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01 November 2008 @ 11:49 am
Smallville 8.07 Identity  
AWESOME episode. My favourite of the season so far, I think.

I'm a believer
The first thing to love about this episode: Jimmy was used well. \o/ There was a lot of suspense in this episode for me because I couldn't work out how it was going to end--it actually seemed for a while that Jimmy might end up knowing Clark's secret. The opening scene where he captures the 'blur' on film was wonderful at setting up the 'danger' for Clark. (And wow, the days of digital photography mean instant recognition--hadn't thought that through before!) Also, how cool is it that Clark moves faster than Jimmy's camera can capture?! :)

I really appreciated the way they handled Jimmy cluing on that Clark was Metropolis's mystery hero. One of the things that makes Jimmy unique as a character is his capacity for (optimistic) belief in his hunches. He can read as naive, but in this episode we got to see how special that naive hope can be. Right from the beginning, Jimmy finds it so easy to believe that there is a mystery hero who moves so fast people can't see him. Most people would be way too sceptical (cynical) to leap to such a conclusion. Jimmy SO has an 'I want to believe' poster! ;) As he points out to Clark, he knows he lives in a world where the 'bizarre and unexplained' are real. But what also makes Jimmy's outlook special is that he doesn't assume all of these things are dangerous--he believes there could be supernatural forces for good out there, and he wants to believe in that.

Jimmy understands that his point of view is a leap of faith. He knows Lois is a 'nay-sayer, a non-believer'. He is self-aware about the fact that it is a matter of belief. But he doesn't give up on the idea anyway. And he is right in thinking that it could be his 'big break' on the paper. Tess articulates the reasons why it works: it's a 'tease', a mystery, the start of a bigger story, and it will capture people's imagination.

I also loved Jimmy's research. Because it's true that anyone with an interest could find a link between Smallville and the Metropolis hero. I loved the way Jimmy realised it was Clark mid-conversation--so well played. Clark's prevarication increasingly read as defensive, and Jimmy began to think about the aspects of Clark that could make it likely to be him. As Jimmy begins to consider what it would mean if Clark was the hero, he realises that it makes sense of other aspects of his life--namely, Chloe's behaviour about him.

'You blurred over here, didn't you?' was a very cute line, and I liked that Jimmy got extra proof that Clark was the hero. Chloe and Clark stonewalling in that scene made them look pretty stupid, but I understand why they did so--especially since they hadn't had a chance to talk and come to an agreement to tell (or not tell) Jimmy yet. What I liked was Jimmy's reaction--rather than wallow in hurt at Chloe and Clark not trusting him, he just became more determined to prove the truth.

Another thing I loved was that Jimmy emphasised that Clark would be the same person in his eyes if he told the truth. That was really poignant to me because Clark's had such a hard time with reactions from the people he does tell. Especially with Lana gone, he could really use a friend who saw him the same way either as hero or 'normal' guy. Jimmy's line about Clark always being there for people and that being rare was really awesome because it means someone recognised the hero in Clark is connected to the hero in his 'superman' identity.

Identity crisis
I have never loved Clark more than in this season. SERIOUSLY. I feel like my heart is just EXPLODING with Clark-love. And hey, if it took Lex's absence to achieve this then maybe I'm happy that we had a season without him, because loving Clark this much is very enjoyable. I was 'with' him emotionally through the whole episode. His fear of discovery was so tangible. I'm sure other long-term viewers will agree that having watched seven and a half seasons in which protecting Clark's secret has been paramount, the tension surrounding this was immense. But Clark has grown up so much and though this moment is terrifying, life-changing, he faces it maturely ('I think I'll stand'). Tom's acting was wonderful--his 'what am I looking at?' conveying both tentative relief and the desire for confirmation that he is really 'off the hook'.

Clark nearly showed his hand when he challenged Tess about the story. But he did do his best, his strongest card being the suggestion that Tess was doing something that Lex would have baulked at (and I think that may be true).

