cbrownjc: (Susan Thoughtful)
[personal profile] cbrownjc
So I haven't posted on SV since Luthor, mostly because - as I said a while back - in retrospect I've mostly been bored by this season. Before Masquerade, there were only two episodes out of the 11 that had aired at the time that I really loved: Homecoming and Ambush. Masquerade had now taken that total up to three.



Other episodes? I thought Lazarus was a lackluster premier. Shield was actually okay, but is just one of those episodes that you like, but more because you like the set-ups it's doing, trying to build anticipation.

Supergirl? Don't get me started on that episode. I already talked about Harvest below (again, okay episode, but more problems than Shield had). Abandoned was all over the place IMO, and was more about revealing Tess to be a Luthor (which, honestly? Was something I guessed about her the minute she showed up in season 8, so I wasn't at all surprised when it was finally confirmed) than it was about forwarding Clark and the Darkseid arc, which has just been an utter waste this season IMO.

Patriot? Nice moments, especially for Lois, but the whole was not equal to the sum of the parts. I think it's - sadly - also the worst I've ever seen Tom direct on this show. And it's amazing they found a worse actor in Mera than Alan Richards who plays AC, but there it is.

Luthor I already listed my problems with it, and Icarus was, again IMO, just okay with, again, some very nice moments; but I just didn't feel any sense of climax in the final cliffhanger, and wasn't really into guessing how they'd get out of whatever it was they were in.

Which brings me up to the start of the Chloe Arc. Now, I don't think I've made it much of a secret that I do not like the character of Chloe Sullivan. And I fully admit that part of it has to do with the way her fandom treated Erica Durance over the years. Not the character of Lois Lane - I'm talking about the real live person Erica Durance. A lot of people in fandom now try to pretend a lot of the things said about Erica either didn't happen or didn't happen on the level they did, but that's just trying to whitewash the very real vitriolic - and even sexist - things that were said about Erica simply because the character she played on the show was a walking reminder that not only was Chloe not going to get Clark by just staying Chloe, she wasn't even going to get him by suddenly changing into Lois Lane and get him that way.

And, because of this, just like the character they love tends to do, they acted totally passive-aggressive about it, even trying to get someone who was providing spoilers to Lois and Clois fans fired. They derided Erica's looks, everything about her to the point that TWOP became a cesspool of hate wrt her - not just her character - so that now in the SV PTB wont do interviews over there anymore.

So yeah, that is where half of my dislike for the character of Chloe comes from at this point. I know not all Chloe fans were a part of this, but for a time there outright bashing and saying the most degrading things about Erica - and getting away with it - was the norm on K-site and TWOP, and no one in her fandom really tried to speak out against it until before season 8 started. So forgive me if I have a slight "too little, too late" feeling about it all.

My other half of dislike for Chloe however, comes more from legitimate problems with the character. I know it's considered bashing to call the character a Mary Sue in some circles, and yes I can see why Chloe fans would not like such a thing said about their favorite character. But I'm sorry, Chloe's final arc on SV has done nothing but solidify my opinion that not only did her character embody some of the worst traits found in a Mary Sue, but that her character ran out of story and purpose after season 5 - season 7 at the latest.

Chloe, at her best, worked as a foil for Lana. I never really bought the two of them as best friends of any sort - if it hadn't been for Clark I do not think they ever would have hung out with each other on their own. It's been said by the producers and Tom Welling himself that Chloe and Lana each represented different aspects of the woman Clark dreamed of. That in order to get the full relationship that he wanted when it came to a mate, he had to break that up between two women: love and sexual desire with Lana and friendship-companionship with Chloe. So Chloe had his confidence and trust, but Lana had his love and desire. Neither girl had both, and would never get both, no matter how much Lana begged for him to really see her and accept and trust her, or no matter how long Chloe unrequited-ly pined for him.

And the trick in all of this was that, with Lois Lane, he was going to finally get both those things in one woman. And so wouldn't need it individually anymore with either.

