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11 May 2009 @ 06:28 pm
Smallville 8.21 Injustice  
I don't have a lot to say about this episode. Yeah... once the thought 'NAKED OLIVER, NAKED! wore off, I didn't really have a lot of thinky thoughts about this episode. I feel like large swathes of this season were written by people that have never seen an episode of Smallville before. And ok, I know that's not true, but it feels true. This episode also featured several of my most hated elements of Season 8, a season which, on reflection, is probably second to last in my season hierarchy.

Hated plot 1: Oliver is a ravening killer
I feel like the writer have approached the subject of Oliver's morality differing from Clark's with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer this season. Supposing that I could buy that Oliver would be so enraged at his parents' death at the hands of Oliver that he would kill Lex as revenge (a leap I still find hard to swallow), I think there's a big difference between killing from a place of personal vengeance for a deep wrong, and just getting carried away in casual violence (as we saw with the billiard ball). Smallville has scripted Oliver as having both aspects to his personality, instead of doing what it should have done, which is explore situations where there was really no other alternative but to steal/kill in order to achieve the goal of justice. I don't feel they've done that, and I'm miffed. I want to like Oliver, but I hated him in most of this episode.

Hated plot 2: Everyone tries to talk Clark out of a perfectly good plan
Last week Clark's plan to send Davis/Doomsday to the Phantom Zone seemed just fine to me. This week, he came up with an even better, though more dangerous plan. If he can pull it off, splitting Davis from Doomsday and sending only Doomsday to the Phantom Zone is the more compassionate option. However, I do take issue with it on this level: Clark (I nearly called him Smallville, hee!) only came up with this plan in response to Chloe lecturing him. *headdesk* STFU Chloe! STFU everyone that is not Clark! The problem with Chloe doing so is that she is biased. Clark cannot know, and does not know, that Davis is culpable for some deaths himself, beyond the influence of Doomsday. Now, I can live with Davis not being sent to the Phantom Zone because I do believe he can be 'saved' as a human being, but I also feel strongly that he should be held accountable for what he did have control over. Ultimately, that's up to Davis: Davis has to man up and admit his own guilt. But in theory, Clark could have investigated further himself, not just taken Chloe on her word. Is Chloe making Clark a 'better' hero? That's presumably the gloss the writers intended but it's all too convenient for me. Clark couldn't remember Black K until Chloe lectured? Yeah, right... *eyeroll*

On to elements I did like... Oliver hid his pants! HA! I found that entire sequence completely hilarious and joyful in its randomness and I heart this episode for creating it, but seriously, what were the writers thinking? 'This ep is so boring it needs some... naked Oliver'? SURE! \o/ Bring it on, dudes. I laughed so hard when his ruse was 'I hid my pants'. Honey, that is so not the same thing as hiding your lover's clothes. YOU know where your pants ARE! I can't believe Tess didn't just raise an eyebrow and say 'well go find them again, then!' But I enjoyed the myriad of other brush-offs she came up with. I don't think I could be so strong.

I found it ridiculous that Plastique popped up out of nowhere and we're supposed to believe Tess has been training a team this whole time. Oh, Smallville. Sigh. And I know many people will take issue with this, but I found Allison's acting so bad I found it hard to remember that she wasn't Chloe. I had to keep reminding myself, but the give-away was that she wasn't saying the exact opposite of what Clark was saying, and what she'd said last week all the damn time.

Also, I really really mourn the loss of coherent visual/colour/light metaphors on this show. I think that every week.

When is this season over?
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Heather: Aqua Tommiss_tress on May 11th, 2009 11:40 am (UTC)
d I know many people will take issue with this, but I found Allison's acting so bad I found it hard to remember that she wasn't Chloe.
I was so very disappointed when Ms. Shape Shifter's demeanor didn't change at all when she was with the rest of her team. That was just a horrible acting choice.
huzzlewhat: sv_clark_fortresshuzzlewhat on May 11th, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
I was so very disappointed when Ms. Shape Shifter's demeanor didn't change at all when she was with the rest of her team. That was just a horrible acting choice.

