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Smallville 9x04 - Echo - I worship at the television altar
tariel22
tariel22
Smallville 9x04 - Echo
Echo was very much a mixed bag for me. The concept of Clark using a new, temporary power to gain valuable insight had potential, but for me, the execution seemed awkward and disjointed. I loved all the characters and how they were portrayed, but somehow the mechanics were off. Some scenes worked really well, while others fell flat, and the overall flow of the episode was choppy. In the end, I liked the story and where it took us, but I think that building it around one of Jor-El's heavy-handed lessons for Clark was a mistake.

I know that the new show runners reinvented Jor-El after AlMiles left, essentially rebooting his character when the Fortress was rebuilt in Abyss, and in general I think that was a good thing. I also realize that they want to show us that Clark's training is ongoing. But Smallville has a long history of Jor-El being a pretty sick bastard, and whenever he unilaterally imposes something on Clark, I'm probably not going to like it. Plus, I don't understand how he can give Clark an ability he doesn't already have. Jor-El's powers are just too great to be credible sometimes.

I would also argue that Clark has demonstrated considerable powers of intuition as far back as the first season, and I don't think we really saw him learn anything new in Echo. He listened to the thoughts of three hostages, but did he not already know that some people stay silent out of fear, while others lie just to draw attention to themselves? And he could have realized that the apparent bad guy was actually another victim in other ways, like by noticing that he didn't move or react when the other hostages disappeared before his eyes, or by taking his mask off and seeing that his mouth was taped shut. Was Jor-El's lesson useful at all?

How about giving Clark a peek inside the minds of characters whose actions are a mystery to us, and whose thoughts we're absolutely dying to know? What twisted logic rules the Toyman's decisions? How does Chloe really feel about how her relationship with Clark has changed? What are the demons that are driving Oliver to self-destruct? And what plan is Tess hatching now to force Clark to become Earth's savior? Sure, we all have our theories, but we, and Clark, don't know anything for sure. Now THAT would have been an interesting episode! Remember Truth in S3? It gave us insights into Lex and Lionel that reverberate to this day, and it did a much better job of meshing the dramatic and comedic elements of the story than Echo did.

The only way in which Jor-El's power served its intended purpose was when it was suddenly taken away, and Clark was reminded anew of the many other skills he possessed to help him understand the humans who surround him: intelligence, observation, intuition, and empathy. And he more than rose to the occasion, with Toyman, and Oliver, and Lois. If that was the lesson all along, that Clark need only tap into the strengths he already has, and learn to trust himself, that would actually be pretty cool. But I doubt the show had something that subtle in mind.

In reality, Clark's new ability mostly let him hear Lois's thoughts, to find out how she feels about him, and to understand how vulnerable she is behind those protective walls. Those scenes were a lot of fun, and I enjoyed the way they showed us that romance works much better with the mystery intact: the heat in that flirty, innuendo-filled exchange at the end of the episode was infinitely higher than the tepid temperature of Clark's cute but awkward invitation to go on "something like a date." I suspect the mind-reading power was conceived as a great way to advance the Clois 'ship, and that the part about Clark's training was added on later to give the storyline more weight in the episode. I would have liked it better if the ability had come from some random source, like a new kind of kryptonite, or as a side effect of some LuthorCorp experiment. If you're just going to focus on the love story anyway, leave Jor-El out of it.

Another problem I had with this power being tied to Clark's training was the way its manifestation was predicated on him making a mistake. I don't expect Clark to be perfect, but the way he knocked that hostage across the factory was upsetting to watch, and I still don't understand why he did it. And when the man ended up in surgery, we were never told if his injuries were inflicted by Toyman, happened in the explosion, or if they were Clark's fault. The rest of the Blur's rescue was a thrill, though. I loved how he used his super speed to spirit the hostages outside, and the explosion effect that momentarily deafened him was cool. Yes, the budget cuts show, but the show still does a remarkable job of making the magic happen, especially given their limited resources.

