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Smallville 9x17 - Checkmate - I worship at the television altar
tariel22
tariel22
Smallville 9x17 - Checkmate


Checkmate burst onto my TV screen like a flashy, oversized comic book, grabbing me and taking me on a thrill ride of an episode that was like nothing I've seen on Smallville before. The teaser set the tone, with cool cinematography, exciting action sequences, a deadly femme fatale, and a charming superhero in green leather. By the time the opening credits rolled I was all in, and enjoying every second of the fun. The episode gave us danger, intrigue, adventure, a dash of humor, and even a hint of romance. Later, unfortunately, it would falter, and stumble, reminding me that seamless stunts and dazzling special effects are no substitute for consistent characterization and good storytelling, but then it came back strong, with an ending I loved. In the final analysis Checkmate may have been a grand experiment that didn't quite succeed, but it entertained me, kept me on the edge of my seat, and left me humbled by the depth of Clark Kent's devotion to the people, and the planet, he loves.

Checkmate was decidedly and disappointingly light on Clark, but what we did see of him was wonderful. This week Clark was in full-on hero mode. He was serious and focused, and it was hard to tell where Clark ended and the Blur began, right down to the clothes. There was no pretense of the innocent farmboy or the mild-mannered reporter, and no doubt about his priorities, or his commitment to keeping the world safe. I was struck like never before by the enormous weight Clark always carries on his shoulders, and the responsibilities he takes on just because those shoulders are so impossibly broad and strong.

When Clark blurred into Watchtower, Chloe was instantly on the attack, but he refused to rise to the bait, brushing her off and turning instead to the problem at hand. I thought that was the perfect response. Chloe's demand that Clark check in with her constantly and await her every instruction was ridiculous, as was her expectation that in addition to watching over all of Metropolis, he should guarantee the safety of his colleagues as well. If you call yourself a superhero and you need a babysitter, maybe you're in the wrong line of work. Besides, Oliver had no problem dealing with his situation, and he certainly didn't come home crying about being abandoned. No, Chloe's obsession with protocols, and Clark's reluctance to follow them, was just another facet of her need to control everything, which was amped up even higher than usual because it was her boyfriend who had fallen off the grid. And there's no point in Clark arguing with her, because she has closed herself off from him, and would never listen.

I do agree that it was Chloe who pulled Oliver's team back together after the events of Doomsday made them scatter, and she is the one who has kept them connected, with the technology at her fingertips, and her relentless monitoring. She plays a critical role in Clark's life, with her access to information and her phenomenal hacking skills. But she goes way too far, puts her own team at risk with her activities, and has completely lost sight of what constitutes moral or ethical behavior. But the deal breaker for me, of course, is the way she treats Clark.

I'm not disappointed in Clark for apologizing to Chloe, even though I don't think he had anything to apologize for. Sure, being Watchtower puts Chloe at risk. But after what happened in Sleeper, no one knows those risks better than Chloe herself, and what she does is her choice. If something happens to her, that isn't Clark's fault. In Checkmate, Chloe made the decision to go to Met Gen, she turned down Oliver's offer of backup, and she put herself in harm's way. And even Chloe can see why Clark would keep her at arm's length lately. But of course Clark is going to feel responsible for anything that hurts Chloe or puts her in danger. That's who he is; that's part of what makes him a hero. The problem was in how his apology, so heartfelt and sincere, was received.

Clark was shaken to his core by how close he came to losing Chloe forever, and he put aside all their differences to express to her how much he cares about her, and how important it is to him to keep her safe. And his outpouring of emotion was met with cold detachment, and the same judgmental condescension we've come to expect whenever Chloe talks to Clark these days. She took Clark's apology as if it were her due, and gave him nothing in return. And you can't even say it's because she's been emotionally damaged by all she's been through; just look at how she smiles and flirts and glows when she's with Oliver! No, the way Chloe treats Clark is deliberate, her passive aggressive punishment for him daring to question her methods, and failing to toe her line. And Clark even understands that about her, and accepts it without censure. I wish I could be so generous.

I had a harder time understanding Clark's actions with Tess. Why is their relationship characterized by violence? Ever since Tess kidnapped Jor-El in Kandor, and pushed Clark over the edge into revealing his powers to her, their every encounter has ended with Clark manhandling her in some way, or at least threatening to. Is Clark trying to intimidate Tess into keeping his secret? Has he decided that playing rough is the only way to get through to her, or do her games just frustrate him beyond the point of control? I could justify each of the other times in one way or another, but this one seemed particularly brutal, and much more gratuitous. It made me cringe. Or was that just my gender bias showing?

