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I figured I would start out with the obvious for anyone who knows me, and knows what I like and don't like about Smallville...just to warn anyone whose sensibilities are likely to be offended....I didn't like Collateral. In fact, I thought it was pretty awful. I'm not sure I'd say it was "Supergirl" awful, but I'd probably say that it was beyond "Harvest" awful.

So, there ya go. You've been warned.

The views in this post reflect my opinions. I don't suggest that they are the only RIGHT opinions, because frankly, thats obnoxious and childish. I only say that they are my opinions and feelings about the episode. And there is no wrongs and rights when it comes to stuff like that.

Lets start off with the screentime minutes

Collateral, running time 41m, 26s (Previously on: 1m)

Clark : 20m, 53s
Lois: 14m, 10s
Oliver: 15m, 50s

Chloe: 18m, 56s
Faux Chloe Avatar: 2m, 45s
(Total for AM: 21m, 41s)

Dinah: 5m, 52s
Rick Flagg: 1m, 56s
Deadshot: 45s (and no lines, and yet his dialogue was still better then Clarks *snerk*)

Year To Date Totals (# of eps)

Clark : 264m, 5s (12)
Lois: 211m, 3s (12)
Tess: 87m, 50s (9)
Oliver: 94m, 23s (10)

Chloe: 25m, 55s (4)

Look, not that anything in this episode came as any great surprise to me.  Because it didn't.  I knew when Chloe came back, she was going to be covered in glory.  I knew if Clark flew, or did anything flying-related, it was going to end up being all about Lois.  I knew when I saw the set-up for this episode, and heard the description, that Clark was not going to be driving any part of this episode, and was unlikely to occupy any sort of heroic, proactive role in it.  I knew there was going to be Chlollie stuff.  I knew that they were likely to underuse Dinah, Rick Flagg and Deadshot.

So, I knew, I knew, I knew....

And yet, still, I can't help but be disappointed that the show lived down to every single one of my predictions for it.  And threw in a few more disappointments along the way.

I think the whole story set-up was just plain dumb (and a rip off).  And full of plot holes the size of elephants.  How did the VRA know where the heroes were?  What was the pyramid thingie? How did they manage to knock everyone out, to include Clark (and presumably Martian Manhunter)? How would they be keeping Clark under?  What happened to all the other heroes that were at the funeral, and why weren't they sharing the same virtual reality?  

And so on, and so forth.  But, I guess we aren't supposed to worry our silly little heads about stuff like that.  Just go with "A Wizard Did It", and be on our way.  And maybe that philosophy works for some people, but its never been a real winner with me.  I've always hated how sloppy SV is in telling their stories, and I hate the conceit in the writing that takes the approach that they don't need to explain anything, and we'll just wank it for them.  

So, anyway, armed with the knowledge she gained from the Dr Fate helmet, its Chloe to the rescue!  And really, does anyone not believe that the writers room went something like this when this episode was pitched...."OK, so Chloe is going to be back, and we need to come up with some way for all the heroes to be incapacitated so she can rescue them..."  Anybody?

See, I really do think that the show could've done some justice to a storyline they never really resolved between Clark and Chloe from the last 2 seasons.  And thats the trust issue that exists between them.  The perfect set-up was there.  But, instead, the show completely retconned the source of those issues, made Clark seem rather childish and self-involved ("I can't trust Chloe because she left me and didn't tell me why!"), and then had Clark lectured, via Lois, on why he should trust Chloe, and she deserves that trust, and he's wrong to have doubts.  All of which is very interesting coming from Lois since she knows jack-all about the extent of whats gone on between Clark and Chloe.  But hey, thats OK, you go on with that whole showing Clark the error of his ways thing Show.  At this point, I expect it.

So, anyway, Chloe is the big hero, she gets everyone out, except stubborn ol' Clark who can't seem to figure out a damned thing for himself.  But, no problems, Chloe sends Lois for that.  And she manages to tell Clark he's good enough, he's smart enough, and Gosh darn people like him, and Clark flies off and they escape the VR.  

Oh, did I forget to mention that the fearsome Suicide Squad are now Chloe's bitches?  Yeah, in some sort of bizarro world rationale, apparently Chloe disabled Rick Flagg's missile system, and threatened to turn him into the authorities, and instead of Rick Flagg putting a bullet in her head, or having Deadshot do it, or having Plastique set her on fire, or having the warp guy phase his hand into her chest and pull her heart out, they decided that they would just start answering to Chloe now.  Because she's just that damned awesome!!

Truthfully though, I think Rick Flagg and Deadshot were my favorite parts of the episode.  There's probably something not totally working for you with the show when a group called the Suicide Squad are far more intriguing then the supposed "heroes" that star on the show.

