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27 January 2007 @ 11:56 am
Smallville 6.12 Labyrinth  
Ok, huge rant warning on this post. It's very rare for me to hate an episode of Smallville, so you may not realise how major my ranting can be when I hate something... you are hereby WARNED. If you liked this episode, we won't agree and this post may annoy you. I envy anyone that got something out of this ep.

Ok, it may be early to call it, but I'm nominating this episode as worst of Season 6 for a myriad of reasons. I found it agonising. Let's start with the premise. When BtVS adopted this plot (the 'maybe I'm just insane and have hallucinated my life' plot), many of my friends loved the episode in question finding it original and clever. I found it cliched and transparently obvious--I think because I'm a sci-fi/Trek watcher, and this is one of the oldest premises around in sci-fi. It CAN work--but if you've seen it on a few different shows, you need it to be well-written and preferably have a fresh twist. BtVS's version wasn't fresh, but it sure as hell was better written than this episode. So I groaned at the premise but was prepared to tough it out.

However, it quickly became apparent that the writers had made a fundamental structural mistake. For an episode of this sort to work, the central character (Clark) needs to be the viewer avatar--his reactions need to be those of the viewer. However, the alternate reality was so implausible that I experienced a massive disconnect from Clark's reactions. Take the first scene in which Clark is mocked for making up 'phantom zoners' and 'krypto-freaks'. If this was a genuine therapy session, why would other patients be allowed to mock his psychosis?! Clark responds at first by flailing at his fate, screaming 'why am I here?!' This was forgiveable as first shock and also as a melodramatic opener. But it didn't end there.

Clark declares 'I'm not crazy' but at no time does he consider even baselevel possiblities like 'could this all be a dream?' And it's not as if Clark has not experienced alternate or altered realities or mind control before! We've seen some really successful examples in Slumber and Splinter. But Clark's first (only) assumption in this instance is that it's Lex who has set him up. And while that created some amusing dialogue ('Lex is part of your fantasy world'/'He's always wanted to get me under his microscope'), it also makes NO SENSE because Lex is not privy to all of this information that Clark has supposedly poured out--he doesn't know that Clark is the son of Jor-El and he doesn't know about the Zoners. So how could he have created this set-up?

And there were all sorts of things that did not ring true about the supposed 'reality' being sold to Clark--the doctor says his birth parents died in the meteor shower. But if Clark is not the son of Jor-El, there is no good reason why there would have BEEN a meteor shower. And Clark did not know about his true heritage until he was a teenager--so the idea that it was a 'make-believe' world invented by a traumatised kid doesn't wash. All of this is just sloppy writing. It would have been far more convincing to have changed details only from the point when Clark found out about his heritage onwards. Even so, if Clark had reacted with the same incredulity as the reader experienced, he could have functioned as a more successful viewer avatar. Instead, he bought into this new reality ridiculously early, long before Lana got pulled out as his supposed emotional greenK.

Another failure of this episode, for me, was in the lack of classic Smallville iconography. With the whites and greys, the aesthetic was markedly different from (for example) Belle Reve, but to no purpose--it didn't symbolise anything (other than the fact that it COULD have tipped Clark off that he wasn't in the 'real' reality!) Visually, there were some spectacular shots--like running across the snow--but they were meaningless. They didn't serve any purpose. This is so unlike Smallville. Snow could have been used (for example) to evoke memories of his father's death. One of the only instances where they employed classic imagery was in Chloe's plot with the expanded wall of weird. That was a nice touch. Other than that, it was ridiculous. And when we saw all the props in the institution that Clark had supposedly drawn on to create his reality, they were really basic too. Jorel as soap?! Please! Oliver as 'employee of the month'?! But that is NOT HOW CLARK SEES HIM. That scene COULD have been clever and instead it was just farcical and I totally felt as if the ep was written by people that had no real grasp of classic Smallville imagery or symbolism and that makes me very, very unhappy.

Of all the people Clark encounters, I thought Chloe was the only one who was potentially interesting. The idea that she was also an inmate could have worked, because it reflects the fact that Clark and Chloe are 'alone against the world' protecting a secret. I liked that Clark connected with her as an ally, but it didn't really go anywhere. And I really hated that Clark 'protected' Chloe by not telling her that she was a mental institution patient in his dream--I get that he didn't want to remind her that mental illness runs in her family but a) mental illness should NOT be a stigma Clark--get that through your thick skull! and b) YOU WERE A MENTAL INSTITUTION PATIENT TOO!! Arrrgh! And that line about really appreciating her just annoyed me because he doesn't tell her that normally--only when he's feeling bad about having imagined her as insane. GRR.