I was impressed with how Clark held his own with Amanda Waller. Anyone who can make Tess Mercer hang her head in shame like a chastised little girl is a force to be reckoned with, and the way she rattled off the names of everyone who plays in the Watchtower clubhouse was positively chilling. Pam Grier was once again awesome, and she endeared herself to fangirls the world over when she spoke for us all to Clark: "You sure are nice to look at." Waller tried threats and manipulative mind games (always my first choice to win someone's loyalty) to get to Clark, but even though her barbs hit home, she was unable to make him bend to her will. Even if Oliver hadn't shut down the power grid, I have no doubt that Clark would have found a way to save the day.

The scene where Clark rescued Chloe was AMAZING. Beautifully conceived and flawlessly executed, it took my breath away. It was visually stunning, and delightfully different for this show. I would love to see a DVD extra showing us exactly how it was all done. The ambitious imagination that dreamed up that sequence, along with many others in the episode, is what made me appreciate Checkmate, in spite of its flaws.

More and more lately we see Clark acting independently, and I like it. Chloe wants him to play by her rules, but the last thing he needs to do is relinquish more power to her. I think it's time for Clark to step up and take a true leadership role. What Checkmate brought home to me is that Clark operates on a completely different playing field than his friends. He has important work to do, and he doesn't always have time to wait for the rest of the team to catch up. He has the safety of the entire planet to consider, today and for all time. While Chloe and Oliver celebrated her escape from Checkmate, Clark went home to spend the night contemplating the future, and all the dangers it holds, and that's where Martian Manhunter found him as dawn broke over the farm. Their quiet conversation, hero to hero, was a wonderful callback to a similar scene in Odyssey, when Clark first decided to fully embrace his destiny, and now he stands on the brink of his next big step on that journey.

It frustrated me to see even J'onn J'onzz keeping secrets from Clark. Yes, he was trying to protect him, but I'm so tired of that. How about letting him stand on his own two feet for a change? Besides, how many times have we seen people make bad decisions in the name of protecting Clark, only to turn around and blame him when it all goes to hell? I know J'onn would never do that, but Lana and Chloe sure did. Also, Clark is the man we know will inspire people all across the world, and become a symbol for truth and justice on Earth and beyond, and yet not one of his friends trusts him enough to be completely honest with him. What's up with that? We keep hearing about all the great and legendary things Clark will do in the future, the savior he will one day become, but what about now? Isn't it past time to let that hero begin to emerge? As the season comes to a close, the writers stand at a crossroads. Will they finally do right by Clark, and set up the final season I've been dreaming about for years, or will they once again knock him down, hold him back, and make the story all about his defeats rather than his triumphs?

For most of Checkmate, I thoroughly enjoyed Oliver. I am completely charmed by his devil-may-care crime fighter who cracks jokes even in the face of death, and watching Green Arrow in action is always a treat. I especially liked the scenes between Oliver and Tess at the mansion, equal parts funny and serious, their teasing banter underlined by cold fury. I'm not a fan of the Chlollie (and I loved Clark's eye-rolling "get a room" expression at their Watchtower reunion), but Justin Hartley sure knows how to bring the romance. I think he's great in this role, and it certainly doesn't hurt that the man is so easy on the eyes.

Everything changed when Oliver met Tess at the coffee shop, though. Oliver lecturing Tess about betrayal was the height of hypocrisy. When they were together, he cheated on her, and he's still the guy who planted a kryptonite arrow in Clark's back and then just walked away. He was completely unmoved by Tess's tears of regret, and even if you think she was faking it, how smart is it to cut loose someone who not only knows as much as Tess does about everything, but who is also so unpredictable? Even worse, he taunted her after turning her down, and then twisted the knife by adding a threat of his own. But what I hated the most was how he left Tess and went straight into Chloe's arms, happily anticipating jumping into bed with her, without a moment of reflection for the woman he probably just sent to her death. Oliver can be such an ass sometimes.

