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Smallville 7.12 - Fracture - I worship at the television altar
tariel22
tariel22
Smallville 7.12 - Fracture
This week's episode of Smallville was a wonderful Valentine's gift for a fangirl like me, and I wouldn't trade the hour I spent in front of my television screen, drinking it all in, for a lifetime supply of chocolate or a room full of roses. Because this week I saw Clark Kent come closer to embodying the qualities of Superman than I ever have before. And it turns out it's not about wearing a cape or taking to the skies, it's about displaying nobility, righteousness, compassion, and leadership. I find myself amazed that a show that has been on the air for nearly seven seasons, and that drives me crazy on a regular basis, can make me feel this excited about a simple episode of television. Smallville, you own me still.

If last week was all about Clark and the women in his life, this week was all about Clark and Lex. Oh, what a glorious, complex, rich relationship these two men have! No wonder their lives are destined to be entwined for all time. Lately we've had episode after episode without even a moment of Clark and Lex together, and I was beginning to think they had nothing left to say to one another, that their future promised nothing more than the bitter exchanges of sworn enemies. I should have known better than to take their current estrangement at face value.

We open the episode with Lex tracking down Kara, who has amnesia and has lost her powers, but who clearly knows Lex. Lois is in the mix too, evidently chasing a story. In a confrontation with Finley, Kara's coworker turned crazy stalker ex-con boyfriend, Lex takes a bullet between the eyes and is left for dead. Kara and Lois remain at the dangerous mercy of Finley while the authorities discover Lex and medevac him to the Smallville Medical Center.

Wait. What? They medevac him from Detroit, Michigan, to Smallville, Kansas, to the world-renowned team of neurosurgeons always on call at the good old SMC. Yeah, the Mayo Clinic doesn't hold a candle to the SMC. Right. That's almost as funny as Lionel saying he has a friend who's a cop, who let him borrow a critical piece of evidence from the crime scene. Smallville, please.

OTOH, I want to applaud Caroline Dries for explaining to us why Clark hasn't been searching high and low for Kara. And she did it with two simple words: "Kara's alive?" Clearly Clark thought Kara had been killed in the same explosion that destroyed the clones of Lara and Zor-El in Blue. See how nicely that loose end was tied up? I can think of so many more that are still dangling. Might I suggest a line for a future episode? Chloe: "My dad? He got a really great job in Indiana." Of course, then I'd be tempted to add, "He wanted me to go with him, but my home is here in Smallville, living in an apartment that is owned by the monster who exploited my mother and forced her to choose a catatonic state over life with me, and that is also a six hour round trip commute to my job and school in Metropolis." But that's why I don't write for Smallville. :)

Anyway, Lex is in a coma from which he may never emerge. Clark looks truly stricken at the news, and we begin to realize he still cares about Lex. No one knows exactly where Kara and Lois are, just that they must be in danger from whomever shot Lex. Chloe wants to use her powers to heal Lex so he can lead them to the rescue, but Clark thinks the risk is too great. What to do, what to do?

Lana, looking an awful lot like a female prison guard, uses her newly acquired computer-fu to discover an experimental LuthorCorp project that may allow someone to Vulcan mind meld with Lex and retrieve his memories, albeit with the possible side effect of death. There's a beautiful moment where Clark steps away as Chloe and Lana discuss the dangers of the procedure, a moment where he stands tall and alone, and realizes he is uniquely qualified to take on this risk. "I can do this," he says with determination, but what I hear is, "This is a job for Superman," and a thrill runs down my spine!

Lana doesn't want Clark to do it; she's afraid it's too dangerous. Or is she really afraid of what Clark might see in there? Chloe, who share's Clark's hero's mentality, warns him only to be careful. And we're off, as Clark takes a trip down the rabbit hole. Lex's mind is a crazy warren of dark hallways and mysterious doors, where Clark views Lex's memories to discover his recent history with Kara, and where the lighting and colors conspire to make Tom Welling look even prettier than usual. Guh.

