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17 May 2008 @ 10:54 am
7.20 Arctic  
This episode constituted farewell to at least one of my favourite Smallville characters. I feel like it farewelled both Lex and Lana successfully (and in tragedic fashion), but the rest of the ep felt really scattered. There were parts where I felt completely emotionally detached, and parts where I was bawling my eyes out. So overall it was a real jumble. The bits that worked for me really worked, and the bits that didn't... well, never mind. I recognise that the writers had to straddle a strange half-way point between it being The End and also still allowing wriggle room for Season 8.

It was fabulous to have Michael do the 'previously' voiceover given that this episode was the end of the Lex story. What I loved about Lex this week was how he was so one-eyed and driven about getting to the Arctic. Nothing stands in the way of Lex Luthor when he has set his course! Michael had perfected the steely one-direction-only gaze to convey that, and I loved the scenes where Lex was all 'we're going to the Arctic. No, we're GOING to the Arctic' to Male Minion. It also, of course, made his scenes with Jimmy completely hilarious and brilliant. I'm so glad we got to see Lex get his bitch snark on one last time. Always good value!

In many ways Jimmy was a great foil for Lex in this episode because he was behaving as if Lex was a 'regular' guy who he could reason with, someone who, the work-power imbalance aside, was an equal. Lex, on the other hand, viewed Jimmy as a rather annoying gnat to be squashed if he wasn't useful. Jimmy totally failed to see that Lex controls everything and everybody in his vicinity if you let him. HE calls the shots, he dictates what happens and he's not limited by any emotional or moral appeals, or even logic. Jimmy was so naive in comparison: 'so you want me to LIE?' That had me flailing in laughter. Um, yeah, hon. You're lucky that's all he wants you to do at this point in time. But in another way, I'm very glad that they played it as something so simple to begin with--to show that to Jimmmy, a normal guy, this is horrifying enough. I thought those scenes showed very well the way that Lex works on a completely different plane to everyone else these days. He's untouchable.

Just a machine
I have no idea what was intended with it, but Laura seemed to really play up the sexy in the Brainiac-as-Kara scenes. That gave me a giggle. But little else about that plot did. It was really obvious from the start that it was Brainiac. If the psycho behaviour hadn't given it away, the fact that Clark had been conveniently looking at his baby!self when Brainiac 'died' in the last ep was a good tip-off. Clark, honey, next time don't take someone's word on the death of a shape-changing supervillain unless you've seen it yourself. Oh, and while you're at it, I wouldn't mind you double-checking you really nuked him yourself. Because that electrocution scene didn't make a lot of sense to me (doesn't he LIVE on electricity? *blinks* *handwaves*).

I really wish there had been more of Fine!Brainiac in the ep though. James's acting skills are so far superior to Laura--it was a great relief to me when he was back on set and I loved his scenes, however brief. I thought it was cool that Chloe's powers backfired on him. And that his attack on her also resulted in Clark realising (at last!) that it was Brainiac. That was relatively neat plotting. Atmosphere-wise I thought seeing Brainiac stagger into a powerplant looking for recharge was cool. But the scene lost me at the point where Clark electrocuted him. Someone seriously needs to explain to me the logic behind that working because: HUH?! Also, some other parts of this plot didn't work for me:
- How is the Phantom Zone worse then death? How?! We already know that someone from the House of El just has to bleed on that stone to get out... I am in zero suspense about Kara.
- If Kara was put in the Phantom Zone in the past she would have been there when Clark was there. Bet they'll gloss over that one.
Finally, the whole 'you can't kill me' line held no suspense either because we know that Brainiac's a machine. We know Clark will have no qualms about killing him. And I'm fine with that. We've seen him kill other aliens and he's been more conflicted about that, which, I think, is also fitting. But the basic line in Smallville is that Clark will not kill humans. Machines, Brainiac, have always been fair game.

I found the scene where Brainiac!Kara set Lex's fireplace alight (conveniently one of the few times it wasn't already lit!) ridiculously hot. Especially with Lex's breathlessness and Kara taking his hands in front of the fireplace. They got a fireplace scene! Wow. Brainiac just became really slashy. I honestly don't know whether that was just him thinking that sexing up the Kara angle with Lex was the best way to get to him, or something more. Either way, it was surprisingly seductive.

Brainiac does play Lex perfectly though. In saying that the 'truth' is that the Traveller will not save mankind, but destroy it, I think he provided the perfect final motivation-confirmation for Lex. He has cast himself in the role of Earth's protector for a long time now, but to have this validated by someone else was, I think, very important to him. It would have resonated with him so much. As he says in the final scene, it feels like everything in his life led him to this point, as if he was destined to stand between the Traveller and the Earth. I have absolutely no doubt that Lex thinks he is doing something completely selfless in acting as he does.

Destiny calling
Warning: my fangirling of Lois has reached OUT OF CONTROL EPIC PROPORTIONS with this episode. How much do I love how she rings the doorbell with increasing impatience, bangs on the door and then BARGES IN?! :D Eeee! Also, I love that Clark stubbornly refused to use superspeed to get to the door. In his mind I imagine him thinking 'normal people would have to walk, Lois! I'm not pandering to you!'

I know that many a fan will hate it passionately, but I love that Lois gets Clark his job at the Daily Planet. Ok, it hasn't happened for certain yet, but throwing the suggestion out there in the season finale definitely opens the door. And yay! At last! Reporter!Clark on the horizon! It totally works for me because we've seen that Lois is looking for ways to help Clark focus and deal with his grief about Lana. I can imagine her thinking 'hmmm, Clark needs a purpose'. And since she's such an opportunist herself, of course she would see the potential in an opening at the DP for him. She also, unlike other characters, wouldn't stop to think that Clark's lack of a college education might prevent him from getting the job. Her attitude is that if you set your mind on something, you can achieve it.

