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Smallville 7.19 - Quest - I worship at the television altar
tariel22
tariel22
Smallville 7.19 - Quest
This episode was all about balance in the universe, and opposite sides of the same coin. We heard about the Traveler and the Destroyer, Naman and Sageeth, the hero and antihero, and yin and yang. Clark and Lex. Both were searching for the mysterious thing that can control Clark. Both were attacked by zealots, and had Kryptonian symbols carved into their chests. But despite the similarities between their journeys this week, their ultimate goals were nowhere near the same. And where once we hoped Clark might save Lex from a future of darkness, we now hope Lex will not unlock the secret to controlling Clark and thereby destroy us all.

All the opposing forces in Quest pretty much mirrored the feelings at war within me as I watched this episode. I rejoiced in watching Michael Rosenbaum give us some of the best acting we've ever seen on this show, but was dismayed anew that they wasted his talent for so long before this, and made Smallville a place he needed to escape, instead of the playground for his craft it could have been, and the showcase for his skill it should have been. I delighted in the strength and integrity Clark displayed, convincing me once again that he truly is my Superman, but was appalled to see a Chloe I barely recognized, and didn't like much either. I welcomed the lack of Clana angst, but felt assaulted by the gratuitous Chimmy. I thought it was cool that they tied the whole legend of the Kawatche caves back into the Veritas story line, but I thought it was ridiculous that they suddenly turned Jimmy Olsen into an ace reporter to do so. I mean, come on! Super spy and irresistible love monkey weren't enough? Whose geekboy fantasies are being brought to life in this character, anyway?! This episode left me reeling.

Michael Rosenbaum was made of awesome this week. I swear, his Lex Luthor could eat babies before my very eyes and still make me feel compassion for him. The depth of emotion in his voice, and the stark torment in his eyes, made me understand Lex's compulsion to find the truth behind his father's obsession. My heart goes out to the lost little boy who could never hope to compete with an alien from another galaxy for his father's devotion, and whose life was changed forever when his father dragged him along in pursuit of that stranger from the skies. Although I still think Lex must know that Clark is the Traveler. Indeed, on some level he's always known. He just needs to hear the words made truth, spoken by someone who knows with absolute certainty.

On a more shallow note, MR is cut! That chest! Those shoulders! Even his collarbone is sexy! And all that golden skin. I must admit, I'm going to miss more than his acting when he leaves this show. One more episode, guys. *cries*

I really loved Clark in this episode. After seeing him act so heroic in the AU in Apocalypse, I find myself wondering more and more, what is it that is holding him back from embracing his destiny? Why in the world is he still hanging around on the farm milking cows instead of saving the world? I don't feel like the show has answered that question (except to say it's Lana, Lana, Lana), and I'm worried they never really will. I'm afraid he'll just have one of those trademark Smallville lightswitch moments, and suddenly want to be a superhero. But then Tom gives me hope, by giving us moments like we saw tonight. I really feel like Tom has taken us on a journey this season, one where Clark is slowly but surely shouldering the mantle of the man he is destined to become.

This week we saw Clark reject the worship that his superpowers could command. We saw him fight for his life, and declare himself as a force for good in the world. And twice over we saw him choose not to kill or let be killed those who pose the greatest threat to his own personal safety. All qualities that define Superman. Yes, it is the script that dictates these developments, but it is Tom's finely crafted acting that makes me see them as a natural progression of events, as the culmination of moments built on moments throughout the season. I truly think Tom has a vision for this character, and that all season long he has worked hard to show us the emerging hero, one whose convictions appear just a little stronger with each episode. Tom's acting, both commanding and nuanced, makes me believe it, and gives me hope that a watchable S8 just might rise from the ashes of MR's departure and the possible loss of the irreplaceable Allison Mack.

