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10 May 2008 @ 12:52 pm
Smallville 7.19 Quest  
This episode wasn't exactly all I'd hoped for the penultimate episode of the season, and Michael Rosenbaum's second-to-last performance as Lex. I'll get the snarking over with first:
- Smallville goes 'Da Vinci Code'? Rly? o.O That was necessary WHY?!
- Didn't they learn anything from S4? Teagues + Quests = BAD TV (and I liked S4!)
- No less than TWO sci-fi doctors were cast in this episode: Doc Cottle from BSG and my beloved Voyager Doc. And I tried, I really tried to overcome their familiarity to me, but it did not help that they gave one of them a stupid accent and made the other a psychopath. *headdesk* Oh Smallville.
- The plot was one of the stupidest and most pointlessly convoluted things they've ever written since Season 4. The clock was both stupid and improbable, the hidden compartment above the fireplace was really obvious (you cannot convince me that Lionel would not have found that!) and the Scottish folk song an unnecessary element of crazy.
- Chloe doesn't know who the patron saint of travellers is but DOES know there's only one St Christopher's cathedral in North America? o.O
- I was actually laughing helplessly through the scene where Lex stared at the clock. In my mind his inner dialogue during that scene went something like: 'Yup, not having the minion with me at this point in the quest DEFinitely a good idea because I look like a complete twat right now.'

Don't get me wrong, there were some things I liked about the episode. But I thought it forced the imagery too hard. We all remember the pilot and the iconic image of Clark as 'Angel', in shadow, in the cemetery. We all remember the crucifixion. To evoke those associations we don't need to have it hammered down our throats in dialogue in this ep! Smallville: please, please keep those things as visual metaphor, where you do it so well, as opposed to dialogue which flops like a deflated balloon.

I also thought it a great pity that Clark and Lex did not encounter one another even once during this episode. In terms of scaling up the drama as a lead-in to a finale, I think that would have been far more successful than holing each of them up with her own crazy old dude.

To be fair to this episode, I'm rather distracted this week. My Lex vid is in the final stages of construction and it's rather all-consuming. Also, I haven't written about it, but I'm feeling very concerned about Season 8. I know fandom hates Al and Miles, but their departure felt like a warning bell to me, and the confirmation that Michael won't be returning next season made me actually cry--perhaps especially because I've been vidding his truly superlative performance at Lex. So perhaps that made me a rather demanding audience this week. ;)

Ok, onto the good: they remembered that Edward Teague was STILL ALIVE! Whee! This pleases me greatly because we don't have to fanwank a death for him. Hooray! It startled me not a little that he'd become a crazy monk, but I'd rather have that than the loose end. What I wasn't so happy about was the way that Jason and Genevieve's deaths were reinterpreted. I feel both Clark and Edward are wrong: they didn't die because of OR for Clark. They died because they were power-hungry crazies who were so caught up in their own quest that they lost touch with reality--just like Edward.

I thought it was a pity that they went so overboard with Edward. Having him be a complete NUTJOB meant that it was all too easy to dismiss his rambling, but some of what he had to say was powerful. I particularly liked the fact that he said that interpretations of the Kryptonian messages from Swann varied. The Traveller could either be (seen as) a saviour or a destroyer. That's a powerful concept that harks back to the very first time that Clark heard the 'rule them with strength' message. Clark himself has fought that interpretation--and it's important that he keeps on fighting it. But the subjectivity of the message is interesting.

It was also intriguing that this episode followed on the heels of one where we saw Clark himself consider removing himself from the equation. Jor-El intervened to show him that that selflessness would actually endanger the Earth. Edward says 'I pray that you find peace in this act of selflessness', but the ceremony is being conducted against Clark's will and against Jor-El's judgement. Edward casts suspicion on Jor-El's motivations, saying he just couldn't bear the thought of his own son dying, but I don't buy that: Jor-El is, if anything, painfully objective about his son, and if he thought Clark was doing harm to the world then he'd probably just icicle him again. ;)

Shirtlessness! It's back! Oh, how I've missed it. I guess the writers figured they'd have to milk Michael for at least one more shirtless ep before he left. And yay for paralleled shirtlessness with Clark. *g* Ok, it did involve rather icky disfigurement, but still.

I loved that Clark destroyed the clock completely by accident. Yay! This episode was full of improbable logic jumps and I was glad to be spared one more (Clark magically knows what the clue in the cathedral is!). And I like that he thinks Lex didn't find what he was looking for, that he doesn't realise Lex already has the power in his hands.