Tess is a complicated character, and Cassidy Freeman sells every layer and nuance. She has been such an amazing addition to this show! I was sad when we lost Aaron Ashmore last season, but I will be devastated if we lose Cassidy at the end of this one. Right now, things aren't looking too good. I've been seeing parallels between Tess and Chloe all season, but their stories look like they're headed for very different endings. Sure, Chloe isn't as bad as Tess. She doesn't kill people in cold blood. But she wields her power with the same arrogant disregard for anyone's agenda but her own, and keeps just as many secrets along the way. Was it just coincidence that Tess and Oliver met at the exact same table where Chloe and Oliver had their meeting in Roulette, or was that Smallville's subtle way of pointing out the contrast between the two women? I'm very much afraid that Chloe, like Oliver, will get a free pass on all her questionable behavior, simply because she's one of the "good" guys, while Tess will be condemned.

I was so happy to see Martian Manhunter return this week, and play such an important role in the episode! He is at the top of my wish list for S10, right after Martha and Perry. And of course Phil Morris gave us another perfect performance. It was especially cool to see so many of MM's powers in action, and his face-off with Amanda Waller was sublime. But most of all I loved seeing J'onn with Clark. Their dynamic is always so heartwarming, even when they don't agree about everything. Clark needs more friends like him. And this mysterious Red Queen J'onn is working for? I'm thinking it must be Martha. Somehow I can't imagine him deferring to anyone else over Clark except his mom. :D

Random thoughts: Tess's bat chute was awesome, and I loved the shot of her booted feet walking by newspapers trumpeting the falling crime rate. This week Oliver seemed to get all those patented Smallville lines. My favorite? "One minute I am saving someone's bacon, next thing I know, I'm the only pig on a pork chop express." Even Clark didn't know WTF he was talking about!



Finding Checkmate agents isn't as hard as some people think. Just look for anyone with a black and white chess set prominently displayed, especially if there's one piece missing. In spite of his hostility whenever they meet, I still think Tess would have been better off going to Clark. Why did Amanda Waller want a copy of Tess's physical? And Louis Febre's score for Checkmate was my favorite so far, enhancing and enriching every moment we saw onscreen.

A lot of people hated Checkmate, and I can totally understand why. One bad scene can ruin an entire episode for me, and this one had several that made my head want to explode. But there was so much that I loved, too. Tom Welling's performance was stellar: thoughtful and nuanced, with a gravity that is always a part of Clark, but that we don't always see. The big bad was truly scary, the guest stars were glorious, and we were left with some intriguing mysteries to ponder. The whole look of the episode was unexpected and fun, and I appreciated the effort to give us something truly different. It took me forever to write this review, and I think that's because my feelings for Checkmate are truly mixed, and could still change, depending on what happens next. I have a lot invested in how the rest of this season plays out, Smallville. Don't let me down.

Clark's pretty when he's heroic. Twenty of my favorite screen caps from Checkmate:




























































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

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Comments
homicidalfink From: homicidalfink Date: April 16th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I wish I had your ability to find the best parts of an episode, even in the fact of disrespect to our boy. Your reviews always make me go back and rewatch to see if I can see things from your perspective.

She plays a critical role in Clark's life, with her access to information and her phenomenal hacking skills.But she goes way too far, puts her own team at risk with her activities, and has completely lost sight of what constitutes moral or ethical behavior. But the deal breaker for me, of course, is the way she treats Clark.

This, right here. Someone mentioned she has absolutely no sense of humility, might have been Valerie, and I have to agree with that. Where Clark, Lois, and to an extent the other characters (jury is still out on Ollie) can see where they made mistakes and acknowledge some sort of self awareness. Chloe? Not so much. It's like a faux-celebrity who starts believing their own press.

Chloe has to be the best, and she has to save someone, even "if it's from themselves". Whether they need the help or not. I'm not opposed to Clark working with people who don't always agree with his code of morality, because that happens quite a bit in the comics. But actively ridiculing and working to undermine that same moral code is indefensible to me in a show about Superman, even if he's still at the Becoming stage.


Everything changed when Oliver met Tess at the coffee shop, though. Oliver lecturing Tess about betrayal was the height of hypocrisy. When they were together, he cheated on her, and he's still the guy who planted a kryptonite arrow in Clark's back and then just walked away. He was completely unmoved by Tess's tears of regret, and even if you think she was faking it, how smart is it to cut loose someone who not only knows as much as Tess does about everything, but who is also so unpredictable? Even worse, he taunted her after turning her down, and then twisted the knife by adding a threat of his own. But what I hated the most was how he left Tess and went straight into Chloe's arms, happily anticipating jumping into bed with her, without a moment of reflection for the woman he probably just sent to her death. Oliver can be such an ass sometimes.