It's great that Lois's way of thinking about Clark's 'destiny' is completely practical. In keeping with the fact that she's oblivious to his Kryptonian powers, she thinks of it in real-world terms. Lois is Clark's friend now, she 'rates' him as a person in a way she didn't use to and she's seen his intellect and compassion in action now. Lois thinks the world of people she loves and wants them to achieve their best (e.g. the way she supported Jonathan and Martha in their careers), so I totally buy that she'd be all 'you could do so much more than work this farm'. Since Lex was Clark's trump card for why he wouldn't work at the DP, and since that obstacle will be removed next season, I feel certain that we'll see reporter Clark soon. :D

I reeled in both delight and shock when Lois asked directly about the Clex friendship. I love it. I find it completely in character that she would but because the show has never, NEVER once asked the obvious direct question about the nature of an intense friendship between a 22-year-old billionaire and a 14-year-old farmboy, I wasn't expecting the writers to go there. And I gather the original scripting was even more direct. Boy, would I kill to have seen that! But even so, I love that Lois has been digging into Lex's past and has become genuinely puzzled by their friendship. I can see her finding it hard to understand (not knowing about Clark's powers) and since Lois is someone who strives to understand everything around her, she needs a satisfying answer.

Clark's answer--'Sometimes people don't turn out to be who you thought they were'--gets him off the hook in the short-term. But it also resonates across the whole episode, with Brainiac masquerading as Kara, Jimmy mis-reading Lex and getting played, Clark revealed to Lex as the Traveller once and for all, and the Clana relationship ending with acknowledgment that who they thought they were or wanted to be in that relationship isn't all they are. It has other cute readings too: like the fact that Clark IS going to wind up that reporter after all. He's going to suprise himself!

Meanwhile, Lois challenges Clark with: 'if I didn't know better, I'd think you were worried about me' *pointed eye-narrowing*. Clark's reaction is so adorable. I think he's still trying to work out if Lois is actually flirting when she does this stuff. I think he concludes she's not really, but she could be. From Lois's perspective I think she doesn't think of it as flirting at ALL (she's big on denial) but in these pushy little challenges, she's definitely wanting something from Clark, even if she won't admit it to herself. She held his gaze for sooo long in that scene. I really feel they're ready for the next stage in their relationship journey. Her farewell line to him was such a 'call me when you're ready' line.

I love that Lois has a favourite drinking spot opposite the Daily Planet now! I am sure she'll get slagged off for drinking ACTUAL ALCOHOL but WTF-ever.

The line 'either he's planning a hostile takeover of Santa's Workshop' distracted me temporarily. Because Santa is an actual person in the Smallville universe. (Yup, it's two years later and I'm STILL NOT OVER THAT.) So I feel that they should never have mentioned him again if they didn't want us to read such lines literally! And of course reading it literally had me in stitches. My ribs ached from laughing. It made me imagine that if you panned left a bit from the Fortress there would be a little sign stuck in the snow saying 'Santa's Workshop' with elves and stuff. :) Maybe they drop by to ask Jor-El for sugar when they run out. :) Maybe they get misdirected mail... Maybe Clark helps feed the reindeer ... *rambles off into whimsical AU*

Jimmy lies really really badly, and I strongly got the impression that Lois knew that, but chose to give him the benefit of the doubt as a friend. Her reporter instincts were sending off alarm bells in her head, but she's too good a friend to just dismiss Jimmy if he's determined to stick to his story. She says she's been looking for a villain in everyone--but actually she's very generous/blind where her friends are concerned.

The Smallville Tragedy Part 1: Lana
And now we come to the bit of the episode that absolutely destroyed me emotionally. I was a wreck through this scene. The Clana farewell, which, for once, I DID buy as the final Clana farewell, absolutely broke me with its raw beauty. I have been so scared for Lana, so scared that she was going to end up voided forever. When Clark showed up and saw the empty bed I was terrified that she was died. And then I was confused by her departure. But when the nurse gave him the tape, I realised--just as Clark did.

Kristin's performance was just superlatively beautiful. She was so exposed and beautiful, ethereal and angel-like in the recorded video. And I felt like there was so much truth in what she said and in Clark's emotional response. I personally feel that it showed maturity on both their parts, that it showed how they have grown. This ending, as the end of the Clana relationship, is not without its problems (I'll get to them) but emotionally it hit all the right notes for me. Much earlier this season Lana came to the realisation that Clark was destined for bigger things, but she still always wanted him for herself. With Bizarro she lived an idyll briefly, which she ultimately realised was just that--an illusion. They've both known there were deep problems in their relationship that could not be overcome but they've been trying to stay together anyway. For this reason, I totally believe Lana when she says that she couldn't say this in person and still have the strength to leave.

I love Lana for the realisation she has reached and I respect her for leaving. However, I hope that she also finds her OWN life. I believe she will. I believe she needs this too, to be free of the past. I think the ending, while I loved it, was more satisfying as a close to the Clana relationship than as an end to Lana's journey. I hope that at the very least we will get to hear what she is doing next year.

