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Smallville 9x09 - Pandora - I worship at the television altar
tariel22
tariel22
Smallville 9x09 - Pandora
I have always loved a good AU episode. Give me a jump into the future, an alternate timeline, a parallel universe, or even a dream, and I'm all in. It's a wonderful way to play what if, to explore dire circumstances and dark outcomes without the gut-wrenching anguish of seeing your favorite characters in real peril, because you know there's a big reset button at the end, just waiting to be pushed. And Smallville went all out in Pandora, killing off just about everyone before Lois slipped on that Legion ring and jumped back in time. But the writers cruelly denied me my safety net: that moment in the AU where our hero discovers exactly how it all went wrong, and we know everything will be okay. I found no such assurances in Pandora, and the episode left me deeply unsettled.

Usually an AU is a cautionary tale rather than an ominous prediction. The hero, thrust into or shown a world where all our worst fears have come to pass, uses what he learns there to avert disaster in his own reality, often with a single action that is deceptively simple in its execution. Sometimes it's even played for laughs, and the adventure ends with a knowing chuckle, because we're all in on the joke. But Smallville declined to take the easy way out. They've done this before, and to great effect, in Lexmas, where we saw Lex visit a future in which he found true happiness, only to sacrifice his very soul in the hope of saving the life of the woman he loved. But in Pandora they not only took away my happy ending, they unforgivably undermined my hero, and left me totally confused as to what lesson Lois's trip to the future was supposed to teach me.

The interesting twist about Pandora's future was that we saw it through Lois's eyes. If she didn't see it, neither did we, and that definitely left some gaps in the story. We'll never know exactly how that future came to be; countless events conspired to create the desolate world we saw. Right after Lois first disappeared, Clark had not fully realized the feelings he had for her, he had no idea that Zod existed on Earth, and his focus was on exploring his Kryptonian heritage and saving lives as the Blur. So the turning point everyone spoke of, where Clark couldn't bear to be around those who reminded him of Lois, and went off on his own to fight Zod, must have happened later, and there had to be more to that story. Not knowing how we got to the future we're now desperate to prevent is supposed to be part of the fun; it gives the writers the freedom to make all kinds of crazy things happen. But I had a hard time wrapping my mind around what this episode seemed to imply, and it made the suspension of my disbelief much more difficult.

Presumably Clark somehow let his guard down, and Zod's solar tower sneaked up on him, leaving him suddenly and completely powerless. But how would that happen, exactly? Are we supposed to believe that Clark remained ignorant of Zod's presence until after the tower was complete? That he had no opportunity to make a move against him until it was too late? That seems ridiculous, but how else do you explain a fight in which Zod was not instantly defeated? Clark has superpowers! To suggest that Zod could be a formidable opponent without them is just laughable. So what could make Clark so blind to the signs that there was an alien presence on Earth, or that Tess was up to something suspicious with that behemoth structure she was building? Was he locked up in the Fortress for months on end, oblivious to the outside world? Was it the fact that he didn't have Chloe to clue him in? Or are we supposed to think he was just too lovesick to care? None of it makes any sense to me.

Once Clark did lose his powers, why show him to be so ineffective without them? He really wasn't much more than a bystander in the future we saw. Clark is so much more than the powers our yellow sun gives him; he is a hero with or without his abilities, as he has already shown us in episodes like Leech and Mortal. I also didn't like the suggestion that Lois's absence from his life would cripple him. Of course I believe that he loves her and would be devastated by her loss, but I also believe he would rise above it, and tragically carry on, because that is the man he is. And what's wrong with him taking on the big bad all by himself? Superman does that all the time. Even with Lois by his side, his life will always have a solitary quality, a burden of loneliness he bears for our sake, his to carry as the last remaining... Oh, wait.

Pandora's Future!Clark kept talking about all the mistakes he had made, and I'm beginning to think that's all the writers see in Clark anymore. Lately their job seems to be to remind us why Clark isn't Superman yet, because the minute he is, the show's over. And that's exactly what I'd love to see the show explore, but I think what they've hit upon is that he screws up, just like the rest of us. Evidently I was wrong to think Clark was special, or unique, or inherently wise and right, or already better than the rest of us. Whatever Jonathan and Martha taught him, it must not have been nearly enough, because the show keeps telling me that he acts rashly, makes bad decisions, lets people down, and fails to protect the world. I have no confidence that the decision Clark made about Zod is the right one, and after this episode, I have a terrible feeling that the journey TPTB have planned for him for the rest of the season will be a series of missteps, with guilt and blame to follow, and people telling him how he's doing it wrong.

