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19 November 2005 @ 11:37 am
SV5.08 Solitude  
My review this week is somewhat hampered by being on painkillers and penicillin, as I had my wisdom teeth removed a couple of days ago. So it’s going to be short and simple this week!

Fine
Fine played Clark so perfectly it was painful to watch. He exploited very real weaknesses in Clark’s psychology simply and powerfully. The cracks showed where that Clark is not yet prepared for a life fighting powerful adversaries.

Clark has reached the stage of adulthood where he no longer confides everything in his parents. He now confides in Chloe for some things, keeps other things entirely to himself and turns to an authority figure such as Fine to help him with some of his big questions. When trouble strikes, Clark is forced to reveal more of the truth. Yet he makes some bad judgments on what to tell people and when. His most fatal mistake is trusting Fine too completely. Yet he also misjudges by not having shared his fears about Jor-El with Chloe earlier, or having confided in his parents about Fine sooner.

Having missed the opportunity to discuss his emotions with someone else, Clark is driven in emergency by overwhelming emotional responses. This works in Fine’s favour. He exploits Clark’s fear of Jor-El perfectly. When Fine tells him that Jor-El was a dictator, Clark accepts it because it fits well with Clark’s own surface understanding of Jor-El, who has appeared as an abstract omnipotent force in Clark’s life, surrounded my pain, loss and confusion. He has no time to question things further, as he needs to save Martha.

While Fine is revealed as an enemy and Clark now knows his statements about Jor-El were false, it is evident that Clark harbours lingering anger and resentment towards Jor-El. Jonathan tries to talk Clark into a more general understanding of life’s pain. Loss is a part of life and Clark will have to face it. Yet Clark is trappped in child-like rage at life’s unfairness and he places all the blame at Jor-El’s feet. This is understandable from a psychological point of view: Jor-El is the perfect abstract force to blame. He pronounces painful truths without offering comfort or compassion, he is unforgiving and in a sense soulless. But Clark does not really listen to what Jor-El has to say: it is fate and destiny, not Jor-El himself, who will rob Clark of a loved one. And Clark’s own actions precipitated that, not Jor-El himself, who merely stated what would happen. It’s infuriating, certainly, but Clark cannot afford to remain in fury. He needs to reach a more mature place of understanding, or his actions will continue to be fuelled by anger and his retribution could be damning: as seen in this episode, he hearly destroyed his last link to Krypton. Until Clark is able to bring his emotions under control, he will be exploitable by powerful opponents such as Fine.

One of the most interesting things for me about the Fine versus Jor-El battle is that Fine drew out Clark's passionate defence of the human race. I believe he did so to galvanise Clark's anger against Jor-El even further: Fine tells him Jor-El wanted to recreate a Kryptonian utopia on Earth, wiping out humanity. He knows this will anger Clark and it does. Fine shapes Clark into articulating his beliefs in humanity in a way that he hasn't had to for Jor-El. Jor-El's own beliefs about humanity remain ambivalent and unclear, but Clark's battle with Fine has pushed him further on the path to becoming humanity's 'guardian angel'.

Lionel and Chloe
The real mystery of this episode lies in Lionel’s motivations. He set Chloe on the path to alerting Clark about Fine. His motivations for doing so remain obscure. He continues to take a playfully deceitful approach with his son as well. Mysteriously he knows about both Fine and the spaceship, but his true purpose is not yet clear.

Lois
I was charmed to see Lois getting her own canon development in this episode. I am even more delighted that her prompt to become a reporter stems from her own story. Her run-in with Lex worked perfectly for me. She is a passionate defender of those who she adopts as friends and family. She thinks of Martha as her ‘new best friend’ and she defends her more than Jonathan or Clark in the scene with Lex at the Talon. Lex himself is amused by her until she presses him one time too often. Then he retorts in true Lexian fashion with a call that is both true and cutting and is fair at a stretch considering the provocation.

Lois can’t walk away from an argument and it’s convincing to me that she would get drawn in to battle with Lex this way. He affronts her personally but he also represents many things she dislikes. Lex may be the catalyst for Lois to explore her political stance and sense of injustice, and if that’s what sets her on path to journalism, that would be wonderful.

Some light observations
No Lana! Wow. Being Clark’s girlfriend is evidently the best way to write her out of the show.
I love Lois and Chloe as an investigative team. Clark’s going to be a real let-down for Lois after Chloe!
The more evil Lex gets, the funnier he is: his temper tantrum at the loss of his spaceship was a comedic delight.
Photocopy room at the Daily Planet! Look, people! Photocopy room! Clark and Chloe were there! (ok, that's just me ...)

I may revisit this episode later in the week when there is less pain! (actual pain I mean! the ep itself was bearable!)
 
