A Case of the…. Smallville

Anyway, who would have guessed that Smallville would last seven years, and counting? While there are some aspects of the show I�ve been heavily critical of (primarily all the Lana stuff), I actually found the sixth season highly entertaining. In fact, a close friend of mine followed the show for the first five years, but stopped watching this past year, and ultimately, I told him that he missed a great season.

I guess I should get the criticisms out of the way first, and it begins and ends with one name: Lana Lang. Don�t get me wrong, Kristin Kreuk is astronomically beautiful, and I actually think she�s quite talented as well, but the character has run its course. Lana is supposed to be the girl next door and Clark�s high school sweetheart, and she did a great job serving that purpose. Except that she hasn�t lived next door in, what, four years? And they�ve been out of high school for two. Yet Clark is STILL pining after her.

Hey, I can relate to that whole unrequited love thing, but the show is doing several characters a disservice by having Clark so p-whipped by her. For one, it makes Clark look like a sap. Secondly, Lana hasn�t even been consistently nice to him in well over a year. Third, by having Clark repeatedly choose Lana over Lois (who is supposed to ultimately become the love of Clark�s life), they lighten the impact of when he does finally move on and decide to be with Lois.

All of that said, while I initially was against the Lana/Lex relationship, I think it ended up working. I guess I should explain my problems with the relationship, though. If nothing else, the past couple of years have shown how unforgiving and bitter Lana is, and how much she holds a grudge. I think above everything else, Lana realizes that Clark is a good guy. Yes, he has a lot of secrets and he gets caught telling a lot of lies, but I think she recognizes that, at the very least, his motives are pure. On the other hand, Lana has also caught Lex telling just as many lies, and he�s kept just as many secrets. The only difference is that Lana has many, many reasons to believe that Lex�s motives are not pure. Yet this season, she can�t seem to forgive Clark for his behavior when they were together, and decides to shack up with Lex? Not only was it inconsistent, but it also made Lana tremendously unlikable (which may very well have been the intention).

That criticism aside, the reason the relationship ended up working was that it proved to be a tremendous plot mechanism to continue Lex�s villainous turn, and create an irreparable wedge in Lex and Clark�s friendship. I also suppose that, in the end, the writers attempted to justify everything by stating that Lana was so crushed and felt so betrayed by Clark, that she actually made herself believe that she loved Lex. And, ultimately, she chose to leave Lex and realized she still loves Clark. Of course, as I noted earlier, the show needs to move past that particular relationship.

Wow, that tirade went longer than expected. So, what exactly did I like about the season?

First and foremost, the continued development of Chloe�s character was a pure highlight. Since she discovered Clark�s secret, she has become one of my favorite characters. Not only did she manage to keep Clark�s secret (even when it created conflicts in her own relationship with Jimmy), but she was also a constant means of support for him, whether it had to do with his abilities or his various relationships. Come to think of it, her capability to move on past Clark should have been the model for Clark�s feelings with Lana. I�ll talk about her apparent demise when I discuss the actual finale episode.

The constant roller coaster of whether or not Lionel can be trusted was also a fun ride. It seemed like every episode some new information would become apparent or some action would transpire that would make you question whether he was �good� or �bad.� For the majority of the season it appeared that he was on Clark�s side, but every few episodes he would do something downright dastardly. Notable examples are when he threatened Clark�s life in order to get Lana to marry Lex and when it appeared that he may have tried to murder Lana. Of course, he would have a sly explanation for all of his sins, which would only make you question his allegiances even more. Is it his grandeur that motivates him to align himself with Clark (due to his power and abilities)? Or is it merely his feelings for Martha? Even by the end of the season finale, I was unsure whether or not he could be trusted. He�s definitely one of my favorite characters on television.

I also thought that the Justice League episode was especially cool. While I�m not a huge fan of the Green Arrow (mostly because I�m not completely familiar with his character), I really did enjoy the way that he helped Clark attain a more global view, making him realize that heinous acts and evildoers reside outside of Smallville as well. The Justice League episode also showed signs of Clark�s eventual leadership. The visual of him walking front and center with the rest of the team by his side, with the explosion in the background, was very cool.

Another pure highlight of the season was Lex. As many of my longtime readers know, I was a huge fan of �good guy� Lex, to the extent that it saddened me to realize that he would eventually turn evil. Well, as much as I enjoyed the good version, the truer, evil version might be even more enjoyable. Michael Rosenbaum deserves a load of credit for his ability and believability performing the duality of Lex�s character. I also love how explicitly loathsome he is to other cast members outside of Clark, particularly Chloe and Lois. It actually made Lana�s character that much more frustrating. It�s like, �are you THAT blind, woman?�

Regarding the finale itself, I think Smallville continued the trend of delivering with their big episodes. And the best part? Something didn�t happen that resulted in Clark disappearing for the summer. I mean, really, every single season finale SOMETHING happens to him that results in him spending the summer somewhere else. Well, I guess not so much season one, but season two he got all mopey, snatched some red Kryptonite, and spent the summer in Metropolis. Season three he ended up naked in a ball of light, only to return naked after a bolt of lightning. Season four he got sent to the Fortress of Solitude, and season five he got sent to the Phantom Zone. That boy with his summer vacations.

When Lana was apparently killed off, I wasn�t too pleased. Only because (and I�m starting to sound like a broken record here), I want Clark to actively decide he doesn�t want to be with Lana and choose to be with Lois. I don�t want them creating a scenario where he simply CAN�T be with Lana, and ends up with Lois by happenstance. It makes Lana seem like his true love, and Lois appear to be his silver medal.

Anyway, I wasn�t all that convinced that they killed Lana off. For one thing, we didn�t see her death. For a death that significant, they�d want to make it as conclusive as possible. Otherwise it loses its impact. Along with that, Clark�s reaction wasn�t entirely convincing, and I don�t mean that as a criticism to Tom Welling�s ability. In fact, I think we were supposed to suspect that his sorrow might have been a bit forced. Remember, at this time Lana knows Clark�s secret, so he can easily use his abilities to help her fake her death to protect her from Lex. Along with that, what possible motive would Lana have to call and tell Lionel, other than to ensure that somebody witnesses her �death�? What I suspect happened is that Clark used his super speed to get away from the car (when the truck passed by) and then used his heat vision to blow it up.

While I don�t believe that Lana has died, it does appear that Chloe has met her demise. This may be disappointing (and it is), but I found it a very appropriate ending to her �what is her krypto-ability?� semi story arc. In the end, she ended up using her ability (if that�s what you want to call it) to save the life of somebody she cares about. It felt like a fitting conclusion to the overall development of her character: selfless and loyal.

I would not be doing the episode justice if I did not mention the awesome introduction of the Smallville version of Bizarro Superman. The �I�m like you, just a little more bizarre� line was great, as was the final scene of Clark�s face turning to its more familiar, rocky/chalky complexion.

The finale also did a great job of setting up next season�s character, Kara (Supergirl), who will be played by the very beautiful Laura Vandervoort. I�ve watched several episodes of Instant Star, so I�m pretty familiar with her work. Along with being quite lovely, she seems to be a very talented actress, and in my opinion, fits the role to a tee. And count me very excited for the first time that Laura Vandervoort, Kristin Kreuk, and Erica Durance are on the screen together at the same time. Don�t make me wait too long!

Sir Linksalot: Television News

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