That threw me as well. It might as well have been Chloe in that scene, and I found that really jarring. I had to be fair, though, and throw some blame the director's way, too, much as it pained me. :-) (I make no claims to be completely objective where TW is concerned. It's always an effort.)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: TW smilebop_radar on May 11th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I don't want to blame Tom, but I feel someone should have considered it. Other than that I felt the direction was faultless. I just had issues with the script.
Heather: Soft Light Tommiss_tress on May 11th, 2009 10:23 pm (UTC)
I would give Tom a silver medal instead of a gold for this medal. His routine was great, he just didn't stick the landing.

Of course a part of me wonders how she even knew how Chloe acts to begin with. Did Tess have tapes of Chloe for her to watch?
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex here with youbop_radar on May 11th, 2009 11:24 pm (UTC)
*imagines Tom flipping in the air* Hee!

Did Tess have tapes of Chloe for her to watch?
Well thanks to the total lack of investment they put into it as a continued plot arc, we'll never know. Can I really blame Tom and Allison for the acting/directing choices if the writers haven't even thought that one through very clearly?
Heather: Clark Smirk by oxoniensismiss_tress on May 11th, 2009 11:59 pm (UTC)
Can I really blame Tom and Allison for the acting/directing choices if the writers haven't even thought that one through very clearly?
No. But sometimes I get tired of blaming the writers most of the time. It's fun to switch it up every once in awhile.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Boppybop_radar on May 11th, 2009 01:28 pm (UTC)
Wasn't it?
Heather: Brandon Badge of Honormiss_tress on May 11th, 2009 10:24 pm (UTC)
It's just odd since AM is usually spot on in what she needs to be doing and showing.
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois OTPbop_radar on May 11th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's so true about Clark's moral position not being this am-aaaaaa-zing thing. But they surround him with Chloe and Oliver lecturing him on having to 'make the tough calls' and I keep thinking: there are situations which they could have constructed in which Clark might realistically be faced with the 'should I kill?' question but, THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM. Sheesh!

As for this Mercy plot of being 'the saviour of Kandor' (I had to rewind that about ten times to make it out!) ... Why would she WANT to be the saviour of Kandor? Is she being brainwashed? Do I care?

I too worry for Season 9. I think I will need to employ a new viewing approach to get myself through it. I'm not sure what it will involve yet but I am pondering it...
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex purple evilbop_radar on May 11th, 2009 11:26 pm (UTC)
starting with the ridiculous discovery of Lionel's journal
Yeah, that was a breaking point for me. I wanted to like Tess and I liked it when the focus was on her character/backstory, not these crazy retcon plots. It does make it feel a lot more forced that they had her take Lex's place. Oh Lex, I miss you.
instructor of the immobile arts: flying monkeysingridmatthews on May 28th, 2009 12:52 pm (UTC)
I think I will need to employ a new viewing approach to get myself through it. I'm not sure what it will involve yet but I am pondering it...

*mails you case of 100 proof rum*
daybreak777: Dr. AJdaybreak777 on May 11th, 2009 03:07 pm (UTC)
Yes, Justin's torso makes another contracted appearance! Woo-hoo! And another ep with Dr. AJ! Dr. AJ who can figure out everything! And has a magic car! And who looked pleasantly rumpled in his tuxedo. :-D

I don't know if Clark's plan is good or not. This whole season seems to be pushing him to kill someone. His enemies do have a bad habit of showing up again. I'm really okay with him not being compassionate. It seems the question being asked since Lex is "does Clark have the strength to kill?" It's an interesting question not pursued particularly well here. Like maybe strength does not equal killing. But I was too busy looking at The Pretty to think along those lines for long.

Also, I really really mourn the loss of coherent visual/colour/light metaphors on this show.
I miss you discussing this.

One more ep! Dr. AJ! Maybe an AJ character can survive the finale of another show? Who knows?

Edited at 2009-05-11 03:08 pm (UTC)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Bop_radar TWbop_radar on May 11th, 2009 11:31 pm (UTC)
Clark's plan is GREAT! TRUST BOPPY. Great, DB!

I'm really okay with him not being compassionate.
Hahaha, I heart you sweetie. You are so refreshing in a fandom full of comics devotees who probably all flinched in horror at that statement! ;) See, he's got to become Superman and Superman does not kill. That's one of his things. Potentially it makes for really interesting drama between him and Oliver, but they've taken Ollie too far imo.

maybe strength does not equal killing.
That's what they're going for, and what they've shown us in the past is that when Clark's been closest to killing it's when he's overwhelmed by emotion (usually at the loss of someone he loves).

