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Smallville 9x15 - Conspiracy - I worship at the television altar
tariel22
tariel22
Smallville 9x15 - Conspiracy


My initial reaction to Conspiracy was that I didn't need to write a review at all. I could just link back to my review of last season's Beast, or even Injustice, penned by the same writers. Because right now the Zod storyline seems like Doomsday all over again, except this time it looks even worse for Clark. If the rest of the season goes as predictably as this episode did, this Clark fan is going to be very disappointed and just plain sad. On the other hand, if TPTB truly don't know if the show will be renewed or not, they wouldn't dare end the series with an arc that makes the hero look bad, so there's a good chance all my pessimism is for naught. From here on out I'm going to try to stop reading the worst into everything I see, and just live in the moment. Nine seasons of experience, however, won't make it easy.

This week Clark's efforts to help the Kandorians assimilate into life on Earth were undermined by an undead doctor with, I must admit, a legitimate axe to grind. In their relentless quest for superpowers, the Kandorians brought him back after a fatal heart attack, carved up his head, experimented on his brain, and then abandoned him, leaving a couple dozen kryptonite spikes sticking out of his skull. No wonder he sees them as a threat to humanity. Dr. Chisholm was undeniably crazycakes, but it's not like he didn't have a little help getting there. And Vala seemed like such a sweet girl when she was crushing on Clark.

I don't really understand the Kandorians' obsession with superpowers anyway. Of course they would be cool, but Zod's followers seem to feel so entitled to them, and so lost without them. It's not like they've ever had them before, after all. Did Zod instill this hunger in them, or was it a promise made to them on Krypton to win their willing participation in the cloning program? In any case, it's clear the Kandorians have no qualms about becoming gods on Earth, as Zod promised them in Kandor, and ruling over the planet's rightful inhabitants as invading warriors. We saw in happen in the future. I have no sympathy for that, no matter what other good we can see in them.

Faora came to Clark for help when her sister was kidnapped. Her loyalty to Zod is fierce, so for Clark to win her trust says a lot about what he has been accomplishing since the Kandorians first knelt before him at the end of Pandora. I wish we could have seen more of that onscreen. Clark and Faora working together to track down Vala's abductor was really interesting to watch. Sharon Taylor brought strength and dignity to her role; Faora kept her feelings in check as they followed leads to find Vala, but left no doubt as to her love for her sister, her admiration for Zod, or her pride in her heritage.

At a recent Stargate convention, Sharon mentioned how lovely Tom was, and how he surprised her by wanting to go over lines with her. I wonder if this was the episode she was talking about. Their scenes together had a quiet intensity that was rich with controlled emotion, especially when Faora defended Zod to Clark, and he opened himself up to the possibility that there was more to the man than he realized. In any case, as a fan, it meant a lot to me to hear that Tom cared enough about their performance together to put in extra rehearsal time, especially in light of his very busy schedule.

Faora's stories of Zod's loyalty and selflessness made Clark reconsider his opinion, but I, for one, remained unmoved. Sure, I can believe that Zod is loyal. To Kryptonians. Even when he urged Lois to leave him and save herself, I think it was so she could bring help to rescue Vala, and stop Dr. Chisholm for good, thereby removing the threat to his countrymen. It seems obvious to me that Zod holds humans in complete contempt, and is offended by Clark's affection for them. But that's the difference between Clark and me. I'm cynical, and while I may forgive, I rarely forget. Clark sees the best in everyone, and makes me wish I could do the same. I trust him implicitly. The writers? Not so much.

I think the viewers have seen more proof of Zod's true nature than Clark has, but he certainly knows that he is ruthless, vengeful, manipulative, and steeped in a culture that seems barbaric by our standards. Faora said Zod didn't know about the experiments on humans, including the one that turned John Corben into Metallo, but whether I believe that or not, I can't imagine he would have objected. But Clark focused on the good qualities Zod had shown, and taking his father's dying words to heart, stepped over a very dangerous line to save him. The second Zod was shot, we could all see what was coming: the blood, the healing, the superpowers. My biggest fear is that the writers will take Clark's faith in Zod's potential, one of his best qualities, and have it lead to some terrible outcome, the responsibility for which will be placed squarely on Clark's shoulders.

So we know that Zod now has all of Clark's abilities and then some, all from a single drop of Clark's blood. But is it a permanent change? Did it reverse whatever Jor-El did to the Kandorians' DNA? Will Zod want to share his newfound powers with his people? Will he try to transfuse his own blood to make it happen? If that doesn't work, will he try to take more of Clark's from him? Or will he be content to have powers while his followers do not? Will Zod make good on his threat to Tess? And does he know he is now vulnerable to kryptonite? I have to confess I'm intrigued, in spite of my apprehensions.

