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15 November 2008 @ 10:12 am
Smallville 8.09 Abyss  
This episode did not have a promising title but it delivered way more than I expected, but was not without its (very) controversial aspects.

Chloe
I knew this episode had no Lois so I expected to be bored. I was not bored! The teaser established the premise of the episode and I was impressed by the effects used to reflect Chloe's memory loss but I wasn't thrilled about the premise itself. I didn't honestly expect to be in a different place at the end of the episode than at the start. Perhaps I am too used to the Smallville of old! I also didn't expect to be moved by Chloe's story because I long ago stopped caring, I thought. But I was! This episode actually managed to evoke the Chloe I remember loving. *jawdrop*

The parts I was startlingly moved by were her losing her memory of learning about Clark's powers and then losing the first kiss (which was adorably reenacted!). This journey back through Chloe's past really made me think about her development over the seasons and the point where it lost me. And it was her knowledge of Clark's powers that were the biggest problem. Not at first, because at the time Clark so desperately needed someone to know that I was happy about it. I remember being moved that Alicia gave him that as her final gift. However, the effect on Chloe's character, the weight and burden of that knowledge, proved problematic. To me, she became increasingly unlikeable: possessive, controlling, demanding, self-righteous. She idolised Clark to an unhealthy degree.

One of the things I loved about this episode was that it put all that in context. Clark was already very important to Chloe--she'd crushed on him at a young, impressionable age and they were best friends with romantic subtext. But when she found out about his powers that solidified his position as the central figure in her subconscious, a position not even her (loved) fiance could shake. I found that so true to what I've seen on the show. I believe Chloe loves Jimmy but that does not make her a good girlfriend automatically, and it also does not mean she doesn't still prioritise Clark over him.

From an internal character perspective, Chloe's knowledge of Clark's powers has cost her a LOT. I stopped caring, but if I did care, I would say that it has isolated her from others, cost her her career and reshaped her ambitions around someone else rather than living her own life. It has endangered her life continually, and combined with her meteor power brought her close to death. It nearly cost her her soon-to-be marriage.

I completely understand and admire why Clark chose to erase Chloe's knowledge of his powers. I *know* there will be outcry from fandom, but I love it. I see it as a mature decision on his part. Yes, it's deciding something for another person and it's probably not what Chloe would herself choose. But Clark's looking at the bigger picture here. And his act is selfless: he will miss her. But he's also learned to function without her now. Gone are the days when he ran to her for advice on every small crisis. He's an independent thinker and one who utilises fully his ability to reflect deeply on things. YAY YAY YAY! \o/

I'm loving Davis still. I was fascinated to see a shift in confidence in this episode. I do not know yet what decisions he has made regarding his powers--perhaps no deliberate ones yet--but this played to me as if the mere fact of having an invincibility had made him more assertive and then, towards the end of the episode, pushier. That was really well acted by Witner who is managing to tread a great line between being likeable and creepy now. The final scene really made it seem like a new identity was growing in Davis. He says he tries to be the good guy and return Chloe to Jimmy: that is definitely the Davis we first met. Feora's attack seems to have kickstarted a new, more conscious, demanding persona, that won't take no for an answer. That's sort of what I thought might happen and I'm finding it interesting to watch.

And yay PURPOSE for the whole Davis/Chloe plot! Though it did amuse me that Brainiac really wanted to make out with Doom. :D (I still really wish someone would write fic that explored Brainiac's strange voyeuristic sexuality. I swear he has one!)

You've made great progress, my son
Now let's talk about the REALLY COOL part of the episode. :D The Fortress! AI!Jor-El! \o/ LOVE! I have waited YEARS for this scene and omg, the payoff was brilliant. We got no less than THREE Fortress scenes.

Overlooking Clark's first pissy and completely inaccurate claim that he had wanted to learn about his destiny and Jor-El had 'torn it away', his behaviour in the Fortress was EXEMPLORY. Clark honey, I buy that *now* you've plausibly reached a place where you do want to know about your powers and maybe even (SHOCK!) actually do your training (though I doubt we'll get that far...) but last season you were still showing no interest. Ah well, it gave Jor-El a chance to explain clearly the Fortress's self-destruct mechanism, one which seems entirely sensible.

I love, love, love that Clark was able to articulate exactly what Jor-El had done. OMG, he really thought about it! Yes, Jor-El was willing to sacrifice his only son if he became a danger to the world. For Clark, of course that knowledge hurts at some level. But here he handles it with such dignity. He understands personal sacrifice so well and when he says that he understands now 'what it truly means to protect people' I completely believe him because we've seen it, and the follow up clause 'not just my friends and family' made me even happier.

I must say I was VERY amused at the 'you treat me like an enemy'/'your trials have matured you' exchange. And I know how happy it will make some fans (latxcvi?!) that Clark asserts that Jor-El punishes him and treats him like an enemy. I disagree that AI!Jor-El ever saw Clark as an enemy and his 'punishing' has often been misconstrued--he frequently tried to warn Clark of the consequences of his actions, consequences Jor-El was powerless to control, but Clark ignored him. If Clark constructs that as punishment it's not strictly accurate. Some things were more direct (icicle!) so I give Clark a pass on the 'punish' part of that statement. I also am completely onboard with him telling AI!Jor-El to trust him now. Atta boy! And I love that AI!Jor-El didn't bother arguing about the past--he immediately recognises the shift in Clark and validates it. This completely confirms my long-held view that if Clark would stop screaming around like a rebellious teenager in the Fortress, he'd see that the AI was not his enemy.