At this point I'm cynical enough to wonder if this whole future storyline was born when TPTB went into the writers' room and said, "We need to figure out a way for Clark and Lois to have sex, without Clark and Lois really having sex. Go!" But believe it or not, I actually enjoyed a lot of Pandora. And if anyone is still reading this after all my ranting, I'll tell you why. :)

I loved Clark in this episode. In the present day he was the man of action in every way. It was immensely satisfying to see him confront Chloe. She may have been innocent this time, but his suspicions were completely justified, and her snide remark about working on his apology later didn't win her any sympathy points from me. His next move was to go after Tess to rescue Lois, in spite of the kryptonite that surrounded her. Then, after his glimpse of the future, Clark decided to try to work with Zod instead of against him, and as ill-advised as that seems to me, I still admire him for having the courage of his convictions. And he didn't waste any time putting his plan into action, tracking down and confronting Zod immediately. Now things should really get interesting.

But my favorite scene with Clark, and also my favorite of the episode, was when Lois returned to the Daily Planet after her ordeal with Tess. After everything he felt when Lois went missing, and everything he saw in his glimpse of the future, Clark wasn't going to take any more chances on letting this relationship slip through his fingers. He was direct, asking Lois flat out where they stood as a couple. He was relentless, brushing aside all of her evasions and excuses. And he was incredibly sexy as he pursued her, staring into her eyes with that intense green gaze. I defy anyone to say no to him! I've never seen Clark go after his own happiness that way before, and it was glorious to behold. Plus he and Lois were adorable together. When she took his hand in the elevator, it was too cute. The whole scene was romantic, charming, and hopeful, and the perfect antidote to the darkness that preceded it.

Future!Clark definitely had his moments, too. He mostly stood on the sidelines until he regained his powers, but Tom Welling gave him an inner strength and somber courage that took my breath away. Clark knelt before Zod with dignity, never looking away even as his conqueror drew sword to kill him, and never betraying an ounce of fear except when he thought Lois was in danger. Did you see that look he and Zod exchanged as the resistance fighters battled the Kandorians? Angry!Clark is HOT. And the tender emotion he displayed with Lois was beautiful and bittersweet. Plus he looked AMAZING. Dirty, scruffy Clark, with his deliciously unruly curls and the same snug henley he wore in last season's Odyssey, made me weak in the knees, and he looked even better when he cleaned up for an impromptu date night with Lois, losing his shirt in the process. Yum.

I didn't blame Lois and Clark one bit for falling into bed together. They were in love, and neither knew what the next day would bring. Sure, there were reasons why it wasn't prudent, what with Lois going back to make sure this future, and this Clark, never happened, but I would have seized the moment, too. I'm not entirely comfortable with Lois and Clark's first time being between Lois from the present and Clark from the future, but I guess the writers fixed that by making sure she won't remember it. :/ And I suppose they're saving the super sex to make their "real" first time together the one that counts. The whole thing seems a little contrived to me, a cheat TPTB cooked up to give the shippers what they want, but who am I to argue with the hotness of what they gave us? I thought that rushed montage of flashes we've seen before was awkward and jarring, though.

Lois had just one conscious scene in the present day, with Clark at the DP, and she was wonderful in it. Her near panic when Clark insisted on talking about "Lois and Clark, Clark and Lois, as a couple" was too funny, and the way she outlined their future dates once he won her over was pure Lois. Clark delighted in it as much as I did, as demonstrated by the way he floated into the Watchtower on cloud nine after their lunch. And he sent her five dozen roses! *draws sparkly hearts around them* I can't help it, seeing Clark have even a little happiness makes me squee. I don't know if the show will let it last, but I'll enjoy every second of it while I can.

Lois was in every scene of the future, of course, since we experienced it through her memories. I was impressed with her courage as she struggled to make sense of what she was seeing, and I thought Erica Durance did a great job of letting Lois's strength and fire shine through, while still allowing us to see her rising panic as stark reality set in. I'm sure the experience was traumatic for Lois, but I wish they had found a better way to help her than a memory wipe. I just don't think anyone has the right to mess around with someone else's brain without their knowledge or consent, and of all the things Clark, Oliver, and Chloe have chosen to keep secret from Lois over the years, her own memories seem the most indefensible. Besides, what if there were something she could remember that Clark didn't see, something that turned out to be critical in defeating Zod? I wonder, since Lois didn't learn Clark's secret in the future, is it possible the wipe isn't meant to stick?

Oliver was awesome in Pandora. In the present he was loyal to Clark, and understanding of his feelings for Lois. He may have disagreed with Clark's plan for Zod, but he voiced his concerns without any condescension or snide remarks. He was just a good guy. And he was pretty much the same in the future. The biggest difference I saw was that he was content to follow rather than lead, but his inner hero couldn't help but break free. It was cool to see him in action during the rebel attack, and I loved how glad he was to see his Green Arrow gear again: "Honey, I'm home." :) Surprisingly, he seemed to have survived the brutality of that future world without significant emotional damage: he was genuinely happy to see Lois, he mourned for Tess in spite of her betrayal, and he was ready to welcome Clark back into the fold. I think that is Oliver's gift: his natural joie de vivre. It not only sustains him, but inspires others, and makes the impossible seem possible to them as well. I wasn't surprised to see him go down fighting, a hero until the end.

