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01 February 2008 @ 08:32 pm
Smallville 7.10 Persona  
Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!! My boyfriend's Smallville's back! :D :D :D

It's funny. I don't feel like anything's been missing from my life, but the second I press play on a new episode, it all comes flooding back to me... the special place that Smallville (in all its madness) has in my heart.

This eppy was so good I didn't even miss Lois! And boy am I glad I wasn't spoiled for it. *blows kisses at the cut-taggers*

'Using DNA from the cord blood of your deceased son...' *Boppy does a triple-take* I just... I... I have no words. HUAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I don't want to think about how Lex possibly obtained that. *baffled*

So Grant IS Julian, ie. he's DNA-related to the Luthors. Well he proved his Luthor credentials in attacking his life head-on and believing stubbornly in freewill and independence despite all evidence to the contrary.

Lionel saying he wants to get to know Grant was way more creepy than Lionel flinging him out would have been. The interaction between Julian and Lionel in this episode highlighted to me something that has actually been obvious for a long time: how incredibly deluded and blinkered Lionel is when it comes to his own children. I think he really believes what he says when he tells Lex that Grant is his opposite. Yet, to the audience, this is patently not true. 'Insightful', 'courageous' and 'direct' are all compliments that even this most adamant of Lex's critics would grudgingly agree could be attributed to Lex. He certainly doesn't lack courage, he has shown a lot of intuition and he's absolutely direct: when he hides things he does so absolutely--when they're revealed, it's with a flourish that is almost blunt. So Lionel's words are nonsense... and yet I don't think he was game-playing here. He believed them, and, what's more, they affected Lex. Lex is still invested in Lionel's opinion of him.

Where does Grant/Julian stand in this dynamic? Well 'Persona' answered that question fairly decisively, ending, as it did, with Grant's demise. Grant is far from Lex's opposite--Lex's inferior, maybe, but he's on the same sliding grey scale that Lex has been on for some time. He's just not so close to black. There's a naivety to Grant, despite his brash newsboy attitude... this naive brashness is reminscent of Lex in early seasons. Remember all the bravado with which Lex swaggered into Smallville? Determined to prove his father wrong and win him over with his clever management of the fertiliser plant? That's a scenario not so different from Julian and Lionel leaving the steakhouse together...

Lex ordered Julian's termination. And yes, I'm aware, I'm jumping straight to the climax of the episode, but it was so powerful it's hard not to. What does that mean? SO MUCH. I know latxcvi's discussed before now how long we wait sometimes for the pay-offs in Smallville... well this was another one. Lex, when he receives the message that Julian is dead (for a second time, at Lex's hand) he is drinking and playing pool against an absent opponent. The pool represents his competitive nature, which has been there since the beginning. The heavy drinking, however, has grown over the years. Lex is drowning his sorrows, even as he adds to them.

He steps out onto the balcony and screams to the night sky, just as he screamed as a young child tortured by memories of his dead brother, and just as he screamed more recently when those memories still haunted him. In cloning Julian and then killing him again, Lex has stepped into his past (I'm in love with the shot of his foot stepping out onto the rainsoaked balcony--an echo of Julian stepping into Lionel's study earlier in the episode, as well as symbolic of the fact that Lex put himself here). He's taken control of it and made it his. His scream has desperation in it, yes, grief maybe, but also maniacal control. His arms may be outstretched but he is aching for release of another sort--the release that comes from absolute power, from not having to win anything from anyone any more.

It's fascinating that the minute that Lex felt at all threatened by Julian in terms of Lionel's affections, he opted to relive his most scarring childhood experience rather than live out a nightmare of a different sort.

Lex is in an incredibly dark place now and I know that will probably be hard for a lot of fans. He still holds my sympathy to some degree. Lionel calling Lex on boundaries?! *runs around room making flappy indignant arm gestures* Dear God! In fact, the fact that Lionel STILL has not acknowledged ANY responsibility for making Lex the man he is today really bothers me, and gives me a lot more sympathy for Lex than I might otherwise have. In those terms, it's good storytelling. It leaves Lex in an incredibly lost place.

