?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Previous Previous Next Next
Smallville 9x14 - Persuasion - I worship at the television altar
tariel22
tariel22
Smallville 9x14 - Persuasion


This week's Smallville was a real mixed bag. It felt like two episodes mashed into one, a silly romantic comedy and a dark exploration of power and identity, and only one of them worked for me. It had jarring transitions, plot holes, unanswered questions, and OOC behavior, and the whole episode was a bit of a mess. But it also gave us a glorious return to the Zod storyline, an interesting peek inside Chloe's head, a fight, a funeral, some cute comic moments, and, best of all, a definite focus on our hero. I found a lot to love in Persuasion, especially in Tom Welling's performance, but overall the episode mostly left me conflicted and confused.

My biggest problem was with Lois, and more specifically, mind-whammied Lois with Clark. I'm sure that's an unpopular opinion, so I'm putting it out there first. If you'd rather not hear it, you might want to skip the rest of this review.

The episode started out great. I liked seeing Lois and Clark in reporter mode, and I thought Lois's cynicism about Valentine's Day was not only funny, but totally in character. I do believe that Clark is the more romantic one in this couple, especially growing up with Smallville's version of Jonathan and Martha Kent, but here it seemed like he only brought up candlelit dinners and their relationship in an effort to distract Lois from her story about the tower. At the DP he grabbed Lois passionately, but then dashed out a second later when he heard that Zod's tower would be finished in two days. The opening credits hadn't even started yet, and I was already confused. And Clark never explained what he meant by a more traditional relationship, so I still don't know what he thought he wanted.

Persuasion introduced us to a new kind of meteor rock, dubbed gemstone kryptonite. It looked pink in its fairy dust form, but sparkled in many different colors as it swirled around Clark, and its exact properties would prove just as hard to pin down. Breathing it in gave Clark the power of persuasion, through his voice. Whenever he started a statement with the words "I want," the person to whom he was talking was compelled to fulfill his wish. That was odd; why would the rock's power be language specific? Once a command was given, it couldn't be reversed or overridden. That seemed arbitrary, and awfully convenient. How far would a person go under the influence? Were their inhibitions removed, or was their personality fundamentally altered? And how did the kryptonite affect Clark himself? Did it progressively infect and corrupt him after it entered his system, a la Chloe in Truth? Or were we supposed to believe he simply compelled himself with the power of his own voice when he spoke his darkest desires out loud?

Lois interpreted Clark's wish for a more traditional relationship to mean he wanted her to stay home and take care of him, as his wife, serving up dinner in high heels and pearls, and subjugating her every need to his. I can only guess that Lois watched a lot of black-and-white reruns growing up, because that's a stereotype that is decades old. But Lois's mom died when she was very young, and her dad was in the military, so I can see her getting her ideas about what a traditional family was like from classic TV sitcoms. But what exactly did the kryptonite compel her to do? Pretend in order to make Clark happy? Become a Stepford wife? Reveal her own inner fantasies? I have no idea.

I found the loft scene quite disturbing. How did Clark's original command turn Lois into someone who would take Chloe's words to heart in such an extreme manner? She was a complete basket case, with no confidence in either her own self-worth or Clark's feelings for her. Were we supposed to think that was the real Lois? Plus she had no self-control. What's "traditional" about any of that? And why would Clark even try to talk to her about anything serious when she was so clearly not herself, much less kiss her? It all felt wrong to me.

I get that the show wanted us to see Clark have an epiphany about his feelings, but why have it be inspired by a half-crazed, mind-whammied Lois who threatened to leave Smallville forever and totally backed Clark into a corner, using emotional blackmail to force him to declare himself? This couple deserves so much better than that! I would have vastly preferred to cut out that loft scene altogether, and see Clark have that same moment when he saw Lois once more restored to her true self, the woman he's been falling for all along. Lois could have confessed her fears without coercion or hysteria, and asked Clark what he meant by a traditional relationship. And Clark could have responded with the realization that all he wanted was Lois, just the way she was.

Instead what Clark said in their final scene together was, "We just have to continue being honest with each other." Why in the world would he say that, when that's the LAST thing he's prepared to do? And that angsty, guilt-ridden hug at the end? Where have I seen that before? It looks like secrets and lies all over again, and I can't even tell you how depressing that is to me.

I did enjoy the comic parts of Lois as "Donna Reed on crack." The whole sequence with the wedding dress was hilarious, and it only worked so well because Erica Durance threw herself into it with complete abandon. Kudos to her. And the scene where Lois cooked dinner was funny, although for me it was mostly because of Clark's reactions. I laughed at the Jaws music that played over Clark's look of panic when Lois first mentioned marriage, the sight of him trying to feed Shelby his inedible dinner under the table, and the way he almost literally fell over when Lois announced she had quit her job. And Clark running away from women, for whatever reason, is never not going to be funny.

Clark's new power had a fairly consistent effect on everyone else, removing whatever obstacles stood in the way of following his wishes, but I still don't know if it revealed a person's true nature, or changed it. Clark went to see Chloe, and things were back to normal between them, meaning strained and angry. Clark snubbed Chloe's attempt at conversation, and at first I thought the gemstone kryptonite was affecting him, but maybe he just didn't want to give her an opening, since pretty much everything she said to him dripped with contempt. And I wouldn't be surprised if her talk of the Phantom Zone stirred up some feelings of resentment over how she betrayed his plans for Davis. But if things are this bad between them, why is Clark still going to Chloe for help, and why is she willing to give it to him? When she pushed him about the Kandorians, he pushed right back, and ended up snapping out a command in anger.

