perihadion: (Clark Kent & Lois Lane (clockwork))
[personal profile] perihadion
Episodes like this are the reason I don't understand people who say they prefer the early seasons of Smallville to the later seasons. I agree with people who say that Smallville is like a different show these days — because it is: it's like a completely different show which blows that other show totally out of the water.

Clark

I was thinking about my reaction to last year's "Beast" and the fact that one of the reasons I was so offended by the notion that Davis was 'as' or 'more' heroic than Clark came down to the fact that — if he had to — Clark would willingly exile himself to the Phantom Zone if he thought it was in the best interests of humanity (which was actually established in last year's "Bloodline"). In this episode we have a Clark who was unwilling to exile himself to another dimension — because, having realised and embraced the fact that his heroic destiny lay on Earth, he knew that leaving was not in humanity's best interests.

In the end, he was willing to make that sacrifice if it came to a choice between depriving Earth of his protection or a battle between the humans and Kandorians which humanity could never hope to win — and in the very final end, he was willing to sacrifice his own life not just to protect the Earth from Zod but actually so that he wouldn't have to spill Zod's blood to do it. Clark almost certainly could have overpowered Zod and turned the blue kryptonite dagger against him, but even when confronted with a tyrant who would enslave humanity Clark refused to bloody his own hands, opting to take the dagger himself if it meant that Zod would be transported to another dimension (where he was no doubt executed by the Kandorians — but that's off Clark's hands) and humanity would be saved.

I enjoyed the scene with the Justice League. The whole purpose of that scene was to show that the Justice League can't go on without Clark at its helm — although the writers talked a lot about Chloe "bringing the Justice League together" this year and she was presented as the de facto head of the League, that scene proved that she is incapable of leading them in an effective way. That's a job for Superman — and after at least five years (but, realistically, probably more) of having Clark's legs cut out from under him for the sake of Chloe's glorification that was a satisfying moment.

I was talking about this with [livejournal.com profile] radioreverie and I really think that this finale was written with the purpose of addressing the issues Clark fans in particular had with Smallville last year. I've seen conversations between Al Septien and fans on Twitter which implied that that was the case. Aside from the fact that they're implicitly addressing the problems with the Clark-Chloe character dynamic (namely that of Clark being presented as in the wrong for failing to solve a problem while Chloe — the 'hero' — is the one sabotaging his every move), I think that they decided to have Clark sacrifice his life for humanity in light of the fact that a lot of people were very upset that that didn't happen last year. That's why I think that in the season opener next year we might see the iconic Death of Superman moment with Lois cradling Clark's broken body — especially since that can actually happen this year now that Lois knows Clark is the Blur (I have to put it in italics because I still don't believe it myself).

I still have issues with the way the relationship between Clark and Chloe was handled this year ("If I had an apology on tape it would have saved me a lot of time," argh), but it's hard to begrudge the show anything with respect to Clark's characterisation right now. Do you know why? Because I'm deeply, irrevocably in love with him. Don't even talk to me about Christopher Reeve or Dean Cain or Brandon Routh or anybody — Tom Welling is my Superman.

Lois

If you had problems with Lois's characterisation in this episode then look away now because I loved it.

Let me get something out of the way which I've seen a lot of people complaining about over the course of the back half of the season: Lois's conception of the Blur is formed exclusively on the basis of his actions — Clark's actions — which reveal his heroic, loving nature — so if Lois is in love with the Blur on any level then it's because she is in love with Clark, even if she doesn't know it. If Lois didn't love him at all then I would question whether she and Clark were really supposed to be together — and although she may feel like she is emotionally cheating on Clark by having this deep trust and respect for the Blur, when it really comes down to it she loves the Blur because he has all of the same traits as Clark.

With that said, Lois was clearly suspicious of Zod — even after he demonstrated his super-speed to her — because I think her conception of the Blur as this heroic, kind protector figure clashes with the way she conceptualises Zod. But, if Zod has super-speed then maybe he is the Blur, right? So, when Zod tells Lois to investigate Clark, it is as if this kind protector whom Lois has placed all of her trust in — and who would never ask her to get involved in his messes lightly — had asked her to do it.

Lois has always known that Clark had a secret and, while she was willing to back off while they were friends and even while they were dating, she had to take the fact that she was told to investigate him by someone she had cause to believe might be the Blur seriously (however suspicious she was of Zod at the time). I feel like Lois decided to take Zod's suggestion to "dig a little deeper" because she expected to exculpate him at least in her own mind.

I never had issues with Lana's pleas for honesty from Clark while they were dating and I think that Lois was more than entitled to ask for the same thing from him first in "Charade" and now in this episode. At this point, Clark and Lois had already tried to take their relationship forward with secrets on both sides and it wasn't working and, more importantly, Lois was willing to reveal all of her own secrets in order to lift that fog between them. It's fair of her to say "Look, this relationship can't work if you're not honest with me." She couldn't stay in Metropolis 'for' Clark if she wasn't really going to have him, and if he didn't tell her the truth then she wouldn't really have him. The important thing is that Clark meant more to Lois than anything else in the world — even with Zod casting aspersions on his character, and even though Lois had found evidence to attest to what Zod was saying.