It's notable to me that Clark is shown flinging his trademark red jacket off to the side as he readies himself to be linked with Lex, and yet when we see him inside Lex's mind, he has it back on. And for once I don't mind, because it's just one more element that evokes the image of Superman. That all-too-familiar red jacket and blue tee, coupled with Clark's new, short-cropped, jet black hair, and the powerful, quietly confident demeanor I see Tom Welling portray more comfortably each week, just seem to announce we have a superhero in the house. Although, as we soon see, one without his powers at hand.

And Clark plays the part too, as he protects little Alexander and mourns his loss of innocence at his parents' hands, as he views Lex's manipulation of Kara with righteous indignation and fiercely battles evil Lex, and most of all as he rediscovers the friendship with Lex he thought was forever lost, and once again embraces hope for Lex's ultimate redemption. Because I think the greatest of Superman's qualities is his inherent love for the human race, and his infinite capacity to find good in us all.

James Marshall is one of my favorite Smallville directors, and he crafted a wonderful story for us, with consistently outstanding performances from all the actors. The young actor who played Alexander was perfect: adorable, affectionate, heartbreaking, and with goodness just shining in his eyes. Yay for continuity, with Alisen Down returning as Lillian Luthor. I was also happy to see Laura Vandervoort return to the show. I've missed Kara, and she continued to shine this week. And John Glover was, as always, fabulous.

I was sorry to see Lois relegated to uttering clunker lines again this week. "Well, sail on, Columbus, I'm gonna chart my own course to find her," and "Does MacGyver blush every time he walks past me?" Really, Smallville?

Chloe emerged as a true hero in her own right this week. She saved Clark and Lex both, without hesitation or regard for her own peril. The experience clearly gave her pause, leaving her dead for the better part of a day, but at no time did she back down from the rights and responsibilities that come with such a great gift. It looks like she and Clark will take the hero's journey side by side, and each in their own way reconcile themselves with destiny. Rock on, Chloe!

So what did we learn from our little sojourn into Lex's inner workings? First and foremost, just as we saw in Onyx, Lex has two sides, good and evil, who each struggle for a place in his psyche. But now his good side has been reduced to a small child, while his evil side seems to have fulfilled the dark promise of Cassandra's vision long ago. Evil is clearly winning. Second, Lex may never really have had a chance, given the horrific childhood he survived. And finally, it's all about Clark. Lex pursues Kara and her secrets because she is Clark to him, right down to the underwater rescue that marked their first meeting. Solving Kara's mysteries is the key to solving Clark's, and Lex is taking advantage of her the same way he took advantage of Clark in Blank. And if Lex ever truly loved Lana, it was only as an extension of Clark, a second best substitute for the love and trust Clark could never give him. Now she is nothing more than a weapon to be wielded, as he did in this episode. And for the record, that had to be a false memory, because Lana was clearly wearing her wedding ring, and I'm fairly certain Lex and Lana never shared a bed after their wedding day, much less declarations of eternal love.

As for Clark, we learned he has never completely given up on Lex. And now that he's met Alexander, he'll fight in earnest to save him. The conversation between Clark and Lex at the mansion, the first we've seen in weeks, was completely honest and heartfelt on Clark's part, and completely cynical and heartbreaking on Lex's. Not that I blame him, but I fell in love with that little boy inside, and I want to see more of him. And what an intriguing exit line by Clark, quoting Lex's own words to Kara back to him: "Trust me, Lex, there's nothing that's lost that can't be found again."

Michael and Tom were both beyond awesome this week, especially in their scenes together. We rarely see a script where Michael is given enough screen time to remind us that he is one of the most talented actors on this show, and he certainly made the most of this rare Lexcentric episode. And Tom matched him, scene for scene, proving once more that nothing on this show beats the chemistry between these two actors, and between the characters they portray.

One scene that bears special mention was the final one between Clark and Alexander. That little boy just about broke my heart, and Clark was at his most heroic taking the time to reassure and encourage the better side of Lex. Tom Welling has always been magical when he acts with children, and this scene was one of his best ever. And that little wave, at the end? Yeah, me too. *sniffles*

Random thoughts: Lionel knows about Chloe now! That makes me nervous. Cute little shout out to Martha, with the "2nd best I've ever had" pie remark that Lex made. Did Clark already know that Kara saved Lex at the dam? He looked kind of stunned by Lex's memory of her in the water. And I don't quite know what to make of Lex's maniacal laughter when Clark was hitting him. Buh? Another lovely song this week, Say It Again, by Marie Digby. Her new album, Unfold, which includes this song and Spell, from Wrath, will finally come out in April.