Clark wanted Chloe to focus on watching his back, and protecting him became her whole life. The way that played out made perfect sense to me. Chloe has been watching over Clark all season, and overstepping all kinds of ethical lines to do so; his command just made her relentless, ruthless, and unrestrained. But it's important to note that Chloe acted on her interpretation of what Clark said, which put an interesting spin on things, and gave us new insight into Chloe's motivations.

When Chloe found out Lois had moved in with Clark, she flipped out, and decided her cousin needed to get out of Clark's life altogether. She told Lois she was a distraction, a threat to Clark's privacy, and that she didn't really know Clark at all. I had no idea that Chloe saw Lois as such a liability. It also seemed clear that Chloe's role as Clark's secret keeper was still very important to her, and that she was jealous of the place Lois now holds in his life. To finish Lois off, she used her intimate knowledge of Lois's deepest, darkest fears to attack her where she was most vulnerable. I'm assuming we saw a glimpse of Chloe's true feelings about the romance between Clark and Lois, and it was chilling to watch. I wonder what would have happened if Lois hadn't been mind-whammied herself? Would she have fought back, or would Chloe's harsh words have devastated her all the same?

Next Chloe took on Tess's technology, determined to break down her firewalls and see exactly what she's been up to. Tess caught her in the act, and, surprisingly, proposed that they join forces to support Clark. Chloe refused, and what followed was one of the most intense physical fights we've ever seen on this show. Chloe did her best, but she really had no chance against Tess's superior strength and training, and was about to lose in a very big way when Clark whisked Tess away at super speed. I think Tess was on the verge of killing Chloe; was it in self-defense, or because she had seen a future in which she died by Chloe's hand?

Clark also cast his spell on Dr. Emil Hamilton, urging him to relax, and Alessandro Juliani gave us one of my favorite scenes of the episode as he became practically boneless, shrugging out of his coat and tie and popping open a brewski. Emil has always been unflappable, but also tightly wound, and the kicked-back dude we saw emerge was a riot. He urged Clark to use his power to get what he wanted, and when Clark decided to do so, I became convinced the Gemstone!K had infected Clark, and was already altering his behavior. As much as he might want to, I don't think Clark would do something that self-serving on his own.

Which brings us to the part of Persuasion I truly loved: the Kandorians. Early on in the episode we learned that Clark had been quietly obtaining identity documents to help Zod's followers blend in and find happy, fulfilling lives on Earth. At the end of Pandora he had hoped he could convince Zod to give up his pursuit of superpowers, but as we saw in Disciple, the issue continued to create conflict between them. So Clark adjusted his plan, and decided to save Zod from himself by disbursing his army, thereby removing the temptation to use them to rule the world. We saw a nice scene between Clark, Alia, and Faora, that showed the positive leadership Clark could so ably provide, but I wish more of that story had happened onscreen.

Faora seemed genuinely touched and sincerely grateful that Clark had given her a chance at a brand new life, but later Zod turned up with her fake passport, and knew it had come from Kal-El. Did she give it to him, like a good little soldier? After that we saw Faora with a bruised face and a cut lip, so I assume Zod found the documents and beat the information out of her, but we'll never know for sure, because we didn't see it. Alia also saw Clark through newly appreciative eyes, but became so overcome with remorse for having killed his father, she later offered herself up to Zod for justice, and he solemnly executed her. The Kryptonians may have superior intelligence, but that is tempered by their barbaric beliefs and practices.

Callum Blue continues to be completely awesome as Zod, as does Cassidy Freeman as Tess. Both of them have been woefully underused this season, and it was a delight to have them back, especially together, in Persuasion. Zod snuck up on Tess at the mansion, timing his visit to coincide with her bath, so he could strike when she was naked and vulnerable. She refused to be intimidated, however, and flirted with him instead. Tess is a very smart woman; I think she knows that the second she plays the scared victim, Zod will tire of her and toss her aside, in the most permanent way possible. She's seen the future, and no longer wants to be aligned with this madman who will decimate both her race and her planet, but she'll continue to play the game, and do her best to captivate the enemy, until she can put her Plan B into action. And I just love to watch.

My favorite scenes of all were those between Clark and Zod. When Clark left Emil, he went straight to Zod, to command the truth about Jor-El's death. Zod was compelled to answer, but told him only what he believed to be true, and accused Tess. He then demanded that Clark exact retribution, an eye for an eye, and used every manipulative trick in his arsenal to push him over the edge. Tom was magnificent in the way he portrayed Clark's struggle with his renewed grief and fury, and, I believe, the added influence of the meteor rock in his system. He fought his dark desire for revenge, and we could measure the desperate conflict that raged within by the anguish in his eyes. When Zod stepped close and whispered, "You must avenge him," Clark first nodded, almost involuntarily, and then shook himself and protested, "I can't," as he looked away, unable to meet Zod's gaze.

Zod continued to taunt Clark, utterly relentless, until our hero could take no more. Grabbing Zod with both hands, he ground out, "You don't think I want justice? You don't think I want revenge? You don't think sometimes I want to be a killer like you?" And with those words he brought his new kryptonite power to bear on himself, and was compelled to fulfill his own deadly wish. He sped off to find Tess, and Zod smirked in satisfaction.

It doesn't bother me that Clark has those feelings, of course he does. The hard part is not using his infinite powers to act on them, to protect the world instead of wreaking havoc upon it. That's what makes Clark who he is, and who he will one day become. Under the power of the Gemstone!K, Clark swept Tess out of her office at the Daily Planet just as she was about to shoot Chloe, and took her to a deserted industrial area to terrorize and ultimately kill her. The scene was intense as Tess tried to reason with a merciless Clark. He refused to be dissuaded by her pleas, but Chloe stopped him before he could go too far. And that's where the story kind of fell apart for me.