I have to wonder what went through Allison's mind as she read the script for this week's episode for the first time. Professional that she is, she gave it her all. She was damn sexy as she nuzzled up to Jimmy, and passionate in her speech to Clark in the loft, but I can't help but think she was as bewildered as the rest of us to see Chloe act so completely OOC. Chloe would rather mack on Jimmy than hear the details of a near-fatal attack on Lex, the man who even now may hold in his hands the secret to controlling Clark? Huh? She would be all over that story, not only because she has printer's ink instead of blood running through her veins, but also because Clark is her best friend! And while I understand and empathize with Chloe's bias against Lex, seeing her basically urge Clark to kill Lex was jarring and disturbing.

If I were AM, I'd be tempted to get out before they can take this character assassination even further. What can they be thinking, tearing down a character who is not only a fan favorite, and the main character's best friend and closest confidant, but also the show's single best original contribution to the Superman mythology (all thanks to AM, IMO)? Not to mention the fact that writing Chloe this way can only serve to alienate the best actress Smallville has, right at the moment when they want her motivated beyond her compensation package to sign a new contract. I swear this show is run by crack monkeys.

So how did this self-proclaimed Jimmy fan feel about Jimmy this week? I was, quite frankly, disgusted. Like AM, Aaron Ashmore gave it his all, and I thought his performance was great. But Jimmy's story line was just ridiculous, coming out of left field the way it did. It was as if Jimmy and Chloe switched bodies or something! And as much as I loved the way they brought back the Kawatche cave legend, is there really anything about the cave symbols Jimmy could discover in a day of research for which Lex would actually pay money? Show, please. Lex obsessively studied those symbols for at least two years, with the help of world-renowned experts. That's just stupid, sloppy writing. Just as it is to call Clark the Traveler, the same name as the big bad in Slumber, and also have him not remember that Saint Christopher is the patron saint of travelers, as if the events of that episode never happened.

It was fun to see Richard Picardo guest star. I've been a big fan of his forever, and he was great as the crazy Edward Teague, even if his character was a bit over the top, and had nothing in common with what we previously knew about ET. :) Man, he turned on a dime with Clark, didn't he? Nothing is scarier than a lunatic with the courage of his convictions behind him! I loved the strength of purpose Clark displayed in his scenes with ET, and his utter refusal to engage in the craziness that Veritas had ended up to be. The exposition in this part of the episode raised more questions, though. Why all the religious overtones, and why be so heavy-handed about it? The shot of Clark standing at the altar, with a giant crucifix above and behind him, was a bit much, I thought. And that whole part about Jor-El giving mankind the fail-safe device that can control Clark didn't even make sense to me. Since when does Jor-El care more about humans than his own son? And why would his fail-safe be something operated by inferior humans, instead of something entirely Kryptonian like the AI in the Fortress? I wasn't buying it. Let's just say that ET got it all wrong in his warped brain, okay? I say it was Zor-El and his SCIENCE! that somehow planted the fail-safe on Earth. :)

And finally, if I didn't love this episode for anything else, I would have loved it for the shirtless Clark scene alone. Yowza! Tom Welling is looking good! Although I was annoyed he took the time not only to slip on THRJ before he sped off to find ET and Lex, but also to zip it all the way up. Was that really necessary? :) In a tux at the Met, or shirtless here, the man is truly stunning! Yeah, plot, shmot, you'd better believe I'm watching S8. LOL! TW looked gorgeous throughout the episode. I can't wait to see the screen caps for this one.

Random thoughts: Why does Jimmy need a key to unlock Chloe's door? Judging by the way Clark just bursts in all the time, I thought she never locked it. ;) How did Jimmy get that one perfect shot of Lex's bloody chest? Was he straddling him on the gurney?! Watching my two beautiful boys have their chests carved up was beyond gross. I did NOT need to see that, show. The church was in Quebec, and Lex mentioned Quebec on the phone in Sleeper. Coincidence or continuity error? I hated it when Clark whined about Chloe waking him up just because Lex was hurt. I'm writing it off to Clark being tired and cranky. *kicks the writer* And because I can never say it enough, I hate the Chimmy!

This episode gave me lots of mixed feelings, but for me the good far outweighed the bad. At least they're giving MR a good send-off. I can't wait to see what the final episode holds in store, and to find out if the fandom fallout will be everything the current speculation promises. I think we're in for a wild ride.