So where do we go from here? I feel like anything is possible! And with the writers' strike finally settled, and the promise of additional episodes, it's all good. I'm a happy fangirl! Whenever the next new episode airs, I'll be there. I hope you'll join me!

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Comments
From: seacrystal Date: February 15th, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wait. What? They medevac him from Detroit, Michigan, to Smallville, Kansas, to the world-renowned team of neurosurgeons always on call at the good old SMC. Yeah, the Mayo Clinic doesn't hold a candle to the SMC. Right. That's almost as funny as Lionel saying he has a friend who's a cop, who let him borrow a critical piece of evidence from the crime scene. Smallville, please.

Smallville is funny that way. It can get so utterly, absolutely ridiculous and stupid, and yet you just can't let go and keep watching it anyway.

There's a beautiful moment where Clark steps away as Chloe and Lana discuss the dangers of the procedure, a moment where he stands tall and alone, and realizes he is uniquely qualified to take on this risk. "I can do this," he says with determination, but what I hear is, "This is a job for Superman," and a thrill runs down my spine!

Yeah, I absolutely love this moment, there wasn't even the slightest hesitation from him -- for family and his friend.

That all-too-familiar red jacket and blue tee, coupled with Clark's new, short-cropped, jet black hair, and the powerful, quietly confident demeanor I see Tom Welling portray more comfortably each week, just seem to announce we have a superhero in the house. Although, as we soon see, one without his powers at hand.

I've been noticing this more and more too, ever since Persona itself. He just exudes this self-confidence tempered with kindness that I've always associated with Clark/Superman.

Lex pursues Kara and her secrets because she is Clark to him, right down to the underwater rescue that marked their first meeting. Solving Kara's mysteries is the key to solving Clark's, and Lex is taking advantage of her the same way he took advantage of Clark in Blank. And if Lex ever truly loved Lana, it was only as an extension of Clark, a second best substitute for the love and trust Clark could never give him. Now she is nothing more than a weapon to be wielded, as he did in this episode

Exactly. Everything has always been an extension of his obsession with Clark. Lex can claim all he wants that he has no interest in Clark anymore, but his actions certainly show otherwise.

Clark was at his most heroic taking the time to reassure and encourage the better side of Lex.

Absolutely. It's a very powerful scene to me -- the red door was dissolving rapidly and still Clark took the time to reassure Alexander. He went back for the boy not once, but twice.

And I don't quite know what to make of Lex's maniacal laughter when Clark was hitting him.

I think it's a manifestation of how Lex viewed Clark's attempts to save Alexander -- pathetic and pitiful. Deep down, he KNOWS that Clark still cares for him but it's also easier to blame Clark and guilt-trip him into thinking that it's all Clark's fault for him turning into this soulless being. Lex still refused to accept that whatever he has done, they're all his choices and his own responsibility. The scene at the mansion confirmed this -- Lex told Clark it took a brush with death to show his "softer side". That's just BS, Clark had been there for him more times that he could count. He had even once chosen Lex over his parents in Shattered.

Because I think the greatest of Superman's qualities is his inherent love for the human race, and his infinite capacity to find good in us all.

Couldn't agree more.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 15th, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been noticing this more and more too, ever since Persona itself. He just exudes this self-confidence tempered with kindness that I've always associated with Clark/Superman.

I agree, and I wonder exactly what sparked the change. For a second I even thought, did something actually happen while he was frozen in the fortress? :) I suspect it's Tom himself, because it's all in the nuances of how he holds himself, his expressions, and the timbre of his voice. And I love it!

Everything has always been an extension of his obsession with Clark. Lex can claim all he wants that he has no interest in Clark anymore, but his actions certainly show otherwise.

Absolutely. With Kara, I keep going back to her scene with Lex behind the Talon at the end of Fierce. He drew the parallels himself. And with Lana last night, it was as if Clark watching him make love to her was more important to him than the act itself. Creepy.

