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And off we go....

Tonight kicks off the final season of Smallville.  I know thats bittersweet for a lot of us.  But honestly, I'm ready to see the show end.  It isn't because I don't still love the show, and its certainly not that I've grown tired of watching Tom Welling grace my television screen on a weekly basis.  Its because this show has just exhaused me over the years.  And it really does feel like its time to wrap this puppy up.

I don't intend to go easier on the show because its the last year.  I totally understand that sentiment, but I'm just not able to roll that way.  So, I figured I'd give my flist fair warning, and let them know I'll be continuing on in my criticial way. 

So, lets start with the first of the last screentime totals:

Lazarus, running time:  41m, 39s (previously on:  1m, 27s)

Clark  23m, 14s  (as an interesting contrast, Clark's screentime for last seasons premiere was 11m, 3s)
Lois  8m, 5s
Chloe  5m, 31s
Tess  6m, 27s
Oliver  3m, 31s

Jonathan Kent  3m, 38s

In case anyone asks, I didn't do screentime minutes for Lx6.  Well, because he wasn't real Lex.

OK, are we ready to delve into the review?



I'm going to start this review by briefly mentioning all the advanced reviews of this episode.  Because I truly believe that if I hadn't read so many advanced reviews (that all seemed to parrot each other) that made this episode out to be the end-all-beat-all of all things Smallville, I might've been a bit less disappointed in it.  In fact, I'm downright baffled by some of the things I read in reviews when I compare it to what I actually saw on screen. 

But, whatever, lets move along...

Lazarus starts right where Salvation left off, after Clark made that incredible, brave, heroic and selfless sacrifice.  He hits the ground, and somehow doesn't go splat, and we are transported with Clark into some sort of limbo land between life and death.  Somehow, AI Jor-El is able to infiltrate this place, and we aren't even 3 minutes into the episode before someone is telling Clark that what he did in Salvation was wrong, and it wasn't really heroic, and he left Earth vulnerable to this great evil that is coming (Why didn't Clark know that?  Why aren't you psychic Clark?  Duh!).

Now, let me take a step back, and examine some of the dialogue in this scene.  Jor-El does actually admit to telling Clark to "rule them with strength".  So, we now know that this was not a misreading by Clark.  And I think its important to keep this line in mind when examing what is said by this hunk of kryptonian junk later on in the episode.  Also, there is a line said by Clark that I think is very important, and should be kept in mind also for the later scene.  Clark says "I left a team of heroes behind to protect them".  That line stood out to me because it really highlighted how much faith Clark has in his fellow heroes, and how he doesn't hold himself above them.  Jor-El tells him that HE is the one that is meant to protect the Earth, but Clark actually believed he was leaving the Earth is good and capable hands.  Sure doesn't sound prideful and vain to me.  But, what do I know, the episode will later tell me different.

Moving on, we see Lois crying over Clark's "mostly" dead body.  I do appreciate the homage to the comic book moment here, but I think the director failed ED, and her moving performance here.  When you are doing a moment like this, it needs to be a MOMENT.  It needs to be filmed beautifully, and you need to hold that beat to maximize its effectiveness.  Instead, the scene is filmed in the pouring rain, not only making Lois' tears indistinguishable, but also forcing Erica to compete with the sound of the rain with her dialogue.  I was really expecting some wonderful shot of this heartwrenching moment, but ultimately, I think the scene wasn't given the gravitas it deserved to pack the emotional punch it should have.

The Clark/Chloe scenes in this episode continued on in the vein of last years scene.  Maybe not so hostile, but still chilly and distant.  Chloe still freezes Clark out because she's decided she knows better.  I just don't know how I'm supposed to feel about that.  Not to mention how ironic that is in an episode where Clark gets beaten with the "you are prideful" stick.

I was a bit fuzzy as to why Clark needed to rush off to the Daily Planet, but off he went, and here he runs into Lois.  This is one of those scenes that was so built up in advanced reviews, and while it was very cute, it didn't seem to live up to the hype.  I really did like Lois in these scenes, but frankly, I was having a lot of trouble figuring out where Clark was coming from.  Did he suspect she knew?  Did he really expect that she wouldn't recognize his kiss? (a mindblowingly imbelic notion to me).  And if for some unfathomable reason Clark believed that Lois didn't, or shouldn't, have recognized his kiss, why wasn't he bothered when she was going on about the Blur kissing her?  On Lois part, I got where she was coming from.  I thought she was teasing, in anticipation of the truth being revealed in short order.  But Clark?  I'm really not sure what I was supposed to be getting from him here.  Which is why a cute scene was just that....cute.  Still, I did appreciate the one moment of levity in an otherwise heavy and dour premiere.

Going back to Chloe, am I supposed to believe that Chloe putting on the Dr Fate helmet was heroic?  Because really, it felt incredibly irresponsible to me.   I could be wrong here, but I don't think the helmet is supposed to be used like some sooped up Magic 8 ball when you run into a bad situation.  I do understand that Chloe was distraught over Oliver's kidnapping (putting aside my complete inability to find this love of a lifetime believable).  But still, hasn't Clark been lashed and lectured repeatedly for making foolish moves in the name of love?  I also thought the scene was incredibly rushed.  But I guess we are supposed to believe that Chloe had this vision, and it told her that she should trade herself for Oliver, and she couldn't tell Clark and.....ah, whatever.  I'm moving on because this is making me tired.

Lets check in on Tess.  Now the Tess scenes I liked.  A lot.  I'm not quite sure why she woke up with that dimestore rubber thing stuck on her face, but I'm glad it wasn't supposed to be a real scar (because really, someone in Make-up FX would need to be fired, like yesterday).  I liked the eerie build-up to Tess seeing the first failed Lex clone.  And little Alexander was incredibly adorable, and haunted.  I have to say, this show has consistently cast excellent little Lex's.  

