cbrownjc: stock bases by djalina (Clark - Homecoming (Future))
[personal profile] cbrownjc
I guess I should warn everyone up front: this review isn't going to be all "happy, happy, joy, joy." It's not going to be an angry rant - there's no point in doing such a thing, at least for me, because the show is over . . . and I didn't hate the episode. There were many things I really loved and/or appreciated. But the faults were just so . . . faulty . . . that I can't just ignore them. Not when this episode contains the final statement on this show's take on Superman's Origins and, quite frankly, my favorite versions of Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor to date (outside of the comics of course).



Right off the bat - and to get this out of the way - the framing device of Chloe reading the comic book to her son didn't work IMO. Maybe if I felt any sort of emotional connection to Chloe as a character it might have. Maybe I would have been able to let go of the fact that there is apparently a comic book out there in the SV Universe that tells pretty much everything about SVClark's journey to becoming Superman - published by DC Comics(?!?) - with the only thing being is that his name wasn't dropped. Though honestly, how stupid are the people in the SV world that they couldn't put two and two together with such a comic book like that out there?

I think the only reason the scene was done was to pay homage to the opening of the Richard Donner films, (as well as giving Chloe something to do). And the constant trying to pay homage to those movies is, quite frankly, where almost every problem in this episode came from.

And that leads me into the second point: The Lex mind wipe. Unlike many in fandom, I just can't fanwank this one. Tess said he would remember nothing. And a moment later, we see every moment from the Pilot right up until the fortress collapse at the end of season 7 flash across Lex's mind and burn away. I'm sorry, but there is no other way - for me - to read all this. Every memory from the Pilot up until the end of Arctic was erased from Lex's mind via deus ex machina Neurotoxin.

So, for me, the entire Luthor saga on SV was rendered pointless in that one moment. Yeah sure, Clark still remembers all of it, but so what? He's not going to try and fix it - he never wanted Lex to know his secret anyway . . . and for good reason apparently since Lex still turns into his ultimate opponent (according to Dr. Fate) without those memories. Meaning - get this - Lex was destined to be evil no matter what.

And this is, ironically, the exact opposite of what bugged me in Luthor - the idea that it was Lionel Luthor, and being raised by Lionel Luthor alone - that made Clark Luthor evil. I thought that episode, and what it said, pretty much validated all the Lex apologist who always blamed Clark for Lex truing into what he turned into and never held Lex accountable for his own actions. (Kent went a ways to correct that idea, I will say).

But now? Well, apparently, there was nothing that could be done. Lex was always going to be evil and Clark's enemy no matter what choices he made because of his life experiences. There was no free will involved at all. Story wise, Lex is evil, is the villain, because he's supposed to be. Not because any of his life choices took him there.

An yeah, I know the argument: Lex kept journals, there are records, etc. And if there was another season of the show, I'd let it go and sit back and wait to see what they did with it next season. But there isn't. So I can't.

And I can't help but think the only reason they did it was more Donner-film fanservice.

Look, Lois wasn't getting mind wiped. I was never in fear of that. Some in fandom thought she would, but the only reason they did so was because of Superman II, not because it made any sort of sense to do so. Lois in the comics has known the secret permanently for 20-odd years now. Had season 8 been the final season, I think Lois very well would have gotten mind wiped. But the show did something in season 9 that has always, in every modern age medium, been the prerequisite to Lois finding out and keeping the knowledge - and that's the triangle for two. Once the triangle happens and Lois picks either Clark or Superman, the two of them date a while and then, at some point, she finds out the truth. And she keeps the knowledge.

So that was one of the main reasons the character was spared a mind wipe. But I think the PTB wanted to do as much as they could to "line things up" (and do Donner homages) and, well . . . Lex just didn't have the same kind of loophole that Lois did. He's never, in any version, got to know Clark's secret permanently. When he finds out he always, at some point, gets his mind erased. And so, even though I think it undermined 7+ years of SVs new and original spin/take on the Clark-Lex dynamic? Lex got mind wiped. (Even though, according to some tweets, DC Comics never asked the SV PTB to do so).

I was really bored by the Luthor stuff this season. Frankly because, for me, Lex was the missing - and most important - character in all of it. He was the missing piece. So I was really looking forward to MR coming back, because I thought it would at least go out on a high note. And, up until that mind wipe, I pretty much got everything I wanted in that finale Clark/Lex scene and even the Lex/Tess scene.

But that said? I still can't shake the fact that, at the end of the day, it all just seems meaningless now.

Personally, I could have done without the CGI suit and CGI Superman. I would have been perfectly fine with Clark saving Air Force One and the world in his Blur outfit, and then just a shirt-rip at the end. But then, I'm a heretic who doesn't think the classic Superman costume actually fit the visual style of the show and wanted a classic suit design overall if they ever were going to show him in it. So I'm not at all mad that we didn't get a full, close-up shot of him in it or that it was far away CGI.

I will NOT go into Chloe being the only one to say Superman in context to Clark. If I do, I'll just head into rant mode, which I don't want to do. But she didn't name him - unless they seriously want us to think it took seven more years for a name change to happen.

And speaking of which . . . there is only one big fanwank I'll accept to the idea that it took Lois and Clark seven years(!?) to finally, officially tie the knot. (Aside from them both being extremely busy during the first year that Clark became Superman that is). And that is - The Death of Superman.