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Comments
jude_judith82 From: jude_judith82 Date: May 11th, 2008 02:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I didn't really enjoy the episode all that much but I agree with you 100% concerning this:

All the opposing forces in Quest pretty much mirrored the feelings at war within me as I watched this episode. I rejoiced in watching Michael Rosenbaum give us some of the best acting we've ever seen on this show, but was dismayed anew that they wasted his talent for so long before this, and made Smallville a place he needed to escape, instead of the playground for his craft it could have been, and the showcase for his skill it should have been. I delighted in the strength and integrity Clark displayed, convincing me once again that he truly is my Superman, but was appalled to see a Chloe I barely recognized, and didn't like much either.

I think you worded the way I felt much better than I could that's for sure. Though I know I commented I'm actually excited to see what will happen next year. I'm going to miss Rosenbaum. God this episode just killed me. I hope he doesn't go back to doing crappy comedies. I want somebody to embrace his talent past the funny guy thing he likes to do.

And while I understand and empathize with Chloe's bias against Lex,
This is completely understandable. Hello Freak and Progeny
seeing her basically urge Clark to kill Lex was jarring and disturbing.


That it was and it completely took me out of the episode this made me completely forget all the good things in the eppy by the way thank you for reminding me. Though I don't think it was out of character for Chloe, unfortunately I think it's consistent. It's not the first time she's said something like this I just think this time she pushed it too much and it's also not the first time she's referred to Clark as a God. Chloe has idealized Clark but in a way she always has. IMO I think this is why whenever he's made an error either in the past or now she's so hard on him. She expects him to be perfect but it's her vision of it. Any way sorry about the rant. I do love Chloe though you may not know it from the above mini-rant and they need to fix this like now. Grrr.

to find out if the fandom fallout will be everything the current speculation promises. I think we're in for a wild ride.

Exciting times!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: May 11th, 2008 11:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm trying to be optimistic about next season, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried. I wonder how TW feels about coming back and possibly being the only cast member left from S1. That has to feel weird.

I'm depressed about MR leaving, but I'm reconciled to it. It's what he wants, and above all else, I think he deserves to do whatever makes him happy. Like you, I hope with more time than just a summer hiatus, he will have the opportunity to do projects that are worthy of his talent.

I have noticed Chloe making all those references to God recently. The one she said to Lionel in Veritas was odd, I thought, and that made me start noticing the others. I don't know what they're going for with that.

I'm sure they had Chloe urge Clark to kill Lex just so he could refuse, but I think they made Chloe look bad in the process. And I would like to see Chloe lighten up with Clark. Where is all the funny, cute banter we used to see between these two? Now it's all doom and gloom, death and destiny, but I guess that's the tone of the whole show right now. Whether or not AM returns for S8, I hope the show can be a little more fun and less dark.
frelling_tralk From: frelling_tralk Date: May 11th, 2008 02:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Awesome review, thank you!

And urgh totally on Chloe being out of character. It's something I noticed in Sleeper too, so I'm not sure if it's because of new writers taking over for the post-strike episodes maybe? Chloe advising Clark to kill Lex was just ridiculous, this is the girl who has always been telling Clark that he can't pick and choose who he saves! (in Fade among other episodes)

And I cannot fathom why they are suddenly building up this Christ imagery so much, and having Chloe of all people worship Clark as a God. This is a guy that she has been best friends with since she was 14/15, she does not see him like that. Clark is her hero sure, but a God to her? Umm no

Edited at 2008-05-11 02:49 am (UTC)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: May 11th, 2008 11:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, I'm glad you liked it!

I don't know what to make of how they're writing Chloe all of a sudden, but it scares me. At the very least they're taking her for granted, and at worst they're just assuming AM isn't coming back and that her character no longer matters. It's kind of mind boggling to think that three of the core four could be essentially gone with the end of this season (IDK exactly how many episodes KK will be in next season), and that no one besides TW could remain of the original cast.

