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17 February 2007 @ 07:18 pm
6.15 Smallville Freak  
Ugh. What a day. We're on the third day of above-35 degree weather and it's stiflingly dry. I don't cope well
in the heat and apparently neither does my ISP, since it was down for most of today. The good news though is the Bob Bob is eating the stew I made him and had his first walk in the park today (he likes other small dogs but takes great offence at skateboarders).

Anyway, it's taken me a while to untangle my feelings about this latest Smallville episode.

Michael plays director
First things first, I think Michael did a great job of directing. I enjoyed seeing his innovations with the camera work, though he definitely strayed from the fixed-camera Smallville standard. Where I really think he excelled was in coaxing great performances from his co-stars, particularly Allison Mack, who has been seriously underwhelming me this season. The scene in which Clark removed the chip from her was incredibly tense and she completely sold me on it--it's some of the best acting I've seen from her ever. And Michael is evidently very good at directing himself. ;-) In the few scenes he was in, his A-game was definitely on, and his delivery was gorgeous. Bet he was loving being unencumbered by external direction since he's clearly got a very clear idea about how he wants to deliver Lex's lines!

I particularly loved Lex's outburst at Dr Bethany when he came to tell him that his laptop had been 'misplaced'. It's always fun seeing Lex take refuge in humour and deadpan delivery: 'sounds like a real blunder, doctor'. But when the real threat to Luthorcorp was made apparent, Lex shifted just as easily into true indignation with the chilly 'I don't tolerate loose ends, doctor'. The threat to Tobias felt really chilling, though I have no idea what Lex intended. I was really hoping we'd get to see those two interact as I wanted to know if Lex appeared as a meteorfreak to Tobias. Alas that was too much to hope for! In fact, his threat prompted Dr Bethany to kill Tobias--and I'm foggy on whether that's what he intended or not. (Luckily Dr Bethany doesn't know the first rule of fighting blind people--stay quiet, dickhead!)

Despite the lack of clarity on that point, I was pleased overall at learning more about what stage Lex is at vis a vis his meteor rock research. It would make sense if he is indeed building an army that he would be searching for meteor freaks, but this episode also dealt with the question of what he does with the ones who are not deemed 'useful'. It is convincing that he would 'dispose' of them: both because he despises them and because he wants complete and absolute control (he certainly wouldn't want to leave the possibility of them aiding Clark). We also Lex using a man whose wife was murdered by meteor freaks--the doctor is clear-sighted about Lex's true motives but he's still manipulated by him. This is what Lex is starting to excel at: manipulating people despite themselves by preying on their own deepest and darkest fears/urges.

Tobias and truth-seeing
I thought Tobias was a very interesting creation. As someone that can identify meteor freaks, he is an incredibly powerful force within Smallville. In this episode he revealed the truth to three characters with very significant consequences:
- he tells Clark that Chloe is meteor-infected
- he tells Lana that Clark is NOT meteor-infected, and
- he tells Clark that Lana thought he was meteor-infected.
Should we suspect Tobias? It is possible that he could lie, because it's hard to prove the 'truth' of what he sees. However, his statements were played as genuine and sincere. It seems unlikely that he was lying. Tobias also pronounces Clark 'the most normal guy I ever met'. If we take Tobias's word, he appears 'ultra-normal'. At some level that makes sense, because Kryptonite only ever has a temporary hold on him--would he look different at those times? I assume so.

Lana's progression
Lana's growing obsession with the 'mystery of Clark Kent' continues. It's worth reflecting that for for so long Lana remained at surface level infatuation with Clark, a level which Lex blasted through very swiftly. She's finally following in Lex's footsteps in transferring the focus of her obsession (and love) onto the mystery beneath the surface. She's now in the stage where she firmly believes that Clark is 'special'--she's convinced herself that he's a meteor freak, but one who uses his powers benevolently. And, like Lex before her, she's willing to protect him by using the resources at her disposal both generously and manipulatively. She offers Tobias a cornea transplant with no strings attached if he'll cover for Clark.

As with Lex before her, just when Lana thinks she's stumbled on definitive proof of Clark's secret, a counterargument is produced: Tobias tells her that Clark's normal. This has echoes of Lex seeing Clark get injured just when he was sure he'd proven his invulnerability. The bullet was another echo of revelations past--very similar to the bullets that Lionel may or may not have seen Clark shoot into his own hand.
Lana was very Lexian in her approach to Clark, confronting him with the evidence of the mystery (the bullet, in this case) and waiting to see how he would lie to her. And of course he does--far more confidently than he used to lie to Lex. The practice has paid off!

Lana's 'you'd still be the same Clark Kent' line was confronting to Clark because he'd always feared that she would hate him as a freak. But he's forgetting the real reason he broke up with her--that his secret endangers her. From Lana's perspective this line is still naive--mainly beccause she's still missing the mark. She doesn't know that he's not a meteor freak, but an alien. Though it's just as likely that she'll change her view on aliens to fit Clark into the picture. However, it remains to be seen whether she can keep either secret successfully--the 'fake' truth she thinks she's uncovered or the real truth--Reckoning showed that she couldn't hide the truth from Lex, and she's even closer to him than ever.