As for Clark, I am helpless when he cries. And he cried, a great deal. I think he realises very early on what she's going to say, and why. But he's still so unready to hear the message, he still really doesn't believe there is anything greater for him to do, it's a very very hard message for him to hear--and the grief is overwhelming. In his own way, though, he's been reaching the realisation that they were 'fooling themselves' too this season. It's been quieter, and he doesn't articulate it the way Lana does, but for him Lana's darkness, the lengths to which she's gone this season were deeply troubling. He wanted to get past that, but there were also signs that he never really could. This day was coming, one way or another, and Clark on some level realises that and won't fight this. The fact that he went into true grief straight away (and didn't just decide determinedly to get her back) shows that.

So this scene worked for me for both characters. As always, the song choice for the big scenes was perfect. The lyric 'I'm paralysed, because you're perfect' could be the definitive Clana lyric. They are, in my mind, linked forever with the idea of capturing the 'perfect' moment: the freeze-frame image of them at the barn window against a sunset. Yet the relationship represents 'paralysis' for both of them. It's perfect, joyful, but static. They tried to grow in the relationship but ultimately they'll both grow more out of it. And yet, the loss of that 'perfect' is something they will both mourn deeply--and should mourn deeply. I don't care what the Clana detractors say. I'm a late convert to the ship and I sobbed.

But this scene didn't just work for Clark and Lana, it also worked for Lois. Having her enter behind Clark as he listened to Lana's message was amazing. Yes, he's grief-stricken now, but Lois is there waiting for him. Thankfully they played the scene so well that I didn't feel there was any war between the ships--it was in keeping with the way that Lana and Lois have always respected each other individually. It was a beautiful silent handover between the two women. Clark doesn't even notice that Lois is there, and Lois, for once, has remained thoughtfully silent, not imposing herself in any way and showing in her expression that she's both so incredibly sorry for him and sorry that she's there at this time. Clark is so emotionally exposed--as exposed as Lois was when she broke up with Oliver. The moment is one of reciprocity, since Lois is able to offer Clark here the silent support that he offered her in her moment of grief. She thought she couldn't do it but she could!

The second cut to Lois had her shaking her head slightly in disbelief, which I thought was a beautiful way of showing how she's really feeling for Clark in this moment. She never doubted his love for Lana--she knows he loves Lana with his whole heart--and she can barely believe it's over. She also knows what this pain feels like, and I like the way this scene builds on others this season. The season started with Lois hugging Clark awkwardly in sympathy about Lana's 'death'. They've come so far. That action was well-intentioned but awkward and comedic. This action is completely empathetic and grows from a friendship that has them connected emotionally.

The embrace was completely non-sexual and non-romantic and I'm so glad. I want Clark to have his space to grieve his first love, just as Lois needed her space to grieve Oliver. The fact that they are able to offer each other total support as friends at these times will make their future relationship stronger. But I'm also glad they're not there yet because it would detract from the purity of these moments.

Gah, Smallville gets the emotional big moments so right.

An unsuspenseful interlude
In complete contrast to this scene, however, was the crazycakes 'Jimmy proposes' scene. I can't help observing that Jimmy has a history of overreacting to Chloe's absences. Wasn't the first time he told her he loved her when she disappeared and he went nuts putting up 'missing persons' signs? Anyway... it seemed like a leap to me. She was actually dead once. This was just a coma. And I found that I just didn't care at all about them getting married. It felt like very forced end-of-season melodrama, especially with the DSS busting in and arresting Chloe (huahahahaha!). Well, they've left it open-ended and presumably Chloe WILL be back next year, but I'd kind of love it if Lex's last move was to get Chloe imprisoned. Sorry, Chloe fans: she lost me a long time ago and telling Clark to commit murder was the final straw. Sayonara, Chloe!

However, I do wonder how Chloe fans feel about these moves for her character. It doesn't seem like a satisfying character end (certainly not in comparison to Lex and Lana), and that's just one more reason why I think she'll be back next year. If she is, though, how do they feel about Jimmy proposing? The writers will have to wriggle out of that one, since he doesn't marry her canonically. So it seemed a bit unsuspenseful and silly to me but that might be because I wasn't in the characters' perspectives.

The Smallville Tragedy Part II: Lex
As I said, this ep was a bit scattered and all over the place for me. So we went from a scene I didn't really care about at all, to a scene of such immense beauty it left me speechless. Just the shots of Lex walking around the Fortress in wonder were enough on their own! Even before Clark showed up! I know I harp on about it but the spatial dynamics on this show are so incredibly strong. To have Lex in Clark's Fortress, to have him penetrate into the most alien part of Clark's 'self', was just the perfect ending. Lex himself makes the connection--he'd always been allowed access to the barn, that had always been Clark's emotional fortress. This is 'a big step up'. It's Clark's true Fortress, his hidden self. Lex's expression in entering the Fortress reflected both wonder and attraction to power--it was perfectly balanced and reflects his reaction to Clark all along.

He himself is such an iconic figure in these scenes, with his long black cloak and BLACK GLOVES. Eee!

And wow, where to start with the glowy phallic crystals and the corresponding glowy ball of power? I loved that it turned pink just as Clark arrived. And again, kudos on the direction of this episode--that shot of Clark superspeeding in behind Lex was magnificent.

I am SO glad they got around the whole 'who is the Traveller?' issue with it remaining unspoken that Lex knows it is Clark. We all know that he must conclude this by now, but to have him say it aloud is kind of too full on. It's too damning, and even for Lex I think he doesn't want to say it--even though all the signs have been there all along, this makes sense of all the strange patterns in his life and it has the air of inevitability. Clark in the Fortress looks so completely alien and powerful as he confronts Lex--it's perfect. It's easy to see things from Lex's perspective.

