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Let me start off by saying:



I feel like I've been waiting all this season for an episode to really, really like.  And I finally got it!!  Its so much fun to love an episode without reservation.

I know I have a reputation, which is well earned, of being a hard ass when it comes to SV.  I know I'm critical, and unyielding.  Believe me, I have no illusions about myself (and make no apologies).  This is just the way I roll.  However, an episode like this is exactly why I'm like that.  Why should I settle for the mediocrity of episodes like Isis and Harvest, or the all out FAIL of Supergirl, when they can make an episode like Ambush?  Why should I make do with an underwritten Clark, when this episode proves that they CAN write a strong, mature Clark with a well articulated POV?  Why should I need to wank what he's thinking and feeling when this episode proves that Clark is fully capable of explaining that himself, on screen?  Why should I be happy with an episode thats only able to get one aspect of the story right, when this episode proves that they are capable of achieving balance in a episode?  

If they can write Clark this well, and find ways to focus on multiple facets of his life simultaneously, why shouldn't I expect them to be able to do that more often then not?

The answer for me is...I shouldn't.  I won't.

But, more about that in the review, lets get to the totals

Ambush, running time 41m, 36s

Clark:  22m, 35s
Lois:  17m, 1a
Oliver:  8m, 43s
Tess:  6m, 17s

General Lane:  13m, 41s
Lucy Lane:  10m, 5s

I didn't time Rick Flag's screentime because I haven't done it for any of his other episodes.  And now I feel like I need to go back and do that, because it appears he is going to be a recurring presence (and thats GOOD news!)


Totals to Date (# of eps):

Clark:  157m, 59s (7)
Lois:   123m, 27s(7)
Oliver:  46m, 35s (6)
Tess:  42m, 36s (5)



So, anyone else get chills when Clark addressed the General as "Sam"?  Loved it!

In fact, I loved this whole episode.  Soup to nuts.  When it was over, me and my sister turned to each other, and both said in delighted surprise "that was a damned good episode".  Its the same way I felt after Salvation.

And usually, even with episodes I like, I'll still find a few minor quibbles here and there to discuss, and I'm not sure I could even do that with this episode.  Oh, maybe Oliver whining about Chloe again, though everytime he starts talking about Chloe, I hear the adults in the Peanuts cartoons.  So, it hardly seems worth mentioning.

I've always believed that the key ingredient to any really great SV episode is the writing for Clark.  You write a Clark that comes across as strong, and confident, and smart, and heroic...and throw in romantic for this episode....and you've laid the foundation for a good episode.  You don't start there?  And the episode is already being built on shaky ground.

And as well as Clark was written this episode (easily the best writing for him this season), so too was every other character playing a prominent role in the episode.  All the characters felt real, and true to themselves.  Every single character got their moment of glory too.  OK, maybe not Lucy, but I'd still say the writing for her was bang-on.

Doing a mental checklist of the scenes in this episode, I can't think of a single one that didn't seem to work.  I can't think of anything I'd remove, or anything I feel like we were deprived of seeing.  The direction and editing of this episode was crisp and seamless.  Again, I can't help comparing it to the amatuerish, plodding direction of last weeks Harvest, where scenes seem to drag endlessly.  In this episode, the pacing was so much quicker, and I think it really helped the flow of the episode.  The hour flew by.

Personally, I think a couple that never fights is not a believable couple.  So, I was glad to see Clark and Lois get into it a bit.  I have to say, I was Team Clark all the way.  Its one thing to expect your significant other to put up with your parents.  Its another thing to expect them to be belittled and abused, and not stick up for themselves,   But even having said that, I do understand Lois' position.  Family dynamics are tough, and its clear from the amount of times Lois has mentioned her father that he's loomed large in her life, and influenced her decisions.  It was uncomfortable to see her becoming so passive around him, and yet, I found it very believable.  And I was very glad that Clark stood his ground.  Lois wasn't being true to herself, and he called her on it.  Unlike the General, Clark didn't give her an ultimatum, him or her father.  Instead, he was challenging Lois to be true and loyal to herself, and her own beliefs.  And see, that makes a relationship feel real, and mature, and true.   And boy, it was nice for this Clark fan to watch him in a conflict with a female where he stands his ground, and doesn't just let them rip on him.  Its happened before, but its rare.  On the flipside, it was nice to see Lois not fly off the handle about Lucy's kissing ambush.  Compare that to last seasons Escape, when Lois was supposed to really think Clark and Chloe decided to get naked in a shower together?.

And not only were the Clark/Lois/Lane's dynamics written very well, so were the characters of Tess, and even Oliver.  OMG, I can't believe I'm admitting that Oliver was...sorta, kinda...not loathesome in this episode.  At first, I found his attitude towards Tess to be annoying and abrasive.  But I liked that the writing in the episode didn't seem to be suggesting that Oliver's attitude was OK.  First we saw him quickly rebuffed by Clark, who defended Tess' contributions thus far (LOVED that so, so much!).  And later, Tess herself was willing to tread carefully around Oliver, yet make it clear that Oliver was going to need to find a way to get the hell over it.  I'm OK with Oliver being a jerk as long as 1. the people around him give it back to him, and  2. he comes around at the end, and realizes he was wrong, and makes amends.  Which is what he did.

I also have to say that Oliver realizing he's going to need to stay away from Watchtower was one of his more selfless, clear thinking decisions ever.  It was a real moment for him.  I wish this guy could show up more often.

Tess continues to be awesome, but thats hardly breaking news ;)

Also going for this episode were terrific guest stars.  IRONSIDE!  What can you say about IRONSIDE!?  I love the guy in just about anything he does.  And he did such a great job with this role.  For me, one of the strongest scenes in the episode was the last scene between him and Clark.  How can someone watch the episode, and not feel for the man?  I loved that he was able to share his life experiances with Clark.  So often on this show, scenes like this come off as heavy handed, and you feel like a 5 ton anvil is falling on your head.  But there was a subtle touch to this dialogue.  Clark is able to take something away for himself in hearing the General share about his own life.  

