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Masquerade Screentime Minutes and Thoughts

 Sorry I'm a little late this week.  I started off yesterday just fine, but got hit hard with some food that didn't agree with me, and I'm sure we all know how pleasant that experience can be, right?  So, needless to say, I wasn't in the right head space for a rewatch, screentime count, or review.

Still feeling a little on the punk side, but well enough to get this posted.

Screentime Minutes

Masquerade, running time 41m, 35s (Previously on: 1m, 23s)

Clark  17m, 13s
Lois  9m, 48s
Oliver  13m, 59s
Chloe  19m, 29s

Desaad  7m, 57s

Fake Clark 1m, 5s
Fake Lois  55s
Fake Oliver  57s

Year To Date (# of eps)

Clark  297m, 23s (14)
Lois   231m, 37s (14)
Tess   97m, 33s (10)
Oliver 114m, 38s (12)

Chloe  53m, 51s (6)

I don't think there's any other way to start this review then by saying OMG, WHY CAN'T THE WRITING FOR CLARK BE THIS GOOD EVERY WEEK?  Right, am I right?  How is it that there's a writer on the SV staff (kudos to Mr Miller) who so clearly understands who Clark Kent is, who he should be, how he should sound and act....and yet this show gets it wrong so often?  How do you go from a writer that gives us such a weak Clark 2 weeks ago, to 1 that writes him like the rock star he is?

It boggles the mind.

I sort of feel like Mr Miller has been reading my complaints about the writing for Clark this season, and just addressed those concerns one by one.  In this episode, we got a Clark off doing his Blur rescue thing on the general population.  And not just in Metropolis, not just in the USA, but worldwide!  We got a Clark that was portrayed as very smart, and very capable.  We got a Clark who bantered with Lois, not one that relied on her for peptalks and motivation.  We got a Clark that came face-to-face with a Darkseid minion, and was not even a candidate for The Darkness!  We got a Clark that was funny!  And we got a Clark that got his own fanboy in the hilarious Bert (can we keep him, please?).

Top to bottom, it was all good.

I have to admit that going into this episode, and hearing the spoilers about Lois deciding Clark needed a disguise, and her "pushing" him, and "being up in his face" about it, really had me expecting the worst.  And why wouldn't I?  The show has really conditioned me to think that way.  And when the disguise stuff initially came up, I have to admit that I had that moment of annoyance.  But it was all handled and written so wonderfully, with Clark always having a very strong POV.  And I love how Clark was able to address his reluctance to Lois at the end, and in such a way that perfectly explaned his reluctance to wear a mask, or disguise himself in his Blur persona.

I know the whole Clark is the disguise, No, Superman is the disguise, thing is obviously a cause for debate amongst longtime Superman fans.  For me, I just felt like the way it was addressed here, on the show, made sense to me.  Especially in light of what Martha said to Clark at the end of last weeks episode.  I in no way felt Clark was disrespecting his upbringing, or his name.

Also written exceptionally well in this episode was Lois.  I so prefer the snarkier, feisty Lois to the sappy cheerleader.  I love the genuine exasperation she showed with Clark (which was returned in kind, which was another reason why it was so great).  Because that feels far more real, and couple-like to me.  It feels much more like what I think Clark and Lois should be as a couple.  And no matter what exasperation existed, at no time did it turn nasty, or feel like there was any less love and regard in the air.

And speaking of Mr Miller addressing my previous issues, I can't even say how pleased I was to hear Lois express how little fun she was having in planning a wedding.  I never quite bought her as the gushy wedding planning type, so I was glad to see them reverting Lois back to a woman that approaches wedding planning like a military manuever.

Though, the whole wedding model in the middle of the Daily Planet.  Very funny idea, and dialogue, wrong location.  Then again, both Clark and Lois had a lot of inappropriate conversations at the DP this week.  This is what happens when you run out of sets, I guess, LOL 

And can we just take a moment to appreciate the funny?  The "Whoosh!" moment was terrific.  As was Clark's reaction to her scoffing as "microvision".  More, I'll do more on the dialogue later.

