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Smallville: Random "Ryan" Musings

The pile o' fangrrrls finally re-watched this recently -- there had been much resistance, because it's not really happy.

1. Except to me, because it's got my favorite model of Lex: Hero!Lex, also seen in "Jitters." He stares down the Evil Mayor, risks felony charges, rescues Ryan *and* Clark with his Power of Attorney (not my own, can't remember who said it first), finds the right doctor, is a good friend to Ryan, and probably pays for the balloon ride, too. This is the Lex who's becoming not just Machievelli's Prince, but a true Prince among men in every sense, a leader worth following.

2. The equation Warrior Angel=Clark is too simple. For instance, when Lex & Ryan are talking about why Devilicous & WA broke up, Lex says WA wanted to help those weaker than himself, Devilicous thought WA was naive. In this ep we've seen Lex helping those weaker (Ryan) and being accused of naiviete by Lionel's stand-in, CSMayor. Furthermore, when Ryan bleeds onto the cover with WA's face, though the dissolve shot anviliciously matches WA's face to Clark's, WA really looks more like Lex in head shape and cute baldness -- especially since the drop of blood mirrors the blood on Lex's head from Tempest/Vortex.

3. When Nell tells Lana they're moving, Lana reacts exactly as a teenager would: "How could you *do* this to me!!" We have no problems with that. But then, things get . . . weird. As the Future of Fandom says, when a teenager is told the family is moving, "first you scream, then you sulk, then you pack." For Lana to be self-centered and whining under the circumstances is not poor characterization, what's bizarre is that Nell caves. In particular, she doesn't play the Family card: she doesn't say, "I'm your mother, I love you, families stay together." Instead, she says, "I'm sorry." FoF says, "everyone including Nell acts as though being an orphan means Lana deserves special treatment, as though she's permanently disabled. Kind of like in *Miracle Worker* how at first they treat Helen Keller as though she's a pet -- only Lana *isn't* disabled."

Looking at the Man Behind the Curtain, I see a pattern of the Amazing Vanishing Mother Figure. Chloe has no mom, Lex has no mom, Lana has now lost *two* moms: her biological mother died, and she's now rejected the woman who acted as her mother during her conscious life. Clark, of course, has Martha, but you may recall that one of my problems with "Redux" was that Martha's mother was conspicuous for her absence. Fathers we have a-plenty, and now Lana's getting another one, but only one onscreen mom to be seen.

Do I think Al&Miles have something against motherhood? No, I think (a) they can't write women (b) they don't *know* they can't write women, so they don't bother hiring someone who can. [Later edited: post "Insurgence," it's clear that they *can* deal with at least one female character with a layered personality. But Martha seems to be using up all their writing-women skills.]

4. (I think this is really a "Lineage" musing that wandered by) For a gal who isn't sure if anybody loves her, Chloe sure gets a lot of older guys to break the law for her. Is she just a nice friendly girl? Really friendly? Are these guys pathetic loser-types who would babble their confidential information to any girl who spoke nicely to them? Is Chloe a serious cracker (aka hacker), and these guys are all part of the Smallville cracker underground? Is she gay, and these are the guys from the bar where she goes to drink Diet Coke and hang out with people who understand being queer in mid-America?

5. We can't think of any reason for Chloe to offer a place to Lana if Chloe still has a "thing" for Clark. Although FoF says it's possible that she's trying to convince herself she doesn't have a thing for Clark. Then, of course, there's the Chlana.

6. When Lex has given Ryan the hot chocolate and says he wants to talk to Clark in the hallway, Ryan stops Clark and almost tells him something. What is it? I think Ryan wants to reassure Clark that it's OK to tell Lex about the mind-reading, but stops because he guesses it'll freak Clark out. I think Clark's level of unreasoning freakout at the experimentation is good, believable characterization for him.

7. I really appreciated the airport security showing up when Clark stopped the doctor's plane. It continues one theme of the ep, which is "Clark doesn't think through the real-world consequences of his actions."

8. I really like the conversation between Clark & Pete in the Talon. In the first place, there's the way Clark can't help blushing and smiling when Pete talks about being awakened by a phone call from Lex at 5:30 in the morning. And then, I like that Ryan picks up that Pete is worried about Clark, that knowing Clark's secret makes Pete's life difficult. It gives Clark a loving, generous reason (in addition to screaming fear) for holding back from Lex, for taking Lex's help but then lying incompetently right to his face.


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by Mary Ellen, "Doctor Science, MA"


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updated November 6, 2002

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