And does the General knows that Clark is The Blur?  Upon a rewatch, I'm leaning towards yes.  This is a very smart man, and I think the hints he dropped were very purposeful.

As for Lucy, first of all, Peyton List is just lovely, isn't she?  And her and Erica actually look like sisters.  As one of 4 girls, I always appreciate the complicated intricacies of sisterhood.  It seems clear to me that Lois and Lucy were brought up in a very competitive environment, both of them constantly vying for theattention of their father.  Lucy kissing Clark in the loft feeds into that.  Everything is a competition for the Lane girls, or was.  Lois seems to be maturing out of that.  But Lucy?  Well, as the younger sister, it seems like it might take her a bit longer.  I thought every note between Lois and Lucy rung true.  Their conflict, and their resolution.  

And can I talk about Rick Flag here for a minute?  Because I think I might seriously be in love with Ted Whitall.  Wow, what this guy is doing with a small supporting role is impressive!!  So far, every single actor connected to SV's suicide squad has been really, really good.  Even the phasing guy in this episode, who didn't have a tremendous amount to do, made a big impression.  I have to admit, I'm far more invested in this part of the storyline then I am the Darkseid stuff.  I hope it doesn't sort of fizzle out the way Checkmate seemed to last season.  

Clark and Lois in the beginning?  Cute, and sexy, and playful.  This, to me, fits them much better then a room full of candles.  I like sexy Clark.  A lot!

Hmmm, what else to say.  I feel like I'm just gushing about the episode, but this happens so rarely for me, I sort of want to roll around it, and cover myself in the happy.  

Oh, can't end this review without mentioning how much Tom Welliing ROCKED DA HOUSE!!!  See, again, I can't help but compare him here to the befuddled disconnected performance of last week.  Tom was right on in every single one of his scenes.  It convinces me that, without a doubt, give this man a decent script, and he is every inch the future Superman.  

Really though, kudos all over, because every single actor was great.

Well done Whitehead/Henderson, and Chris Petry.  Take a bow. 


Comments

( 62 comments — Leave a comment )
meldreamy
Nov. 6th, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC)
I agree. 100%. Thank you.
And I value your honesty in reviews a lot, you're the only reviewer I ever read, anyway.
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 12:04 am (UTC)
Wow. Thanks a lot for that. It means a lot. Being honest and straight forward is really what I strive for.
katyjane91
Nov. 6th, 2010 11:30 pm (UTC)
Totally agree. Man this was a great episode. I was a little nervous when Clark and Lois started fighting in the beginning but it was okay. Because it was written right!
Lol! It's funny because I talk to the same friend every week during SV and have for years. She was with me during the whole breakup thing at the end of last season when Lois and Clark were fighting and I was so frustrated because NO ONE in the fandom seemed to get how stupid Clois was coming off as.
But this! This I was okay with. And my friend didn't understand because she thought that I just didn't like them fighting.
No! I'm okay with a fight, as long as its done correctly!
This was. I could see both of their sides and neither one came off as stupid.
And I totally agree that Tom was great and I also got chills when he called the General 'Sam'. He was so sure of himself and steadfast. Good job, Clark....
Oh yeah, and Ollie WAS sort of pretty okay wasn't he? He even took his shirt off in a not totally obnoxious way.
Great review, like always, girl!
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
I think a well written couple fight really brings another dimension into a fictional relationship. Couples fight! Thats just reality. And in the case of this episode, the disagreement was fully warranted, and allowed both characters their say.

Tom was Powerful in this episode! Like, whoa!

Thanks so much for the kind words.
(no subject) - shalimarfox80 - Nov. 7th, 2010 09:31 am (UTC) - Expand
asha14
Nov. 6th, 2010 11:48 pm (UTC)
I liked this episode a lot, and most of it had to do with what you wrote. When the writers remember that Clark should be the "buffy" of the piece the episodes comes out a lot better. I find I liked almost all of the characters in this episode and hated Oliver less because of his talk with Tess at the end. Next weeks episode looks really interesting on a lot of fronts, however I am going to reserve my opinion on the Lois/fortress.
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 12:09 am (UTC)
I'm looking around, and this episode seems to have gone over very well with most people. I know SV fandom is divisive, but I do think a good episode can bring a lot of fandom together.

And ITA that Don & Holly found the "Clark" in this episode. Not sure why so many other writers seem incapable of doing the same this season (Al and Turi, I'm looking at you!).

Oliver was OK in this episode. What a relief. He usually makes we want to drive a spike into my eyeball.

I'm hoping for a good ep next week. *fingers crossed*
(Deleted comment)
shalimarfox80
Nov. 7th, 2010 12:29 am (UTC)
You know an episode is made of awesome when your only quibble is the half-dozen Chloe mentions! And I have a special grudge against those mentions because hello, when in the past Lois missed episodes, people pretended as if she didn’t exist and now they’ve got a character dedicated to whining about Chloe?!!

I do believe that the writing for Clark has gotten much better since the last season, ever since he’s put on the Blur persona, but seriously… who the hell was this guy in Ambush??

I mean, he didn’t whine once about the fact that Lois chose her dad over him. He didn’t mope in his barn, looking at the sunset, thinking what he and Lois could have been, but he’s destined to be lonely after all, he wasn’t a wuss when Lois implied that he doesn’t know what it feels like because he doesn’t have a father, he actually *gasp* stood his ground. And he wasn’t caught with Lucy like a deer in the headlights. The moment he realized she was flirting with him, he politely showed her the door (stairs) *double gasp* and he stood firmly in front of his girlfriend’s father and openly defied him. He didn’t even get to say “It’s all my fault Lois” and he didn’t go and whine about it to anyone. Mister, who are you and what have you done to our Clark?