I found myself really open to the Lex and his clones storyline.  In theory.  I think having an evil Lex clone, who goes around talking like he's the real Lex (even though he is self-aware, and knows he isn't real Lex) is where this storyline flew off the rails for me.  Because it really just felt like they were trying to re-create Clark and Lex scenes, and tension, and chemistry, but they were missing a crucial half of that equation.  You just can't shave some guys head and call him nuLex.  Or even CloneLex.   I would have preferred a clone Lex that was just maniacally insane, or one that didn't speak at all.  Or one that was all "screw Lex and his memories, Its My Time now!".  

Also, I'm a bit puzzled.  Going by the creation of Grant Gabriel, hadn't Lex conquered the bad clone problem?  i mean, this is a guy that can create a superpowered suit that Lana is off wearing with no problems, but he can't make clones of himself that aren't defective?  Color me confused.

But, I will say that the Tess part of this episode worked for me.  I am intrigued by her "adoption" of Alexander, and I look forward to seeing where this story leads.  Cassidy, as always, does a wonderful job with the role.  What a find she is!

One more thing about the Lex clone....Clark never let Lex forget he saved him on the bridge?  Boy, that isn't what I saw, as Clark often seemed to want to put that day in the past due to him not wanting Lex to investigate.  On another show, with different writers, I'd be convinced that what Clone!Lex said to Clark was supposed to tell us more about Lex's mindset that tell us any hard truths about Clark.  But on this show, with these writers, I was unsure as to what I was supposed to take away from that scene.  Was I supposed to be agreeing with him?  Or thinking there was some truth to his words?  I just really don't know.

The scene of Lois in the cornfield, scarecrowed, worked far better then I feared it would.  In context, I was OK with it.  Again though, I was diappointed in the directors choices in filming it.

I do so relish the opportunity to see Clark be heroic.  First in saving Lois, and then far more spectacularly with him catching the daily planet symbol and "flying" it back up to the top of the building.  But unfortunately, the show didn't make the time for this dilemna to really be effective.  If you are going to create a situation where Clark isn't expected to save everyone, then you should make it seem like it was actually in question whether Clark can save everyone.  As it was, it seemed he was able to handle both situations, and not even break too much of a sweat.  Boy, if Clone! Lex hadn't croaked, I'm sure he would've been all "Humph!".

OK, so here it is.  The Scene that I believe really defined this episode.  Clark goes to the loft, and goes to the suit that HIS MOTHER GAVE HIM, and AI Jor-El decides to zap him out of the loft, with the suit, and into the FOS.  Clark is understandably confused, as he believes that he was able to defeat the new darkness (Lex clones!), and he did a good job of it.  Now, I personally felt that the dialogue for Clark here was very OOC.  It felt to me like they were writing him that way to justify AI Jor-El, and even then, it didn't.  AI Jor-El basically goes into a rant about how Clark has no right to feel proud of himself, and that he is the great darkness the world faces, and how he is all darkity-dark, and he will never be the Earths savior.  Oh, and just for shits and giggles, it also chides Clark because "You almost took a mans life..."  Apparently AI Jor-El is only down with killing a threat when he's the one doing it.  Ask Lindsay, and Agent Loder in S3.  Or ask Jonathan Kent when AI Jor El attacked him and left him in a coma for months.  Or ask Chloe, when AI Jor-El decided to turn a blizzard on her, and only Clark's pleading for her life saved her.  

But, uh, yeah, this bi-polar computer from the bowels of Kryptonian Hell is giving Clark a lecture on "...ALMOST took a man's life..."

OK, everyone say it with me, FUCK YOU!!!

So, Clark gets kicked in the gut in our first episode of S10.  Following a finale where Clark was strong and heroic and brave, and showed leadership, and responsibiltiy.  After an episode where Clark was able to express his faith and solidarity to his fellow heroes, and also give his Kyptonian breatheren a chance at a peaceful life.  We come back to this season to Clark getting repudiated.  Well, I don't know about anyone else, but it doesn't exactly fill me with a sense of comfort about this upcoming season.

Again, we are faced with the question, just as with the Clone!Lex....are we supposed to think AI Jor-El is speaking the truth, and Clark is some prideful, vain darkity-dark souled guy?  Or, are we supposed to be thinking "Oh, the new villian has obviously hi-jacked the AI.  When is someone going to blow that place up?"  Knowing these writers, I really, really believe its the former, and not the latter.  I just can't reconcile is with the Clark I've been watching.

I had a thought after watching that scene.  I thought it was a Clark Haters dream scene.  I could just imagine the satisfied cackles of some of the folks at places like TWoP, as they gleefully said to themselves "See, I knew Clark was a douche!"

Oh, and BTW, what is with the reuse of the song from Veritas?

That takes us to the last big Clark scene.  And I actually loved this one a lot.  Clark gets a letter from Lois, saying she's decided to leave for Africa.  And again, I get Lois' thinking here, and don't hold the move against her at all.  And then Clark turns into Haley Joel Osmond, and sees dead people.  Namely, his father.

Can I just say that Tom and John S. were magnificent in this scene?

Unlike the steaming pile of computer chips, Jonathan actually tells Clark that he is proud of him.  And Clark finally gets to actually express his POV, including some of his self-doubts.  And I am reminded how devoid of this S9 was.  I really did like the talk that followed between father and son.  I especially loved that Jonathan was able to admit some of his own faults, including how his own actions led to his death.  And I will say that this scene helped to lessen the blow on the AI scene.  But I think what left a nagging doubt in my mind is that I'm not entirely sure what I'm supposed to think this is.  A true ghostly visage?  Some part of Clark's sub-conscious?  A mind game being played by a malicious foe?  For now, I'm going with benevolent ghost until the show proves me wrong.

I also want to note that this scene contains the most Meta line that I have ever heard on this show.  Clark:  "I feel like everytime I do something right, I do something wrong"  Isn't that absolutely and completely how they write for Clark on this show?  He can never win.  