LAUNDRY PANIC!! One of my favourite scenes. :D Clark realises that everything he owns is red, white or blue: OH NOES! Then he discovers that grey can also be VERY SEXY. YAY!

I didn't think much of Chloe advocating Clark let the story go public. As supacat put it, what does she want him to be? A fame whore? She was acting like Clark's self-appointed PR department. When she talked about people wanting a 'hero', I felt it came more from her own perspective as crazy-Clark-fangirl than from any balanced perspective about what would be good for Clark. I'm glad Clark didn't immediately buy into that. However, her speech did lay the groundwork for him thinking about people needing heroes, and when he got to see ordinary people actually reacting positively to the idea of a hero, I admit that I was moved. What made it work for me was Clark getting to see the publicly acknowledged 'hero' identity as literally 'not him', as something outside himself, something he could hide behind, rather than be endangered by.

Overload
I must admit that when Chloe's computer overloaded, I joked that I wished her brain would. Oops! Because that moment actually was intended as foreshadowing--of someone else's brain exploding. I guess we're supposed to find Chloe killing Sebastian chilling, but I just found it silly and a bit boring. I've thought Chloe was that far gone vis a vids Clark for some time--she acts like such a 'cult of Clark' member I have no problem believing that she'd kill for him. And yeah, it is TOTALLY hypocritical given her recent speech about killing never being justified (she meant just for that one person, not for her, clearly!) but Chloe's been a hypocrite in my eyes for ages. Found it lolarious that she dressed up and brought scary black gloves just so she could melodramatically remove them, but other than that the scene left me bored and puzzled. Why didn't Chloe's brain overload?!

Tell me you're sober
I didn't weigh in on all the Oliver-bashing that went on after the scene in which Clark admitted he'd known about Oliver's parents. But I was frankly quite baffled by it. Sure, Oliver was drunk and mean, but wouldn't anyone be if they'd just found out their parents were murdered and their best friend knew. I'd be fucking pissed off if my best friend did that to me. I don't think anyone would be on their best behaviour at such a time, and I also knew that it was very Oliver-like to go off the rails for a while in reaction to that news. Frankly, I sympathise. No, it doesn't make him the 'perfect hero', it makes him a real human being--which is what I like about him. I always had full confidence he would come round eventually, and I absolutely loved the pay-off in this episode regarding that journey.

Having raved above about how much I love Clark, I must say that I don't find his behaviour here impeccable. He turns up to see Oliver only when he himself has a crisis and needs help (um, flashbacks to Clex, anyone?) and instead of responding compassionately he immediately starts lecturing Oliver on his behaviour ('what's wrong with you?'). Clark knows what triggered this for Oliver but he hasn't bothered to go and talk to him until he needed something. I'd expect more from my best friend.

Oliver completely came through as a hero in this episode (in my eyes, at least) because he was able to put all that aside when Clark pointed out that the lives of innocent people were at stake--specifically Jimmy's. 'Do it for him' was a FABULOUS speech from Clark--and Oliver was unable to argue with that, because he knows the dangers in these identity issues so well himself.

I absolutely loved the Clark-Oliver banter 'on the job', including the shoutouts to the reverse episode, in which Clark pretended to be Green Arrow. I looove that they traded favours here. Inadvertedly, Clark provided Oliver with exactly what he needed to snap out of his funk--the minute Oliver saw Jimmy actually in danger, all his hero instincts kicked in.

I loved the 'transition' costume that Oliver wore: jeans, blue hoodie, a mask and red cape. Hee! We're getting there... and how cute was the call about the cape?! 'It helped with the aerodynamics'--whee! Of course, we know that Clark secretly likes the cape and would ditch the mask instead. :D And yay red curtains of foreshadowing in that scene!

I know lots of fans have issues with Oliver's role in Smallville-universe in Clark's journey to becoming Superman, but I find the way both guys give something to each other wonderfully handled. Here, Clark admits that he's beginning to see how 'hero' personas can give people hope, and Oliver finds his way back to being the Green Arrow. Oliver confesses that he feels most himself in that role--and that fits really well with the theme of the episode. While Clark needed to learn that his hero identity could exist outside himself, Oliver needed to learn to 'own' his. I like the parallel/contrast.

