Fan Fiction Defense
Smallville: Random "Vortex" Musings
You know the ancient Greek statue of Laocoon? Edit it to show a man, a woman, the Future of Fandom (8th grade), the Distant Future of Fandom (1st grade), and a cat, all caught in writhing coils of videotape. The Futures and I stayed up past bedtime on a school night to watch the premiere, which turned out to be a good idea because the friggin' VCR didn't tape properly. We watched it again last night with Our Guy, having taped Sunday's repeat at a friend's. But at least I now know what a pinch roller is.
1. Hug Lex Now. Kick Lionel's Ass Now. Smooch Chloe Now (that's to you, Pete). Get Pete Laid Not Right Now, But Real Soon. Do Not Blow Clark Now, He Has to Earn It -- By Hugging Lex, For Instance.
2. Future of Fandom and I have been scratching our heads over Lana. Look at it this way: I tell you I know this 16-year-old girl. Her parents were killed before her eyes when she was 3, she goes to the graveyard at night to talk to them, she tried to run away to the big city when she was 10, she says she always figured she'd die young. What do you visualize? Multiple piercings, at least one tattoo, unprotected sex with ill-chosen partners, hair cut short & spiky & dyed a color not found in nature, experiments with a variety of mood-altering substances, *certainly* smokes cigarettes, clothing mostly black, excessive eyeliner even by high-school standards. In other words, the complete opposite of the Lana we see before us. (And why can't I find goth_lana's livejournal anymore?)
It's possible to reconcile these two Lanas in Man-Behind-the-Curtain terms, by assuming that TPTB are idiots. But in Smallville-Is-Real terms, how do they fit together? The best we can come up with is that when Lana says things like "I always thought I would die young" -- which made us hoot, "Ri-i-i-ight! That's why you took so many risks and were so unconventional. *Not*." -- she's mimicking someone alienated and tormented, she doesn't actually feel that way herself. She talks about her troubles because she thinks she's supposed to, she wears pink sweater sets because she thinks she's supposed to.
FoF thinks Lana's alleged personality could almost make sense if Nell is basically a rather prim woman who took care of Lana because "I hope I know my duty. *sniff*" Unfortunately, neither of us can figure out how to square this with what we've seen of Nell so far. Does Nell's talent for interior design extend to Lana -- Lana as handcrafted object, Nell as Martha Stewart? This makes a frightening kind of sense.
More Lana weirdness: we agree with laura jv that it is unusual for a teenager to tell an *adult* "I wish you were my mother." I have known it to happen, though, and not just when the teen is abused: I've seen it when the teen is sexually active, gay, either the parent or the teen has a serious psychological disorder, or when the teen has a strong religious difference from the parent(s). We can speculate which of these might apply in Lana's case, but what is truly bizarre to me is that she says this to the woman *next door*. In all the cases I've known, the teen also had a burning desire to leave their school and town (or state or country), as well as their family -- to go to a completely different environment. Lana seems to want to leave Nell without leaving Smallville, which is extremely strange to me.
It's a pity you-all couldn't see the expression on Our Guy's face when Lana started talking about the meteor shower. "Not just taken aback, taken asideways," is how FoF described it.
3. It seemed to us that Chloe decides to have the Just Friends talk with Clark because of her talk with Lana in the hospital. Why? Because Lana pities her, and it is unbearable.
Then when Chloe gives Clark the JF talk he's confused, all right, but he doesn't seem really really upset or heartbroken. It's interesting that TPTB did not choose to show Clark's reaction when he's away from Chloe, either in that scene or later. The impression this gives is that Chloe is really in love with Clark, but he was just dating her as part of his desperate, fordoomed quest for normality.
I notice that it's the start of the season (whoo-hoo! how *does* she do it?) and TPTB are pushing the Clana. The editing/directing choices here are undercutting the Chlark, and I think it might be a-purpose. See, I think they want a balanced f/m/f triangle to keep up UST & viewer interest, but Clark is fundamentally more compatible with Chloe and has a better relationship with her. So they have to undercut the Chlark and pump up the Clana to sustain the triangle.
We all agree it's time for Pete to make his move, and we're cheering him on. When I cautioned, "I dunno, Pete, that would be catching her on the rebound," FoF said, "What could be wrong with that?" -- because hey, by middle school standards 2 months is a long-term relationship.
4. About that Lana/Chloe talk in the hospital -- when Lana is recounting her experience, she acts very hesitant and embarrassed, and her tale leaves out 2 points: Clark, and her own bid for the Darwin Awards by getting back into the truck. Is there any possibility whatsoever that she's embarrassed for having the brains of a kumquat? or is it just, "Oh Chloe, I'm *so* embarrassed, somehow your 'boyfriend' seems to be following me around. I don't know why, it can't be because I've been making eyes at him, it must just be because I'm a lot prettier than you are."
I agree that KK's acting skills have improved over hiatus. I found the last scene in the loft fairly chilling: she's basically saying, "I've realized you might be what I'm looking for in a guy -- someone to keep me safe." Which is probably wise, given that she's a kumquat. But I sure don't see any evidence of actual libido.