I thought Kristin and Michael acted their little hearts out ... for nothing. Lex's scene was instantly compelling, but it was purposeless because it too MADE NO SENSE. This is a common mistake in episodes using this premise, but even though the accident happened five years ago, Lex appeared to be still as emotional about it as if it had happened a week ago. Dramatically that's ok, but only if you don't really analyse it--only Clark and the viewer are supposed to be questioning everything. *flails around in anger* The lead-in to this scene was ridiculous too (Chloe tells Clark to be careful and he goes straight to confront Lex EVEN THOUGH HE HAS NO POWERS), as was the cut-away:
Lex: OMG, my life has been ruined by you!
Clark: Huh. ... I'm gonna go check out the Talon now.

By the way, it seems that Clark REALLY hates disability and cripples, eh?! Because he was SO OVERJOYED that Lex really had legs that he was able to be civil to him and smile at him serenely in the Talon. Dude, Lex is your ARCHNEMESIS! Way to mindfuck him with the line 'good to see you out and about'! Except it wasn't a deliberate mindfuck, it was just prejudice.

Clark fails to use anything beyond level 1 deductive reasoning throughout the entire episode. At best he only gets as far as asking a question: 'why are you in my barn, Lana?' Actually Clark behaves as if he is a paranoid schizophrenic--but for no good reason--there was no exposition at the end to explain that the alien had created Splinter-like paranoia in Clark. Yet everytime Clark tried to 'make sense' of the reality he was thrust into he responded with simple paranoia. And this makes no character sense to me because Clark's deductive reasoning under normal circumstances has been improving this season. He's capable of drawing conclusions and making decisions independently of Chloe... but not in this episode. We're right back in dependent-Clark-land here and it made for very frustrating viewing. Not to mention the incredibly obviously manipulative devices provided by the vision--Lana always having loved him? They pushed that too far. Martha married to Lionel: legitimate fear, but Jonathan's death (for example) was unexplained.

Furthermore, once Clark finally escaped (not through any real mental breakthrough of his own), he still responded purely with emotion and no logic to what he'd gone through. He didn't learn anything from the experience, he didn't discuss with Chloe the fact that Zoners may be able to mentally manipulate him in the future, so perhaps he should learn to watch out for that. And he didn't talk about his rescue by Jon Jonzz--that infuriated me! You'd think he'd be slightly curious. But no! What we got instead was the (shock!) realisation that Clark is still in love with Lana. BIG SURPRISE.

This episode could have explored so much--it could have been a 'what would Smallville have been like if Clark wasn't an alien' episode, a 'what if Clark really COULD lead a normal life' episode--instead the only revelation we got was that the Clana still exists. And not even in an interesting way! I could actualy get behind the Clana (more than most people, I suspect), except that Clark did the stupidest thing possible which was mention his 'dream' to her. Only last episode Lana was begging him to show her it wasn't over, and here he is telling her that he had a dream about proposing to her as a small child? MINDFUCK. Nice, Clark, real nice! (As with his call to Lex, I would have been ok with it if the mindfuck had been deliberate, but it was unconscious: apparently Clark is an imbecile now.)

Other random things that made no sense or otherwise annoyed me:
- Clark was bizarrely weaker than the security guards to begin with but then gradually gained strength--was this supposed to reflect his conviction increasing? him gradually adjusting to having only human-level strength? UNCLEAR.
- Why did the institution's guards wear BOWTIES?! If anything screams 'dreamscape' to me, that does!
- Chloe's new haircut first appears in the vision reality, and then in the show. That's just sloppy. We could fanwank that Clark's already seen it, but the viewer doesn't know that, so there's a disconnect moment when she appears for real.
- Who the hell would buy that being conscious while a steel drill was inserted in your head was a legitimate therapy? But was it THAT that clued Clark off? No. It was a frigging DOG BARKING. *despairs*
- Oh and Shelby was not even the same dog--that's probably unavoidable but it still contributed to my disconnection from the episode.

This is what I got out of this episode:
- Clark is very pretty
- Jorel as a soap brand is HILARIOUS.