Clark touched my heart in this episode, and it took me by surprise. When he apologized to Oliver for not being there for him, I didn't feel outraged or angry. Instead I found tears in my eyes as I realized what an amazing person Clark truly is. He wants only to help people, and of course he feels responsible for everything. Not in the sense of taking blame, but in the way he reaches out to the whole world, and cares about everyone in it. We saw it in his sadness for Alia, who died trying to kill him in Savior, his anguish over John Corben's pain in Metallo, and his compassion for an infected Tess in Rabid. I remember how Clark was just a few years ago: totally focused on his life in Smallville, and playing the hero mostly in reaction to the dangers that threatened his family and friends. Now he has fully embraced his destiny, and proactively seeks to save every person he possibly can. He is a changed man, and this episode really brought that home to me.

What makes this season's Clark work for me is Tom Welling's performance. He gives Clark a quiet dignity and inner strength that make him truly heroic. There is no mistaking his leadership, confidence, and determination. At the same time, in Clark's interactions with Lois, we see a joie de vivre that has been missing from his life for far too long. He smiles, he teases, and yes, he loves, all with a lightness of heart that makes me happy because he's happy. I know there is darkness on the horizon, and a battle ahead, but I no longer dread the shadows on this show. Tom gives me hope, just as the Blur does for Metropolis, that I will see Clark emerge from his challenges, stronger and better for the struggle, rather than burdened with angst and despair as he has been in the past. For that alone, this just might end up my favorite season. Well, that and the insane amounts of pretty. :)

The other thing I really like about Clark this season is his independence. He's not closed off from those he trusts, but he makes his own decisions, and bears his burdens alone. He recognizes the value of what Jor-El has to offer him, but does not submit blindly to his will. I like the contentious relationship they seem to have; it fits with everything Jor-El has put Clark through over the years. I love the way Clark defends the human race to his father, and his sarcastic, "Thanks, Dad," when his new power suddenly disappeared made me laugh. Clark may be training with Jor-El at the Fortress, but he's still in charge of his own life. That's my boy.

Tom gave us some great comedic moments in Echo. Clark's initial confusion as he tried to figure out what was happening to him, and his reactions to the thoughts he was hearing from Lois, were absolutely hilarious. It seems ridiculous that Clark was so unaware of how gorgeous he is, and was so surprised and shocked to find out Lois noticed, but Tom totally sold it. Clark didn't look dumb or oblivious, he just seemed innocent and sweet. He didn't take advantage of Lois, he only used what he learned from her thoughts to try to make her happy, and along the way gained some insight into the vulnerability she usually hides from him. By the end of the episode, armed with the knowledge that Lois is attracted to him, and the regret that he has, however inadvertently, hurt her, Clark proceeds with caution, but also resolve, determined to make it up to her, and we can tell this relationship is really starting to go somewhere.

Lois was a whirlwind in this episode, showing us her relentless pursuit of the story at hand. I totally enjoyed her inner monologue, whether she was admiring Clark's physical assets with a healthy gusto, giving herself a pep talk, or reminding herself not to settle for shabby treatment from Clark. I loved her resilience, and the way she refused to give in to her disappointments and insecurities made me root for her all the more. She also showed her softer side while getting ready for her date with Clark, pouring her heart out to Chloe while making a sexy outfit with one of Clark's shirts (the one she wore home in Committed, and evidently never gave back). When she showed up at the Ace of Clubs in a monster truck, I thought it was a bit over the top, but I did like how resourceful it showed she was: she figured out where Clark went and why, hitched an unlikely ride, found a dress to wear, and showed up on time, all on her own. Not bad.