Speaking of Zod's abilities, can we PLEASE stop showing other people fly before Clark? I still remember the heart-stopping excitement of seeing Kal-El take to the skies in Crusade, and I'd like to feel that again when Clark finally does the same, but at this rate I'm afraid it will all seem terribly anti-climatic. After Jor-El, Martian Manhunter, Bizarro, Kara (and Not!Kara), Zor-El, Brainiac, the Legion, a whole flock of Kandorians, Hawkman, Stephen Swift, and two different incarnations of Zod, it's really getting kind of ridiculous. And it just makes Clark's inability to fly look more and more contrived.

I did enjoy watching Zod track down Dr. Chisholm through a completely different route than Clark, and all by himself. He cleverly put himself into the mind of Vala's abductor, and posed as a Daily Planet reporter to gain access to the information he needed to find him. He showed us once again that he doesn't need any special abilities to be a formidable opponent; his intelligence, drive, and ingenuity make him someone who cannot be ignored. He was bitterly resentful of Clark for undermining his authority with his people and thwarting him at every turn, so I assume every word he spoke on the roof of the DP was a lie. His next move, however, is a mystery. For the moment I think all he really wanted to do was throw back his head, drink in the glorious yellow light of the rising sun, and soar over Metropolis, reveling in the powers now at his command. What exactly he plans to do with those powers will become clear soon enough.

One of the reasons I have such a bad feeling about Zod is that Clark is facing him all alone. Unbelievably, just like they did with Doomsday, Chloe and Oliver are poised to stab him in the back. The horror that was Doomsday unleashed, including Jimmy's death, changed nothing. In fact, it only made things worse. I still contend that what happened with Doomsday was mostly Chloe's fault, for sabotaging Clark's plan and running off with Davis, but evidently she has always blamed Clark. In Conspiracy she made it clear that she doesn't trust him, and she even questioned his loyalty to the human race. She said to Oliver, "Our friend's moral compass has gotten us lost more than once." What is that supposed to mean? Whatever you want to say about Clark's choices in the past, his moral code is above reproach. Chloe's perspective has become so twisted, she can no longer tell the difference between right and wrong. No wonder she never apologized to Clark.

Chloe talks about Clark pretty much the same way Zod does, with bitterness and disdain. She's been second guessing him all season, and she can't see the damage she's doing. She put Lois in danger when a glitch in her cell phone monitoring equipment revealed that Clark was the Blur, and then just dug deeper into deception to fix it. Last week Chloe realized Tess had piggybacked onto her extensive surveillance system to spy on Clark herself, and seemed mildly annoyed rather than concerned. She put tracking devices in all the Kandorians' new identity documents, providing the perfect means for someone to hunt them all down for capture or worse. Now we find out she embezzled money from Oliver to finance a stockpile of kryptonite weapons, which are, of course, deadly to Clark. I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again: with friends like these, who needs enemies?

Oliver played his part with Doomsday as well, turning the Justice League against Clark and convincing them to lure him into an ambush, where Oliver shot him in the back with a kryptonite arrow and left him, defenseless and suffering, on the ground. But at least he seemed to regret his actions. Not that he ever apologized either, but I thought his self-destructive behavior afterward spoke volumes. In recent episodes I was convinced he had finally found his way back to Clark's side, and I started counting him among the good guys again. When Tess clued Oliver in about the missing money, he seemed suitably dismayed, and he eyed Chloe with wide-eyed disbelief when she tried to justify her actions. He even moved her weapons cache and refused to tell her where. But then he agreed to keep it all secret from Clark for the time being, and I lost faith once more. I cling to the tiny hope that Oliver only said that to keep Chloe off guard, and that he will now go straight to Clark, but I'm not holding my breath. So much for everything this team learned in Absolute Justice.

Beyond the utter unoriginality of this deja vu storyline, I'm disappointed that Clark's relationship with those he should be able to trust most is actually worse than it was a year ago. He never did anything wrong in the first place, and he has stepped up and embraced his destiny more than ever before this season. He is the hero of the story. So why do the writers reward him with such awful friends? And it doesn't help that the show has never taken a stand on who was right and who was wrong last season. I know what I think, but do TPTB concur? Was Chloe wrong to oppose Clark then? Is she wrong to do so now, this time without a second of doubt or hesitation? Was Clark wrong to walk away after everyone betrayed him? I have no idea what I'm supposed to think. It's so discouraging to watch a show about the man who is destined to be the greatest superhero of all time, and not be able to trust that he will be proved right in the end, much less win the day.

