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21 October 2005 @ 07:34 pm
Chloe in Hidden  
It's nearly time for this week's ep and I finally finish articulating what I wanted to say about Chloe in Hidden! I'm hilarious. Spoilers follow.

Chloe has grown up a lot since the days when she had a helpless crush on Clark. In Hidden, she walks into the Kent kitchen to find Clark being dragged over the coals by his parents for having slept with Lana, Chloe’s closest female friend. Chloe handles herself with aplomb. Later in the episode Clark raises the fact that they have never talked about him dating Lana. Chloe quickly replies ‘We don’t need to: I’m a big girl now.’

It’s interesting to compare Chloe’s comment with Jonathan’s ‘There are some conversations we’ve never had, son, because I thought we didn’t need to…’ The Kent family have an unhealthy relationship with silence, and in this instance Jonathan had wrongly assumed that his son and he were in accord about what Clark’s behaviour should be. Chloe is not subject to these Kent behaviour-patterns. We know from experience that if she felt there was an unspoken problem between Clark and herself, she would raise the subject. The fact that she hasn’t is truly a sign that she doesn’t need to: she is finally over her crush.

In Season 5 we have seen how powerful Chloe can be. Her breaking and entering skills are confronting in their professionalism. In Hidden, she frees herself herself from her bonds, attacks her kidnapper and attempts to override the bomb system. Then Chloe becomes the second human in the episode to have Gabriel point a gun at them. Unlike Clark, she does not underestimate her opponent and moves quickly to disarm him. She is untrained, so she is not wholly successful, but she does manage to turn the gun away from her. Chloe is not a superhero and her human responses end in very human tragedy: the gun fires and Gabriel dies.

(It’s interesting to think about what this episode says about guns and assault: if you are naïve, you get killed yourself; but if you are more streetwise, you may end up being the one responsible for death.)

Despite how confronting Gabriel’s death must have been for Chloe, she is also able to be an emotional support at the end of the day for her friend Clark. Unwilling to open up to his parents, Clark has withdrawn to his private space in the barn’s loft. It is unclear how much he has discussed with Lana, but as the conversation with Chloe unfolds, we learn that Clark is still keeping Lana at a certain emotional distance. To Chloe, not Lana, Clark reveals the smooth skin beneath the bandage on his chest. This beautiful and rare intimate act from Clark is rewarded with a typically perceptive comment from Chloe: ‘unscathed on the surface’, she says. Rather than simply marvelling at Clark’s healing ability, Chloe is already thinking about the deeper implications: Clark may heal physically but emotional scars can’t be so easily removed.

One of the best things about Chloe’s character is that she is a free agent. As a non-canon character she is unusual in not having an established endpoint. The fact that her friendship with Clark is no longer romanticised frees her character even further. That their friendship has survived so much gives it a convincing strength and weightiness, at a time when Clark really needs a best friend to help him work through things.

Chloe’s view of Clark’s abilities does not conform with his own. She thinks they are a great gift and cannot imagine why he would give them up. She says as much to Gabriel, who responds by telling her that his father preferred to die than live with ‘special abilities’. In Hidden, Clark is ironically closest to understanding Gabriel’s point of view. Part of him, at least, believes he should not have come back to Smallville with his powers. The fact that Chloe disagrees with him might have been a problem for a younger Clark, but he is now able to appreciate her different take on things without feeling threatened by it.

Clark longs for what he would call a normal life. Chloe calls it a ‘bland, mundane, generic’ life. She shows Clark, subtly, that perception is nine-tenths of reality. His view of mortality is idealised, as Chloe gently points out.

Chloe is self-aware and articulate but not cynical or jaded. She can be emotionally vulnerable, but she always admits to her feelings. In Hidden, we are given a classic Chloe scene, when she reveals to Clark that being the only one to know his secret makes her feel ‘for lack of a cheesier word special’. Chloe’s honesty is one of her most defining characteristics. So is her fidelity as a friend: she follows up this admission by telling Clark ‘If you honestly think you can stay with Lana and not tell her you are kidding yourself.’ This is quintessential Chloe: assertive but self-sacrificing. She always makes sure that she gets an opportunity to voice her emotions, but at the end of the day her behavioural decisions are made rationally.

Chloe gives Clark a safe forum in which to work through his emotions. ‘I can’t expect her to react like you did’ he says, showing that he has finally realised that people’s reactions to his alienness will depend on their personal circumstances. ‘I don’t have a choice’ he says, an old Clark mantra, which Chloe challenges. Clark is ready now to match Chloe’s assertion that he owes Lana the choice with his belief that he simply can’t take that risk. Whether Chloe agrees or disagrees with Clark’s decision doesn’t matter. The point is that she, like us as viewers, is privy to his inner life.

The final lines of Hidden, spoken to Chloe, are some of the most intimate insights into Clark’s feelings that we ever get. ‘Why didn’t I listen to him?’ Clark asks, thinking of Jor-El’s threat. And, finally, ‘Chloe, I think I’ve made a terrible mistake’. The final scene of this episode shows us who Clark can be truly intimate with. It’s no longer his parents. Despite great passion and romance, it is not Lana. It is, of course, no longer Lex. It is Chloe. And she’s earned it!