First of all, I'm tired of seeing other people save Clark from himself. Maybe it's unrealistic when kryptonite is involved, but I'd rather see him resolve his conflicts on his own, and somehow find the inner strength to do the right thing without assistance. When Tess disappeared, Chloe followed, I guess to continue watching Clark's back. But how did she know where to go, and how did she get there so fast? Evidently she carries Green!K wherever she goes now (trust issues much?), and she used it to stop Clark from killing Tess, breaking the spell of the Gemstone!K at the same time. I get that she had to stay hidden so Tess wouldn't discover Clark's weakness (if she doesn't know it already), but how did she bring him down from such a distance? And later, back at the Watchtower, why did it irritate me so much to hear Chloe explain to Clark that people need to believe in him? Isn't that exactly what he's been explaining to everyone else for months now?

The next night we saw Alia's funeral, in a visually stunning sequence that offered another glimpse into Kandorian culture. Erased of any disgrace by her final sacrifice, Alia was given an honorable farewell. Clark attended the ceremony, and confronted Zod. He learned that Alia was Jor-El's killer, but free of the meteor rock, he no longer took any satisfaction in her death. Having seen Zod's rabid devotion to vengeance first hand, and having suffered its consequences, Clark realized that although the Kandorians may be of his race, he will never be a part of their world. When he said, with such finality, "This isn't my kind of justice," we knew his days of trying to work with Zod were over.

Clark retreated to the Watchtower to think and reflect, and came to the inevitable conclusion that Zod's tower must fall. In a scene that at first rocked my world, Tom Welling's incredible, wordless acting, and Louis Febre's kick-ass rock score combined to give me something I've been waiting to see ever since Clark saw the future in Pandora. This was such a huge moment for Clark, and he was quite literally trembling with the emotion coursing through his body. With tears shining in his eyes, and looking heartbreakingly grim, he stepped up and embraced his destiny as never before. This is a man who will define justice for an entire planet, and had to begin by admitting defeat. Unable to find the peace he wanted with Zod, he instead made the decision to harness his power on a scale he had never before imagined, and for the purpose of destruction, effectively declaring war in the process. His life would never be the same again.

I've never been more proud of Clark than I was in that moment, making an impossibly difficult decision, and resolute in his determination to deal with the fallout, whatever that may be. And of course I know he made sure no one was in the building first, just as I know his next move will be to insure no one is hurt by falling debris on the ground. I get that the show was going for the drama and symbolism of Clark standing all alone above the world, watching as the city is ripped asunder by the very hand that sought to protect it. But then they delivered the final image of the episode, and it hit me like a sucker punch to the gut. Twin towers, billowing with smoke and fire, collapsing to the ground. Instantly all thoughts of Smallville left me, and my mind filled with another set of horrific images. Oh, show, what were you thinking? :(

Random thoughts: It looks like Chloe got her own five dozen roses; from Oliver, I presume? Tess was back to being a zealot for Clark, but now with an added dash of eco-terrorism. It sounded dumb for Chloe to say to Lois, "As long as I've known you, you've always had to have the scoop," when the birth of Lois's interest in journalism is part of recent show canon. What is the fetish this show has for having Clark manhandle Tess? I suppose now we'll never know why Alia had those freaky blue eyes, why she apologized to Clark in Savior, or if her apparent superpowers under both yellow and red suns were a dropped storyline or a continuity error. And I do so love the carefully-mussed hair of the Blur. I always imagine Clark finger-combing it as he zips into his costume. :)

Persuasion was a jarring mix of light and dark, and Lois's part of the story in particular did not mesh with the other elements of the episode. When we saw that sunny, sentimental breakfast scene stuck in between Alia's execution and her funeral, it only served to remind me what a small slice of Clark's life Lois truly shares. Obviously she doesn't know about his superpowers, or his alien heritage, or his activities as the Blur. But neither does she know about the Watchtower, the Justice League, or the Kandorians. She doesn't know about Clark's complicated relationship with Tess, his true relationship with Oliver, or even what her cousin does for a living. And yet this is the woman Clark wants to be with for always? How many times did he lie to her in this episode alone?

Honestly, I think the show is stuck. They hit the gas pedal on this relationship and rammed it right into the brick wall of some mythos rule about Lois not knowing Clark's secret, and now things are kind of stalled. But that's just the way I see it; I know most people are thrilled with how everything is going between these two. Personally, I think I would have left Lois out of this episode altogether, and explored the Kandorians a bit more. I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to Smallville, but this time I just couldn't make it work. I hope I like Conspiracy better.

The pretty at the top of this entry just might be my favorite Smallville cap ever (click on it for the full-size version). Here are twenty more from Persuasion:




























































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

Tags: , , ,

29 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
gyri From: gyri Date: February 24th, 2010 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow--Tom looks like he's lost some weight, it makes his face look very young---almost like he did when SV first started.

Nice to see some of those smiles are back!

I haven't been watching SV at all, but I'm glad you're enjoying it to some extent. And Tom's been much more visible in the media, you must be so thrilled!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 24th, 2010 07:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I think he has lost weight. I hope he's not working too hard with all his many professional hats.

Tom's smile can still light up the whole world!

For the most part I love this season. This episode was really problematic for me, but that's very much the exception rather than the rule. And yes, we have had some amazing candids recently. For fans of the elusive Mr. Welling even one is a treasure, so I'm very happy! :)
tasabian From: tasabian Date: February 24th, 2010 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)
You've articulated many of my own problems with this episode brilliantly.

I found the loft scene quite disturbing. How did Clark's original command turn Lois into someone who would take Chloe's words to heart in such an extreme manner? She was a complete basket case, with no confidence in either her own self-worth or Clark's feelings for her. Were we supposed to think that was the real Lois? Plus she had no self-control. What's "traditional" about any of that?
It seemed like a weird attempt to "soften" Lois and show her vulnerable side. But it didn't work for me either because Erica regularly does a fine job of letting glimpses of Lois's vulnerability peek through without sacrificing the character. Even in an altered states ep, this seemed like overkill.