It was implied in "Charade" that Lois already knew that Clark was the Blur and just wouldn't allow herself to acknowledge it consciously. I think she did that in this episode the moment Clark said that he would be "watching over [her]" — and I think Clark specifically said that because he wanted her to figure it out. He couldn't bring himself to tell her outright because he thought it would be too cruel to do that and leave her forever but he wanted her to know — so he gave her a chance to do what she does best and work it out for herself, and she did.

I also think it's clear that Lois knew Clark was the Blur before he kissed her because she handed him the Book of Rao which she had picked from Clark's pocket. Why would she think that the Blur had any interest in it if she didn't think that he was Clark? — and of course when Clark kissed her that was his way of confirming her suspicions. It's all so romantic I don't even know what to say. I love them. ♥

What else even happened in this episode? I don't think anything else did. I feel like I should talk about Tess (I'm sure she'll be back next year) and the rest but frankly this post is long enough.

Date: 2010-05-16 02:45 pm (UTC)
ext_2583: "Lady Agnew" by John Singer Sargent (Heart balloon)
From: [identity profile] mskatej.livejournal.com
This review is perfection. I agree with every word.

Date: 2010-05-16 03:06 pm (UTC)
ext_34962: (Clark Kent & Lois Lane (clockwork))
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
I'm so happy right now, Kate! :D :D :D

Date: 2010-05-16 02:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] latxcvi.livejournal.com
I love this review like candy because it is ALL TRUFAX.

but it's hard to begrudge the show anything with respect to Clark's characterisation right now. Do you know why? Because I'm deeply, irrevocably in love with him. Don't even talk to me about Christopher Reeve or Dean Cain or Brandon Routh or anybody — Tom Welling is my Superman.

I KNOW, RIGHT?

I also think it's clear that Lois knew Clark was the Blur before he kissed her because she handed him the Book of Rao which she had picked from Clark's pocket. Why would she think that the Blur had any interest in it if she didn't think that he was Clark?

Exactly. Zod wanted the BoR, and Lois had already realized Zod wasn't also the Blur by that point. But why would Lois think the Real!Blur wanted the BoR? She wouldn't, unless she knew that the BoR belonged to the person from whom she took it -- Clark. I think she turned her back because she wanted to honor what she said to him in Charade about not revealing his identity, and she wanted Clark to understand that she understood his need to keep this particular secret. She already 'got it'.

— and of course when Clark kissed her that was his way of confirming her suspicions. It's all so romantic I don't even know what to say. I love them. ♥

Yes. And it was the most romantic thing EVER.

Date: 2010-05-16 03:13 pm (UTC)
ext_34962: (Clark Kent & Lois Lane (clockwork))
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
Tom Welling is the best Superman -- it's hard to imagine that anybody will ever come along to make me want to re-evaluate that opinion. And Erica Durance is the best Lois Lane, and together they are the best, sweetest, most romantic portrayal of Clark and Lois literally ever. I'm so in love with Smallville right now.

Exactly. Zod wanted the BoR, and Lois had already realized Zod wasn't also the Blur by that point. But why would Lois think the Real!Blur wanted the BoR? She wouldn't, unless she knew that the BoR belonged to the person from whom she took it -- Clark. I think she turned her back because she wanted to honor what she said to him in Charade about not revealing his identity, and she wanted Clark to understand that she understood his need to keep this particular secret. She already 'got it'.

Exactly! Who knew Smallville could be so nuanced?

Date: 2010-05-16 04:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theclexfactor.livejournal.com
I think she turned her back because she wanted to honor what she said to him in Charade about not revealing his identity, and she wanted Clark to understand that she understood his need to keep this particular secret. She already 'got it'.

I seriously love you for this COMPLETELY TRUE THING.

Date: 2010-05-16 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] latxcvi.livejournal.com
HOW WAS THAT EPISODE SO AWESOME, NATASHA? HOW?!

And why is Season 10 not starting on, like, Monday?

Date: 2010-05-16 03:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emerald-night.livejournal.com
This review is fantastically awesome.

I kept screaming at my TV "It's Superman" whenever Clark came onscreen in Salvation. I don't care that he didn't have the costume or the ability to fly.

And so much in agreement on your Lois thoughts. I also loved the look on her face after the kiss, the smile was absolutely perfect.

Wonderful review!

Date: 2010-05-16 03:14 pm (UTC)
ext_34962: (Clark Kent (no time to make sense))
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
Clark is Superman in all but name at this point. I love him.

Date: 2010-05-16 04:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theclexfactor.livejournal.com
Absolutely everything you said. Absolutely. Everything.

But this especially:

Because I'm deeply, irrevocably in love with him. Don't even talk to me about Christopher Reeve or Dean Cain or Brandon Routh or anybody — Tom Welling is my Superman.

