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Smallville: Random "Heat" Musings

I watched this ep with the Future of Fandom and the Distant Future of Fandom. I now see the ep was rated TV-14 for violence & "intensely suggestive dialogue". I wouldn't call either the lions fucking or Desiree without a top "dialogue," precisely, but since the actress used to be on Baywatch I guess maybe that counts as dialogue for her. Ooo, bitchy. Anyway, there were parts I didn't watch too closely due to covering little eyes & ears. DFoF admires MR for his dedication to his craft, which makes him do icky slobbery smooches instead of *real* kissing.

1. When I mused last, I wrote:

> 13. I hope that by ep 3 TPTB will have gotten rid of the Exposition Fairy
> for the season and brought in a Plot Fairy.

So I guess it's my fault that the Exposition Fairy *and* the Plot Fairy ran off with the Continuity Fairy. FoF says, "All that's left are the Plot Bunnies." "Plot Bunnies?" says I, wondering what she means. "Yeah, they dig the plot holes." And hoo, have they been busy bunnies.

It's enough to make me think that TPTB are relying on the fans to do their work for them, connecting the pieces, that they've deliberately constructed an episode that is not so much a story itself as it is a collection of hooks on which fanfic can be hung. Then I go, "Nah, no way." Then I look at Clark reading Ray Bradbury in the hammock. Then I go, "No *way*. Couldn't be happening, just coincidence . . . right?" And I honestly don't know.

I suspect, though, that the lack of Lionel continuity is due not to flagrant stupidity but to John Glover having had another commitment that week. It will be interesting to see if they ever tell the story of how LexCorp began, or if they just leave it to us. Note that Gabe, one of the crucial original investors, seems to have wavered a bit before coming back. What the heck went on there?

2. How I Spent My Summer Vacation, by Clark Kent (story title, free to good home):

- Chloe emailed me, I didn't email her back. Why? Am I just too shy & confused to even act like a decent friend? That's pretty lame.

- Lana was in town and living only snooping-distance away, yet I didn't talk to her. And I got rid of the telescope, so I probably didn't see her, either. Why? Am I so stuck on her that I don't think I can be honorable if I so much as look at her? That's even lamer.

I told the girls that I had been hugely busy this summer helping put the farm back together after the tornado, but they don't know about my powers and how I can do the work of four. Maybe my folks & I realized that using my powers around the farm all the time was just asking for trouble from someone like Nixon or anyone with a telephoto lens, really. Or maybe I ran a lot, testing my powers and just not being at home so much. Or maybe I felt bad about the 5 or so people who were killed in the tornados while I was rescuing Lana, and I started running around the Midwest trying to make up for it by rescuing strangers. Or maybe I *pupated*.

- I saw Lex, though -- at least enough to know when he'd been out of town for just a couple of weeks. Some people think that the "fresh start" my dad agreed to with Lex means that he came to dinner at least once a week all summer, because Lex & my Mom have gotten to be really close. When she yelled at him in the Talon he came as close to crying as we've ever seen. Now my Dad doesn't say nasty things about Lex anymore, and he doesn't even flinch when I call Lex my best friend.

Lex might even have stayed with us for a while when his Dad was in the hospital and the Castle was being repaired. Lex's summer was incredibly hectic, between starting LexCorp and fixing his place & half of the rest of Smallville and dealing with his Dad, and our house was the only place he could really go to, uh, let his hair down and relax. And now I have this nice hammock, perfect for relaxing, and it's enough to make some people wonder if Lex gave it to us as a house gift.

3. When Desiree was vamping the whole biology class, FoF said, "She looks just like Victoria! Where do they get them all?" "Brunette Strumpets R Us," I said, and we cackled evilly. But once you've got that phrase in your mind and you see Lana wearing as much makeup as she does in the Talon scenes or at the wedding, well . . . And then, when Lana & Clark go to the Talon after the wedding, FoF & I each independently thought Lana was about to say, "I'm going to slip into something more comfortable."

DFoF calls Desiree "Mesmerelda".

4. Jonathan teaches Clark to control his burning gaze. By pure coinkydink, this week I'm reading American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity from the Revolution to the Modern Era by E. Anthony Rotundo, and on p. 121 he writes:

a late-[19th-]century American physician railed against fathers who tickled the penises of their baby sons into a state of erection to assure themselves that their sons were 'robust'.

Dang. Robust enough for ya, Bo?

I was totally stunned & boggled by the whole set-up, in fact. In the town of SV, scarecrow=homosexual. There is no question in my mind that scarecrowing is (among other things) gay-bashing, or more precisely bashing of suspected gays -- in addition to the obvious Matthew Shepherd allusion, the 1989 scarecrow has a slight lisp. This scene in "Heat" emphasizes the equation, by the camera angle as Bo rams the scarecrow onto the upright manly pole. I have no idea if M&G have also been thinking of the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz, who notes that "some people do go both ways."