Lois was a bright spot in Conspiracy. I loved seeing her in reporter mode, and I liked that her storyline, although related to Clark's, mostly played out independently from his, giving her a chance to shine in her own right. Lois and Clark started the episode with a nice little romantic moment, but he was almost immediately pulled away when Faora arrived. Lois didn't pout or give Clark a hard time, she just wished him luck on what she assumed was a story, and went on with her day. Later she cheerfully went out for a solo meal, and that's where she met up with Dr. Chisholm.

I thought Lois's reaction to the doctor made perfect sense given the circumstances and his demeanor. And of course once he pulled out a gun and kidnapped her, all his credibility flew out the window. JR Bourne did a wonderful job of giving us a man who was sympathetic, but also very dangerous, driven quite mad by all the tortures to which he had been subjected. Lois listened to him, but rightfully sided with his victims, regardless of the compassion she felt for what he had been through. She was awesome as she refused to put her own safety first, and insisted on trying to take out the doctor and save both Vala and Zod.

I enjoyed the way this story was constructed, with all paths leading to Dr. Chisholm's macabre laboratory. Vala, Lois, Zod and Clark each followed their own thread, and they all intersected at the climax of the episode, when Clark saved the day, as he always should. It was a little too convenient that the doctor managed to electrocute himself, but I'm not going to quibble. And I loved that Clark didn't even know that Lois or Zod were there when he came to the rescue.

Afterward, back at the DP, Clark and Lois were a delight. We got to see a bit of their competitive spirit, and their teasing affection for one another. Watching their banter, I was reminded anew that in spite of Clark's abilities, these two are on relatively equal footing in the relationship arena. I appreciate so much that Lois is honest with Clark, especially because pretty much no one else is. Not that she doesn't have her secrets, but she's totally up front about that, and accepts that she doesn't know every little thing about Clark, either. What a relief!

I am particularly fascinated by the Checkmate storyline. I don't know how cooperative Lois is being with Amanda Waller, but when her blood sample was stolen and a chess pawn was left in its place, the message about what role Lois is supposed to play in Checkmate's investigation was loud and clear. I can't wait to see how Lois responds. If Checkmate goes after aliens on Earth, I can see how that would make Clark decide to go public, so I guess the show really can wrap things up by the end of this season if they have to. I'm still hoping it doesn't come to that, though.

Finally, I loved the way Clark balanced all his different roles in Conspiracy. He checked in with Faora and Vala as a friend, challenged Zod as a leader, worked and investigated as a reporter, and swooped in as the hero. He even found time for a romantic moment with Lois. Tom's performance showed us that Clark's reassuring strength and commanding leadership are matched by his infinite compassion and open heart. And can we talk about the sexy? When Clark gave Lois that provocative sideways glance, smiled, and simply said, "hello," I forgot to breathe. And then he stepped impossibly close, turned on the charm, and lost himself so completely in her eyes he didn't even hear Faora say his name. Rowr. Mr. Welling, I am impressed.

Random thoughts: I didn't care for the weird slow motion sequences and bizarre camera angles in this episode, they were just distracting. I never thought I'd become blase about Justin Hartley's perfectly chiseled body, especially in low-slung jeans with a peek of black underwear, but I'm afraid I'm pretty much there. Who else would rather see some shirtless Tom Welling instead? Chloe rationalized that she was only "borrowing" the money from Oliver, but it was $35 million! How exactly was she planning on paying it back? And what was with that Batman music in the scene where Chloe said she couldn't trust Clark? Am I supposed to think she's some kind of dark hero, going behind Clark's back? I get that the show needed Chloe to go in a different direction and all, but it makes me sad to find increasingly little to like about a character I used to adore. Oh, and one more thing: NEEDS MOAR TESS!

Conspiracy was an interesting mix of things I loved, and things that made my head want to explode. But I took a step back after I first watched it, to cool off and gain some perspective. For the sake of my own sanity, I am determined not to dwell on what I'm afraid is going to happen, rather than what has actually transpired on my TV screen. I vow to spend this hiatus steeped in hope and optimism, rather than cynicism and dread. Stop laughing, I'm serious! :) So please, Smallville, prove to me that you remember who the hero of this story is, and finish the season in a way that honors him and inspires us. I'm begging you.