Oh, and the CGI Darkseid was kind of lame.  This was the "OMG BIG MOMENT" all the reviewers pee'd their pants over?  LMAO

2 more small things....what happened to the Book of Rao, and why did it suddenly stop working?

And, why the hell would Jor-El take the suit?  It was given to him by Martha Kent, not Jor-El.  It should hold no meaning for him.  Taking the suit seems like the equivalent of a bully taking a kids favorite computer game because he could.  

I do want to commend Tom Welling on a really good acting job.  Erica and Cassidy were also quite good, as was John Schneider.  Oliver's scene didn't register with me a bit (and frankly, seemed unnecessary).  And I think Allison did a decent job, but without much to work with.

For me, this premiere was not awful, but also not particularly great.  A bit disappointing given the hype, and the fact that its the series last season.  And I'm not sure I like what tone is being set for the season to come. 

Comments

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asha14
Sep. 26th, 2010 03:03 am (UTC)
I agree with this review, however what I think made me bitter towards this episode was Jor-el's assitude towards Clark, it colored the episode for me and made me see red. My teenage daughter whom is not a Smallville fan watched the episode and liked it. Her favorite parts of the episode where Johnathon and Clark parts she also found the Tess and young Lex parts very interesting.

I told her I did not like how Jor-el treated Clark, she astutely pointed out that in her opinion the Johnathon parts mitigated the AI/Clark parts.I think I could not see that because it hurt to see someone trying so hard and being so selfless being told he is worth nothing.

I did want to like this episode however it left me cold I am getting to the point if Clark is not treated fairly It colors the episode for me. Oh yeah um the writer Al Septein on twitter said that Jor-el is "pissed" and he is "lesson teaching" nice huh
jeannev
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:35 am (UTC)
There's no doubt in my mind that the AI Jor-El was the defining scene in this episode, and I don't mean that it a good way. I think it did quite a bit to overshadow the better parts of the episode, and just leave a really bitter taste in ones mouth.

Al Septien can be something of a tool. I don't think he realizes how some of his more flippant answers come across,and he's got lots of adoring followers that tell him everything he says and does are made of gold.
tasabian
Sep. 26th, 2010 03:20 am (UTC)
In theory. I think having an evil Lex clone, who goes around talking like he's the real Lex (even though he is self-aware, and knows he isn't real Lex) is where this storyline flew off the rails for me. Because it really just felt like they were trying to re-create Clark and Lex scenes, and tension, and chemistry, but they were missing a crucial half of that equation. You just can't shave some guys head and call him nuLex. Or even CloneLex. I would have preferred a clone Lex that was just maniacally insane, or one that didn't speak at all. Or one that was all "screw Lex and his memories, Its My Time now!".
Good point - your ideas are much better. It didn't work at all, despite the actor trying his best, because the dialogue was like nothing we ever heard the real Lex say. Clone!Lex was basically given exposition to explain Clark's pride issues to us, making him sound more like a Jor-el clone.

Nor did the real Lex ever set up easy-to-defeat challenges for Clark (which is why Requiem!Lex also seemed like a rogue Clone.) Real!Lex is far subtler and smarter than that.

I could just imagine the satisfied cackles of some of the folks at places like TWoP, as they gleefully said to themselves "See, I knew Clark was a douche!"
You're behind the times, hon. TWoP is now the domain of "Clois rocks! and "I don't like how Allison twitches her eyes."

If you are going to create a situation where Clark isn't expected to save everyone, then you should make it seem like it was actually in question whether Clark can save everyone. As it was, it seemed he was able to handle both situations, and not even break too much of a sweat.
Exactly! Or tweak it somehow, ie Clark sees Lois starting to free herself, grins, and speeds away. As shown, there was no suspense, plus the clone looked so frail and tottery, he didn't present any kind of threat really.

Unlike the steaming pile of computer chips, Jonathan actually tells Clark that he is proud of him. And Clark finally gets to actually express his POV, including some of his self-doubts. And I am reminded how devoid of this S9 was. I really did like the talk that followed between father and son. I especially loved that Jonathan was able to admit some of his own faults, including how his own actions led to his death.
That scene was so much better than the rest of the episode, I have to wonder if a different writer (BQM?) wrote that bit. Jonathan admitting fallibility is one of JS's best scenes ever and he & Tom were awesome together.

But, I will say that the Tess part of this episode worked for me. I am intrigued by her "adoption" of Alexander, and I look forward to seeing where this story leads.
Was Cadmus able to heal Tess because she is also a Luthor? A Lex-sister, a Lilian clone, perhaps? (And that boy was incredibly cute. Bet he loved Cassidy - she seems like she'd have a knack for keeping a young co-star laughing!)

Show's on probation with me based on how they handle further clones and Alexander.
jeannev
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:40 am (UTC)
Ah, whats this about TWoP? Last time I was there, it was the status quo.

I just didn't think the Clark/Clone Lex confrontation worked on any levels, for a number of reasons. Mostly because you can't do a Clark/Lex scene without MR. End of story.

I really don't know who to blame, or credit, when it comes to the writing anymore. I think I've just decided, more or less, that its a collective effort. So, they all get props, or they all go down together.

I have to think Tess has some sort of Luthor family connection. Hopefully this will be answered when another Luthor shows up later on, down the line.

I can't imagine the news you heard today made you very happy:( I guess I really don't understand why MR really doesn't want to do it. I'm sure he has reasons, but you would think this wouldn't be such a big deal. Who knows?
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jlvsclrk
Sep. 26th, 2010 03:59 am (UTC)
I avoided most of the pre-reviews so although I knew certain scenes were coming from pictures, I didn't have expectations. I really enjoyed the Clois scene at the Daily Planet and the Jonathan scene was a grand slam - amazing work by both actors. And I'm HOPING that the writers finally realized just how awful the AI has been over the years and decided to make it clear by contrast how unreasonable and contradictory its demands on Clark are. It does seem to like to punish Clark for not knowing information that it could very easily impart but chooses to withhold. Jonathan by contrast was wonderfully warm and supportive. Good decision to bring him back.