And this, too. I was floored, especially after everything that Oliver has gone through this season, both mentally and physically. Even if he dodn't believe her, to turn someone like Tess loose is to court disaster. He could have funneled her some money to a secret account and then asked her not to contact him again in a way that didn't make him seem like the biggest hypocrit on the planet. If Clark had been in that same position, he would have tried to help despite personal feelings. But that's why Clark's the bigger man AND hero.

I'm still not over Chloe's reaction to Clark's apology, but I thought Tess and MM rocked every single one of their scenes and MM's escape from the circle of fire was genius. And the final loft scene between the two male survivors of their respective races (not counting the clones) was IMO one of the best parts of this episode.

Er, sorry this is so long.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: April 17th, 2010 01:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Don't ever apologize for a long comment, I love long comments!

Your reviews always make me go back and rewatch to see if I can see things from your perspective.

It has been suggested that I'm deluding myself. :)

Someone mentioned she has absolutely no sense of humility

I think that's true. She can't begin to believe that someone else might know better than she, and she thinks it's perfectly okay to impose her "superior" judgment on others by whatever means necessary. I think the moment that really made me see that was when Chloe's monitoring equipment made Clark's voice modulator go on the fritz in Idol, and Lois heard Clark's real voice. Instead of taking that as a wake-up call that her unnecessary spying had gone too far, Chloe just amped up the deception and fixed it by fooling Lois with a fake Blur call. She didn't even hesitate, and she completely dismissed the concerns that Clark expressed.

But actively ridiculing and working to undermine that same moral code is indefensible to me in a show about Superman, even if he's still at the Becoming stage.

Chloe is so unrelentingly hostile toward Clark most of the time, and I really hate her condescension. It's to the point where I'd really like to hear Allison explain her acting choices. And it's even more apparent now, with Chloe in a relationship with Oliver, because we can see how differently she acts with him.

At least Oliver doesn't join in with the Clark bashing anymore. I don't have a problem with how he treats Clark. I have a huge problem with him not telling Clark about the weapons stash, though.

If Clark had been in that same position, he would have tried to help despite personal feelings. But that's why Clark's the bigger man AND hero.

For a second I wondered if that's what they were trying to show us, the difference between Clark and Oliver, but I don't think it's anything that subtle. I think they're just trying to isolate Tess, but it really makes Oliver look bad. He's a huge hypocrite if he's not willing to forgive her past mistakes, and if he's letting his feelings for Chloe sway his decision at all, serving up some misguided form of vengeance, that's just wrong. Plus he was cruel about it. I hated that whole scene.

And the final loft scene between the two male survivors of their respective races (not counting the clones) was IMO one of the best parts of this episode.

I loved that scene so much. Both actors were wonderful, and I thought there was a real sense of reverence there for the enormity of Clark's destiny. It's this huge responsibility, and he's stepping up and shouldering that burden right before our eyes! ♥
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: April 16th, 2010 02:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I absolutely HATE & LOATHE the character of Amanda Waller (like if she were real, I'd put out a hit on her), so I spent most of the episode wanting to beat her to a pulp. And loving J'onn to death because he was awesome!

I'm wondering why the women in Smallville can't seem to take responsibility for any of their actions. Chloe didn't. Tess didn't. Sooooooo annoying. And it does certain characters, like Chloe, a disservice.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: April 17th, 2010 02:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Amanda Waller is just a big bully, you know? I so loved that they left her dazed and confused at the end of the episode!

J'onn was beyond awesome. He's not only a great hero, he's a wonderful mentor for Clark, and a good friend. And Phil Morris's respect and regard for these characters, and this show, shines through in every moment he's onscreen. We're so lucky to have him on the show.

I think a lot of what has happened over the past two seasons has done Chloe a disservice. I figure I have to accept that this is who Chloe is now, that this is the sum of her experience, but it's very disheartening to find myself so at odds with a character I used to love so much. :(

I think Lois takes responsibility for her actions most of the time. And lots of times her actions aren't even her own fault, like when she was compelled by Clark's voice in Persuasion. Clark and Chloe decide they can't tell her what really happened, and she's left to apologize and feel embarrassed about everything she did while under his spell.
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: April 18th, 2010 10:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was thinking of Lois as the exception. Chloe has turned into an entitled little snot. Very disheartening.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: April 24th, 2010 12:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Lois is the exception in other ways, too. She's the one person who doesn't chase after Clark's secret, for example, and who believes in him without fail, both as a man, and (in those episodes where she has learned about his powers) as a hero. Is it any wonder I like her? :)

I think it's still possible to bring some version of the old Chloe back, but I have a feeling they don't want to. I think TPTB see this Chloe as new and improved, but I never will.
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: April 24th, 2010 10:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
She wasn't too bad last night. The relationship second to a higher calling remark had me rolling my eyes, though. I suppose it's true-ish but she sure looked happy when she got Ollie's text.
tasabian From: tasabian Date: April 16th, 2010 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)
This week Oliver seemed to get all those patented Smallville lines. My favorite? "One minute I am saving someone's bacon, next thing I know, I'm the only pig on a pork chop express." Even Clark didn't know WTF he was talking about!
Aw, confused Clark was so cute!