Tom just looks better with each new episode! My favorite cap is above (click for the full-size pretty), and here are twenty more from Conspiracy:




























































Screen caps courtesy of KEakaCK's Creative Corner, with my thanks!

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itsaslashything From: itsaslashything Date: March 2nd, 2010 01:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Good God, Woman! That kind of pretty will surely be the end of me!!! What the hell is Lois thinking??? I'd have him naked and tied to my bed already!!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 2nd, 2010 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I still can't believe she turned down the "Clark Kent tour of the galaxy" in Disciple, or that she slept in the guest bedroom in Persuasion. :)
cbrownjc From: cbrownjc Date: March 2nd, 2010 01:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually, I think the reason Zod and the Kandorians are so hell bent on getting their powers is pretty much the reason Zod gave Clark in Disciple: that the Kandorians are all aliens on Earth and, without their powers, if they are discovered, they'll be hunted down and have absolutely no way to defend themselves.

Zod may be manipulative, he may be a megalomaniac, but really. Is he absolutely wrong to think this? IMO, this ep kinda proves he wasn't. And going by the way Chloe's been acting about what to do with the whole lot of them - putting them all in the Phantom Zone, stockpiling those weapons - I frankly think he's got a point.

Doesn't mean the Kandorians should be allowed to take over Earth and make it their own. But could they ever really live in peace and safety (the way Clark has been trying to get them to do) if their alien roots were ever discovered by the wrong people?

Really, it's a question Clark himself has had to struggle and face over the years. And we already saw some of the consequences of what him outing himself as an alien led to in Infamous.

Zod doesn't have any reason to view humans as helpless and non threatening, because he wasn't raised by humans or with humans the way Clark was. All that he knows about humans is probably what he's read about them, and we know from past seasons that Kryptonians viewed humans - if not just flawed - than just backwards and violent. So really, he would have no reason to be loyal to humans over his fellow Kryptonians.

What is interesting - and I think is just starting to emerge now - is the beginning of the idea that Clark is being placed between two worlds here. Zod was lumping him in with the humans for most of the episode, and Chloe was dismissing him as "part of the Kandorian family now." What neither one understood is that Clark is neither one or the other, or just part of one world or another - he is a part of both, and cares for both worlds and its people.

Edited at 2010-03-02 01:34 am (UTC)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 2nd, 2010 03:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm sure Zod does fear for his people being unexpectedly vulnerable on Earth, but I think his motivation for having Clark's abilities goes far beyond that. And I understand Zod's thirst for power. What confuses me is his followers' willingness to commit atrocities against humans in pursuit of those same abilities. And of their own volition, since Zod didn't even know about the experiments. In that respect, they brought what happened in Conspiracy upon themselves.

I think perhaps I underestimated their commitment to the Ruling Council's military imperative, and their stated mission to have Krypton rise again on Earth.

You're absolutely right, though, that their fears are far from groundless. Chloe is ready to condemn them because of the future Lois visited, but plenty of people would do the same simply because they're different and unknown.

The other thing this plays into, which is actually kind of cool, is Clark's need to realize that he has to step up into the public eye, not only as a hero, but as an alien as well. It's what the Legion talked about last season: he will lead by example, and make the world a place where all beings are welcome, not just humans. But part of that is protecting Earth from those who would conquer her, and unfortunately, that includes his own race.

I think being torn between two worlds is something Clark has struggled with, at least symbolically, since the Pilot, as he has tried to find a balance between his Kryptonian heritage (nature) and the human values Jonathan and Martha taught him (nurture). The combination of the two is what makes him uniquely qualified to be Superman. But I agree that the arrival of the Kandorians puts that struggle on a whole new playing field, with ramifications Clark has never had to consider before.
gyri From: gyri Date: March 2nd, 2010 01:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Soon after I started reading your review here, I thought, what a good, loyal, courageous fan she is! Tom should give her a medal.

:-)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 2nd, 2010 07:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I think I might be more delusional than loyal. ;) I do still love my show! ♥
jeannev From: jeannev Date: March 2nd, 2010 02:05 am (UTC) (Link)
You and I are very much of the same mind on this one. Until the last part of the ep, I was really loving it (aside from Chloe, and Oliver). But then we got the blood, and saving Zod, and flight, and yeah. I just felt like I could see the writing on the wall, and I hated it.