So, is Bo training Clark to fry gays? Or is he training Clark to feel desire for gays? Or is the message supposed to be, "when my son feels desire for a gay man, he will fry him"?

5. Brancher asked me for a biologist's opinion on the heat vision. Let me try to think it through. By DCU canon, Clark's powers would not arise if he were still on Krypton, they are a function of his presence here, under our sun. I gather that recent DCU canon postulates that all Supes' powers are essentially psychic -- that he doesn't truly fly, for instance, he teleports from point to point. Clark's heat vision in SV clearly fits this pattern, because it's not just vision, it's The Gaze made manifest. Desire stimulates destructive aggression is the message here.

Now biologically speaking I'd expect desire not to stimulate so much aggression toward the object of desire, more toward the rivals -- and those rivals might include the object's independence, but not her/his bodily integrity. So it could be that Clark's Burning Gaze is a malfunction -- or it could be that it is not just arousal that sets it off initially, but the combination of arousal *and* and a rival. On one level that sure looks like what Bo thinks, because he puts together a masculine scarecrow for Clark to fry.

So who is the rival in biology class? Later on it is emphasized that Clark & Desiree are rivals for Lex (one reason this ep is gayer than a very gay thing), but Clark doesn't know that yet. *But* remember what FoF said when she saw Desiree -- she looks, acts, dresses like Victoria.

6. We're all in love with Lex's car. As FoF says, "even when it's not moving it looks like it's about to rear up and zooom away." Too bad it costs as much as a house and doesn't hold nearly as much.

7. Why didn't Mesmerelda use her mojo on women? Why didn't Chloe & Lana assume they were immune and go after her without any of those pesky boys? This is what FoF was expecting when the girls came to visit Clark in prison: that the Good Girls would rescue Clark & Lex from the Bad Woman. But mumble mumble femslash mumble. If this keeps up -- and I predict it will -- SV is going to take away Mutant X's "Gay & Lesbian Solidarity" crown.

8. When your friend's back catches on fire, he calls for you, and you jump on him & put the fire out with a handy red tablecloth, you *don't* turn him over onto his back where the burns will be just so you can rub his nipples. Not that the viewers mind, or anything, but it's more comfy for the victim if you rip the burning garment *off*. You could wrap him right up into the tablecloth, too, so the viewers would pout (pout!! comes the multigenerational cry) but poor MR wouldn't have to get his chest waxed. And seeing as how the makeup dept. couldn't even shave his *head* for that first scene, we'd understand.

9. To me, the most striking way Clark & Mesmerelda are rivals for Lex is what Lex reports about her first words to him: "she said she would save me." We had to stop the tape for a chorus of the theme song. So the question is, did TPTB ever think that song was about anyone but Lex? When I first saw SV, I thought it was really weird to have a theme song that wasn't from Clark's POV. Where weird=slashy, yeah.

10. Biggest Mesmerelda plot hole of them all: why did she come back to Smallville? And why doesn't anyone recognize her? We know that some teachers have been around since Jonathan's day (quite plausible), so why doesn't *anyone* recognize someone who graduated only 13 years before?

Much of Mesmerelda's behavior in the ep makes more sense if she bears a grudge against Smallville in general, that she targeted Lex, came to town, and is trying to destroy the economy etc. in revenge. Otherwise why not stick with him? He's gonna get richer, after all. Or it may be that her power wears off too quickly for her to control anyone over the long term. Yeah, that makes sense, because Lex is already starting to break away. But it still doesn't explain why she hooked up with someone she *must* have known was from the old town -- unless she *wanted* to go back to the old town. Or maybe Jonathan's an ex-boyfriend, eh? -- suggests the evil evil mind of FoF. Though he didn't seem to recognize her -- but then (a) nobody did and (b) when they were one-on-one he was trying not to look at her.

Hmm. Still needs a lot of spackle. Any ideas?

11. I can't believe no-one has mentioned that at the end of CLex's convo in the loft, Lex strokes Clark's arm goodbye. They *definitely* saw each other a lot over the summer. I agree completely with something MamaDeb says in her LJ:

[Lex] trusts Clark and he trusts Martha, and that probably saved his life.

Notice the obverse: Clark trusts Lex, enough to diagnose the mind- whammy. And then look at the last scene with Lana in the Talon. Lana says a relationship must be built on honesty, and Clark says "Good-bye, Lana" in a very firm, almost final way, then walks out into the mopey rain. It looks to me as though Clark has decided that he can't have a Relationship with Lana, because he can't tell her the truth. Now when Lex has said pretty much the same thing to Clark about friendship being based on honesty etc. *Clark did not leave*.

Or in the words of Cyb the Immortal, "Honesty is the most important thing in a relationship I guess, apart from thinking each other is cute."

12. Re: the trailers for next week's ep. FoF wants Pete to ask Clark, "So, then . . . Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?"

 

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by Mary Ellen, "Doctor Science, MA"

     

 


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updated November 6, 2002

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