So far I’ve seen everyone say how much they enjoyed Clark in this episode that I’m wondering that if PTB know that fans love to see Clark written like this, why don’t they write him like this all the time? They’ve set the bar really high this week. I hope that next week and the next and the rest of the episodes follow. I really do hope so.

I loved how he expected Lois to take his side but when she didn’t, he was surprised and rightly so. He knows Lois as his most ardent supporter. She would crucify anyone who dared to say anything against his Blur persona, so it was natural of him to be baffled to see that Lois of all women suddenly turned into a puppy. But the expression on his face when he says to her “Whatever the General likes…” my GOD! He breaks my heart.

And the barn when he’s mumbling angrily while chopping wood. Okay, that was one of the best Clark Kent moments on the screen. He actually showed his frustration with the situation. And the fight between him and Lois that follows. Very natural.

The highlight of the episode are off course the scenes between the General/Clark. I’ve seen the episode a dozen times already and I still can’t believe this is Smallville. They let Clark be the hero on… HIS show!! I loved how he stands up when Sam brings up his mom, and then his “I love your daughter” and “It’s wrong of you to think that we don’t belong together”. I think the writing in these scenes was just spot on, because it didn’t leave anything for the viewer to figure out. We weren’t left with a half baked confrontation and then to just fanwank one thing or the other about it. Clark was upright. He didn’t like what he didn’t like and he plainly said it. End of story.

And I adore the last scene, one because they didn’t turn the General into a jerk. I really didn’t want things to end on a bad note for Clark and Sam Lane so I’m really happy, actually giddy that they wrote Sam so well. He apologized for his behavior and the whole ‘normal things’ talk and the way he admits that Lois loves Clark, just beautifully done. And off course the icing on the cake, the best surprise of the evening was THE question Clark asked him. I’ve seen people say that they should have shown it, but IMO it was perfectly done.

And the first scene? My Clois loving heart still hasn’t recovered from the awesomeness and hotness of it. I don’t think I have words to explain how much I love it.
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 01:37 am (UTC)
Heck, when Lana was put into a coma by Brainiac, Clark, her live-in boyfriend, didn't even mention her as many times as Oliver has mentioned Chloe. Its pretty ridiculous. And really, would he honestly be talking so much about her with his ex-girlfriend?

But, luckily, in this episode? It was handled pretty well.

For me, I've been seriously underwhelmed with the writing for Clark this season. I think only Shield stands out for me in regards to good Clark writing. So, this episode thrilled me.

So far I’ve seen everyone say how much they enjoyed Clark in this episode that I’m wondering that if PTB know that fans love to see Clark written like this, why don’t they write him like this all the time?

This is an excellent question. But then I think of how great the reception was for Salvation, and how much people talked about the writing for Clark there, and then this season, the same writing team gave us....Harvest. So, who knows what goes on in their minds.

shalimarfox80
Nov. 7th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC)
As for Lois, I think this was one of the best episodes for her as well. I love her as the kick ass reporter. I love when she’s in action as the avid Blur supporter but I loved this vulnerable Lois so much. I loved that they showed that beneath the tough girl surface, she too has her insecurities, her troubles that make her real. Erica was so wonderful that I have no words to describe her performance. Her conflicts were handled perfectly. I wouldn’t have bought them any other way. I’ve seen people say that it was OOC for Lois to not stand up for the Blur. I’d say it would have been ridiculous if she suddenly became an immature teenager in front of her dad. What she did to diffuse the situation, how she handled it, PERFECTION. And it’s not just any guy she can tell off. It’s her dad. And she’s caught between these two most important men in her life, what was she supposed to do? Poor girl goes against her nature to keep peace for one day but then she still firmly tells the General that she won’t leave Clark, that she loves him. Absolutely perfect and heart breaking.

I don’t think that Lois wanted Clark to let Sam belittle him. She was just so afraid of things blowing up between them that she wanted to put a white flag in between. I think her biggest fear was that the General would leave with a grudge against Clark, or worst, he’ll get suspicious of him. And she wanted to pretend that everything was fine, kinda like Clark in ‘Hostage’ where he didn’t want to reveal to his mom that there were problems between him and Lois. It was real and relatable. The best thing about Lois and Clark is that they are not written as an epic, poetic, Romeo & Juliet-ish couple. They’re real. They confront their fears, and they try to come over it. In the end, the only thing that mattered was that despite of the conflict, neither Lois nor Clark for a moment rethink their feelings. They both firmly said that they loved each other and they’ll stand by each other.

I agree with your analysis of Lucy’s behavior. I’ve seen people say that they were disappointed by Lucy etc, but I think it was very natural and in-line with what we saw the last time Lucy came to the show, besides the last scene between the sisters (which I admit brought tears to my eyes) said it all. Why they do the things they do, why they are so insecure? Beautifully done.

I loved Ollie/Tess interactions in this episode so much that I’m fearing I’ll start rooting for them as a couple and set myself up for disappointment when Chloe returns. Oh and Tess in glasses is all kinds of hot. I think she was once again awesome tonight. I’ve said it before, Tess as JL’s ally is so much better. I loved how Clark supported her and Ollie’s awkwardness was so cute. They do have history and boy do they have chemistry!

And I liked the fact that there was no out of universe B plot in this one that had nothing to do with the A plot. Nothing destroys the pace of an episode than two separate plots (Harvest, I’m looking at you).

Perfectly written, perfectly directed, well-edited. One of my favorite episodes. I want Whitehead and Henderson to write all the episodes this season, because this season really needed a winner, and this one’s it for now. I am sure that we’ll surpass this awesomeness in weeks to come.