And I say this with much heaviness in my heart, but yeah, that includes my beloved Clark.  I was going to go into more detail about what the writing for this show has done to my confidence in Clark's ability to be THE Superman that I'm familiar with, but I'll refrain.  I'll just say they've done a number on it.  If Clark can't become Superman without Lois on this show, then to me?  Clark shouldn't be Superman.  End of story.  Your mileage may vary.

One troubling aspect of this episode for me was the ultimate fate of Trotter and her VRA operatives.  Look, I'm not defending them as good guys at all, or even righteous.  But hooking them into the VR world?  Doesn't that strike anyone as completely inhumane?  Yes, I know thats what they wanted to do to the "heroes", but why is that relevant when we are discussing what the JLA, what CLARK, should be OK with?  As we heard, if you die in the VR, you really die.  So, who is taking care to make sure this doesn't happen to these people?  And as far as I'm aware of the story, they weren't actually breaking any laws, or doing anything that wasn't government sanctioned.  So, isn't it possible that not every operative was "evil", but rather simply misguided, or following the orders that they were sworn to uphold?

Not to mention, wasn't all this supposed to be fueled by Darkseid's evil influence over vulnerable and wavering souls?  So, all these people deserve to be locked in a virtual hell (Chloe's words, not mine), or sent off to the Phantom Zone?  And this is a good message to send about our "heroes"?

But hey, I'm so glad we didn't have to see Clark spending any time thinking deeply about these issues when he could be doing so much more important stuff, like kissing Chloe's ass, and asking her to the maid of honor with Lois.  After all, our future Superman has to have his priorities.

Another major bummer of this episode was the promise of Oliver's line "We need Clark" when he was talking to Chloe about the impending arrival of the VRA gang, and why they needed to hurry to wake Clark up.  And then, we got the big action sequence scene with Dinah, Oliver, Rick Flagg and Deadshot all working together to take the VRA out, and of course they didn't actually need Clark at all.  That just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside..

As has become the norm with this season, the dialog in the episode was full of flat-out cringeworthy lines.  Here's just a random samplings of writing styles of Jordan Hawley:

"Her dirty dance with Doomsday..." (which, BTW, thanks for the mention Dinah, but just shoved under the rug, so why bother with the line at all?)
"I'm pretty much Chloe in the sky with diamonds"
"Before you start throwing knives and spin kicks Chickadee..."
"I only have a few minutes to unplug this little Truman Show"
"Canary, you are caught in a virtual cage....but I can help you fly the coop"
"This Canary's going to need to eat some crow"
"Every Frankenstein has a human heart"
(WTF does that even mean?  He still ended up drowning the little girl, and dying in a fire)

And of course, my least favorite line "You got me to fly".

Some random observations:

Lois' red satin blouse was not only unattractive, and dated, it was unflattering as it made her appear very top heavy.  Note to wardrobe gal, buxom girls don't need ruffles on their breasts.

Chloe's white pantsuit fit well on top, but the pants were odd and ill-fitting.

What was with the random AC mention from Dinah, especially since no other hero was mentioned, or seen, and he was never mentioned again?

Are we still on the "Clark doesn't accept his abilities" kick?  Maybe its just me, but I really thought we were a season or two beyond that already.

"Because she didn't confide in you, maybe for the first time" Ah, really Lois?  That line alone convinces me that Lois doesn't know squat about whats gone on between Clark and Chloe for the last 2 years.

I'm still not at all clear where Chloe was, or what she was doing.

Oliver is riding the subway looking for Chloe's smile?  Wait, Oliver is riding the subway?

How funny is it that Chloe shows back up, and in her first scene, starts spewing exposition?

Tom Welling has a very beautiful smile.  I really hope to see it being put to good use on the big screen one day.  Fingers and toes crossed.

I missed Tess.  She wasn't necessary in this episode, but I still missed her.

And thats about it from me.  Sorry, I meant to keep this briefer, but believe me when I tell you that I cut a TON of it out.  




( 58 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 6th, 2011 06:36 am (UTC)
I'm still not at all clear where Chloe was, or what she was doing.

This is actually what I was hoping to see from a Chloe return. And I was hoping that I'd see Chloe infiltrating the SS and becoming a member. I mean there were all the Checkmate, chess references last season. I was hoping for something witty and clever. Not some super hacking ... stuff.

If they were gonna do THIS episode with Chloe being some sort of avatar something... why tell us everything in the first couple of scenes? My friend pointed out if Chloe had given Clark the exposition she gave Oliver at the top of the show, there wouldn't have been a show. It was just... so bad. Why not keep us guessing about the VR world until the very end?