So. With the slate clean, adult Clark and the AI discuss the situation. Clark wants help with Chloe/Briainac. As usual, the AI lays out what he can do but also the fact that there may be unforeseen risks involved. Usually Clark rashly ignores these, but in this case I feel he really thought about it, and accepted that. Of course, the consequence in this case turns out to be the Fortress being infected by Brainiac. So Clark loses his father just as he finally accepted him.

The AI accepts Clark's decision and also acknowledges what a big step it was for Clark to suggest that Chloe not remember his identity. This is the type of intereaction I've always wanted them to have--instead of AI trying to advise and being accused of being cruel and unfeeling, Clark acting selflessly and maturely and the AI demonstrated the closest thing to programmed 'sympathy'.

I was already thrilled by the progress made in this episode but the final scene completely blew me away. Clark did not begin by YELLING! He said 'Jor-El' really calmly! And then the words I thought I would NEVER hear--a thank you--a sincere thank you!--came out of his mouth. OMG Clark! Usually when the Fortress does something you want you ignore it until the unforeseen consequences bite and then you return only to scream in rage at how annoyed you are that it did what you asked.

More than that, Clark comes to the Fortress to commune emotionally with the AI! He admits his feelings maturely--he has lost a lot. And the AI IMMEDIATELY recognises that AND goes further and asks him what is on his mind. OMG I LOVE THE AI SO MUCH! When Clark interacts with it like an adult, it is completely awesome. This is the potential it always had but which we never saw because Clark and the Kents were too busy being fearful of it--the Fortress can be a place where Clark goes to think about the problems he faces. \o/ He also gets useful information.

Now let us pause for a tear of happiness at these lines:
'I am here for you as well, my son.'
'Thank you... Father.'


WOW.

Let us not speak of the subsequent Brianiac infection. It sucks, but let's face it, we've been there done that. It will all come good again, I'm sure.
 
 
Current Location: sofa of comfiness
Current Mood: surprisedsurprised
 
 
 
jude_judith82: SV{Clark/Smiley}jude_judith82 on November 15th, 2008 12:12 am (UTC)
I completely understand and admire why Clark chose to erase Chloe's knowledge of his powers. I *know* there will be outcry from fandom, but I love it. I see it as a mature decision on his part. Yes, it's deciding something for another person and it's probably not what Chloe would herself choose. But Clark's looking at the bigger picture here. And his act is selfless: he will miss her. But he's also learned to function without her now.

Thank you so much for this. People are really hating it but you know what I saw it the same way you did.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark basketballbop_radar on November 15th, 2008 12:28 am (UTC)
I love it. I think it's heroic and selfless and a very difficult decision but one which ultimately has Chloe's best interests at heart. That's not without problems--I do realise that--because acting without consent is always difficult. But I do believe it's very Superman-ly. Sometimes his future identity will demand that he makes decisions for others in a way that overrides their wishes but looks at the big picture. I know 'rule them with strength' turned out to be Zor-El's line, but I always wondered if this was what 'rule them with strength' could mean. It's a heavy burden of responsibility and it will leave him open to people's anger. In some circumstances I am sure I too would rail against him acting in such a controlling way. But Clark is not acting like a cruel dictator here--he loves Chloe and will continue to love her, but his abilities also place him in a role of looking over/after her. That's not his fault but he does have to acknowledge the reality of that--which he has done here. For a while, that balance was flipped the other way with Chloe 'looking after' Clark and we saw how dangerous that was for her in just the last episode.

Sorry, I'm rambling, but I feel passionately about this!
jude_judith82: SV{Clark and Chloe}jude_judith82 on November 15th, 2008 03:19 am (UTC)
I understand and ramble away. I think for me what sold me on it was that when he made the decision it was obviously difficult for him. He acknowledged her and all the things he had done for him. Saving his life and being a great ally. Then when he comes back he states that he has lost more than he knew. It's a tricky thing but I think it was done well.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark basketballbop_radar on November 15th, 2008 04:48 am (UTC)
Same! :)
Lacy: heart string by flatlinedlacylaces on November 15th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
Davis is a very interesting character and Sam is doing an amazing job at making him human.

Clark does show signs of maturity and thinking about others and putting them first. However, I think how he expresses that and the choices he makes are still very much rooted in feelings of guilt about how he feels he has ruined and negatively impacted the lives of the people around him.

One of the hardest adult lessons there is to learn is that you can't control much of life, particularly the choices of people who choose to become a part of your life and to let you into their lives. By choosing to take Chloe's memory of his powers, regardless of how she found out, he's still trying to control this.

And though he is acting out of selfless love for Chloe by putting what he thinks is best for her above his need for someone in his life who knows him fully, alien Clark especially, he is isolating and punishing himself in a way. Again because if not for his secret/powers/alien nature, Chloe wouldn't be in this fix.

I think that Clark relies more on Chloe for the comfort of having someone in your life who knows you, good and bad, and still stays than for her to do his thinking and problem solving. He's not ready to carry the burden of his alien heritage alone.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Bop_radar TWbop_radar on November 15th, 2008 12:55 am (UTC)
I think how he expresses that and the choices he makes are still very much rooted in feelings of guilt
I really didn't see any sign of that in this episode. I saw a thoughtful young man who looked at things from a balanced perspective. Yes, he does feel guilt about the burden that Chloe's had to carry, but he doesn't wallow in that any more and I don't think it's the position from which he makes his decision. It didn't play that way to all because he was so clear and firm and emotionally contained in doing so. He's no longer the anxious, emotional young man who makes spur-of-the-moment decisions like the one to get Lana's life back.

he is isolating and punishing himself in a way
I don't think he is being self-punishing. He knows there will be emotional consequences for him of his decisions but he makes it anyway and then acts proactively to deal with his emotions in a new way. That way is with the Fotress--which is entirely in keeping with his future mythology.

