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  Wow, I never thought I would get this done.  Between a crazy busy weekend, major download issues, and general malaise about the show itself, it felt like a very long journey to this review.

I also think I was having a hard time thinking of what I wanted to say.  Because while this episode had some very entertaining moments in it, and some very good performances by the guys, when you peel back the layers of this episode and examine it a bit deeper, you find yourself staring into some major plot holes, and contrivances.  And those are par for the course.  But whats even more disturbing is how this episode reflects on Clark, when you take a good hard look at it.  And we're almost to the last episode of the this series forever, so I find that especially troubling.

Bottom line, this episode is so clearly indicative of the problems that this show has had all season long.

But, we'll get to that.

Running Time for Dominion 41m, 39s (Previously On:  41s)

Clark:  26m, 8s
Lois:  10m, 30s
Oliver:  22m, 38s
Tess:  8m, 34s

Zod:  16m, 22s

Year To Date

Clark:  409m, 39s (19)
Lois:  303m, 23s (19)
Tess:  141m, 17s (14)
Oliver:  156m, 21s (14)

OK, so who brought the snakes? I mean, I assume the Phantom Zone has no natural wildlife. Did some of the criminals smuggle in snakes in their pants? (insert joke here)

Yeah, I know, it was for effect.

In fact, when it comes to making a visual impact, this episode succeeded. The blue tones of the Phantom Zone are always interesting, and then mingling it with the whole "300" vibe made for a visually interesting episode. Of course, the "300" thing has been done to death at this point, but I won't discount a good fight scene. Especially when SV so rarely allows Clark to participate in a good fight scene.  And it was a good fight.  JH did a decent job with the direction.

I wasn't much of a fan of Callum Blue's Zod. When its all said and done, I just think the actor was miscast in the role, and lacked the gravitas to make Zod a really menacing presence on the show. However, having said that, I thought he gave a fine performance here. And somehow, Zod ruling the Phantom Zone seemed the best fit for the character. But, there's no getting around the fact that a Zod reappearance was just another check off that infamous bucket list. Because the bottom line is that there was no real reason at all to bring him back aside from "Oh, wouldn't it be cool if...."

And while I have a ton of problems with the character of Oliver Queen, and I think he's been used terribly this whole season, I also felt like this was one of Justin Hartley's best performances on the show. While I find it incredibly hard to be invested in Oliver's skull tatoo, especially when he's been off in Star City for the last 3 weeks, I did feel like JH was able to bring dimension to Oliver's internal struggle here without him falling into the usual patterns of whiny self pity, and nasty sniping at Clark.

And then there was Tom. This was one of his better performances this season. Very heroically defiant throughout. Very resolute and strong presence. Oh, and yeah, he looked magnificent. Its too bad the overall message of the episode sort of undermined that great performance.

And there's no 2 ways about it, the homoerotic undertones were all over this episode. Not for nothing, but why do all these guys that want to be Clark's "brother", or want to be his trusty companion, seem like they're true desires are something of a more sexual nature? Is it just me? They all seem to get overly pissy because Clark won't love them enough, or won't love them the way they want him to (and by that, I mean in a naked way).

And hey, I'm not objecting, because I think its definitely an interesting aspect of this show. And sort of infinitely more interesting to me then the boring heterosexual relationships the show presents as true love.

I also very much liked Tess in her first scene at Watchtower. I though Cassidy did a good job of showing how very invested Tess has become in Clark.  However you want to categorize it.   Her worry for him was palpable and suggests more, but doesn't go overboard with big cow eyes or trembly bottom lips.

What did not work for me, on any level, were the Lois/Tess scenes. But, that ties into that underlying message of this episode which sort of tears at that superficial enjoyment I was able to get from the visuals, and the manly fights, and the gladiator gayness. See, on the surface, we have a very heroic Clark, who is willing to sacrifice himself and his safety to find out whats going on in the Phantom Zone, and instructs Tess to wait only a certain amount of time before closing the doorway and making sure no other phantoms can come through (and the gateway was open for 3 weeks, and no criminals came through?). And thats heroic, right? Oh, no, no, no. See, thats where the writing for this episode fails. Because what this episode tells us is that it was a good thing that people didn't listen to Clark's plan, because while it might seem heroic on the surface, it was really dumb (Lois even calls it "stupid"). Going into the Phantom Zone in the first place? A trap hatched by Darkseid and Zod. Going in alone? Well, he needed Oliver to get out, so good thing Oliver didn't listen to him. Telling Tess to blow up the crystal? Well, thats a "stupid plan", and unless DevotedFianceeLois! hadn't shown up to change it, Clark would've been exiled in the Phantom Zone. And the one person who was actually standing by what Clark told her to do? Coded as wrong, and misguided, and got a gun pulled on her. And Lois pulling the gun was one of the stupidest scenes this show has done all season, and thats saying something. You could've achieved the same result in the end with Lois just talking Tess out of following Clark's noble, but stupid, plan.