I actually came away liking this episode. At the same time I pretty much agree with everything in your post. I guess it says something about how far my expectations have fallen regarding season 10 showing Clark's journey toward Superman.

I missed Tess too.
Feb. 6th, 2011 05:25 pm (UTC)
Well, I really did expect for them to sweep a whole load of the Chloe stuff under the rug, which they did. Because lets face it, the way they wrote her out was idiotic to begin with. But it would've been nice for them to fill in a few more of the blanks. IDK, maybe they will in later eps? After all, there are going to need to come up with another lame-o excuse for her leaving again.

I think I'd be SO MUCH better off if I could just let go of my expectations for how Clark's story would end. But I can't. I'm just not built that way at all. I'd be better off if I could just chill, LOL
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 6th, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC)
I'm glad I could make you laugh. My first go 'round on this review was far more ranty, and far more detailed, and then I just deleted a whole bunch of stuff, and decided to keep it as light as I'm possibly capable of (which, as we can see, its very light, LOL).

You know, I guess SV dialogue was never the best, but I swear to God, I watch older eps, and its not this bad for all involved. I mean, its always been bad for Chloe. But now its just terrible. I think SV has such stunningly mediocre writers on their staff. Either that, or they just have lousy editors. And when you go from watching SV with this dialogue, to Supernatural, which say whatever you want about it, has really witty, sharp dialog, the difference is startling.

I mean, really, whats with all the bird puns?
Feb. 6th, 2011 09:15 am (UTC)
The second half of the season was off to a wrong start with an out of continuity reality that was unnecessary and how Clark was being written. Basically, Clark contributed nothing to the story. If he continues to be too dependent on Lois, then I have to question his reasons for becoming Superman. They really went overboard with this Clois stuff for my tastes as well as the virtual Chloe stuff. Usually Jordan Hawley writes for Clark, but this was not his best episode at all here and he's not too good with the Clois relationship, aside from the dialogue between them.

When Chloe entered the virtual world, the first person she came to was Oliver because of her relationship with him and she showed him how it was done to escape the trappings of it and she did the same with Dinah, but she didn't do it with Clark. All she did was tell him that it was not real without showing any proof. Clark was right to not trust Chloe and asked a lot of questions, mainly of her disappearance and her association with the Suicide Squad. The trust issues between the two will still continue.

I truly feel Lois wasn't really needed in this episode as I find her somewhat extraneous. Lois really has no idea what was going on between Clark and Chloe for the past 10 years, 3 of which she wasn't involved in. Chloe trusts Clark? Since when? I agree it was a retcon as if they're trying to make us forget about her actions in the last 2 seasons but they can't as the Doomsday incident was brought up. The things that Lois says and does in this episode, Clark could have done that on his own.

While it was great to see the Justice League and Suicide Squad fighting the VRA, the big problem was there was no Clark involved. The VRA storyline failed and didn't connect with Clark when it should have.

The Clois flight was great, even if it was in a simulated world. However, he line of Lois making him fly does worry me because if she ends up being the whole reason that he becomes Superman and flies, then not only it negates the contributions of other characters throughout the series, he's doing it for the wrong reasons and it would make Lois self-serving. \

While it was great to see Clark having the most screentime, the way he was written was an issue as they regressed him as soon as Chloe returned and her return had a negative impact on Clark. Tess is the only one not in this episode as I don't consider this to be the true start of the second half, but rather the end of the first half of the season. I hope Beacon burns this episode dry.

Feb. 6th, 2011 05:42 pm (UTC)
I definitely think this whole storyline was a crock of BS. And I also think its entire construct was created to give Chloe a reason to ride to the rescue of our hapless heroes. So, that really did start the whole thing off on the wrong foot. It doesn't even make sense for the VRA to do this. Why would they want any of the vigilantes working for them?

If he continues to be too dependent on Lois, then I have to question his reasons for becoming Superman.

I know my feelings about this are rooted in my own very deeply independent nature, but I guess we all bring our own baggage to the table. I just think if Clark can't dig deep within himself, find the motivation within himself, find the will within himself without someone there to fluff him up, then I'm just not entirely sure he's cut out for this job. Look at Oliver, who managed to become Green Arrow without a support system at all. Look at Hawkman, who managed to carry on with his heroic deeds even while alone and cut off from the woman he loves. Look at Martian Manhunter, who is just as much a lone survivor as his world as Clark (moreso, in fact). Look at Kara. I mean, is it too much to expect Clark to show that same sort of inner resolve? I just don't think it is.