 
 
Becky: suit love coloursadface on November 19th, 2005 01:14 am (UTC)
. He needs to reach a more mature place of understanding, or his actions will continue to be fuelled by anger and his retribution could be damning

Clark's lack on maturity bothers me. He is 18 years old and in college and yet he seems incapable of making a decision based on rational choice rather than emotion. It makes him weak and in many ways i'm hoping Jor-El lives up to his promise to sacrifice the life of someone he loves, hopefully to help him realise this and set him on the path to his future heroism. (not that I don't think that Clark's choice was a good one, of course the life of one over many was the *right* choice, I simply don't think that Clark did it for those reasons, as he shows by thinking 'he made a terrible mistake' /digression)

I have no idea about Lionel/Chloe. I think that Lion-El is still going strong, explaining how Lionel *knows* all these things, and also that Chloe knows on a subconsious level that this isn't the same man who tried to kill her and her family. She may sense that Lionel simply isn't the threat that he once was, and it would make sense for Jor-El to try and get what he wants from Clark by manipulating events via his family and friends, it's unlikely that Clark is ever going to trust the 'entity' Jor-El - the disembodided voice, so his only recourse may be to show him the path via other people.

I love Lois and Chloe as an investigative team. Clark’s going to be a real let-down for Lois after Chloe!
To me? Chloe isn't a very good journalist and it's showing even more now. She is stuck at the planet collecting her dregs of stories from Lionel. She has no place in the real world of reporting, while Lois is grounded in reality, in politics, Chloe is still chasing stories about superhumans and mutants. The fact that her stories are true are a moot point, she makes a poor journalist because she is unable to see past the surreal.

The more evil Lex gets, the funnier he is: his temper tantrum at the loss of his spaceship was a comedic delight.

I loved Lex as petulant child. The sheer absurdity of it, 'you stole my spaceship'. I don't understand his motivations however, clearly Lionel didnt take it. He must know that. I mean, it may just be bad writing, but I fear for Lex's current mental state. It was a terribly irrational statement and previously Lex would never have shown that amount of weakness to his father, his true *want* for something.

Photocopy room at the Daily Planet! Look, people! Photocopy room! Clark and Chloe were there! (ok, that's just me ...)

and we were talking while I was watching it, but I didnt want to spoil you! and SQUEE!

Clari Clyde: Seraphim: Funclari_clyde on November 19th, 2005 06:36 am (UTC)
To me? Chloe isn't a very good journalist and it's showing even more now.

This is something I’ve actually noticed for a while now ever since Lois appeared on Season 4. I just started noticing the contrasts between Lois and Chloe. Chloe seems more concerned about what is sensationalistic whereas Lois is able to relate to people and see how events affect people in their day-to-day lives. Also, Chloe wears her sanctimoniousness on her sleeve and scares people away whereas Lois is a better social engineer and is able to get closer to the people that really matter for a story. And as much as I like “Exposed,” that episode really exposed Chloe’s flaws.
rumpuso on November 19th, 2005 03:09 pm (UTC)
I completely agree with this observation about Chloe.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois snoopsbop_radar on November 20th, 2005 02:58 am (UTC)
Yes. *nods* I agree - I particularly like the ways Lois is shown to be the stronger social engineer. And I'm really happy with the ways Chloe is shown to be, not completely hopeless, but by far the lesser of the two. She's not a bad person, but she's weaker. It works perfectly for me as someone who is really invested in the future Lois of canon. Clark however? Comes from the Chloe school of investigation but without even Chloe's level of tact or instinct. I can just see Lois rolling her eyes at getting stuck with him!
*g*
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex mischiefbop_radar on November 20th, 2005 03:04 am (UTC)
I like your Lex analysis here. That's a good summary of where Lex is at. Also a good call on Lionel still having some degree of power. He clearly has his own resources still. But this is unclear to some of the other characters like Chloe and Jonathan who are responding to him as if he's no longer in a position of any power.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on November 20th, 2005 12:54 am (UTC)
Wheeeee! I got a long long comment from you. *hugs* Thanks for the belated SQUEE! on photocopy room! (I have more PCB!Lex out being beta'd so it's on its way!)

I'm with you about Clark... he has a lot of maturing to do yet. Although it frustrates me because he's *Clark* and he needs to become *Superman*, there's also this weird part of me that likes that an eighteen-year-old guy on a show like this is really shown to be as hopelessly immature as most 18-year-old guys are, whereas the girls are more sorted. I just find it so believable. But my patience with it only goes so far! I can't wait for him to learn from the loss of someone he loves.

I totally agree about it being clear Chloe is the lesser journalist. But i just love the all-girl investigative team. And at the moment? Chloe does show a lot more initiative than Clark in situations like this. Lois, however, is clearly the stronger and more determined journalist. Also her interests, even if based in prejudice just now, are with the real world of politics and that will take her a lot further. You're right: Chloe will be left behind, which is just how it should be.