For me, as a viewer thats very rooted in my Clark FF ways, I really NEED to see Clark out there doing things on his own.  So, I really appreciated them allowing Clark to be at that crime scene without Lois.  Because they needed to show just how much respect Clark has earned on his own as a reporter.  This was important.  Having Lois there would clutter the scene unnecessarily.

I feel like if I try to address every scene with Clark that I loved, this could be a very long review.  So, lets just sum it up....All of Them.  I don't think I've said that this season since Ambush, and probably only then for this season.

Now, here's the rub with this episode though.  There was a whole lot of time spent on a storyline that I just am not invested in, and don't particularly enjoy watching, which is the Chlollie stuff.  Maybe it was handled better in this episode then its been handled previously, but its hard for me to judge that, because I just don't like it, or care about it.  I will say this though, I did get the impression in this episode that although Chloe does love Oliver, I don't feel that she's nearly as invested in this relationship as he is.  And ya know, I like that, because it makes sense to me.  Oliver has been shown to fall in love pretty damned easily, and Chloe has had a pretty rocky road.  I also see how that might play in her eventual exit from the story again, but we'll see on that.

Oh, and of course, Oliver has been marked by The Darkness!, so that could be a problem.  

I find myself laughing a bit at SV's penchant for this TWIST! endings.  They do it on a fairly regular basis, and they've sort of lost the shock appeal for me.  This week its *TWIST* Oliver is marked by the darkness.  Last week, its was *TWIST* Alexander is invulnerable.  In Luthor, it was *TWIST* AU Lionel is on our world.  And so on, and so forth.  

As someone who harbors some serious Oliver issues, I cannot even begin to explain how freaking satisfying it is to me that Oliver defied Clark's wisdom in handling the situation, and he got screwed.  LOL Forever!!

Must give mad props to Steve Byers portrayal of Desaad.  Completely the right mixture of menace, and temptation, with a chaser of Sexy!  In fact, I have to admit that all the actors chosen to play Darkseid minions have been exceptionally good.  I wish they had been used better, or more consistently.  And it doesn't change my conclusion that the Darkseid arc wasn't really needed in this season at all.  However, I really do need to give it up for the casting people, and for actors who can come in and play these types of roles and nail it so completely in one shot.

While I didn't like the Chlollie, I do have to say that I thought the Chloe/Desaad scene, and the last Chloe/Oliver scene, had some of the most interesting writing I've seen for Chloe in a long time.  Every "sin" that Chloe was tempted with felt truly organic to who she is, and who she's been.  That Clark would still represent 'lust" for her feels organic.  That there's still a part of her that might "envy" Lois feels organic.  But more then any of that, that "pride" would be her weakest point feels right on the freaking money.  Another great thing about this script was that BQM wasn't interested in putting Chloe on a pedestal, or canonizing her.  He was more interested in making her real, and true to who she's been.  Again, just like the writing for Clark that should be a weekly thing, this is the sort of writing that Chloe should've had in all of her eps since returning.

Though, we did now get a fourth explanation of Chloe leaving, with the line "...to proud to ask for helo, thats why we vanished without a trace."  Oh, come on show, make up your mind!  Was it a trade for Oliver?  The Dr Fate helmet? Staying away so Clark could stand on his own? Or was it Chloe's pride getting in the way?  I'm so confused!

Now, as much as this show was one of the better ones of the season, and as much as the writing for Clark was AWESOME!, this episode was not without its problems.

As I've mentioned the excess of Chlollie seemed, well, excessive.  That they should get screentime upon her return I don't dispute.  That it should be the A plot in this way?  Well, not so much.  And also, the fight scene, and the rip-off of the movie Date Night?  Both silly.

As I mentioned the wedding model, and the Clois conversations taking place in the middle of the DP was just odd.  I could get around the final talk, since it seems to have taken place in a seperate room.  But the conversations that seem to be occuring in the middle of a crowded work space?  Hard to ignore.

So, Desaad trapped Clark in a spinning black cloud?  I mean, I get the idea, but what a strange execution.  Both me and my sister were like "Um, whats happening here?"  And I don't think I should ever be saying something like that when watching a show like Smallville.