I'm going to disagree with you about Lois, because I think there was no problem with her being in this episode. I can even understand why the VRA would put her into the VR world (though again, its Lois as one of the JLA gang, which I sort of resent). And I have no problems with her and Clark figuring out that the world was fake together. I do, however, have a problem with her being convinced by Chloe in Offscreensville. And it just really bothers me that a character who doesn't really have the knowledge of whats occurred is telling Clark he's wrong not to trust Chloe. Thats a big thorn in my paw. I'm not blaming Lois for that, but that sort of writing on this show is galling.

And, I really, really, really believe that Lois' peptalk on the roof should not have been necessary at that point in time. I think if you take that out of that scene, and allow Clark to make the decisive move, to include the flying, it would've been a much better scene.

And yeah, much bullshit being called on Chloe "always trusting Clark". I have a big problem when the show tries to tell me I didn't see what I saw.

I don't think Lois being the reason he flies in the RL would make her self-serving. I don't really think it says anything about her character. I do think it says a very unfortunate amount about Clark's character though.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Feb. 6th, 2011 08:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jeannev - Feb. 6th, 2011 10:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Feb. 7th, 2011 12:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jeannev - Feb. 7th, 2011 02:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Feb. 7th, 2011 09:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 6th, 2011 09:45 am (UTC)
For the most part I agree with you on everything bad with this episode. Clark is basically made a bystander to tell us how wonderful other characters are(mainly Chloe and Lois).

In general I think this has been a problem with writing since S5 where everybody has to be written as some wonderful character that Clark can't function without just to build them up. I don't think VR Chloe was as bad as power suit Lana, but there are similarities in certain ways to how they written. I would also add Red Queen Martha to the list of characters that annoyed me the past few seasons that are built up at the expense of dumbing down Clark.

I know alot of people don't care for the FOTW format of earlier seasons but many times I just wish the show went back to that formula. Have Clark face a bad guy and everybody else sit back while he does his stuff. You can give secondary characters there own little arcs as the b-and c-plots and focus heavily on Clark personal interactions in his non hero life. It's simple and entertaining in my books. Anytime the show(and I will once again point to S5 as a major turning point) tries to come up with some big storyline it's usually epic fail in regards to how Clark comes off

It just seems the producers enjoy writing soap operas more then they like writing a simple Superhero based show. I just wish when Al/Miles left the show did a clean sweep of all it's writers and producers and brought in people with more of a comic book background who would write a show directed at people who just want to watch a more superhero take on Clark before he becomes Superman and eliminate the soap opera elements of the show(grant you that would be a pipe dream since it wouldn't go after the "CW" demographic).
Feb. 6th, 2011 05:47 pm (UTC)
Yay for agreement! We haven't done that lately, so its nice to do that again. LOL

Honestly, and being absolutely blunt, I think the writers on this show are far, far more interested in writing the female characters on this show then the male characters. I mean, case in point, look how Oliver is written lately. I think they really love this idea of "girl power" and girls being "badass", and Clark having to be saved and protected and motivated by them. And hey, I love a strong self-sufficient woman as much as the next gal, but on a show about Clark Kent, why does that need to come at his expense?

IDK, maybe thats the CW's doing?

I liked the FOTW format, so no arguements from me there. Simplicity isn't always a bad thing. There's something to be said for clarity and purpose in storytelling, I think. But, here's where we disagree...I think once you start these big arcs, you are obligated to stay the course and do it as much justice as you can, which means you can't just drop that for a few weeks to do some side story. You are either a standalone show, or you aren't. Trying to have it both ways creates the disjointed feel this show has struggled with for years now.
(no subject) - svfan01 - Feb. 6th, 2011 10:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 6th, 2011 12:49 pm (UTC)
It's very rare that I am ok with episodes where Clark is written as poorly as he was here, but I kind of liked Collateral. Nothing to do with his scenes of course. The reason why I liked it was because it seems like it brought closure to 3 arcs that I wasn't enjoying this season (because of the execution, not the characters themselves): The SS, the VRA and Chloe's absence. All of them were mishandled imo and I am glad to see them end.

I will agree with you that all 3 of those storylines were handled with poor writing and even more poor dialogue in Collateral. However, I am just glad that now the SS seem to have turned a corner (and no Plastique, yay!), the VRA thing is on its last legs and Chloe's ott return(which I anticipated too) is over and she can be more down to earth from now on. I don't know. Maybe my expectations have dropped...