The dialogue said everything that needed to be said, I believe. Clark says he's never done anything to hurt Lex, Lex responds by saying that Clark didn't trust him. Lex asks if he'd ever thought about what they could have achieved together, saying he could have made Clark a hero (everyone wants to make Clark a hero 'their' way!). The two perspectives will never be reconciled because both make perfect sense from their own 'side'. As Lex experienced it Clark betrayed him, kept secrets, poses a great threat to the world. As Clark experienced it Lex is power-obsessed, controlling and incapable of unwilling to recognise and act on his capacity for goodness. Clark tries one last attempt to tell Lex to fight his fate--saying that in this moment Lex has a choice. True. But Lex has been so controlled and defined by his 'fate' that he his now embracing it.

The revelations for Lex recently about Lionel's manipulation of everything from the start, the feeling of coming second in his father's eyes for so long, all the pain and loss and frustration--all of this feels justified when he has the power in his hands. He can feel justifed, feel it was all worth it. The only way he can cope with the reality of his mad, horrific life is to seize absolute control of it, and that includes control of CLARK. It is in vain that Clark protests that he doesn't have the right to control another.

His justification is that he's doing it 'for mankind', being the hero that he thinks Clark is not. As I said above, he genuinely believes he is being selfless. From his perspective he is losing once and for all the Clark he loved, acknowledging instead the danger he sees lying beneath that surface in 'Kal-El'. He says 'I'm sorry, Clark' more than once and I think he does feel genuine sadness about what he's losing. But he thinks this action will justify his entire existence--and on a deeper, unexpressed level, he feels it is justified revenge.

The pose Clark and Lex are in in the closing shot, apart from the rampant gayness, is a really interesting choice. The position Lex holds Clark in is very close to being the Superman 'hero holding the heroine' pose. Lex has cast himself as hero. Clark looks up into Lex's eyes and seems to have nod in acknowledgment of his words, the inevitability of it 'ending' this way, despite their love. It evokes their beginning--a reversal of Clark lifting Lex out of the water and laying him on the riverbank; then Clark brought Lex back to life, now Lex 'ends' Clark's journey. It also evokes the Namaan-Segeth joining. The foreshadowing on that was very heavy last week and since this week showed involved the Ball of Power (what are we calling it?) and the Fortress co-joining to create.... whatever the hell is now happening... I feel that is probably what was suggested in the 'good and evil join together'. Visually Clark and Lex are joined together in the final shot.

It's problematic because we know Michael's not back this season and I really do wonder how they'll get out of the cliffhanger. I did not expect the Fortress to crumble around them (One day could they STOP killing the Fortress off please? It's getting so there's no suspense! We know it grows back!) and I think this is going to have some sort of twist and prove to result not in the absolute control of Clark after all. Because this plan makes little sense to me. Clark seemed to be getting immobilised, not controlled. And it seems counter-intuitive that the Fortress would go on self-destruct when the Ball of Power was activated, because surely the only way to control Clark is with the Fortress. If Lex knew that he was destroying a font of alien knowledge and technology I'm not so sure he'd be doing this...

Anyway, distracting plot stupidity aside, what a magnificent ending! I loved the whooshy empty Arctic sounds at the ending and when Al & Miles's names came up for the last time I felt I could almost hear them giggling to themselves about their final master-scene.

Waaah, show. You never get less cracktastically magnificent.
 
 
Current Location: sofa of comfiness
Current Mood: indescribableindescribable
 
 
 
CapnZebbie: secret love 3capnzebbie on May 17th, 2008 05:18 am (UTC)
*hugs boppy* *hugs SV* As always, great commentary. I really enjoyed this episode. And WOW I hope the alternate version of the "Whats up with the bald billionaire/poor farmboy thing" scene makes it to the DVDs.

And the last scene...GAH! So great! I can't believe MR is leaving the show! *sniff*
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex here with youbop_radar on May 17th, 2008 05:19 am (UTC)
I know. It's hard to take in that he's going, isn't it? It did feel a very complete ending, and yet we've lived with these characters for so long, the idea of Lex not always being there is really WEIRD.
gildinwengildinwen on May 17th, 2008 08:40 am (UTC)

Michael doing the "Previously" wa just the best thing ever....
I love your review.
I've read on some boards that, that people were itching about the fact that CLark was crying over Lana leaving him, but for me I wasn't angry, , as you say he already knew it wasn't going to work out with her, it was tears of grief and fustration, "If I had tried harder...etc"
And well the CLex was on fire. Wonder how they'll get out of this one?
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clexvillebop_radar on May 17th, 2008 10:30 am (UTC)
I loved Clark crying--Tom was just magnificent.

But yeah, they've written themselves into a weird corner.
Fleegull: CK Scoop by lucidity_0fleegull on May 17th, 2008 09:32 am (UTC)
This one left me feeling odd. On one hand it was the best acted SV finale ever, all of the characters finally behaved like their canon selves (to me anyway) and yet, I'm ambivalent at best because of stuff that happened behind the scenes.

Weird. Reports say that Laura Vandervoort was not asked back for next season, so who knows when and if we'll ever find out her fate. That would be a BIG plotline to keep flying around (pun possibly intended) considering that other huge hole they have to fill: NO LEX to finish out that scene.

The best parts, for me, were the Clark/Lois scene for all the wonderful reasons you listed and Lana's farewell video and the way TW played it.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on May 17th, 2008 10:29 am (UTC)
Huh. I hadn't caught up on the no-return-for-Kara news.