It's a very powerful scene to me -- the red door was dissolving rapidly and still Clark took the time to reassure Alexander. He went back for the boy not once, but twice.

I know. And yet he was so gentle with him, with no hint of urgency or impatience in his voice. It was such a Superman moment! And the perfection of his performance made me fall in love with Tom all over again.

I think it's a manifestation of how Lex viewed Clark's attempts to save Alexander -- pathetic and pitiful.

Oh, that makes so much sense. As if Clark's efforts are completely futile, and that amuses him no end. Good call, thanks. And that scene in Shattered when Clark takes off with Lex over his parents' objections is one of the most significant moments in the series, I think.

I can't wait for someone to make Clark icons from this episode! *wants* Thanks so much for commenting! I always love your insights.
From: seacrystal Date: February 15th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
OTOH, I want to applaud Caroline Dries for explaining to us why Clark hasn't been searching high and low for Kara. And she did it with two simple words: "Kara's alive?" Clearly Clark thought Kara had been killed in the same explosion that destroyed the clones of Lara and Zor-El in Blue. See how nicely that loose end was tied up?

I actually thought that line was very odd. If Clark had really believed she was killed, he didn't seem to be hit hard with that realization. They really should have explained it more.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 15th, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey, I'll take what I can get. I had been wondering why in the world Clark hadn't mentioned Kara since he returned from the Fortress. I'm taking this bone and running with it! :)
(Deleted comment)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 15th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
This episode was so good!! I'm still on a high from it. I think I've watched it at least four times already. LOL!

Lana was pretty harmless last night. I feel like they just don't know what to do with her except as an object of love/lust/obsession. So now they're giving her Chloe-like tasks. And it was funny in the Isis scene, because KK and AM were both doing exposition, and AM was so much better at it! To be fair, she does have a lot of experience, but she just totally rocks at it.

I was thinking the exact same thing, that Kara and Lex are S1 Clark and Lex all over again! And in my head I was saying, oh, Lex, you're making all the same mistakes, and this is not going to end well. *sighs*

Wow is right about the actor who played Alexander, he was phenomenal! God, i just wanted to give him a big hug!! And I was completely freaked out in the scene where Lex was trying to kill him. I imagine that was difficult to film, because it would be so intense to play that out with a child.

Michael was beyond incredible in this episode. I'm so happy to see him finally have the opportunity to show his talent this season! More, please!! And quite honestly, after seeing the way Lionel was in Lex's memories, I was glad to see the expression on his face when Lionel finally offered up those words. In my living room, I was saying out loud, are you kidding me?! I thought Lionel showed more concern for Clark than he did for Lex.

And Chloe was, of course, the bomb. Isn't this turning out to be her season to finally shine? I loved how she didn't back down about it being her choice how she uses her power, and then how Clark totally acknowledged that she was right. Complete mutual respect there as they shared something that neither of them can have with anyone else. Too cool.

Didn't I tell you it was awesome?! :)
goodvibe From: goodvibe Date: February 15th, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
//It's notable to me that Clark is shown flinging his trademark red jacket off to the side as he readies himself to be linked with Lex, and yet when we see him inside Lex's mind, he has it back on. And for once I don't mind, because it's just one more element that evokes the image of Superman. That all-too-familiar red jacket and blue tee, coupled with Clark's new, short-cropped, jet black hair, and the powerful, quietly confident demeanor I see Tom Welling portray more comfortably each week, just seem to announce we have a superhero in the house. Although, as we soon see, one without his powers at hand.//

Very well noted.

ITA about the Clex dynamic, which, when written as well as it deserves, can be so fascinating. The fact that the ep focused on this relationship, and the wee!Lex and Clark scenes, were the highlights for me. Unfortunately I'm not as enthused about the rest of the ep, but there was some good stuff in there, definitely.

And I wasn't aware that the strike ended. Well, this would presumably mean more eps for SV?


tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 15th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
The scenes between Clark and Alexander were my favorites. That little boy was wonderful! And you've probably figured out by now that I'm not exactly a critic of the show. :) I'm way too much of a fangirl to have any capacity for objective analysis. :P

Word is that the network has requested five additional episodes from Smallville, which would bring the season total to 20 episodes, only two fewer than normal. Yay! \o/
goodvibe From: goodvibe Date: February 16th, 2008 11:39 am (UTC) (Link)
//Word is that the network has requested five additional episodes from Smallville, which would bring the season total to 20 episodes, only two fewer than normal. Yay! \o///

Ah, I see.