He's not ready to carry the burden of his alien heritage alone.
I disagree. I think he's been doing so by himself for most of this season and I've been delighted to see it. To claim that he isn't ready is to infantilise him and I think he's proved he's a grown man with more-than-a-grown-man's responsibility. He has made his own decisions about taking on a hero role in Metropolis, independent from Chloe.

Even if I did agree with that statement, Clark is NOT alone. He's in a very different place emotionally in terms of support than when Chloe first found out about his powers. He has friends and colleagues he can call all--principally Oliver, who can empathise about the lonely burden, and J'onn, who I notice Clark has been calling on for help more and more. J'onn can act and has acted as a mentor because of his connection with Jor-El and his mandate to watch over Clark. And now Clark has connnected with the Fortress too. He doesn't know he's lost it to Brainiac so he thinks he will be able to come here for advice.

His decision is a mature one and while it will be tough on him, I am sure it is mediated by his awareness that he does have people to turn to, and imo people who are much more appropriate secret-keepers than Chloe.
Denise: Clois friendskdsch123 on November 15th, 2008 12:51 am (UTC)
OOOhhh...Bop! What a great idea for a fic. No one has written that yet? *scratches head* If I wrote slash smut, I'd be all over that. :D

I like your thoughts about the episode...I actually agree with quite a bit of it, too. I hope the rest of the season doesn't disappoint.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Batgirlbop_radar on November 15th, 2008 12:57 am (UTC)
Not to my knowledge, no! When we found out Brainiac could shapeshift into car form (remember Splinter!) I really wanted fic in which Clark and Lex made out in a porsche that was actually Brainiac. :D I'm astonished that people haven't made more of the Brainiac shape-shifting ability. What about when he was Kara and hit on Lex? :D

I am enjoying this season a lot more than I expected to. I can tell this one is going to be a divisive one for fandom but I'm loving feeling this engaged with SV again!
daybreak777: Hee!daybreak777 on November 15th, 2008 01:38 am (UTC)
I really wanted fic in which Clark and Lex made out in a porsche that was actually Brainiac. :D
Ha! Thank you for the lols. :-D

Dude, I can write fic, but I can't even begin to wrap my mind around such a threesome. :-) Thanks, though, this image will keep me giggling for a long time!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark basketballbop_radar on November 15th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
I tried to get people to write that, but would they? No, they would not! (I do agree it would be tricky, but it could be so FUNNY!)
daybreak777: wet clarkdaybreak777 on November 15th, 2008 12:53 am (UTC)
Yay, for not being bored!! I told you, I was totally riveted.

when she found out about his powers that solidified his position as the central figure in her subconscious.
Wow, this is really powerful. But yes. Funny to me, since I started the show with him already solidified there for her, and since he is the central person on the show for me, now anyway, I accepted his role in her life. I think what won me over with Chloe last year, after Bizarro broke my shipper heart so thoroughly, was her devotion to Clark. That she knew him better than anyone. It killed me in this episode to see her memories of him taken away and then for Davis--Davis!--to have that role as central in her subconcious. And nothing against Davis, either, he is really, really growing on me.

He's an independent thinker and one who utilises fully his ability to reflect deeply on things.
Yes, Bop but he's soooooo lonely! No one knows him know. I guess that's right for Superman, but now I'm just feeling for Clark. He reminds me so of Lee Adama. Everyone walking away from him, leaving just like he said. Clark has no . . . home now. That scene when he just blinks and Chloe says, "Wait, were you in a car accident?" Played perfectly by Allison, concerned and completely oblivious. But the loss of his best friend, awww! I'm not overly, overly invested in them, but I like Clark very much and I am sad for anyone so alone.

You were really loving AI this ep! I haven't know AI well, and really get my fortress knowledge from Superman II, I think. I know that place can be torn down and rebuilt over and over so I'm not worried about it.

Only one slight nitpick, didn't they see the black Brainiac oil slipping out of Chloe's ear? SV kills me with stuff like that. Where did they think Brainiac went, they knew he was inside the girl! And they are always leaving the fortress. People get trapped there, it gets destroyed. Why can't someone (Clark, I guess) stay in the fortress for once and make sure it's okay? On that score, where the heck is Lex? Did I miss that, where Lex might be? I know I last saw him was . . . at the fortress.

See, poor Clark. He might have found a home in his father, but he leaves it and it falls apart. :-( Gosh, he really is Lee like when you think about it that way.

And I guess, I do like Chloe. Your points about the secret's effects on her are good ones. Maybe now she can genuinely and freely love Jimmy. Though every time one of them says the word "love" or "marriage", I expect immediate news of Jimmy's death. I need to be more optimistic!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lana :Dbop_radar on November 15th, 2008 01:08 am (UTC)
SO not bored! \o/

It killed me in this episode to see her memories of him taken away and then for Davis--Davis!--to have that role as central in her subconcious.
I knooooow! That sucked me in too because it's so creepy and dark and wrong. Even if we didn't know about his darker self it's a horrible idea that she can only remember someone who's come into her life so recently and in the scheme of things figures in such a small way. With the added knowledge that that was Brainiac trying to head towards him, it was chilling.