I'll admit that Julian's death came as a shock to me. I should probably have seen it coming, but I didn't. I was shocked enough that he was in this episode at all--I had rather anticipated him vanishing Lucas-like into the night. It came as a shock and it was highly effective. when I was able to gather my wits about it, I realised how specific a method Lex had chosen for assassinating his rival. Lex was shot and nearly died in a mugging in Lexmas... this was a very similar set-up. But this one had his father on standby, so that Julian died literally in his arms. There's so much going on there I don't know where to start! Firstly, Lex kills himself symbolically by killing Julian. Julian is an embryonic Lex, he stood on the brink of a different future, protected and loved by his father in a way that Lex never was. Secondly, Lex puts Lionel in a very similar position to the one that a young Lex found himself in when he watched his mother smother his baby brother. Revenge and self-annhiliation go hand in hand here.

I've discussed the theme of Rebirth in Smallville before... in this episode I saw Lex Luthor take control of his own rebirth process in the only way he knew how. He gained absolute control over his destiny, yes, but at the expense of his humanity and his self at an incredibly deep level (for Julian is buried deep in Lex's heart). It demonstrates what I've seen Smallville moving towards for some time: the idea that the cost of exercising power selfishly is a loss of self. Lex takes this step willingly (but painfully) because the alternative is even more painful to him. What a fascinating construction of a villain that is!

Phew. *takes breath* Yeah, some other stuff happened in this episode too... :D

FINE! Fine is back! \o/ Yeah, I know... most people were probably partying more at the return of Bizarro!Clark. And I'll admit that he was awfully fun, especially with Lana (is it wrong to kinda ship them?!), but I was even more bouncy about Fine. While his return has been foreshadowed for some time, I was not spoiled officially for James Marsters appearing on the show, and I'd deliberately not got my hopes up. But yay! He was back and he was AWESOME. Ohh, and they finally abbreviated to 'Brainiac' officially on the show!

I love Brainac--he's so zen and understated about everything. And the Suicide Slums set was impressively dingy and menacing--hee! The Bizarro/Brainac interaction was gold, and line of the episode definitely goes to 'Lying to you would be like lying to a mollusc--there's no point'. Ha! There's a line that would only ever get delivered on Smallville... and it was delivered brilliantly. (Only Michael Rosenbaum might possively have had more fun with it.) Bizarro's ego got in the way of him heeding Brainiac's warning... Brainac IS a lot smarter than him, and it was obvious that he was playing his own game. And what a great game it was to watch!

Clark made me LOL with his entry into Lionel's office. Geez, don't bother about the niceties, CLark--get straight to the point! There was one major nitpick with that scene though: why wouldn't Jor-El have given Clark this information if it was necessary? It was Jor-El who deliberately woke Clark up again to get him to defeat Bizarro. Hmph. It shouldn't have been necessary to go to Jor-El's emissary to obtain that info. Sigh. But it let Clark fall straight into Brainiac's trap and that made for exciting twists so I shall handwave.

Bizarro in the Fortress was so cheeky and WRONG, and he was SO MEAN to poor Jor-El! He twisted the knife with 'what are you going to do? Lecture me to death?' Waaah! Poor Jor-El, for lo, that is all he can do! And it hasn't worked! In fact he had to resort to Isicle!of!Doom as a fallback tactic. No wonder that Fortress shook with rage. *giggle*

To return to some interesting meta, the shot construction in the Clark/Lionel!Brainiac scene was very interesting. There was a shot with them back to back together at one point which was reminscent of the double-headed monster, Namaan-Segeth, and the idea of twinned selves that Smallville returns to on occasion. Both Lex and Clark have had split selves (Lex and Alexander, Clark and Kal/Kal-El). And in terms of shot construction, they've occasionally used this shot for Clark/Lex, indicating that they're two split halves of one whole. So it was interesting that they chose to use it with Clark and Brainac-in-Lionel-guise. I think it was meant to signal the fact that Brainac is the true enemy here, but Clark's blind to that at this stage. Of course, it's also fascinating that they played with the twinned-selves idea in an episode where Lex Luthor kills his cloned younger brother who, in personality at least, uncannily resembles his younger self.

And I really should talk about the girls... I'm not sure I'd quite call Clark's mind 'a titanium trap' but I was impressed that chloe clued on faster than Lana. Impressed but not necessarily comfortable with the implication that Chloe is more clear-sighted about the true Clark. But when I got to thinking about it, it makes sense within the show. Traditionally, love has made one blind in the Smallville universe. We can start with Lex idolising the young Clark, or young Clark putting Lana on a pedestal, or we can look far more recently at the way Clark's avoided facing the full truth about either Lex or Lana.