The Namaan/Segeth image resurfaces! I'm happy about that, though I found the idea that somehow there could be an outcome to the eternal struggle between good and evil had me seriously tearing my hair out. I get that Lex is power-crazed enough to believe that he could gain ultimate control over the Traveller, but why is Jimmy buying into the idea that there will be an ultimate winner out of the Good Versus Evil battle? Especially since the image involves the melding of the two.

And getting to that... if the image supposedly shows the resolution of the hero/anti-hero conflict, then it's both hilarious and disturbing that it appears to involve them cojoining bodies. And I loved Clark's reaction to Chloe 'buying into' the mythology. He was all eyerolly: 'Chloe, that's sooo Season 3!'

One thing this episode DID do well was show how dangerous the role of 'secret-keeper' or 'worshipper' could be. We've seen several people in this role this season--most notably Lionel, who, like Teague, also tried to control Clark, 'for his own good'. They showed how easily crazy love/worship for a person could flip over into thinking you need to take control of that person. That reflects on Lex and how he would react if he had confirmed for once and for all that Clark is the Traveller. But it also reflects on Chloe. In the absence of Martha, Jonathan, Pete and Lionel, Chloe has inherited the burden of being Clark's secret-keeper, and she's also very inclined to put him on a pedestal, to insist that he's only a force for good in the world. In this episode she goes so far as to insist that he play 'God', demanding that he kill Lex. Wow, Chloe. When did you make Clark your deity?

I think her words are damaging to Clark and his potential as the future Superman. He absolutely should NOT play God and I was glad to see that Clark was perfectly clear that if he killed Lex, he'd be turning into him himself. There would be no win out of the situation. In fact, I would argue that Lex would have won in that scenario, by triggering a reaction so violent and so evil in Clark. It would prove that Clark IS a threat to the world, that he is a 'God among men' in the darkest sense of the word. Keep on resisting, Clark! I don't buy that he doesn't have a choice about being on the pedestal. Even if people (*cough* Chloe) insist on viewing him as all-powerful (either good or bad), Clark doesn't have to buy into that. His own natural humility and selflessness will save him from that, I believe. But it also makes me angry that the person at his side is trying to undermine that.

I'm really hoping that the finale will make this episode look better in retrospect. It probably will.
 
 
Current Location: sofa of comfiness
Current Mood: blahblah
Current Music: lloyd I'm ready to be heartbroken--camera obscura
 
 
 
suex on May 10th, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
Smallville goes 'Da Vinci Code'? Rly? o.O That was necessary WHY?!
- Didn't they learn anything from S4? Teagues + Quests = BAD TV (and I liked S4!)


Hee, hee!! I actually kind of like all this mysterious Da Vinci Code stuff. It follows along the path that they actually set up from the beginning, which was interrupted by the movie franchise that dictated they should go all sci-fi instead. But that's just my opinion. :/

And I tried, I really tried to overcome their familiarity to me, but it did not help that they gave one of them a stupid accent and made the other a psychopath.

Robert Picardo has been playing a major role on Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG1, so I've managed to overcome the familiarity of the Doctor.

Chloe doesn't know who the patron saint of travellers is but DOES know there's only one St Christopher's cathedral in North America? o.O

Didnt she look it up on the computer?

During that scene I couldnt help but think back to the Season 3 episode Slumber, which also highlighted St. Christopher, the Patron Saint of Travellers.

I also thought it a great pity that Clark and Lex did not encounter one another even once during this episode. In terms of scaling up the drama as a lead-in to a finale, I think that would have been far more successful than holing each of them up with her own crazy old dude.

Maybe they want to hold off their encounter until the finale. Ya know, give it more impact that way. I did love it when Lex asked Teague, "what did you do" and he turned and said it was The Traveller. That was a great moment. Kind of added more intrigue for Lex.

It startled me not a little that he'd become a crazy monk, but I'd rather have that than the loose end.

I actually thought it was a good thing that they showed him as a "crazy". Both his wife and his son were crazies, so having the whole family as a little crazy and obsessive was in my eye good continuity.

I get that Lex is power-crazed enough to believe that he could gain ultimate control over the Traveller, but why is Jimmy buying into the idea that there will be an ultimate winner out of the Good Versus Evil battle? Especially since the image involves the melding of the two.

