I was actually happy with Clark in Power. I thought his actions and reactions were natural and understandable for the most part, and Tom Welling's performance showed both Clark's passion and his vulnerability. I liked the way Clark paused in the light of a new day to examine the wisdom of starting things up with Lana again. I admired his determination to help her, and the way he pursued the truth about where she went and what she did when she disappeared. And I appreciated that he remembered what happened the last time Lana had superpowers, and that he expressed his concerns to her. But I wasn't thrilled about the temper he displayed, yelling and throwing people up against the wall, and I was disappointed to see him lash out at Chloe for keeping Lana's secrets. Didn't we settle that issue a long time ago, in Hydro?

I didn't care for the blocking of the final scene, with Lana standing above Clark, beatifically pronouncing what their bright new future holds, with just the slightest touch of condescension, but Tom totally sold me on Clark's response. His confusion and concern seemed genuine, and my heart went out to him as he tried to hold himself back from believing in the promise of what Lana was offering, right up until the moment her lips touched his. As much as I think these two should have been over years ago, I don't blame Clark for surrendering to love. This week I understood exactly what Clark was feeling, and it was Tom's acting that made all the difference.

Tess was beyond awesome in Power, and each week Cassidy Freeman owns me a little bit more. I love Tess's wide-eyed wariness, her emotional intensity, her cold ruthlessness, and her quiet menace. She continues to intrigue me, showing a definite fascination with Lana, but also a complete willingness to sacrifice her. I enjoyed all her scenes, but I especially liked her power struggle with Regan. The scene where she kicked him to death, the fine spray of his blood covering her face, was both horrific and chilling. And yet I couldn't quite regret his passing, not after the way he tormented Tess with his knowledge of how Lex had secretly invaded her life.

Speaking of Lex, I'd like to take a moment to implore the show to please, please let him go. Michael Rosenbaum isn't coming back, and the glimpse of Fake!Lex we saw in the preview for next week made my stomach churn. Don't do this. Tess is a great villain in her own right, use her instead. Don't dishonor Michael's incomparable legacy with cheap tricks.

Chloe felt a bit off to me this week. She played cheerleader for the Clana, which was kind of bizarre, and her conversation with Lana at Isis seemed a little stilted. She was her normal sparkling self for the rest of the episode, though. Allison Mack was also the director of Power. I don't know enough about the process to judge how she did; all I can say is that some scenes seemed awkward to me, while others were unique and interesting. I was excited to see her given the opportunity to stretch and grow, and my reasons for disliking this episode have nothing to do with her.

Random thoughts: Transdermal evisceration? Ouch. It kind of cracks me up how everyone lives in that apartment over the Talon. Why didn't Lana somehow let Clark know the video was fake before now? How random was it that Clark decided to x-ray that bedside table? Lana said, "It's Miss Lang. That will never change." Huh? And what was with that hat Chloe wore all through the episode?

I'm not prepared to call this my least favorite episode of Smallville ever, but it's right up there with Ageless. I'm not sure which is worse, Super!Lana or the Exploding!Baby. I'm anxious to see how Lana's story ends next week, and I'm looking forward to moving on after that. I hope that at least the Lana and Clana fans are enjoying these recent episodes, and that the way Lana's departure from the show is handled will leave them happy and satisfied. Me? I'm ready for Lois and Jimmy to come back.

Cross-posted at Starkville House of El Podcast.

Special thanks to Whimsy, for letting me vent last night, and drop all my f-bombs on her instead of you guys. :)

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Comments
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ellyfanfic From: ellyfanfic Date: January 30th, 2009 02:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for the review. I agree with you, for the most part, and applaud your ability to write coherently about it.

My only comment about the episode: It was total crap:-).
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 30th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Believe me, if I didn't have a commitment to write this for the SHoE site, my reaction probably would have been much less coherent, with a lot of swearing and caps lock. :)

Thanks for your comment, Elly.
drusplace From: drusplace Date: January 30th, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good review. There were many parts where I was enjoying the ep (YAY Cassidy!) but overall it was just ok. I didn't hate it. I didn't love it. I'm indifferent to it. Except the end. That I hated.

"Okay, I can actually buy that concept. But how it played out was kind of ridonkulous."

I totally agree.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 30th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
After my first time watching it, I hated it. Big time. I wasn't even sure if I could write anything about it. But then I watched it again after Supernatural, and was able to focus on the non-Lana parts, especially Clark and Tess, and I found a lot to like with them.

But seriously, what were they thinking?
christina_kat From: christina_kat Date: January 30th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
//he tried to hold himself back from believing in the promise of what Lana was offering, right up until the moment her lips touched his. As much as I think these two should have been over years ago, I don't blame Clark for surrendering to love. This week I understood exactly what Clark was feeling//

I totally understand Clark too about this!You are soo right!
Nice review of the episode!
It wasn't my least favorite ep too!