Chloe was the most changed in the future, although we can see those sharp edges of her personality beginning to emerge even now. In the present day she continued to treat Clark with disdain, and she didn't seem overly concerned with her cousin's well-being, or Stuart's life. She's all about the end game of saving the world now, and she has no patience for anyone who gets in her way, including Clark. Wow, she and Tess sound more alike every day. In the future Chloe was cold, empty, and hard. I give her props for leading the resistance and coming up with a virus that could take down Zod's tower, and I loved her triumphant, rock-infused return to the Watchtower, but the personal price she paid was chilling to see. Allison Mack's finely tuned performance made it easy to believe that our Chloe could one day become that harsh automaton of the future, and that scared me.

Tess confused me the most. There was nothing surprising about the fact that she kidnapped Lois, and while it was shocking to see her almost casually gun down Stuart for opposing her, it was hardly out of character. But why was Future!Tess still aligned with Zod? He clearly saw humans as second class citizens at best, and was well on his way to wiping them from the face of the Earth. Were Tess's marine biology roots showing? Did she truly place saving the planet above the survival of the human race? And it didn't look like Zod's tower was doing Earth any favors anyway, scorching everything in sight and laying waste to Smallville's lush farmland. What really intrigues me is how witnessing her own death will change Tess. Will her allegiances shift? Will she reconsider the wisdom of the path she is on? Or will she simply set her sights on Chloe, determined to provide a permanent solution to that potential threat? I can't wait to see what she does next.

I was glad to see Stuart and Emil return to Smallville, and I thought it was interesting how each played the role of conscience to his respective boss, and without success. Of course Emil didn't get shot for his trouble, and Chloe is still worlds away from Tess in playing the puppet master, but it's a fascinating parallel the show draws for us nonetheless. I'm glad Stuart isn't dead, especially now that we know he's not all bad. Something tells me Tess won't get charged with attempted murder, though. And I hope they find a reason to bring Emil back soon. I think he should be around as much as possible; he makes every scene better just by being in it.

Can someone please tell me what the story is with Alia? She is a mess of contradictions, and either she's the world's worst continuity error, or there's way more to her than meets the eye. I'm guessing it's the latter. First of all, she has those freaky blue eyes. There has to be a reason for that. Second, we're always getting these shots of her where the camera lingers and she stares ominously, as if her moments are weighted with some special significance. Third, why in the world would she accept Jonathan's watch, with a broken crystal no less, as a bribe? And if you look at her actions, the chick just doesn't add up. In Savior she seemed like she had a history with Clark, and that she admired him, even as she tried to kill him. In Pandora she let Lois go at his behest, but she also burned a man with her heat vision, and murdered Chloe. In Savior she said she followed Lois to find Clark, and she came with a plan, packing Blue!K. In Pandora she just happened to be around when Clark put the Legion ring on Lois's finger, and seemed to spontaneously hitch a ride to the past by grabbing Lois's hand. They left the future together, but arrived in the present separately. And most puzzling of all, she appears to have powers under both the yellow and red suns. Who is she?!

And finally, let's talk about Zod. He seemed barely changed at all in the future. We saw the same monster we have from the beginning, who lops off the heads of those who dare to defy him, acts ruthlessly in all things, and seeks to exercise his power through intimidation and domination, often with disturbingly sexual overtones. But of course Clark, watching Lois's memories, didn't know that. At that point he still hadn't met Zod, and had based his initial opinion of him, in Kandor, on another future that played out on Krypton and produced the master Brainiac served. At the end of Pandora Clark reconsidered that judgment. He knew he had to change something to prevent the future to which Lois had travelled, and it all seemed to hinge on Zod. For all Clark knew, Future!Zod was as different from his present-day counterpart as Chloe was, and entirely capable of being saved. Plus Jor-El had implored him with his dying breath to try. I can't find fault with Clark's plan, or condemn him for wanting to give even Zod a chance. But I don't think he'll succeed.

And this is where I lose faith in the show. I have met this Zod, and I know exactly how devious and manipulative he is. I didn't trust a word that Future!Zod said, and I'm sure his vision of a paradise on Earth was a warped one. I can't believe, after what we've already seen, that Zod will ever be satisfied with anything less than complete and absolute power. Which makes me think that the show is setting Clark up to fail, and to do so in a very big way. And I don't understand why that's the story TPTB want to tell. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see how this can end well. I just hope Clark remembers to keep knocking that tower down while he works on being Zod's BFF.