For real. I remember back in season nine saying there was no way the show would let Lois and Clark get married before that event happened, not even on SV. Not after the PTB went to all the trouble - sloppily - to get Doomsday buried in the exact same place he was buried in the comics that he first busted out of at the start of that story line. The Death of Superman was the best selling comic book of all time. And I just felt that no way, after doing everything they did at the end of season 8 to get Doomsday buried under that geothermal plant, the main event was never NOT going to happen in the SV world at some point. Meaning Lois and Clark on SV were just not going to be married until after that event happened, just like in the comics.

An idea I let myself let go of/forget the minute they got engaged half way though season 10.

I was one of those people who would have been totally fine with only an engagement at the end of the season. I thought it was too soon for them to get engaged, as I wanted to see more of them just being a couple and the issues that came from that (and as the second half of the season showed, there were issues).

That said, I can't totally hate on the fact that they did do a wedding. Frankly, until Lex came back, Lois and Clark were the one emotional constant for me in the episode. (Because, for the first time ever for me, I think the Kent family dynamic was stiff, weird and at times OOC. The loft scene still rather confuses me . . . though I did love Clark seeing Jonathan next to Martha as he and Lois walked down the aisle, as well as Martha's little glance at the place beside her in the pew as she first took her seat). Even the "no wedding!" stuff I knew wasn't really about them, so much as it was the show being meta - and giving a meta-answer - to all those people in comic book fandom who question, and are against, the Superman/Lois marriage. It's why we got Chloe, a character who has quite frankly, always viewed Clark as a god from them minute she learned his secret and tried to get him to act as such, being the one saying to Lois he wasn't a god. Chloe was basically used as a voice to give the counter-argument to the one made in Superman II that Clark/Superman shouldn't have a personal life.

The door scene was stellar and their vows to each other were beautiful and, yes, I get that for all intensive purposes, they were more or less emotionally joined and committed to each other, even if it may not have fully been legal. (Also because you can't have Superman "living in sin" with Lois for so long. It was quite clear in that 2018 scene that they were not only still together but still lovers as well).

But there was no logical reason for a seven year delay. Even with a Death of Superman scenario, I think a delay of three of four years is the longest I'd buy. And honestly, I think that, just like Lex, the reason for the length of delay was to pander to canon purists who say Clark shouldn't marry Lois until he's fully been Superman for some time. Just like why I think Clois got put on the back burner during the second half of the season - whining from (immature) fanboys. (AKA the same group who are now whining that Welling didn't really wear the suit).

Called the Lois on Air Force One thing the minute a spoiler leaked about a plane crash sequence. I was hoping we'd get a Superman Returns type moment when Lois would see him flying past one of the windows, but this was even better IMO. And I also love how all this actually tied into something that that lady mystic in the episode Crimson said: that Lois and Clark's destinies were more entwined then they realize. And it was here that it was proven true. Because of her known connection to The Blur, Lois was able to convince the Secretary of Defense to hold off on trying to nuke Apokolips and, instead, wait for "her hero." Because they waited, Clark's first act fully as Superman was to save Air Force One with Lois aboard before dealing with Apokolips. Lois, in turn, got an exclusive interview with the President where she more than likely confirmed it was the Blur who saved them; which makes both her and Clark world famous - her as a reporter (and fully becoming the Lois Lane) and him as a hero. We see Lois, in that moment, fully evolve into the Lois Lane, just as Clark fully evolves into the Man of Tomorrow.

And this is one, among many things, I will always love this show - and it's new take on the Superman story - for doing.

Called the Tess dying by Lex's hand back in season 8, when she first showed up. ;) Pity I wasn't as into the character anymore like I was back in season 8 thanks to inconsistent characterization in season 9 and her losing that "Mercy" spark she had during most of this season, but she at least went down and out fighting and, even if I hated the mind wipe, pulling that on Lex at the end was very clever. She's the Luthor that Clark was able to reach and that, too, I appreciate.

Darkseid. There is really nothing else I can say about how messy I think this whole story line has been all season. I do get, at the end, the Savior (Clark) vs. Satan (Darkseid) thing they were doing, and it would have worked - maybe - had I been more invested in it. News is a lot of the mythology of Darkseid got left on the cutting room floor. Which, IMO, just goes to show we didn't need the Chloe arc that was more or less nothing but redoing of movie plots, that should have been dedicated to fleshing out the Darkseid story instead.

Now that it's all over, I can't say I wish it wasn't. I always thought season 10 was the prefect place to end it, even last season (which I loved). When I think of SV now that it's over, I think the thing I'll appreciated most is the new takes it did on the characters of Clark, Lois and Lex and the relationships Clark had with each of them. There are many things I would love to see the comics take from this show - some of which they already have actually - when crafting these characters and these two dynamics in the future. I wont miss the inconsistent writing and pandering . . . or writers who obviously found the main character not as interesting as other side characters when I have felt the total opposite. But I will miss not being able to see Tom Welling, Erica Durance and Michael Rosenbaum playing these characters who truly are, for me, the Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor of this generation. They are the three characters that kept me interested and engaged with the show throughout all these years the most and, at the end of it all, they still were.

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cbrownjc

May 2011

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