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14 February 2010 @ 03:35 pm
9.11/12 Absolute Justice  
And I have mixed feelings. I do think it's fabulous to see the writers using a show like Smallville to explore and/or riff on DC comics history. And it was exciting to see the JSA given a full two episodes rather than crammed (reductively) into one (which would have been a pity). But I did loll at the pacing in some spots, and for those of us not so familiar with these characters, there were a few too many long pauses of meaningfulness which we had to just fingertap through. That's ok: I kind of like on principle that SV went with assuming that these characters would be meaningful to much of its audience.

More of a problem for me was the fact that Clark has apparently had a personality abortion. It's kind of been happening for a while, but was definitely more in evidence in this episode. I could say that Smallville's writing has always been erratic but I've been trying to stay positive about the Clark-neglect this season for ages, and I think this was the final straw for me. The last character this level of de-characterisation happened to was Chloe and look where that ended up! Also, Clark could have defeated Icicle Junior with his little finger, a problem the writers seemed to deal with by ignoring his presence in the show, rather that writing a credible reason why the other heroes had to team up to defeat him (providing the cathartic moment of resolution in the episode). Equally, Clark seemed to respond to all the other heroes with the following internal monologue: I AM ACTUALLY SO AWESOME YOU CAN'T IMAGINE, but I choose not to show it right now, either in word or deed.

The gold for me, in this episode, lay in three places:
- J'onn getting his powers back *punches the air* (I've been in agony about that for ages, love J'onn and thought his part in this episode was fabulous--though I despaired briefly when he was put in a coma!)
- Lex is alive. Lex is SO ALIVE! \o/
- the genius interaction between Hawkman and Oliver.

The casting in this episode was fabulous. Hawkman had incredible presence and stole every scene he was in... until he was thrown up against Justin's acting chops, and then Hawkman's gravitas warred with Oliver's comic delivery genius to produce brilliance.

HAWKMAN: I may have wings and a silly looking helmet, but my gravitas will FLOOR YOU, little man.
GREEN ARROW: I may seem like I'm just a jokey wisecracker (I reject the term jackass as too harsh!) but I will OWN YOU by the time this episode is over.
...
HAWKMAN: *owned* *happy about it*

That admiring gaze Hawkman gave the arrow Oliver shot at his portrait was wonderful. For those exchanges, so beautifully handled for both characters, I heart the writers.

The dude that played Icicle was acting his socks off too. Unfortunately he made a pretty unscary villain, but that wasn't the actor's fault.

Interesting comment by Doctor Fate on Chloe--can I hope that the writers were referring to the old suggestion that she was destined to follow her mother and end up insane? Or is she simply going to martyr herself? Hmm, I know which one my money's on (and I'm not happy about it, but so it goes).

Tess is always fabulous but I'm not sure how I feel about the Suicide Squad twist in her backstory. When did this start? How long has she been an agent? This feels very 'pasted on'! But THANK GOD THERE WAS NO ZOD. It was a blessed relief, however brief.
 
 
 
Ferd: typewriter vintage/moved to Gothamferdalump on February 14th, 2010 04:54 am (UTC)
"More of a problem for me was the fact that Clark has apparently had a personality abortion."

That is such a perfect way to describe what's happened to his character. It's so bizarre to watch. And I agree, why did we have to watch a team struggle to take Icicle, Jr. down when our main hero (aka 'Superman') could've handled it so easily? I don't understand what the writers are doing with their characters and how they feel it's okay to neglect them/drive them into the ground in the way they are doing.

"Interesting comment by Doctor Fate on Chloe--can I hope that the writers were referring to the old suggestion that she was destined to follow her mother and end up insane? Or is she simply going to martyr herself?"

I think what's sad is that (it feels to me at least) the writers don't know what to do with most of their characters. I'm sure it's tricky not having an end date exactly mapped out, but now with them even getting Clois together, it's like okay, then what story are you going to show us in season 10? They are being so quick to tie up certain things and make if feel 'Omg iconic' when they are totally avoiding just doing right by the characters they have been buidling for so long. I think maybe they had a plan for Chloe years ago, but now with fan popularity, renewed seasons, new characters added to the show, they just keep on meandering down this wonky road hardly doing an ounce's worth of continuity from week to week. It all feels so bizarre to me. I would be surprised if they actually remembered Chloe's mom went insane. They seem to forget so much on that show.

The Tess bit totally wasn't earned, although a twist is cool. But I think they are doing that far too much. Taking these turns for the 'cool' factor without giving much thought to how it will affect the characters and their 'story.'
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lois red umbrellabop_radar on February 14th, 2010 05:02 am (UTC)
*nods to all of that*

There's a lot of ignoring of characters and some desperate attempts to inject cool in other ways. Meandering down a wonky road is a great description... it's not that I don't get some enjoyable moments from the show, but I think all these long seasons where they string things out not knowing if they're going to get renewed or when the 'big end' is coming have really taken their toll. Maybe the writers have got so used to taking the characters two steps forward then one back that they now just think they can all be whatever or wherever they want them to be at a moment's notice, no development work required? It's frustrating. The characters were always the heart of this show. :(
DC: Smallville - Clark/Loisbananainpyjamas on February 14th, 2010 06:47 am (UTC)
Also, Clark could have defeated Icicle Junior with his little finger

Yeah, the lack of an adequate villain was one of my biggest problems with the episode. Which was a shame, since I enjoyed it for the most part. JSA!! J'onn getting his powers back!! :D :D

The Tess twist was very lolwut but I've come to expect that from Smallville.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Bop_radar TWbop_radar on February 14th, 2010 07:28 am (UTC)
Yeah, the villain in this was truly laughably non-threatening. Despite all the special effects work to try and convince us otherwise! ;)
goodvibe: CKgoodvibe on February 14th, 2010 11:35 am (UTC)
I liked all the JSA portrayals for the most part though I think I personally preferred Dr Fate the most. I liked that their was a certain pathos and poignancy to his scenes.

