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Smallville: Random "Duplicity" Musings

Yay! We have a new pinch roller, and we got it installed, and we replaced the itsy bitsy spring the Distant Future of Fandom (and Future Engineer) lost while my back was turned. So although we didn't see "Duplicity" till Friday evening, it looks as though we'll be able to tape "Red" in the safety & comfort of our own home.

1. The Future of Fandom, DFoF, and I discussed the so-called plot with Our Guy. The biggest problem is at the beginning: there are too many coincidences in one place, viz:

a. the ship sat in a cornfield for at least three months without anyone noticing. During this time the corn (which was *way* too high for May anyway) did not grow.

b. the first person to get near the ship was driven off the road by Hamilton, who is (i) suffering from K-poisoning, and (ii) the person who discovered the key.

c. the accident is witnessed and the ship discovered by Pete, who is one of Clark's closest friends. Presumably the cops come by and get the guy out or at least look at the scene, but they never notice the spaceship which is, like, *right there*.

Sorry, TPTB, that's just too high a concentration of coinkydink in one place. Bring in the heavy-duty spackle.

Our Guy said this reminded him of a sf story from the 50s or so, in which a man gets a splinter from a mysterious crystal that gives him the power to change probability, so he can do things like throw 50 pennies in the air and not only will they all come up heads, they'll fall into a neat stack. (does anyone remember the name of this story?) And then we discussed how faster-than-light travel in the spaceship pretty much has to involve Quantum, and FoF brought in various aspects of Terry Pratchett's Discworld, including the Weather Butterfly and Susan (Death's granddaughter), who has the ability to make people not notice her. And then we start to wonder if K are some kind of Force Rocks, because Our Guy's analysis of lightsaber fighting technique (=why is a lightsaber mostly an edge weapon, not a point weapon?) led him to speculate that midichlorians can manipulate quantum probabilities, and that's what The Force is. Either that, or duct tape.

So our idea-like concept is that various forms of K can be used to manipulate quantum probabilities, or they may be sentient (as in Deanine's brilliant "The Lost") and do some of the manipulation on their own. In any event, these alterations in probability can be focussed for FTL travel, but can also lead to a "Susan Effect" where things or people are very hard to notice.

So why was the ship in the field for months without being noticed? Because the Susan Effect was very strong, since the ship had just been powered up before the tornado. Why could Hamilton & Pete break through and see the ship? Because their association with K and Clark, respectively, had already distorted their personal probability space.

*If* TPTB had any kind of theory about what K does, this might start to make a kind of sense. Anyone have any better ideas?

Since I first wrote the above, someone *has* come up with a better idea: ShimmyGloss, in "Truth Comes Down."

2. When Lionel said, "Every Arthur needs a Merlin," FoF laughed triumphantly and cried, "and a Mordred, Dad!"

As many others have said, this show could be used in acting school, to show how good actors strength each other, but weak actors do not. MR's scenes with JG are just *amazing*. For instance, when Lionel says he's sick of being poked & prodded, treated like a specimen (sorry, can't check the exact words right now), Lex has a brief wordless reaction that says, clear as day, "gee Dad, you mean the way you treated me after the meteor shower?"

3. Both Futures adore Pete. I was looking at some screencaps yesterday and DFoF crawled on top of me to see, and said, "Where are the pictures of Pete? There should be more Pete!"

FoF, who is pretty close to the characters in age, absolutely refuses to accept the adult argument that it was OK for Clark to keep secrets from Pete when Pete told Clark his secrets, because Clark's secrets are dangerous but Pete's aren't. For her this kind of rationality is totally unacceptable in a friendship, nuh-uh. She finds all of Pete's reactions completely normal and natural, including the telling-Chloe-without- telling-her scene -- it's dumb and driven by anger & resentment, but that just makes it more like something a real teenager would do.

It occurs to me that for this age group, one of the important functions of your friends is to be people you can complain about your parents to. I wonder if part of the problem with the Kent Family Secret thing, like other family secrets, is that it keeps Clark from complaining honestly about his parents with his friends. Has Clark ever talked about his parents to his friends? Lex does, Chloe does a bit (her embarrassment in the plant in Jitters, her saying in "Tempest" that she & her dad don't do the depression thing well together), Lana does (I don't mean the DPs, I mean her talking about Nell in this ep), Pete has at least mentioned his family (now that they're giving him lines, will he get a family? don't hold your breath). But if Clark can't talk about what goes on in the family, then for all the love there it does become sort of like a family with alcoholism or other seeping trouble.

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by Mary Ellen, "Doctor Science, MA"



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updated November 6, 2002

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