Oh and did I mention how much I loved that Clark/Sam conflict was resolved and Sam left knowing that Clark is a great guy and loves Lois? Sam has accepted him unlike a certain guest star who told Clark that he was a failure and she was off to save the world. *shudder* And I’m totally on board with the “Sam knows Clark is the Blur” spec. He kept talking to Clark about Lois having a hero, a guardian angel and then goes on to say “Not everyone has the Blur’s code of ethics”. Why would he praise the Blur so much and call him his daughter’s hero in front of her boyfriend? The only logical explanation is that Sam knows or at least in the process of connecting the dots.

The Suicide Squad plot was woven wonderfully. I loved Flag as well. The season is gradually picking up and hopefully would keep getting better. Thanks for this awesome review!
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 01:43 am (UTC)
I actually think Lois has gotten far better writing this season then Clark, but this was definitely another good ep for her. I don't think there's anything Lois said or did that didn't feel completely understandable and organic. Which doesn't mean that I liked everything she did, only that I could understand it.

I don’t think that Lois wanted Clark to let Sam belittle him. She was just so afraid of things blowing up between them that she wanted to put a white flag in between. I think her biggest fear was that the General would leave with a grudge against Clark, or worst, he’ll get suspicious of him. And she wanted to pretend that everything was fine, kinda like Clark in ‘Hostage’ where he didn’t want to reveal to his mom that there were problems between him and Lois.

I don't think Lois "wanted" Clark to be belittled, but she was also letting it happen without saying anything. And although I understand why she was conflicted, it wasn't her shiniest moment. And I think thats the biggest difference for me between what happened in Hostage, and here. Lois wasn't really being subjected to any harshness from Martha. In fact, Martha was very warm and loving. Here, Clark was actually being put down, to his face, in his own kitchen. He was being handed a list of menial tasks to perform, and Lois wasn't saying a thing. I do think that creates a very different scenario. I have no doubt that in both cases, Clark and Lois just wanted to not make waves. However, the agressiveness of the General made the situations very different.

For me, in regards to Lucy, I think its very simple...she's jealous of Lois. So, she wanted to screw it up for her. Admirable? Not even a little. Believable? Sadly, yes.

I can't root for Tollie. I think Tess deserves better.

(no subject) - shalimarfox80 - Nov. 7th, 2010 02:10 am (UTC) - Expand
cbrownjc
Nov. 7th, 2010 12:47 am (UTC)
I'm more engaged in the Suicide Squad Plot so far too. But it may be because I think it was set up longer than the Darkseid plot has been, starting from last season when Amanda Waller name dropped them, and Lois discovering that high-level criminals were being gathered up in Absolute Justice. I'm still thinking Darkseid will come kicking up more during the second half however (not counting next week of course ;) ).

I'm actually . . . a little disappointed that General Lane changed his mind so fast on The Blur, just because Lois got saved by him. I'm not saying I wished SV has completely stuck to the comics on this one, (because honestly the show doesn't always do that which, after all this time, I do accept even if I don't always like it), and I didn't want him to go all bats**t genocidal maniac about metahumans, aliens and such like he did in the comics. But it still felt a little too easy. I did appreciate though that they had the General note that not all superheroes had the moral code The Blur seem to have.

Clark was wonderful from beginning to end. My favorite scenes were the one that started with him chopping wood and the whole fight with Lois, and the confrontation between him and General Lane in the barn. I gave a little gasp of surprise and delight when Clark called him Sam, switching away from "sir" clearly saying with that one word "I'm a man, not a boy, and you will respect me as such." Truly the best Clark has been written all season and, for me, even better written than he was in Salvation - and I adored Clark in Salvation.

Edited at 2010-11-07 12:49 am (UTC)
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 01:47 am (UTC)
I think, for me, as a non-comic book person, the Suicide Squad is just an easier storyline for me to wrap my mind around, and understand. I'm still baffled by the Darkseid stuff, and I just have no hopes that Souders/Peterson will be able to explain it for the people like me. But the suicide squard? I get it.

I hear what you're saying about General Lane and Clark ending on such good terms. As nice as that was to see, it does sort of eliminate a potential source of believable conflict.

I think the great thing about Clark calling the General "Sam" was that he was letting him know, in no uncertain terms, that he saw them as equals, and that he would not be talked down to. Thats a great moment for Clark.

And yeah, I might agree with you that this was better writing for Clark then Salvation. There's one scene in Salvation that taints things a bit for me. But I can't think of anything in this one.
svfan01
Nov. 7th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC)
Probably my favorite episode of the season, also my most anticipated episode as well(I loved all the appearances of The General and Lucy before, to this day Lucy is one of my top 5 favorite episode and I never understand why it gets dogged so much, I thought it was a great background episode for Lois, good progression episode for Clark and Lois and most importantly I thought Clark came off real good(and sadly since I have to point this out as a positive on the show happy)). Ambush doesn't quite live up to Lucy for me but it easily will go on my list of favorites to rewatch.

As you pointed out it's nice to have one character actually have a sibling, many times it's used to give good incite on the character. Also it makes a character more believable when you see them interact with a family member as opposed to looking like they are an orphan and live on there own. I know the show has to worry about budgets and stuff but it definitely helps when you bring on other characters to fill the stories for the cast(much like S1 had Aunt Nell for Lana)

"Why should I make do with an underwritten Clark, when this episode proves that they CAN write a strong, mature Clark with a well articulated POV?"

I think the main problem in general on the show is when your catering to many fanbases(read that shippers) 'they make Clark's actions and more so words be as ambiguous as possible so they don't overly step over shippers fanwanking. I guess the show being the last season gives them a little more leeway. Many times on the show I wish they didn't cater to shippers as much so they could have Clark be more vocal how he feels.

I think my biggest pet peeve on the show is the amount of times they use the character X asks character Y a question, they(Y) give an half asses answer and stare blankly into space(ie fanwank away)

And does the General knows that Clark is The Blur? Upon a rewatch, I'm leaning towards yes"

I am leaning towards the show made it ambiguous so the viewer could fill in the blanks how they rather see it(see my comment above).

jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 01:51 am (UTC)
I was looking forward to the return of the General, but I didn't really know what to expect from the episode. So, its not like I had sky high expectations.