Lana notices that Lex's interest in what happened to Chloe is peculiar. And I think it's that that first triggers Lana's suspicion about the abduction. When Chloe then appears a little cagey about discussing the abduction, she suggests that Chloe thinks Lex had something to do with it. There's a little bit of transference there, I think, since Lana herself is suspicious. Lana knows that Lex is lying to her.

There was some clumsy writing in this episode--the worst instance being having Lana espouse a benevolent view of meteor freaks before it was made clear to the audience that she'd changed her tune only because she suspects Clark of being one now. While that was certainly something I'd been wondering if we'd see happen, there wasn't a clear enough causal link made on the show. And that scene was clumsy for another reason--it thrust Chloe into the role of being wholly critical of them, which worked well for the dramatic revelation later but temporarily made both characters seem a little ooc: a case of the writers forcing words into the characters mouths for the sake of the plot.

Lana uses just the same upfront approach with Lex as she does with Clark--she tells him straight out that she saw him meet with the doctor, and then she watches as he lies with confidence. She's ricocheting between one liar and another. She cuts through his rambling and requests the truth. In response he swears on the soul of his unborn child. *chokes laughing* Um, hasn't she clued that it doesn't HAVE a soul yet?! Or that it's not Lex's?! Either way, that oath is worth nix. In any case, Lana's expression in the embrace that follows is one of resignation and sorrow. It's almost as if she's accepted that the world she lives in is entirely made up of lies. And if neither Clark NOR Lex will give her an honest relationship, what is she to do but make the best of what she's got?

Lana has chosen to protect Clark from her fiance. She does not attempt to persuade Lex of Clark's 'goodness', for she knows that's not a path to success. Duplicity is a necessity in protecting Clark. But will it be enough to keep safe not just the secret but Lana herself?

The problem of Chloe
And now I've come to the part of the episode I had most conflicted feelings about. Within the course of this episode I enjoyed the plotting that led to revealing Chloe as a meteor freak. But I worry about the consequences from here and I find myself deeply troubled by how this affects overall Smallville canon. I was unspoiled for this twist and remain unspoiled as to how it will pan out. I hope my fears prove unfounded, but currently I'm struggling to envisage a resolution that I would find personally find satisfying, though I'm sure mny fans will enjoy it.

The term 'meteor-infected' was used a lot this episode--the term 'freak' was avoided. But implicit in its use as the title of the episode was the knowledge that identifying someone as being affected by meteor rocks is a condemnation, a heavy stigma, one even heavier than the 'mental illness' stigma that Chloe has feared as her destiny before now. Now she's facing a darker destiny than ever.

Clark responds to Tobias's revelations with his standard denial. Eariler in this episode, we'd seen that he's using denial to avoid the complicated emotions surrounding Lana's marriage to Lex--and he successfully changes the subject when Chloe brings it up. Clark wants to use denial and distraction in response to finding out that Chloe's a meteor freak as well, saying 'I'm just glad you're back' and telling her about the computer he swiped. His anxiety manifests in non-verbal behaviour, with him staring at her while she attempts to hack the computer. Chloe reads Clark too well though and recognises this behaviour pattern. She tries to address the truth head-on, asking 'I'm some sort of meteor freak, aren't I?' It's often Clark that jumps to conclusions and Chloe that puts the breaks on, but this time it's Clark saying 'we don't know that' because it's a possibility too chilling for him to face.

Chloe points out: 'Every single meteor freak I've ever run into has ended up dead or in Belle Reve'. Or on Level 33.1, we might add. supacat reminded me there's at least one meteor freak on the run--the mindwiping guy from Season 4--but we struggled to think of any others. Clark is not able to offer much comfort to Chloe. If he's her personal bomb squad, then the possibility is thrown out that he may have to 'defuse' her by killing her one day.

The scene where Clark uses his heat vision to remove the tracking device in Chloe was very powerful. But it was also uncomfortably masochistic on Chloe's part. I couldn't help feeling that this might be foreshadowing her story arc. It's also a masochism that is kept hidden from Jimmy--she denied that it hurt just as she denied she had feelings for Clark--because it doesn't matter, and also to stop him worrying. And if this is the case, if Chloe's story is going to be one of self-sacrificing martyrdom and voluntary 'death' (symbolic or real) at Clark's hands, then this casts an uncomfortably dark shadow over Chloe's entire life. I sincerely hope this is not the way the show is going, because I genuinely enjoyed the early Clark-Chloe relationship in the days of her high school crush. While I don't ship them now, I don't want the innocence of that early relationship to be overshadowed by a romanticised eternal masochism. In terms of gender politics, this is as repugnant to me as the ultra-objectification of Lana.