Things haven't been easy between Lana and Clark, despite the fact that they're 'together'. And when an alternative is offered, an alternative that exactly matches what she's longed to hear, it's hardly surprising to see Lana leaping at it. Imagine if Lex was suddenly offered a Clark that was open and honest, lighthearted and uncritical, and amenable to every request? Even the astute Lex would struggle to look twice under those circumstances. So I really felt for Lana in this episode.

I was kind of sad to see it turn into a territorial struggle between Chloe and Lana. Lana seemed faintly annoyed at finding Chloe already in the house when she came home, and from there the confrontation devolved into a 'I know him better' competition. With Chloe winning.

What redeemed that altercation for me was the scene where Lana confronted Bizarro and voluntarily destroyed him. I found Lana really compelling in this episode and I felt in touch with her character in a way I rarely am. I anticipated that she would destroy Bizarro to save Clark but I suspect she had conflicted feelings about doing so. In saying that she'd been more in love than ever in recent weeks, she was telling the truth, and she was doing so for her own sake because it was important, if painful, to acknowledge it. Clark may sweep her straight into a hug and think there's no further need to discuss the matter, but Lana carries the truth in her heart... she was fooled. And she was happy. That is only going to make her think more and more about the disparity between Clark as he is and Clark as he might be (in her dreams). It's a disparity she's familiar with and clear-eyed about now (more so than Clark, I believe), but it's not any less painful.

I thought it was a great act of love to destroy Bizarro, who for Lana represented the idealised lover. And so the final shot of Clark and Lana side by side, yet alone, in their chaste bed, was incredibly poignant.

(Aside: wow, Placebo track... pulling out the heavy guns there at the end!)
Yay Smallville!

ETA: radioreverie, I really need to make that Lex vid, don't I? You know the one. Hmm.
 
 
Current Location: sofa of comfiness
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mkitty3: creepy clark brainiacmkitty3 on February 1st, 2008 12:12 pm (UTC)
I really enjoy reading your thinky thoughts:) And I think I might totally ship Lana/Bizarro now! LOL
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: TW smilebop_radar on February 1st, 2008 10:14 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you! Cool Bizarro icon!
hoperoy: Key in Wallhoperoy on February 1st, 2008 12:27 pm (UTC)
A lot of my flist didn't like this episode, but I'm in agreement with you! I actually thought it was good, had some interesting twists, and was more like the show that I'd been missing. :)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Ericabop_radar on February 1st, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, thanks! Yes, I liked it more than a lot of episodes in Season 7 so far, but I'm noticing a lot of people were 'meh' about it. Good to know I'm not completely alone!
Melissa: The Lost Angel Then Opened Black Wingsradioreverie on February 1st, 2008 12:45 pm (UTC)
I can think of like five different Lex vids. But I think I know the one you mean.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex golden fieldbop_radar on February 1st, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
Ha! Yes, um, the big epic one. This episode put me in a very Lex place so I got to thinking about it.
serenographyserenography on February 1st, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
I have to do a finer tooth reading of this later (late for work, AH!), but a quick note about the cord blood. Banking cord blood for babies is not an unusual thing at all these days. It's an option offered to all our patients, but.. it's expensive. It might be stretching it to think that it was offered back when Julian was born, but I found it to be an acceptable stretch.

Also, I think it's a riot how many "Bizana" shippers I'm seeing now. I love this silly fandom; we're so easy. *snuggles*
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lana :Dbop_radar on February 1st, 2008 10:17 pm (UTC)
Ohh, how fascinating. Shows how much I know about birth, LOL. Until you commented about that I had totally forgotten that that happens... and even now I'm struggling to remember why. Something to do with it being useful for transfusions, yes?

We are both easy and silly, yes. :d
huzzlewhat: clark_fortresshuzzlewhat on February 1st, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC)
I love your thoughts on this episode... they are pretty much exactly mine, and you hit them all so well. I'm probably not even going to bother writing up what I thought of the ep, I'll just point people here!

I especially loved your analysis of Lex destroying Julian — how much did I love that he finally made himself guilty of that of which he'd been falsely accused? An argument can be made that Lionel's belief that Lex killed Julian is what turned him from merely a crappy father into an astonishingly terrible one. That Lex resurrected Julian only to ultimately kill him is a lovely, painful paradox — akin to time-travel paradoxes, in a way... thinking Lex killed Julian led Lionel to make Lex into the man who killed Julian.

Ouch.