Yes. I am premenstrual. But this episode was still SHITE. *cries*
 
 
Current Mood: angryangry
 
 
 
Cris: Chloeduskwillow on January 27th, 2007 02:51 am (UTC)
Mwa ha ha. I hated it too!!
I was hoping maybe you'd find something redeemable about it, but I guess there just wasn't anything. lmao
Oh Smallville...
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex lovebop_radar on January 27th, 2007 03:03 am (UTC)
*hugs* Nuh. I've got... nothing. SOWWY!! ;-)
blowjobs for jesus: Clark omgnokristiinthedark on January 27th, 2007 02:57 am (UTC)
I'd love to be able to love it or hate it or whatever, but the sound quality SUCKED. I know some people commented about a droning noise, but that wasn't my problem. I couldn't hear what anyone was saying most of the time! GRRRR. Damn CW.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark basketballbop_radar on January 27th, 2007 03:04 am (UTC)
Oh, I guess I benefited from the dl for once then? It was ok to me, but there were a few sound-related issues, for sure--in the key scene where Clark hears Shelby barking there is a lot of confused noise and I couldn't make out what he was saying for a while there.
mkitty3: boy hug-MINEmkitty3 on January 27th, 2007 03:00 am (UTC)
Good then:) I'm not insane! It was BAD! I was so disappointed that this is what followed Justice:( I was particularly traumatized by how Chloe's death didn't effect me at all. It was so badly done.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clexvillebop_radar on January 27th, 2007 03:05 am (UTC)
Yeah, I was really disappointed that this followed Justice... I had been hoping to get a sense at least of what direction the show was going to go in from here--I needed something to give me continued hope that it wasn't going to go flat after Justice.

Oh that's right! Chloe died! I forgot. Which says a lot.
Nora Norwich: Lex earnestnorwich36 on January 27th, 2007 03:01 am (UTC)
Well, I can't argue with a lot of this (though I still enjoyed watching the episode), but I did have a response to this:

Clark 'protected' Chloe by not telling her that she was a mental institution patient in his dream--I get that he didn't want to remind her that mental illness runs in her family but a) mental illness should NOT be a stigma Clark--get that through your thick skull! and b) YOU WERE A MENTAL INSTITUTION PATIENT TOO!! Arrrgh! And that line about really appreciating her just annoyed me because he doesn't tell her that normally--only when he's feeling bad about having imagined her as insane. GRR.

I think what he was really protecting Chloe from, here, was the knowledge that she died trying to protect him--which is probably his biggest fear. And again, I think that what he's feeling bad about (when he tells her how important she was to him) was not that he imagined her insane, but that she died in his dream. (And my reading of the scene with Lex is similar--in some way that scene reflects his relief that he was able to save Lex rather than causing him to lose his legs.)

I guess what I appreciate most about your review is that it actually addresses structural and visual mistakes in the episode rather than just complaining about the return of the Clana.

Jorel as soap is pretty damn funny, I have to say.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex mehbop_radar on January 27th, 2007 03:11 am (UTC)
*blush* You know I actually FORGOT that Chloe died. I was so unemotional about her death (because it was transparently obvious that it was NOT OCCURRING) that I didn't even consider that as a possiblity of Clark's motivation in protecting her. Thank you for pulling me up on that.

The structural and visual mistakes abounded. And yeah, I didn't mind the Clana per se, I just found it obvious.

Jorel as soap is pretty damn funny, I have to say.
Yup! I fell off my chair laughing! I have to get an icon of it that says 'not your father'. *g* But I also think it was accidently funny. If, for example, they'd made Clark's medicine be Jor-El, that would have been cleverer. There was just a total absence of any effective symbolism or psychological exploration in an episode with a premise that is wholly dependent on those things for its success.

*waves arms in despairing motions*

Sorry, I'm not a ray of little sunshine! ;-) I'm going to slink off and vid...
(no subject) - sadface on January 27th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC) (Expand)
Nora Norwichnorwich36 on January 27th, 2007 03:08 am (UTC)
Oh, one thing I forgot:

lack of classic Smallville iconography. With the whites and greys, the aesthetic was markedly different from (for example) Belle Reve, but to no purpose--it didn't symbolise anything (other than the fact that it COULD have tipped Clark off that he wasn't in the 'real' reality!) Visually, there were some spectacular shots--like running across the snow--but they were meaningless. They didn't serve any purpose. This is so unlike Smallville.