So what are the other possibilities? The one I really really thought they were going for was to reveal that Chloe's power is computer hacking. COME ON! It's so FRIKKING OBVIOUS!! It is NOT normal for high school girls to hack defence networks, dammit! Even in this episode Jimmy says 'Chloe's the one with the mad techno skills' and Clark refers to 'pulling off a miracle'. I so thought they were going there. So I found the final scene between Clark and Chloe baffling in its blindness to the obvious. Is the show really going to ignore the opportunity to retrospectively make sense of Chloe's 'superpowers'? Arrgh! If they HAD gone down that path, I could have got behind it--especially if we'd seen it cause some introspection on Chloe's part. For example, Clark could have argued that it was a benevolent power, but Chloe may have been forced to think about the ways in which her behaviour may actually be a violation of others--and how she justifies what she does--a moral journey which would also be useful for Clark, who felt it was fine to swipe a suspect's computer in this ep. (Though I enjoyed seeing his creative use of powers and quick-thinking, I do think that's pretty muddy water for Clark--far more in character for, say, Oliver...)

So I don't want to see Chloe martyred, I don't want her to kill herself, go mad or be killed by Clark. But I also really don't want her to become a superhero. This would seriously mess with Smallville canon. It's way too late for the show to prompt a rethink on the status of meteor freaks--if they can be redeamed or 'saved' then this makes their past deaths/mistreatment appalling in the extreme. And if some magical 'remedy' is discovered, I will be seriously PISSED that the only prompt to find one was when Clark's best friend became one.

There's another reason I really don't like the Chloe-as-superpowered idea. Her appeal as a character has always lain in how ordinary she is. And that is not an insult! She is one of the first characters that many viewers of the show identify with, especially the female viewers. She's 'cool' but she's realistic enough for people to relate to. She has love troubles, she doesn't have a perfect life, she has ambitions but struggles to realise them--she's always been a great viewer avatar. Give her superpowers and she's something else. It also changes her dynamic with Clark. It equalises them in a way that I think is unneccessary and unproductive for the show. Chloe as trusted secret-keeper is less 'special' if she's also got a secret to keep. The relationship becomes more like the one that Clark has with Oliver. It doesn't add anything new to the show--and it also means that the only 'normal' humans on the show are the love interests: Lana, Lois, Jimmy. I dislike that because I've always liked the 'best friend' Chlark relationship.

Can you tell I'm struggling with this?! ;-) I'll be really keen to read other people's thoughts because I'm sure they'll have different views. I wish I could find a silver lining on this one.

Stray thoughts
- The scene of Chloe's abduction was genuinely creepy--and very like a cliched alien abduction. If that was intentional, it's interesting that it's not the REAL alien who's abducting those on Earth and experimenting on them, but a fellow human (and potential meteor-freak).
- It's handy that Clark has a back-up billionaire pal now--everyone needs one of those to help your friends out of trouble. But nice to know that he and Ollie are still in touch! ;-)
- It was fun to see Clark employing a creative use of powers to swipe Dr Bethany's computer, but this is somewhat murky territory for Clark--it was quite Oliver-like, I thought, to justify stealing someone's computer simply because you suspect them of a nefarious purpose.
- I wish I could believe that Lana had an alternative to hanging with Chloe for her Bachelorette Party. It was cute seeing the girls having fun together, but it also felt a bit sad--Lana's life is a very lonely one. This makes me doubly glad that she's nurturing her friendship with Chloe.
 
 
Current Location: sofa of comfiness
Current Mood: uncomfortableuncomfortable
 
 
 
Kate: Chloe beautifulmskatej on February 17th, 2007 01:47 pm (UTC)
So what are the other possibilities? The one I really really thought they were going for was to reveal that Chloe's power is computer hacking.

THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT TOO! *highfives*

I agree that Chloe being a meteor freak could turn out really badly. I'm actually hoping that her powers corrupt her, she turns evil, and that Lex ends up killing her (but not before he tortures her for a bit first. Lex's torture scenes are like porn).
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Allison bouncybop_radar on February 17th, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, that sounds awesome! Hope so! ;-)
*highfives*
(no subject) - jakrar on February 18th, 2007 01:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Denise: Reporter Chloekdsch123 on February 17th, 2007 01:48 pm (UTC)
I'm completely agreeing with you in terms of Chloe with a meteor power or as superhero. As much as there is a worship of Lana within the fandom, so is there also one of Chloe. There seems to be a need to make Chloe more than she is - i.e. - the Iconic Lois Lane, and now possibly to slide her into a superheroes role. I love Chloe as a character. The fact that she was the 'normal' person closest to Clark as he built his way up to being Superman was really a wonderful way to have viewers feel part of the story.

It would almost be nice to see that Chloe is meteor 'infected' but powerless (as I'm sure a great lot of the population of Smallville might be - given their proximity to the meteors.) and as much as I don't want to see her die, it might also be interesting (if Chloe has to die, which I don't see the reason for) if she was one of the first to come down with the cancer that Lex eventually gets in the comics.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on February 17th, 2007 10:28 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's always been Chloe's normalcy that made her special to me, and to me it's a great story to tell--how a normal girl can be someone extraordinary by being a loyal friend to Superman. And it's sooo important to Clark to keep that connection with the normal. It always liked the idea of Clark coming to terms with being alien and Chloe facing the fact that she's NOT some larger than life character: because there is greatness in both, if that makes sense.