And I wanted to say, that this:

the idea that the cost of exercising power selfishly is a loss of self. Lex takes this step willingly (but painfully) because the alternative is even more painful to him. What a fascinating construction of a villain that is!

is so spot on for not only Lex, but the other characters as well. In the same episode, Lana exercised her power to destroy Bizarro, when the selfish thing to do would have been not to — because I think you're absolutely right, that she was telling the truth when she said he made her happy. He was everything she wanted Clark to be, and she acted unselfishly and destroyed him because it was the right thing to do — which is why Lana is redeemable. And the parallel is that refusing to use power for selfish reasons is also highlighted — the conversation with Dax-Ur was the key Clark moment in the episode... Dax-Ur could have been Superman, but chose to live on some farm, and how painful was Clark's reaction when Dax-Ur assumed he wanted the blue kryptonite to do the same? Giving up his power and refusing to be the Earth's savior is the selfish choice, and Clark won't make it.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex here with youbop_radar on February 1st, 2008 10:24 pm (UTC)
Wow, I'm really flattered!

how much did I love that he finally made himself guilty of that of which he'd been falsely accused?
I KNOW! My mind was 'splodey about that!

thinking Lex killed Julian led Lionel to make Lex into the man who killed Julian.
Right! Even the possibility of that is chilling. And Lionel himself said things would have been very different if he'd known it wasn't Lex who killed Julian... what a strange and tragic loop the Luthors are caught in.

Clark's reaction when Dax-Ur assumed he wanted the blue kryptonite to do the same? Giving up his power and refusing to be the Earth's savior is the selfish choice, and Clark won't make it.
Thank you for bringing that up--I ran out of time to tackle that scene but it was very important. And a great relief to me to see Clark acting so maturely about it! I'm sure he's able to empathise with Dax-Ur's reasons--he's longed for that himself in the past.
Carolcarolandtom on February 1st, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
I thought it was a great act of love to destroy Bizarro, who for Lana represented the idealised lover.

I wouldn't say that was a really selfless act. Bizarro was a cold blooded murderer, after all. Lana knew he could be dangerous, even to her, no matter how much he loved her (or said he loved her). I dont think Lana would have wanted to share her life with a murderous phantom who had pretended to be who he wasn't, no matter how much he looked, and sounded, like her "ideal" Clark.

After all, Bizarro was full of "secrets and lies" and we all know how much Lana dislike those.

Edited at 2008-02-01 03:39 pm (UTC)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: TW smilebop_radar on February 1st, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC)
Good points! I think Lana struggled to come to terms with the fact that it was Bizarro who'd been with her all that time, that he'd lied, and that the man she'd loved during that time was all the things you've said about him above. I still think it was a hard thing for her to do to face that and destroy him. Remembering that Lana herself has a dark side--she's a murderer too, after all--I do think she was drawn to Bizarro despite the truth. But of course her ultimate loyalty and love is for Clark. So from that point of view, no, it wasn't an unselfish act--she chose the person she loved more, the one who was being honest with her even if he wasn't fulfilling her every dream.
Beckygiggleloop on February 1st, 2008 04:11 pm (UTC)
How long ago would that have been, when Lillian gave birth to Julian... was cord blood banking an option back then? (I work at a blood center) I might have to research that. It's definitely interesting.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Radioheadbop_radar on February 1st, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
See, everyone knows about this cord blood thingy and I'm all 'hmm, cord blood... rings some dim distant bell'. Why is cord blood kept again?
Beckygiggleloop on February 1st, 2008 11:11 pm (UTC)
It's an optional thing that parents can do when they have a child, if they know that for instance their family has a history of some kind of disease, especially something blood related. The example my work gave me was like if your child ends up getting leukemia, you can then have them transfused with the blood from the umbilical cord, which would not have the leukemia. I don't know, I can't think straight right now, so I know I'm not explaining it right. But yeah, I only knew about it because I work at a blood center. :)
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: K Lexbop_radar on February 2nd, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
OMG! That gives me chills and makes the whole thing way, way more tragic... it also makes the way in which Julian seemed like an extension of Lex himself all the more moving AND creepy.
(Deleted comment)
Beckygiggleloop on February 2nd, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
Here's a site for a company that does it, that would give more info. I had thought that it could only be used for the person themselves, but apparently not, it says on there that siblings could be a match.