(Final squee on this ep before I run to watch Aqua: I loved it that not only did Clark and Lana get caught by the Kents, they also got caught by Chloe, and Lana got caught by Lex! This goes down as my favourite TV teen-virginity-loss episode ever!)
 
 
 
Kate: Chloe and Clarkmskatej on October 21st, 2005 10:09 am (UTC)
Bop! Thank you so much for that, girlfriend. I couldn't agree more about Chloe. SV has done a brilliant job with her character and I love that she's no longer in love with Clark and they are now simply best friends. And not like Clark/Lex, where SV kept *telling* us they were best friends, but they very seldom *showed* us a believable friendship.

With Clark/Chloe, I *believe* in their relationship, because of the way it's written and the way it's performed by the actors (who have marvellous chemistry with each other).
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex coolbop_radar on October 21st, 2005 01:32 pm (UTC)
Yes, I really wanted to acknowledge Chloe's character. I totally agree that they now have a very believable (best) friendship. Unlike Clark/Lex, where that was asserted on the show but never really shown. And yes, I do think the actors have marvellous chemistry. Also, Allison is a very good actress - it's easy to miss how good her acting is, actually. I'm usually so busy just thinking of her as Chloe!

I do think SV did brilliantly with Chloe. She grew, unlike Pete, who they failed miserably with. And it's just great that they wrote a female character who is a true friend to Clark, who essentially took over Pete's best friend role and who was able to be a Lois Lane avatar but then held her own once Lois came on the show... Yay for Chloe! and Allison!
Alison: love you chlexacampbell on October 21st, 2005 01:01 pm (UTC)
Chloe is really coming into her own, really shining as a character and as a person. It's quite interesting, especially considering how Lex and Clark seem to be becoming more two-dimensional. I'm not going to say (again) how it makes no sense that Clark would want Lana and not her, because the workings of the heart don't always make "sense".

If Chloe is targeted for termination, at least she'll go out having made something wonderful of herself.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Sun Lexbop_radar on October 21st, 2005 01:35 pm (UTC)
Hee! No, the workings of the heart do not make sense. For me, sadly its not all that surprising that Clark prefers Lana - he's just such a typical boy! But it still makes no logical sense.

Oh, I hope Chloe is not targeted... (I'm a spoiler-free zone so I don't know!) but, as you say, if she is, it's so great that she had so much character growth first. Also, if she is, I will cry. :-(
Alisonacampbell on October 21st, 2005 09:24 pm (UTC)
Gosh, I'm sorry! I didn't realize. I really need to keep better track of who does spoilers and who doesn't and behave accordingly.

But, not to worry: nothing is definite. Fans are just speculating as to who of Clark's loved ones Lion-EL might have meant in that conversations. She's just one possibility people have suggested.

Personally, Jonathan gets my vote. I just wonder about Chloe because she's nowhere in non SV canon and everyone else is.

Again, please forgive if I was indiscreet.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Chloe smilebop_radar on October 22nd, 2005 03:18 am (UTC)
Is ok! I should put up a more obvious 'Don't Spoil Me' sign! But it's no big surprise fans would think it might be her... I worry for her myself.

You is forgiven! Of course!

I think Jonathan gets my vote too... but I have Jonathan-hatred so I may just be prejudiced.
rhiannonherorhiannonhero on October 21st, 2005 05:25 pm (UTC)
I'm loving the Clark and Chloe interactions. I never found them appealing as a couple, but I've adored them as best friends and I'm so very glad they are back to that. S2, S3, and S4 were not fun for me as far as Chloe went due to annoyance with the pining for Clark. I loved her in S1 when they were best friends and close in that way. I'm so thrilled to have that back!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on October 22nd, 2005 02:24 am (UTC)
Yes I really like them as best friends. I could *understand* her pining for Clark (wellll... sort of) but she's way better as a best friend. And there aren't enough real male-female best friends on TV! I like it!
Cris: Chloeduskwillow on October 21st, 2005 06:33 pm (UTC)
Once more - wonderful post!
I really do enjoy reading your posts very much. I always save them for the moment in the day when I'll need some cheering up. :)

I couldn't agree more with what you said about Chloe. She truly is a wonderful friend and confidant, and Clark is lucky to have her on his side.

I love how much more grown up she is this year. Not just with dealing with Clana, but the clothes too, and many more little things. She's getting more free and self-confident. A a bit more sexy. It really is a joy to see her so comfortable in her own skin. :)

I hope she's not the one to die. :(
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Chloe smilebop_radar on October 22nd, 2005 03:02 am (UTC)
Look! I have more of your icons!

Thank you for the lovely comment - I love hearing from you.

Yes, it is a joy to see her all grown-up and her own true person. I'm proud of SV for having written some truly wondeful female characters and Chloe's top of the list. This season has been really good for her so far. Yay! (Yes, I really hope she's not the one to die too!)