No one knows him now.
Nonsense! Oliver knows him. The rest of the J League know him. J'onn knows him. Kara knows him. The Fortress knows him. He has HEAPS more support than he's ever had previously. I'm not saying he won't feel lonely but he's in a much better position now in terms of people to turn to than he was when Chloe first became secret-keeper.

He reminds me so of Lee Adama. Everyone walking away from him, leaving just like he said.
Oh, honey, it's so much worse than that! They will all DIE. Clark's destiny is to outlive them all and be left truly alone. *tear*

You were really loving AI this ep!
I love the AI. I have been an AI-sympathiser for a long long time because he is completely demonised in fandom. The AI has been an ambiguous 'figure' for a long time and the show deliberately set up it's motives as opaque but I always felt they did so in order to reveal in the end that its role is one of support for Clark. So this episode was massive payoff for me!

SV kills me with stuff like that. Where did they think Brainiac went, they knew he was inside the girl!
HAHAHA, I KNOW!!! So dumb.

The SV moment that killed me was when Davis, the Metropolis paramedic takes Chloe home in order to jumpstart her memory and when that doesn't work... abandons her. And then Jimmy says they have to take her to Smallville hospital. Hopeless!

Did I miss that, where Lex might be? I know I last saw him was . . . at the fortress.
Yeah but the Fortress was completely destroyed. I don't think he could have survived that, and even if he did he would have then frozen to death. I think he's in another dimension somewhere.

He might have found a home in his father, but he leaves it and it falls apart. :-( Gosh, he really is Lee like when you think about it that way.
Hahaha, you are amusing me with the Lee parallels! Yes, they are there. And yes, he never gets cut a break. ;) Except that Clark gets the girl of his dreams so in that way he has it better than Lee. :p

Maybe now she can genuinely and freely love Jimmy.
I think she can! Wasn't the final scene of them cute? I think there is every reason to hope that they can have their happy ending now though I never saw a way for it before. There is also every chance that I will like Chloe now because she won't be a crap girlfriend to Jimmy any more. \o/
daybreak777: wet clarkdaybreak777 on November 15th, 2008 01:36 am (UTC)
Nonsense! Oliver knows him. The rest of the J League know him. J'onn knows him. Kara knows him. The Fortress knows him. He has HEAPS more support than he's ever had previously.
Yeah, I get that, but he doesn't seem close to these people. Do they love him? I think Clark likes having these close intense relationships. I know he's probably destined to be alone, but not yet and maybe not on this show. I have tunnel vision when it comes to Smallville. I try to ignore the comics and movies and Superman lore (I know, blasphemy, eep!) and just focus on what SV canon I know and Tom's blue eyes. And I honestly hate when Clark is sad or hurting. Are these people willing to die for him? Can he come to them to solve crimes or when he's sad? Who does he eat dinner with? I don't know. It felt like he had family before. Martha, his father, Pete, Lana, Chloe. I feel he's lost the people who knew him when he was little.

think he's in another dimension somewhere.
Smallville's loose ends worry me. Because these things come back! Not Lex, maybe, but other villains are rather stubborn and recurring. You'd think the Scoobies would figure that out too and finish investigating but no.

Except that Clark gets the girl of his dreams so in that way he has it better than Lee.
You mean Lois, somewhere off of the canon of this show? Or do you mean Lois sometime during this show? Funny, I don't think the show will end with Clark with her. Or Clark with anyone. Theirs is a future far, far away. When he's man enough to deal. He's getting there. He is getting there. But not yet, so I have to pet him. :-)

There is also every chance that I will like Chloe now because she won't be a crap girlfriend to Jimmy any more.
I realize something. I have fallen into a bit of blind love about Clark. Clark! Who was so slow and annoying to me at times last year! Gosh, this show! Maybe it's because he's waking/growing up. But mostly because of his pain. I don't care about Jimmy Olsen one iota or what kind of girlfriend he has. It's Clark, Clark, Clark for me now. I want him to have a good girlfriend!

Bring back Maxima! :-)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Bop_radar TWbop_radar on November 15th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC)
It felt like he had family before. Martha, his father, Pete, Lana, Chloe. I feel he's lost the people who knew him when he was little.
Ah, yes, I see. But he still has Chloe in those terms! I think we will see that he totally still has her. In fact in some ways I think their friendship is now free to be a genuine friendship again and not have to focus on Clark's powers/destiny/angst all the time. He needs downtime from that as badly as he needs support in it. For me, the loneliness at the farm stems from Martha's absence. I miss her SO much and I am sure Clark does too. I think him asking Lois to move in with him showed that he would like that companionship. But for me all that means is they have to hurry up and get together. :D

You mean Lois, somewhere off of the canon of this show?
Yeah, I mean big picture, not necessarily on the show. Unlike you I do think about that a lot--Smallville is so heavily informed by What Is To Come I find it unavoidable.

I have fallen into a bit of blind love about Clark. Clark! Who was so slow and annoying to me at times last year! Gosh, this show!
Hee hee hee! Smallville has this slow creep thing. You watch it at first thinking it is SO BAD and then you end up really caring about the characters. It's sneaky!