Where we part ways is that I refuse to get my hopes up. I just won't. My hat is off to you for trying to keep the optimism fires burning though. :)

I do find the whole Kandorian/powers thing to be a little odd, because the show frames it as them wanting something back that they lost, when in fact its something they've never had, but want. However, I do think they've done a decent job of introducing the idea that fear is driving this desire. And with the introduction of Checkmate, and Chloe's kryptonite weapons, not to mention Clark's own history, I do think the show has provided some foundation to believe that aliens on Earth are vulnerable, and could be persecuted, and/or killed.

Also, to keep in mind, Zod and his people are all military. A fighting force, and per Faora, born into the military. Could war and conflict just be part of their character?

I just don't have the words for Chloe. Well, I have them, but they are really ugly and nasty, and I don't want to post them in your lj. I reserve some for Oliver as well, as he continues to be a crushing disappointment, and overall waste of space. But at least he doesn't approach the contempt and disgust we see displayed in Chloe.

Ya know, I can't really argue that Clark has been distant and chilly with Chloe, and that he has stepped way back from their close friendship. I understand why he would have done this, but its a guess since he's had no stated POV. But I've never seen Clark badmouth Chloe behind her back, or try and undermine her, and or just generally appear hateful and angry towards her. And to me, thats a huge difference between them.

I don't know why the show is going in this direction. And I don't know what the writers want us to think, or who they want us to think is right. Its very frustrating, and very disappointing.

The Clois scenes were very cute, and I also thought it was a great ep for Lois. And Tom was sexy as hell with his "Hello".

I think this might've been CB's best performance as Zod this season.
jeannev From: jeannev Date: March 2nd, 2010 03:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and BTW, Sharon talked about Tom? More info please. :)
jlvsclrk From: jlvsclrk Date: March 2nd, 2010 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)
This is going to be a toughie to evaluate, because so much depends on what follows. If Clark is shown to be wrong (as looks so very likely for the reasons you mention), I honestly think it'll be the end of the line for me. How could I justify continuing to watch a show that doesn't have the slightest regard for its main character, especially when its Clark who deserves to be respected and admired?

As for Chloe and Oliver, bah. All I feel for them is disgust. I really hope if we get an S10, both of them aren't in it. Even more important than Clark being shown to be right, I really need for Chloe to be shown wrong. I don't even begin to see how her actions can be justified. She's Lex in a female body, and part of that is that she doesn't even realize how irrational her stance is. Grrrr.

But like you, I did enjoy the other parts of the episode a fair deal IF I can force myself to not jump ahead of the season. Maybe the writers will get it right this time. It would be a classic writing convention to set up an echo of what's happened before, but then do a reversal at the end. So like you, I will try to spend the hiatus 'steeped in hope and optimism'. That's what Clark Kent would do after all!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 14th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
If Clark is shown to be wrong (as looks so very likely for the reasons you mention), I honestly think it'll be the end of the line for me.

Realistically, I know I'll never stop watching this show, but I feel the same frustration. I think TPTB are completely hung up on not letting Clark be Superman yet, and they mistakenly equate that with him not being right. There's a big difference between being a hero in thought and action, and taking on the Superman identity to define heroism for an entire planet, and THAT is the part of Clark's journey I still want to see. What I don't want are more instances of Clark being put in no-win situations, and being shown to make decisions with disastrous results. It drives me crazy!

Even more important than Clark being shown to be right, I really need for Chloe to be shown wrong.

I agree. I'm so afraid that if this is AM's last season, they'll give her a girl power send-off a la Lana at Clark's expense. Chloe has done so many dangerous and unethical things this season, and she was already given a free pass for betraying Clark in S8. If there are no consequences for her again this time, or even worse, if her spying and plotting somehow save the day, my head will explode.

But like you, I did enjoy the other parts of the episode a fair deal IF I can force myself to not jump ahead of the season. Maybe the writers will get it right this time.

I can't point to anything that gives me confidence that they will, and Geoff Johns' spoiler at ECCC doesn't exactly help, but I'm clinging to hope nonetheless. The one thing that would make me happiest right now is if the show announced that S10 will definitely be the last.
tasabian From: tasabian Date: March 2nd, 2010 02:36 am (UTC) (Link)
On the other hand, if TPTB truly don't know if the show will be renewed or not, they wouldn't dare end the series with an arc that makes the hero look bad, so there's a good chance all my pessimism is for naught. From here on out I'm going to try to stop reading the worst into everything I see, and just live in the moment. Nine seasons of experience, however, won't make it easy
Even if they tweak the ending, why do we have to sit through the same plot TWICE? This plot would be so much better if Chloe & Oliver had Clark's back completely - Clark's league against Zod's army.