I liked seeing Lois and Clark in reporter mode, and I thought Lois's cynicism about Valentine's Day was not only funny, but totally in character.
The teaser was perfect. And they were working on a story, which I love. Also loved Clark pretending to wince when Lois's shoes poked him!

Instead what Clark said in their final scene together was, "We just have to continue being honest with each other." Why in the world would he say that, when that's the LAST thing he's prepared to do? And that angsty, guilt-ridden hug at the end? Where have I seen that before? It looks like secrets and lies all over again, and I can't even tell you how depressing that is to me.
And the honesty conversation came right out of left field - nothing in the preceding scenes was leading up to that. As you say, that's a familiar path & not a promising one.

Clark's new power had a fairly consistent effect on everyone else, removing whatever obstacles stood in the way of following his wishes, but I still don't know if it revealed a person's true nature, or changed it.
Also, Clark doesn't talk like that. He doesn't go around telling people what he wants from them and it strained my credulity that he said he wants a traditional relationship with Lois; with her, I'd have thought he wants to forge something entirely new and unique to them.

Twin towers, billowing with smoke and fire, collapsing to the ground. Instantly all thoughts of Smallville left me, and my mind filled with another set of horrific images. Oh, show, what were you thinking?
I'd love a tweet from the writers as to why they went that route because they have to have known the connotation that imagery would carry. And it bugs me that the script had Clark waiting until the last minute to deal with the towers - if only we'd had an entire power-struggle episode between Clark and Zod.

Yay for Clark beauty though & fingers crossed for Conspiracy!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 24th, 2010 08:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for your wonderful comment!

But it didn't work for me either because Erica regularly does a fine job of letting glimpses of Lois's vulnerability peek through without sacrificing the character.

Absolutely, and in fact, I think that's an area in which she shines. I'm thinking of moments like the last scene in Echo, the morning after Clark stood Lois up and sent her home from the Ace of Clubs. Or her therapy session in Idol, when she talked about how she wanted to help Clark (when she believed he was the Blur).

The teaser was perfect. And they were working on a story, which I love. Also loved Clark pretending to wince when Lois's shoes poked him!

I would love to see more scenes like that. Not only because they're fun, but because they would show us more of the life that Clark and Lois share. And I liked how Lois apologized for her heels! :)

And the honesty conversation came right out of left field - nothing in the preceding scenes was leading up to that.

I know! Why would the writer give him that line? It just made him look like a hypocrite.

As you say, that's a familiar path & not a promising one.

I swear, that hug gave me a stomach ache. :(

Also, Clark doesn't talk like that. He doesn't go around telling people what he wants from them and it strained my credulity that he said he wants a traditional relationship with Lois; with her, I'd have thought he wants to forge something entirely new and unique to them.

He really doesn't talk like that. I wonder if the words felt funny to Tom when he was saying them. Except when he was talking about himself to Zod, every time he said "I want" it sounded weird to me. And we never got to hear exactly what Clark meant by more traditional. Maybe he just wanted to text less and do dinner and a movie more. I would really have loved to hear Clark talk about that.

I'd love a tweet from the writers as to why they went that route because they have to have known the connotation that imagery would carry.

I think it's unfortunate that the haters have suddenly grabbed onto this issue as just another reason to bash the show. It feels exploitative, and insensitive to those who experienced a true emotional response to the images. And then others are defensive about not having that response, and critical of those who did.

I don't want to get on a soapbox about it, and I wasn't traumatized or anything, but my response to it was immediate and involuntary. I just hope it wasn't evocative on purpose. I would hate to think my emotions had been played with for the sake of a TV show.

And Tom looked amazing in this one, especially as the Blur. Yum.
(Deleted comment)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 24th, 2010 07:56 am (UTC) (Link)
There you go with one of your interesting insights again! :) I don't know much about the Supes/Bats relationship (I'm still new to comic books), but I gather it's a prickly one, with an underlying mutual respect. That does sound something like Clark and Chloe these days. Still, it makes me sad to see them at odds.
(Deleted comment)
lacylaces From: lacylaces Date: February 24th, 2010 05:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Tom is looking amazing this season. Thanks for the caps.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 24th, 2010 07:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Incredibly, he just keeps getting more gorgeous. I'm glad you enjoyed the caps!
christina_kat From: christina_kat Date: February 24th, 2010 09:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for this awesome review and these amazing captures of Clark's. He looks so damn sexy in that last scene.

I'm totally with you about the Zod/Clark scenes was the best ones in this episode. I think these made me love this episode so much. My review says I loved every scene except the Lois/Chloe one. It was just so harsh and I thought that the shipper wars would be a lot more now. I understand why you think the Clois stuff were a little off. Now that I'm thinking about it I agree and I never realized what Clark meant when he said he wanted a traditional relationship. Maybe he meant to say that he wanted to spend much time with each other than working all the time. I don't know.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 24th, 2010 08:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
He looked AMAZING in that last scene! I loved how he communicated every nuance of what Clark was feeling, without uttering a single word of dialogue.

I agree, I think Clark was talking about something much simpler that what Lois thought he meant. Just taking time to date like a regular couple, doing the traditional things couple do, like sharing a candlelit dinner on Valentine's Day.
jeannev From: jeannev Date: February 24th, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
First off, how utterly stunning is Tom? The changes in his face as he matures are just jaw dropping. And he seems really slim this year. Working out more, or too busy to eat?

So, as always, thanks for the visuals.

But really, thanks for all of this review. You've done such an amazing job of articulating a lot of the issues I had with the episode, but also highlighting what worked.