My secret hope is that Maxima will come back to help fight Davis's character when he goes truly bad. I believe I have good reason to think that will happen... *crosses fingers*
chatchien: Girl Pop in Roomchatchien on November 15th, 2008 01:01 am (UTC)
Clark just did to Chloe what Brainiac was doing to her---erasing and controlling her memory. I think that we are supposed to equate the two things. Clark made a choice and now he will have to man up and face the consequences of that action and choice (Black Day at FOS!). In fact, he tells Jor El that he will. Clark isn't perfect and he doesn't always make the right choices, but he does have the powers to change and modify the consequences. Every dead Chaotic butterfly brings back Brainiac---or so it seems.

Now---what will they do about Oliver Queen knowing Clark's secret? And what about the other one, Lana, who also knows the secret and who was also infected by Brainiac? Chloe is some sort of foreshadowing for Lana. And Lana is coming back!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Bop_radar TWbop_radar on November 15th, 2008 01:11 am (UTC)
I agree that there are deliberate parallels but Clark's end goal is very different from Brainiac's. And I agree that Clark is manning up and facing the consequences of his actions--that's what is thrilling me so much.

I don't really see that they need to do anything about Oliver, but I am intrigued to see what will happen with Lana. There are SO many different ways that plot could play out. (I am unspoiled and happy that I am because I think it will be very suspenseful.)
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Ericabop_radar on November 15th, 2008 02:20 am (UTC)
I'm very curious too! This episode was so not at ALL what I expected!

When Jor-El said he was there for Clark, I teared up.
Same! It was just so exciting! I really appreciate that this season Clark's plot is advancing in all areas of his life, not just one. We've seen them push the Clois along, his DP job, his relationship with the JLeague and role as hero, and now the Fortress too!

t seems Clark is on the cusp of letting go of the paralysing human guilt instilled in him so profoundly by the Kents; he is trading it in for a more solitary but still engaged compassion
That's a great description of what I saw here: solitary but engaged compassion. And I love it! It's so mature.

I feel very encouraged also. I know some stuff about character episode counts but other than that know nothing other than the fact that fandom has its knickers in a twist. But I am always at complete odds with fandom at large so I have every confidence that it will actually all turn out wonderfully. :D :D :D

In the end, what matters is what Clark does. Episodes like Abyss help me focus back on what's important.
Mmmhmm. *vehement nodding* And this season he's totally rocked so far and I feel sure he'll continue to do so. I love that that was the focus of this episode, so much so that I didn't miss my other loved characters (Lois, Tess, Oliver) nearly as much as I expected to.
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois runbop_radar on November 15th, 2008 02:29 am (UTC)
Why on earth didn't they promote THAT?
My take? Because they were secretly anxious that this was an episode Chlark fans would hate (I'll explain why later) and so tried to sell it in advance to Chloe fans as being all about Chloe.

The heart of the episode actually lay in Clark's burgeoning maturity and decision making, and I HIGHLY recommend fastforwarding to the Fortress scenes because they were SO great. There is one speech about Chloe that you will hate but it is brief. Everything else is AWESOME.

Clark must be in your trailers. Promotion focused around your main character, around Superman mythic elements (Clois, DP, canon villains, canon heroes) = win. Promotion focused solely on a supporting character = lose
*nods* Unfortunately Chloe is second-billed after Clark and I do see that as a structural problem with this season. Of course you know how I'd personally have fixed that...

To me the whole thing sounded like one big consolation prize to the Chlarkers to love and cherish,
I can so see how it would have seemed like that from promos. But actually I found it quite well handled. Yeah, they threw a few fragments out for the Chlarkers, but Clark's centrality in her memories was not actually played as romantic. It made it more seem like she'd been a young girl who crushed on him and then finding out about his powers rewired her brain in a disturbing way so that Chloe became All About Clark. And it also clearly showed how wrong that was because it robbed Jimmy of his rightful place. At the end of the episode Chloe and Jimmy are together and happy and Chloe seems so *into* Jimmy--it really felt like the damage had been repaired. So I don't know... the resolution was really NOT one Chlarkers would like, I think.

The ratings speak for themselves, yeah.

Chloe being out as Clark sidekick/search engine/secret keeper = EPIC WIN.
Yeah, absolutely! There is a flicker of a possibility that I could like her again. She was instantly LESS annoying in this episode because everything about her identity that I hated was taken away. It was also hard not to read this as the writers finally realising that Chloe's character had become so unlikeable and horrible and problematic they had to literally 'rebooot' her. :) I will feel really REALLY let down if they back out of this. I think it's the best move they've made in years with her character.
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois marriagebop_radar on November 15th, 2008 09:28 am (UTC)
I think 3 flashback scenes involving kisses is just flat out pandering to them.
Well I *did* start saying 'oh my god!' in despair but by the time the words had come out they were over. The flashes were that fast. The only one we saw for longer than a second or two was the one where they were really little--with child actors--and I was kind of fine with that because it was long before Chloe became stalkery and I kind of just felt sad that this little girl had wound up so dreadful.