THIS. SO. MUCH. I can't look at my comics without transposing TW and EDs faces as the characters.

And I completely agree with what you said about Lois. And to tell the truth, having Lois ask Clark for the truth made me sympathize with Lana in a way that I never did before. But the great thing about the Clois scenes (throughout the season, but especially here) were that they were just handled so much more maturely than anything that came before. You really felt for both sides which was something I was missing in Clark's other relationships (Lex, Lana, Chloe, etc). But I especially love the implication that since it was Zod!Blur that asked for the BoR, she had no reason to think that the real Blur was looking for it at all. So to hand it over to Clark!Blur WITH AN APOLOGY FOR DOUBTING HIM (something else Clark failed to get from his other relationships) just shows that she was halfway through her suspicions that Clark is the Blur and the kiss not only was one of revelation, but of relief that Clark finally trusted her.

(This went on pretty long, sorry)

But I absolutely love your review, and it's making it harder for me to do my own because I keep finding awesome ones like this that says everything I couldn't think to say.

Date: 2010-05-17 12:05 am (UTC)
ext_34962: ("The Lantern Bearers")
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
I love this show so much right now. ♥

Date: 2010-05-16 04:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] homicidalfink.livejournal.com
Word. With a side of Word.

Tom is my Kal-El, too. <3

Date: 2010-05-17 12:06 am (UTC)
ext_34962: (Clark Kent (oh reckoner))
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
Smallville's Clark is just the most nuanced, interesting, lovely version of the character to date -- and Tom Welling knows his character inside out.

Date: 2010-05-16 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] captaindove.livejournal.com
I love this review, and you, and Smallville, so ridiculously much. Just, yes. To every word. ♥

Date: 2010-05-17 12:04 am (UTC)
ext_34962: ("Water Serpents II")
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
I love you too, Paloma. ♥

Date: 2010-05-16 11:14 pm (UTC)
ancarett: Superman emerges amidst destruction (Launch Smallville Armageddon)
From: [personal profile] ancarett
I agree with your reading so much. This was a great episode for Lois and Clark. I was afraid that they'd muck matters up and leave Lois going off to join Perry's investigative unit as the last of our Lois/Clark scenes with any real depth but they did a good job of bringing together the triangle.

I can't wait to see how we come back to these characters in September. I'm worried that they'll do some sort of memory loss retread with Clark where he forgets his immediate past (and the kiss w/Lois including the revelation that clinched for her) so that the triangle built for two is standing on a clueless Clark and an increasingly angry Lois. I hope not -- given how beautifully they played out the relationship and gave us the tantalizing hints of Superman, we need to keep moving forward with Smallville!

Date: 2010-05-17 12:07 am (UTC)
ext_34962: (Bat For Lashes)
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
I'm worried that they'll do some sort of memory loss retread with Clark where he forgets his immediate past (and the kiss w/Lois including the revelation that clinched for her) so that the triangle built for two is standing on a clueless Clark and an increasingly angry Lois.
Why would you even say this. D:

For what it's worth, I don't think they will go that route.

Date: 2010-05-17 12:34 am (UTC)
ancarett: Clark and Lois: Together at Last (Clois Smallville Future Kiss)
From: [personal profile] ancarett
Smallville has made me very wary over the years. I hope you're right and given that we have had so many good episodes this season, I need to keep positive vibes.

Plus, OMG, both Lois and Clark were just purely awesome in this episode from the opening vision to the final scene. . . .

Date: 2010-05-17 10:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shopgirl318.livejournal.com
Yes! I agree! Though I have one quibble is it me or when reading Chloe fans or Chlollie reviews of the show they seem so onesided and they have a bit of tunnel vision also. They are firmly on one side, and verbally abuse Clark! sometimes Lois too. wow! but anyway, I know better than to lurk.

This was one of the best season finale's in awhile. Usually with SV and finales I give them the side eye after it airs on tv. I can't wait how season 10 goes. I think Tess is officially dead in the background one of the doctor's said Time of Death, so I'm thinking her body will be used as a host which is creepy to think about and very Alien/Species like.

Date: 2010-05-17 11:50 am (UTC)
ext_35071: (Default)
From: [identity profile] shardsofblu.livejournal.com
I also think it's clear that Lois knew Clark was the Blur before he kissed her because she handed him the Book of Rao which she had picked from Clark's pocket. Why would she think that the Blur had any interest in it if she didn't think that he was Clark?

I was just totally blown away with how they built the events leading to that kiss revelation, and just with that I can now totally forgive almost every issue I had wrt Clark/Lois this season. When Lois told him, "For you, I would stay for you," my heart just completely broke for them.

Because I'm deeply, irrevocably in love with him. Don't even talk to me about Christopher Reeve or Dean Cain or Brandon Routh or anybody — Tom Welling is my Superman.

Yes. Just a thousand times yes.

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Mary

September 2010

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