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Smallville 9x19 - Charade - I worship at the television altar — LiveJournal
Smallville 9x19 - Charade
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cbrownjc From: cbrownjc Date: April 27th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Triangle for Two - Part I

Well, I'll defend the notion that you have to like the triangle for two to have understood the "language" that was being spoken in this episode. I normally don't like the triangle for two much at all, even when I understand, on some level, why it's done, especially recently in the mythos.

The reason the triangle for two started in the first place, back in Action Comics #1 in 1938 was because Clark Kent wasn't a real person. He was a disguise for Superman. And so Lois fell for the "real" guy while he tried to get her to fall for his disguise. Now, I'm not saying the creators of Superman were setting out to make a commentary on duality when they created the original concept of the triangle for two, but that's what happened. So from that day to this, Lois always falls in love with the "real" person.

So for people who were into Superman before Smallville - especially the comics - kinda have it . . . ingrained in them . . . on what the overall meta of the triangle for two is about, and what it's saying about who Clark is and who Superman is.

What Smallville did that a lot of people are seeing, is they've changed up the standard ways this usually goes. First, they had Lois meet Clark long before Superman came on the scene. By having Lois meet Clark before he split himself into two different people, they took away the ability for Clark to come off looking like huge jerk by intentionally making her believe he was two different people for years (because - as far as the modern age at least goes and leaving out the movies - Lois and Clark know each other for a couple of years before they start dating). And they took away Lois being blinded only by a bad suit and a pair of glasses that the man she loved was two different people, which always reflected badly on her.

And then they further mixed it all up by - subconsciously - having Lois still either feeling, wishing or knowing that Clark is the Blur. Whichever it is, on some unconscious level, Lois is not separating the two deep down, which I don't think has ever been confirmed before in any version of the triangle.

But the main thing Smallville did was that they didn't simplify the duality of Clark Kent and "Superman". Again, one of the main functions of the triangle is to comment on who the "real" person between Clark and Superman is. And by having Lois have different but very real feelings for both sides states something I argue has been true since the pilot when Clark first found out her was an alien - and that is that both sides of him are real. The Blur - who will be Superman - isn't a fake person. He's the side of himself that Clark rejected and wished away for years. He's the side of Clark that Clark embraced when he declared Clark Kent to be dead at the end of last season. He's the side of Clark that has the ability to go out every night and actually make a difference - that wants to make a difference. The Blur, to actually put it simply, is Kal-El.

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman is to blame for many people simplifying this duality commentary over the years by declaring that "Superman is what I can do, Clark is who I am." But on Smallville, that was never the case. It may be what Clark wished was true, but it never actually was true.

So I think where some may be finding a problem here is with the idea that the Blur isn't anymore than a shadow because he's hiding in the shadows. Or maybe it has to do with having watched Clark reject the "Blur" side of himself for years, and they're just invested in the Kansas Farmboy aspect of him, and do think of the Blur as nothing more than what Clark can do.

Edited at 2010-04-27 06:51 pm (UTC)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: April 29th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Triangle for Two - Part I

Thank you for explaining the Tof2 so clearly! I liked Superman from the time I was little, but I didn't love him until LnC. The concept of Clark being the "real" man captivated me, and drew me into the story like never before. So maybe you're right, and the perspective I embraced from that show is influencing how I view this one.

You talk about Clark having two sides, and I get that. But I don't see them as separate identities that will persist. I've always seen Clark's journey as his struggle to balance his two sides, to find a way to bring them together, and no longer feel torn between them. I don't see either Clark Kent or Superman as being fake, I just see them as the same person, presenting himself to the world in two different ways. Neither one is the complete picture, but both are real. The person who Clark truly will be, the man and the myth in one, is probably someone only Lois and Martha will know. I don't consider that an oversimplified way of viewing things, but perhaps you do. You've given me a lot to think about.

Geoff Johns said in an interview with IGN that to become Superman, Clark has to choose to step out of the shadows and into the public eye, to become the superhero who inspires others, and leads by example. But he also said that in so doing, Clark would have to make sacrifices, and that one of the most dear would be his personal connections to people. I think we're already seeing that with Chloe. Some people complain that Clark only goes to see her when he needs something these days, but the reality is that his priorities are shifting, and, as he told Lois in Charade, he feels guilty allowing himself the indulgences he sees as selfish, like hanging with Chloe as friends. The one person he can't seem to deny himself, however, is Lois.

I am quite curious to see where the show goes from here. Who will Clark be when the curtain falls on Smallville? To what extent will the writers align themselves with comics canon, and what story developments will emerge as unique to the show? I just hope TPTB have a clear vision for what lies ahead, and that the final season does right by our hero.
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