Regardless of whether or not one wants to see Chlark or Chlois happen on the show, I don't think anyone can deny that AM is a fantastic actress, and has been a tremendous asset to Smallville since day one. But the way Chloe's been written lately, losing interest in journalism, being head over heels for Jimmy again, in spite of his insecurities and fickle behavior, and telling Clark he's going to have to "play God," makes me think they don't value the character or the actress the way they should. And that's discouraging.
acampbell From: acampbell Date: May 11th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Really good review!! You always do a great job!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: May 11th, 2008 11:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'm really glad you liked it! It was harder for me to find my voice with this one than most. I appreciate you taking the time to read it, and to comment!
jeannev From: jeannev Date: May 11th, 2008 03:31 am (UTC) (Link)
It was hard to write a review for this episode, wasn't it?

I just rewatched this episode with my sister, who is more a casual watcher, and doesn't do the 'net fandom thing, and she was BORED. She finds the whole Veritas thing confusing and dull. I suspect she's a decent representative of the general audience.

I did appreciate how this episode brought so much of the story back to Clex, but frankly I think the Veritas stuff is a distraction from that, and I believe the conflict could've been brought back into focus in another way that wasn't quite so creepy and muddled. But its still nice for the show to recall that it was supposed to be about Clark and Lex's journies to their iconic destinies. I often wonder if the crack monkies remember that.

I don't really question why Clark remains on the farm. I think its because his world is such a topsy-turvy pile of crap. It seems just about every step he takes is wrong in some way, and someone is always there to slam that in his face. I feel like the story, as its been set up, has made Clark hesitant to embrace a more public role in the world. And I can't blame him. Between the people wanting to kill him, worship him, control him, obsesss over him....well hell, wouldn't you want to be left alone?

tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: May 11th, 2008 12:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was really hard for me to write about this episode. It took me the longest time to find a starting point, and even then it was difficult to find the words. I wasn't even sure in my own mind how I felt about the episode until I watched it the second time.

From time to time my husband will try to watch Smallville with me, and he can never make heads or tails of it, even with my endless explanations. LOL! But he can easily watch and enjoy an episode of Supernatural, as he did this week, without knowing the underlying mythology that drives the action of the episode. Smallville has become so convoluted even longtime fans are confused. And poor writing never helps.

I honestly think this whole Veritas story line arose out of a mid-season panic when TPTB realized that MR's contract was ending at the end of the season, and he might be serious about not coming back, so OMG, we'd better give him a great big story to go out on. Slap it together, shoehorn it in, mission accomplished. Business as usual in the monkey house.

You make a good argument for Clark staying as far away from people as possible! I hope they can figure out a way to make things better for him in S8, but I can't really see what can change at this point. I don't suppose Clark could wake up in the shower and find out that the last few seasons were all a dream, a la Dallas? :)
prim_rose_etta From: prim_rose_etta Date: May 11th, 2008 07:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for your astute praise of TW's acting skills. I agree.

I feel MR's finest moment in the series was when he got vacant-eyed and muttured, "I always wondered..." then snaps out of it (i.e., I always wondered why I was an afterthought to my Dad)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: May 11th, 2008 12:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Between these two boys, there's always been so much to love on this show. And MR's acting these past few episodes has just been phenomenal. It kills me to think we could have had that in every episode, if only the writing had been there. I truly mourn that after next week, there will never be another Clex scene on the show. :(
carolandtom From: carolandtom Date: May 11th, 2008 10:25 am (UTC) (Link)
My heart goes out to the lost little boy who could never hope to compete with an alien from another galaxy for his father's devotion, and whose life was changed forever when his father dragged him along in pursuit of that stranger from the skies.

I'm sorry but that's another one of the reasons that make me dislike the Veritas storyline so much! No only I find it dull, boring, confusing, contrived and pointless but, worse still, it's used to try and change (for the worse, IMO) some of the things that SV got right in the past, like the Lionel/Lex relationship and the reasons behind the dramatic issues between them. Now we are supposed to believe that this "traveler" thing was more determinant than, for instance, the whole Julian tragedy? Are we supposed to believe that the twisted, turbulent, complex and conflicted Lionel/Lex relationship is the traveler's (Clark's, again!) fault???