Dr AJ seems around for a while... I see he's carrying on that grand TV tradition of the word 'Doctor' being code for knows all forms of science and computing. :p He's the new Chloe!
daybreak777: Dr. AJdaybreak777 on May 11th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
You are so refreshing in a fandom full of comics devotees who probably all flinched in horror at that statement! ;)
Superman doesn't kill ever? Well, that's rather . . . shortsighted, no? Where do all those villains go? They must be piling up. Why don't they all gang up in the Phantom Zone and take Clark out? No organization, these villains.

What am I thinking? I'm being realistic in a comic book world. But it's almost worse to lock people in prison or Belle Reve or that mountain place Tess had. It just makes them more bitter and vengeful.

Dr AJ seems around for a while
Yeah? Woot! Me and my Gaeta people are having a ball. :-) The man is on The Pretty Show and he's looking good. And he's smart!!!!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark identity crisisbop_radar on May 11th, 2009 11:51 pm (UTC)
Where do all those villains go? They must be piling up.
Hee! Well they need plots for the comics, right? ;) And yes, some could see it as a weakness.

Why don't they all gang up in the Phantom Zone and take Clark out?
Well the Phantom Zone portal out can only be opened by the blood of Jor El (i.e. Clark) so as long as Clarkie doesn't get stuck in there, he's safe. :)

I think it's fine to send aliens to the Phantom Zone - Clark's father set it up as a prison (like life imprisonment) for killers. I think sending a human there would be horrible. And Belle Reve is dreadful, but it does make for good drama. :D

Hee! The Pretty Show! *g* Yup, it's true. I reckon it's a pretty good gig post-BSG. It gets big ratings!
cbrownjc: Cloiscbrownjc on May 12th, 2009 08:44 am (UTC)
Well, as a "comics devotee" I'll answer the "why Superman doesn't kill" thing:

Because taking the law into his own hands like that is not just a slippery slope to being a despot. It's a slippery slope to letting an alien with godlike powers actually play god with people's lives.

Remember, Clark isn't just some regular guy here. His powers, literally, make him a "god among men," just as Jor-El said. He looks like a human, but he's not. SV switched it up in having Jor-El choose Jonathan and Martha Kent to raise him, while in the comics it was just a coincidence that the Kents found him. But how they raised Clark helped instill a connection to humanity in him. It made him humble when someone who has the kind of powers he has could have let it go to his head.

And deciding who is worthy to live or die is just a step or two away from viewing himself as a god.

As to where the villains go. Many end up in Arkham Asylum (in Gotham) actually, if there just not sent to jail. Not many actually get sent to the Phantom Zone, mostly because humans actually can't survive there (something SV changed). ;-)

Edited at 2009-05-12 08:52 am (UTC)
daybreak777: wet clarkdaybreak777 on May 12th, 2009 11:39 pm (UTC)
I do have much affection for Clarky. It took a long, long while for me to realize his strength was his compassion and ability not to be corrupted. I don't really want Clark to give up compassion. What I think Clark needs to find is some balance between leaving loose ends to come back to haunt him and meting out deadly justice left and right just because he can. I hope someday he finds this balance because every victim of any villain he leaves alive is on Clark's head. That must be hard to live with. I don't think it's godlike to save those potential victims. Hopefully, saving them would not be at the cost of Clark's soul but there must be a way to do both. Climb the slippery slope and not fall. Clark's a strong guy and if he's to be Superman he'll have to do this, yes?

Hmm . . . so SV villains can end up in Gotham? Really? I obviously know nothing about the comics or how the verses are related. But Belle Reve or Arkham Asylum it's still just containment. They can potentially get out, right? And the supernatural or alien villains go to the Phantom Zone? The thing is even if Clark manages to get Doomsday to the Phantom Zone I don't believe he'll stay there. I've only been watching for two seasons but Bizarro came back, Plastique, and another villain played by Tori Spelling came back just the other week. They just keep coming back!