Random thoughts: I hope they didn't hurt Erica's feet dragging her down that hallway. Or do you suppose she had a foot double for that part? Tess's memory retrieval device looked like a cross between the technology they used on Kara in Lara, and the machine that linked Clark and Lex together in Fracture. Why were Faora and Basqat dressed in outfits so reminiscent of the Blur's in the future? Was it just to give us that misleading flash that made us think Clark had joined forces with Zod? Belle Reve! Summerholt! Don't you love continuity? I still want to know what Jor-El took out of the wall at the farm, and why Chloe hasn't told Clark about it. Oh, and show? If you're going to make Lana into an invulnerable superhero who is steeped in kryptonite, will love Clark forever, and only stays away because she's poison to him, don't you think you might mention why she didn't swoop in to save the day, and then have a romp with Clark before they turned the tower off? Yeah, I'm STILL not over it. *sigh*

If I ignore my problems with how Smallville seems determined to make everything Clark's fault, Pandora was a great episode. It gave us an impressively grim look at the future, with action, suspense, heroism, love, sex, sacrifice, and death. Plus a little romantic comedy back in the present day. The entire cast was featured, and every actor turned in a memorable performance. And it set up a world of possibilities for the second half of the season, which I will be pondering for the next two months, until the show returns from hiatus. Last season the back half brought a lot of darkness for Clark, and I hope this season is different. But if not, at least this time Clark has Lois, to temper the darkness with the light she brings into his life. And as we saw in Pandora, that may be just what he needs to find the strength to go on.

ophelia_77 has made gorgeous caps of this episode! Check them out HERE at her journal!

So much hotness in this one! Twenty-five of my favorite caps from Pandora:











































































Screen caps courtesy of ophelia_77 and Home of the Nutty, with my thanks!

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27 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: beautygirl777 Date: November 25th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
all i can say is... I LOVE CLOIS BABY!!! <3 *faints continuously* i love the hand holding parts. and when they talk about dating! <3 yay!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: November 26th, 2009 11:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm really enjoying them together, and it's nice to see Clark finally find some happiness. I'm curious to see what happens as the Zod storyline becomes the focus. That's going to make it even more difficult for Clark to hide his secret from Lois!
From: beautygirl777 Date: December 2nd, 2009 03:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I know right?! Me like Happy Clark :)
That's going to be interesting! I have to admit, I hope it gets so difficult that Lois finds out! she has gotten SO CLOSE LATELY, I get so pumped up!!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: December 2nd, 2009 11:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I really wish they would let Lois be in on the secret. Every time she has found out, I've loved the scenes between her and Clark, and they would make an even better team if they could share everything. But I know TPTB don't want to move too fast.

When the time finally does come, I hope she finds out because Clark freely decides he wants to tell her. Alicia found out by accident, Chloe found out from someone else, and Lana found out by spying on Clark. I want Lois to be different, to show she's unique in Clark's life. Although the scene where she hears the Blur's voice change and realizes he's Clark was a great OMG moment, and the next morning at the farm, where she knows, but Clark doesn't know she knows, was too cute. :)
jlvsclrk From: jlvsclrk Date: November 25th, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
You've expressed so perfectly my reaction to this episode. Part of me really liked it, but the other part of me can't get over how badly they failed Clark here. And like you, I can't help but think they're setting Clark up to be wrong AGAIN and that's just not something I'm interested in watching.

Turns out the only scene I unabashedly adore is the one at the DP, and that has a lot to do with the line you quote in your LJ-cut. That's the only thing that gives me hope for the rest of the season quite frankly - that the writers' instincts to show Clark making mistakes over and over will be trumped by their desire to show that the Clois is a good thing because it strengthens him. We'll see. Too bad we have the epic fail of last year, not to mention all too many other examples of Clark being punished for making the right choice.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: November 26th, 2009 11:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't help but think they're setting Clark up to be wrong AGAIN and that's just not something I'm interested in watching.

Me either. Why would anyone want to watch that? Can't the story of Clark's journey to become Superman be an uplifting one? I hope we're totally wrong, and that the show will surprise us when it returns, but I'm not holding my breath.

That's the only thing that gives me hope for the rest of the season quite frankly - that the writers' instincts to show Clark making mistakes over and over will be trumped by their desire to show that the Clois is a good thing because it strengthens him.

I did like how the DP scene was followed by a scene in which Clark was obviously feeling happy and confident after his lunch date with Lois. I don't see Lois as the key to Clark's heroism, he doesn't need anyone but himself for that, but I do like the idea of their relationship, and her faith in him, helping to give him the strength to withstand Chloe's slings and arrows, and to keep fighting the good fight in the face of all obstacles.

If the rest of the storylines this season weren't so dark, I think I'd feel pretty indifferent about Clark's love life. But right now, I welcome anything that puts a smile on Clark's face, and eases the burdens that are always on his shoulders.
eeyore1017 From: eeyore1017 Date: November 25th, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi Tariel! *waves* I feel like I haven't talked to you in forever.

Yes, Yes, and more yes! That's my response to your thoughts and review. I wish I was as eloquent as you and had your way with words.
"Your prose leaps off the page like a Bengal tiger." :-)

Pandora left me with so many questions. Sigh. Plenty of Gorgeous!Beautiful!Tom though!