They actually used color very effectively in all the Clana scenes, though, as huzzlewhat points out in her review. In the dreamscape scenes, she's dressed in pink and the loft is decorated very much like her bedroom in season 1, emphasizing girlLana (the one who's still in love with Clark), which is very much contrasted with adultLana, who is dressed in very sophisticated clothes in the Talon.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Bop_radar TWbop_radar on January 27th, 2007 03:13 am (UTC)
That's baselevel Smallville set and costume design. I'll pay that they got it right there, but that's the only instance, and it's far, far below par for even a regular below-average episode. I did think KK did a good job of capturing girl!Lana in her performance though--but again, all to no end, because it didn't build into a greater whole.
carpenyxcarpenyx on January 27th, 2007 03:08 am (UTC)
I have nothing good to say about this episode. I disliked it all around. I literally had a hard time watching it, heh. I'm getting quite disgusted with the Clark/Lana stuff. It's been going on for far too long and it's not just because I'm a Clark/Lois fan either. I wouldn't mind Clark being single or with someone else but this whole still loving Lana is old and not refreshing in the least. The whole idea of mental instuitions and sci fi is also a little overdone. I do admit that I prefered the BtVS version over most I've seen, I think it had a nice twist and was a little fresher. I agree that this episode could have explored alot and I found it a complete waste of an episode.... Bleh.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: TW smilebop_radar on January 27th, 2007 03:15 am (UTC)
ME TOO! I had a VERY hard time watching it. Like nails dragging down a chalkboard!

If the writers were going to do an episode like this, they needed to have it uncover something really interesting about Clark's psychology. And even for Clana fans, the fact that Clark still loves Lana is not exactly NEWS. Wasted. Opportunity.
(no subject) - carpenyx on January 27th, 2007 03:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
serenography: CKlabrserenography on January 27th, 2007 03:13 am (UTC)
Man..you really can shred an episode into little tiny bits and throw them into the breeze. LOL.. I love reading your thoughts, even the ones I don't necessarily agree with. A lot of the things you mentioned, are things that easily slide under my bar of SV logic requirements (which tends to shift anyway). But I am curious at you saying that you think they used a different dog for Shelby? I didn't notice a difference. What makes you say it was different?
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex juicebop_radar on January 27th, 2007 03:17 am (UTC)
It had a heavier build and its fur was darker.

Yes, I think I was quite harsh in this post. I tried to restrain myself... but I just felt so let down by this episode. I rarely feel this way--I can always get something out of most eps, but not this one.

Except Clark looked gorgeous in that final white shirt. (Although it was absurdly good fabric for an institution.)
tragicllyhiptragicllyhip on January 27th, 2007 03:15 am (UTC)
Wow, I'm a little shocked, i loved it so much,,I didn't read your rant of course, but wow, amazing how differently people see things
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois kissbop_radar on January 27th, 2007 03:19 am (UTC)
*cries*
Yeah, I really wanted to warn people because when I love an ep and see it caned by others, I can feel quite sad sometimes. And it's not my intention to spoil others' fun. I'm glad someone out there enjoyed it! I'm going to try and wipe the slate clean and cross fingers for next week.
Re: *cries* - tragicllyhip on January 27th, 2007 01:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: *cries* - tragicllyhip on January 27th, 2007 05:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: *cries* - bop_radar on January 27th, 2007 10:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Obsidian Blackbird McKnight: sv chlex wtf?spiralled on January 27th, 2007 03:20 am (UTC)
Hee, this is why the TWOP recapper wins for referring to him as Big Dumb Clark.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on January 27th, 2007 03:35 am (UTC)
HA! Yes. Only he ISN'T Big Dumb Clark anymore. Or wasn't until these last two episodes. What show have these writers been watching? He finally developed a brain this season, only to have it hurled out the window again by the writers! *rages*
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Bop_radar TWbop_radar on January 27th, 2007 03:35 am (UTC)
Sadly, true. :-(
Valentine Michel Smith: lana preggo aron63valentinemichel on January 27th, 2007 03:38 am (UTC)
Labyrinth was definitely meant to be a "Big, Serious Episode," but, in the hands of Smallville's crackmonkeys writers and crew? Not gonna happen. I can't say I hated it (I mean, it wasn't S4's Smell Spell), but it's really sad when you see the shortcomings of the people behind the show in full view. They tried, they really did, and if it hadn't been for Tom Welling being featured so prominently after what felt like a near half-season's absence, I probably would've hated it.