It keeps Superman and the comics in business but it doesn't really solve the villain dilemma. Hmm. I don't usually get this thinky about SV lately! So thanks for responding to my comment. Maybe there is a way for permanent containment in the comicverse? Is that possible?
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex here with youbop_radar on May 12th, 2009 11:48 pm (UTC)
so SV villains can end up in Gotham?
Well, that's not clear from Smallville-verse. It is true of future comics canon though, which I think is what cbrownjc was talking about. In Clark's young days, yes they often wound up in Belle Reve. However, Clark has seen with his own eyes how terrible that place is and is concerned about it and I think is moving towards a different option (that's my fannish take on that, but I'm sure the show has shown his emotional journey about Belle Reve for a reason). i.e. Clark is maturing into his future self who will try and find compassionate containment for villains.

They just keep coming back!
Hee! Well, you've hit on a central paradox in any superhero universe. On the one hand, the heroes have a 'victory' method that represents them overcoming the bad guy, and on the other hand the villains just keep coming back. I don't think death is a solution, as come ON! how many times have villains come back from the dead in these universes?! The point is that Clark is putting them in the place that is most secure. They're always going to need more plots though so yeah.... they could come back.
cheryladcherylad on May 11th, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC)
I haven't been reading the reviews cuz I'm only half way through S1! I'll catch up though.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark basketballbop_radar on May 11th, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC)
Ohhhh!! That's exciting! How are you finding the freak-of-the-week plots. A bit tedious, yes? It gets better.
cheryladcherylad on May 11th, 2009 11:50 pm (UTC)
*snorfle*

Yes that description is perfect! Since so many of my f-list like it, I decided to get through S1 and disc 1 or 2 of S2 before I make any decisions about it.

I am a Superman fan, so thought I'd like the story. I'm intrigued by Lex not being a bad guy (well, yet) and that the Lois character is a split between Lana and Chloe.

I can rather take or leave his parents at this point, I know at this juncture they are still getting their "legs" but I'm struck that "Jonathon" is rather pretentious.

I'm mostly enjoying it though!!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: TW smilebop_radar on May 12th, 2009 12:43 am (UTC)
Hee, you're a woman after my own heart. I didn't take to Jonathan (so self-righteous!) either. This show takes a good long time to warm up. Season 1 is my least favourite. I liked it around 'Rosetta' in Season 2, when they start drawing on the big mythos stuff. I highly recommend just blasting through Season 1 (it's really only important for one or two events and the finale) and seeing how you feel after Reeve makes his cameo. *dangles Supermanly motivation*

The other thing I'd say is watch the use of colour, lighting and visual metaphor--when I realised that the Smallville producers had a very articulated, sophisticated use of their visual universe the show suddenly had more layers than I'd previously realised. The dialogue ain't where it's at. ;)
svgurl: clarksvgurl on May 11th, 2009 10:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah... once the thought 'NAKED OLIVER, NAKED! wore off, I didn't really have a lot of thinky thoughts about this episode.
LOL Naked Oliver was definitely a highlight of this episode. :)

Ollie's been written badly this season and I just hate how he's flip flopping and confusing me.

Supposing that I could buy that Oliver would be so enraged at his parents' death at the hands of Oliver that he would kill Lex as revenge (a leap I still find hard to swallow), I think there's a big difference between killing from a place of personal vengeance for a deep wrong, and just getting carried away in casual violence (as we saw with the billiard ball).
Exactly! And see, the odd thing is that they keep resolving it and going back. At the end of "Identity", he seemed to understand and be moving on. Then they have him go crazy murderer in 'Bride'! They have him feel remorseful about Lex's murder in "Hex" and have him almost kill this guy in last week's episode. I don't understand nor do I like it.

I want to like Oliver, but I hated him in most of this episode.
Hating Ollie hurts me but I really do. :(

I adore Clark and I wish that he would just tell everyone to STFU. I think his plan last week was good and this week's was great too. Now, he'll be forced to kill Doomsday because his friends/enemies took away all his other options.

but I found Allison's acting so bad I found it hard to remember that she wasn't Chloe.
I totally didn't know it wasn't her and then, later, I realized that wasn't a good thing.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Oliverbop_radar on May 11th, 2009 11:33 pm (UTC)
They have him feel remorseful about Lex's murder in "Hex" and have him almost kill this guy in last week's episode. I don't understand nor do I like it.
Bad Oliver writing makes Boppy sad. :( I liked the remorse, even though I spent the whole time thinking, 'there should never have had to be remorse', but then they shafted us again. And could he announce that he killed Lex any more CASUALLY?! Sheesh. I wanted Clark to reply 'Get your own nemesis!'