Am I the only one who didn't get how the solar tower works? It blocks the yellow sun, and reflects down a red sun, yet the Kandorians have powers? Kryptonians didn't have powers on their home planet, right? *so confused*

One more thing- I do feel bad about Erica (or her stunt double) having their feet dragged along the floor, but what about Tommy and his poor head getting dragged?
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: November 26th, 2009 01:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey, Brianne! *waves back* I haven't been around in forever, and I know you've been as busy with work as I have.

Pandora left me with a lot of questions, too. I always try to make sense of what this show hands me, but sometimes it just doesn't work. Maybe we should start tweeting our questions to the writers. I still have some from S8!

I didn't get how the red sun thing was supposed to work either. Maybe they'll explain that later, as part of the Zod storyline?

I didn't think that Tom's head actually ever touched the ground. I figured he was on some kind of board that slid over the ground easily, or rolled even, and that it provided just enough clearance to keep his head off the ground if he held it level. They wouldn't dare drag Tommy around on the ground for real, would they? ;)
eeyore1017 From: eeyore1017 Date: November 27th, 2009 02:46 am (UTC) (Link)
You're so smart! The whole "dragging him on a board or other contraption" theory never occurred to me. :-)

We certainly wouldn't want to injure even one strand of hair on that beautiful head of his! :-)

Maybe the SV Writers should change their twitter page to a plotline help page. People could write in with all their "WTF was this storyline about/supposed to be about?" questions. It would be great! I'm sure the page would get plenty of hits and questions.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: November 27th, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
People could write in with all their "WTF was this storyline about/supposed to be about?" questions.

OMG, could you even imagine? They would have thousands of replies! :) There's no way they would ever open themselves up to that kind of abuse. But they did clarify that it was Clark who saved Lois in Idol when some people thought it was Zan, so I think if we have a burning question about a recent episode, it's definitely worth asking.
cbrownjc From: cbrownjc Date: November 25th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
*waves*

Hi! Finally decided to pop out of lurkdom to comment. I've been reading you SV reviews for a long time, and look forward to them every week. You give such insightful thoughts and perspective, and I wanted to complement you on that, as well as finally give a thought or two.

I have mixed feelings about this episode myself, especially with Clark's decision with trying to befriend Zod. But, from Lois' vision, the only things Present!Clark saw of Zod was what Future!Zod was saying to Future!Clark from the time Future!Clark was being dragged through the streets until Lois finally got sent back. And that was when Future!Zod was ranting about how he had wanted Future!Clark to be bridge and, from what it sounded like to me, a partner. Not to take over Earth, per se, but to build a world with the Kandorian and Humans together.

Now, of course, I tend to think Zod's full of it as he dose not view Humans anywhere equal to Kryptonians (and specifically said as much to Tess). But Clark doesn't know all of this about this Zod. This Zod hasn't done all the things the Zod in the Phantom Zone has done because he's a clone. A clone that has yet to commit all the heinous acts that real!Zod already committed and got sent to the Phantom Zone for. And Clark didn't see the first parts of Lois' vision, and Lois' interactions with Zod. All he knows is that - in that timeline - he went as Zod like he was an enemy and it didn't work.

And maybe coming at Zod with friendship wont work either. But, it's not only Zod Clark has to deal with here. It's Zod and hundreds of Kandorians. Future!Clark didn't just have to deal with Zod either, but Zod and hundreds of Kandorians. Having super powers or not, Clark is still just one person. When he came at Zod in the future as an enemy, Clark wasn't only coming at Zod that way, but Zod and hundreds of his Kandorian followers. An army that seems pretty damn loyal to him, the few instances of descent we've seen at the start of the season or no.

Which is why the "Kneel before Kal-El" bit (even though I predicted that's what Zod would say the minute Clark showed up) was unsettling, but can - hopefully - play positively into the choice Clark made. Because maybe he wont be able to change Zod, but he may be able to change many of the people in that army. Call me an optimist, but I don't tend to think all those people are evil and headed down the same path Zod may be on.

So if Clark still fails to save Zod from himself, but is able to save and change many of the people in Zod's army, I wont consider it to be Clark having been set up to fail. I just hope the writers see it that way too. *fingers crossed*

Edited at 2009-11-25 08:38 pm (UTC)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: November 26th, 2009 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi! *waves* Thanks so much for your lovely comment, and your kind words about my reviews! That means the world to me.

But, from Lois' vision, the only things Present!Clark saw of Zod was what Future!Zod was saying to Future!Clark from the time Future!Clark was being dragged through the streets until Lois finally got sent back. And that was when Future!Zod was ranting about how he had wanted Future!Clark to be bridge and, from what it sounded like to me, a partner.

Yes, exactly. If Clark took Future!Zod at face value and believed what he was saying, his decision to befriend him makes perfect sense. I would expect no less from him. But you and I have been watching Zod in action since the season began, and have good reason to take what he said in the future with a grain of salt. Or maybe a boatload! :) He lies to Tess to manipulate her all the time!

If Clark tries to reach out to Zod, then figures out that isn't going to work, and has to come up with a Plan B after he's already let Zod get close, that could be an exciting storyline. I just don't want a situation where something terrible happens and it's all Clark's fault for mistakenly thinking Zod could be saved.