Nice suggestions about where they could go from here--yes, maybe Chloe is powerless--though they didn't play it that way with Tobias--if they were going to take that path I would have thought they'd have him identify some people who at least were latent as yet. But perhaps. The cancer would be interesting... but I'm still struggling to work out if she's marked for death or not!
huzzlewhat: superherohuzzlewhat on February 17th, 2007 03:18 pm (UTC)
Wow — you waded into waters regarding Chloe's possible "super"ness that I looked at, and decided were too cold and deep for me! Much admiration for you from this quarter.

I'm in complete agreement with you regarding how problematic the transformation is... it reminds me (inevitably) of late seasons of Buffy. Whenever the topic came up, I fought tooth and nail against the idea of giving Xander powers of some sort — you just don't do that to a character whose primary appeal is his or her normality. And the impact that having Chloe being a meteor mutant would have on what being a mutant means and how she's not expendable, therefore a cure must be found... it's taking me to an uncomfortable meta-Spike place... what does it mean, for Buffy's quite phenomenal kill-rate, if vampires can actually choose to regain their soul? It's a case of the writers introducing new ideas for favored characters that turn the show's entire foundation on end.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Bop_radar TWbop_radar on February 17th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, god, yes, it's as bad as giving Xander super powers! Just DO NOT DO THAT!

what does it mean, for Buffy's quite phenomenal kill-rate, if vampires can actually choose to regain their soul? It's a case of the writers introducing new ideas for favored characters that turn the show's entire foundation on end.
Absolutely1 It's a really bad idea so late in a series. Bring it up early and you have the chance to explore moral ambiguity and grey areas and so on. But this late in a show's established canon and it just ends up looking a) incredibly self-indulgent b) like you've pissed on your own world. Much as I loved the idea of Spike getting his soul back, it made me very uncomfortable. And if anything I'm more uncomfortable about this twist in Smallville because at least in Jossverse it wasn't the only introduction of moral ambiguity--in AtS they were busy establishing that some demons are friendly, etc. Smallville is so black and white, and while sometimes I wish it WAS more morally ambiguous and Clark would stop and think before hurling meteorfreaks across rooms, I don't want him to be promted to rethink only because his best friend is one! *headdesk*

*frets*
(no subject) - huzzlewhat on February 18th, 2007 08:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on February 18th, 2007 11:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - huzzlewhat on February 18th, 2007 03:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on February 19th, 2007 12:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
serenographyserenography on February 17th, 2007 03:56 pm (UTC)
I was so looking forward to reading your comments on this one. As usual, you did not disappoint.

It's way too late for the show to prompt a rethink on the status of meteor freaks--if they can be redeamed or 'saved' then this makes their past deaths/mistreatment appalling in the extreme. And if some magical 'remedy' is discovered, I will be seriously PISSED that the only prompt to find one was when Clark's best friend became one.

I'm thinking that the point of making Chloe one of "them" isn't so much to illustrate their needing to be saved, but accepted. Most fans adore Chloe and revealing her to be meteor-infected can only raise sympathy and understanding that not *all* meteor freaks are evil/bad and need to be saved. Thankfully, the show has stopped relying on too many FOTW shows, but if you look back there have been several introduced that were not badguys. The kid from Blank, Kyle Tippett from Hug (one of my all-time favorite SV episodes), Byron from Nocturne, Cyrus from Visitor, and that kid from Hereafter.. and who can forget the poor blown-up Ageless baby.
My other thought about this is that it is somewhat of a convenient plot device to explain away all the "Super Chloe" feats that we've seen her do. I have to wonder if TPTB are tapping more into the general feelings and complaints of fans when I see them doing things like finally addressing the Lana/Clark merry-go-round, Lana finally getting a backbone and people actually TALKING to her *draws hearts*, and Chloe's ridiculously OTT abilities with a keyboard. We're also getting a lot more iconic Superman nods and demonstrations of Clark's abilities - again, addressing the biggest complaints of the DC fanboys.

I know I'm ridiculously positive about the show, but I am sincerely loving this season.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - serenography on February 17th, 2007 10:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on February 17th, 2007 10:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - suex on June 1st, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on June 7th, 2007 06:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - suex on June 9th, 2007 03:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on June 15th, 2007 10:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on February 17th, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Nora Norwich: KK etherealnorwich36 on February 17th, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
Lana's 'you'd still be the same Clark Kent' line was confronting to Clark because he'd always feared that she would hate him as a freak. But he's forgetting the real reason he broke up with her--that his secret endangers her....However, it remains to be seen whether she can keep either secret successfully--the 'fake' truth she thinks she's uncovered or the real truth--Reckoning showed that she couldn't hide the truth from Lex, and she's even closer to him than ever.

True, she's closer to Lex than ever, but she's also becoming a better liar than ever. Lex is still seeing through her--in my review I compared their relationship to season 1 Lex and Lionel, in that Lex *thought* he could conceal things from his dad but wasn't ultimately successful--but I'm still impressed at Lana's powers of deception. Lex apparently didn't know she was investigating the Tobias angle, for example, even though he *ought* to have, considering she was questioning him about his relationship with the doctor.