I had a harder time understanding Clark's actions with Tess. Why is their relationship characterized by violence? Ever since Tess kidnapped Jor-El in Kandor, and pushed Clark over the edge into revealing his powers to her, their every encounter has ended with Clark manhandling her in some way, or at least threatening to. Is Clark trying to intimidate Tess into keeping his secret? Has he decided that playing rough is the only way to get through to her, or do her games just frustrate him beyond the point of control? I could justify each of the other times in one way or another, but this one seemed particularly brutal, and much more gratuitous. It made me cringe.
I've hated every single one of the Clark-manhandles-Tess scenes. It's lazy writing - let him outwit her, for heck's sake! I don't mind Oliver and Tess fighting - they;re both human. But Clark should save the rough stuff for super-powered people like Maxima.

Pam Grier was once again awesome, and she endeared herself to fangirls the world over when she spoke for us all to Clark: "You sure are nice to look at."
Best moment of the episode, no doubt!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: April 24th, 2010 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Aw, confused Clark was so cute!

I just wanted to smooth his poor, furrowed brow!

I've hated every single one of the Clark-manhandles-Tess scenes. It's lazy writing - let him outwit her, for heck's sake!

I would vastly prefer that! Remember the clever Clark who tricked Zod back in S6? Let's see some more of that guy!

Best moment of the episode, no doubt!

I have to think that yummy noise she made was pure ad-lib! :D
jlvsclrk From: jlvsclrk Date: April 16th, 2010 03:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Brilliant review! Just chockful of insight - I always feel an "aha" when you break down the tricky bits and I see more clearly why my buttons got pushed.

The episode gave us danger, intrigue, adventure, a dash of humor, and even a hint of romance. Later, unfortunately, it would falter, and stumble, reminding me that seamless stunts and dazzling special effects are no substitute for consistent characterization and good storytelling.

Exactly! So like you say later, does the bad stuff at the end negate everything that went before? Like you, I find myself reserving judgement on some aspects until we see how the season plays out. I'm starting to get optimistic though that the writers will back up Clark for once.

She took Clark's apology as if it were her due, and gave him nothing in return.

Exactly! It's not Clark's apology that irks, it was Chloe's passive aggressive response that made me apopletic. Why on earth is she behaving this way?

Has he decided that playing rough is the only way to get through to her, or do her games just frustrate him beyond the point of control?

I'm thinking the latter, and I'm no more dismayed by his behaviour towards her than I was with his behaviour with Lex towards the end of their relationship. I think the key is that he knows these people deliberately went after his loved ones in an attempt to control him. So no, I don't like him resorting to scare tactics, but I can understand Clark's difficulty in figuring out where to draw the line. My problem with the scene was actually the way he was almost unhinged when he told Tess he wouldn't believe anything she said. That was a combination of bad screenwriting and bad direction for me.

Everything changed when Oliver met Tess at the coffee shop, though. Oliver lecturing Tess about betrayal was the height of hypocrisy.

Yes! I found myself wondering if the screenwriters forgot what happened in S8 completely, but hope this was a deliberate attempt to show that Ollie, like Chloe, is still a very flawed "hero". I feel confident that had Tess gone to Clark, he would have tried to help in some way.

And Clark sure is pretty! Thanks for the screen caps!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: April 24th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Awww, you say the nicest things! *blushes*

Like you, I find myself reserving judgement on some aspects until we see how the season plays out. I'm starting to get optimistic though that the writers will back up Clark for once.

Now, two weeks later, I'm fighting to keep optimism alive. And I'm trying to remember that even if they do insist on building Chloe up in ways that make me crazy, that doesn't necessarily mean they don't want Clark to shine as well. Just not in their interactions together, evidently. :P

Why on earth is she behaving this way?

Maybe if the show acknowledged the way Chloe has shut Clark out completely, and tried to show us why, I would have some empathy for her.