SV doesn't do a very good job with family dynamics. And since it has a terrible habit of family members disappearing into the ether, it all feels a bit artifical. So, when an episode comes along that actually feels like a realistic family, I appreciate it a lot.

I think the main problem in general on the show is when your catering to many fanbases(read that shippers) 'they make Clark's actions and more so words be as ambiguous as possible so they don't overly step over shippers fanwanking.

In the past, I could buy that explanation. But it doesn't fly now, when they have Clark so firmly committed to Lois. There's no excuse anymore.

I doubt the General will be back again, so I guess whether he knows Clark is the Blur, or not, isn't really that important overall.

(no subject) - foreverknightfa - Nov. 9th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 01:52 am (UTC)
You also do just fine in English :)

This was a very colorful episode, which was a throwback to eps of earlier seasons.

I liked the Clark/Oliver scenes too, and that almost never happens!

Edited at 2010-11-07 01:53 am (UTC)
brijeana
Nov. 7th, 2010 02:09 am (UTC)
Oh, can't end this review without mentioning how much Tom Welliing ROCKED DA HOUSE!!! See, again, I can't help but compare him here to the befuddled disconnected performance of last week. Tom was right on in every single one of his scenes. It convinces me that, without a doubt, give this man a decent script, and he is every inch the future Superman.

He did indeed nail this performance. I think Tom even scared the cameraman a little during his confrontation with Sam Lane. DID YOU SEE how the camera went blurry? LOL!

So happy that you're happy too after the downers we've been getting at the beginning of this season regarding Clark being a hero.

I guess what stands out the most for me is how all of the drama rang so true. Lois and Clark fighting, the Lane family dynamics... all of it was just so truthful. It didn't feel like soap opera drama. It was great. I love how Clark wasn't afraid to lay the truth on Lois hard, even when she was so vulnerable. And I like that the writers, directors and Erica didn't down play the powerful hold that Sam Lane has over Lois. And I love, love, love, that Clark is the first guy who trumped Sam Lane for Lois. WOW! So awesome.


Edited at 2010-11-07 02:10 am (UTC)
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 02:46 am (UTC)
You know, Tom can be really scary when he wants to. I know this isn't related to this episode, but I always think back to S5's episode Mercy, at the end, when Clark totally got up in Lionel's face, and Tom was just scary. He can use that size and presence to be really intimidating when he wants to.

I'm hoping this might be a turning point for the show, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up.

Like you, I very much felt like the drama rang true. And thats just a mark of good writing and good acting.
wingster55
Nov. 7th, 2010 02:32 am (UTC)
Tom was great. And so *struggles* was the Clois.

I still don't like the interrogation antics the general did when dealing with Clark-Lois..pitting the audience against him for that rather than his vigilante stance as I mentioned.

Still not a fan of Clark leaving his mark that way (burning buildings..unnecessary really).

Peyton List *thud* and a great actress...no resemblance to her character on Mad Men.

Lois' comment about Clark not having to deal with his family..a bit odd since Martha was over last year and it doesn't seem like Lois has seen her father often..other wise Ollie would have gotten the boyfriend treatment.
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 02:49 am (UTC)
Wow, Tom impressed you? Thats nice to hear.

Honestly, I'm not a terribly huge fan of Clark leaving his mark either, but it seems to be something the show is going with, so I'm dealing.

And yes, I thought Lois' comment about Clark not having to deal with family was a bit weird. But I think I rationalized it in 2 weays. The first being that I think most people tend to think that what they're dealing with is more important. Thats just huamn nature. And the second, I think Lois sort of meant that Clark just didn't have to deal with a parent like the General. Which isn't exactly true either, because Hello, AI Jor-El!
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shopgirl318
Nov. 7th, 2010 03:33 am (UTC)
Nice review as far as your peanut response. Oliver going on about Chloe or just Chloe related things in general: Wah Wah Wah...pause and shirt off...Wah Wah Wah...snerk**

I felt the same way you did about everything and I am glad that whole tracking thin came. I knew for sure it was gonna be forgotten about until one of them was close to death or something.

One thing writers are getting right is Clark's place in his romantic relationships. He has changed so that should too which makes sense. He has really stood out this season strong, smart, confidant, secure in his future with Lois and I like that.

Clois was sexy, fun and hot. Lucy/Lois and Sam/Clark scenes toward the end really struck a chord with me. It made me realize how much SV adults are needed sometimes.
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
LOL, right, I forgot the "shirt off" part.

I do think the writers are doing fine with Clark, in regards to Lois. But I also think the writers get so consumed with that, that they forget to write Clark as well in other aspects of his life. This episode didn't forget, and I think it marks a striking contrast to ones that failed.

Clois was sexy and fun in that first scene. I'd like to see a lot more of that.
jlvsclrk
Nov. 7th, 2010 06:18 am (UTC)
I really liked this episode, even though it felt a little small - not trying to be epic if you will. And maybe why that's why it worked so well. They kept the Clois small scale and focussed on a real relationship situation. And it contrasted perfectly with the background of superheros and villains and trying to find out who's who. I can understand the General's POV, but I was proud of Clark for pointing out the way he's trampling on civil liberties in his quest for safety. Good stuff!

And I agree. I think the General strongly suspects Clark is the Blur.
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
I've been thinking about the whole "epic" thing. And I think its a word thats thrown around too easily, especially by SV writers. If everything can be described as "epic", then it feels like nothing is actually Epic! If that makes sense.