I couldn't quite explain why that Clois loft scene squicked me out so much, but you've articulated it really well. The whole scene felt wrong and stilted, and odd to me. And I think I'm really getting tired of all these eps that lay Lois out emotionally. Reading her mind, her therapy sessions, her memories, and now mind whammied confessions. Enough already! I wish we had even a fraction of that sort of emotional insight for Clark. Heck, I still don't understand why he's going the "secrets and lies" route again.

Which brings me to that last scene, and here, for me, its all about the writer, and using the WRONG dialogue. A mistake I think Ann Coffel Saunders made a lot in this episode (the same could very much be said for the first Chlark scene). Why even have Clark bring up honesty? And the concerned look over the hug? My God, its a complete throwback to the Clana. And that shouldn't be happening. There were so many ways to write that scene in a better way.

One big disagreement we have on this episode was Lois dancing around in the wedding dress. I applaude ED's bravery, but I cringed. And the whole tone of it, with the stupid music, felt so wrong in this ep. That scene truly served NO PURPOSE AT ALL.

I posted a scenario of what I would've done with Lois in this ep on my lj. I'll be anxious to see what you think of it.

The Kandorian stuff in this ep was the most insteresting part, but it made me angry that we wasted our time with Disciple (and yeah, even Warrior), when this was the storyline that should've been getting focus.

I was very troubled by the 9/11 imagery. I understand if people didn't make the connection, or weren't bothered by it, but I'm rather annoyed at how dickish people are being to those of us who did get an ugly reminder.

Edited at 2010-02-24 04:45 pm (UTC)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 24th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really do think Tom is one of those rare individuals who has become more beautiful as he has matured. In this episode in particular, when he was dressed up as the Blur, he took my breath away.

And I think I'm really getting tired of all these eps that lay Lois out emotionally.

I feel the same way. I want to see more of her fire, her drive, and her resilient inner core. And I want to see her in action as a reporter. I love Lois's toughness; to me, that's just as sexy as her vulnerability, and a big part of what makes her perfect for Clark.

I wish we had even a fraction of that sort of emotional insight for Clark.

I would kill to know what's going on inside his head and his heart sometimes. Although I do think they're trying, and I appreciate all we've heard from him in these past two episodes.

Why even have Clark bring up honesty? And the concerned look over the hug? My God, its a complete throwback to the Clana. And that shouldn't be happening.

I had a total Clana flashback. I hate it when the show puts Clark in situations that emphasize that he has to lie to Lois. Of course it's his secret to tell, and only when he's ready, but why have him make speeches about the importance of honesty? That just makes him look like a hypocrite. And Lois asking him flat out, if you had a secret, would you tell me, again forcing and highlighting the lie. I don't understand what the point of that is.

One big disagreement we have on this episode was Lois dancing around in the wedding dress.

Well, I will admit I enjoyed it a lot more as a preview clip, all by itself, than I did seeing it within the context of the show. And having Lois go from wacky homemaker to blubbering mess, and then back to wacky would-be bride, made her look kind of bipolar.

I posted a scenario of what I would've done with Lois in this ep on my lj. I'll be anxious to see what you think of it.

I look forward to reading that! I'm leaving shortly and won't be back until tonight, but I'll read and comment then!

I was very troubled by the 9/11 imagery. I understand if people didn't make the connection, or weren't bothered by it, but I'm rather annoyed at how dickish people are being to those of us who did get an ugly reminder.

I was taken aback by some of the comments I've read elsewhere. I can't help my involuntary, emotional reaction to that imagery; it just happened. I'm not judging people who didn't have the same experience, or asking them to justify liking the scene, so please don't tell me my response was somehow wrong. We're all the sum of our own individual experiences and memories. Our differing reactions reflect that, and they're all valid.
carolandtom From: carolandtom Date: February 24th, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
And yet this is the woman Clark wants to be with for always? How many times did he lie to her in this episode alone?

Please, tariel, let me express briefly and respectfully my opinion about the "secrets and lies" issue here, on your LJ: I'd come to hate those two words when they are used together with Clark. For nine years I've read incessant complaints about Clark lying. Clark lies, yes, but he does that to protect himself or his family or the people he loves. To tell the truth about himself is his choice, his alone! He's not a liar and he's suffered all his life for having to hide a truth that endangers him and everyone he cares about. No one has suffered more than he has because of the issue. And yet it's brought up over and over and over...

In "Lois and Clark", for instance, Lois does not know about Clark's secret identity for quite a lot of episodes even though it's clear from the beginning how much Clark does like/love her. We don't know if Lois will be told or will find out eventually in SV but I don't think Clark is under any obligation to tell her right away. There are too many things to be taken into consideration. It pains me that poor Clark can't get rid of the "secrets and lies" stigma after 9 years of endless struggles.

This is my honest opinion and I hope you won't mind my stating it here. Of course I reiterate that I fully respect yours!

Apart from the above, excellent review, as usual! I wish I could
convey my thoughts an opinions with half of your clarity, ability and talent.

And, once again, thanks a lot for the awesome caps!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 25th, 2010 08:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Part 1

Carol, I so appreciate that you shared your viewpoint on this. I would never characterize Clark as a liar, and I'm so sorry if that's the impression I've given you. I really would like to explain in greater detail what I meant by some of the things I said in my review.

//Instead what Clark said in their final scene together was, "We just have to continue being honest with each other." Why in the world would he say that, when that's the LAST thing he's prepared to do?//

I know that Clark has to lie sometimes, and for very noble reasons. I know he hates to lie, and never would unless he felt he absolutely had to. But given that, I don't understand why the writers would have him say something like this to Lois. He's not talking about honesty in general, as Superman might to the public, he's talking about the two of them, in their romantic relationship. Having him make pronouncements about personal honesty and its vital importance in their relationship, when that's something he can't actually promise Lois (for whatever reason), does nothing but make Clark as a character a target for criticism, and that's what upsets me.