I don't buy for a second that the traveler storyline was on their minds when they wrote other seasons. I dislike that it's badly handled in the present but I hate even more the damage they are inflicting on past episodes/storylines and on how we are supposed to regard them now.

And I'm sorry but I've had enough of tormented/woobie villains. Now I long for smart, self assured, power-greedy, confident, ruthless villains who know what they want, don't wallow in self-pity and have a sense of humor. I love to hate them!

Of course I enjoyed reading your review. I won’t even comment on the absurdity and the mess this “Jor-El” is. (He sent something to use in case his child lost control and that “anyone” could use to control him???? Lol) And I too hate the Chimmy!

(And shirtless!Clark made me very happy!)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: May 11th, 2008 12:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, don't get me wrong, I agree with you about all the retcons. I have found some aspects of the Veritas story line to be kind of intriguing, but I have never bought anything they've said about Lionel. I've maintained that anything good we ever heard about Lionel has come out of his own mouth, and he was at best deluded, and at worst the same manipulative liar he's always been. I hold Memoria in the highest regard, and nothing Smallville shows us now will ever make me believe that the tragedy at the heart of Lionel and Lex's relationship is anything but Lionel's monstrosity and Lex's attempt to protect his mother.

Of course they never had the Traveler story line in mind before. This show NEVER plans ahead. All of what we're seeing now is their reaction to the sudden realization that OMG, MR's contract is up at the end of the season, we'd better get busy!

And just for the record, I don't think anything is Clark's fault (not Jonathan's death, not Lex's descent into darkness, not who Lana has become, not even Martha's miscarriage), and I do believe Lex is the villain of the story, and should be held 100% accountable for his actions.

What I was trying to express, albeit it poorly, was that Michael's acting is so good it sways me away from the reason in my head, and makes me feel compassion for a man I just saw shoot another in cold blood. And in so doing, he perfectly portrays the charming psychopath, who not only convinces himself his actions are justified, but fools those around him into thinking he is sane.

Michael's performance in these past few episodes, particularly Descent, has been a wonder to behold, IMO. But my absolute favorite version of Lex will always be the Alexander we met in Onyx: brilliant, ruthless, and unrepentant, with a wicked sense of humor and not an ounce of woobie in him. That was a villain I could truly love to hate.

Wow, sorry, where did all that come from? :) Although I try to find something to love in every episode of Smallville, of course I share the same frustrations any fan with half a brain has with this show. I think mostly I don't want you to think I'm dumb enough to actually buy everything they're attempting to dish out. I just work very hard at not becoming bitter.

I do so appreciate your comments, and especially your honesty! I can't tell you how much I respect your opinion in particular, and how happy I always am to see you here. I hope I haven't just scared you away. :)
goodvibe From: goodvibe Date: May 11th, 2008 01:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
//I truly think Tom has a vision for this character, and that all season long he has worked hard to show us the emerging hero, one whose convictions appear just a little stronger with each episode. Tom's acting, both commanding and nuanced, makes me believe it//

ITA. All kudo's to TW. And I also agree with you on MR. He was incredible in this ep.

Sadly, as you already know, the rest of the ep didn't do much for me at all. :-(
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: May 11th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
TW and MR are enough to make me pretty happy. As I imagine TW will be all by his lonesome next season.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 11th, 2008 08:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
“I rejoiced in watching Michael Rosenbaum give us some of the best acting we've ever seen on this show, but was dismayed anew that they wasted his talent for so long before this, and made Smallville a place he needed to escape, instead of the playground for his craft it could have been, and the showcase for his skill it should have been.”

So painfully true. I also kept wishing that he and Tom would have some scenes together in this episode. They bring out the very best in each other and can elevate a scene to overcome "a multitude of sins" within whatever insane plotline hell they are in. (Pun intended! Must be an effect of all the overkill on religious symbolism.) Seriously tho', it’s always a highlight for me when these two are given scenes together and it’s just sad to think about how much they missed by not continuing to focus on them.