And starting in season 8, Clark started down the road towards that. It took another two and 1/2 years for it to fully happen, but he has it now. Even Chloe admitted in Fortune that he has that companion and partnership with Lois, and Clark didn't hesitate in agreeing that he does . . . in the same episode where he declares Lois to be the love of his life.

But aside from this, what other function did Chloe serve? None really, except what the PTB would mold her to do. Instead of letting her forge her own character identity, she became the jack-of-all-trades character, which the PTB finally acknowledged in Masquerade. Whatever any script needed her to be that week, she was it.

Which brings me to the final arc of Chloe on the show. Because I find it fascinating, and even a little sad that, in order to try and write an interesting final arc for Chloe, three out of the four of her episodes basically had to "borrow" the plots of (some very recent) films. Collateral was a mix of The Matrix and Inception. Masquerade? The Chloe/Oliver plot was straight from Date Night. And, as everyone by now knows, the plot of Fortune was taken straight from The Hangover.

You know that tired, cliché fanfic trope of taking your favorite movie, not changing the plot much and just inserting the names of your favorite characters into it? That is basically what the majority of Chloe's final arc on SV was - a fanfic trope come to life. And the one episode in the arc that didn't do that? Beacon? Basically made sure to have a scene where a character Chloe has hardly interacted with on a personal level, (only one moment during season five), praise her to the skies in a way that rang emotionally false for me, even given the nature of offscreenville interaction on SV.

The PTB stopped really knowing what to do with Chloe the minute she learned Clark's secret. The fact that the final arc for her character had to borrow heavily from recent films shows they really didn't know what kind of ending to give her because she had become so many different things as the plot demanded. And the ending itself, with her marrying Oliver? Well, I guess if you're into the relationship between her and Oliver that's something. But I personally still see no indication that Chloe was ever into Oliver as much as he was into her. The reason I liked Masquerade, even though it was an ep running in this arc was not only because of the strength of the Clark and Clark/Lois plot but because BQM didn't try to whitewash her in nothing but praise and/or quirkiness. He wrote her like a real person who didn't ignore her own faults, or try to make the audience dismiss her faults as just "endearing quirks." It was a Chloe who acknowledged she had no identity of her own anymore. It was a Chloe who's pride was shown to be her defining fault, and almost gave into that, showing fallibility and imperfection. It was a Chloe who seemed like a real character - and in that way a real person - other than the Mary Sue or jack-of-all-trades character she'd been over the last five seasons. If that Chloe had been around for the past five seasons, I would have smiled and maybe even shed a tear or two that she was leaving.

As it was? By the time Fortune was over I just couldn't wait for her to go, and was hoping that the few rumors out there that she'd be back for the finale would turn out to be false. I didn't think Fortune was terrible - I thought it was silly but mostly harmless . . . except for one or two points, all having to do with Chloe, who was, again, thrown back into jack-of-all-trades Mary Sueishness. Really show? Chloe thinks she alone inspired Clark to be a hero? I'm only letting that half-slide because Clark didn't agree she was the only one who'd done so (in fact, he noticeably kept his mouth shut on the matter when Chloe declared it). And don't even get me started on her meeting Bruce and Diana before Clark - especially Bruce Wayne who I have wanted SVClark to meet something desperate. But now Chloe is supposedly off to "inspire heroes"? What the hell does that even mean? And WTH does Chloe Sullivan have to offer Bruce and Diana in that regard? Lois has already built up a name for herself defending superheroes in her articles at the DP. Is Chloe going to be doing the same thing in her entry-level job at the Star City Registrar?

(And BTW, I'm slightly amused that the PTB caved into pressure and sent Chloe back to journalism. Never mind that the people who wanted that mostly wanted it because it was part of their wish to see Chloe become Lois Lane. But now while she's back in journalism it isn't even at the Daily Planet, or even in the same city that Clark's in, but I digress).