As for Lex? I loved his 'you stole my spaceship!' tantrum, but you're right. He is showing a lot more emotion than he used to. He and Lionel have completely swapped roles: Lex is the one with the power and position, Lionel ruffles his feathers. Yes - I think there was some irrationality in that scene. The closer Lex gets to the heart of his obsession with the aliens/Clark/the spaceship, the closer he gets to losing his grip on reality. *pats Lexy*
HeroHunter.  I, Storyteller.: clexeverlastingbyosinessherohunter on November 19th, 2005 03:07 am (UTC)
The lack of unnecessary drama without Lana certainly was refreshing!

:D
rumpuso on November 19th, 2005 03:07 pm (UTC)
This is another fantastic incite into this episode. I love how you are able to reach in and understand the characters' motivations. Very nice job here.

On a side note, hope your mouth is healing. That's a terrible irritation to recover from.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois snoopsbop_radar on November 20th, 2005 12:56 am (UTC)
Thank you! I am still waiting for my brain to be fully restored to me. The painkillers are taking a toll...! It was my first general anaesthetic too, so it knocked me about but I seem to be healing up fine now.
Cris: Lex - badassduskwillow on November 20th, 2005 01:58 am (UTC)
Great recap. As usual. :)

I find it interesting that Clark always so easily believes the worst about Jor-El. Just like he does about Lex.

And I wonder if Lionel is only Lionel or Lion-El. His actions for the last few episodes just don't make a lot of sense to me. Lex is finally starting a path that will lead him to become a man Lionel always wanted his son to be, and he's doing everything to stop it. And like you said - he knows too much.

*nods to part about Lois*
Excellently put!
And I think all the time she spend with Jonathan also has something to do with why she doesn't like Lex too much. Plus - Chloe also doesn't trust him a lot lately.
And I loved those two in a scene together. He just knows how to push her buttons.
And he said exactly the right thing to get her motivated. It was awesome to watch. Plus - muffin peddling dropout - hilarious! *g*

Lex acting like a five year old was priceless! I kept hoping he'll stomp his foot, but alas - didn't happen. lol
And that last look he gave Lionel when he hold his face? Perfect! Rosenbaum was brilliant in that scene!

Lol @ photocopy room! :)

I hope painkillers are working. :)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois going downbop_radar on November 20th, 2005 03:15 am (UTC)
Hee hee! Yes, the painkillers are working. They've just taking my brain away from me!

Yes - Clark assumes the worst about Jor-El to a frightening degree. It's as if the surface markers of authority and power set off alarm bells for him and he sees them as a threat. This fits with his response to Lex: the more he exercises power, the more uncomfortable Clark is with him.

I want the Lion-El thing made clear! I am an impatient viewer when it comes to that... I need to know what's going on!!

Yes, Lois is immensely loyal and for all that she joked with the Kents and seemed to take advantage of their generosity, she clearly loves them dearly. So I agree she has loyalty to Jonathan as well. But I'm really touched by her friendship with Martha. She has invested a lot of heart in that relationship. And Lex got under her skin perfectly! He was obviously initially amused by her cheek but then she pushed just a little too far and he swatted back at her. Lois had no comeback to the muffin-peddler line (with that beautiful 'banana blueberry' line as a bonus!) and she would *hate* that. Dear Lex. He doesn't know he's created a lifelong adversary with one throwaway line!

I'm glad to see the Lois-Lex relationship fleshed out a little. For me, it was clear she didn't buy into his image in Lucy. She was willing to take his help, but she insisted on coming along and taking charge with him (and bagging his car while she was at it!). I liked their subtle powerplay in that episode - they both define themselves in the 'take charge and solve things' role so they work well as a threat to one another. It makes sense that they ruffle one another. Plus Lois says she hates the type of guy who wants to own the world - and Lex seems/is that type. I'm glad to see it developed further.
Cris: Loisduskwillow on November 20th, 2005 09:46 pm (UTC)
But I'm really touched by her friendship with Martha. She has invested a lot of heart in that relationship.
The way I see it, she lost her mother when she was little, and we all know how Martha is and always plays a mother role with everyone. So it was to be expected for Lois and her to bound so well.

Lois had no comeback to the muffin-peddler line (with that beautiful 'banana blueberry' line as a bonus!) and she would *hate* that.
Well the main reason she had no comeback is because he told the truth. I hope this will get her thinking, ans she'll not only get interested in journalism, but decide to get back in college as well.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lois breastsbop_radar on November 22nd, 2005 12:05 pm (UTC)
I hope that too! It's a good sign that it was a blow to her pride. Clearly she does see herself as better than that - now she just has to go out there and make it happen!