It sort of reminds me of Salvation, when we saw Clark be so brave and heroic and self-sacrificing, and then Lazarus came around and told us how stupid and proud Clark was. Well, here we have Clark being so brave and heroic and self-sacrificing on the surface, but what the show is really telling us is that it was a good thing no one listened to his plan, and he's overly controlling and won't trust other people enough. And really, is that what we needed 2 episodes from the end of the show?

Also, like the episode Luthor did earlier this season, they have Clark take what is, seemingly, a very harsh and overly simplistic POV so that another character can be justified in not confiding the truth in him. Here's, its Clark rather OOC "we'd just lock them up, because there's no getting that pesky Darkness! out once you got it" to Oliver, which in turn is supposed to explain why Oliver couldn't be upfront with him. Instead of what it really is, which is Oliver being completely reckless and selfish here, and endangering everyone around him. But, no, lets lay that at Clark's feet because he told Oliver that infected team members needed to be locked up, and could never be cured. Whatever show!

Now, I do want to give credit where credit is due, and they let Clark be the man with the plan to get the crystal from Zod, so that was something, at least.

And, I'm just going to say it, I am so sick to death of perfect, strong, brave, supportive fiancee Lois. I mean, I get it show!  Lois is perfect. Lois is perfect for Clark. Clark could never have someone so perfect and supportive in his corner, and could never become Superman without her.   I get it! I get it! I get it!   Jeez, how many times do you need to hammer this point home already?. Personally, I think Lois was a far more interesting character when she wasn't turned into this paragon of spousal perfection. Its like they rubbed off her edges to make her to the perfect fit for Clark. And I find it exceedingly dull. I'm also tired of the big Clois moment, where they have a heartfelt conversation about something, and ED gets all teary eyed (and Tom frequently looks vaguely bored), and they look deep into each others eyes, and they declare everloving devotion to each other, and there's some hugging, and....ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!

Look, its just not my thing.

I know this episode was supposed to bring the Darkseid arc back into the storyline, but its been such a lame season long arc, its hard to be invested in it for me, even with Oliver's skull tattoo (well, it doesn't help that I really don't care what happens to Oliver). I also can't get over the lack of logic in this storyline. I mean, at one point, Oliver actually says "We took care of Darkseid, and his 3 little minions". Um, what? When was that? Lets see, they defeated the VRA vote, and seemed to have gotten back in the good graces of the public. But they never encountered Darkseid at all. And the 3 little minions? Well, last time we saw Godfrey and Granny Goodness, they were free as 2 little minion birds. As for the 3rd, Desaad, they took someone who could prey on the minds of the weak and vulnerable, and had extraordinary abilities, and they put him in Belle Reve? Oh yeah, they TOTALLY took care of those minions. How ridiculous is that?

And this episode was soaking in the ridiculous, and I don't just mean the snakes.

The idea that a drop of Clark's blood has altered Zod's blood to such a degree that he now can activate a crystal that can only be done with El blood is super silly.

Lois remembers her time in the Phantom Zone?

Why would Clark be wearing a cape for his gladiator fight with Oliver? Because its an homage to Superman? Come on, do we need that at this point?

Tess never bothered to mention to Clark and Oliver that they were gone for 3 weeks?

When Clark finds out that's its been 3 weeks, he says "You waited all that time" to Lois. Did he think she should've started dating?

Its 2 days to the wedding? And Chloe's not in town? Martha's not in town?

In fact, how strange was it that Oliver never once mentioned his wife?

And the biggest WTF, Hawkman had a quest? Now, wait, lets back up here....apparently, Hawkman saw someone use a weapon that pushed back Darkseid last time he showed up on Earth. But Hawkman never thought it was a good idea to share this information with Clark, or the League in general? Just Oliver? And Oliver has known this since Hawkman died, and never thought to mention it to Clark, or anyone else? And the missing piece to finding this weapon is in the Veritas Journals, because why? What would the Veritas journals have to do with any of that?

And these are all just the hundred and more reasons this season is so damned awful. Its sloppy, its lazy, Clark is still being undercut for the benefit of other characters, they keep throwing in things off the "bucket list" (and tell me that whats coming in the next episode isn't more of that)


May. 3rd, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC)
Ah, OK. Thanks for reminding me of the Lois/P-Zone stuff. I sort of had the impression is was all fuzzy to her.

All I know if that if my fiancee was gone for 3 weeks, and I wasn't sure if I'd ever see him again, I would be hugging AND kissing him.

On the purely shallow, there was a lot of enjoy about this episode, because the P-Zone stuff was fun, and The Gay!, and gorgeous men fighting, and Callum Blue chewing the scenery. Its all fun! But then you think that this is the 3 episodes away from the end of the show forever, and its sort of mind boggling that this is what they went for.
May. 4th, 2011 12:00 pm (UTC)
It is mind boggling, my moneys on a rushed, cram it all in finale!




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