I never thought I'd become blase about Justin Hartley's perfectly chiseled body, especially in low-slung jeans with a peek of black underwear, but I'm afraid I'm pretty much there. Who else would rather see some shirtless Tom Welling instead?
They have cheapened Justin's fine body with repetition! However, if he shows his ass next month, I'll look. No lie.

I still contend that what happened with Doomsday was mostly Chloe's fault, for sabotaging Clark's plan and running off with Davis, but evidently she has always blamed Clark. In Conspiracy she made it clear that she doesn't trust him, and she even questioned his loyalty to the human race. She said to Oliver, "Our friend's moral compass has gotten us lost more than once."
I think you're dead-on about Batman. An LJ friend also suggests they're writing Chloe as Batman & I have the awful feeling this may be true. (If so, not fair to Chloe, AM, Batman or ME!) Bats has been known to keep kryptonite in reserve in case of "situations" & the weapons stash mimics a JL Bats plot. Chloe can be awesome as Chloe; there was no need to reformat the character again.

At a recent Stargate convention, Sharon mentioned how lovely Tom was, and how he surprised her by wanting to go over lines with her. I wonder if this was the episode she was talking about. Their scenes together had a quiet intensity that was rich with controlled emotion, especially when Faora defended Zod to Clark, and he opened himself up to the possibility that there was more to the man than he realized.
Aw, that's lovely. I loved Faora this episode - Sharon is so beautiful and it was cool to see her as a concerned sister, rather than a soldier. Great rapport with Tom.

Lois listened to him, but rightfully sided with his victims, regardless of the compassion she felt for what he had been through. She was awesome as she refused to put her own safety first, and insisted on trying to take out the doctor and save both Vala and Zod.
Great scene for her - ED and Bourne played off each other really well. I wish we'd gotten to see Lois phoning the FBI to ask for "Zod" though!

Not the best ep to head to hiatus on, huh? Sigh.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 14th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Even if they tweak the ending, why do we have to sit through the same plot TWICE? This plot would be so much better if Chloe & Oliver had Clark's back completely - Clark's league against Zod's army.

I would love to see that, and to be able to root for all the good guys. Why does Clark have to be surrounded by darkness, even from his allies? And returning to that theme after AJ just makes that episode look irrelevant, like it was nothing but a publicity stunt. I hate that, because I loved AJ, and hoped it would be a turning point for Clark's team.

I also think showing Lois to be the only one in Clark's court does her and that relationship no favors. It makes it look like the only person who can believe in Clark is someone who doesn't know who he really is, instead of what I know they mean to show, that Lois doesn't need to see Clark in action to know he's a hero. When Chloe, the person who arguably knows Clark better than any other character who is still on the show, second guesses him and plots against him behind his back, it really makes me wonder what message they're trying to send. Especially if Chloe isn't shown to be absolutely wrong by the end of the season.

It really is Doomsday all over again. *sigh*

An LJ friend also suggests they're writing Chloe as Batman & I have the awful feeling this may be true. (If so, not fair to Chloe, AM, Batman or ME!)

Ugh. I want S5 Chloe back more than ever. :(

I loved Faora this episode - Sharon is so beautiful and it was cool to see her as a concerned sister, rather than a soldier. Great rapport with Tom.

I so enjoyed their scenes together. Her characterization was wonderfully consistent, passionate yet very controlled. It gave us insight into not only Faora herself, but also the Kryptonian culture. And I love the idea of Tom seeking her out to run lines. Take that, those who say he's phoning it in, or that he signed on for another two years for the paycheck alone! I can tell how committed he is just by watching his performance week after week, but this gives the doubters tangible evidence of how much he cares.

Not the best ep to head to hiatus on, huh?

I am somewhat heartened by that awesome trailer, though, and not just because it promises we'll see wet, naked Clark. :)

gildinwen From: gildinwen Date: March 2nd, 2010 03:06 am (UTC) (Link)

Comment, part 1

I mentioned in Tasabian's journal that I think they're trying to write Chloe as a Batman-esque character, so I do think that the music was deliberate.

However, there are major differences between Chloe's way of wokring and the Bat-clan. Batman would never accept someone who has killed in cold blood (no matter what his/her reasons) into his clan. Nor would he lie to Clark's face tell him he's on his side and then badmouth him behind his back.

Chloe's very obviously paralleled with Luthorcorp, and in fact I can't see Lex being this too-faced, TBQH. And Once again she washes her hands of all responsible of the Davis debacle. And Oliver is no better. What was he thinking?
He's ready to stab Clark in the back again?