When Clark asked Lois out and said it wasn't a date, and then proceeded to stand her up without even a call to explain, I got a major Clana flashback and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I thought we were headed for the usual round of misunderstandings, resentment, and recriminations, and my heart sank. But we had none of that! Lois doesn't allow herself to become mired in one bad evening; she may go home and drown her sorrows in a quart of ice cream or (judging by those sunglasses) a drink or two, but then she bounces back. This is a whole new ball game. Lois understands about having a passion that is bigger than yourself, and she respects that. She would probably leave Clark hanging, too, if a big story came along. So she's willing to give him another chance, and it looks like we might even escape the heavy dose of angst we've come to expect with every romantic relationship on this show. Wow.

Oliver was a mess in this episode. Tess found him in a Mexican bar, drunk, disheveled, and with an apparent death wish, and dragged him back to Metropolis to face his justifiably worried shareholders. I was feeling completely cold-hearted toward him, but I will admit Justin Hartley's tears broke through my defenses. And at least Oliver didn't have anything awful to say to Clark this time. I guess the enormity of what he had tried to do finally stripped him of his pretenses, and showed us the real man, humbled, broken, and exposed. I liked his quiet conversation with Clark, and the promise it held for his future.

And then they ruined it by bringing in Fake!Lex again! Grrr. Listen, Smallville. Michael Rosenbaum gave you seven glorious years of a deliciously complex, beautifully acted Lex Luthor, but when he left, so did his character. Please stop insulting his memory by giving us fakes! And Oliver wasn't even haunted by Lex's image out of guilt over his death. He saw Lex in place of his own reflection because he was afraid he was becoming him. They've been playing around with this idea ever since Oliver killed Fake!Lex last season. He bought Lex's company, he wore his kryptonite ring, he even drank his water out of little green bottles that resembled Lex's blue ones. But holding Lex up as the example of ultimate evil seems wrong anyway. Nothing about him was ever black and white, and his last line on the show was to declare his love for Clark! I personally think Oliver could learn a thing or two about character from Lex.

They also retconned Oliver's age when his parents died, which was annoying. This week Oliver claimed that he was five when he lost his parents, but we know from the Pilot that the story about his parents' disappearance ran in the Daily Planet on the day of the meteor shower, when Lex was nine. We also know from Reunion that Oliver is at least the same age as Lex, if not a year or two older. Do the math, Smallville.

Tess was absolutely magnificent in Echo. She was badass, beautiful, and just a little bit crazy. First she burst into a dingy bar in Mexico, gun blazing, to save Oliver from himself. Then she had a tender moment as she tried to reach out to him, but when he rejected her, we saw the cold creep back into her eyes, and that door slammed shut again. We learned the full extent of her ruthlessness at the end of the episode, when she entered Toyman's interrogation room, whipped out a gun, and shot him in the knee, demanding that he leave Oliver alone. Then she smiled, and softly said, "Pretty please?" *shivers* As he lay on the floor, writhing in pain, she offered him Metallo's kryptonite heart, and he was instantly enthralled. The plot thickens!

Cassidy Freeman continues to impress me. In fact, I'm kind of in love with her. :) Every note of her performance in Echo was perfect, just as it was in Rabid. She makes the most of every minute she's onscreen, so even when we only see Tess for a few minutes, we remember her well. Tess is such an intriguing mix of good and bad. She's fascinating, and you never know what she's going to do next. I get excited every time she shows up. I'm still seriously jonesing for scenes between her and Clark, though; I miss their chemistry.

We didn't see much of Chloe this week. I'm glad she's working with Clark again, but things still seem off between them. I can understand why she would be concerned about Clark hurting Lois; after all, she saw what Lana went through first hand. But how could she ever believe that Clark would use his mind-reading power to trick Lois into a date? Chloe's supposed to know Clark better than anyone, but I just don't think that's true anymore.

Chloe seems deeply unhappy to me. In every scene this season she's been cynical, sarcastic, angry, or sad. She's lost her former place in Clark's life, and I'm not sure what she does now. Clark made reference to how busy she is, but doing what? I have a bad feeling about this. I'm also sorry to see Chloe have such a small part to play. I know there's a lot of story to tell, and right now, besides Clark, the focus is on Lois and Oliver, but it reminds me of Lex's last year on the show. Relegating one of the best actors you have to a few minutes of screen time per week is not only a waste of talent, it seems like shooting yourself in the foot when ratings are down. I just hope Chloe has a good storyline coming up.