As for Clark, ita with everything you said. In Shield, imo, they explained very well how Clark felt about Chloe's absence. And that was a good basis to address the Chlark friendship in Collateral. Clark is justified that he trusted her to leave and handle herself and Chloe is thankful that Clark trusted her as much. Instead, like you said, we got a total 180 from Clark which (after watching the episode twice)I still don't get where it came from. As for flight, there's still time to get it right. And they still have time to get Clark right too. If this becomes his journey to become Superman and not his and Lois'. Nothing against her, but it was grating that Clark had to have everything spelled out for him.

I missed Tess too. Well thought out review as always. I hope Beacon will be more enjoyable for all of us.
Feb. 6th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)
I understand that people have different reasons for watching the show, and different things they're going to like based on their preferences. I've always understood that. I do understand why fans of Chloe, and Chlollie, would find much to like about this ep. Even fans of Chlark, as the majority of Chlark fans (and I don't think I'm being unfair here), are really more about Chloe then Clark. So, there touching reunion is likely to be appealing to a lot of people.

I also think if this is the episode that ties up the SS and the VRA, what a total fail at storytelling.

I know my feelings and expectations of Clark are not universal. But I also feel like my expectations are not remotely unreasonable.

Look, I can understand Clark having questions about why Chloe left. But that being the basis for trust issues, or Clark being so stuck on that that he can't see the forest for the trees? I call major bullshit on that. If her leaving drudged up all the trust issues they had in S9, that he might have thought they go over in Hostage? Then thats OK, but that isn't what we saw here. Its a retcon. Pure and simple.

I understand that Clark has had a lot of influences in his life, and had a lot of support along the way on his road to becoming Superman. I accept that. But this last mile? I think its so important for this part to be about him, and him alone. Because whenever you make a story "He needed the help of...." then you are introducing the idea that without that person, he would not have become. If that makes sense, LOL

At some point, for me to believe Clark can be Superman, I'm going to need him out front on this stuff. And spoilers are NOT encouraging on that score at all.
(no subject) - costas22 - Feb. 6th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jeannev - Feb. 6th, 2011 07:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - svfan01 - Feb. 7th, 2011 03:13 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 6th, 2011 01:27 pm (UTC)
Ummm yeah from my tweets alone you probably know how I feel about this ep. I'm slightly more optimistic about the fallour from Chloe returning but the show really wouldn't really go where I hope they're headed.

See this is why we need Lex.
Feb. 6th, 2011 05:56 pm (UTC)
I'd like Lex to come back, but honestly, I can go either way on that issue. I think the main issue is, and always will be, the writing for Clark. And on the score, S10 is such a disappointment to me.
Feb. 6th, 2011 02:37 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed reading your review.

This comment: Clark seem rather childish and self-involved ("I can't trust Chloe because she left me and didn't tell me why!") -- oh, you couldn't have put it better. I literally cringed when I heard that, how stupid and totally seemed out-of-character to me. We've come far since he was supposedly 14-15, and that was a totally childish comment and NOT the reason why he wouldn't trust Chloe, there's a myriad of reasons NOW for him to not trust her, other than, "you didn't tell me why you left".

And your examples of Hawley's clunky and, again, cringe-worthy lines, right on point.

I love Tom Welling, he's the main reason I watch the show (I'm not a big Superman or comic fan, though moreso now from watching it), but I keep finding myself asking the same question. Now that he is a producer and executive producer, doesn't he realize some of these plots and dialog (especially) are bad? Can't he do something about it, or does he not realize it?

Further, I love the Clois stuff, I'm fine with the love, fine with the relationship/engagement, love to see them kiss as long as it looks realistic, but.....why does the main plot always have to be so WTF or out-of-TPTB-rearend? Why does the dialog have to be so goofy all the time? Why does it seem like every writer is writing his or her OWN show each time with their OWN idea of dialog, their OWN idea of Clark, and no one does the work to MAKE SURE that things stay consistent, in character, and making sense?
Feb. 6th, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks :) I know I can be extreme in my views, and I know that can be polarizing. I appreciate you being able to respect my perspective, even when it doesn't match your own.

We've come far since he was supposedly 14-15, and that was a totally childish comment and NOT the reason why he wouldn't trust Chloe, there's a myriad of reasons NOW for him to not trust her, other than, "you didn't tell me why you left".

Yes to all of that. There are GOOD reasons for Clark not to trust Chloe. The reason they gave him in this episode? Not a good reason. And that whole conversation at the end with Chloe always made me cringe. When he says "But thats hard", as though that thought never occurred to him before? For Gods sake, he's a grown man. He's gone through this sort of situation before, many times. Someone going off to do something without telling him, or doing something behind his back to protect him, is something he's experianced, and come to terms with (Lana, his mother, even Chloe) already.

But no, now "its hard" for him. Chloe saying "Yeah, its really hard" back to him like he was a small child just made my soul wither.