Now, all that is small potatoes,  and I can get over it pretty easily.  But here's the one big problem spot I had have with the episode, and thats the ultimate handling of Desaad.  According to Clark, "We silenced Godfrey, shut down Granny's orphanage, and buried Desaad underneath Belle Reve".  Um, what?  Unless Godfrey and Granny are locked down somewhere (and we've gotten nothing to suggest that), then Clark and team hasn't really handled them at all.  Whats to stop Godfrey from preaching from street corners?  Whats to stop Granny from snatching up little girls and making more Furies?  In fact, what happened to the Furies?  And I'm guessing from "buried underneath Belle Reve" that they locked up Desaad in Belle Reve, but how the hell does that make sense?  The guy can infect people with Darkness! Cause their bodies to massively hemorrhage (apparently with his mind), throw people around by willing it so, and conjure up black spinning clouds that can restrain someone like Clark.  So, putting him in Belle Reve is a good idea?  I mean, if Slade was Phantom Zone material, wouldn't Desaad be Phantom Zone materal?  No, instead, put him in a mental institution where there is NO WAY he could gain access to vulnerable people?  What?  How does that make any sense whatsoever?

And thats a pretty big ball to drop at the end of a really well played game.

A few weeks ago, after Collateral, I quoted some lines from the script to illustrate just how awful the dialogue was.  For this episode, I'd like to do the same to illustrate just how great this script was.  Though I do have to give massive kudos to the lines deliveries by the actors:

"I spell-checked it, twice"
"You talk like a cop, and walk like a fireman"
"I'm a little bit bigger then you..and it probably has to do with center of gravity"
"Tiny Martha?"
"He says you're lucky to be engaged to such a super guy" "Did he?"
"Its my power, I can call it whatever I want"
"You're so dramatic"
"You just hae to act like you're miserable" "That shouldn't be a problem"
"Its not any worse then machine gun fire" "Thats debatable"
"I'm not even going to attempt the Chinese, because I'd just sound racist"

And although there's nothing at all original about the line "Good things come to those who wait", the delivery of that line by Steve Byers was tremendous!

So, in conclusion, could the writing for Clark in this episode be the shape of things to come?  Or one of those exceptions to the rule?  Lets all hope for the former.

Don't know what I'm going to think of next weeks ep, but I'm not a big fan of having a timeout for a wacky hi-jinks episodes.  But, we'll see.  Hopefully it will be funny, and entertaining.


Feb. 21st, 2011 05:09 am (UTC)
1. Hope you feel better.

2. BQM has massively improved since s8 imo.Chloe and Clark were written great but the others didn't grate as they often do to me..but his eps still have that bit of cheese I dislike..

3. Why is Jeff the intern, interning Lois? She's on the lowest level. It's more of the "Lois is teh awesome!" that I disliked in Hex. It always bugged me.

4. No Tess :( but understandable

5. AM acted the heck out of the ep I felt. The rest were great too.

6. No mention of how AM looked in the red dress? How. Dare. You.

7. Not looking forward to next week that much but monkeys and "Chless" dancing? Win.

8. I'm on a horse.
Feb. 21st, 2011 06:17 am (UTC)
1. Thanks. I took off from work tomorrow, just to get some rest.
2. I don't know. Compared to other SV writers, I don't see where BQM's ep have any excessive cheese.
3. I do agree with you that Lois having a lackey doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Honestly? Jeff the intern has never done much for me. But Bert, the fanboy photographer? Awesome!
4. She'll be back next week. :)
5. AM was very good. I thought everyone was good this week.
6. I liked the red dress, and I think its a great color for AM. But I LOVED the red coat.
7. Its a lemur, and although that looks cute, I'm still skeptical about Fortune.
8. ?????
Feb. 21st, 2011 06:36 am (UTC)
Masquerade was probably the worst Jeff appearance but for the most part I think his casually showing up in an episode here or their sort of adds "life" to the Daily Planet. It's nice when you can add a small cameo by a character to liven up to feel of an actual working place instead of making it just feel like it's a background where 2 characters talk but not much else(even if it's something small like Clark stealing a donut from Jeff in Echo)



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