I don't want to see this FAKE Lex in the next episode..No way!
Just don't ruin this character SV!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 30th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Make no mistake, this episode infuriated me. But Clark and Tess gave me something to appreciate within the nonsense.

Boo to Fake!Lex!
carolandtom From: carolandtom Date: January 30th, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I thank you for your measured words and for having the ability to write this rational review (for which I admire and respect you!) I couldn't ever be that kind and balanced about this episode. I loathed it so much that I must refrain from talking about it. In fact, I'm looking for extreme measures to survive my annoyance and my terrible disappointment. I have to find a way to cool off or else not even my beloved Tom will be able to make me watch the assassination of Clark Kent/Superman on Lana Lang's (or any other character's) altar for another minute.

*Deep sigh*



Edited at 2009-01-30 03:26 pm (UTC)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 30th, 2009 03:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for commenting, Carol, and I know exactly what you mean. After my first viewing of the episode I was beside myself, and feeling like I might never watch Smallville again! It was a momentary thing, but I really struggled to write this.
anakaliaandrea From: anakaliaandrea Date: January 30th, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
yeah I am still confused and unsure about this whole Lana empowerment thing.
What the heck is PS3 thinking? I will say I finally saw a little glimpse of the old lana I fell in love with. But I am not liking this power thing. What's wrong with having Clark save you? Guess she got fed up with being the victim and not being able to defend herself?
I do like that they are trying to make Lana nice again but the way they are going about it...idk.
and some things were not Clark.
kudos for trying ps3...but clana doesn't have much spark left.


whatever happens next week, please take her powers away.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 30th, 2009 09:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm all for Lana being strong and independent, and I can completely understand her frustration with being buffeted by the machinations of others, but I don't think the answer is to turn her into a comic book character. And the way they keep hammering us with how awesome she is, by having EVERYONE worship and adore her, drives me crazy.

There were moments where I truly responded to Kristin Kreuk's performance, and liked Lana, but they were far outweighed by my almost constant urge to throw something at my TV screen. I do not like this storyline, and I just want it to be over.
anakaliaandrea From: anakaliaandrea Date: January 30th, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
"What I loved about her in the early years of this show was her heart and her humanity, and her ability to comfort, nurture, and inspire Clark. Why turn her into something alien?"

totally agree with this.
she's going so far from that.
poor lana is getting so screwed since season 5...
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 30th, 2009 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
And I'm afraid the obvious answer to my question is, so they can have Super!Sex, of course! *headdesk*
duskwillow From: duskwillow Date: January 30th, 2009 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wish I saw your review before I wrote mine, I'd just link here and nod. :)
I agree with everything you said, I had the exact same problems with the episode.

Our star and hero was relegated to sidekick status, and he reverted to behavior I thought he had finally left behind. I did find moments to love in Power, but overall I was left disappointed and a little depressed.

Exactly.
The fact that they ignored Clark like this for an entire episode makes my blood boil.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 31st, 2009 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
The fact that they ignored Clark like this for an entire episode makes my blood boil.

Especially when this may be Smallville's final season, and their last chance to tell Clark's story. I can understand how Lana fans felt cheated by her video goodbye, but I honestly wish they hadn't brought Lana back at all. Her current arc has not only stopped this show dead in its tracks, it has alienated fans like never before. S8 has suddenly turned from being my favorite season ever to the stuff of nightmares. Ugh.
jude_judith82 From: jude_judith82 Date: January 30th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're a way better person than me I could not give this episode a rational review so I decided not to at all. And well at least Tom looked really nice I like the longer hair.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 31st, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
It wasn't easy to be rational, believe me. You should have seen the the obscenity-strewn caps lock PM I sent to Whimsy right after I finished watching the episode. :)

Tom did look pretty. I hope someone posts screen caps soon!
gyri From: gyri Date: January 30th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. On one hand, I wish I watched to see this with my own eyes. On the other, I'm glad I didn't.

Now I've got a morbid curiosity about next week's episode.

I actually thought I'd watch SV last night, but I rented "Hancock" instead and forgot all about it. *looks around guiltily*
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 31st, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Honestly? I don't think you should watch next week. Based on the previews, it looks to be an affront to Michael and Lex fans everywhere. I really wonder what the cast thinks of all this. And I wonder what Michael thinks.
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: January 30th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow! That was restrained! I'm chalking up Chloe's weirdness at Isis to the fact that Brainiac was still controlling her.