Very fascinating stuff! I wonder if the SV writers realized when they threw that in there that we would be researching it and wondering about it, or if it was just a throwaway line on their parts: "Eh, cord blood, that sounds feasible." :)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: K Lexbop_radar on February 2nd, 2008 10:55 pm (UTC)
Hee--most likely we're putting WAY more thought into it than them... but you never know. ;)
brandil on February 1st, 2008 05:13 pm (UTC)
Lionel calling Lex on boundaries?! *runs around room making flappy indignant arm gestures* Dear God! In fact, the fact that Lionel STILL has not acknowledged ANY responsibility for making Lex the man he is today really bothers me, and gives me a lot more sympathy for Lex than I might otherwise have. In those terms, it's good storytelling. It leaves Lex in an incredibly lost place.

Yes. Yes, to everything else you said, but yes to this particularly. I was devastated and appalled when Lex had Julian killed, but at the same time I couldn't help thinking Lionel was the root of all evil, and if he had for one second of his life been a decent human being/father to Lex that none of his worst moments would have happened. Lex has finally walked off the path to darkness and started blazing his own trail, but I still see him as the young man who tried so hard to do the right thing and who's father poisoned him making him insane and --> points to seasons 3 and 4.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex mysterybop_radar on February 1st, 2008 10:40 pm (UTC)
Right! And in that regard, I'm really in awe of how well Smallville (and MR!) have told the Lex story. He's a really black, black figure now, but I know I'm not alone in finding him sympathetic, in catching myself wishing even now that he could get some acknowledgment from his father, or a touch of healing affection from SOMEone, anyone! And that's despite all logic telling me this is it, there's no way back for Lex now.

Lionel created Lex in so many ways, and while I'm not excusing Lex's current actions, I do find the Julian one particularly painful--because it hurts Lionel a bit, yes, but I think it hurts Lex more. Not in a soppy 'I brought my beloved brother back to life' way. He's too far gone to play it that way. I think he kept Julian at a distance for a reason. His loss is felt almost at ad deeper level than that--it's a structural loss of part of Lex's self. And I could see how Lex felt compelled to it. He really is turning into his father.
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: TW smilebop_radar on February 1st, 2008 11:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your comments--I'm glad you enjoyed the post. The Lionel/Lex scene was definitely enraging. ;)
svgurl: bizarro oh babysvgurl on February 1st, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC)
I actually liked this episode. There were a lot of good factors about this show. And I agree with several of your points.

"So Lionel's words are nonsense... and yet I don't think he was game-playing here. He believed them, and, what's more, they affected Lex. Lex is still invested in Lionel's opinion of him."

Lex is definitely still striving for Lionel's approval, no matter how much he tries to act otherwise. Julianclone choosing Lionel over Lex goes back to how Clark has done the same thing. Lionel approving of a clone and showing him the affection that Lex himself was denied all those years is basically a harsh slap to the face. Which was why he had him killed. Nobody walks away from Lex Luthor. :\

"I was kind of sad to see it turn into a territorial struggle between Chloe and Lana.

But that's been building for a while. Even in season 1, Lana has been shown to be threatened by Chloe and even though Chloe too was jealous of Lana, she's gotten better at hiding it. Lana, however, is visibly bitter about Chloe's place is Clark's life (e.g. "Hydro").

After the idiotic Grois storyline was dead, I actually came to tolerate Grant/Julian. Michael Cassidy held his own against JG & MR. Their scenes were interesting.

"I thought it was a great act of love to destroy Bizarro, who for Lana represented the idealised lover. And so the final shot of Clark and Lana side by side, yet alone, in their chaste bed, was incredibly poignant.

Yup, I think that even though Lana said those words to Bizarro to trick him, I really believe she meant it. This show signified the beginning of the end for Clana. Clark and Lana can NEVER be together. Both have idealistic views of one another that are nothing like the reality.

I like that Bizarro said that Clark won't spend his future with Lana and while he wants to be the good guy, he doesn't love her. Someone is finally bringing up the point that many viewers have been repeating for a long time.

Your review was very insightful! I for one, can't wait for next week. Ollie will be back and Lois will be there too! Not impressed by BC but Justin's return is good enough.

K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Oliverbop_radar on February 1st, 2008 11:51 pm (UTC)
Yes, I see it wasn't a popular ep, but I'd take it over any of the eps with Clark's mom in it, at the very least!

But that's been building for a while.
I actually felt it had peaked and died away... I was optimistically hoping that we were long past this, because, as you point out, it's been with us since Season 1.

I always liked Grant/Julian, and I agree that he held his own well. I'm probably glad that his plot didn't become more drawn out, but I found him compelling while he was onscreen.