//And you've probably figured out by now that I'm not exactly a critic of the show. :) I'm way too much of a fangirl to have any capacity for objective analysis. :P//

And there aint nothin wrong with that! I'm quite the Clark/TW fangirl myself. I often wish I loved the show itself more than I actually do, but hey, I'm still watching.


jeannev From: jeannev Date: February 15th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
There was a lot I loved about this episode, but I had some problems with the overall way it was put together. Between the happenings in Offscreensville, and the on screen contrivances, I just felt myself being taken out of the episode a bit.

And far be it for me to complain about lack of Lana, but her disappearing from the episode was beyond odd. Its like they couldn't figure out how to work her into what was going on, so they just pretended she didn't exist. Now, I'm all for less Lana, but this just felt wrong.

Clark looks truly stricken at the news, and we begin to realize he still cares about Lex.

Wasn't that nice? I always catalog these little moments away in my head for when the inevitable "Clark is so mean to Lex" stuff rears its irritating head. I think he's shown over and over that he still cares about Lex's well being. But he's also really pissed off at the guy. Shouldn't he be?

That all-too-familiar red jacket and blue tee, coupled with Clark's new, short-cropped, jet black hair, and the powerful, quietly confident demeanor I see Tom Welling portray more comfortably each week, just seem to announce we have a superhero in the house.

Thats awesome! I really do get the feeling that TW is ready...beyond ready...to take this puppy to the next level. I hope he gets the chance.

Did Clark already know that Kara saved Lex at the dam? He looked kind of stunned by Lex's memory of her in the water.

This is one of those things that was never addressed. Of course, thats completely ludicrous. But thats SV for you.

I'm glad you loved the ep so much.

tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 16th, 2008 05:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Lana disappearing was totally weird. I fanwanked that she knew that as soon as Clark got in there he would see something she'd have a hard time explaining, so she ran like hell as soon as the doctor asked her to wait outside. :)

Clark cast so many concerned and adoring gazes Lex's way! First, when he arrived at the hospital and heard Lionel's news, and then, as he stood there, he just kept staring at Lex, unconscious on that gurney. And how about those smiles he gave little Alexander, time and again throughout the episode? That looked like pure love to me.

I really feel like Tom maybe has had enough, and is doing this as an actor, in the nuances over which he has control. Aren't you the one who said you had heard the haircut was his idea? And I swear his hair is darker. Whatever the reason, it's working for me, big time.

The one thing that did bother me about the episode was the final scene between Kara and Lex. I just didn't understand why she would call him. Presumably she now knows he lied to her the whole time he was in Detroit, not telling her that he knew exactly who she was. Why would she trust him over Clark? And why isn't Clark telling her the whole truth about her identity? I didn't get that at all.

I'm still pretty much spoiler free, and that has been working out pretty well for me, but I'm cautiously optimistic about the rest of the season. I guess we'll see what happens. :)

Edited at 2008-02-16 06:47 am (UTC)
voldything From: voldything Date: February 17th, 2008 12:03 am (UTC) (Link)
"I can do this," he says with determination, but what I hear is, "This is a job for Superman," and a thrill runs down my spine!

*G* I felt the same way!

And Tom matched him, scene for scene, proving once more that nothing on this show beats the chemistry between these two actors, and between the characters they portray.

It was so thrilling watching them act together in so many scenes after years of the random little chat filled with accusations. Sv would be nothing without Tom and Michael ♥
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 17th, 2008 02:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Sv would be nothing without Tom and Michael ♥

I couldn't agree more! And that scene at the end was wonderful. OMG, Lex just wouldn't give an inch on his cynicism and bitterness, and Clark was so sincere, the whole thing was all hopeful and heartbreaking at the same time. I think the third time I watched it, I yelled, "Just hug it out, bitch!" LOL! I love my boys. *smishes them*
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