Clark redeemed his previous behaviour a great deal in my eyes by telling Oliver that his parents would have been proud of the man he'd become. Oliver's expression in response betrayed his own doubts on that score--he's well aware of his flaws and regrets his bad-boy rebellion. But Clark's ability to overlook that and see the good in people, to focus on the decision that Oliver made to return to Green Arrow rather than his temporary derailment, makes him special. And a true friend.

Waiting for her cross-dressing pilot to make his landing
I found the writing of Lois in this episode excellent, including her attraction to Clark. It was far more subtle than some of the Season 8 material, and I appreciated that. I liked moments like Jimmy noticing that she'd complimented Clark, and the smile we got to see when Clark zipper her dress up. I also 'bought' that she would ring Clark now when in danger. She would once have rung Chloe, but I suspect that subliminally, after things like Clark 'rescuing' her when she was drunk, she's more likely to ring him. She probably expected him to ring the police for help--but even so I liked it!

VERY happy about the scene in the Talon apartment. I love it when Lois gets Clark all confuzzled and helplessly aroused. The dress-zipping was wonderful. Poor Clark! Lois putting her hand on his chest afterwards was delightfully sizzly, and hee, Clark was so terribly defensive with his 'I know what a date is!' (Awww, yeah, you went on one once didn't you, poppet? Once?) Clark's green-eyed monster was definitely showing--his concern about her dating someone she'd just met, wearing so little, and his pointed coughing when Sebastian arrived.

Lois was kickass on so many levels in this episode. First she fought off the mugger, and, even better, she clued into Sebastian straight away, recognising him from Black Creek. I love that she 'protected' Clark by not telling him she was undercover, and also by sweeping him out the door before Sebastian could 'read' him (though she had a double-motive for that, because Clark could have given away her lie). She also did a good job of fighting him off and disarming him. However, we also got to see that Lois gets herself in trouble, gets in over her head and relies on her own abilities a little too heavily, which is why she needs a hero backing her up. :)

Her 'I am a true believer in this red and blue superdude' confession at the end of the episode was the perfect icing on the cake. Yes, Lois is a cynic, but two coincidences in short succession is too much for even her to ignore. And I am THRILLED that she's vowed to land the first interview! Wow! They are really pushing the plot along here--further than I ever expected--and I'm so excited.
 
 
Current Location: sofa of comfiness
Current Mood: excitedexcited
 
 
 
svgurl: clark/lois squishysvgurl on November 1st, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)
I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed 'Identity' as much as I did! And your review is great. :D

Jimmy was best used in this episode. I like him as the loyal sidekick.

Another thing I loved was that Jimmy emphasised that Clark would be the same person in his eyes if he told the truth.

Me too! And he really delivered that line well ... I believed him! It was very genuine and I "aww"d. :D

Everyone seemed to bring their A-game. Clark was especially wonderful! And he looked hot while being wonderful. ;D Loved how he figured out that people would accept a hero very well.

I'm glad Clark and Ollie are BFF status again. That makes me happy. And Ollie did do a good job. I love the references to Hydro!

But Clark's ability to overlook that and see the good in people, to focus on the decision that Oliver made to return to Green Arrow rather than his temporary derailment, makes him special. And a true friend.

I'm so glad Ollie is his usual self again and the fact that Clark did push him to get there was fabulous! :D

Lois! I adore Lois! She's so kickass!

I liked moments like Jimmy noticing that she'd complimented Clark, and the smile we got to see when Clark zipper her dress up.

The smile was adorable. And Clark was totally jealous! It was great! And her "protecting Clark" was too cute. :)

I'm still loving s8!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois Crimsonbop_radar on November 1st, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC)
Jimmy was brilliant--I thought the actor's performance was excellent, and I definitely had the 'aww' moments as well.