5. Distant Future of Fandom can't watch the end of Tempest and the beginning of Vortex, because it's too scary to see Lex all bloody and his daddy calling out for him. It's funny how my loathing for Lionel is so much cleaner than my dislike of Lana. I think it's because we're supposed to hate Lionel: he *is* the Villain of the Season, he's a monster and a most magnificent bastard. John Glover is acting up a storm, and his scenes with MR are just stunning. Lana, though, is presented to us as though we're supposed to love her, so when I don't I feel a burning resentment toward her and TPTB, for trying to get me to luuurve someone I can't. Stand.
Back to Lionel. I've been reading books about masculinity, fathers & sons, etc., and hoo-boy, does Lionel clearly have Father Issues. We see two basic possibilities:
a. Luthor Grandsenior was an easy-going wastrel who got taken advantage of by everyone, totally blowing the fortune left to him by Hard-nosed Luthor (or possibly Liebowitz) Great-Grandsenior. Lionel built Luthorcorp as we now know it up from the ruins, determined never to be anything like his father.
b. Luthor Grandsenior was a total hard-nosed bastard, and Lionel wants to be just like him. In this case, Lionel's mother was probably the easy-going emotional one, and Lionel got flintier as he determined to resist her influence.
The lovely & talented Ingrid has written a great Lionel backstory, "Raze Out Troubles Written", but there's room for lots more where this came from.
8. When Lex tells Clark about how he hesitated before saving his father, FoF said: "That's where Lex starts to turn evil, because Clark -- the only person he could tell this to -- just doesn't get it. Clark *cannot* get his mind around hating your father that much." I think she's right, I think Lex's feelings toward his father -- anger, hatred, resentment, but as MR brilliantly shows in this ep, a desperate love, too -- are outside the parameters of Clark's emotional existence. DFoF says, "Lex wants to go evil!" "He wants the leather pants!" says FoF. "No," says DFoF, "Lex wants to be evil so he'll have the guts to kill his father." Out of the mouths of first graders.
9. Before Vortex aired, I made two predictions to FoF:
a. The publicity shot of Lex with a gun would be him killing Nixon.
b. At the end of the ep the spaceship would not be in the storm cellar, it would be on its way to Antarctica to set up the Fortress of Adult Solitude.
I figure I'm 1 1/2 for 2.
10. We're trying to figure out the behavior of the ship and the key. Let's assume that when Kal-El left Krypton there was something -- which we might as well call duct tape -- holding the key in place, and that the duct tape (not being rated for these conditions, the ship being a desperate last-minute job and all) burned up in the Earth's atmosphere, so the key fell out in the last second before landing.
Now apparently if you have the key near the ship, it'll go there and turn it on automatically. Why? So that Highly Unauthorized Personnel can't play with the ship before the ship gets the drop on them, perhaps. And once the ship is turned on it goes automatically to look for Kal-El, tracking his DNA or psychic aura or what have you.
OK, this makes a bit of sense, especially if the ship was always intended to be near little Kal-El, taking care of him etc., and the loss of the key was purely accidental. So when it turns on again in the stormcellar, the ship goes, "Aiiee! I lost the kid!" and zooms after Clark into the mega-tornado, and the key falls out *again*, for lack of duct tape.
Is there any chance whatsoever that anyone connected with the show knows *anything* about farming? We think not, and that the ship will stay there in the corn for at least 3 months, SV time (i.e. until "Heat", which we expect to putatively be at the start of the school year), until it's discovered. And the corn will be the same height, and the same shade of green. Go on, PTB, prove us wrong.
11. When Clark brings Lana to the world's most strangely-lit ER, the doc says she's OK, then *poof* he's gone, why does he risk the superspeed in such a public place? Simple, sez Our Guy, he doesn't have Lana's insurance card and he doesn't want to spend the next hour filling out forms. We think this is a reasonable use of super powers.
12. After Lex kills Nixon (and I predict the total lack of justice in this world will be illustrated by MR not even being nominated for the Emmy next year), when Clark tells Bo, "I'm glad you didn't kill Nixon, good thing Lex was there to do it for you," I think what Clark really means is, "killing Nixon would have broken you; Lex is stronger than that." Because he doesn't act uncertain or hesitant about Lex in the rest of the scene. Remember "Rogue"? Where the last scene with Clark & Lex together has Clark yelling & Lex fighting tears, the woobie? Yet their first scene in "Shimmer" is all hearts & tulips & smiles & 'wow, last night was *great*!" er, or something.
Clark is much more uncertain about Lex in the farmyard scene, where Lex *so* foolishly lies, lies, lies. We figure it's a mix of (a) reflex (being around Lionel probably brings back the habit), and (b) fear that Clark will judge him unworthy of deep friendship. Especially since Clark is so disturbed by Lex's feelings toward Lionel that he threw them in his face, with the "second time today you've hesitated" remark in the woods.
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. It's only a hope, though, I wouldn't dare place a bet.
And now it's almost Tuesday again. Drama, tension, excitement! Will the Fandom Family manage to tape the ep? Which gives a better idea of the actual contents of the ep, the WB trailer or the Kryptonsite spoiler? Will all Fandom's chillum stay up too late once more? Will there be a plot?
[answers -- somehow; the latter; probably; don't hold your breath.]
updated November 6, 2002
all material on these pages copyright 1999-2002 Mary Ellen Curtin, except where otherwise noted