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Chloe's dream: it was a fantasy, up until the part where she notices the trail of blood. This is how Chloe fantasises about her relationship with Davis. There's one important visual cue that it's a fantasy, that secretly Chloe does see Davis in a romantic light, that she secretly dreams about having him call her out on her feelings for him, and about him surprising her with rose petals -- taking 'risks' with other people's lives that she gets to light-heartedly chastise him over -- and about having 'forbidden' sex with him: when she goes to bed at the start of the dream sequence, her hair is styled in the way she has it on "special occasions" (her wedding, her engagement party). Because in romantic fantasies, you always look your best.

That's the visual subtext, the visual cue -- and when she wakes up into reality, her hair is down, in the way she wears it for the rest of the episode and on a day-to-day basis. And at the point where Chloe loses control over her fantasy -- her fantasy about being with Davis, about 'saving' Davis, about 'protecting' Clark -- and it becomes a nightmare, there is an audio cue, because the music fades out from the pop song about losing control (the theme for this episode) and into the Smallville nightmare music.

It's important that it is a fantasy, because it underlines the fact that what Chloe is doing is not about protecting Clark -- not really -- and not about saving Davis. It's about getting to see herself as protectress, as martyr, as saviour. Chloe has always been an egomaniac, and she's always been about doing things for the sake of the identity they will bestow on her. And it's obvious it's not about protecting Clark, because she keeps changing her mind on how what she's doing is of benefit to Clark:

Early in the episode she opposes Clark's suggestion that he send Davis to the Phantom Zone by posing a hypothetical in which Clark is pulled into the Phantom Zone with Davis. Then, when Clark says he is willing to take that chance, she grasps at straws by positing that it is somehow worse for the world to lose Clark alongside Davis than to keep both Clark and Doomsday -- a being which exists only to kill and which cannot be killed; a being which was specifically designed in a laboratory to be a destroyer of worlds. Only when Clark also rejects that and takes Davis to the Fortress does she decide that Clark simultaneously "does not want blood on his hands" [i.e. does not want to do something he would never forgive himself for] and also "would never forgive himself for sending Davis to the Phantom Zone".

I don't see how Chloe can be redeemed at this point -- and the thing is, I think there was a moment in "Stiletto" when she could have been. Even after she dumped the body in the dumpster, had Chloe turned to Clark at the end of the episode and told him about what was going on and told him the whole truth, he would have forgiven her. He would even have forgiven her if she had told him she had killed Sebastian, because that's who Clark is. But it's not enough for Chloe just to be forgiven.

[livejournal.com profile] radioreverie mentioned in her meta about "Beast" that Chloe wants Clark to kill Davis because by bringing him down to her moral level she will be absolved of her decision to kill Sebastian (also ostensibly "for Clark's good"). I think it's even more than that: Chloe won't allow anyone else to deal with or take responsibility for Davis because she wants to be the one to solve the Doomsday problem and be both Davis's saviour and Clark's as well. She doesn't just want to knock Clark off his pedestal, but to raise herself up on one at the same time -- to meet him in the moral middle. That's why she keeps shouting him down over what's in his best interest: she needs to believe that what she's doing is for his benefit as much as she needs Clark to believe it. That's the only way I can read this, and it is consistent with previous characterisation -- Chloe has always wanted to be put on a pedestal in the same way she put Clark on one, first with journalism, and now with her self-identity as a martyr, a superhero, a person who makes sacrifices and tells others "it was nothing".

There is a moral question about human nature -- are most people only 'good' up until the point when they are tested? I don't know the answer to that question, but I can answer Oliver's -- when did Chloe become the bad guy?: this has always been in her; and if it's never been shown to this degree before, it has been shown. This is the first time Chloe has really been tested.

- - -

I'm going to repost here something which I posted elsewhere about Davis:

Even if Davis were the "true personality" he's still a monster.

He has made almost no effort to contain himself physically and very minimal effort to alert other people to the danger of his being up to this point. The way he justified killing people to himself -- it 'helps me contain the monster' (as if actual serial killers hadn't also used this line of reasoning); they 'deserved it' because they were drunk drivers, etc. -- the way he went about hiding their remains so that nobody would find out the truth about him. We're supposed to think he's noble because he tried to kill himself after he had been active as a serial killer for months, and now because he's ruining Chloe's life to 'control' himself.