As for not!Lex, the less said the better.
jeannev
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:42 am (UTC)
Well, having now seen the episode, the pre-reviews were kind of a misrepresentation to me. So, no loss. LOL

It would seem to me that if a great big scary foe was coming, then Jor-El would put aside all his pissy demands, and work with Clark to defeat it. I mean, isn't that what makes the most sense? Instead, we get this crap.

I was really open to the Lex clones thing. Now, I'm not so certain.
brijeana
Sep. 26th, 2010 06:09 am (UTC)
After reading the intro to your post I am once again glad to be spoiler free!

Lazarus starts right where Salvation left off, after Clark made that incredible, brave, heroic and selfless sacrifice.

Oh what a beautiful first line to your review. I'm going to read it again and again and let it wash away the bad taste Jor-el left in my mouth after the fortress scene. Ahhhhh.

Clark says "I left a team of heroes behind to protect them". That line stood out to me because it really highlighted how much faith Clark has in his fellow heroes, and how he doesn't hold himself above them. Jor-El tells him that HE is the one that is meant to protect the Earth, but Clark actually believed he was leaving the Earth is good and capable hands. Sure doesn't sound prideful and vain to me. But, what do I know, the episode will later tell me different.

THIS! I completely agree. I remember feeling so PROUD of Clark when he said that. And compare this to the way Oliver and Chloe behaved for most of last season, or how the Proto Justice League behaved at the end of season 8. It's really maddening. If they really wanted Jor-el to say that Clark wasn't ready, they could have. They could have peeled back a layer on heroism and brought Clark to another level in his training. Rather than tearing Clark down, they could have built up what it takes to be Superman with his sacrifice in Salvation just the beginning. I dunno.

Jor-el's attitude during this episode is a brain teaser of epic proportions. What are the writers thinking? I'm really scratching my head about this one. UG. I've been hoping over the years that the writers would redeem AI Jor-el somehow.

I agree that Clark was rather ambiguous regarding Lois and his secret. I think he was trying to feel her out. Does she know? Does she not know? I think it could have gone either way and he was trying to take his cue from her. I think he kind of knows that she knows but he's waiting for her to make the next move. With these writers though who knows? LOL!

Going back to Chloe, am I supposed to believe that Chloe putting on the Dr Fate helmet was heroic? Because really, it felt incredibly irresponsible to me.

LOL! I wouldn't ever like Chloe becoming Dr. Fate. Not ever. Under any circumstances. I'm sick of self-sacrificing Chloe. But can they please put Oliver in some sort of danger that makes the helmet seem warranted? I just felt like Chloe could have done some face recognition on the guy and found Oliver the way she usually does. You know, if fake!Lex had played the bad guy, maybe I would have felt like Oliver was really in serious danger. I just didn't buy it. Also if Chloe knows enough to set up a switch, why doesn't she know enough to OWN these bad guys? I guess it's supposed to show how dangerous they are but... it just didn't work for me.

Cassidy was amazing! My fave moment was actually the very first moment she sees her healed face. Her reaction was so subtle and emotionally true I just can't get over it! LOL!

I loved all the Clois shipper stuff. I loved the Chlollie exchange at the end. I loved having so much CLARK in this episode. I felt like he was really hashing out a lot of what he's been feeling over the years.

You hit the nail on the head about Clone!Lex. It's fine for him to have Lex Luthor's memories, but they should have let him be his own person. I got the feeling that Grant Gabriel and old Grant Gabriel were two different people even though they had the same memories.

I enjoyed the episode but there were some seriously cringe worthy moments. And I thought of you when AI Jor-el took the wind out of Clark's sails. OUCH.

Edited at 2010-09-26 06:11 am (UTC)
jeannev
Sep. 26th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)
I do think spoiler free is a better way to be. I can do that fine with certain shows I watch, and then its completely impossible with others, like Smallville.

I'm still baffled at the 2 Jor-El scenes, which actually CONTRADICT each other. It really, really feels, bottom line, like this was the writers contrivance to keep Clark out of the suit, kick him back down a few notches, and manufacture some out-of-the-blue conflict for Clark. Jor-El, as he always does, serves whatever deux ex machina role they need him to play on any given day. Here, he's playing the role of "Tough love Parental Figure", or "Unbelievable Asshat!", depending on ones POV. I know which one mine is. Unfortunately, I also know which one the SV writers is.

After last years Clois kiss in Salvation, I remember thinking it was one of my favorite Clois moments. And for a duo that can sometimes be kiss-challenged, it was great to see a really good kiss! I thought it was a wonderfully unique way for Clark to tell her the truth, and that the show had created something truly unique just for Clois. So, when I heard the utter NONSENSE that Clark didn't really want her to figure out it was him, and that Lois would play along that she didn't recognize the kiss, I just felt deflated. Like this awesome moment that I loved so much had just been turned into something aggravating and ridiculous. And as cute as the Clois scene at the DP in this ep was...and yes, it was cute!....I was just so annoyed that Clark would truly and honestly think she didn't recognize his kiss. Even if you say it was just a spur-of-the-moment, and he wasn't thinking when he did it....presumably, he is thinking now! Its just so....again, the word I would used is contrived.

Cassidy just continues to impress. I'm so sad that she didn't show up sooner. I think she is the only SV actress whose career I will make an effort to follow post-SV.

Basically, they were trying to take Clone!Lex, and pass him off as Lex. And that just won't work.
serenography
Sep. 26th, 2010 06:13 am (UTC)
Pt. 1.

Overall, I really did enjoy the premiere, but I'm certainly watching this as a different show. Maybe that's not such a bad thing. My expectations are in a totally new place. Regarding Clark, it's like they're taking us back to square one this season. He's angsty and uncertain about his destiny/fate and Jor-El and Jonathan are playing good cop/bad cop. In some ways, it feels like they're just hitting the start-over button. Perhaps it's because their hands are being forced to actually wrap up this final step of him taking on the Superman persona and they want to put the 9 previous years of that drama into this one year.