It was a weird, scattered finale though, and probably the weakest one ever overall in terms of plotting and non-suspense. Isolated scenes really worked for me but what an odd jumble.
Carolcarolandtom on May 17th, 2008 10:02 am (UTC)
I know I'm in the minority here, but I thought that was a horrible ending after seven years of building the Clark/Lex relationship and, worse still, knowing that Lex won't be back next season. It was a short, confusing, frustrating scene, where we only had Lex giving his deluded explanations and justifications, as usual, with a Clark who couldn't express his own POV, as usual. Nothing of what Lex did made any sense (horrible storytelling and dialogues!) and it all felt rushed and anti-climatic. This was NOT how the big reveal should have worked or how the big Clark/Lex confrontation should have taken place. This was bad planning and bad writing. IMO. And though I tried to enjoy the "romantic" angle and I agree that they love each other, to me, the way it was carried out in the episode, and knowing that this is probably the last Clark/Lex scene we’ll get to see on SV, was a disservice to those two iconic characters, particularly to Clark Kent/Superman.

As for the Clana break-up, I CAN’T think of many ways it could have been handled worse than here. After seven years, TPTB have done the worst possible job when giving "closure" to these two fundamental SV subjects. IMO, of course.

I know you always try to find the positive in every episode and I'm glad you manage to do it. I enjoy reading your review but sadly I can't share your enthusiasm. I wish I could! :(


Edited at 2008-05-17 10:04 am (UTC)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex here with youbop_radar on May 17th, 2008 10:21 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry you feel that way and it's ended like that for you. I can see why--I agree that the plotting in this episode was rubbish and I had expected a lot more of the Clark/Lex confrontation. Sigh.

I think the Clana break-up won't be very popular with many people and I expect to be in the minority in liking it--I had some issues with it too but I think it's one of those things where it either worked for you (as it did for me) or it didn't. I'm not completely sure why it did work for me, but it hit me hard emotionally.

I wish you could share a little of my enthusiasm, yes, but only because it must really suck to be so disappointed by the finale. :(
tragicllyhiptragicllyhip on May 17th, 2008 11:15 am (UTC)
not done yet, but I saw this asked alot so..

(doesn't he LIVE on electricity? *blinks* *handwaves*).

he basically over powered him (much like blue K did to Bizarro), like if you overpower a circuit it goes kaplooey, which I recently found out the hard way when my power cord went up in flames.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex purple evilbop_radar on May 17th, 2008 12:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I am dense with such stuff. :)
suex on May 17th, 2008 11:42 am (UTC)
Someone seriously needs to explain to me the logic behind that working because: HUH?! Also, some other parts of this plot didn't work for me:

Havent finished reading your review yet, I want to absorb it all and enjoy it, but thought I would just quickly answer this question.

I see it as being much like a defibrillator. You give someone's heart a bit of electricity and you shock it back into pumping again, you give it too much, and it overloads and they die. Which is pretty much what happened with Brainiac.

Oh, and I dont think Kara fell into the PZ until the end of Apocalypse when she collapsed in the spilt milk all over the floor. I also wondered about the House of El blood, but maybe it is specific to Jor-e'ls off-spring.

.....back to reading
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois Crimsonbop_radar on May 17th, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC)
Ok, overload.

Ahh, the spilt milk! That was the Phantom Zone-ing... that's somewhat better.
tragicllyhiptragicllyhip on May 17th, 2008 11:51 am (UTC)
Finales over all are never my favorite episodes of the season, but i enjoyed this, and I agree it was a bit disjointed, but the important parts that worked for me, as you said, worked really well. The ending of Clex was perfect to me, and I honestly didn't feel like there needed to be anymore, there very well could have but it would have been saying the same things over and over to draw it out. I love that it didn't end in absolute anger, but with Lex declaring he loves Clark, as you said it started with a kiss and ended in an embrace, lol.

It was a very emotional episode and those are always satisfying for me, i thought Lana breaking up with Clark on a dvd was very fitting for her character, and their relationship. There has been such a distance between them for so long, they were basically hanging on by a promise that was never going to be realized. And Clark crying always kills me, watching his face crumble and being so exposed was devastating and beautiful. He knew there was no point in composing himself for Lois and i love that he accepted her comfort so willingly. I couldn't help but think back to his mother holding him after his father died in the same way (after seeing a dvd no less).

I imagine Braniac will return next season, doesn't he always? He can grow from a oil spill in a petri dish. I didn't have issue with Clark's destroying of him, because they showed him drawing out the electricity in waves, but Clark pouring it directly into him obviously overcharged him and he imploded. Just like overpowering a battery. As far as Kara being in the PZ. I think it'll be mean of Clark to just leave her there, but honestly as long as she's gone, I'm fine with it. She was there to give Al/Miles their spinoff and obviously serves little purpose now. I only wish they had gotten a better actress for the role.

I have little to say about Chloe, except I loved Clark's enraged reaction to her cloudy eyes of doom. The whole Jimmy proposing was so completely unecessary and thrown in, it was just silly. I was like you have no money, you can't get married! lol. And they only just got back together...weird. I was fine with Allison leaving as long as someone else knew Clark's secret. He needs the freedom to be completely himself around someone, or he'd be too one-dimensional of a character. But if Chloe is staying, thats fine, I was kind of hoping they'd give secret keeper to Jimmy in her absence.

All in all, I love Michael's final scenes, and I really feel like Lex's journey ended. He finally got the truth he'd been searching for since the day a beautiful boy pulled him out of the river. His journey is complete. Clark will have to find a new boyfriend:)

Wonderful review as always:)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex showdownbop_radar on May 17th, 2008 01:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think I agree about the repetition re. Clex. They've had so many other important scenes this season--like Clark saying he'll never give up on the good part of Lex, or him turning up at Lionel's funeral. I think all of those are 'final' moments too.