You're welcome for the venting. I only laughed a little at all the F-bombs. ;)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 31st, 2009 10:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm chalking up Chloe's weirdness at Isis to the fact that Brainiac was still controlling her.

That's a good point. And truly, the venting helped. Especially now that I'm cross posting them, I try to stay away from my beloved f-bombs in my reviews. :D
jeannev From: jeannev Date: January 30th, 2009 05:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I applaude you for your civil review, but I think you were more calm and rational then this episode deserves. Still, kudos.

I have to disagree with you on Tom. I thought his performance seemed overly melodramatic, and befuddled. He looked like he was over-forcing it. Or maybe its just because I couldn't find anything I found likeable in Clark this week.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 31st, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I liked Tom's acting in his first scene and his last. I believed the doubts he was expressing, and his concern. But all I really remember about everything in between was a lot of yelling.

The depth of alienation you seem to be feeling in the wake of this episode shows just how completely this Lana story arc has derailed what was a promising season. I don't know if the show can even begin to come back from it. I honestly can't imagine what they were thinking when they decided to go this route.
(Deleted comment)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 31st, 2009 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just can't believe just how much bullshit that was -- if she was truly sincere about not wanting Lex to get his hands on it, destroying the suit is the obvious thing to do.

Exactly. It's really quite bizarre. They continue to write Lana as supremely selfish, and at the same time the Lana worship continues unabated. It makes no sense.
cent From: cent Date: January 30th, 2009 06:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, I like how you narrate this episode. I`d probably never be able to do anything like this :)

God knows how I hate this episode. When will they learn that Lana centric episodes usually fail. Thank goodness she leaves next week. What pisses me off is that up until episode 10 Smallville had just great episodes this season. Then they promise an amazing storyline for Lana and I actually got intrigued and didn't mind her presence. Judging by this crappy writing, I wouldn't be surprised if we see Lana flying before Clark.

When does Lois return? I MISS her <33

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Btw I didn't mean to spam your page with animations but I just couldn't resist their cuteness <3


Edited at 2009-01-30 06:38 pm (UTC)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 31st, 2009 10:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
What pisses me off is that up until episode 10 Smallville had just great episodes this season. Then they promise an amazing storyline for Lana and I actually got intrigued and didn't mind her presence.

Yes, exactly! The beginning of this season was so wonderful, and the show did such great things with Clark and Lois, that I foolishly trusted them to do something similarly awesome with Lana. And instead we get this crap. Do they actually think this is good storytelling? I haven't seen fandom this angry before ever. Even Promise didn't inspire this level of rage.

I miss Lois, too. At the same time, I'm glad she isn't part of this mess. The last thing I want to see is Lois pining while Clark fawns all over Lana for the umpteenth time. Her return will be a breath of fresh air that will clear the stench of the Clana corpse. *nods* March 5th can't come soon enough for me.

I love your animations!! Thank you for sharing them!
herohunter From: herohunter Date: January 30th, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Speaking of Lex, I'd like to take a moment to implore the show to please, please let him go. Michael Rosenbaum isn't coming back, and the glimpse of Fake!Lex we saw in the preview for next week made my stomach churn. Don't do this. Tess is a great villain in her own right, use her instead. Don't dishonor Michael's incomparable legacy with cheap tricks.

So much word.

BTW, your banner is gorgeous.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 31st, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's beyond belief that they could show this much disrespect for Michael's Lex. I'm more convinced than ever that getting out when he did is one of the smartest things he ever did. This show never deserved him less than they do now, or owed him more.

BTW, your banner is gorgeous.

Thanks! It was made by fotw_sv.
goodvibe From: goodvibe Date: January 30th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Kudo's to you for attempting, and succeeeding, at doing a well articulated, rational review of this ep. I OTOH, failed spectacularly at that.

I just---I found very little redeeming about this ep. Perhaps Tess, but that's it.

//Speaking of Lex, I'd like to take a moment to implore the show to please, please let him go. Michael Rosenbaum isn't coming back, and the glimpse of Fake!Lex we saw in the preview for next week made my stomach churn. Don't do this. Tess is a great villain in her own right, use her instead. Don't dishonor Michael's incomparable legacy with cheap tricks.//

::nods emphatically::
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: January 31st, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I OTOH, failed spectacularly at that.

Well, I think you know I completely disagree with that statement! :)

There was little to love in this episode. Cassidy Freeman's performance was great. Tom was pretty. And that's about all I've got. I think next week will be even worse; I'm already resigned to it. The question is, what happens after that? The first ten episodes of S8 gave me faith in the new showrunners, and the Lana story arc took it all away. I'm back to square one with this show, hopeful but wary, and bracing myself for the next blow like an abused child. :(
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