I was finding all of that very hard to follow, which was the only part of the episode that I could really do without. Do we need to have Jimmy involved in this? I couldnt make head or tail of what he was saying his research turned up.

In this episode she goes so far as to insist that he play 'God', demanding that he kill Lex. Wow, Chloe. When did you make Clark your deity?

I think her words are damaging to Clark and his potential as the future Superman. He absolutely should NOT play God and I was glad to see that Clark was perfectly clear that if he killed Lex, he'd be turning into him himself. There would be no win out of the situation.


I think Chloe's been hanging out with Oliver for too long. She seems to have forgotten that a very big part of why Clark is so special is because of his humanity.

I just kept saying shut up Chloe, during that scene, and I was so relieved that Clark completely dismissed her way of thinking. Yay Clark!!!

But it also makes me angry that the person at his side is trying to undermine that.

That's why Lois becomes his wife ... she's able to combine and see the loving human side of Clark that Lana has for him and understand and appreciate the hero that he is, like Chloe does. (Well Chloe's becoming a little skewed, but she did initially start off worshipping the hero side)

And yes, YAY for the shirtlessness.

Great review, as always, Boppy.










K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lois no morningsbop_radar on May 10th, 2008 11:45 pm (UTC)
I'm glad the Da Vinci Code stuff worked for some people--I just couldn't make the leap. It was unexpected (though as you point out, it does have continuity with earlier material).

Robert Picardo has been playing a major role on Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG1, so I've managed to overcome the familiarity of the Doctor.
Oh, that might have helped! I've only ever seen him as the Doctor (and I loved him in that role) so I struggled.

Didnt she look it up on the computer?
She pulled up a page on Google. I very much doubt that searching for 'patron saint of travellers' would produce that info on the first page of search results. This ep made me nitpick in ways I don't usually... there were just too many clangy moments for me.

. I did love it when Lex asked Teague, "what did you do" and he turned and said it was The Traveller. That was a great moment. Kind of added more intrigue for Lex.
It made me really think he must have thought about Clark in that moment--because Clark's the other person he associates with these strange moments of having something mysterious (but invisible to Lex) occur.

Both his wife and his son were crazies, so having the whole family as a little crazy and obsessive was in my eye good continuity.
True. It would have been hard to buy a stable Edward. ;)

I think Chloe's been hanging out with Oliver for too long. She seems to have forgotten that a very big part of why Clark is so special is because of his humanity.
Yeah. That's a good theory: too much Oliver. Too much moral ambiguity in her own actions too, I feel.
tragicllyhiptragicllyhip on May 11th, 2008 12:53 pm (UTC)
She pulled up a page on Google. I very much doubt that searching for 'patron saint of travellers' would produce that info on the first page of search results. This ep made me nitpick in ways I don't usually... there were just too many clangy moments for me.

Lol, I was bored and curious, so i googled it, yep, St Christopher comes up right away. And there's a church in Australia I think.

Maybe you're feeling bummed about MR leaving, I went through that last week, but now I don't really think its a terrible thing. Lex's story is pretty much concluded, he's reached his future villainy and I think its time Clark be challenged by someone who's not directly related to him emotionally and facing a bigger villain who poses a threat on people other than the ones close to him will help him to think globally and push him further towards his future self.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: TW smilebop_radar on May 12th, 2008 11:57 am (UTC)
was bored and curious, so i googled it, yep, St Christopher comes up right away.
Hee! That's so funny. :) I tried it too but it didn't work for me:probably because I'm in Aus so it brings up Australian pages earlier.

Maybe you're feeling bummed about MR leaving
Yeah, true that.

And your words about another villain give me some hope... I do think that Lex's journey feels very near complete now. *nods*
suex on May 11th, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
She pulled up a page on Google. I very much doubt that searching for 'patron saint of travellers' would produce that info on the first page of search results. This ep made me nitpick in ways I don't usually... there were just too many clangy moments for me.

Well you know Chloe and her Google Research Engine. *rolls eyes* :D

It made me really think he must have thought about Clark in that moment--because Clark's the other person he associates with these strange moments of having something mysterious (but invisible to Lex) occur.,/i>

Ooo yeah! I love the thought of that. Its always about Clark, where Lex is concerned.

Yeah. That's a good theory: too much Oliver. Too much moral ambiguity in her own actions too, I feel.

Which makes me think that this is the route that they'll take for the conclusion of Chloe's story. She'll go off with Oliver and his merry men.