To be able to get that back and get rid of the Clark stalking would be tremendous.
It would, it would! And honestly I saw flashes of potential for that in this episode because as she lost her memories she became more sympathetic. She was frightened and confused but not in anyway annoying. And afterwards she seemed really likeable. Buddy-ish with Clark and smitten with Jimmy. Of course it doesn't pay to get TOO excited where SV is concerned, but I can't help hoping... if this sticks, they're free to use her in those sort of ways again, and that would be great and work far better in the S8 dynamic.
Cris: Clark - disguiseduskwillow on November 15th, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)
It was also hard not to read this as the writers finally realising that Chloe's character had become so unlikeable and horrible and problematic they had to literally 'rebooot' her. :)

Ha, yes!
This is the main reason why I can't mind too much what Clark did. If it means we'll get the fun Clark & Chloe dynamic back, see them hang out just as friends without any sidekick job. See him sneak around and hide his powers, and thus bringing the funny back into their relationship. I'm all for it! I want to be entertained again, I want to enjoy those two again - but they have to give me something, because the last two years were kinda dull.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Bop_radar TWbop_radar on November 15th, 2008 11:46 pm (UTC)
ME TOO! I loved them, once upon a time. I want that back! I want to stop wanting to punch Chloe in every scene she's in. It feels so FREEING!
Fleegull: Zipping Upfleegull on November 17th, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)
SV was also pre-empted in NY for football, so that could also have something to do with the lower ratings.
Erintigergal05 on November 15th, 2008 05:13 am (UTC)
The Clark and Jor-El scenes MADE the episode, in my opinion..and that last line?
"Father"..a big 'GUH' from me! And not only that, right after we got a Brainiac voiceover with a complete overtaking of the Fortress...and he actually said "Doomsday is coming."..
I had no words, and the trailer for next week didn't improve my speechlessness in the least..:-p
Wonderful review, as always!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Buffy Willow friends hugbop_radar on November 15th, 2008 09:20 am (UTC)
OMG yes! It was so wonderful and now I feel like the whole season is set up and has lots of suspense and I'm excited!
Nora Norwich: Chloe woenorwich36 on November 15th, 2008 06:58 am (UTC)
We have radically different perspectives on the episode, obviously, and I'm not sure I can have a calm and rational discussion of Clark at this point in time.

But I'm actually commenting to say that a huge portion of this review is appearing outside of a cut, and I don't think you were intending that?
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Boppybop_radar on November 15th, 2008 09:18 am (UTC)
Oh dear and oh dear!

I fixed a typo and must have screwed the cut. Thank you for letting me know, I had NO idea. EEEEEEP.
gildinwengildinwen on November 15th, 2008 01:00 pm (UTC)
Like you I...well I didn't adore what Clark did, but I understood why he did it, and my heart just broke for our alien boy. I'm sure there will be outcry from fandom, already there are people looking forward to the day Doomsday, well you know what he does to Clark don't you?
It tore him apart to do this to her, and it killed me. The thing is she all she's lost is memory of his secret, and being his secret keeper. And I saw how much happier Chloe seemed to be. Without the burden of that on she's back to the fun Chloe that everyone fell in love with. And for once I didn't want to hit her.

It goes back to Identity, when Clark was scared that knowing his secret would place Jimmy in danger. He isn't being unreasonable when he said that. Knowing his secret has placed Chloe in danger multiple times, and finally with Brainiac. And he has learned to move on and function without her. People wanted her so much to be a part of the Superman myth, that, they were happy for her to do all the work, even if it stalled Clark's development, while all the time screaming, that Clark was being a 'BDA'.

Sorry for rambling, this is your journal, it's just it's nice to see someone who sees this episode the way I do.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex here with youbop_radar on November 15th, 2008 11:44 pm (UTC)
already there are people looking forward to the day Doomsday, well you know what he does to Clark don't you?
Oh wow. Overreaction much? I have been completely infuriated at Clark in the past--when he didn't tell Lex about his missing memories for instance--but I never wanted him to die!

It tore him apart to do this to her, and it killed me.
Absolutely! This was not a rash or selfish act.

I saw how much happier Chloe seemed to be. Without the burden of that on she's back to the fun Chloe that everyone fell in love with.
I couldn't agree more.

He isn't being unreasonable when he said that.
No, he's not! It's really true. But people always seem to forget or deny that whenever the issue comes up.

And ramble away! I feel like people that agree that understand Clark's perspective on this are in the minority out there so it's refreshing to hear from them. I too am so glad at least a handful of people see this side of it.
gildinwengildinwen on November 15th, 2008 11:57 pm (UTC)
It's just...like you I was really angry with Clark when he didn't tell Lex about his missing memories. I gave him a pass because I could accept it came from a mistake of youth.

however, if Clark had the choice now, about whether to tell Lex...if Lionel was the Lionel in season 3, he probably would tell Lex because he would be able to deal with Lionel. Brainiac is a COMPUTER. No matter how many time Clark defeats him (and how many times has Clark 'killed' him, it's got to be two or three by my count) he'll always come back.

And I can see how Clark would think that having Chloe not knowing his secret would make her safe. Brainiac, targaeted everyone who knew: Martha, Chloe, Lana, even Lex were all targeted by brainiac, because they in Clark's inner circle, or because they were drawn to him (investigation into aliens and that)
And it always infuriates me when people gloss over that knowing Clark is dangerous. Lois is the only one I can think of right now and that's because she's not privy to his secret. It wouldn't surpirse me if Brainiac targeted the Justice League.

But on another note, when Jor-El told Clark that he would be there for him, and Clark called him 'Father'. I teared up- I won't lie. It got me right in the heart. I have my issues with Jor-El and the AI, but it's wonderful to know that Clark has someone. Even if he is a supercomputer in a block of ice.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex here with youbop_radar on November 16th, 2008 12:08 am (UTC)
Yes, Clark was SO young when that happened with Lex and on rewatch his confusion and angst comes through so much--he was looking to everyone else including his parents for direction back then and was kind of like a little boy lost in the woods.