I love Tom Welling too, and he's the only reason I'm sticking this puppy out to the end. But I've long ago realized that Tom's priorities when it comes to the show are something very different then mine. These days, I expect he's far more interested in being producer/director then being lead actor. He still does a great job, but it feels a bit like he gets a script, squares his shoulders, and does the job.

I really do believe that writing staff for S10 is probably one of the worst, least cohesive squads the show has ever had. I just didn't see these problems in earlier seasons.

Feb. 6th, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
I'm of the mind that if it makes sense Clark doesn't need to be proactive. I mean he's placed in a world Chloe created and isn't sure what to believe..of course he would be unsure of what to do. Dinah had the same concerns and was even slower.

I don't think Clark's distrust was necessarily retconned..he's a guy that gives second chances and considering Doomsday backfired on her the most judging would be a bad move imo.

Sometimes we need someone to give us a pep talk..and as a male just one year younger than Clark it's needed..we're still not fully grown.

Not the strongest ep but I don't think it was a crapfest. Things made sense in the SV realm and that's all I ask.

Next week should be better though.

Also AM looked great.
Feb. 6th, 2011 06:08 pm (UTC)
Dinah is basically a one-off character. I'm not terribly concerned with what they do with her. But what they do with Clark should be a priority. And when Dinah saw something that blew her mind, like the knife being stopped, she got on the clue bus. When Clark saw something that blew his mind, like Chloe and Oliver jumping off a building and vanishing, he let that bus speed right by him.

Yes, sometimes we need pep talks. And sometimes, we really shouldn't need them anymore. Sometimes, we should be able to find that inner strength and resolve inside of us, hitch up our pants, and do what needs to be done. For Clark, I'd like to see more of the latter, far less of the former.

At this point, I want to see Clark delivering the pep talks, not requiring them before he has to make a big decision.

It will be nice to see Martha again. As for the ep will deliver, I just have no clue.
Feb. 6th, 2011 05:01 pm (UTC)
Yay! The ST posts are back! And for once I have something more to say other than just giving the averages :)

Average ST:

Clark- 22m, -
Lois- 17m, 35s
Tess- 9m, 45s
Oliver- 9m, 26s
Chloe- 6m, 29s

"What happened to all the other heroes that were at the funeral, and why weren't they sharing the same virtual reality?"

I think we can chalk that one up to actor availability, hence the seemingly out of place line from Dinah about AC- the line was thrown it to tell us that the other heroes were in the same virtual world, but the actors weren't available to have them onscreen.

"As has become the norm with this season, the dialog in the episode was full of flat-out cringeworthy lines."

100% totally agree with ya on that point. While I've come to accept that SV will never be the epitome of brilliant writing, there have been times where the writing has been superb IMO (what those times are is a matter of debate). However, the dialogue in this episode was probably some of the worst, if not the worst, of the entire series. Why can't these writers figure out that less is more when it comes to witty puns? They're supposed to be professionals.

"But, instead, the show completely retconned the source of those issues, made Clark seem rather childish and self-involved ("I can't trust Chloe because she left me and didn't tell me why!"), and then had Clark lectured, via Lois, on why he should trust Chloe, and she deserves that trust, and he's wrong to have doubts."

I kind of thought that at first, but after pondering it a little more, I changed my opinion. I don't think Clark's reasoning for not trusting Chloe was childish or self-involved. After their wonderful scene in Hostage (the only part of that episode I liked), and their discussions in Salvation, I think Clark believed that their issues with trust were behind them, and things were back to normal.

But when Chloe disappeared without an explanation, to Clark that was a breach of the trust that they had just rebuilt. I can understand why he wouldn't be so quick to take her at her word because of that. I have an issue, however, with Lois needing to be the one to make him believe ([sarcasm] because we all know Clark can't be Superman without Lois [/sarcasm]).

Speaking of Lois, any episode that doesn't make me completely loathe her gets an automatic point. I really want to like her full time, like I did in Season 4 + 5, but for every decent Lois episode, there are 10 others that make me want to strangle her. I'm sure next week I'll be back to my full-on Lois hate, but it was a nice break from that.

"I'm still not at all clear where Chloe was, or what she was doing."

Neither am I, and as a Chloe fan, I don't like that. We should have gotten some flashbacks as to what she was up to, instead of just getting a few lines of exposition. It would have made things clearer, and give Allison some good stuff to work with.

"How funny is it that Chloe shows back up, and in her first scene, starts spewing exposition?"

They're just making up for lost time.
Feb. 6th, 2011 06:17 pm (UTC)
I thought of you when I watched this episode, and knew you'd be excited. And I'm glad, because I know Chloe is the only thing you like about SV, LOL So, I'm glad you had something to get excited about.