I was really expecting some wonderful shot of this heart-wrenching moment, but ultimately, I think the scene wasn't given the gravitas it deserved to pack the emotional punch it should have.

ITA. The scene had more potential than it actually reached. I think they needed a lingering shot of her holding him, a la the classic comic scene. I found more gravitas in her watching him from her hidden spot after he recovered, and of course, his yellow sun rejuvenation.


I was a bit fuzzy as to why Clark needed to rush off to the Daily Planet,

Supposedly the paper file with information about Cadmus Labs was only to be found in the DP basement - as opposed to Chloe's super computer of massive data about Lex. LOL... okay.

I found Lois's "lost pen" shtick a little overdone, making Clark look notsobright with all his whooshing around thinking he's fooling her when really it's the opposite. That said, I still enjoyed the "cuteness" of their interaction. I really liked when she first saw him and unabashedly threw her arms around him because she was so happy. That was a truly joyful moment.


but I don't think the helmet is supposed to be used like some sooped up Magic 8 ball when you run into a bad situation.

LOL. But now Chloe knows and sees ALL - even more than she already did. I agree that the scene felt rushed, or perhaps it was intentional for Chloe to act impetuously. She ran for that key right after watching the video of Ollie being taken. Not a lot of forethought there, but I do think this is the Big Setup for Chloe's story arc this season.


Going by the creation of Grant Gabriel, hadn't Lex conquered the bad clone problem?

Interesting point. I'd forgotten about that forgettable guy. Perhaps, it's the absence of Lex or any overseers to the labs that is the reason for the clone mutations. When little Alexander said some of us age too fast, I immediately thought of the exploding baby - but then remembered that wasn't a clone situation, it was a meteor rock thing. Then again, isn't cloning fueled, somehow, buy green K? I can't remember.


But, I will say that the Tess part of this episode worked for me. I am intrigued by her "adoption" of Alexander, and I look forward to seeing where this story leads. Cassidy, as always, does a wonderful job with the role. What a find she is!

Couldn't agree more. We really didn't get a good handle on where Tess' head is this season - aside from her brief conversation with Clark about the intent of Cadmus Labs.


As it was, it seemed he was able to handle both situations, and not even break too much of a sweat.

My daughter said the same thing. She's like, "I don't get it. I thought he wasn't supposed to be able to save both." They did give Clark a throwaway line that was probably meant to cover that when he was talking with Jor-El afterward. He said something about, "I pushed myself harder than I ever have." So...I guess that's the explanation?


And again, I get Lois' thinking here, and don't hold the move against her at all.

You know, I don't hold it against her at all either because clearly her heart is with Clark - but - I don't really understand her choice to leave after that scene they had in the DP. What is your thinking here? Is this just more of the same,"you're better off without me" mantra? 'Cause I hate to see them re-use that same mindset in order to create romantic drama.
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serenography
Sep. 26th, 2010 06:15 am (UTC)
Pt. 2


Oh, and BTW, what is with the reuse of the song from Veritas?


This really blew my mind. It had to be intentional, but it's very confusing. This was a different version of the song but still. If they hadn't used it before, it would have been a good choice, but I loved how that song was used the first time. Is this the song that's supposed to define loss for Clark? Aren't there enough songs out there for them to choose another appropriate one for this season-opener? Very confuzzled about this!


I especially loved that Jonathan was able to admit some of his own faults, including how his own actions led to his death.

As much as JS can rub me the wrong way, I actually got teary during this scene - on the second viewing! Having Jonathan admit that he's never been perfect, as opposed to talking at him about moral platitudes made this my favorite Jonathan scene ever. I actually felt that missing gap in Clark's life that used to be filled by his parents. Lovely, lovely scene.

I don't get the exact nature of Jonathan's appearance(s), but I saw where someone compared it to Dexter always having his dad's presence to interact with. I can work with that for now.


Oh, and the CGI Darkseid was kind of lame.

LOL... I think they borrowed the Scary Black Smoke machine from the SPN set. :) I'm not getting the link between Darkseid and the guy who kidnapped Ollie, and now has Chloe - if there is one. I'm sure that will all unfold eventually though.

Tom was fabulous in this episode. My son, who actually gave up on the show a while ago, watched this one with us and commented on how good Tom's acting was. I think Tom's just come a long way with this character and slips into him with total ease at this point.

Another really nice review. Glad to have one to comment and piggyback on now that I'm mostly too lazy to write up anything of substance myself. ;)












jeannev
Sep. 26th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
I think the Clark/Jonathan scene worked on almost every level. But I do think the 3 biggest ways it worked was that 1. We finally gave Clark someone he could talk to about what he's thinking and feeling, 2. We finally got a Jonathan Kent who admitted to his flaws, and 3. It was so wonderful to see Clark getting that parental love and support he hasn't had in a long time.

So, yeah, the whole thing made me very verklempt!

Well, until SV is over and done, I will be writing reviews, so you will always have someplace to comment. :)
tjw_jaypat
Sep. 26th, 2010 02:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your review! Spot on as usual! :)

What bugs me more than the notoriously twisted crackhead writers are those comments (on various other boards) who actually agree with Jor-El´s pride lecture. I guess one must really be a Clark hater to believe that Clark deserved this speech. I also find the RedK argument wanting: if the pride Clark exhibits under RedK would be a serious threat to his integrity, then please show us how it has crept into normal Clark over the past seasons and why it has started to become a problem. I saw no such thing! (Except for the few out of character lines of Clark in this episode, which were immediately recognizable as lame contrivances.)

At first I wanted to excuse all this by assuming that maybe the fortress was already controlled by this Darkseid guy. But Al´s tweet destroyed this hope, and just made me lose even more of my little respect I had left for this writing team.