I'm glad Clark and Ollie are BFF status again. That makes me happy. And Ollie did do a good job. I love the references to Hydro!
I'm so glad they went that path and had the reversal of Hydro plot. :) I am glad that the BFFs are BFFs again--and that the rift didn't drag on too long. I'm still so glad the show didn't ignore the matter of Oliver's parents, but it's good both men have moved forward.

Season 8 is proving awesome.
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark basketballbop_radar on November 1st, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, ok, I underestimated the likelihood of him NOT having got something from Clark, maybe. It's good to hear some people are on board with it--I was very 'huh?' about it and unclear how the writers meant us to take it.
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lois likes pantsbop_radar on November 1st, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
or just shock that this giant dude just appeared out of nowhere and grabbed me, wtf?
*lol* Yeah, fair enough!
mahaliemmahaliem on November 1st, 2008 06:34 am (UTC)
LAUNDRY PANIC!!

I loved this! Was this the last that we'd see of that well-used red jacket, I wondered. Was that sound I heard the voices of millions of Smallville fans rejoicing at its possible relegation to the bottom of the laundry hamper? Unfortunately, I fear that jacket is as indestructible as Clark.

Also, even though Oliver was helping out Clark, I'm glad that Clark played a part in getting Oliver back on the right track. I wish Oliver's return to normal had been as a result of Clark deliberately trying to help him, but I'm not going to complain about what we got.

And Jimmy being a Clark fan has always been my favorite aspect of the character. Yay! for Smallville showing us that this version of Jimmy is beginning to feel the same way.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois runbop_radar on November 1st, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC)
The jacket is truly indestructible, ALAS. But there was a moment there...

I wish Oliver's return to normal had been as a result of Clark deliberately trying to help him, but I'm not going to complain about what we got.
Oh, absolutely! I was very happy with how it worked out.

I think it really was my favourite episode with Jimmy in it ever.
tragicllyhiptragicllyhip on November 1st, 2008 11:58 am (UTC)
I have to say when I saw Clark in that tight gray tee I lost all reason and got a headache from hotness overload. I was almost sad to see him decide to continue on with the red-blue blur, because I liked the new wardrobe:D

I love Clark so much this season, though I've always loved Clark, and always saw this in him, it just hadn't matured yet. Tom is playing him wonderfully,

I didn't have issue with how he treated Oliver, because I just don't think destructive behavior should be sympathized with, and I'm glad he called him on it, it was certainly the best thing for Oliver--like Clark knew he was better than how he was behaving and it certainly wasn't going to make anything better by acting like that, if anything it would make things worse. Maybe Clark should have told him about his parents, but really what would he have done with the information? I know it was his decision to make, but Clark withheld the information because he knew it would be painful for Oliver, right or wrong. I'm glad in the end Clark understood (maybe) that he may not have made the right decision ) and Oliver understood his intentions.

I'm still not sold on Oliver needing to be there, but as long as I don't have to sit through him running around shirtless on an island again, I;m good:)

As for Chloe. I have to say I wish she would move off to Star City or something, but I found her act still chilling and unexpected. I thought maybe it was the influence of what Braniac did to her that caused her to choose this method of protecting Clark. I don't know. But if her brain is now wired differently it makes sense it would cause him to short circuit and she wouldn't be hurt in the process.

I'm really enjoying this season, and its what I was hoping for in Lex's absence, because Clark has been forced away from SV and away from his very personal nemesis. I don't think it would have been as possible with Lex still around full-time.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Bop_radar TWbop_radar on November 1st, 2008 10:44 pm (UTC)
That t-shirt was OUT OF CONTROL with the hotness! I love his more mature wardrobe this season, matching the way he's taking on such a mature, adult identity in the big city. I don't think of him as a kid in ANY way now.

The reason I stayed silent on the Oliver issue to begin with is that my feelings are radically different from a lot of people's out there and it's not something I'm going to be persuaded about.