In any case, Lana's expression in the embrace that follows is one of resignation and sorrow. It's almost as if she's accepted that the world she lives in is entirely made up of lies.

Oh, I really like that reading of the scene. I definitely agree with you that Lana knew Lex was lying to her (I've seen a lot of people's reviews say they think she believed him, but I agree that expression at the end shows she knows), but I hadn't thought of the parallel with Clark. Weird that the only person telling Lana the truth in this episode is Chloe! (Represses urge to do a Chlana reading of that fact....)

The scene where Clark uses his heat vision to remove the tracking device in Chloe was very powerful. But it was also uncomfortably masochistic on Chloe's part.

My favorite reading of this scene is mskatej's, that it's actually sex. Or the closest Chlarkers are ever going to get to sex from their couple.

K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on February 17th, 2007 10:52 pm (UTC)
I'm still impressed at Lana's powers of deception. Lex apparently didn't know she was investigating the Tobias angle, for example, even though he *ought* to have, considering she was questioning him about his relationship with the doctor.
I agree. Her powers of deception have seriously improved. She's almost the equal of Clark and Lex now--which made her final approach to each of them all the more interesting. She tests them to see if she'll get the truth, but she's also capable of withholding the truth herself. And she'll do so as a response to their secrecy--so Clexian.

Weird that the only person telling Lana the truth in this episode is Chloe! (Represses urge to do a Chlana reading of that fact....)
I think that's significant! It really makes that friendship a shining example of honesty right now, and it's down to Lana drawing a line and stopping demanding that Chloe tell her about Clark's secret. Much respect for Lana for that! And I'm surprised/delighted to be able to 'buy' their friendship again.

My favorite reading of this scene is [info]mskatej's, that it's actually sex. Or the closest Chlarkers are ever going to get to sex from their couple.
*nods* I haven't read that yet, but I agree. It read as VERY sexual, and it was interesting that it was kept secret from Jimmy, and that Chloe demanded it and Clark did it as a favour. But the masochism bit squicked me.
Nora Norwichnorwich36 on February 17th, 2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
it made me split my comment in half!
You knew I was going to argue with you about the Chloe parts of the episode, right? :D On the Chloe-as-mutant thing: I can definitely see where you're coming from in your criticisms of this particular arc, but I actually think it's an elegant solution to the box the writers had gotten themselves into with Chloe. A substantial part of the fanbase still convinced that she was the real Lois Lane, despite the existence of a Lois on the show; another group thinking that at this point, when Lois is on the show and can provide the reporting angle, and Lana is being positioned to be Clark's new confidante, that killing of Chloe is the only place to go with her character. This plotline gives Chloe an interesting new character arc that isn't directly tied to Clark; it demonstrates that Chloe *isn't* the real Lois Lane, since Lois doesn't have powers; it keeps the possibilities of crazy or dead Chloe still in play, while opening up a potential storyline that gives her the option of actually becoming a superhero; and it allows the show to re-examine the meteor mythology.

And I don't think it's a bad thing that the show reexamine the meteor mythology. As serenography pointed out above, we have seen lots of mutants who had good intentions--and as far as we know, not *all* of them have come to a bad end (Kyle Tippett, for example). Unlike huzzlewhat, I don't think it's as big of a retcon as making unsouled Spike a good person in Buffy, because there have been plenty of mutants with good intentions--maybe all they've needed was a benevolent billionaire doing research to help them control the side effects of their powers (Oliver, who apparently took his first step in that direction with Tobias).

And it actually makes sense to re-evaluate the meteor mutants in terms of the overall progression of the show. Mutants have always sort of symbolized Clark's dark side: since season 1, when he came to the realization that he had special powers that made him different, mutants have represented the risk of what those powers could do to him, and what he could become if he exploited his powers. They were, in a sense, a symbolic representation of his fear of his own alienness. Now that he actual has an external enemy and doesn't need the mutants to give him someone to fight, and now that he's starting to accept his own alienness, it makes symbolic sense to me that the show should re-examine whether or not mutants really *are* evil. Maybe, like Jor-El, they're just misunderstood! (I certainly don't think this particular retcon is *more* disruptive than the Jor-El retcon.)

huzzlewhat: superherohuzzlewhat on February 17th, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)
Re: it made me split my comment in half!
Unlike huzzlewhat, I don't think it's as big of a retcon as making unsouled Spike a good person in Buffy, because there have been plenty of mutants with good intentions--maybe all they've needed was a benevolent billionaire doing research to help them control the side effects of their powers (Oliver, who apparently took his first step in that direction with Tobias).

For what it's worth, I'm deeply uncomfortable with where the plotline might go — and I'm sort of holding back to see whether or not it goes there. Yes, if stops are pulled out to find a cure for Chloe, I'm going to be going to a Spike place, and part of me is pretty much bracing for it. There is the potential that they'll handle it well. So I'm trying to reserve judgement until I see how it plays out, but I definitely saw those deep waters!