Finally, Chris Gauthier was once again the quintessential Toyman. His performance hit the perfect balance between gleeful child and maniacal madman, and he threw himself into the role with delightful abandon. I hope the fact that Tess has recruited him means we'll see him again.

Random thoughts: Oliver's "textile factory" looked more like a sweatshop to me. Why did Clark's power only work on Lois at first? Couldn't Clark have zipped to the donut shop and brought Lois a donut without a bite taken out of it? Ewww. And I'm convinced that Tom's first decision as co-executive producer was to unleash the full power of the pretty. Clark is so devastatingly gorgeous this season I can barely think straight when he's onscreen. Put him in the sunlight, like in that scene with Chloe on the street, and I have to rewind three times before I can catch the dialogue. Yowza.

I found a lot to love in Echo, but I think it's destined to become one of those episodes where I fast-forward to get to the good parts. Some scenes were particularly problematic for me, and several parts really dragged. But the episode did a decent job of setting the stage for future developments, and piqued my interest for what's to come. Although the focus on romance makes me a little nervous, I enjoyed Clark and Lois together, and I was glad to find out that Clark is still resisting the temptation to call Lois as the Blur. To me that says he doesn't want to play games, he wants to explore the possibility of a real relationship, and I like that. I think this was the weakest episode we've seen so far this season, but given the strength of the three that preceded it, that's not all that bad.

Tom insists on being unrelentingly pretty, so here are 30 screen caps I loved from Echo:


























































































Screen caps courtesy of Home of the Nutty, with my thanks!

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31 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
chrisluvstommy From: chrisluvstommy Date: October 19th, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Once again ITA!!

I think thought T, the reason they showed Clark "hearing" Lois was 2 reasons the first I think they were showing us how important to him she is also I think it's to show this may be how he "finds out" about her flashes in the future.

I'm sooo with you that Tom's superpower is the pretty!

I know he's a good looking man... but my god THIS freakin good looking is just not fair.. When I was capping my shots for my picspam I kept stopping to look at him..
*not to mention lick the screen*
WHOOPS there goes my inner dialouge that's what Tom would hear if he listened in on my thoughts well actually they'd be a little nc/17-ish but who can blame me

tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 19th, 2009 11:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think thought T, the reason they showed Clark "hearing" Lois was 2 reasons the first I think they were showing us how important to him she is also I think it's to show this may be how he "finds out" about her flashes in the future.

I get the concept of Clark feeling closer to Lois than anyone else, and that's why he can hear her thoughts first, but if that's what the show was going for, it doesn't make sense to me in the context of Jor-El's lesson. Since I assume Jor-El dictates how the power works, why would he make Clark's emotions part of the equation? It just convinces me all the more that the whole idea revolved around the 'ship from the start. And that's fine, I just don't think they should have tried to pretend it was about something else.

Do you mean you think Clark will have some kind of telepathic connection to Lois that will show him the visions she's been having?
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tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 20th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I found all of the hospital scenes to be especially problematic, except the one where Lois gave Clark the donut. That one was adorable. :)

I loved the end scene precisely because it was the only one they shared where Clark wasn't reading her mind. It put them back on their natural footing, and let the scene be about them again, rather than a funny scene about Clark's embarrassment, or an angsty scene about Lois's heartache.

I agree with you that the show has used plot contrivances to bring Clana together. I think Relic is a prime example. Clark and Lana were apart on the show, but they wanted to give fans the next best thing, so they dreamed up this crazy story about Jor-El visiting Earth that has pretty much been ignored in show canon ever since. It was totally gratuitous.
jeannev From: jeannev Date: October 19th, 2009 10:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I can just see Tom now..."I absolutely demand that you stop downplaying how damn good looking I am" LMAO

Honestly, I think the man is just getting better looking as he matures. And thats one scary concept. Because really, go back and look at the early eps, and then ask yourself how its even possible to get better looking.