Maybe Clark should have told him about his parents, but really what would he have done with the information? I know it was his decision to make, but Clark withheld the information because he knew it would be painful for Oliver, right or wrong.
I view withholding information as a fundamental betrayal of friendship. It doesn't matter if the information is likely to upset me, if my best friend knew something as huge as that about my family and didn't tell me, I think it would probably break the friendship irrevocably. I guess I demand honesty from my friends--not everyone holds the same values where friendship is concerned, and Clark clearly views it as more appropriate to 'protect' his friends. I wouldn't like that kind of friendship so I sympathise with Oliver getting royally pissed off about it. So my position stems from my values, which is why I found it pointless to argue about.

I guess the plot's over now so we can all move on? :)

I really am getting impatient to find out what's going on with Chloe and what happened to her after Brainiac--because something sure has changed with her. Yes, maybe her brain was rewired?

ITA re. season 8 fulfilling its promise re. Clark and his future.
tragicllyhiptragicllyhip on November 1st, 2008 11:24 pm (UTC)
I get why Oliver was upset, I know its a personal thing, like I've told people things and had the opposite effect, like they got angry because I told them, when I could have spared them the pain. But it definitely depends on the person. I just meant I was fine with Clark calling Oliver on how he was handling the news. But regardless I'm glad they made up.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on November 2nd, 2008 09:58 am (UTC)
I don't think it's fair for people to get mad at you telling them--that's too 'shoot the messenger' for me. Whereas I *do* understand people getting mad at finding out other ways... I'd rather find out bad news from a friend. Though it totally depends on the person and is hard to pick.

I'm glad the show didn't let this rift drag on. It was dealt with, both men have moved on. I like that. I like that their friendship survived that because no matter which side you take, it speaks well of both of them that they moved past it.
Carol: B&W temptationcarolandtom on November 1st, 2008 12:27 pm (UTC)
Nice review! I agree on lots of points.

I totally disagree on the Oliver issue though. I understand that he was angry that Clark didn’t tell him about his parents, but he lost all my respect when he reacted by dismissing and disrespecting Clark, once again, in that club scene. I'm sure he was avoiding Clark afterwards, offscreen. He was far too busy with wooing Tess.
So no, I don't fault Clark for leaving Oliver alone when Oliver is older and should be wise enough to know what's good for him. After all, he’s been the one lecturing Clark all along and putting himself above him as the role model he clearly is NOT. In my opinion, Oliver owed Clark an apology for always talking him down and being unnecessarily offensive, and I don't think Clark should take the trouble to keep going after someone who doesn't want to be "lectured" himself. How many times is Clark supposed to apologize for trying to do the right thing, out of concern for his friends, while the others NEVER apologize for being offensive and disrespectful to him?

And, btw, Clark and Oliver saw each other in Committed.

Clark redeemed his previous behaviour a great deal in my eyes by telling Oliver that his parents would have been proud of the man he'd become.

See? That's the difference between those two. I know Clark is flawed too, but in this case I don’t think he had anything to redeem and even so he’s always willing to be caring and compassionate. Oliver should learn more than a couple of things from the guy he’s so quick to judge and to offend.

I know lots of fans have issues with Oliver's role in Smallville-universe in Clark's journey to becoming Superman

I admit that I'm one of them. But I can accept Oliver in SV as long as their relationship is well handled and he's used to serve Clark's story and not the other way around.



Edited at 2008-11-01 12:30 pm (UTC)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Bop_radar TWbop_radar on November 1st, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And yes, I knew a lot of people would disagree about Oliver.

My position stems from my personal values: I view honesty as a fundamental of friendship and withholding information (especially as huge as that), whether good or bad, as a betrayal.

That doesn't mean I think Oliver had a 'right' to behave obnoxiously--but I understand why someone would. I also think his characterisation is deliberately contrasted to Clark. Oliver is not a perfect hero, and he doesn't behave impeccably--and he knows it. For me, that works for Clark, because it contrasts a 'normal' guy with one who really demands more of himself and others. So I kind of loved the plot about Oliver going off the rails for a while--especially since Clark was able to help him back on track.