I love that it didn't end in absolute anger
There was more sorrow than anger, I think. And an air of inevitability, which came mostly from Lex of course, because that's what he's bought into, but I do think that they've shown very clearly why Lex thinks this is absolutely necessary.

It was a very emotional episode and those are always satisfying for me, i thought Lana breaking up with Clark on a dvd was very fitting for her character, and their relationship.
I did too, in many ways. Do you remember she broke up with Whitney by video too?

He knew there was no point in composing himself for Lois and i love that he accepted her comfort so willingly. I couldn't help but think back to his mother holding him after his father died in the same way (after seeing a dvd no less).
Ohh, yes, I love that. Not least because I always liked Martha's role with Lois and I think it's lovely that there was that echo there.

honestly as long as she's gone, I'm fine with it.
Hee! I started to feel that too. ;)

Apparently Allison IS staying so she'll still be secret-keeper.

He finally got the truth he'd been searching for since the day a beautiful boy pulled him out of the river. His journey is complete. Clark will have to find a new boyfriend:)
HA! True. Hee.
Barbara: Crackvillehtbthomas on May 17th, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
I am SO glad they got around the whole 'who is the Traveller?' issue with it remaining unspoken that Lex knows it is Clark. We all know that he must conclude this by now, but to have him say it aloud is kind of too full on. It's too damning, and even for Lex I think he doesn't want to say it--even though all the signs have been there all along, this makes sense of all the strange patterns in his life and it has the air of inevitability.

I thought I remembered Lex saying something like, "You are the Traveler." Did I mishear? I remember getting a definitely thrill at the line... but I was also chatting with several people, so I could be wrong. :D
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Boppybop_radar on May 17th, 2008 01:22 pm (UTC)
No, no, he did say it! I meant (and it wasn't very clear) before that. When Kara/Brainiac said 'don't you already know?'
Barbara: Court Jester - Get ithtbthomas on May 17th, 2008 01:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, okay! Got it! Yes, I really think that was a great way to end that scene.
Valerie: LoisAquajeannev on May 17th, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
Your meta breakdowns of the eps are always such a joy to read. I didn't agree with everything, which happens, but I love the way you express your thoughts. I so enjoy critical thinking without relentless negativity. I'm striving for that myself.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: K Lexbop_radar on May 17th, 2008 07:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :) It can be hard to keep faith with the show at times, and believe me I have my moments of throwing my hands up in despair, but I think it gives us a lot of amazing stuff amidst the crazy and frustrating.
daybreak777: lana reddaybreak777 on May 17th, 2008 05:08 pm (UTC)
Jimmy totally failed to see that Lex controls everything and everybody in his vicinity if you let him.
When Lex patted his shoulder, I thought "He's touching you! He's evil, he'll kill you!" Poor decent Jimmy.

Because Santa is an actual person in the Smallville universe.
Seriously? I kind of want to go back and rewatch all of SV, but sometimes I just don't want to know.

They've both known there were deep problems in their relationship that could not be overcome but they've been trying to stay together anyway.
Bop, I knew they were doomed when I shipped them, I but did it anyway. But still :-( Dunno if I can watch the show without Lana. Still deciding. I hope she finds herself too.

As for Clark, I am helpless when he cries.
Who can resist this? It's his innocence. He's like a little boy someone just kicked, hard. I wanted to hug him but damn, as much as I'll miss Lana, Lois running up to him and hugging him was so satisfying. Hugs. Lois is just so genuine. You gotta love her too, but, sigh. Clark.

She was actually dead once. This was just a coma.
Hee! Sign that we are too used to this show. And she looked great after her coma. I wasn't even worried. Heck, neither was she.

everyone wants to make Clark a hero 'their' way!
And funny, everyone else is coming into their own. Lana, Lois, Chloe, Jimmy, Lex. They seem to mostly be embracing who they are. Clark needs to find his own way of being hero. Honestly, people need to leave him alone and let him grow up his own way. Everyone has tried to protect him so much. Let him grow to be a man, already, his own man. His own hero.

Waaah, show. You never get less cracktastically magnificent.
Ah, Smallville. Pretty show, pretty people, pretty cracky. But surprisingly moving. I think I stumbled into a really great season.

Edited at 2008-05-17 05:10 pm (UTC)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark basketballbop_radar on May 17th, 2008 07:09 pm (UTC)
I kind of want to go back and rewatch all of SV, but sometimes I just don't want to know.
Ha! Yeah. Santa appeared in one episode--a Christmas ep, obviously, but I couldn't believe that he was an actual guy in this 'verse. Clark helped him deliver presents. *blinks* It was cute but batshit, imho.

Dunno if I can watch the show without Lana
Apparently she's signed for at least some eps next season.

I wasn't even worried. Heck, neither was she.
Yeah, I was all 'Smallville Medical Centre? Who needs...? Oh, that's right. This'll just be brief.'

Let him grow to be a man, already, his own man. His own hero.
Yes, definitely. Cut the cord. He needed the support once, but he needs to find his own way now.

I would rate this season about 4th or 5th maybe out of 7, so I'm not so sure, but I am glad you enjoyed it. :)
Beck: DW - Rose Confused by kikibug13beck_liz on May 17th, 2008 10:32 pm (UTC)
Santa appeared in one episode--a Christmas ep, obviously, but I couldn't believe that he was an actual guy in this 'verse. Clark helped him deliver presents. *blinks* It was cute but batshit, imho.