And his hair this season is a great length.

Anyway, back to the ep.

You did a far better job then me of sussing out the good in this ep. But we are pretty much in agreement as to where this episode failed.

It just seems to me that if you are going to do one of these "new power from Jor-El" eps, then the focus of the ep should really be on something more important than Clark finding out how hot Lois thinks he is, and that she has vulnerabilities (something he already knows, BTW). To me, this is one of those areas where the Clois seems forced a bit more then it should be, as it should've been more of the garnish on this particular meal, rather then the main course.

I suspect the mind-reading power was conceived as a great way to advance the Clois 'ship, and that the part about Clark's training was added on later to give the storyline more weight in the episode.

BINGO!

I'm sure Clark being there for Oliver makes him the better man. But I'm not the better man, so I'm still pissed off that Clark doesn't spit on Oliver everytime he sees him. I'd make a terrible superhero, wouldn't I? I'd be, like, Hold-A-Grudge Woman!

Totally agree with you on Tess (where is MY CLESS??), Toyman, and Chloe.

As always, thanks so much for the Pretty, Pretty pictures. He is just such a stunning individual.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 20th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I can just see Tom now..."I absolutely demand that you stop downplaying how damn good looking I am" LMAO

HAHAHAHA!! You know how much I love you, right?

That man knows EXACTLY how gorgeous he is. Just look at all the close-ups of himself he gives us in the episodes he directs! :)

And I agree, his hair is wonderful this season. One of the best things about the show finally acknowledging in S8 that Clark was an adult was the end of those awful haircuts that were supposed to make him look younger.

It just seems to me that if you are going to do one of these "new power from Jor-El" eps, then the focus of the ep should really be on something more important than Clark finding out how hot Lois thinks he is, and that she has vulnerabilities (something he already knows, BTW).

I agree. If you want to make an episode about the 'ship, then at least own it, and don't try to make it more than it is. And of course you're right, Clark has seen Lois's vulnerability plenty of times before. Like last week. :) I did appreciate that Lois's thoughts were entirely carnal in nature. This wasn't about her being in love with him, it was about, as you say, how hot she thinks he is, and that's an important distinction, IMO.

But I'm not the better man, so I'm still pissed off that Clark doesn't spit on Oliver everytime he sees him. I'd make a terrible superhero, wouldn't I? I'd be, like, Hold-A-Grudge Woman!

LOL! You would be the champion of legions! And I can't say that I blame you for feeling that way. I'm curious to see how Oliver acts toward Clark once his redemption is complete. Will he go back to being the ass he's always been, just with less bitterness, or will he finally give Clark the respect he deserves, and be one of the good guys? And you can consider that a rhetorical question, because I'm sure you couldn't care less. :)

He is just such a stunning individual.

He really is. And part of it is something that can't quite be captured in any still or screen cap, something that takes my breath away. I still don't know how you had the presence of mind to take all those gorgeous pics when you saw him in person!

I'm kind of dreading this week's episode. Clark lite, and for no good reason. :(
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tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 20th, 2009 05:40 am (UTC) (Link)
TPTB are always so cryptic when they give spoilers, I never know what to think. But it's hard for me to imagine that they will continue with Chloe in such a diminished role. Allison Mack is too talented, and she's still the credited second lead. I know we've heard several times that the first half of the season is Clois heavy. Maybe the second half will feature Chloe more.
gildinwen From: gildinwen Date: October 19th, 2009 11:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
When talking about Clark backhanding the supposed "Toyman" across the factory, I agree it was both unsettling and upseting to watch AND get no confirmation whether it was the explosion that had caused his injuries.
But when dealing with Clark's mindset we have to remember that he DID think it was Toyman the man who had held Metropolis hostage and was partly reponsible for him and Lana not being able to be together. Yes he's starting to move on but having Toyman back in Metropolis would bring those feelings of anger back.