So it seems my only joy in this final season will once again be Tom only, not the story... :(
jeannev
Sep. 26th, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much for the kind words :)

I was very disappointed, but not surprised, that there were people that thought Jor-El was in the right. Thats just SV fandom for you. I am really baffled by their inability, or unwillingness, to consider what AI Jor-El has done on this show over the last 9 years.

I think all this pride/vanity/darkity-dark soul is pure contrivance, based on nothing, manufactered for the angst quota they believe they need in S10. Nothing more complicated then that.

And truth be told, I think Al Septien is kind of a dink, and I'm beginning to suspect his twittering is a way to get his ego stroked. I mean, he's probably a nice guy, but some of the stuff he says....
carolandtom
Sep. 26th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
Awesome review! I couldn't agree more with EVERYTHING you said! Great job!

Tom was wonderful and looked gorgeous. That's my only comfort now and the only reason to keep watching. Thankfully there were 23 minutes of him (as per your totals) Thanks for them!
jeannev
Sep. 26th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks Carol. :)

Tom gave an amazing performance...except for one scene. I think his performance was a bit vague in the Clois DP scene. But outside of that, he was magnificent.
goodvibe
Sep. 26th, 2010 03:10 pm (UTC)
//I'm going to start this review by briefly mentioning all the advanced reviews of this episode. Because I truly believe that if I hadn't read so many advanced reviews (that all seemed to parrot each other) that made this episode out to be the end-all-beat-all of all things Smallville, I might've been a bit less disappointed in it.//

I'm curious about the reviews, seeing as how I didn't read any. Did they maybe get to see another version than the one we did---?

I was underwhelmed by the ep. Disappointed in some ways, but then, I think anything after 'Salvation' was going to be as such.

You know that I'm nodding like a bobblehead to everything you said about the whole Jor-El nonsense, right? Completely and utterly ridiculous dialogue with the whole pride business coming out of nowhere, from both him and clone!Lex. Jor-El' double standards moreover are infuruating, as is his hijacking of The Suit. I wish someone would just blow up the Fortress already and get rid of him once and for all.

I'm afraid I sort of couldn't stand the Clois in this one. It was just too nonsensical and frustrating - their actions. I don't think I can stand this kind of dynamic for much longer and so I hope the writers allow them the opportunity to really shine as a couple in their final season, with everything out in the open - soon. For my sanity.

The Chloe stuff, and Oliver - nothing too terribly interesting. I sort of zoned out. The helmet thing was just ridiculous.

I do like the Tess / clones storyline set up - I think it has potential. And I ::loved:: the Jonathion / Clark scene. My favorite of the ep.

//Oh, and BTW, what is with the reuse of the song from Veritas?//

Thank you! I've been wondering where the hell I'd heard that damn song before in the show.

//2 more small things....what happened to the Book of Rao, and why did it suddenly stop working?

And, why the hell would Jor-El take the suit? It was given to him by Martha Kent, not Jor-El. It should hold no meaning for him. Taking the suit seems like the equivalent of a bully taking a kids favorite computer game because he could.//

Convenient glossing over, as to the first question. Typical, season premiere stuff. As to the 2nd question, well, firstly because Jor-El' an ass. That aside, since Clark is clearly too strong for him to imprison, as he did back in S7, he decides to be petulant and steal something anyway, hence the suit. Oh, and did I mention that Jor-El' an ass?

Good to know about Clark' screentime though, which you are awesome to continue doing, btw. It did feel like he was in this one more than last season's premiere.
jeannev
Sep. 26th, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)
Nope, same version we saw. *shrugs* I don't get it.

I thought there was a good chance that we would have a drop-off from the highs of Salvation, but I hoped...foolishly, obviously...that they would take that love and praise for Salvation, and realize that people totally want to see Clark stepping up, being the selfless hero, and being a leader. So, its really a disappointment to see them taking the first ep of the season to repudiate Clark's actions in Salvation, and kick him in the balls.

I am not at all pleased with how they have decided to play this Clois thing either. I am holding onto hope that it doesn't last very long. I don't find it cute, or funny, and I don't think it reflects well on either character.

One aspect of the SV writing that has ALWAYS bothered me was the lazy glossing over details. Its really arrogance (and speaks to a lack of talent, I think). Its not at all hard to spend a few extra minutes, and think up ways to explain the details. To not bother with that feels a bit, to me, like a lack of respect for their audiences intelligence.

And Jor-El taking the suit makes ZERO sense. But again, its one of those things where the writers decided "Oh, wouldn't it be cool...", and they needed to get the suit away from Clark, so they had Jor-El steal it for no logical reason at all.

But, a definite YES! for Clark's screentime in this one.
(Deleted comment)
tjw_jaypat
Sep. 26th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
I even disagree with the wrath/temper issue. If anyone had a temper it was Jonathan. In most cases Clark was more quiet and mopey rather than wrathful. Of course there were cases, for example, after Alicia´s death when he almost lost it. But he was a teenie back then, and such feelings would be normal for even an adult. Only in S9 did we see some unjustified temper, in particular towards Tess. But in the earlier seasons he swallowed his anger and moped in the barn rather than acting on his feelings. And he was bashed enough as being a whimp.

Finally, in S9 Clark was training with Jor-El. Why didn´t Jor-El talk with Clark about any such issues back then, if he thought there was a problem? No, we were led to believe that Clark was training happily with Jor-El offscreen, until of course he abruptly disappeared and Zod destroyed the console. Now he´s miraculously back and apparently forgot all about the (apparently successful) training.

Anyway, I agree of course that Clark has some issues left, among them his somewhat rougher way in S9. But it´s certainly not pride and vanity.
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katyjane91
Sep. 26th, 2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
Aw! I missed your reviews! You are the only fellow fan I've ever seen that almost always agrees completely with me!