As always, thanks for the averages.

I do understand about actor availability and all that, but then you have to incorporate that into your writing. You have to add a line like "I haven't been able to reach the others yet" or "The others must still be prisoners". See what I did there? I explained why they weren't in the VR, and I did it by not making Clark and Co look completely and utterly oblivious. And I don't even get paid to write TV for a living. LOL

I think the worst dialog for the season thus far still has to go to Patriot. But wow, this one was bad too. Its become obvious to me that this writing staff cannot write sharp, witty dialog at all (which makes an upcoming ACS episode positively terrifying). Endless bird puns because Black Canary is in an episode are DUMB. People do not talk like this.

I see what you are saying about Clark and his issues of trust with Chloe, but if they were going to introduce that to this episode, they needed to dig a lot deeper then "she left and didn't tell me why". You needed to make that connection of her leaving, to the events of S9.

I don't dislike Lois. I do dislike how they are using her on the show in some circumstances, and how they are making it seem like Clark can draw oxygen into his lungs without her smiling at his side. But really, thats not about her as much as how they write Clark. I just really wish they would've worked harder to create a journalism arc for Lois, so that she had more of her own thing going on.

I wonder if they aren't going to have further revelations about where Chloe was, and what she was doing? Hopefully, because so far, its like they left out the middle of the story when it comes to her.
(no subject) - agentobrian - Feb. 6th, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jeannev - Feb. 6th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 6th, 2011 07:36 pm (UTC)
Ya know, I can wank some of the dead VRA soldiers as having been taken out in self-defense. But once the JLA got the upper hand, I can't justify them being placed in the VR world. Because at the end of the day, thats completely inhumane. And Clark, Lois? Had no problems with it at all. Not a flicker.

For me to believe in someone as a leader, I have to believe they can dig down deep within, and make the hard choices. Even when there isn't someone there to tell them what a special flower they are. That doesn't mean that they should never get support, or never seek advice. It just means that I need to BELIEVE that they can do it in the absence of those things when the going gets tough.

This show makes it very, very hard to believe that about Clark.

I think ones feelings about S10 are directly relative to what one values most about the show.

I don't think Chloe's arc will be as bad as Lana's arc, because the show won't have the tragic, forced parting between Clark and Chloe (or Chloe and Oliver). At least I don't think so.
Feb. 6th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
It's strange because I did enjoy the episode even though I noted all of the elements you did, especially the cringe-worthy dialog. And for me the biggest fail was that Clark was NOT needed at the end to defeat the VRA guys - grrrr. I'll try to do a review to express what I thought worked about the episode, and why the moments of fail didn't ruin it for me.

From another comment, I would point out that the 'people' Chloe shot were specifically explained as computer generated security - they weren't real people. But I agree that having the VRA folks locked into the matrix at the end was a Chloe-worthy ending that I'm not at all happy Clark bought into. But I didn't think it was much of a 'hell', except for Chloe.
Feb. 6th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm glad the episode worked for someone. I think thats always the way it is with SV eps.

I know that the people Chloe shot in the VR weren't real, but I assume the bodies laying on the floor in the lab were real. And certainly th guys that were shot by Rick Flagg and Deadshot were also real.

I'm going to disagree with you about it not being a hell though. For instance, who is to say that none of these people don't have families that they are now permanently cut off from. Or, as we saw, what if they start to think they're crazy, and do something to harm themselves within the VR (which, according to Chloe, would effect them in the RL).

Here's the bottom line, at this point in the show, such sloppy morality shouldn't be happening. And its especially galling when you go from "Hey, we trapped all those bad VRA people in the VR.....hey, want to be my maid of honor?" I guess, to me, it just makes our "heroic" characters look rather callous.
Feb. 6th, 2011 10:08 pm (UTC)
The one thing I really liked in the episode was the old bts photo of Tom, Allison & Sam looking so young & adorable...

How did the VRA know where the heroes were? What was the pyramid thingie? How did they manage to knock everyone out, to include Clark (and presumably Martian Manhunter)? How would they be keeping Clark under? What happened to all the other heroes that were at the funeral, and why weren't they sharing the same virtual reality?
All great questions. I think the way (most) of the writers now is to take a theme or big moment and clumsily stitch a plot around it. In this case: Chloe comes back a hero and Lois gives Clark the faith to fly. (And I guess we can be grateful that since in the VR world, anyone can do anything that Lois didn't fly first and tug Clark along with her? Small mercies.)