I really believe she meant it
Yeah, I think saying it aloud validated it to herself and allowed her to prepare to mourn the loss of the illusion (because she also knows that's all it was).

I like that Bizarro said that Clark won't spend his future with Lana and while he wants to be the good guy, he doesn't love her.
Yes! That was a great line, and it's tied into the other work they've been doing this season, with Lana challenging Clark to leave Smallville and take on a bigger role. Even Lana knows, by now, that he's destined for something bigger. It's only a matter of time....

Ohh, is Ollie's return next week?! Whee! I usually hate being spoiled, but that's an exciting one. *bounces* (Don't tell me any more though!)
svgurl: arrowsvgurl on February 2nd, 2008 12:06 am (UTC)
Oh, LOL! Sorry about the spoiler then. I thought it was common knowledge. *blushes*

"Yes! That was a great line, and it's tied into the other work they've been doing this season, with Lana challenging Clark to leave Smallville and take on a bigger role. Even Lana knows, by now, that he's destined for something bigger. It's only a matter of time....

The only problem I am having with that is that everyone is telling Clark to do something. I want Clark to *want* to do something on his own. Why can't Goughlar, instead of having every third person lecture Clark on what's he's supposed to do, have him figure that out by himself? :(
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lollie yogabop_radar on February 2nd, 2008 12:13 am (UTC)
I think it's common knowledge that Oliver makes a reappearance at some stage in Season 7, but I didn't know when and I don't know what the circumstances are, which is just how I like it. :) (I'm a bit freakily hardcore about my spoiler-avoidance!) Don't worry--this will just make me more eager for next episode.

Why can't Goughlar, instead of having every third person lecture Clark on what's he's supposed to do, have him figure that out by himself? :(
Haha, because then the show would be over. ;) I agree with you that it's incredibly frustrating, don't get me wrong. But I see that they've set it up so that Clark reaching this place himself is the final step before his destined future as Superman kicks in...
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: K Lexbop_radar on February 2nd, 2008 12:01 am (UTC)
Re: this is probably going to be long ..
to some end that wasn't just "Lionel wants to see if cloning really works." I can easily imagine that part of his outrage at learning that Lex cloned Julian was because Lex beat him to it.
Yeah, I agree. It plays into the way Lionel has always LOVED playing god, and loves it best of all with people who are related to him. I wouldn't have minded the show playing up that connection a bit more, but I'm convinced either way. Lionel's cloning experiments were always a bit mysterious in terms of what his endgoal was. Creating alternative/substitute sons, however, seems TOTALLY LIKE SOMETHING LIONEL WOULD DO.

, but then, upon having gotten clean, displays utter cluelessness as to why the kid he neglected and/or abused while trapped in the fog of addiction for years is so messed up.
Gah, yes. And unfortunately I'm all too familiar with this type of parental blindness. It's the 'what? I'm better now, I am GOOD now, how can anything (YOU) possibly be worng?!' syndrome.

So, as the kids these days say, "Word."
HEE!

Lex will stick the letter opener right into Lionel's jugular. And I will simultaneously be appalled and filled with glee.
I live for the day! \o/ I keep flashing back to the Season 1 cliffhanger which left Lionel trapped and Lex pondering whether to rescue him. I remember at the time how much I wanted Lex to lift that plank and reclaim his humanity. There are times now when I wonder if it wouldn't have been better to leave him there and be done with that. Lex, in those days, would never have let himself off the emotional hook if he'd been responsible for his own father's death. Instead he's lived long enough and suffered enough to come to a place where one day, yes, he will kill Lionel. And it will be GREAT!

I know what you mean. I found the Lex-Julian-Lionel stuff really compelling in this episode in a way I hadn't prior to now because I really felt like we were watching Lex step into the next significant chapter of his iconic life.
Mmm, yes. In the initial shock of the reveal that Grant was Julianclone, I hadn't really expected it to amp up to this degree of drama--it really delivered in a chilling way in the end. I found this episode very dark.
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex golden fieldbop_radar on February 2nd, 2008 12:08 am (UTC)
Re: part II
It's possible the AI believed Dax-Ur to be dead and thus didn't have any idea that he was chillin' on Earth and could give Kal-El the help the latter needed.
Good spin. In fact, that makes sense because I think if Jor-El DID know about even one other Kryptonian on Earth, he'd have pointed Clark in that direction before now. Alternatively, he thought Dax-Ur was a nincompoop and doesn't want Clark to even know of his existence. ;)

It's not surprising that Bizarro grabbing her would tip her off that something wasn't right.
Oh absolutely. I think that's one main reason that I didn't like the Chloe-Lana scene. It was played as if Chloe thought Lana ought to have noticed, but Chloe didn't explain about Bizarro being rough with her, or ask if that had happened to Lana.