And you're right, this episode was smaller. And it worked much better then the supposed "Epic" of utter failures like Supergirl. Sometimes, focusing on the small does wonders for the bigger picture.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 7th, 2010 07:19 am (UTC)
After being sidetracked by two filler mediocre episodes in Isis and Harvest, this episode Ambush puts the show back on track with a vengeance, especially when Clark is written well with his courage, leadership, and confidence. He stood up to General Lane like no other and got Lois to do the same, which she did on her own. He also defended Tess against Oliver, who still didn't trust her, couldn't adapt to change, and was used to Chloe.

The SV writers have succeeded in writing General Sam Lane that the comics writers didn't and that's a shame because the comics writers need to take note on how to write him the next time he returns. Lucy was alright and it was important for her and Lois to bond as true sisters instead of Lois and Chloe.

This is Tess' first outing as Watchtower as she does a much better job than Chloe ever did last season. She has the foundation and skills for this job such as being part of Checkmate, running LuthorCorp, and was a marine biologist. One thing is that Tess is more honest than Clark than Chloe was last season.

Oliver's endscene with Tess shows that he will have to leave Metropolis to return to Star City since his coming out. I just wished they showed the negative side of it. I like it when he and Clark were working together to fight the Suicide Squad in costume. This episode marks Clark's first action in the new prototype suit and the end of the Talon, which I don't miss. I was right that the Vigilante Registration Act would pass by episode's end.

Henderson and Whitehead have scored another awesome episode in addition to Lazarus this season.

vantheman77
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
After this episode, I have even more problems with Isis and Harvest, because I feel as though we mostly wasted 2 episodes in the shows final season. And I'm not sure they can afford much more of those.

I LOVED Clark shutting Oliver down about Tess. That was a real moment in the episode for me. Because he knows that Oliver's issues are personal, and Clark is pointing out that thats not as important as the value she brings to the team. It was great!

I think Lucy's role was important, because, ya know, sometimes family sucks. And its interesting to play that.

I enjoy the change-up in dynamic that Tess brings to Watchtower. Chloe had become very much Miss Bossy-Boots. Tess is still walking on eggshells. To me, it brings a new dramatic element to the Watchtower scenes. And since things like the Suicide Squad play very much into Tess' area of expertise, it feels very realistic that she would be able to tap into that knowledge. I'm really liking it.

I'm not crazy about them having Oliver go public before Clark. So, I'm hoping that they'll be able to turn that lemon into lemonade.

I had my issues with Lazarus, but this one was a big score for Don and Holly.
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costas22
Nov. 7th, 2010 10:53 am (UTC)
Glad to hear you liked the episode. I've been reading your reviews this season and I knew that you weren't happy with how Clark was written. Neither was I. But when I saw his two barn scenes with the General, I was surprisingly entertained. That was some fun dynamic and you could tell that Tom loved jousting with Ironside. In fairness to him, with Zod, Lex and Lionel gone and with Oliver being more friendly(wasn't that barn exit hillarious?), Clark really hasn't had a male character to vent towards.

I also agree about couples and arguements. It was only natural that they would clash over something like this. I happened to rewatch Hostage yesterday. If I was Clark, I might have also reminded Lois that she couldn't pretend for one dinner with Martha(who was far less imposing than the General), but she expected him to do that with Sam. But overall, it was the best Clark has been written in Season 10.

And yay for seeing some awesome Tess in the last 3:D. Personally though, I'd enjoy her arc a lot more if she had something of her own to do. Not a fan of her being at WT. It's not just that it feels to me that she is filling in for someone else. I am also worried that once the Alexander stuff breaks out, she will lose their trust again. Not to mention the revelation of her big secret. But we will know more about that next week. See you then. :)
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
Hey Costas :) Its nice to see you here. Big Tess fans will find a like-minded fan right here!!

I am really picky when it comes to the writing for my Clark. He should be written well, and there's no excuse for not writing him well. Writing him in love is a great thing. Writing him in love, and sort of letting other stuff go by the wayside is not a great thing. Its not that hard to strike the right balance.

I think Tom really ups his game when he's playing opposite the more mature actors, i.e. Ironside, Schneider, O'Toole, Glover. Its probably a bit of his respect for them coming through. But I always notice how much more presence he seems to project.

The barn exit was hilarious. As way Oliver's line about them being 16. Funny stuff. I think Tom and Justin could be so great together if the writing would just support them as friends, rather then pissy rivals.

Believe me, Hostage popped into my mind as well. I only hope Lois' was able to understand where Clark was coming from then a bit more.

I know you aren't crazy about Tess as WT, but like I said above, I'm really loving the new dynamic she brings to those scenes. Her relationships with Clark and Oliver are so different. Its a whole new sort of baggage, so the dynamic feels fresh and exciting to me. I love that Clark is showing faith in her, and its clear the gravity of that is a lot of pressure for Tess. And of course, her and Oliver have the failed romance baggage.

But, I think we Tess fans have to feel good about her storyline this season. Because in addition to WT, she's got the Alexander clone stuff, and more revelations coming up next week. I feel very satisfied on the Tess front!
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goodvibe
Nov. 7th, 2010 10:56 am (UTC)
::hugs you and this review::

And btw, that's so me, in the gif. Heh!

//And usually, even with episodes I like, I'll still find a few minor quibbles here and there to discuss, and I'm not sure I could even do that with this episode.//

I know, right?!

//Well done Whitehead/Henderson, and Chris Petry. Take a bow.//

Absolutely. The actors almost always do their best salvage job and bring their A-game, but look at the end result when the writing and direction step up to the plate too. I'm comparing this to everything thats come before it this season and honestly, the difference is stark. So far, for me, I've gotten bits and pieces of greatness - this was gold, throughout.
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 05:17 pm (UTC)
How much fun is it to love a SV episode? I don't think people really realize how much fans like you and me really, really want to love it.

I really wanted to find an animated gif that worked, and I searched for about 1/2 hour. This fit.