Is it right? No. Understandable? Yes.

And while I can certainly understand Chloe fans being frustrated with her amount of screentime, I think it's coming to the point where Chloe's story will soon be coming to an end. By that I mean as she's conistantly been occuping a place that's traditionally occupied by other people (Chloe as the best and confidant in Smallville, is Comic!Lana, Chloe as reporter is Comic/Iconic!Lois Chloe as Watchtower is Comic!Barbara Gordon) and there's no mention of her in the future according to Rokk, she disappears, and the only way I can think of is if she either dies or she joins a convert organisation.

And I agree with you, about Tom's beauty and am starting to think that he really IS an alien from outer space. His little excited grin wen he heard that Lois was wearing a thong and his little grin when they were both in the life. Cute (and hilarious!)
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jlvsclrk From: jlvsclrk Date: October 19th, 2009 11:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gee, it's almost like I don't need to write a review - I heartily agree with just about everything you said. In particular, I couldn't believe how much I liked that scene between Oliver and Clark - not for Ollie who I still think is basically a waste of space, but because it really demonstrates how much Clark has grown over the year.

And the pretty was just off the charts at times. So what if that sounds shallow? I have this feeling it has something to do with Tom feeling more comfortable with where the story is going (not in the shipping sense but as in Clark on his true path to superheroism), which translates into this sublime self-confidence.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 20th, 2009 06:36 am (UTC) (Link)
After watching that scene between Clark and Oliver, all I could think about was how much I LOVE Clark! He truly is my hero! I am curious to see how they handle Oliver's redemption arc. He's worn out his welcome with a lot of fans, or at least the ones on my flist, and I'm wondering if they can believably bring him back as one of the good guys.

I think you're right. Self-confidence has a lot to do with how comfortable someone is in their own skin, and Tom has always been his sexiest when he's relaxed. The wardrobe and hair aren't hurting either. :)
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tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 20th, 2009 08:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: part I

Or using his x-ray vision to see behind the mask to see that the guy's mouth was taped shut?

LOL! I never thought of his x-ray vision! See how I always get stuck inside my own head?

Or, at least, that's not what Clark thought the impetus was; he thought it was because he failed to realize that the bomb was actually on a timer.

That actually makes a lot more sense. That kind of mistake could potentially endanger a large number of people, and it's directly related to the crisis Clark faced with Toyman later at the Ace of Clubs. I figured Clark knocked that hostage across the room because they needed to show him making an error in judgment, but I guess he was just separating him from the bomb, figuring that would prevent him from setting it off?

Nothing? Really, show? Really?

My feelings exactly. They kept passing up the juicy stuff! It was very frustrating.

Giving Clark another power could have served to remind him that he's got a lot to work with when addressing any new crisis.

I think that would have been much more satisfying to watch. It would have made a wonderful episode in itself, an entirely appropriate lesson in self-discovery for Clark.
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tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 20th, 2009 09:07 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: part II

Welling's performance so far this season has been incredibly ... majestic, in a way that befits the young man who will be Superman.

That's the perfect word for it. I feel like he owns this role as he never has before, perhaps because of his new status on the production team, and his instincts for Clark's characterization are spot-on.

Like I said to a friend, I loved Tess 'collecting' Toyman. Loved it like candy. And Tess continues to be awesome like an awesome thing.

The way she caressed his face as she told him what he was going to do for her was so freaky, and so perfect! I'm sure many actresses would play Tess as the stereotypical ice queen in power, but Cassidy has given her such wonderful depth and complexity.

I know I'm probably being a crazyperson by giving the show credit for being subtle, but I do wonder if we're not actually seeing a grief trajectory here?