Chloe couldn't resist subtly digging in about the fact that she's been in Clark's inner circle longer than Lana and Lana couldn't resist digging in about the fact that she's the one who's "with" Clark. I wanted to shake both of them.
Yeah it didn't reflect well on either of them.

I don't think Clark's hiding from or ignoring it completely any more; I don't think he's clueless about it after all of this.
True--I agree with that reading of the final scene. He was clearly troubled and waited for Lana to reach out to him for at least some reassurance. But although they got into bed, it was obvious that the problems remained with them. It seemed to be a case of them both (silently) pledging to keep trying despite the gap between reality and ideal. That's a mature decision on both their parts; in another show, it might signal a happy ending, but not on Smallville.

As always, I love trading thoughts with you after the episode!
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K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark basketballbop_radar on February 2nd, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
Re: part II
either he and Chloe never interacted during that month or else Chloe was just as duped as Lana was until the moment Bizarro grabbed her.
Ha! Good point! (and yes it makes that scene even more annoying)

I actually think that's the most like a real relationship that Clark/Lana's ever felt to me, because IRL, lots of people don't throw in the towel right away if the relationship matters to them.</i. Right! Definitely the most adult and real I've seen them be.
smact46smact46 on February 3rd, 2008 03:17 am (UTC)
Hey there,

I have not been commenting much lately, I know, but I wanted to say that I do read most of your posts..or at least I want to, but I am avoiding being spoiled for anything that I might be going to see, eg FNL and definitely smallville, cos I am only up to season 1.

I am going to have a lot of reading to catch up on no?

Have you seen hunting and gathering yet? I would love to read your thoughts.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Boppybop_radar on February 4th, 2008 11:11 am (UTC)
Hey! :)

That's ok--I completely understand. ;) How's season 1 smallville going?

No, I haven't seen Hunting and Gathering yet. I really must. There are so many movies I need to get too, but we have had house guests a lot of january and it's been hard to schedule the time.
anna: rosenbaumsnarkist on February 3rd, 2008 06:14 am (UTC)
So, pretty much YES to everything regarding the Lex story arch! I've had a hard time articulating to even myself why I love it so much, but you've managed to pretty much pin it all down for me. YAY FOR YOU!

I also really loved this ep, and was very happy to get one that I really enjoyed after an extra long wait. The only thing that kinda bugged me was about Clark at the fortress. We never really get any reason for why Jor-El froze him up there in the first place, just to unfreeze him a few weeks later and say, "Hey, go get that Phantom, okay?" I mean, what? I get that it was probably just lazy writing, and they just wanted to give Bizarro time to run rampant, but still... it bugged me.

I was kind of sad to see it turn into a territorial struggle between Chloe and Lana.

I can see why you would feel that way, but it made sense to me. I mean, really, these girls are still young, and Clark has always been this big presence between them, and no matter how they've aged or matured, it's so easy to fall right back into those kinds of squabbles that they've been having since high school. I imagine that they could be having these exact same arguments when they're in they're late 30s... that's just how it is when you've all known each other for as long as they have.

I also think though that even though it's easy to say that Chloe was given a more obviously not-Clark type of Bizarro, I really think that Lana was given signs as well, just from a different angle. 'Cause really, think about it. Has there ever, EVER, been a time when Clark would say something like, "Hey, let's just run off to Paris together! Let's just leave my farm, and Smallville, and all the things I think are my responsibilities, so we can travel the world!" This was so completely un-Clark like in so many ways. I think that Lana just didn't want to see it, because she was finally getting what she's been wanting from Clark, which is his complete and undivided attention. She said herself, she has never been more in love. She was in love with this idea of Clark, this ideal that she's wanted, and that Clark just isn't. And I do agree with your thoughts about being blinded by love, which I think really plays in with my thoughts here. It is really not unlike how Clark viewed Lana when she came back from Japan, when both Lex and Chloe had to sort of point out how she had changed to him, because he just couldn't - and didn't want - to see it.