*pets you*

If I come up with any coherent deep thoughts about the episode, I'll post them. There's some redeeming stuff in there for me. No, no really.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on January 27th, 2007 03:56 am (UTC)
For me, it was Spell-bad. Actually, I preferred Spell! It was as bad as Ageless. :-( I'm glad you found some redeeming material.
anna: wha?snarkist on January 27th, 2007 03:38 am (UTC)
Oh god, yes to everything you say! I was going to make my own post about everything that was just WRONG, but maybe I'll just link to yours now. *g*

So, yeah, my biggest problem was that Clark was acting like he was insane. Like, I get that the situation might make you feel sort of insane, but I thought it was just over the top, and it was making me crazy. There was no moment when he was trying to explain to people that he wasn't insane that he actually sounded sane. It was so seriously annoying.

Also, I think that having all those little things around that were names and things from Clark's supposed made-up reality would have been more effective if they had been subtley placed in the scenes throughout the whole episode, and then had him kind of flashback to having seen it. But suddenly throwing them all in one room near the end of the ep was too much. Like, I get that they're trying to be all "Usual Suspects" about it, but it was just LAME. Although, Jorel as soap was hilarious.

Really, just so many things wrong. Most of all, though... BOWTIES! Wtf?
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on January 27th, 2007 03:50 am (UTC)
OMG! *clings* We had the same reaction!

Yes yes yes!! Why was Clark acting insane?

I thought it was just over the top, and it was making me crazy. There was no moment when he was trying to explain to people that he wasn't insane that he actually sounded sane. It was so seriously annoying.
YES! That's it exactly.

suddenly throwing them all in one room near the end of the ep was too much. Like, I get that they're trying to be all "Usual Suspects" about it, but it was just LAME.
Yes, LAME! And it was made even worse by flashing to them twice. The SAME objects! Like, we'd already seen them and 'got' them, and then we got Clark making Clark!face and supposedly putting two and two together and then they flashed to them all again. Because showing us them twice will make us buy it! (WTF?!) *stabs people*

Those bowties were BATSHIT! I was seriously wondering what waiting staff were doing lurking in the background of the first scene until they manhandled Clark.
Ferd: Lexana Pukeferdalump on January 27th, 2007 04:42 am (UTC)
Word.


That steaming pile of shite deserves no more explanation. I actually feel dumb for having watched it.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on January 27th, 2007 07:24 am (UTC)
I'm surprised I survived it without having a brain aneurysm.
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark basketballbop_radar on January 27th, 2007 07:25 am (UTC)
MAYBE! *perks*
Diana: Clark Kentbutterfly on January 27th, 2007 05:58 am (UTC)
I didn't have the issues with it that you had, but I definitely understand being pissed off and frustrated at an episode of television. I'm sorry that the episode sucked for you. Here -- look at pretty Clark! Maybe he'll serve as a distraction.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Tom's backbop_radar on January 27th, 2007 07:28 am (UTC)
Ohhhhhh thank you! *ogles*

Yeah, different eps annoy different people... for me there's one per season. Guess I just got my one!

Carolcarolandtom on January 27th, 2007 10:43 am (UTC)
I loved the episode! I haven't loved one this much for a long, long time!

I'm sorry you disliked it so much. To me, it was wonderful. And Tom was not only pretty but did an awesome acting job. IMO.
Carolcarolandtom on January 27th, 2007 11:10 am (UTC)
I hope you don't mind my giving you my opinion. That we can have so different opinions and reactions when watching SV is part of the fun, don't you think?
(no subject) - bop_radar on January 27th, 2007 12:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on January 27th, 2007 12:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
rumpuso on January 27th, 2007 12:38 pm (UTC)
Wow, I'm honestly stunned at your reaction. Shocked really. I consider this episode one of the series hightlights, and most definitely one of this season's best. Wow, bop.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark identity crisisbop_radar on January 28th, 2007 12:17 am (UTC)
Well, yes, I did feel I should duly warn people that my reaction was extreme. There were too many insurmountable hurdles with the structure of this episode for me. Perhaps if I had been spoiled to the premise I would have had more time to reconcile myself to it (I always hate this premise). One of the rare occasions when I regret being a spoilerphobe! But, alas, I feel it would be better for me to put some distance between me and this ep.