I see now that it looks like criticizing Clark is exactly what I'm doing here. That's not what I meant, but maybe I'm splitting hairs, and there isn't any difference between criticizing how Clark is written and criticizing Clark himself. I don't know. But I didn't like that line.

//And that angsty, guilt-ridden hug at the end? Where have I seen that before? It looks like secrets and lies all over again, and I can't even tell you how depressing that is to me.//

When I use the phrase "secrets and lies," I'm not talking about Clark keeping secrets and telling lies. It's the label I use for the type of relationship Clark had with Lana (since that was her trademark phrase), where she constantly pressured him to tell her what he was hiding, and he was in anguish because he was torn between making her happy by telling her, and protecting her by not telling her. Clark was unhappy a lot, and Lana was angry a lot, and sometimes she expressed it by casting aspersions on his character. And I always wanted to tell her to please give the guy some room and have a little faith.

I know the show hasn't gone there with Lois and Clark so far, and I hope that continues, but that hug, where Clark is all smiles to Lois's face, but then all worry and furrowed brow in the hug, gave me a huge Clana flashback, and I confess my reaction was a knee-jerk one. I just don't trust the show not to go down that well-beaten path again.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 25th, 2010 08:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Part 2

//And yet this is the woman Clark wants to be with for always? How many times did he lie to her in this episode alone?//

I absolutely agree that Clark's secret is his to tell, and at the time of his own choosing. I don't think he is obligated to tell Lois, and I'm not criticizing him for lying here, or for hiding parts of his life from her. My issue is with the commitment he made to her:

Clark: I promise, we'll be together, always and...
Lois: Forever? You mean it?
Clark: I do.

That's tantamount to a proposal, in my opinion, and I think it's way too soon for Clark to be going there. He hasn't even told Lois he loves her yet. And if he really does feel that way, then yes, I think that changes everything. When Clark proposed to Lois in the comic books, he told her everything. Ditto for LnC. I know that Clark didn't actually propose to Lois in Persuasion, but I do admit I find it hard to understand how someone could make such a promise to someone and still hold her at arm's length. Maybe I wouldn't feel that way if the writers would allow Clark to articulate his reasons for keeping Lois in the dark, beyond one vague reference to "what happened with Corben."

I know that recently I've shown impatience with Clark's secrecy with Lois. That was born out of what happened on their date in Disciple, when I thought Clark was signaling to Lois that he wanted to take their relationship to the next level by inviting her to take "Clark Kent's tour of the galaxy." I thought that was farmboy code for sex, and I don't think Clark should be getting intimate with Lois without telling her who he really is. But now I think I was wrong, and I need to dial back my expectations accordingly.

But the other reason I struggle with this issue is because of the world Smallville has created, where so many people know about Clark already. In LnC, for example, Clark's parents were pretty much the only people who knew his secret. In Smallville, Lois is pretty much the only person who doesn't. Again, hearing Clark's thoughts on the matter would help tremendously.

Probably we do disagree on this, and of course that's not a problem. I just wanted to try to express myself a little more clearly, although I'm not so sure I succeeded in that. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me. I love your perspective, and I especially appreciate the way you bring me back to who Clark truly is, why he is the whole world's hero, and why I will always love him.
duskwillow From: duskwillow Date: February 24th, 2010 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

pt. 1

I really enjoyed this review, and agree with majority of it. :)

And Clark never explained what he meant by a more traditional relationship, so I still don't know what he thought he wanted.

I think he meant little things, like dinner on V-Day, holding hands in public and small things like that. Things Lois wasn't really pro in the last few episodes.

But Lois's mom died when she was very young, and her dad was in the military, so I can see her getting her ideas about what a traditional family was like from classic TV sitcoms. But what exactly did the kryptonite compel her to do? Pretend in order to make Clark happy? Become a Stepford wife? Reveal her own inner fantasies? I have no idea.

I think you nailed it when you said that her mom died when she was young, and it was up to Lois to help raise her young sister. Lois has no personal experience with traditional family life, so she's imagining it like she saw on TV. She said in the last kitchen scene that she was like "Donna Reed on crack", which I think is really telling. Donna Reed probably inspired her view of traditional (Gilmore Girls also did an episode playing with similar theme). On crack part was just her personality peeking through (like when she was shoving those green beans on Clark's plate. lol).

I found the loft scene quite disturbing. How did Clark's original command turn Lois into someone who would take Chloe's words to heart in such an extreme manner? She was a complete basket case, with no confidence in either her own self-worth or Clark's feelings for her. Were we supposed to think that was the real Lois? Plus she had no self-control. What's "traditional" about any of that? And why would Clark even try to talk to her about anything serious when she was so clearly not herself, much less kiss her? It all felt wrong to me.

I think Lois has lots of insecurities, as was also shown on occasion in earlier seasons, but she also has a really tough exterior and she can stick up for herself. Especially as she's an army brat, and was pretty much left to figure things out on her own since she was very young. But being as that was stripped away when she turned into a housewife character, her insecurities were much closer to the surface. And Chloe hit home with some of the things she said, like how she can't move in with Clark and how she can't keep her mouth shut, and told everyone about The Blur.
So I saw it as still Lois, but with all her protective layers stripped away, yet the core was there. Just like murdering Clark who went after Tess was our Clark, but with all the morals The Kents taught him stripped away, and pretty much operating without all the things that make him human; alien to the core.
So as I believe Lois' insecurities were real, I had no problems with Clark reassuring her in the loft scene. It was still Lois. Less that our everyday Lois, but still her.