I think that's a great theory, but like you, I hesitate to give the show credit for that level of nuance, or for that kind of continuity. The way Lois hasn't even acknowledged Jimmy's death is much more typical. But I could totally see Allison Mack both coming up with the idea and pulling it off, which would also explain the lack of exposition about it. Very interesting to consider. I have felt that her animosity is specifically directed at Clark, but maybe it just seems that way because most of her scenes are spent talking to him, or about him to Lois.

Tom's beauty is unreal. And as Valerie said above, he somehow seems to get better looking with each passing day.
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: October 20th, 2009 12:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been slacking off on my Smallville watching, but I miss you, too!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 20th, 2009 09:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Mark your calendar now, the episode with the HOTNESS *is avoiding spoilers* airs on January 29, 2010. :)

I wish Michael would turn up in something we could watch. I miss him.
tasabian From: tasabian Date: October 20th, 2009 02:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Tom insists on being unrelentingly pretty, so here are 30 screen caps I loved from Echo
Love your 'caps! He's wearing Lexy purple!!!

Remember Truth in S3? It gave us insights into Lex and Lionel that reverberate to this day, and it did a much better job of meshing the dramatic and comedic elements of the story than Echo did.
Truth is truly one of the greats - every character got their showcase moment. This ep. was definitely not in the same league.

But holding Lex up as the example of ultimate evil seems wrong anyway. Nothing about him was ever black and white, and his last line on the show was to declare his love for Clark! I personally think Oliver could learn a thing or two about character from Lex.
Damn straight!

I suspect the mind-reading power was conceived as a great way to advance the Clois 'ship, and that the part about Clark's training was added on later to give the storyline more weight in the episode.
Bet you're right...Bryan Miller's script tend to be heavy on 'shippy contrivance.

Chris Gauthier was once again the quintessential Toyman. His performance hit the perfect balance between gleeful child and maniacal madman, and he threw himself into the role with delightful abandon. I hope the fact that Tess has recruited him means we'll see him again.
He's fabulous - Gauthier is obviously enjoying himself so much. (Maybe he's a fanboy?) Can't wait for him to face off with Clark again!

What makes this season's Clark work for me is Tom Welling's performance. He gives Clark a quiet dignity and inner strength that make him truly heroic. There is no mistaking his leadership, confidence, and determination.
Yes!!! It was another lovely performance from Tom again, moving from the comedic moments to the more introspective ones (and looking so damn fine all the while!)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 20th, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
He's wearing Lexy purple!!!

I know!! And he looks amazing in it! It must be his way of remembering Lex.

Truth is truly one of the greats - every character got their showcase moment.

That's true, and I remember how shocking all those reveals were at the time! It was an OMGOMGOMG episode! :D Lex broke my heart, poor baby. *sniffles* And I'll never forget the moment Lionel revealed his true nature without equivocation. THAT Lionel, who calmly explained why he murdered his parents, is the man who makes it impossible for me to believe he was ever reformed. Lionel was bad until the end. Magnificently so. :)
shardsofblu From: shardsofblu Date: October 20th, 2009 06:20 am (UTC) (Link)
The only way in which Jor-El's power served its intended purpose was when it was suddenly taken away, and Clark was reminded anew of the many other skills he possessed to help him understand the humans who surround him: intelligence, observation, intuition, and empathy.

IMO this is something like what had happened in back in Prey, the way Clark was made out to be insensitive and highly judgmental of meteor infected people, when he has always been portrayed as very understanding when it comes to matters like that. I agree that the execution of this episode isn't very clear about what it wanted to achieve with the mind-reading ability, but I'm still able to work around it, especially if I put myself in the shoes of a casual viewer instead of the obsessed fan that I am. :p

But I don't think the episode is making any pretenses about the ability being used as a means for the Clark/Lois interactions, though. It is what it is. I appreciate the implication that even though Clark was already privy to Lois' thoughts, he still didn't know just how much Lois actually felt for him. She somehow still managed to keep that part of herself buried deep, only verbalizing it to Chloe and to us the audience during the Talon scene. It provide a wonderful balance, in the sense of putting Lois in a position where she still managed to hold her own against Clark even when he was the one holding the upper hand, so to speak.