As far as "endings" for a character goes, this one was pretty vague IMO. People are even questioning if her marriage to Oliver is even legal. But you know what? I'm so tired of the character, I don't even care about getting more clarification about any of it. And Oliver going off with her for a bit means I wont have to listen to anyone talking about her for a time either thank goodness.

All this arc did was confirm for me that they should have wrapped up Chloe's character long before this season, but especially done it at the end of last season. Because her "end" just showed they still had no clear idea what to do with her, just as they haven't for the past five years IMO.

Date: 2011-03-01 05:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gildinwen.livejournal.com
You've said everything I've wanted to say about Chloe for a while much more politely. I mean I've ranted about her in my lj but it's usually with a ton of expletives. Which might make me lose point if PTBT for some reason read my posts about her.

But I've been meaning to write about Masquerade but then I remember the eps either side of it and the *rage* that overcomes me is just....No.

It has always made me laugh the way Chloe's fans claim she's the most original character. Well sure if you mean taking the canonical place of other characters.

It is very sad that in order write Chloe a exit arc, they borrowed heavily from recent films. I noted the Date Night theme in Masquerade, and I also thought BQM addressed the fact that there hasn't been a place for her in the show ( and hasn't been for a long time) by having her hallucinations explicity state that the world moved on without her.

It makes the whole idea of Chloe being invaluable to the team ridiculous. Erm no...Tess stepped in quite easily and Clark has shown professiency with Watchtower in the past. It just makes me flash back on how many times Clark was dumbed down just to give Chloe something to do.

errr

Date: 2011-03-01 09:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] audrey229.livejournal.com
You know that you and I are on the same page with the Chloe stuff. Preach it.

////Chloe, at her best, worked as a foil for Lana. I never really bought the two of them as best friends of any sort - if it hadn't been for Clark I do not think they ever would have hung out with each other on their own. It's been said by the producers and Tom Welling himself that Chloe and Lana each represented different aspects of the woman Clark dreamed of. That in order to get the full relationship that he wanted when it came to a mate, he had to break that up between two women: love and sexual desire with Lana and friendship-companionship with Chloe. So Chloe had his confidence and trust, but Lana had his love and desire. Neither girl had both, and would never get both, no matter how much Lana begged for him to really see her and accept and trust her, or no matter how long Chloe unrequited-ly pined for him. ////

This is something that is so clear as day in the overall narrative that it boggles my mind how some people don't see it. Perhaps, it's because at this point there is such a distortion out there about the role that Chloe played on the show and what Clark felt for her. The show canon makes it very clear that Lana was the person that he loved while Chloe was the person he trusted....but somewhere along the line there was this idea in fandom that he loved Chloe too. And yet....that's not. what. happened. on. the. show.

Date: 2011-03-01 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] audrey229.livejournal.com
I can't even go into this insane idea that Clark somehow "missed out" on Chloe or that Chlark were a "missed chance." No they were not. That's not the show canon. Clark had every opportunity over the years to be with Chloe. Her feelings for him were not a secret. He knew she loved him. Even with Lana out of the picture....he didn't turn towards Chloe. It fell for Lois. If Clark was going to be in love with Chloe....he would be in love with Chloe.

I also don't buy this ridiculous idea that Clark and Chloe missed their chance at the beginning of season 6 because of Jimmy. In what world would the Clark Kent that we know from Smallville not go after someone he loved because there was a chance she had a boyfriend?? It sure didn't stop him from going after Lana when she was with Whitney, Jason and even Lex. It didn't stop him from pursuing Lois even when he thought she might be getting back with Oliver.

People act like Clark is this enigma when it comes to woman but he's not. He has a fairly consistent pattern of behavior.

Date: 2011-03-02 01:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lisas100.livejournal.com
I think as you pointed out, together Chloe & Lana filled Clark's needs. He was in love with Lana but was never comfortable being himself around her, and even before Chloe knew his secret he was more comfortable around Chloe than Lana. I think it was because he wasn't trying to impress her or be a perfect person for her.