I don't think them seeing each other in Committed helped at all--I suspect it made it worse!

he’s always willing to be caring and compassionate. Oliver should learn more than a couple of things from the guy he’s so quick to judge and to offend.
He's willing to be caring and compassionate once he got what he wanted and once the other person is behaving 'appropriately' again. Ok, that's stating my case a little TOO strongly because I actually do see Clark's side of things more than that sentence would imply, and I don't think he's as manipulative as that. But I do think Clark has very high standards for people, while also not understanding that other people may hold different values regarding friendship (like honesty). Also, I think both men are quick to judge the other, and both men can (and do) learn something from each other. I really enjoy the two-way relationship and I totally agree that Oliver can (and does!) learn a lot from Clark.

I find Oliver's plot well-handled and I think it serves Clark's journey very well--this episode being proof of that--but I know you may disagree.
Ms Cranky Pants of the Depresso Blogbofoddity on November 1st, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC)
I loved 'Identity' too. It pretty much summarized my love for Clark, and why I will always fan Superman first and Batman second. From the way he inspired both Jimmy and Oliver to his realization that people need hope, it was just so right. Lois was also in full classic Lois mode in this one, and I loved her vow to get the first interview from the mysterious hero.

I don't mind either Jimmy or Ollie as much as some others do, but I think they both had their best appearances in this episode. Jimmy was just so mature, which he doesn't always get to be, and I loved how Oliver found his inner hero again. I thought Oliver's anger with Clark was perfectly understandable, and even if it wasn't he was able to deal with it and reconnect with Clark, and that speaks a lot for him.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Oliverbop_radar on November 1st, 2008 11:00 pm (UTC)
I agree--Jimmy and Oliver were at their best and being used to their full potential to support Clark's evolution. You're right--a mature Jimmy is rare, but he really was here.

I thought Oliver's anger with Clark was perfectly understandable, and even if it wasn't he was able to deal with it and reconnect with Clark, and that speaks a lot for him.
Absolutely! And in the scheme of things it didn't last very long at all. As soon as Oliver got the call to be a hero again, he was able to put all that aside. I'm glad the show didn't ignore the issue but also glad that they didn't let it drag on or become unnecessarily bitter.
Beck: SV - Clark Lois Oliver by Carmendovebeck_liz on November 2nd, 2008 01:55 am (UTC)
I haven't talked about it much, but I'm absolutely loving this season, too. I really don't miss Lex all that much, especially if it means we get this awesome Clark. I adored this episode, and really pretty much everyone in it. The only disagreement I have with you is about the Chloe scene at the end - I found it shocking and riveting.

Clark knows what triggered this for Oliver but he hasn't bothered to go and talk to him until he needed something.

Yeah, well. Vintage Clark, though, really. He needs to work on that.

And I am THRILLED that she's vowed to land the first interview!

OMG. I squealed when she said that. *twirls* I love that SO much. *bounces* I wonder if we'll get to see that?
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark basketballbop_radar on November 2nd, 2008 02:56 am (UTC)
The only disagreement I have with you is about the Chloe scene at the end - I found it shocking and riveting
Oh, that's interesting. I'm glad it worked for some people.

Vintage Clark, though
I agree--and I think he and Oliver know and understand one another better having worked through this. It's kind of just how Clark is and Oliver seems to 'get' that.

I wonder if we'll get to see that?
It made it seem like we might! And yet on the other hand I can't work out how they would manage that.
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois did we?bop_radar on November 2nd, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
Perhaps Jimmy is not the sole or even main problem with "Chimmy", eh Internet?
Hee hee, certainly not! I wish Jimmy would get out of that relationship. And it's good to see him used for a purpose other than shipping. I've always enjoyed it when he works with Lois, for instance.

I think his troubled arc made people forget how great he was in S6.
True! And I've found people are quick to judge with Ollie. I was always sure that his 'off the rails' plot would be temporary. And it's not as if Clark hasn't had those times himself (*cough* summerspentonredK! *cough*). I knew Oliver would come good again and I think the plot was well handled--they didn't let it drag on too long and it ultimately showed how loyal he is to his friendship with Clark.

I'll try to hang in there ...