Re: it made me split my comment in half! - bop_radar on February 17th, 2007 11:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: it made me split my comment in half! - bop_radar on February 17th, 2007 11:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: it made me split my comment in half! - norwich36 on February 17th, 2007 11:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: it made me split my comment in half! - bop_radar on February 18th, 2007 03:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: it made me split my comment in half! - norwich36 on February 18th, 2007 04:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: it made me split my comment in half! - bop_radar on February 18th, 2007 05:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: it made me split my comment in half! - norwich36 on February 18th, 2007 06:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: it made me split my comment in half! - bop_radar on February 18th, 2007 07:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
Sorry to butt in, but - frelling_tralk on February 18th, 2007 01:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Sorry to butt in, but - bop_radar on February 19th, 2007 12:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on February 17th, 2007 11:10 pm (UTC)
:D
synonym spice!: purple Lex = purplex!fiercynn on February 17th, 2007 07:09 pm (UTC)
There was some clumsy writing in this episode--the worst instance being having Lana espouse a benevolent view of meteor freaks before it was made clear to the audience that she'd changed her tune only because she suspects Clark of being one now.

Yes, that really bothered me too. Lana's never been particularly tolerant of anyone out of the ordinary - unless that person is Clark.

Lana's 'you'd still be the same Clark Kent' line was confronting to Clark because he'd always feared that she would hate him as a freak. But he's forgetting the real reason he broke up with her--that his secret endangers her.

Ironically, I'd just rewatched "Extinction" in Season 3 before I saw this episode, so the connections and contradictions were very clear to me, particularly when Lana tells Clark that it would be okay if he were meteor-infected. She says the exact same thing in "Extinction", but that time, he replies, "If only it were that simple." So even besides the effects of "Reckoning", I think Clark is being a bit obtuse about the idea now, because really, despite Lana's tolerance, I would think there's still too much background about the meteor showers and how they affected Lana's life that would make the truth a bit harder to accept.

The idea of Chloe's powers being computer hacking had occurred to me a little, and I'd love to see that as well! I also love the connection you made between this and Chloe's fear of mental illness - especially since those were alluded to again in her role in "Labyrinth" (I know you didn't like that episode, but I thought it was still an interesting link).

Mmm, I love reading your reactions! :D
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on February 17th, 2007 11:13 pm (UTC)
I think Clark is being a bit obtuse about the idea now, because really, despite Lana's tolerance, I would think there's still too much background about the meteor showers and how they affected Lana's life that would make the truth a bit harder to accept.
Yes, totally! I'll extend him some generosity and say he's in a soft-hearted place right now because the wedding's only a week away. But if it continues it will begin to irk me, because I thought he'd worked through those issues.

especially since those were alluded to again in her role in "Labyrinth"
Yes! I really like the whole Chloe-mental-illness connection and to me that already gave her a fear about her destiny that I would like to see explored. I would be interested to see if they pair the two up: I could enjoy that. Especially since Belle Reve has been the dumping ground for meteor freaks in the past. Connecting and paralleling the two could be a graceful way of connecting this new twist to previous Chloe canon.

Thanks for your comment!
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on February 17th, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC)
He felt very iconic and more importantly, he won
Yes, that's true! It was a very strong Lex episode. Well needed!

I wish, though, that she'd just call off the wedding. She cares about Lex, yes, but she doesn't love him and significantly, she doesn't trust him and that's not even dramatically interesting to me.
Well, I did wonder if she MIGHT! I'm sure I'd have picked up on the spoiler vibe if this was the case, but watching this episode in isolation, completely unspoiled, I could see that they might be building towards a calling off the wedding--melodramatically late, of course! ;-) *sigh* Probably too much to hope for.

Clark, Clark, Clark. Just because you suspect someone's doing something nefarious still doesn't mean you get to BREAK THE LAW in order to figure out whether or not you're right.
I know!! Someone's been spending a leetle too much time around Ollie! And I'd loove to have seen Oliver snark about that. 'Oh, it's ok when YOU do it!' Still, his use of powers is far more cluey and competent than it used to be and that's fun to see. I'll put the laptop down as loose writing. It just better not continue!
anna: kk at nightsnarkist on February 17th, 2007 09:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, MR totally rocked his directorial role. And I really liked how MR acts when he's not under someone else's direction... I think he really knows where Lex should be going by this point. Also, his face is looking a lot more slender now. HOT.

And hmm, yeah. The question of Chloe. I was totally waiting for them to be like, "So that's why you have mad computer skillz!" But then it never happened! For serious, if I suddenly discovered that I was meteor-infected, the first thing I'd think about is what the hell my power was. I was surprised when the end of the ep rolled around and both Chloe and Clark never even really discussed it, and were just like, "Well, I guess we'll see how things go."

I do think it would be interesting if her power was just something subtle, just a little help in the computer/hacking department, so she could be an Oracle type of person. But if I were writing a follow up for this ep, I'd probably give her cancer. I mean, I don't want her to die, but the fact that she has been around so many meteor rocks, and hasn't really shown any significant reation or power leads me to a Lex-losing-his-hand kind of place. I've always sort of figured that one day TPTB would kill her off, because of her original character status, and because they've put themselves in a bad position with bringing Lois into the storyline, so I think that meteor-induced cancer might be a poignant way to kill her off. A little less masochist (because yes, that's worrisome), and to keep her basically normal. Also, SAD.