I love your ideal scenario. That would have been wonderful if it played out that way. :D
But I really didn't mind the scene we got either.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 25th, 2010 09:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: pt. 1

I think he meant little things, like dinner on V-Day, holding hands in public and small things like that.

I think you're right. But I would have loved to hear Clark talk about all that.

I instantly thought of that GG episode when I first saw Lois! :)

But being as that was stripped away when she turned into a housewife character, her insecurities were much closer to the surface.

This is the part that confused me. Why was her tough exterior stripped away? Because her idea of a traditional wife is someone with no defenses? And no confidence either, or was that caused by Chloe's ruthless verbal attack? And isn't Lois resilient at her core, too? I don't know, I think I tend to over-analyze the mind-whammy episodes in general.

I appreciate you showing me the scene through your eyes, that helps. And I do think Erica and Tom both gave touching performances in that scene.

Edited at 2010-02-25 09:12 pm (UTC)
duskwillow From: duskwillow Date: February 24th, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

pt. 2

When we saw that sunny, sentimental breakfast scene stuck in between Alia's execution and her funeral, it only served to remind me what a small slice of Clark's life Lois truly shares. Obviously she doesn't know about his superpowers, or his alien heritage, or his activities as the Blur. But neither does she know about the Watchtower, the Justice League, or the Kandorians. She doesn't know about Clark's complicated relationship with Tess, his true relationship with Oliver, or even what her cousin does for a living. And yet this is the woman Clark wants to be with for always? How many times did he lie to her in this episode alone?

I've noticed this is a problem with a lot of fans, I almost feel all alone with being perfectly OK with him not telling her his secret.
For me duality of episodes such as this one works well because it shows duality of Clark's life. Clark at beginning of this season, the one who still thought Lois was dead, wouldn't have had this. The Daily Planet or sunny kitchen scenes. Lois brings that light into his life, and puts a smile on his face.
Everything else ends up wrapped in darkness. And everyone who learns about his true self ends up jaded or tainted somehow, or even worse - dead. Ollie turned into cold blooded killer and then almost committed suicide. Chloe got so cold, had the whole messed up relationship with Doomsday last year, and is very Luthoresque this year. Lex, Tess...they ended up being bad guys, and are dangerous to those close to Clark. Zod and Clark's people ended up living by different set of rules, and cultural differences make it impossible for him to connect with them. Pete ended up with meteor powers. Lana ended up with krypto-suit and is toxic to Clark. Alicia died. The Kents were dealing with the whole alien thing rather well for a long time. But then again, it took years for the issue to come up in the first place, and Clark wasn't even that active back then. And Jonathan did end up paying the price. Only Martha managed to walk away undamaged.
So I can't really blame Clark for wanting something just for himself, and wanting to keep it safe and untainted for as long as possible. For wanting to keep the the light and sunshine and everything he has with Lois away from all the darkness. I think his look in that last hug is telling and he knows it won't last forever, and he'll have to tell her eventually and introduce her to darker side of his life. But I don't begrudge him for wanting to have some happiness and for trying to cling to it for as long as possible.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 25th, 2010 10:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: pt. 2

That's a wonderful description, and I do agree with a lot of it. ♥ But some small part of me also thinks Clark is underestimating Lois, and her ability to bring that same light to even the darkest corners of his life, and stand by his side to lend him strength.

The other thing is how EVERYONE knows Clark's secret except Lois. It just makes her stand out as the only clueless one, and that doesn't really make sense to me.

Truly, though, the part of my review that you quoted had more to do with my issues with what Clark said, than what he's hiding from Lois. I just don't understand, given how many secrets Clark still feels the need to keep from her, how his head could be in a place where he's already talking about making a lifelong commitment. One minute they're racing full speed ahead, and the next they're slamming on the brakes again. It seems like they want to have their cake (giving us these intensely emotional scenes like the one in the loft, or Clois sex in Pandora), and eat it, too (making them all AU in some way, so they don't count, and the show doesn't have to deal with the relationship moving forward too fast).
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: February 24th, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wondered about the mystery dust. It seemed to just get dropped. Did the green K just cancel it out?

I loved all the stuff with the Kandorans (sp?) and Callum Blue sent little shivers up my spine. And I have no clear idea what the hell's going on with that stuff. But it was definitely the most coherent part of the ep.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 25th, 2010 11:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, when Clark was on Red!K in Crimson, exposing him to Green!K broke its hold on him, and returned him to normal, so I think the same thing happened here. But in many ways the Gemstone!K resembled a magic spell more than the kind of effect we associate with meteor rocks. How would returning Clark to normal automatically fix Lois, for example?

Callum Blue was so good in this episode! Menacing Tess, goading Clark, his contempt for Clark at the funeral, and his utter disbelief as the towers fell. It was a great episode for him.
(Deleted comment)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 25th, 2010 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tom was so pretty in his scenes with Erica. I just love how Clark looks at Lois! *swoons* And then he was incredibly HOT as the Blur. Truly the best of both worlds! ;)

Thanks so much for your comment!
el_elle_8 From: el_elle_8 Date: February 24th, 2010 11:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Persuasion!

I can understand why you had problems with Lois in this episode. I share some of your confusion. I too would have liked to have seen a further exploration of the Kandorian storyline. I want to know more about the Kandorians and what they are doing and how Clark is dealing with them.

I would agree that the differences in the two story lines was jarring but I saw this episode showing us all of the different elements in Clark's life and how he has to play many different rolls. Continuing along the lines of the overall theme of finding balance in his life and how difficult that is.

