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    Alternate Universes

Random "Extinction" Musings

1. The Continuity Fairy is a fickle wench. On the one hand, there are all these references to previous Kryptomutants, whee! And Lex's fanonical superhealing is definitely inked into canon.

But dudes, while you're reminiscing about past eps, what about *last week*? I don't think Lana would accuse Clark of impaling Tina (or getting Tina to impale herself, whatever) when Lana herself had helped someone impale himself only last week. At the very least, shouldn't she be a wee bit more upset talking about it, as in, hysterical? It's enough to make me believe in Basingstoke's theory --that Lana is a psychopath.

2. Speaking of continuity, it's all very nice and fanonical for Lex to have never been sick since 1989, but what about last week's malaria? Time for spackle -- borrowing the trowel from Highlander, where these issues come up all the time.

Malaria is persistent, recurrent, and difficult to treat. "Severe malaria due to P. falciparum may cause seizures, coma and renal and respiratory failure which may lead to death. Malaria deaths are frequently the result of delays in the diagnosis and treatment of the infection." In other words, we can posit that Lex got off remarkably easy. A number of HL writers have worked with the idea that HL Immortality gives immunity to mild, common infections (colds, flu), but that Immies can still get sick from more serious or persistent diseases (e.g. plague), they just don't die -- or if they do they get better.

So we can reconcile Lex's malaria with his K-mutant healing, but -- bad TPTB, no biscuit, for writing the ep so that it *has* to be spackled to make sense. All we needed was one sentence commenting on how bizarre the docs found Lex's swift, unmedicated recovery from malaria, and canon would have been good to go.

3. "Gosh, Lana sure has a nice SUV," we notice. "Who bought it for her? The same person who's been giving her martial arts lessons all summer?" Let us just say for the record that we think Lionel/Lana is *dirty* and *wrong*. ahem.

4. When Lana is getting ready to dive into the swimming pool, FoF gasps, "But there's no lifeguard! I thought she was supposed to be a *good* girl!" Indeed, we really have to wonder about a person who's been stalked and attacked as much as she has, yet appears to actively avoid taking the most elementary of safety precautions. My guess is that TPTB don't think enough to realize that swimming alone in the school pool implies that the person (e.g. Icicle!Boy in "Chill") is deliberately breaking the rules.

5. We never wondered why the scene of Van making K-bullets went on so long. No sirree, not given that he did it shirtless. Kind of ouchie if any of the molten metal should splash, but beauty knows no pain.

6. AlMiles may luv Lana and Clark, but they're doing one heck of a better job with Chloe, who's really coming up against some *consequences* for her actions. It was really invasive and stupid for Chloe to collect info on other people and store it on a school computer, a machine which is not private either in theory or in practice. It was stupid for her to think she can free herself from Lionel, her father's employers, by saying "bye-bye!"

Chloe's mistakes parallel Lex's: investigating people without their consent, collecting information but not guarding it properly (the Wall of Weird || The Chamber of CK), thinking you can outfox Lionel. Does Clark's ready forgiveness of Chloe mean that he will readily forgive Lex in the future? Or is it different when the person being threatened is him?

7. But speaking of stupidity, Clark, don't keep dropping flattened bullets where Luthors can pick them up. And while running super-fast is v. cool (even if you re-use footage), cell phone calls go at approximately the speed of light.

8. I like that various characters actually discuss Clark's vigilanteism and why it's not such a good thing. Having Pete object to habitual breaking & entering gives me some hope that TPTB mean to actually show, at some point, how this Clark changes into Superman, Upholder of Law -- because so far Clark is really arbitrary & capricious about what laws he obeys when.

9. The most difficult thing to explain in this ep is something that doesn't happen.

At the end of the ep both Lex and Lana offer Clark the opportunity to label himself as a "meteor freak" -- and he doesn't. Why not? As fanfic writers have often speculated, "meteor mutant" is the ideal cover story for Clark to use with his SV friends, plausible and familiar. So why doesn't he take it?

As the episode title reminds us, Clark is the last of his kind, uniquely freakish and isolated: he is the extinction of his species. In the final scene with Lana I had the impression that Clark insists he's not a "meteor freak" because that would imply he is (for SV) normal, acceptable, and he doesn't want Lana to think of him that way. He wants to force her away so he can wallow safely in his own alien-ness.

I was taken aback in the last Lex scene because I was expecting Clark to act like the Clark of fanfic. There have been umpty-zoodle stories in which Lex says, "I'm a freak," and Clark always takes his side, saying either "No, you're not" or "I am too." Fanfic Clark is brave, willing to rescue Lex from his isolation; why is this canon Clark a coward? S1 Clark was proud to have rescued Lex; now Clark doesn't raise any objections when Lex wonders if he rescued himself from their collision. Clark's silence denies that he and Lex have a special connection, and it lets Lex feel alone and freakishly isolated, outside of humanity.

To me Clark's behavior seems the opposite of heroic: he has gone from being afraid to being actively cowardly, willing to let Lex be hurt rather than confess any part of his own strangeness. Clark's biological uniqueness doesn't mean he's psychologically unique in his feelings of loneliness and isolation. He *could* connect to other people, especially Lex, if he was willing to see the parallels between their situations and his. Instead, Clark is building an icy Fortress of Solitude around his pants. Heart! I mean, heart!

10. It's possible that Clark doesn't extend comfort to Lex about being a K-mutant because he isn't sure there's comfort to offer. Though Jonathan says that not all K-mutants are evil or crazy, Clark may well worry that they just aren't crazy *yet*. (And Lex, whether Clark is consciously aware of it or not, is going through a pretty unstable period anyway.) Maybe Clark fears that Lex, as a K-mutant, will go evil or crazy and it will be All Clark's Fault.

Or maybe Clark feels -- or is coming to feel -- as though K-mutants embody all the evil of Krypton, which he has a responsibility to struggle against. I wonder if as time goes on Clark will project everything he fears and hates about his heritage onto the K-mutants, and especially onto Lex as mutant-in-chief. Clark becomes a superhero to protect humans from the K-mutants, as atonement for bringing them into the world, but also to distance himself. Lex becomes the bad guy so that Clark can become the good guy -- the "balance between good and evil" that the Ancient Cave Paintings of Last Thursday describe.

 

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by Mary Ellen, "Doctor Science, MA"

     

 


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updated October 31, 2003

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