And once again I agree with you on, like, everything here.
It was a pretty okay episode. But the advance reviews did hype it up more than it really deserved.
I'm completely disregarding the stupid Ollie/Chloe stuff that I literally almost fell asleep during. But the Lex clone stuff to me was kinda.....ugh. A friend of mine pointed out that usually the first epi of the season kinda deals more with the last season, closing it off and whatnot. And this one didn't seem to do that at all, really. It just jumped straight into this seasons villains and things, I guess because it's the last season and they don't wanna waste any time.
But the Lex and Clark scenes were a pale imitation. I'm not even a big Lex fan and I know that you can't have him on SV without Michael.
And AI Jor-el really pissed me off. Once again, the writers change a characters personality completely to make one scene make sense. Usually they do it with Chloe but this time it was Clark.
I guess they didn't want him having the suit and fans going "Why wont he just put it on!?" so they took it from him so he can't. Now it's not his fault hes not wearing it.
*shrug* That's the best sense I can make of it.
But you're right that the Jonathan, Tess and Lois stuff was pretty boss. And that pen scene was too hyped up. As an AVID Clois fan, I was still a bit 'Meh' on that one.
But the Death scene really freaking got me.
Anyway, great review, darlin'! And hopefully the next episode wont be so rushed and packed full...





jeannev
Sep. 26th, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC)
Yay for agreement!! But even if we don't always agree, I hope you will always feel free to share your thoughts here.

I think saying the episode was "pretty okay" is a really good description for it. Honestly, if feels like strange to me that almost no reviewer had the slightest bit of a complaint, or scene they didn't like, or even a nitpick. Really?

The Jor-El stuff was just off the chain for me. Lord knows I've been baffled by the justifications I've read for some of SV's writing before, but I honestly think the justification of Jor-El might be the top of the heap.

I saw, in more then one review, the pen scene described as "hilarious". Having seen it, I'm like "Hilarious? Really?" Cute, sweet, amusing...OK. Hilarious? I do not think I share the same definition of the word as some others.
audrey229
Sep. 26th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
Part I

Thank you for the review. I did enjoy the episode for the most part. It felt very rushed in some parts although that is the sort of thing I usually feel during a season premiere.

I prepared myself for this episode knowing going in that I probably wouldn't get the same sense of "victory" and overall satisfaction that I felt after "Salvation." It helped for me to confront that beforehand because I knew if I went in expecting the same kind of victory I would feel let down.

I've been very sick with the flu for a few days so other than a brief few minutes the other day this is really the first time I've been able to talk about the episode. In a weird way, being sick might have been a good thing because it allowed me to take it in and prevented me from surrounding myself with fan reaction right away.

At this point, I've watched the episode about 3 times.

I have to say that I didn't really think Clark was being arrogant in the Fortress scene---and if there were fans who read it that way--then I don't know how anyone could think that it was intentional AT ALL. Instead, I felt like Clark was trying to psyche himself up in a sense. We know as an audience that he's waited so long to finally feel like he's ready to embrace his destiny and it's been such a long road. When he was in the Fortress I didn't feel like he was trying to brag or show vanity. My husband compared it to what an athlete might do before a particularly difficult game--try and psyche yourself up and get your confidence together so that you can do what needs to be done. Clark wants to help people so badly---he so wants to reach the end of his journey. But he's been beaten down so many times. He made such a selfless sacrifice on behalf of the world and he comes back and there's STILL more danger--more darkness. From his perspective, it must feel like no matter what he does--it will never be enough. And to some extent--that will be true throughout his life as Superman. There will always be another danger around the corner no matter what he does. So...no. I didn't see it as intense arrogance or an unreasonable show of pride. I thought his heart was in the right place. I think he was trying to find the confidence within himself to fight for everything that he's worked for. If he doesn't believe in himself at this point....who will? (Well...Lois will. But she's in Africa right now.)

I thought Jor-El was dead wrong and completely missed the point of what it is Clark needs to address in his life. But I also felt that as an audience member I was supposed to question if Jor-El was wrong. And I think Jonathan's presence in the episode was there to remind me that Jor-El was completely missing the big picture about Clark and that there was another way of looking at it. It seemed pretty clear to me when I was watching it that I was supposed to be siding with Jonathan. Had Jonathan not been in the episode...then I would have felt very disturbed by the scene with Jor-El and I would have felt that the show was presenting me with no other alternative about their viewpoint on Clark. But instead the episode ended with Jonathan giving us his viewpoint that seemed much more in line with who Clark is and what he needs to do.

I think Jonathan summed up rather well that Clark is facing right now. Clark has made so many sacrifices---but he's not made of stone. He's been betrayed so many times---he's been hurt so many times. He made this incredibly heroic, selfless choice last year and the world is still in jeopardy. I thought that the anger that Clark felt for Lex made a lot of sense. Lex was Clark's friend. I don't care how far removed that clone was from the Lex that used to be Clark's friend many years ago. It still has to kill Clark to know that someone that he used to love like a brother has fallen this far and would be capable of such terrible things. Jonathan was so right when he said that it would be natural for resentment to build up and that Clark needs an outlet. I think that's very true.

audrey229
Sep. 26th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
Part 2

What Clark needs, in my opinion, isn't to get control of his freaking pride. He's as humble as they come. What he needed, imo, was someone like Jonathan to hold him and tell him that it was OK. To help him find peace. What Clark needs right now is love and support. Clark responds to love. He always has. That's where he feels at "home"--when he can give and receive love. And I'm not just talking about romantic love--although I do think that he really needs Lois to come home right now. That's why I look forward to his scenes with Cat next week---because I just think Clark needs a friend. I also really hope his mother can make a return appearance this year again and Perry as well.

I also thought it was huge and showed incredible humility that Clark admitted to his father outright that he had taken his anger out on people, destroyed a buidling and almost killed. He humbly admitted his mistakes. Something that very people on this show have EVER been capable of doing. He didn't make any excuses for himself. He said he was wrong. That right there shows me a man who is trying his damnest to confront the mistakes that he's made and try to come out the other side a better man. But unlike other characters, Clark is not so arrogant that he doesn't realize when he's made a mistake. He knows it and he owns up to it. That takes humility that very few people have.