Persuasion introduced us to a new kind of meteor rock, dubbed gemstone kryptonite. It looked pink in its fairy dust form, but sparkled in many different colors as it swirled around Clark, and its exact properties would prove just as hard to pin down.
I do think this episode would have benefited from a more thorough explanation of how the gemstone k worked. It may have given us a better explanation of why the characters were acting like they did...not just making assumptions.

Despite the issues, I thought everyone brought their A game and there were some beautiful shots in this episode particularly the funeral scene and the scene were Clark made his decision regarding the solar towers.

As always, Tom was gorgeous! I have to agree with your choice of favourite cap. *Stunning*
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 25th, 2010 11:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I saw this episode showing us all of the different elements in Clark's life and how he has to play many different rolls. Continuing along the lines of the overall theme of finding balance in his life and how difficult that is.

That's a topic I'm interested in, too, and I actually think the show touched on that quite effectively in Warrior. But the storylines were just too disparate for me in this one. I'm glad it worked for you, though.

I do think this episode would have benefited from a more thorough explanation of how the gemstone k worked. It may have given us a better explanation of why the characters were acting like they did...not just making assumptions.

I agree. In the past the effect of different meteor rocks on Clark has always been well defined and pretty straightforward, but I just couldn't wrap my mind around exactly what the Gemstone!K did. I don't know what to take away from what I saw, because I don't know if it was real or not. Does Chloe truly think Lois is bad for Clark, or did the meteor rock just make her crazy? Is there really a part of Clark that would have killed Tess in cold blood? I still don't know, especially because no one talked about their mind-whammied behavior after the fact to give us any insight.

Despite the issues, I thought everyone brought their A game and there were some beautiful shots in this episode particularly the funeral scene and the scene were Clark made his decision regarding the solar towers.

Absolutely, and that's a great point. The acting was wonderful all the way around, and the director gave us some very interesting scenes from a visual standpoint. In addition to the two you mention, I also liked the fight between Chloe and Tess, and that last farmhouse scene was breathtaking.

I love that cap beyond all reason. When I saw that scene in the episode I'm pretty sure my heart stopped. ;)
el_elle_8 From: el_elle_8 Date: February 26th, 2010 02:03 am (UTC) (Link)
That's a topic I'm interested in, too, and I actually think the show touched on that quite effectively in Warrior. But the storylines were just too disparate for me in this one. I'm glad it worked for you, though
I would agree that this issue was handled much better in Warrior than in Persuasion.

I don't know what to take away from what I saw, because I don't know if it was real or not.
This is a great point. I have no idea if the reaction to the GemstoneK was real or as a result of the GemstoneK???

Completely agree with you about the Chloe/Tess fight and the last farmhouse scene! Beautifully shot!!
silverscreengal From: silverscreengal Date: February 25th, 2010 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I read your review last night and then went to rewatch the ep. I needed to see what I was missing that everyone else was seeing. I understand everyone's point of view and I don't necessarily disagree, but I'm embarassed to say I enjoyed the ep. I mean, I didn't love it but it didn't offend me like it did a lot of other people.

I'm not a shallow person, but I've been so happy with my show because it has found its sense of humor again. And I enjoy Tom with a sense of humor.

And, okay, I'll admit it, Tom has NEVER EVER looked better. There I said it out loud!!You know me a little and you know I hardly say anything and then all of the sudden, I'm admitting I like my show for The Pretty!!!!

Actually, for this time in my life, the caps you provided are enough for me now.

Yup, when it comes to Tom, I am shallow. I'm LOUD, I'm PROUD and I'm a Tommy-luster!! There, I said it!!




tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 26th, 2010 12:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think you should be embarrassed in any way for enjoying this episode. The majority of reviews I saw for it were raves. Obviously I missed something that lots of other people saw and embraced. That's okay, this certainly isn't the first time I haven't shared the popular opinion. :)

I wouldn't say I was offended by Persuasion. Confused and disappointed is more like it. I thought the imagery at the end was unfortunate, but I'm not angry about it.

I loved the humor Tom brought to Clark in his scenes with Lois. He is so gifted comedically, and that is one of the aspects of this relationship that I have always enjoyed the most, especially this season. And Erica is very funny herself. I also appreciate their cute couple moments. When Lois sat on Clark's lap and rubbed noses with him, I thought she was adorable. And Clark seemed to like it a lot, too. ;)

You know how much I respect and admire Tom as an actor, but you also know how shallow I can be! :D The man is seriously beyond belief in his beauty, and no episode has made that more apparent than this one. The possibility that he will disappear forever behind the cameras when Smallville is over breaks my heart.

You and your love of the pretty are always welcome here. Make no mistake about that! :)
damsels_fly From: damsels_fly Date: February 25th, 2010 05:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Great review as usual! And as a GIANT Lois Lane fan I hate to agree that Lois could have skipped this ep and her story wouldn't have been missed much. :(
I did enjoy the dinner scene though. Nose touch!!

And Lois asking him flat out, if you had a secret, would you tell me, again forcing and highlighting the lie. I don't understand what the point of that is.

IMO Lois was not asking him if he had a secret. She was asking if she was trustworthy and dependable. It was about her, not him.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 26th, 2010 01:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi! *waves* Thanks for your comment!

I'm a big Lois Lane fan myself. :) There's no question that mind-whammied Lois was funny, and Erica did a great job of bringing a script I found problematic to life. I guess I just want to see Clark and Lois's tender moments reserved for when they're both themselves. I don't want the milestones in their relationship to be influenced by outside forces, and that's what I felt like was happening in Persuasion.

IMO Lois was not asking him if he had a secret. She was asking if she was trustworthy and dependable. It was about her, not him.

You're absolutely right, of course. Lois was not pressuring Clark, or digging for anything. But the particular words the writer chose gave it a double meaning that made me twitch. That probably says more about me than it does about Clark or Lois, though. :)
29 comments or Leave a comment