Was this in Season 4? Because I seriously don't remember this, and I skipped a bunch of episodes in S4.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on May 18th, 2008 12:30 am (UTC)
Nah, it was Lexmas, Ep 5.09.
goodvibe: clexlovegoodvibe on May 17th, 2008 07:40 pm (UTC)
//The pose Clark and Lex are in in the closing shot, apart from the rampant gayness, is a really interesting choice. The position Lex holds Clark in is very close to being the Superman 'hero holding the heroine' pose. Lex has cast himself as hero. Clark looks up into Lex's eyes and seems to have nod in acknowledgment of his words, the inevitability of it 'ending' this way, despite their love. It evokes their beginning--a reversal of Clark lifting Lex out of the water and laying him on the riverbank; then Clark brought Lex back to life, now Lex 'ends' Clark's journey. It also evokes the Namaan-Segeth joining. The foreshadowing on that was very heavy last week and since this week showed involved the Ball of Power (what are we calling it?) and the Fortress co-joining to create.... whatever the hell is now happening... I feel that is probably what was suggested in the 'good and evil join together'. Visually Clark and Lex are joined together in the final shot.//

I didn't even think of Neaman/Seageth. So true. I absolutely love the way you describe the scene. Admittedly, I have issues with the ep, and with parts of the Clex scene too, but I can't deny that it was a powerful closing shot. And the entire scene was wonderfully acted by TW and MR.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clexvillebop_radar on May 18th, 2008 01:14 am (UTC)
Yeah, the closing shot absolutely did me in.
Beck: SV - Lois Fighterbeck_liz on May 17th, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC)
*sigh* I love your post-eps. :-) I don't always comment (because you usually say it all so I don't have to), but I always read.

I have to comment now, because I SO agree with you on the Lois love.

I know that many a fan will hate it passionately, but I love that Lois gets Clark his job at the Daily Planet.

Oh, they do. I've clicked out of an otherwise good review because of it. *eyeroll*

I reeled in both delight and shock when Lois asked directly about the Clex friendship. I love it. I find it completely in character that she would but because the show has never, NEVER once asked the obvious direct question about the nature of an intense friendship between a 22-year-old billionaire and a 14-year-old farmboy, I wasn't expecting the writers to go there.

That was startling. Has anyone ever asked him directly like that? It's been long enough since the early seasons that I don't remember. That was fabulous. I can't believe they went there either, and I can't believe they almost went with Lois implying the gay option. OMG. I wish they would've left that in. Ah, well.

I also adore how Lois comforted him after he watched the DVD from Lana.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lois smirkbop_radar on May 18th, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)
I've clicked out of an otherwise good review because of it.
Ah, yes. A common scenario, the random Lois hate.

Has anyone ever asked him directly like that?
No. I actually think the person who has come closest to implying something between them is Lionel, but in later seasons, and he was far less direct about it--and it was to Lex, not Clark, if I recall. Also, Lionel was probably more nudging Lex to admit that he was fascinated with the Clark mysteries than Clark. But Lois doesn't know about them so her reading is FAR more direct.

I wish they would've left that in. Ah, well.
Me too but I might have died of shock! The subtext in this show kind of only survived so long in such a strong way because noone ever ever mentioned it.

I also adore how Lois comforted him after he watched the DVD from Lana.
I love that their friendship is that close now. I feel like Lois is a better friend to him than Chloe--she offers what I would want a best friend to offer: emotional support, companionship, humour, distraction. Not the incessant demands and idolisation that Chloe has been about of late. Oops, didn't mean to snark about Chloe again.
mystical van of doom: clex belongvoldything on May 17th, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC)
I really have nothing to add here, because you said it all!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Bop_radar TWbop_radar on May 18th, 2008 12:52 am (UTC)
Awww! :) Thanks, hon!
jakrarjakrar on May 20th, 2008 04:17 am (UTC)
But the basic line in Smallville is that Clark will not kill humans.

Clark has tried repeatedly to kill Lex, who is human, and Clark wasn't always under mind-control during those murder attempts, either. In my eyes, SV's Clark is a killer, however vehemently he and his cabal would deny it.
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex subtextbop_radar on May 21st, 2008 10:28 am (UTC)
It totally did. Lex pulled Clark's face up to him and leaned in, after all. ;)
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lois smirkbop_radar on May 21st, 2008 10:28 am (UTC)
Thank you! And yes, of course! :) Welcome!
suex on May 22nd, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
Part I
I started reading your review at 4.00 a.m. last Saturday morning, I got tired and went up to bed, but I left the page open so I could continue reading it on Saturday. I never got around to it, and I went to Dallas last Sunday and only returned last night, so now I finally made myself a coffee, and sat down and continued to read your review. LOL!

So wonderfully written, as always, and so much to say about alot of your comments, but I'll try and keep it short.

I found the scene where Brainiac!Kara set Lex's fireplace alight (conveniently one of the few times it wasn't already lit!) ridiculously hot. Especially with Lex's breathlessness and Kara taking his hands in front of the fireplace. They got a fireplace scene! Wow. Brainiac just became really slashy. I honestly don't know whether that was just him thinking that sexing up the Kara angle with Lex was the best way to get to him, or something more. Either way, it was surprisingly seductive.

I had to quote this part. My 13 year old son watches Smallville with me every week and he didnt say anything during the moment, but when it was revealed later on that Kara was in fact Brainiac, he screwed up his face and made a comment that Brainiac (who is a guy) was holding Lex's hands. Ewwww!!! ;)

I loved Lois in this episode too and I thought it was an interesting choice that she wasnt given a cliff hanger. As I said on LJ somewhere else, I really felt like this finale was the final chapter of a book, and a new book will come out next September.