I also love how at that precise moment when Lois revealed her vulnerable thoughts at the AoC, Clark didn't let that cloud his judgment and did the right thing in sticking to his priority in getting Lois out of there. Anything else and Lois would've stayed there till the end. It reminds me of the way Lois herself totally dissed him and shoved him out of the apartment in Identity to protect him from Sebastian.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 20th, 2009 10:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I appreciate the implication that even though Clark was already privy to Lois' thoughts, he still didn't know just how much Lois actually felt for him.

I thought it was very interesting that Lois's thoughts were so focused on how attractive she finds Clark. In spite of the fact that Tom is drop dead gorgeous, the show rarely goes there, and it was fun to explore that side of their burgeoning relationship. All the while, as you say, keeping Lois's more significant feelings under wraps.

I also love how at that precise moment when Lois revealed her vulnerable thoughts at the AoC, Clark didn't let that cloud his judgment and did the right thing in sticking to his priority in getting Lois out of there.

I liked that, too. He put her safety first, and then did what he could to mend fences the next day. He was willing to let her think badly of him, as long as it meant she would be out of harm's way.
el_elle_8 From: el_elle_8 Date: October 21st, 2009 03:23 am (UTC) (Link)
You screen caps are gorgeous as always!

//I'm convinced that Tom's first decision as co-executive producer was to unleash the full power of the pretty. Clark is so devastatingly gorgeous this season I can barely think straight when he's onscreen.//
How is it even possible for him to be better looking each episode?? I am frequently distracted and have to rewind to follow the story.

Now that I have gotten my Tom drooling out of the way, onto the episode.

I probably enjoyed this episode a little more than you but there were some OOC moments particularly when Clark knocked the hostage in the factory.

//What makes this season's Clark work for me is Tom Welling's performance. He gives Clark a quiet dignity and inner strength that make him truly heroic. There is no mistaking his leadership, confidence, and determination.//
I couldn't agree with you more!!

I enjoy the Lois & Clark banter as long as it stays friendly. I think that this element of the episode worked well. I always enjoy Tom playing shy and awkward or anything for that matter ;)

I am not particularly enjoying the Oliver storyline. Although, the conversation between Clark and Ollie did work for me in that it seemed very in character for Clark to apologize for missing the downward spiral. That doesn't meant that Ollie doesn't need to apologize for shooting Clark in the back...

I am lovin Cassidy Freeman even more this season!!

I didn't even dislike Chloe this episode. I think it would be strange if she wasn't sad and a little lost given all she has been through.

Overall, I will rewatch and fast forward to the good parts!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 21st, 2009 07:49 am (UTC) (Link)
All credit for the caps goes to janine83 at homeofthenutty!

I am frequently distracted and have to rewind to follow the story.

Me, too! And that's true this season more than any other.

I enjoy the Lois & Clark banter as long as it stays friendly. I think that this element of the episode worked well. I always enjoy Tom playing shy and awkward or anything for that matter ;)

I've always enjoyed their snarky banter, but I like the affectionate joking they do with each another now even better. And Tom capture's Clark's shyness perfectly. What I love is how he's starting to give Clark a little smoldering heat as well. He's setting just the right pace for Clark's growing feelings for Lois.

That doesn't meant that Ollie doesn't need to apologize for shooting Clark in the back...

Absolutely! But I don't expect to see it. :(

I am lovin Cassidy Freeman even more this season!!

She is so awesome. And every time she gives another interview, I like her a little more. I love how much she enjoys being a part of Smallville, and how much she likes and admires all her fellow actors.

I think it would be strange if she wasn't sad and a little lost given all she has been through.

I agree, but it's not like this show to delve deeply into the emotional aftermath of a tragic event. They usually move right along, which makes me worried that her demeanor is more an ominous sign of a dark turn ahead. I hope I'm wrong.
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