Lana could never reach Clark the way Chloe could and I think that is why the Chlark shippers didn't feel as threatened by Lana as they did with Lois. Don't get me wrong, they hated clana. I *hated* clana after season one. However, it wasn't portrayed as a healthy functional relationship. Clark was always running to Chloe for advice and clearly he trusted Chloe emotionally more than he trusted Lana. And oddly enough, not much changed after Lana knew his secret. Chloe was still somebody he relied on as much as he relied on Lana, albeit for different things.

One of the most interesting conversations, mho, Clark & Lana ever had was post Bizarro. Was it Siren? I can't remember. I loved the moment Clark let Lana finally see how angry he was she couldn't tell the difference between Bizarro and himself. I loved when he said "you're supposed to know me better than anybody". It was wishful thinking at its most delusional.

Too bad they didn't end it there and then and focus on transitioning them to friends.

When Clark finally stopped fighting the connection to Lois, and I feel both of them were fighting it, everything changed. Neither of them wanted to grok the other the way they did. The Oracle conversation and Lois saying to Clark she hated that he knew her so well come to mind.

Savior is when we first see Clark realize while he can walk away from most of his ties, he just can't leave Lois. I think they did a good job showing once Clark connected to Lois as the blur he then had somebody to connect to as both people. He could share his blur side with Lois and his Clark Kent side. So he stopped going to Chloe. Chloe called him on it in Metallo.

In Lois he was able to find the best friend,confidant and lover.

I'm sorry, I went totally off topic. I agree with your review of the Chloe arc. I think it was an incoherent mess and makes me wonder why they just didn't write the character off at the end of last season. It was clear to me they had no clue what to do with her.

Date: 2011-03-02 08:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] goodvibe.livejournal.com
//The reason I liked Masquerade, even though it was an ep running in this arc was not only because of the strength of the Clark and Clark/Lois plot but because BQM didn't try to whitewash her in nothing but praise and/or quirkiness. He wrote her like a real person who didn't ignore her own faults, or try to make the audience dismiss her faults as just "endearing quirks." It was a Chloe who acknowledged she had no identity of her own anymore. It was a Chloe who's pride was shown to be her defining fault, and almost gave into that, showing fallibility and imperfection. It was a Chloe who seemed like a real character - and in that way a real person - other than the Mary Sue or jack-of-all-trades character she'd been over the last five seasons. If that Chloe had been around for the past five season, I would have smiled and maybe even shed a tear or two that she was leaving.//

Agreed.

I've always had a sort of up and down ride with Chloe' character. She never really made much of an impression on me in S1, and if anything I was mildly irritated by her. By S2, that developed into full blown annoyance. Yet, few characters have managed to win their way back into my good graces the way Chloe did in S3. To me, this was her best year - her character was more realistically portrayed than in any other season, IMO, with her faults being acknowledged, at the same time as her strengths were allowed to shine. And her and Clark were allowed to finally come to a better place of understanding by having them both air their POV', and nothing was one-sided. By S4, I had a lot of expectations, and while I think after S3, this is probably her best portrayal, for me, a touch of staidness had crept in towards the end, with the constant, 'I-know-you-have-a-secret' thing. But like I said, to balance this aspect out she got some really terrific, human moments in there too, that helped define the character for me.

And it's that balance that to me, TPTB completely gave up on S5 onwards. Everythings been progressively downwards since then as far as my response to the character is concerned, because the writers forgot how to portray her as a real person. Suddenly she could do no wrong, Chlark became an incredibly boring dynamic, her scenes with Lois S6 onwards started ringing false, her waffling over Jimmy was annoying, her extreme shadiness wrt the Davis situation and her refusal to admit blame was jarring, and most of all, her disdain for Clark. Really, it's quite a downward spiral, IMO. But the overarching defining aspect of it has been her double standards and arrogance in believing her way is the right way, and refusal to admit her culpability in the subsequent fallout.

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