Now it's different--he's a grown up man who makes his own decisions. And he's seen the consequences of things like people learning his secret over years and years.

It wouldn't surpirse me if Brainiac targeted the Justice League.
Oh, same! It wouldn't surprise me at all. He's so insidious, he'll go after anyone and for all we know he remembers stuff about them from being in Chloe's brain. EEEEEK!

I'm so glad the 'Father' moment worked for you too! It's been such a tough relationship but I always felt it had potential to be constructive, but I did wonder for a while if the show would ever go there. I love the writing of those scenes in this episode and it was just wonderful to think that Clark has reached a place where despite feeling betrayed by some of the Fortress/AI's actions, he will acknowledge the support and help that he does receive.
Cris: Clark - flyduskwillow on November 15th, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC)
I must admit I'm a bit jealous. lol I didn't enjoy this episode, I was rather bored. I really wish my predictions ended up being wrong. :/

Gone are the days when he ran to her for advice on every small crisis. He's an independent thinker and one who utilises fully his ability to reflect deeply on things.

This pleases me a lot. I'm so happy that he's finally at the point where he is able to function completely as a hero on his own. He is just so much more grown up this year. \o/
And the FoS scene also showed that. I loved that scene, it was the scene that saved the episode for me. How cool was to see them talk as adults, as equals, and to see them respect each other? ♥

K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark basketballbop_radar on November 15th, 2008 11:41 pm (UTC)
I didn't love the ep but I enjoyed it more than I expected to. Also it helped that I lined up a 1930s comedy to watch straight afterwards so I knew I had something to look forward to. :p

How cool was to see them talk as adults, as equals, and to see them respect each other? ♥
SO COOL! I admire Clark a lot for being able to put the past behind him and move forward like this. He is just SO AWESOME this season!
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Bop_radar TWbop_radar on November 15th, 2008 11:39 pm (UTC)
I think it was such a well balanced scene--no matter who you sympathised with, it resulted in a functional relationship and that is very, very YAY! (Although I don't know if we'll actually get any more of the AI if fortress is taken over now...)
Kate: Clark in a suitmskatej on November 15th, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)
I loved this episode! I completely agree with all your thoughts on Chloe and Clark, and I'm really excited about this turn of events - like you, I found myself warming up to Chloe again, and by the end of the episode I kind of adored her. :)

As for Clark making the decision to take her memories away from her, it came from a place of pure selflessness, not from a place of arrogance, so I totally give him a pass. ♥
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark identity crisisbop_radar on November 15th, 2008 11:35 pm (UTC)
HOORAY! Thank goodness someone feels as I did! I am filled with hope about Chloe--she was sympathetic to me in this episode. And yes Clark was completely selfless. I also think he knows that what he did was controlling. I can see why people are upset about it, but it's hard for me to be when I, like Clark, really do think it is in Chloe's best interests. And also in the best interests of the show! And potentially makes Chloe a more interesting character to me! :)
tragicllyhiptragicllyhip on November 16th, 2008 09:13 pm (UTC)
I had a guest all weekend so I just got to this and I have to say I couldn't agree more with everything you said about Clark. My friend and I were watching it together and when Clark was in the Fortress and he said "Thank You" I held my breathe and waited for "Father" then I squealed with delight!

I knew something was up when he wasn't yelling, I was beginning to wonder if the AI was hard of hearing. I never thought Jor-el was evil or punishing Clark, but of course Clark would see it that way, as all kids do, so I appreciated them allowing him to keep that point of view. All along when Clark was screaming at Jor el in the past all I thought was "you should listen" but I understand that by Clark defying Jor-el he found his own way to where he ended up and made his path his destiny his own.

I see there are a few out there who are very upset with Clark for removing Chloe's knowledge of him, which i don't quite understand, and I've decided I won't try to. Given that she pretty lost her life because of Braniac using her, and she's only gotten into the position she is because she's been so involved with all the alieness of Clark, I don't see what else he could have done. ANd I think it will make her character less arrogant and pushy and more likeable, and it forces Clark to stand on his own. He did what a true friend and selfless person would do.

I wasn't expecting much from the episode and i was pleasantly surprised, especially by the ending, and I cannot wait for this week's episode. Its been a wonderful season thus far (at least from this Clark fan's perspective) and I'm glad that if this is the last season, so far it looks to be going out in top form
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: TW smilebop_radar on November 16th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
I knew something was up when he wasn't yelling, I was beginning to wonder if the AI was hard of hearing.
Hahaha, yeah totally! I paused the ep to say to supacat, 'look, he's not yelling!' but she didn't want to get excited too early. ;)

All along when Clark was screaming at Jor el in the past all I thought was "you should listen"
Me too. We were in very small company.

understand that by Clark defying Jor-el he found his own way to where he ended up and made his path his destiny his own.
True, I guess--I am just delighted that he ended up making a conscious, pre-considered decision to approach the Fortress differently. He didn't just rush there in an emotional frenzy. This is the true marker that he has grown up! And yes, like all kids, he feels unduly hard done by, but he's also manned up and set some boundaries with the Fortress. He's appealed to the AI to trust him and that means he has to repay that trust: WHICH HE DOES! I'm just so delighted.

Its been a wonderful season thus far (at least from this Clark fan's perspective) and I'm glad that if this is the last season, so far it looks to be going out in top form
I'm loving it! I was a bit wary at the beginning because I couldn't quite work out how they were setting up the overall season--all these new characters, where was the focus? But now it's settled into its stride it's been terrific. If it keeps this up, I'll be very happy.