Speaking of sad, I totally agree that Lana probably didn't have an alternative to just hanging with Chloe. She said that she could have had some big party with lots of girls, and she just wanted to hang with her best girl, but I don't really by it. Lana seems very alone.

Anyhoo, I really hope that TPTB haven't written themselves into a corner with Chloe. I guess we'll just have to see if they take this someplace interesting, or if they just totally fuck with their own canon for meteor freaks.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on February 17th, 2007 11:22 pm (UTC)
I think he really knows where Lex should be going by this point. Also, his face is looking a lot more slender now. HOT.
Yes, and yes! *happy*

I was surprised when the end of the ep rolled around and both Chloe and Clark never even really discussed it, and were just like, "Well, I guess we'll see how things go."
I was SCREAMING at the computer screen. I could not believe it!! Could they be any more dense? I mean earlier in the ep the writers made a point of Jimmy saying that he couldnt hack into the computer, and then Chloe could instantly. As she always can. This is NOT normal. And she's a journo not a computer nerd. Does she even know how to code? It's UNEXPLAINED. How could they overlook it? *flails*

A mild power of computer manipulation would be great. And I did wonder if they'd link it to her fear of mental illness as well--I've always wondered when/if they would explorethat more thoroughly. But I don't like the idea of watching this season waiting for her to die. I hope they DO take it someplace interesting--I hope for the best even though my first reaction was fear! ;-)
Nora Norwichnorwich36 on February 17th, 2007 10:29 pm (UTC)
One more thought about Clark and Chloe
Reposting so the whole comment isn't in italics:

The scene where Clark uses his heat vision to remove the tracking device in Chloe was very powerful. But it was also uncomfortably masochistic on Chloe's part. I couldn't help feeling that this might be foreshadowing her story arc.... And if this is the case, if Chloe's story is going to be one of self-sacrificing martyrdom and voluntary 'death' (symbolic or real) at Clark's hands, then this casts an uncomfortably dark shadow over Chloe's entire life."

I was thinking about this some more about Chloe, Clark, and penetration, and I think I have a different reading of that scene. I think you have to read it as a reversal of what happened earlier in the episode, in which she was kidnapped by Lex's men, symbolically raped with that machine, and *implanted with something,* and then roofied to forget it all. So I don't think that choosing to have Clark penetrate her with his heat vision was masochistic/ self-sacrificing as much as it was symbolically reasserting her own choices over who penetrated her, and also having Clark perform a symbolic abortion.

And once we look at it that way, the parallels to the Lana plot arc are clear, because she too has had something menacing and Luthorian planted in her, but she hasn't been allowed the agency to have it removed.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on February 17th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)
Re: One more thought about Clark and Chloe
Hi hi! *waves*

symbolically reasserting her own choices over who penetrated her, and also having Clark perform a symbolic abortion.
Oh, yeah: I like that reading. If they don't go down the Chloe-as-martyr-path then I'll be very happy. So fingers crossed that this is all that it connects with. Love the parallel to Lana's plot too! Will Lana take symbolic control over her body again too? Unlike Chloe, she doesn't even know it's there. Very interesting.
Becky: TGS Smartly Prettygiggleloop on February 18th, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
This is totally random speculation, and I have no idea if it'll happen... but you saying that possibly Chloe's "power" is computer hacking, coupled with the fact that in Justice her codename was "Watchtower", which is the name of the JLA satellite.... I wonder if maybe something will happen to her and her consciousness will go into a computer or something, thereby making her the AI for the satellite eventually? Just a random thought that occurred to me. I DON'T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING, I'm just speculating.

Also, if Chloe is meteor-infected, wouldn't Clark (and therefore we) have seen it when he X-rayed her? In the past (or at least, early seasons) he's been able to see people who were kryptonized when he X-rayed them. But yet, I didn't see anything, did you? *frown* That's why I was sure it had to have been a misread on Tobias' part, that he did actually see Clark as the "freak", but because they were standing so close together, he misread it as Chloe. Although, since she was kidnapped and taken to 33.1, all bets are off, who knows what they did to her now (besides putting the GPS tracker in her).

Wow, I'm all meta-y this morning. :)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark identity crisisbop_radar on February 18th, 2007 11:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, there's a very creative piece of speculation! Cool!