My problem with the scene was actually the way he was almost unhinged when he told Tess he wouldn't believe anything she said. That was a combination of bad screenwriting and bad direction for me.

That line makes me cringe every time I watch the episode. I'm not sure what they were going for there, but it didn't work for me at all.

I found myself wondering if the screenwriters forgot what happened in S8 completely, but hope this was a deliberate attempt to show that Ollie, like Chloe, is still a very flawed "hero".

That was my hope as well, but I'm afraid their attitude is much more simplistic: Tess deserves whatever she gets, simply because she's on the wrong side. Which, if I'm right, doesn't bode well for Tess's future. :(
From: kates_passion Date: April 16th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Great review! I loved all the things you did and cringed at what you did, too. But Tom was exceptional and I love the way you describe the apology scene. I also think he was in character. It broke my heart to see him reach out to Chloe like he did only to have her act so coldly toward him. She really has become unbearable to me.

Thanks for the picspam. I don't know how he can get any prettier but he continually does.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: April 24th, 2010 01:18 am (UTC) (Link)
It broke my heart to see him reach out to Chloe like he did only to have her act so coldly toward him. She really has become unbearable to me.

That's exactly how I feel. It's hard for me to support any character who opposes Clark, but she goes much further, IMO. She's shutting him out completely, and punishing him with her coldness. Cruelly, and relentlessly. Every time she does it, my feelings for her die a little more. :(

I don't know how he can get any prettier but he continually does.

Here we are two weeks later, and he's still doing it! :D
jeannev From: jeannev Date: April 16th, 2010 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Honestly, the more I think about this episode, the more I dislike it.

I do still think certain parts of it worked, particularly great performances by Cassiday and Phil Morris, and finally an episode that shows us what MM can do (though its another character that flies, when Clark doesn't *sigh*). But ultimately, after reading a particularly insightful review on K-Site by a poster named Newbaggy, I'm not so convinced that this type of storyline is a good fit for SV. Though there is no way I could articulate it as well as she did.

Outside of Clark's rescuse of Chloe, I was not overly enamoured of the action sequences. The whole beginning scene for me felt far more silly then edge-of-my-seat exciting.

I know a lot of people felt like this was a good episode, marred by one excrutiatingly bad scene (the Clark apology), but I don't fall into that camp. I think there was a lot about this episode I just wasn't fond of.

I think my biggest issue with the Checkmate storyline thus far, and this episode particularly, is that its not really about Clark at all. To Checkmate, The Blur is just another guy that works with the other hero guys. And in fact, its Watchtower, aka Chloe, that is the most important person. Well, I reject that utterly. How can it be a good thing that Clark is just one of the gang? Should our future Superman ever be reduced to that?

Now, if Checkmate had kidnapped Chloe in an attempt to lure The Blur, knowing that he was the most powerful weapon Checkmate could hope to yield, then I would've been all over that. But that wasn't the story at all. The Blur was no more, or less, important then Green Arrow *GAG*

And I absolutely HATED another violent Clark/Tess encounter, and even more HATED the scene between Oliver and Tess. I think those scenes may have done as much to turn me off this episode as the Clark apology scene did.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: April 24th, 2010 01:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I think my biggest issue with the Checkmate storyline thus far, and this episode particularly, is that its not really about Clark at all. To Checkmate, The Blur is just another guy that works with the other hero guys.

I think this is another situation where prematurely putting Clark Kent into Superman's world is problematic. They can't have Checkmate realize just how significant Clark is, because then the immeasurable force of the government would be relentlessly brought to bear against a superhero who isn't yet in a place where he can stand up to them in the public eye, and win humanity's loyalty, or fight back, because he hasn't fully realized his powers, or learned how to control them. So instead they give it that patented Smallville twist, which in this case serves to diminish him. Not good, show.

And in fact, its Watchtower, aka Chloe, that is the most important person.

I actually didn't come away with that impression. She was their number one target in this episode, but she was just a key, an access point to the information they wanted. I didn't get the impression they wanted her for her hacking skills, and I figured she would be expendable once they commandeered her database. I also thought Waller used all those superlatives in describing her to Clark to manipulate him, and to give her guilt-tripping argument more weight. I didn't really think she was sincere.

I did go over and read the review you talked about. I didn't agree with it completely, but Newbaggy did make some very good points, especially about the role Clark should play, and the clarity of vision he should have about right and wrong in the face of Checkmate's elaborate intrigues. IMO, that part of Clark should be intrinsic, and not something he needs to learn.
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