Clark is an absolute delight. I have never loved him more! Which is a weird place to be, the week fandom turns its knives on him, but hey, I am happy over here in my own viewing and since I'm not always happy, or on board with Clark, I am going to enjoy it, dammit!
suex on November 16th, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC)
The parts I was startlingly moved by were her losing her memory of learning about Clark's powers and then losing the first kiss (which was adorably reenacted!). This journey back through Chloe's past really made me think about her development over the seasons and the point where it lost me. And it was her knowledge of Clark's powers that were the biggest problem. Not at first, because at the time Clark so desperately needed someone to know that I was happy about it. I remember being moved that Alicia gave him that as her final gift. However, the effect on Chloe's character, the weight and burden of that knowledge, proved problematic. To me, she became increasingly unlikeable: possessive, controlling, demanding, self-righteous. She idolised Clark to an unhealthy degree.

I also love you for saying this. I just didn't have a huge problem with it when I looked at the big picture, and it made me think back to Jonathon's speech in that ghastly episode, Velocity, which I posted over at Serenography's LJ this morning, so I have it right on hand to repost here.


Jonathan: Clark, sit down. (Clark sits.) Listen, son, it doesn't take a genius to realize that something's been bothering you other than my health lately. What's up? Hmm?

Clark: While you were in the hospital, Pete got himself into a bind. I did some things I'm not too proud of.

Jonathan: Well, your mother and I trust your judgment. We did raise you to know the difference between right and wrong. Clark, one day when we're not around anymore, I'm sure that you're gonna remember it. Look, in the world, things aren't always black and white. I mean, sometimes you got to just wander out into the gray areas and do what you think is best.

Clark: What do you mean?

Jonathan: Clark, I did go talk to Jor-El, and I think maybe that is why my heart gave out. (Clark sighs unhappily.) But listen, son, I went into that cave knowing full well that there were risks involved. And I'd do it again if I thought you were in trouble.

Clark: Dad, I promise I'll never put you in that position again.

Jonathan: Clark, that's not what this is about. You're different than your mother and I. Son, you're gonna have to make choices in your life, moral choices that she and I will never have to make. But we both know that when that time comes, you'll do what you think is best. What's right. That's what's important.

I think that just sums up perfectly how Clark should deal with a situation like that. I rewatched the episode again last night, and I just choked up when Clark tells an unconscious Chloe "I'm really sorry to do this to you Chloe".

Aaarrgghhh .... Tom Welling knows how to get that look going.


Fleegull: Vogue TW & Marynafleegull on November 17th, 2008 04:36 pm (UTC)
I didn't like Clark's actions here but I don't hate him for it because I don't see him at the point where he can acknowledge that it's not necesarily the knowledge of his secret that puts the people he loves in danger, it's simply being around him. He's not fully where he needs to be (in my eyes) as Superman but it's a journey I can still take.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois runbop_radar on November 18th, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC)
It's definitely part of a longer journey--I think I'm just excited that he's closer than ever before in my eyes. (And hey, with talk of S9 on the cards, I guess they've got to give him room to grow still. ;p)
svgurl: chlark best friendssvgurl on November 18th, 2008 04:00 am (UTC)
Another wonderful review! I agree with your review, especially on the Chloe/Clark front.

I don't think it is a path Chloe would choose for herself, as she has said how important the knowledge of Clark's abilities are but it was selfless of Clark. I am not sure how comfortable I am with the memory wiping thing, especially since it changes a lot of Chloe's life and even her interactions with the JL but Clark's heart was in the right place.

Gone are the days when he ran to her for advice on every small crisis. He's an independent thinker and one who utilises fully his ability to reflect deeply on things. YAY YAY YAY! \o/

I love that! Mature, independent Clark makes me SO happy! I think Chloe will get her memories back eventually and I am pretty sure she'll be pissed.

The Clark & Jor-El talks were nice too.

I must say I was VERY amused at the 'you treat me like an enemy'/'your trials have matured you' exchange. And I know how happy it will make some fans ([info]latxcvi?!) that Clark asserts that Jor-El punishes him and treats him like an enemy.

I'm so with you there! It was great how Clark called him out on that. They were both very mature and I like this Jor-El.

It's too bad the Fortress had to be taken over so soon after it got awesome.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Bop_radar TWbop_radar on November 18th, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC)
Aww, that is a cute icon! And gave me an 'aww' moment about them pre-memory-wipe! (See: not a heartless bitch!)

especially since it changes a lot of Chloe's life and even her interactions with the JL but Clark's heart was in the right place.
I'm kind of reserving judgement on how much it would really change as Smallville has a very, how shall I put it, bendable? universe. I can see them playing it as changing a lot, I can see them playing it as changing very little (however implausibly) so I'm kind of just going to wait and see how the show decides to move on that.

I think Chloe will get her memories back eventually and I am pretty sure she'll be pissed.
Hee! Will she be all vengeful and evil?! :D That would be fun! :p

It's too bad the Fortress had to be taken over so soon after it got awesome.
Hahaha, The Fortress was always awesome in my eyes ;) but I totally understand the sentiment--for me, it was a 'it's awful it got taken over so soon after Clark finally connected with it' which amounts to the same thing. *sniffle* Oh well! I have faith it will be back when they can afford to pay Terence Stamp again.