You're very right about Clark' lack of articulation and POV in this ep. I do think its been a problem of varying degrees throughout the season, but probably most glaring here. I think he's much, much better served in the ep after this one though, so that's something, atleast.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on February 16th, 2010 09:18 am (UTC)
Oh good to hear, I'll look forward to that! :) (I'm usually a week behind at the moment.)
tariel22: oliver-green arrow awesometariel22 on February 14th, 2010 12:57 pm (UTC)
I loved what you loved. I've always liked Justin, and found him to be a very natural actor, but in Absolute Justice he truly excelled. I marveled at his performance. And I've been a Michael Shanks fangirl forever, so it was a delight to have him on Smallville. The two of them together were priceless.

I think the confirmation that Lex is alive is huge, and I actually did full-on victory arms on my couch when Dr. Fate said it. I wonder if that was Geoff Johns' idea, or TPTB. I did read in an interview that it was GJ's idea to restore MM's powers. I've been fretting about that since Odyssey, so that was a huge relief for me. Plus we got to see him in his natural form!

As for Icicle, I fanwanked that the helmet amplified his powers, and also gave him the advantage of being able to see what they were going to do before they did it (except for MM for some reason). Alternately I figured Clark was being generous, and letting it be a team effort, but yeah, any way you look at it, it doesn't really make sense.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark maturebop_radar on February 16th, 2010 09:21 am (UTC)
LOL love the icon! :D ITA, Justin shone here. He's shone all season. It's practically weep with joy at his performance every episode... ;) I rewind his scenes all the time.

I'm pretty new to Michael Shanks but he ROCKED!

. I wonder if that was Geoff Johns' idea, or TPTB. I did read in an interview that it was GJ's idea to restore MM's powers.
Geoff Johns FTW! His priorities lie where mine lie. :D That shot of MM in natural form was GLORIOUS.

fanwanked that the helmet amplified his powers
It had to do SOMETHING other than tell the future because there was a lot of excitement about it on Icicle's part and I really don't think foreshadowing ability was all he had in mind...

But yeah, I think I fanwanked that Clark just thought he was TOO COOL for this ep and let the little guys take a turn. ;)
daybreak777: daybreak mountains-no namedaybreak777 on February 14th, 2010 01:07 pm (UTC)
I don't know Boppy. SV and I may be coming to a parting of ways. With this episode, I could tell parts of it were good but I simply wasn't interested in the JSA people. This is my third season with this show and I just want to watch the characters I know. At this point my favorite character is? was? Clark. But as you said, I don't really know who he is now.

And I was continuing to watch SV for glimpses of AJ but he really is a minor character in this and that's not enough for me anymore. That mid-season finale ep on post-apocalyptic Earth was my favorite ep to date. And everyone died in that one!

I'm not sure what would pull me back in. If the show could spend some time with just Clark for awhile? I dunno.

And I hate to say it but I'm not sure I like the Clois. I want to like it, I really do. But it feels a bit weird and I don't know why. It's not really interesting yet? I'm really not sure.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on February 16th, 2010 09:23 am (UTC)
I don't know why you persist! You don't have any reason to like I do. I'm not going to try to persuade you NOT to give the show up... I'm just staggered you're still watching. ;)

The Clois is totally off, don't get me started... though it's been better in the last few eps than it was at the start of this season.
Hollyhollyxu on February 15th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)
More of a problem for me was the fact that Clark has apparently had a personality abortion.

Actually from day one the SV writers have been sitting so hard on the reset button I'm surprised it still works. Unfortunately, because of this and a fairly limited viewing schedule, SV has to go.

Re: Chloe - she is my absolute favourite SV character, so I kept crossing my fingers from day one that there was some rational explanation for Chloe's absence from DC canon, but it looks like she's going to save Clark and die. D:
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on February 16th, 2010 09:25 am (UTC)
Hee, well, yeah, if you have a normal person's TV priorities, SV would be long gone, I imagine. ;) I'm in it for the long haul... nowadays I kind of think of SV as a strange cross I must bear until the bitter end. It's often painful, usually frustrating, occasionally glorious but really I'm just treating it like a TV-viewing-marathon. Can. I. Make. It. To. The. End?
gildinwengildinwen on February 16th, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC)
I agree that Clark was sidelined in the ep especially WRT the ending fight against Icicle. Unfortunately it happens all too often when it's a "Justice League" Ep, in the cartoons or in the comics

The writers concentrate on giving the other characters importance of making them look like they're more involved in the fight rather than writing Clark as an active participant, because he IS the most powerful. So you keep him out of the fight (as they did here) or like in "Justice" you take away all his common sence and have him enter a room in his enemies property with x-raying it and getting himself felled by kryptonite.

Because as DeKnight said: when you've got a man who can do everything, why have a league in the first place?

I'm not as bothered by the Clois as I think it has gotten better, but Chloe's fate bothers me.

People took that line about her being on the same path as Fate too literally because Nelson was quite literally broken by the power. He went mad, and if Chloe was meant to recieve the helment, then J'onn's warning to her would make no sence. I worry that the show is going to martyr her and then make it all Clark's fault.

*rolls eyes*

But Lex's is soooo alive *punches air*