I'm honestly glad you enjoyed it though!
Kate: Clex about to make outmskatej on January 27th, 2007 01:59 pm (UTC)
*dies*

Oh Boppy. You are absolutely right about everything but I completely loved the episode. It helps that I mostly take SV at face value of course, and don't think too hard about it. I hadn't even noticed how much it sucked! HAHAHA.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clexvillebop_radar on January 28th, 2007 12:14 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you loved it Kate! Usually I excel at loving the crapness! Yet... no, I just couldn't here. And on the rare occasions when I really can't get past the crap, my hate becomes somewhat all-consuming.
nehellania on January 27th, 2007 03:22 pm (UTC)
Hee! Oh K. I find it so ironic that I watch an episode and despise it so very much, and then I stop myself and think that there has to be something redeeming about it. "What would K think?" I ask myself. So I try to find something good and almost convince myself that it's not the worst episode I've ever seen...

Then I get here and you just hands-down hated it! I'm so amused.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on January 28th, 2007 12:13 am (UTC)
*giggle* I'm sorry. I'm letting the team down this week. Hence the major warnings at the top of the post. It is very unlike me. But no... it was BAD, Jen, BAD! *shudders*
Beck: SV - Clark Lois Oliver by Carmendovebeck_liz on January 27th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
Honestly? I had so much trouble watching it that I mostly fast-forwarded through it. The most I could watch were some of the Chloe & Clark scenes, and anything to do with J'onn J'onzz (who was shockingly unused). Oh, and Shelby. Shelby is awesome. Other than that, fast-forward button. I'd been keeping the majority of the episodes this season, but this one I've been considering deleting. I just... bleh.

Part of it is that I purely despise the standard "main character is led to believe he/she is in a mental hospital and everything incredible that's happened to them is a delusion" storyline. I hated it the first time I saw it, lo these many years ago, and there has been no version of it that I've ever liked. And I've seen more than a few versions of it. Production teams seem unable to keep from using it.

The other part is the whole Lana thing. I've even gotten myself to the point where I mostly appreciate Lana's character. If she were a real person, I wouldn't like her, I don't think, but I now don't actively cringe as I used to whenever she's on-screen. But I still can't stand the CLana, and that whole thing at the end with her looking back at Clark while walking away with Lex? Argh. Why can't they just let it die a decent death?
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on January 28th, 2007 12:12 am (UTC)
*giggle* Yeah, I was in the same agony! I will delete this one. The final straw for me was when I realised it wasn't even useful for vidding--because none of the imagery fit with classic Smallville other than Lana's loft scene, and I don't have a need for that!

Part of it is that I purely despise the standard "main character is led to believe he/she is in a mental hospital and everything incredible that's happened to them is a delusion" storyline.
Same!

there has been no version of it that I've ever liked. And I've seen more than a few versions of it. Production teams seem unable to keep from using it.
I know!!! *groans* There was one version I liked--in Trek's Voyager series. But all other versions suffer by comparison to it. So I just wish production teams would avoid it as cliched now.

The Clana wasn't a real problem for me--but I do feel that Clark should be beyond the stage where the fact that he's in love with Lana is the one big thing he takes out of an experience like this!
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex bad days!bop_radar on January 28th, 2007 12:08 am (UTC)
I think the difference between us is that I ... don't actually think that kind of sloppiness is out of the ordinary for the show any more.
Yeah, I think that is the difference. I have found some of the writing this season really good... and then other parts have been disastrous.

Clark showed absolutely no curiosity whatsoever about the person who saved him from certain psychological imprisonment and then FLEW AWAY.
I know! I couldn't recover from that! It was the final blow to my morale about this episode. Until then I'd been hanging on to the faint hope that it would at least establish a relationship between them. But Clark showed ZERO interest in him. Aaaaggghhh!!!

You know it occurs to me that in this case it might have been GOOD for me to be spoiled. I didn't get a chance to make peace with anything ahead of time... and this was a premise that it was always going to be hard to sell to me. I guess if I'd had more time to reconcile myself to the overall structure, I could have got something out of it...