Because maybe he wont be able to change Zod, but he may be able to change many of the people in that army. Call me an optimist, but I don't tend to think all those people are evil and headed down the same path Zod may be on.

That's a great insight. When Basqat called Lois a filthy human, it made me wonder, do all the Kandorians feel that way? Have they always? I mean, this isn't a band of criminals, they're the finest soldiers Krypton had to offer, the chosen elite, hand selected to reestablish the Kryptonian race on Earth if disaster should strike their home planet. They're obviously intensely loyal, but if Clark can win them over, Zod becomes just a man, rather than a man with an army behind him.
jeannev From: jeannev Date: November 25th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Really enjoyed reading this review. Overall, I think you liked the ep much more then me, but we share a lot of the same reservations.

I also like AU's, and I was so looking forward to this you. So, I think I felt doublely let down. :(

Its not really that I have an issue with Clark wanting to turn Zod around, though it does seem hopelessly naive. But still, I can admire him for making that choice. Its just that I know this show just loves to take a situation like this, and kick Clark in the nuts with it.

As you've pointed out so beautifully, there seems to be a far bigger fixation on Clark who fails, and screws up, then on Clark who succeeds and inspires. A scene like the one with the Wonder Twins is amazing, but it seems more the exception then the SV rule. And I don't entirely get that. But I think your theory that TPTB think if they show Clark's successes then he's too close to Superman feels dead-on. And how stupid is that?

I admit to being a little Clois'ed out at the moment. I did think the last scene was very cute, but once again I'd love to have more POV from Clark so I could understand why he thinks its a good idea to officially become a couple with Lois just as he's coming out to Zod. It seems rather suspect timing. The bottom line is that I just don't like Clark's romantic life to be his A storyline.

Presumably Clark somehow let his guard down, and Zod's solar tower sneaked up on him, leaving him suddenly and completely powerless. But how would that happen, exactly? Are we supposed to believe that Clark remained ignorant of Zod's presence until after the tower was complete? That he had no opportunity to make a move against him until it was too late? That seems ridiculous, but how else do you explain a fight in which Zod was not instantly defeated? Clark has superpowers! To suggest that Zod could be a formidable opponent without them is just laughable. So what could make Clark so blind to the signs that there was an alien presence on Earth, or that Tess was up to something suspicious with that behemoth structure she was building? Was he locked up in the Fortress for months on end, oblivious to the outside world? Was it the fact that he didn't have Chloe to clue him in? Or are we supposed to think he was just too lovesick to care? None of it makes any sense to me.


This paragraph is all so perfect. Its exactly what you are saying above that makes some of us feel like the writing for Clark in this episode kind of sucked.

Is it so wrong for us to want to see our main character, and the hero of our tale, do extraordinary thing? To be a little more special and unique then everyone around him? It seems it might be.

But you are right about the Tom Pretty! So fucking gorgeous.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: November 27th, 2009 01:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Its just that I know this show just loves to take a situation like this, and kick Clark in the nuts with it.

This is how I feel, too, and try as I might, I cannot shake the wariness this show's past history has instilled in me when I watch a new episode. This review took me forever to write, because I kept trying to find a way to leave out the speculative ranting, or least put it at the end (give people the good news first), but in the end, I had to write the review I had in me, and I had to get that stuff off my chest first.

A scene like the one with the Wonder Twins is amazing, but it seems more the exception then the SV rule. And I don't entirely get that.

I don't get it either. Why can't Clark's story be uplifting and inspiring? That scene not only showed us the hero Clark is, it explored issues Clark will have to resolve before he can become Superman. Give me more stories like that, and I'll be a happy camper.

I admit to being a little Clois'ed out at the moment. I did think the last scene was very cute, but once again I'd love to have more POV from Clark so I could understand why he thinks its a good idea to officially become a couple with Lois just as he's coming out to Zod.

I want more of Clark's POV, too. Tom totally sold me on Clark's feelings for Lois in the future (he was so good!), but they didn't jive with where these two were when Lois disappeared. So all I can do is assume some other stuff happened during the intervening year that brought him to that point. But what? And why can't I ever get through a single episode of this show without massive amounts of fanwanking to make sense of everything? I shouldn't have to work this hard. It's ridiculous!

I can't imagine how Clark thinks he can have a real relationship with Lois without telling her his secret. And as I've said before, I don't think there's any reason he shouldn't. She's the only series regular in all nine seasons who is still in the dark except for Whitney, and I'm sure he would have found out if they had just let him live a little longer. Kelly says Lois can't know because "we have to line up with the mythos," but what mythos, exactly? In the comic books Clark and Lois have been married for over a decade! Besides, Smallville has already deviated from the "mythos" more times than I can count.

This paragraph is all so perfect. Its exactly what you are saying above that makes some of us feel like the writing for Clark in this episode kind of sucked.