My memory is foggy (and this plot is making me feel that I should go back and pay much more attention to the Kryptofreaks!) but I thought Clark could only see certain forms of Krypto-infection. He's been taken by surprise by many freaks. I'm not actually sure the show has been consistent on this matter and I haven't seen him X-ray anyone to detect them in a long, long time. But you never know!
Le courage ne craint pas le crime: Whee!attaccabottoni on February 18th, 2007 05:55 pm (UTC)
Um, hasn't she clued that it doesn't HAVE a soul yet?! Or that it's not Lex's?! Either way, that oath is worth nix.
I hope I'm not being annoying by making an issue of this little detail, but am I the only one who's reacting in concern for this whole soul-swearing? I mean, I'm sure the writers/Lex meant it as a figure of speech (or just a convenient line to convey Lex's dedication to keeping Lana from the truth of his involvement) and not take it too seriously, and we don't really know how Lex views his unborn in the light of the non-normal pregnancy, but I was really disturbed by the idea that they introduced the concept of the soul at all, given the possibility that the baby may be a mutant and all this non-simplistic morality judgment angle on mutants they are working on. It does kind of remind me of Buffy like in the discussions above, and I'm apprehensive of the show taking up the whole vampires/mutants parallel and the ethical entailments thereof. I hope they're not going to go for either tack of (1) chipping/control operations ala-Season 4 Spike or (2) something like a plot from any X-Men universe. Stick to the black-and-white superheroing, rogue-alien capturing, and human villain-thwarting if you're not going to handle the characters' moral growth properly please!

That paragraph is prompted by the lack of spoilers on the exact nature of the Lexana baby as a plot point. I might be placing too much importance on it, but I've always have had a soft spot for the Luthor family, genetic relations notwithstanding. (That and I'm missing Lionel more than I should.)

My less-serious afterthought is: So Lex really does have Catholic affiliations if he believes that his lie on the soul of an unborn has weight, proprietary issues and conception involvement aside. :D
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex here with youbop_radar on February 18th, 2007 11:56 pm (UTC)
I was really disturbed by the idea that they introduced the concept of the soul at all, given the possibility that the baby may be a mutant and all this non-simplistic morality judgment angle on mutants they are working on.
*nods* I think that's a fair concern, and that line pinged oddly with me too. For starters, Smallville has usually shied away from overt religious references. (Although they entered some fairly dodgy territory with Jonathan's visitations from the grave last season...) I head about ten instant reactions to Lex's statement: Lex believes in souls? Lex thinks his CHILD has one? Lex is lying? Lex thinks Lana wants to believe her child has a soul? Does everyone in Smallville universe believe in souls? Does CLARK have a soul? How do we define 'soul' dammit?! So, no, you're not alone!

Stick to the black-and-white superheroing, rogue-alien capturing, and human villain-thwarting if you're not going to handle the characters' moral growth properly please!
*nods* Seconded!!

Hey, nice to meet you, too! :-)
(no subject) - attaccabottoni on February 19th, 2007 12:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on February 20th, 2007 04:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Bop_radar TWbop_radar on February 19th, 2007 08:42 am (UTC)
did anyone else notice that they stuck a big needle in Chloe's stomach while the "doctor" was saying "begin DNA extraction"?
Ha! I totally missed that. That's hilarious! I'll have to fanwank 'DNA extraction' is code for 'insert large needle in stomach'!

I'd be very surprised if Lex kills Chloe--I could, however, see him using her as bait to get to Clark. Since Chloe is so firmly aligned with Clark, I can also see Lex transferring a lot of his issues with Clark onto her. But a straight killing is unlikely.

I partially agree with you about Lex--I think his desire for the Lexmas reality is still a strong driving force--but I think it's his resolution at the end of Lexmas that is really telling: money and power. He'll do whatever it takes to get both. Chloe is a path to having power over Clark, so I can see that actually working quite coherently in Lex's plot.
silverscreengalsilverscreengal on February 20th, 2007 04:10 am (UTC)
I know I'm late to the game and may be repeating someone else but....
I just got around to watching "Freak" last night and so I'm late to the game. I tried to read all the comments and perhaps I'm wrong, but I didn't see something that struck me as odd.

In your initial review you mentioned that you couldn't remember anyone except the guy in "Blank" being a meteor freak that wasn't either crazy or dead. (I noticed others came up with some that were forgotten)

However, did anyone else mention that LEX is a meteor freak?? He lost his hair in the first meteor shower and can not get sick.

Any thoughts?
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex golden fieldbop_radar on February 20th, 2007 04:35 am (UTC)
Re: I know I'm late to the game and may be repeating someone else but....
Never worry about being late--there's still much discussion going on, and norwich36 has made a big post about meteor freaks.

The subject of Lex's 'freak' status is something I'm very interested in too--that's why I really, really wanted him to have a scene with Tobias. It's odd how the show skirts around this subject. They bring it up every now and again but we don't know the full extent of Lex's regenerative powers. Recently, for example, the little scrape with an arrow of Oliver's didn't seem to be healing unusually fast. But I always hope the show is going to revisit that idea at some point in time. Guess it wasn't this ep though.

Of course, Lex does demonstrate some of the traits of other meteor freaks--he's prone to madness (sometimes enduced by external stresses but still significant), he experiences fits of rage (again, to some degree this is 'normal') and I've long thought that he would end up killing his father--as many meteor freaks before him have killed their parents. Then again, norwich36 puts forward a strong case that the show has been 'softening' its view on meteor freaks as bad/evil, so perhaps they WON'T play up this aspect of Lex's descent into evilness.

Either way, I'd really like to see HIM explore the extent of his powers.