As we've discussed before, I think SV's weak spot, over 10 years, has always been the writing. So, its great to see such a strong script. The actors? Well, they're almost always in the game.
la_belle_isa
Nov. 7th, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC)
I love LOVE that episode. I love everything. Even Oliver was tolerable. I love how the SS storyline was interwoven with the Lanes storyline. The family relationships were so realistic. And I love how Clark stood up to the General and claimed the first spot in Lois’ heart. There comes a time in a parent’s life when you have to face the fact that you’re not the most important person anymore in your child’s life, that your child has a deeper connection with someone else than you; and I feel that we were shown exactly that, which is not that easy to do in one episode.
The writing for Clark was outstanding and I just wish the showrunners were able to learn from that.
When Tom is given good material, he shines. Maybe he withdraws a little bit when the material is bad. That would be self-protection imo.
This episode also shows a very good balance and also shows that mean non-shipper Clark fans like us are able to appreciate romance when we feel that Clark is well-written in action and romance scenes. It's also good not to read tons of fanwank about in episode, because well, no fanwank is necessary!
Ah! It feels good to truly love an episode!
tjw_jaypat
Nov. 7th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)
I admit that a good script is more motivating for the actors. But if Tom seems off, it is IMO mostly the director´s fault. I believe that Tom can do anything convincingly, if perhaps not at the first take then after a talk with the director. Also, they usually film 3-8 takes of a scene, and they can´t all be bad. The director chooses which take makes it into the final cut, and the director tells the actors what to do. If it stills feels that Tom is off, then it´s mostly the director´s fault IMO. For example, the blueK scene in Harvest was probably shot in front of a green scene, so that the actors did not really know how the special effects look and when they will end. If Clark sort of stops being in pain even before the molten K is down, then it´s an editing problem also. Just to defend my man! :)
---

Great review, V! Indeed, what a remarkable episode. Of course there were some WTF moments as usual, but if most is good I can disregard them. And as you say, the biggest question is why we don´t get that every week. Or at least in 18 out of 22 episodes...

Oh, and sorry, white on brown still hurts my eyes... ;))



(no subject) - jeannev - Nov. 7th, 2010 11:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
jude_judith82
Nov. 7th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)
Best episode this season by far.

Personally, I think a couple that never fights is not a believable couple. So, I was glad to see Clark and Lois get into it a bit.

*Nods* As great as it is to see them being all cutesy this right there made me feel like they were a real couple. I felt split when they argued because I could see both sides. I loved that there wasn't a real bad guy here.

And boy, it was nice for this Clark fan to watch him in a conflict with a female where he stands his ground, and doesn't just let them rip on him. Its happened before, but its rare.

I was like "what Clark being able to express how he feels?!" What a concept right? LOL.

I've been enjoying this season much more than you I think but you know I agree with you that this episode has been the most complete. If we're going to have such a focus on the Clois then I like this type of focus where both partners are important and the truth is as much as I love Lois I was starting to resent the lack of Clark a teensy bit so thank you show for actually focusing on Clark and having him do things outside of the relationship.

First we saw him quickly rebuffed by Clark, who defended Tess' contributions thus far (LOVED that so, so much!). And later, Tess herself was willing to tread carefully around Oliver, yet make it clear that Oliver was going to need to find a way to get the hell over it. I'm OK with Oliver being a jerk as long as 1. the people around him give it back to him, and 2. he comes around at the end, and realizes he was wrong, and makes amends. Which is what he did.

I still think Oliver is a dick but I liked how Clark as you said rebuffed him so easily because Oliver to me is a like a spoiled child that's always yelling "Look at me, look at me! I'm the center of the universe." And then Tess say being understanding but calling him out on his crap but then Tess is just pretty cool. I never thought I'd like her addition to the cast so much.
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 11:03 pm (UTC)
I know a lot of people liked Homecoming, but I think the writing for Clark in this episode was so much stronger, which easily lifts it above Homecoming for me.

The best fights are ones where you can see both sides of the issues.

And psssst, don't tell anyone, but I still think Oliver is a dick too. I liked the way he was written here, but I don't kid myself that this writing is likely to continue for him.
canadabear
Nov. 7th, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC)
:D!!

Oh, maybe Oliver whining about Chloe again, though everytime he starts talking about Chloe, I hear the adults in the Peanuts cartoons. So, it hardly seems worth mentioning.
AHAHAHA. This is perfect.

SO EXCITED FOR THIS WEEK. I CAN'T STAND IT.
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 11:03 pm (UTC)
Honestly, how can you not zone when Oliver starts droning on about Chloe?

And I'm SO EXITED ABOUT THIS WEEK TOO!!! Please SV, don't screw it up.
(Deleted comment)
jeannev
Nov. 7th, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC)
In a big way, I feel like this episode validates my hard ass stance in regards to the show. Because if they can do THIS, then there's no excuse for....Supergirl.
serenography
Nov. 8th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)
Just want to add a belated, "Hell,yes" to your review this week.

If they can write Clark this well, and find ways to focus on multiple facets of his life simultaneously, why shouldn't I expect them to be able to do that more often then not?

The answer for me is...I shouldn't. I won't.


And this is why you rock.

jeannev
Nov. 8th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)
Right back atcha Missy! :)
tasabian
Nov. 9th, 2010 02:52 am (UTC)
It was wonderful to see Clark politely and resolutely stand his ground - with ALL the Lanes. Tom was fantastic.

Lois's unjealous reaction to Lucy kissing Clark was spot-on: "Really?"

And can I talk about Rick Flag here for a minute? Because I think I might seriously be in love with Ted Whitall. Wow, what this guy is doing with a small supporting role is impressive!!
He was fantastic and came up with some cool & quirky line readings. It's a very interesting character.

All that said? I found the last quadrant to be super-slow paced and I'm not thrilled that Clark is already pondering engagements. *Lois voice* "Really?"

ETA: I'm glad Ambush made you so happy - you were due an ep. to LOVE!