This episode has only solidified my opinion of Davis. Because now Davis isn't even justifying his murders by claiming that his victims 'deserve' it, but he's actively choosing victims on the basis of what's beneficial to him: up to this point Doomsday in a sense has been 'crime of passion' manifest, but in this episode when Davis reigned in his desire to kill Jimmy because he realised Chloe would never forgive him and then turned on Oliver instead -- that's not a crime of passion; that's not losing control. When he decided to tie them up in the basement because he might 'have' to kill one of them if Chloe didn't return quickly -- that's not losing control. That's cool, calculating, and pre-meditated. Davis is a murderer.

And Davis's motivations are NOT to contain Doomsday or prevent people from being hurt; that's not why and has never been why he wants Chloe near him -- because he rejected the Phantom Zone as an alternative. If he were the "tragic villain" people seem to want to make him out to be then it wouldn't matter how much he loved or thought he loved her, he would take the opportunity to seal himself away, not just for the greater good but also because that's what's best for Chloe regardless of what Chloe wants.

And it drives me insane when people insinuate that Davis is somehow the image of what 'might have been' for Clark -- that Clark somehow avoided this because he led a 'charmed life'; I've seen people say outright that Davis is nobler or more heroic than Clark for the things he's doing, and just. It's not and it has never been in Clark's nature to do the things that Davis has been doing, even had Clark been inflicted with a Mr Hyde personality. As just one example -- "Bloodline" we saw Clark willingly choose the eternal imprisonment of the Phantom Zone over once again unwittingly releasing other prisoners if he escaped. Even "Eternal", as it had Clark declare Davis a brother, underlined the differences between them. While Clark found the Kents and wanted to be found by them, Davis hid away; Davis killed Lex's bird -- not Doomsday: Davis. Davis was not a product of his upbringing; he wasn't even a product of the misfortune of being attached to a monster; he was a product of his own nature, and I'm glad Clark acknowledged that (however briefly) in this episode.

Date: 2009-05-01 09:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] legendsinlove.livejournal.com
Amazing analysis! I agree with it all. Although I'd like to think Chloe can still be redeemed.

Date: 2009-05-07 10:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brijeana.livejournal.com
I'm a huge Chloe fan. I didn't realize how huge until this episode aired and I started reading fan reactions. What really bothered me about this episode was... how in character Chloe's behavior was. Some people were saying that Chloe is completely out of character but as you say in your post... I can see seeds of this type of ego-tripping as early as in Season 1.

It's given me more sympathy for Lana fans because... it's almost like... the writers take the flaws which were small and maybe easy to grow out of... and allow them to fester into something exponentially worse. With Lana it's her victim issues, with Chloe it's her desire to matter. I'm eager to see how things play out and... I hope - as kassandrajones says - that Chloe can be redeemed.

This episode has only solidified my opinion of Davis. Because now Davis isn't even justifying his murders by claiming that his victims 'deserve' it, but he's actively choosing victims on the basis of what's beneficial to him: up to this point Doomsday in a sense has been 'crime of passion' manifest, but in this episode when Davis reigned in his desire to kill Jimmy because he realised Chloe would never forgive him and then turned on Oliver instead -- that's not a crime of passion; that's not losing control. When he decided to tie them up in the basement because he might 'have' to kill one of them if Chloe didn't return quickly -- that's not losing control. That's cool, calculating, and pre-meditated. Davis is a murderer.

Ouch! Wonderfully stated.

Ever since Davis killed Linda Lake out of fear that she would expose him to Chloe, Davis has been more calculated than out of control.

Great analysis.
Edited Date: 2009-05-07 10:13 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-05-07 11:24 pm (UTC)
ext_34962: (Lana | profile)
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
What really bothered me about this episode was... how in character Chloe's behavior was. Some people were saying that Chloe is completely out of character but as you say in your post... I can see seeds of this type of ego-tripping as early as in Season 1.

Definitely. It's vintage Chloe. The difference is that now so much more is at stake.

It's given me more sympathy for Lana fans because... it's almost like... the writers take the flaws which were small and maybe easy to grow out of... and allow them to fester into something exponentially worse. With Lana it's her victim issues, with Chloe it's her desire to matter.

The thing is -- and I do agree that Lana has been on the wrong end of some unfavourable portrayals on SV before -- what Chloe is doing at the moment is worse than what any other 'heroic' character has done previously. I just can't see Lana ever going against Clark on an issue like this. And I know that if Chloe is forgiven for this and accepted back into Clark's inner circle (which I think, just speculating, is the route SV is going to take) I will be immensely frustrated with the show.

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