But, I guess we aren't supposed to worry our silly little heads about stuff like that. Just go with "A Wizard Did It", and be on our way.
Unfortunately I think the fandom sometimes enables the lazy writing by focusing on the Big Moment (Clark & Lois flew!) and charitably ignoring the surrounding sloppiness.

As has become the norm with this season, the dialog in the episode was full of flat-out cringeworthy lines. Here's just a random samplings of writing styles of Jordan Hawley
Awful. Just makes you cringe for the poor cast.

If Clark can't become Superman without Lois on this show, then to me? Clark shouldn't be Superman. End of story. Your mileage may vary.
My mileage = your mileage.
Feb. 6th, 2011 10:15 pm (UTC)
I've always liked that old photo of Tom, Allison and Sam, because it looks like a BTS pic that the show decided to use.

There's no doubt in my mind that, this season, the writers are building an whole episodes around one or two thought bubbles. As you rightly point out, this one was built around Chloe=Hero, and Lois=Gives Clark wings (she's like his own can of Red Bull, LOL). And then, from that concept, they filled in the rest. I mean, the motivations for the VRA in doing this don't even really make sense at all. But thats just not important to SV writers.

And yeah, I do wonder, if they took out the flying Clois moment, would people feel much differently about this episode overall? I have to think they would.

I mean, I know we tend to romanticize the good ol' days of SV, but the dialog was just never this bad. I know it wasn't. And I have to think that comes down to Souders/Peterson in the end.

My mileage = your mileage.

Its good not to be alone on this. As depressing as it is.
(no subject) - tasabian - Feb. 6th, 2011 10:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - svfan01 - Feb. 6th, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 6th, 2011 11:53 pm (UTC)
I won't say much, just this: when I see episodes like this one I'm really glad SV is coming to an end. I can only hope they don't do much more damage to Superman before they leave him alone for good.

Awesome review, Val!
Feb. 7th, 2011 02:39 am (UTC)
Really Carol, you kind of said it all.

There's really only one reason I'm sad about SV ending. And thats my fear of not seeing Tom Welling in front of the cameras again. But will I miss the show? Well, I'm ALREADY missing the show I fell in love with. I won't really miss whats its evolved into.
(no subject) - carolandtom - Feb. 7th, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 7th, 2011 02:33 am (UTC)

Carol said it so well and concise, I don't know if I could add anything.

And that is the sad thing. I don't know if my show, after NINE 1/2 YEARS of loyal watching, is actually worth coming up with anything more to say.

What particularly killed this ep for me is I watched a LOST episode before watching Collateral (I'm on season 3). I've been on a LOST kick since Christmas. After SV, I watched another Lost. The whole time I was watching SV, I wanted to be watching Lost. After SV was over, I looked at hubby and we both said the same thing. The SV writers just don't deliver. It is a shoddy show at best when compared to a show written with so much attention to detail, continuity and character development as Lost. It made me sad, it made me angry and worst of all apathetic about my beloved show.

Little by little the show has killed just about every character on that show I've loved. But I've always had Clark. Now they are messing with destroying Clark for me and I'm worried. So, as Carol said, I hope they can get these last episodes out without ruining Clark Kent for good.

Feb. 7th, 2011 02:44 am (UTC)
Believe me, all season long, for the most part, I've wondered if I should even do a review. If I didn't have such an awesome flist, and so much encouragement, I probably wouldn't. Because, really, what else is there to say?

SV's weakest spot was always, ALWAYS the writing. But the writing for this season? Its horrible. Even if someone liked this episode, I can't imagine that anyone could mount a defense for the bird puns.

Like you, whatever happened, I always loved Clark. I was always on his side. And ya know, I still do, and I still am. But here we are, 10 eps from the end, and he just hasn't come into his own in the way I had hoped.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 7th, 2011 03:06 am (UTC)
Clark has been underwritten all damned season long. Its gotten to a point where I'm really starting to think that its due to Tom having so many irons in the fire, he doesn't have time to learn a lot of dialog.

If you are right about why they had Lois delivering the dialog about Chloe, and how worthy of blind trust she is, then that makes the episode even more horrible. Because its basically saying that Clark's experiences, and feelings are just not all that important.

Superman isn't an "eye for an eye" kind of hero. I didn't think that would go for Lois either. Chloe, Oliver, Dinah, Tess? Sure. Which is all the more reason you have to show Clark in opposition to that. Its why you need him to LEAD the way for the others when they get on the shakey morality train. But, instead, what the show does is have Clark show no morality backbone at all, and have him just go along with the gang. And again, you have to wonder who these writers think they are writing for. And I have to wonder why this isn't a problem for those who believe that Clark (and Lois) were written just fine in this episode.
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