Edited at 2010-11-09 02:54 am (UTC)
jeannev
Nov. 9th, 2010 04:06 am (UTC)
I felt like I was due. Because, ya know, its all about ME! LOL

I always think when we see a strong, forceful Clark thats sure of himself, we are seeing something a bit more akin to the real Tom Welling, if that makes sense.

It was very nice that Lois didn't doubt Clark for a second with Lucy. If she had, that would've been some contrived nonsense.

I think its too soon for engagements, but it doesn't surprise me. This is the same show that threw in a completely illogical Clana engagement to rachet up the drama in the 100th episode. At this point, I've just accepted that they are going to put the pedal to the medal with the Clois stuff. Personally, I see no reason at all that Clois needs to be engaged. But I'm not a shipper, so I don't much get why it needs to happen.
foreverknightfa
Nov. 9th, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
Don't be ashamed to air your views Valerie, because IMO they are in the top ten in what SV PTB SHOULD pay attention to. I'm hardly articulate about Tv or book reviews myself but you take the time to show screen time of various characters as a bonus to your reviews (which BTW show by themselves some clear thinking about what the eps are and are not about and how they relate to prior eps).

One of the things that wowed me in the S9 finale was how Clark was written to use his smarts and knowledge of how Zod was to get Zod to reveal to the Kandorians what he did and to con Zod to " hand over" so to speak the blue K dagger so Zod would no longer be a threat to Earth. It fits the Superman icon as both smart and strong, which to be honest the smart part hasn't been done much on SV.

Yeah there have been some groaners so far but I am hoping by the end of this, the hopefully final season, that they don't throughly screw this up later on. Unfortunately I'm not getting my hopes up. The fact that TW is doing this AND " Hellcats" makes me concerned more for his health than what kind of acting he does in SV. I feel that he is trying his best but it might be too much for him. :-(
jeannev
Nov. 9th, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
I also worry about Tom spreading himself too thin, but so far, he's been very present and accounted for. And I'm hoping that isn't going to change, because the last season of the show can't afford NOT to have the leading man front and center.

Thanks for the kind words. I figure I've made a spectacle of myself this long, there's no point in holding back now, LOL

I was so disappointed that the same writers who wrote such a strong, smart Clark in Salvation turned around this year and wrote the dreck that was Harvest. But its that very reason that I don't really champion any of the SV writers. Sure, they can be great one week, but they can suck bad their next time out. None of them have a spotless track record, and I think that comes back to the people in charge, Souders/Peterson. I think they themselves are extremely medicore, inconsistent writers, and I think thats reflected in the writing for the series as a whole.
agentobrian
Nov. 9th, 2010 11:54 pm (UTC)
Average ST:

Clark- 22m, 34s
Lois- 17m, 38s
Oliver- 7m, 46s
Tess- 8m, 31s

"I know I have a reputation, which is well earned, of being a hard ass when it comes to SV. I know I'm critical, and unyielding. Believe me, I have no illusions about myself (and make no apologies). This is just the way I roll."

This is exactly why I look forward to your reviews every week, because it's not just another gush-fest. Don't ever feel like you have to apologize for your opinions.

"But its that very reason that I don't really champion any of the SV writers. Sure, they can be great one week, but they can suck bad their next time out."

With the exception of one (IMO Genevieve Sparling has done a bang-up job in the 4 eps of hers that I've seen- I didn't watch Isis), I agree. The writers for this ep, which I also didn't watch, wrote my all-time favorite episode Abyss, then followed it up with Requiem, and none of their eps last season were that good.

Well, it looks like this season has had the worst balance in ST in the entire series, which makes me happier that I haven't seen much of it. I have almost no desire to suffer through The Clois Show to maybe get a handful of minutes of Oliver and Tess. With only 4 regulars, there should be a better balance in ST, and not have two regulars cast to the sidelines while the other two get more than twice the ST. Compare this season's numbers to Season 8, which had that balance while still giving the most to Clark. And there were 3 more regulars to get ST, yet they pulled it off.
jeannev
Nov. 10th, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm not apologizing. Believe me. But occasionally, I do find myself feeling like I need to reassure those that feel I'm too critical that I'm well aware of how critical I am.

Weekly gush-fests? Not likely from me. Not with these writers.

There's very little doubt, at least to me, that they now see this show as a dual lead sort of situation, with 2 siupporting characters, which is why the screentime is what it is. It wouldn't have been the way I'd have done things, but I can't say that I'm even remotely surprised.
jwm_rocks
Nov. 11th, 2010 02:29 pm (UTC)
Heh. I don't think I can remember an episode you really liked that I just didn't care for very much.

So many people I usually agree with liked it so much I even watched it again with those reviews in mind hoping to like it. The acting was good. There were good moments for all the main characters. But there were so many things I didn't like that Ambush just didn't click for me.

So let's talk about screen time! Wow, two hours for Lois in seven episodes? That's a hell of a lot of Lois. At this rate Lois' season ten total might exceed Clark's total for season six.

And poor Tess, locked up all alone in Watchtower like Rapunzel. Amazing that CF can make a line containing "Frienemy" sound good.
jeannev
Nov. 11th, 2010 02:46 pm (UTC)
Wow, really? You didn't like it? Did you think Clark was written pretty well, at least? Because I know for me, that usually makes a huge difference in my feelings about any episode.

But, believe me, I know how you feel, because I STILL don't think Homecoming was a very good episode, and most people were losing their shit over it.

I was prepared for Lois to be all over S10. She was last year too, and I knew when they said she'd be in 22, that the season would be wall-to-wall Lois. Its not my personal preference (I think the only character that should be getting that sort of screentime consistantly is Clark!), but I knew it was coming.

CF can make anything look good. I'm pretty sure you don't do spoilers, but I don't think I'm spoiling much to say that Tess will be getting out of WT this week. And I'm excited !!
(no subject) - jwm_rocks - Nov. 12th, 2010 01:52 am (UTC) - Expand
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