I hope we get to see J'onn Jonzz again, though, because Phil Morris really nailed the essence of the character in a very short time, IMO. I'm excited to see what he'd do in an episode that focuses on Clark and J'onn's interaction.
I really really hope so. His scenes were the most compelling of the episode and it would be an absurd waste to have acquired the character rights and then never have any meaningful interaction between Clark and J'onn! Not that that's necessarily beyond the stupidity of SV's writers...
slinkling: Zod-coldslinkling on February 4th, 2007 06:24 pm (UTC)
I've finally seen this episode, and am severely underwhelmed. Can't disagree with any of your points, though most of them I didn't even notice while watching, because I was too irritated by the unbelievably bad writing. Every major character was talking like Basil Exposition; none of them had plausible reactions to the moment they were in, because they were all too busy explaining where they'd been for the last five years. I can't decide if the SV writers just think that their audience are nimwits who wouldn't know subtext if it bit them in the ass, or if the problem is that the *writers* are nimwits. Grrr.

Jor-El as handsoap was pretty damn funny, but at the moment I'm wishing they'd given us Jor-El as lube, to make all that stupidity less abrasive.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Maggie G diebop_radar on February 4th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC)
none of them had plausible reactions to the moment they were in, because they were all too busy explaining where they'd been for the last five years
New writers. CRAP new writers that apparently have not been watching the show. *stabbity stabs* I'm so glad you hated it too! This episode made me ragey for a WHOLE WEEK. (I'm blaming my bad mood on it because as soon as I saw Crimson I perked right back up again!)

I'm wishing they'd given us Jor-El as lube, to make all that stupidity less abrasive.
That line is FOR THE WIN!
suex on May 27th, 2007 08:58 am (UTC)
I've been reading back over some of your reviews, and decided I would skip to some of my favourite episodes from Season 6. Labyrinth would have to be one of my favourite episodes from this season if not the entire series, so I was a little surprised, that whilst I highly respect your opinions as I've been totally enamoured by all your reviews, that your reaction to the episode was so negative.

I'm not sure if you've watched it again since you wrote this review, but I would be interested to know how you feel about it now after watching the entire season.

I wont drag any of your specific comments down to respond to, but just offer my thoughts on what I read from your review. I hope you dont mind this episode being old news and such, but since we're on hiatus I always find it fun with my forum buddies to go back over some of the episodes from the past season.

I didnt see this episode as a Clark living out his worst nightmare type of episode, but as an invasion of himself not only mentally but physically.

The phantom was able to tap into Clark's deepest thoughts and feelings and strip away not only his powers, but his identity, the people in his life and his belief in himself and use all of that against him in order to gain control of his body. It in someways calls back to the episode Memoria where Clark was also stripped (but they still left those red trunks on him, dammit) and was forced to reveal his identity to Dr Garner.

It also, for me, highlighted that if Clark wants to have a mature relationship with Lana, then he has to move on from the little fairytale that he has going on in his mind with how he sees her. His comment to her back in reality "I woke up" clearly was a sign to me that he now knows he needs to shift the way he sees her, and we know by season's end that he does start to change.

With the main arc for Clark this season being all about the Phantom Zoners, I thought it was a clever way to make one of them be more than just a story of brawn fighting brawn. Clark is so powerful physically that his fights can become rather predictable, but his greatest weakness is his emotional vulnerability and I'm always up for seeing that explored.

I'm not sure that the episode was supposed to deliver some high and powerful epiphany to Clark about his powers etc., but more importantly that he needs to believe in himself and to have trust and faith. I kind of like that message, because it really is what the core of Superman is and what he delivers to the world.

K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark identity crisisbop_radar on May 28th, 2007 06:36 am (UTC)
Hi there! I don't mind at all. And yes, I was out on my own in hating this episode--I think it was very well received overall. As I (think I) explained in my review, the device used in this episode is one of my least favourite premises in sci fi so it was really hard for me to get into the ep.

I haven't rewatched it and would be happy to. I know norwich36 drew out some interesting parallels between it and other episodes in season 6.

Clark is so powerful physically that his fights can become rather predictable, but his greatest weakness is his emotional vulnerability
*nods* I usually enjoy those episodes as well and I'm intrigued by your description of it 'as an invasion of himself not only mentally but physically.' I probably would get more out of it on rewatch, now that I'm over my grumps about them rolling out this tired old chestnut of a plot.



(no subject) - suex on May 29th, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)