Ahem. Anyhoo, those are some of my thoughts.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex here with youbop_radar on February 3rd, 2008 06:21 am (UTC)
We never really get any reason for why Jor-El froze him up there in the first place, just to unfreeze him a few weeks later
Yeah, that was a problem, but I have faith that we'll see follow-up about that. The Fortress and AI plot arcs generally take eons to pay off... I'm sure Clark will be back at the Fortress and asking why he was an icicle in, oh, a couple of months time. ;)

, it's so easy to fall right back into those kinds of squabbles that they've been having since high school.
Yeah, I'm sure you're right. I just find it tedious television.

I really think that Lana was given signs as well, just from a different angle
Oh, she WAS, definitely. But she was given signs that she was motivated to ignore. Chloe was given negative signals that it didn't pay to ignore. And Lana's always been vulnerable to romantic delusion so I found it in character for her to (want to) believe in the fantasy.

do agree with your thoughts about being blinded by love, which I think really plays in with my thoughts here
Yeah, that was what I was getting at--we've seen it before, not just with Lana. The characters, when in love, see what they want to see and not what they don't like.

And thanks for sharing your thoughts--I agree there's a parallel with how Clark was blind to Lana's 'darkness' when she came back from China.
anna: smirky 'baumsnarkist on February 3rd, 2008 06:28 am (UTC)
China! I forgot that that's where she was hiding. Japan was during the whole possessed-by-a-witch who happens to know martial arts storyline. Ah, Smallville, how I do love thee. *g*
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois Crimsonbop_radar on February 3rd, 2008 07:22 am (UTC)
Ah, yes, the OTHER crazy random Asian plot...
Nora Norwichnorwich36 on February 3rd, 2008 06:16 am (UTC)
Oh, wow, your Lex comments are BRILLIANT. And I'm kind of brain-dead after travelling all day, but let me try to attempt coherency.

He steps out onto the balcony and screams to the night sky, just as he screamed as a young child tortured by memories of his dead brother, and just as he screamed more recently when those memories still haunted him. In cloning Julian and then killing him again, Lex has stepped into his past (I'm in love with the shot of his foot stepping out onto the rainsoaked balcony--an echo of Julian stepping into Lionel's study earlier in the episode, as well as symbolic of the fact that Lex put himself here). He's taken control of it and made it his. His scream has desperation in it, yes, grief maybe, but also maniacal control. His arms may be outstretched but he is aching for release of another sort--the release that comes from absolute power, from not having to win anything from anyone any more.

Oh, wow, yes. I mean, I definitely believed that Lex actually loved Grant, and yet needed to absolutely possess/control him; that has become essential to Lex's definition of love, and he made clear in his parting speech to Grant that in stepping out from under his aegis, Grant was risking death. But I hadn't thought of it as clearly as Lex stepping into his own past--that's just *flaily hands* such an insightful observation. And this:

Lex kills himself symbolically by killing Julian. Julian is an embryonic Lex, he stood on the brink of a different future, protected and loved by his father in a way that Lex never was. Secondly, Lex puts Lionel in a very similar position to the one that a young Lex found himself in when he watched his mother smother his baby brother. Revenge and self-annhiliation go hand in hand here.

I've discussed the theme of Rebirth in Smallville before... in this episode I saw Lex Luthor take control of his own rebirth process in the only way he knew how. He gained absolute control over his destiny, yes, but at the expense of his humanity and his self at an incredibly deep level (for Julian is buried deep in Lex's heart).


I have nothing coherent to add here except I am in love with your brain. I love this idea of Lex almost literally re-inventing himself symbolically in the cloning process, though. LOVE LOVE LOVE. And God, then he's killing himself too. You're so right, self-annihilation, trying so hard to kill the piece of himself that STILL cares what Lionel thinks. (And oh wow do I agree with every single thing you said up there about Lionel's complete and total lack of self-awareness that allows him to believe everything he says to Lex while completely ignoring his own accountability.)

Anyway, if Lex is re-inventing himself by creating Julian, then so is Bizarro, by adopting Clark's identity--kind of the reverse of Lex, I guess. Bizarro becomes Clark so Lana will love him; Lex kills his brother/self so Lionel won't love him. So there's lots of mirroring going on in the episode. (I also think there are some interesting Lex/Lana parallels I talk about it my review).
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Aishwarya lanternbop_radar on February 3rd, 2008 07:23 am (UTC)
Ohhh, now I'm in love with YOU're brain! Yes, yes, yes, to the Bizarro-reinvention going on as well.

Thank you for your lovely comment, good to hear you are back, and I shall have to go check out your review! :)