Thanks, Val. I agree about the writing. And the fact that we could only see the future through Lois's eyes (and that an entire year had gone by that she didn't see) was no excuse for the problems I had with this script.

Is it so wrong for us to want to see our main character, and the hero of our tale, do extraordinary thing? To be a little more special and unique then everyone around him? It seems it might be.

*kicks Smallville*

So fucking gorgeous.

Amen to that, sister!
goodvibe From: goodvibe Date: November 27th, 2009 10:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Those pics! TW was incredibly, gorgeously, stunningly, ridiculously beautiful in this one, wasn't he? And his hair! ::in heaven::

Sadly though, that's pretty much one of the only redeeming features about this ep, for me. I was just commenting in Jen' journal that the more I watch this one (and I've watched it thrice now, first on my own, second to see If I was maybe being too harsh on it and third with my bf, who btw? Loved this?!) the more I hate it. For me, I know something is wrong when Oliver is one of the things about an ep I end up enjoying the most, heh. And your entire para on him - ITA. You've expressed so well the reasons why I really liked Ollie in this one too.

But what takes me completely out of this ep is what I feel IMO is the complete lack of focus on Clark and moreover his botched characterization. I just can't get behind that.

Sorry to be such a downer! I will say though that our principle cast' (TW, ED, AM and JH) performances were all amazing.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: November 27th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think this episode confused me more than any other in all of Smallville's nine seasons. Never before have my feelings been so torn. My first reaction to the leaked scene between Clark and Lois was a big fat WTF, but at the same time the emotion between them, as portrayed by the two actors, was stunning. And that's pretty much how I felt about the entire episode.

Tom blew me away with the depth of Clark's tenderness and regret in the future (when he said, "Lois, I died when you left," I had tears in my eyes), but for the life of me, I couldn't wrap my mind around how he got there. So even as I was falling in love with my hero all over again, my mind was telling me this wasn't my hero at all. I was completely engaged as I watched, and I thought all the actors were wonderful, but the whole time I had this nagging, unsettled feeling sort of gnawing away at me as my brain logged all the moments that just seemed wrong.

I pretty much loved all the present-day scenes, though, and as for the pretty? I couldn't say it better than you did yourself:

TW was incredibly, gorgeously, stunningly, ridiculously beautiful in this one, wasn't he? And his hair! ::in heaven::

If they cut his hair, I think I'm going to cry.

Don't apologize for expressing your opinion, ever! And I do understand every bit of your frustration with this episode, and this season as a whole. I'm hoping things will get better on that front when the show returns from hiatus, but I can't say there's anything in the spoilers we've seen so far to convince me they will.
tasabian From: tasabian Date: November 28th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
This ep. made me grumpy because I was hoping for lots of action & got mostly talk instead. And Zod has somehow lost his menace completely & just seems like a schoolyard bully.

But I always love your reviews & picspams.

Once Clark did lose his powers, why show him to be so ineffective without them? He really wasn't much more than a bystander in the future we saw. Clark is so much more than the powers our yellow sun gives him; he is a hero with or without his abilities, as he has already shown us in episodes like Leech and Mortal.
YES!!! This was the biggest stumbling block for me - why isn't Clark the leader of the resistance, a hero even without his abilities? It would have made the plot better, the Clois sex hotter and this Clark-fan much happier!

Hopefully 2010 will bring more Clark-centric episodes & naked Tom!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: November 29th, 2009 06:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Pandora seems to be one of those episodes that people either love or hate, but I ended up more in the middle, in that I really enjoyed some stuff, and other stuff I didn't like much at all. I wish we could have gone to hiatus on an episode that was less divisive, because this fandom doesn't need any help to get ugly.

This was the biggest stumbling block for me - why isn't Clark the leader of the resistance, a hero even without his abilities? It would have made the plot better, the Clois sex hotter and this Clark-fan much happier!

I agree! I think TPTB, in trying to show a future that was bad and must be prevented, went too far in undermining Clark to do so. They made him look ineffective and self-indulgent, crippled by his failures and losses, and that is NOT my Clark Kent. All I can fall back on is that we don't know the whole story, only what Clark was willing to share about it, and as we saw with Doomsday, he will always take more than his fair share of responsibility and blame. But that's a weak fanwank at best. In the end there are parts of Pandora I will just have to try to ignore or forget, and there are already way too many episodes like that with this show.
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: November 30th, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can't remember if I commented on this post or not. (You know I'm just here for the pretties anyway.)

Although, I'm going to try and get caught up during the hiatus.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: December 1st, 2009 01:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm always happy when you stop by. *hugs*

I went back to all Tommy with this episode, because a) there were sooo many pretty caps of him from which to choose, and b) I figure you can get your Justin and Callum fixes directly from Ophe now. :)

I encourage catching up during the hiatus! I'm going to rewatch myself. I'm thinking about doing a post for each episode about my favorite scene. I might even do the same thing for Supernatural. *GASP* Yes, you heard me right! No promises, but I'm pondering it.