Since there wasnt a "To Be Continued" I wonder how much time will have passed when Season 8 begins.

But yes yay to Lois and all of her scenes, especially the tear jerking one. I would love it too if she was the one that helped Clark get a job at the DP, I think it would fit nicely with this version of the story and that scene was a nice contrast to their scene in Commencement when all Lois could see in Clark's future was him being married to Lana and living the life of a farmer.

Oh and I'll be Lois' drinking buddy any time she needs one, despite the opinions of fandom. :D






K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lois duhbop_radar on May 24th, 2008 12:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Part I
when it was revealed later on that Kara was in fact Brainiac, he screwed up his face and made a comment that Brainiac (who is a guy) was holding Lex's hands. Ewwww!!! ;)
HEEEE! So cute!

I really felt like this finale was the final chapter of a book, and a new book will come out next September.
*nods* It feels like that in many ways. No cliffhanger for Lois, no.

I'll be Lois' drinking buddy any time she needs one, despite the opinions of fandom. :D
She'd be so much fun!
suex on May 22nd, 2008 05:24 pm (UTC)
Part II
And now we come to the bit of the episode that absolutely destroyed me emotionally. I was a wreck through this scene. The Clana farewell, which, for once, I DID buy as the final Clana farewell, absolutely broke me with its raw beauty. I have been so scared for Lana, so scared that she was going to end up voided forever. When Clark showed up and saw the empty bed I was terrified that she was died. And then I was confused by her departure. But when the nurse gave him the tape, I realised--just as Clark did.

I loved this scene. It was beautifully acted, beautiful dialogue and it was so in character and you werent alone, I cried too, especially when Clark started crying. (I also teared up just reading your review of it). I also mentioned this elsewhere, but I thought Lana's video letter was a little reminiscent of the letter that Lana sends to Clark in the comics, so it all beautifully tied in for me.

It was great too that they had Clark reflecting on it all from the window of his loft as he gazed out over the night sky, like he and Lana have done so many times in the past and there was a similar scene in Bizarro when Clark thought Lana was dead. But here in the finale he quickly sprung into action when Jimmy told him of trouble on the horizon.

THE CLEX!!

Just the shots of Lex walking around the Fortress in wonder were enough on their own! Even before Clark showed up! I know I harp on about it but the spatial dynamics on this show are so incredibly strong. To have Lex in Clark's Fortress, to have him penetrate into the most alien part of Clark's 'self', was just the perfect ending. Lex himself makes the connection--he'd always been allowed access to the barn, that had always been Clark's emotional fortress. This is 'a big step up'. It's Clark's true Fortress, his hidden self. Lex's expression in entering the Fortress reflected both wonder and attraction to power--it was perfectly balanced and reflects his reaction to Clark all along.

Love how you've said this and I couldnt add anything more to it because its so perfectly written.

I was reading a review that stated that Clark should have said more to Lex about what a sociopath and evil person he's become. In my opinion that would have been totally unnecessary, because not only has Clark been on Lex's back about all of his evil doings since Season 4, but it wasnt a way to end what started the relationship in the beginning.

I did get that final scene and I appreciated it, really for its simplicity and the beautiful lighting, but the way you've reviewed it adds some extra depth and understanding that I missed and maybe alot of others did too.

Thanks for your wonderful review Boppy.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex showdownbop_radar on May 24th, 2008 12:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Part II
I cried too, especially when Clark started crying. (I also teared up just reading your review of it).
Awww! *sniffles* It feels better to be teary in company. Clark's heart being crushed is just so hard to watch.

I thought Lana's video letter was a little reminiscent of the letter that Lana sends to Clark in the comics, so it all beautifully tied in for me.
Oh, nice! It's a modern-world equivalent, I guess: and it also ties back to season 1 when there was much play with videos. Do you remember she broke up with Whitney the same way?

I was reading a review that stated that Clark should have said more to Lex about what a sociopath and evil person he's become. In my opinion that would have been totally unnecessary, because not only has Clark been on Lex's back about all of his evil doings since Season 4, but it wasnt a way to end what started the relationship in the beginning.
I definitely agree with you. It would have totally thrown me out of that scene to have Clark start listing Lex's failings (again). It would have changed the tone which was far more connected to their original friendship, as you pointed out. It's actually hard to create that connection now that they've been hard and fast adversaries for some time now, but they managed to do so.

Thanks for your lovely comments!
gildinwengildinwen on July 26th, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC)
Boppy I might be going mad, but you know in the last minute of Arctic? When Clark's lying in Lex's arms after the "I love you like a brother...?" is it just me or does Tom/Clark mouth the words...."Lex...I love?"
Forgive me for coming in late with this.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on July 27th, 2008 08:04 am (UTC)
Ohh, you know I did wonder about that myself--I kind of thought so but then I wondered if it was just me. He mouths something in a very tortured way but I can't quite be sure.
gildinwengildinwen on July 27th, 2008 08:35 am (UTC)
It's not just you...I was watching that scene for my Artic meta, and at first I thought he sais "I know," because my clexer heart gives everything a subtext. However I watched it again....and I honestly think he DOES mouth "Lex ....I Love..." And given that fact that Michael asked for his line to chaged to the the present tense, I think it is another instance of the boys enjoying, playing up the subext.... and if so.....Lex's undying love for Clark is reciprocrated *whee*!!! *throws confetti*
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex lovebop_radar on July 30th, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)
'I know' is another possibility. I will clearly have to watch again though (because THAT would be tough! ;)). Either way I think the boys did us proud and it couldn't have been Clexier. :D