Sorry for that rather long rant. So no...I didn't think the Jor-El scene was correct at all. I questioned it right away as a viewer and I would hope that all viewers took a moment and questioned it because since when has Jor-El ever truly understood the big picture when it comes to who Clark is as a person and what truly makes him the person that he is. NEVER. (And oddly, in a much less extreme way, I think that's been the case in other versions of the Supermn story as well. The AI Jor-El never gets the full picture and never truly understands Clark's humanity because the AI is a computer and has none.) I never expect that computer to ever be right when it comes to Clark's heart. And I hope that Clark takes Jonathan's advice to heart and find the faith to fight back against what Jor-El told him. He is capable of more than that freaking computer program could ever possibly understand.

Anyway, thank you for listening and have a great day,
jeannev
Sep. 26th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
No need to apologize for the long rant, and I hope you are feeling better.

I wish I had your faith in the writers that I was supposed to be questioning the validity of what Jor-El said. I do admit, that with the Jonathan scene afterwards, it does at least call it into question. But, as you know, my feelings about the SV writers/showrunners is not the most positive, and I'm very often amazed at what they think Clark is responsible for, and how they talk about him. So, to see Jor-El laying into him like that, it just felt to me like they were trying to say something about Clark (and Al Septien's tweets sure didn't help there).

But, I do hope that you reading it right.

As you point out, Clark immediately took Jor-El's words to heart, right or wrong, and starting questioning himself. Something a person with pride or vanity issues would not do.

While I did view Clark's dialogue in the FOS as OOC for him, I also agree with your husbands read on it. It didn't really come across as arrogance to me. It came across as Clark being rightfully proud of his achievements, and also wanting to please this kryptonian hunk of metal (which again, doesn't speak to pride or vanity).

Like you, I think Clark needs love and true friendship in his life. I am hoping the show takes time to show that, especially since I know it will revel in the tearing Clark down stuff.
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svfan01
Sep. 27th, 2010 07:11 am (UTC)
I thought the season opener was ok, it wasn't terrible but nothing stood out either. As you said it seemed to be overhyped in early press. Speaking of early screeners, last year they gave out the first 2 episodes, this year only Lazarus, wonder what that says about episode 2.

Not sure what to make about the Jor-El scene, it definantly didn't work. As somebody who hates any plot revolving around Jor-El in the first 5 seasons, it had to many flashbacks to those storylines. My guess is they will have Jor-El show up later and say it was a test(or at least my hope) but even then it's a place the show should have never went to. I think that Jor-El scene should be filed under the better you just forget it ever happened category.

I personally feel the show made a mistake not lightening up the mood of the first episode, because with it being the last season I think the show should have went with a more light hearted tone. Clark living a much easier and happy life would be an easy way to show Clark has moved on with his life.

You mentioned TWOP, I go to that site because I am a glutton for punishment but it seems to be a deadzone for the most part. I am not sure if the people there just given up on the show or found a new place to talk about how Chloe is really Lois Lane because they can't stand having people poke holes left and right into the theory(most likely a combo of both) . I do get a chuckle though how the rating was much better then everybody predicted at the end of last year, I am guessing alot would come back and make a cameo if that wasn't the case to gloat.
jeannev
Sep. 27th, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC)
Not only overhyped in the press, but Al Septien was doing a number on it too. Then again, he's probably not the most trustworthy source, LOL

I don't know whats going on with SV, and the way its being promoted and such. Everything seems to be on some sort of time delay, and I can't tell if thats a deliberate strategy, or incompetence. I mean, its Monday, where is our Shield scene?

I totally agree with you that Jor-El should just go away now. Forever! Its one of the reasons I thought Kandor was a monumental waste of my time. Who is that Jor-El? Why should I care? Why do I want to see Clark grieving over his body?

I don't ever think I'll fully grasp why this show feels that Clark has to be miserable 90% of the time. I'm not sure why him being "on a journey" means that it has to suck.

Hey, reality set in over at TWoP. I guess, eventually, most people have to realize that they're pissing in the wind.
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(Anonymous)
Sep. 27th, 2010 07:37 am (UTC)
Last season premiere wasn't Clark-centric as Clark's screentime was 11 mins while Lois' was 13 mins. This season premiere is a big contrast where Clark's screentime was 23 mins while Lois and everyone else's are under 10 mins. This is what should have been last season. To start off the 9th season with a premiere that's not Clark-centric gets the season off to a wrong start. To start off the 10th season with a premier that's Clark-centric gets the season off to a write start.

I enjoyed Clark's scenes with Lois, Jonathan, Tess, and the Lex Clone, but I hated his scenes with Jor-El and Chloe. I agree that the scenes with Jor-El are contradictions of each other and Chloe continues to act the same as she was last season. It's clear that whatever friendship Clark and Chloe once had is gone as she's now his foil instead of best friend. As for Jor-El, Clark never connected with him whatsoever throughout the series and it's a good thing Jonathan was the balance to counteract him.

Clark in the limbo dimension, saving Tess, Lois, and the people in Metropolis, as well as his reunion with Jonathan, the first appearance of Darkseid and the suit in the FoS were all positives for me.

I feel Clark and Tess are going to be the ones with the most interesting stories this season and theirs intertwine. As much as I love Clois, I don't see much struggles for Lois because she's the Daily Planet reporter we know her to be other than knowing Clark's secret. Last season focused on Lois, I think this season will focus on Clark, with Tess second because of her reconnecting to Lex.

As for this so-called pride and ego issue, Clark never had any issues that I know of. However, let's not forget that last season's theme was Clark's Darkest Hour. He just got out of that darkness in this episode and they can't sweep it under the rug like before. They have the entire season to bring him to lightness and transition into Superman instead of a stupid lightswitch.

There's lots of consistency such as the Book of Rao and the console to the Fortress gone.

vantheman77
(Anonymous)
Sep. 27th, 2010 07:39 am (UTC)
Oops, I mean inconsistency with the Book of Rao and Fortress console gone.
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