It seems like Supernatural is losing some of the fans I know, the same way Smallville has. I guess it's natural as a show goes on, but it's weird to see. The last episode was very hard to watch, but wonderful all the same, I thought. That's what war is all about, senseless loss. I like this season, although I'm scared to death about where it's heading. And those boys are still awfully pretty. ;)
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: December 1st, 2009 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Ophe sent me Ollie handcuffed to a bed. Ophe is wonderful!

Supernatural review?! Really?!!? I'm gonna hold my breath until you post one. You wouldn't want me to pass out, would you?

Series change after 5 years. And so do people. *shrugs* I loved the last episode, even though I cried a lot. It raises the stakes for Bobby and the Boys.

By the way, the guy who plays Espisito on Castle is on Twitter. As is Stana.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: December 1st, 2009 03:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, I got that one, too! She IS wonderful! She's threatening to cap Lexmas (the Christmas episode) next, which is full of golden light and a happy, carefree, sometimes shirtless Lex. I can't wait!

Okay, let's not get carried away. It wouldn't be an episode review. A scene review? :D And I think holding your breath might be a little risky.

Yeah, I've outgrown many shows in my time. Heroes probably belongs on that list, I'm just too stubborn to admit it. They've certainly committed all the requisite sins. And to think we first bonded when you helped me get over my fear of Sylar and fall in love with him instead! *sigh* Although we still have Chuck and his red shirt. :)

I'm still not over the heart attack Jim Beaver gave me on Twitter that night! Naughty boy! Although I made up for it somewhat by laughing more than was necessary at his adventures at Disneyland. He was very entertaining, wasn't he?

Do I just search for their real names on Twitter? Although I'm not jumping into following anyone anymore. Adam Baldwin's politics took me by surprise. :/
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: December 1st, 2009 03:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that would be loverly!

*is starting to turn blue*

I haven't been able to watch Heroes this year. Not even for my sexy psycho Sylar. :( I had forgotten about Chuck in the Red Shirt until I got the DVDs. *is momentarily lost in happy thoughts*

Jim deserves the Disneyland hell after what he did to us. I totally love him flirting with Tracy Dinwiddie. They are so frikkin' adorable!

I don't blame you. Good news is that Stana has a few tweets under her belt and Jon's bio was pretty funny, so even though he's new, I'm giving him a chance. I haven't forced myself to unfollow Adam, but I will admit he's the main reason I avoided Twitter this weekend. I just didn't want to get mad and frustrated. Which is probably a good sign that I should unfollow him.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: December 1st, 2009 05:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I haven't watched Heroes yet this year either, although I have all the episodes saved. I have been keeping up with the promo pics, though, and I've inadvertently read a few spoilers, so I know a little about what's going on. I just keep choosing to watch something else. FlashForward is the same.

I haven't unfollowed AB yet, but I think I'm going to have to. He's driving me nuts. :) He IS Casey!
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: December 2nd, 2009 12:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I have no idea what's going on in Heroes any more. My cousin tried to give me an idea, but it sounded complicated.

I'm not surprised at all of AB's views, but . . .
acampbell From: acampbell Date: December 5th, 2009 11:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Give me a jump into the future, an alternate timeline, a parallel universe, or even a dream, and I'm all in. It's a wonderful way to play what if, to explore dire circumstances and dark outcomes without the gut-wrenching anguish of seeing your favorite characters in real peril, because you know there's a big reset button at the end, just waiting to be pushed.

Back in the good old Silver Age days, they called AUs "Imaginary Stories." They ran them quite regularly. Some of my favorite Supes stories of all time are Imaginary Stories.

If you're going to make Lana into an invulnerable superhero who is steeped in kryptonite, will love Clark forever, and only stays away because she's poison to him, don't you think you might mention why she didn't swoop in to save the day, and then have a romp with Clark before they turned the tower off?

That's been bugging me, too. I really think the show runners expect us to have as short memories as they do. Once Lana's gone, she's gone, and we aren't even supposed to wonder what she's up to, and why she never comes back to help. So dumb, because all the stupidity was just to give Clana its (inappropriately) tragic, heroic ending...fie.

I'm so glad you're here to explain the show to me now, because I really don't even pay attention to the "plot" any more, at least the first couple of times through.

God, he's GORGEOUS.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: December 6th, 2009 08:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Once Lana's gone, she's gone, and we aren't even supposed to wonder what she's up to, and why she never comes back to help. So dumb, because all the stupidity was just to give Clana its (inappropriately) tragic, heroic ending...fie.

I agree. They're the ones who insisted on having her out-super Superman, but then we never hear another word about her. Idiots.

I'm so glad you're here to explain the show to me now, because I really don't even pay attention to the "plot" any more, at least the first couple of times through.

LOL! Plot? What plot? :D I kid, I kid. I may have to fanwank a bit, but I still love this show, and Tom's performance never disappoints. And then there's the ridiculous amount of PRETTY.

God, he's GORGEOUS.

More so every episode, I swear. How is it even possible?
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