Is the sex really that good?

As far as I'm concerned. Chloe never really seen Clark as "human" When we first saw her she viewed him as the Unrequited Love of her life and then she thought of his as a hero and then she found out he was an alien and so he became a superhero, and then he became a god. She expects him to be perfect, and her image of what he should be and when he doesn'ty live up to that pedastilized ideal of him, she casts doubts on his humanity ( Cure, Metallo) or she betrays him ( the end of season two, and the Doomsday debacle)

I don't know what the writers want her to be- and it's always driven be up the wall about how fans says she's the best character on the show- please she's nothing more than a walking plot device. but she'll never be a hero in my eyes.

As for Clark he was so supermanly and yet I can't help feeling it's going to blow up in his face if the series is renewed and Chloe and Oliver will be proved "right" ugh.

The "Hello" was the sexiest thing ever! Mrs Welling is a lucky woman! It was wonderful to see Clark and Lois working on seperate stories this is how they should be portrayed on the show. I'm anxious to see how the Check mate storyline plays out on the show, especially with Lois being Amanda's contact and Tess and Chloe circling each other warily.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 14th, 2010 10:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Comment, part 1

I don't know what the writers want Chloe to be either, but whatever it is, it's not working for me. :( I do hold out hope for Oliver, but my opinion of him all hinges on what he does next. At least he's not telling Chloe where he put her kryptonite stash.

Clark's "hello" was devastating in it's sexiness! More of that, please!

I love seeing Clark and Lois work independently. They're great together, of course, but they're so much more than just two halves of a couple. Some people characterized their last scene together in this episode as one of discord and conflict, a break in their relationship, but I didn't see it that way at all. I saw mutual respect and trust, and the heat of mutual attraction. We saw the way they each have of keeping the other one guessing, which I think is one of key elements of their romance. It was a wonderful scene!

I like the way all the storylines are converging as we approach the finale, but I'm nervous about how it will all play out in the end. It could all build to an awesome season finale, or it could be another Doomsday. I hope they learned their lesson from that disaster.
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tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 14th, 2010 10:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know! You mentioned that very thing in your comment on my last review! So perceptive of you. I'm sure some people would love to see that, but I think Chloe has gone too far over the line to be shown to be the flip side of the hero coin, especially in a story that's supposed to be all about Clark Kent. She's deliberately going against Clark's moral code, and behind his back to boot. I don't want to see that choice validated.

I just liked it so much better when Chloe and Clark worked together, and nothing could shake her faith in him. :(
starry_dawn From: starry_dawn Date: March 2nd, 2010 08:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I think my biggest problem with the show is that it's not clear enough on the message we as the audience are supposed to be getting. I can no longer tell whether the show is portraying someone as right or wrong, and it's really not the kind of show where morally ambiguous is a perfectly valid option. No! This is a show about Superman, and if I can't tell whether or not the show thinks he is right, then there's just something seriously wrong.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 14th, 2010 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can no longer tell whether the show is portraying someone as right or wrong, and it's really not the kind of show where morally ambiguous is a perfectly valid option.

Exactly! It's the story of a man who will be the world's greatest superhero, and he should always be right, even if he isn't wearing the cape yet. And even worse, I think they're ambiguous on purpose, in some misguided attempt to keep everyone happy.
goodvibe From: goodvibe Date: March 2nd, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Brilliant review. I've just finished an absolutely gruelling session of bills and accounts right now so I'm afraid my brain is too mush to offer any coherent or substansive commentary but I just want to thank you for putting in to words (better than I managed myself) exactly how I felt about the ep.

OTOH, I loved certain aspects of the ep but on the other hand I am beyond weary of the potentially no-win situation set up, wrt Clark.

::sighs::
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 14th, 2010 11:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks so much! I was feeling pretty discouraged when I wrote this, but now, after news of the renewal and seeing the trailer for the upcoming episodes, I'm maintaining my optimism with much less effort. :)

Let the hero be the hero, show. It's just that simple.
tjw_jaypat From: tjw_jaypat Date: March 2nd, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, even you, the notoric optimist, were a little shaken by this episode! Sad, isn´t it?

I completely agree that, with respect to Clark, everything looks like a set up for failure again. Déjà vu indeed. I want to be optimistic but 8 previous seasons of "it´s all Clark fault" don´t really give me a reason to be optimistic for the end of this season.