“Although I still think Lex must know that Clark is the Traveler. Indeed, on some level he's always known. He just needs to hear the words made truth, spoken by someone who knows with absolute certainty.”

ITA. Proving what he knows fuels his obsession and could possibly be a projection of his desperate attempt to get his father’s validation. Both have always alluded him.

“I truly think Tom has a vision for this character, and that all season long he has worked hard to show us the emerging hero, one whose convictions appear just a little stronger with each episode.”

I am so in agreement with this! I love him so much for hanging in there.

Tom's acting, both commanding and nuanced, makes me believe it, and gives me hope that a watchable S8 just might rise from the ashes of MR's departure and the possible loss of the irreplaceable Allison Mack.”

And I love your positive attitude about season 8. :D

“I swear this show is run by crack monkeys.”

Yeah, and the evidence just keeps on mounting, doesn’t it? Thanks again for another great review. :) TWL247
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: May 11th, 2008 09:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I also kept wishing that he and Tom would have some scenes together in this episode.

I'm sure we'll get a great scene between Clark and Lex to end the season, but knowing it's the last one ever is going to make it bittersweet. I wish we could look forward to one more commentary from them together on the DVD, but I know better. :(

I love him so much for hanging in there.

Even if he were hating every moment, we'd probably never know it. He's such a professional at all times, which is one of the things I most admire about him.

I'm glad you liked my review. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment, especially since you're not on LJ. I appreciate it, and I enjoy discussing the episodes with you!
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From: seacrystal Date: May 13th, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I actually think Chloe's character is a culmination of how she has been written ever since she got to know about Clark's secret IMO during Arrival, her life gradually becomes more and more revolved around him and finally becoming entirely focused on him. I've noticed her declining passion in journalism ever since S5 IMO, she's more happy and interested in helping out Oliver & Team and being Clark's sidekick. Chloe has also been putting Clark on this hero worship pedestal and lately on a God pedestal, so while I'm quite surprised with her outright advocacy of murder and Clark playing God in this episode, I can't say that I can't see how and where she could've developed that line of thought.

I completely agree with everything you've pinpointed about Clark in this episode, another hit out of the park IMO. Lex is amazing as well, though I just can't bring myself to sympathize with him. :p

I'm starting to get real annoyed with Jimmy too. A pity, because I've liked him for quite a while now.

Jor-El is completely wacky. I've never seen a wackier character during my entire TV show, his priorities and mood swings are just crazy and all over the place.

I do like this episode, just wish it wasn't so gross with the body carvings. Thank God I've eaten before I watched that episode.

tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: May 13th, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree that Chloe hasn't been fired up about journalism for awhile, but I guess I'm having a hard time accepting such a drastic change in her character. I think it was Siren when I realized how different she had become. She spent the entire episode either helping Ollie or Clark, and she'd never looked happier.

I've also noticed the God references this season. I don't remember which episode had the first one, but the one in Veritas is the one that made me sit up and take notice, because it was so heavy-handed. I just don't know if I buy it. Of course it would be natural to develop a case of hero worship for someone with Clark's powers, but on the other hand, Chloe has known him forever, and better than just about anyone else, and has seen all his weaknesses and mistakes. I would think that she would have a better grasp on reality, but obviously the writers don't agree. :) I suppose they just needed someone to suggest the God role to Clark so we could see him reject it outright, and Chloe was the most logical choice.

I like Jimmy, too, and sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who does! :) I'm curious to see where they take him next, and if I'll like him better again or not. I really like AA, and I think Jimmy has the potential to make a great Clark sidekick if the writers can just get it right.

Wacky is the perfect word for Jor-El! LOL!

Thanks so much for reading, and for your comments. I can't wait to see this week's finale, and for once I'm not watching clips or reading the Canadian recaps ahead of time. I just want to experience it for the first time on Thursday, and get the full impact. I'm excited!
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