It appears to me that the approach of the writers is this. 1) Clark is not Superman yet, so he MUST be shown to make mistakes. 2) Create drama at all cost. However bad a character looks in the process doesn´t matter. Any amount of OOC behavior, of character assassination even, of retconning, or of plotholes is OK, as long as we get the highest level of drama, staged and shot with the best possible cinematography.

I am not suprised that those writers can move forth and back from writing shows like Melrose Place etc., but I´ve long come to the conclusion that they are not up to writing a superhero show at all. And it shows! :(
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 14th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
It appears to me that the approach of the writers is this. 1) Clark is not Superman yet, so he MUST be shown to make mistakes

I think this is at the heart of how TPTB approach the show, and I think it is all wrong! I can't argue with anything you say in this comment, because I think it's all true. But the actors save it for me, along with copious fanwanking, voluntary forgetfulness, and focusing at all times on the pretty. :) And the knowledge that, for me at least, just often enough Smallville gets everything right, and hits one out of the park.
tjw_jaypat From: tjw_jaypat Date: March 2nd, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and thank you very much for the quote about Tom. Such things always make me feel good :)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 14th, 2010 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm always thrilled to hear even the smallest little tidbit about Tom! I especially enjoyed what Sharon related, because it gave us a rare glimpse into his creative process as an actor. How I would love to hear more about that.
gotearsofjoy From: gotearsofjoy Date: March 2nd, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Guh.. that cap of Tom slightly smirking before the cut is disarmingly gorgeous. Is he.. real...?

I'm still watching SV but recently I've stopped feeling much of any sort of emotional reaction towards each episode. I feel like giving up, and I used to LOVE this show. I suppose back in the past what I loved was the show's potential for its characters to grow. Now I feel like they're all locked in their own ways for better or worse. Plot-wise, no matter how they dress the episodes with Kandor, Zod, Checkmate, I feel like the show has run out of new stories to tell.

"Beyond the utter unoriginality of this deja vu storyline, I'm disappointed that Clark's relationship with those he should be able to trust most is actually worse than it was a year ago."

I agree, this basically sums up the development of this season so far (apart from Lois, who adds a little spark). It's frustrating that the show isn't making the most of 10 seasons of experience.. surely there should be some pay-off. Clark as a protagonist who the audience knows that they can side with, for example. And a team of friends who trust and understand him.

Ho hum. I'm still clinging on, looking forward to the day that Lois truly becomes aware of Clark's real identiy.. in the hope that this will somehow re-invigorate the series. There is some potential!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 15th, 2010 12:07 am (UTC) (Link)
It's frustrating that the show isn't making the most of 10 seasons of experience.. surely there should be some pay-off. Clark as a protagonist who the audience knows that they can side with, for example. And a team of friends who trust and understand him.

This is what disappoints me about the show in a nutshell. Why can't the writers see what is so clear to us? Are there really fans who don't want to root for Clark? I'm hoping that the show can embrace S10 as the final one, and find inspiration in no longer having to stall Clark.

I'm one who would also welcome Lois finding out Clark's secret. I would love to see them work together with no more secrets between them.
el_elle_8 From: el_elle_8 Date: March 3rd, 2010 01:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I am getting on the optimism train and I am not going to think about where this could end up. I will also distract myself by watching the Daily Planet scenes over and over again and staring at the pretty screen caps in your post.

Great review as always :D My thoughts on Conspiracy...Clark needs new friends, Zod is scary, not enough Tess, I am tired of seeing Justin Hartley shirtless, don't know what the writers are thinking and Tom is pretty!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 15th, 2010 12:11 am (UTC) (Link)
My thoughts on Conspiracy...Clark needs new friends, Zod is scary, not enough Tess, I am tired of seeing Justin Hartley shirtless, don't know what the writers are thinking and Tom is pretty!

Yes! I couldn't have said it better myself! :) I'm actually feeling pretty good about the rest of the season, and even if I'm wrong, at least I have Clark in the shower to look forward to. ;)
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tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: March 15th, 2010 12:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't see Chloe as a female version of Lex at all. Where is the love for Clark, the yearning to be part of something bigger and better than oneself by helping Clark find the hero within? Chloe has nothing but condescension and disdain for Clark these days. And for all his secret dealings, when Lex disagreed with Clark, he was usually pretty upfront about it. Chloe just makes passive aggressive snide remarks, and then sabotages Clark behind his back.

I do remain hopeful that the show will resolve Chloe's current storyline this season, whether AM is leaving or not, and that Oliver will choose Clark's side in the end. And I have my fingers crossed that they will approach S10 as the last right from the start, and give us an entire season of gloriously heroic and righteous Clark.
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