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Random "Shattered" Musings

For the first time ever, we watched SV in real time -- and *wow*, did we pick the right time to start. The Future of Fandom has been in a production of "The Curious Savage," a play (John Patrick, c 1950) featuring lovable eccentrics in an insane asylum. Strung out from rehearsals, performances, and being driven around in the rain, she asked if we could watch SV while she did her homework. Thank goodness they run an amazing number of ads, because that's the only way any homework got done. We haven't seen "Perry," "Relic", or "Magnetic" yet and I don't know in detail what's in them, though I heard some talk about Lionel & Edge maybe having killed Lionel's parents, taking a leaf from ComicsCanon!Lex.

1. All fall FoF has been debating who -- of the characters in SV, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Harry Potter -- wins the "Most Psychotic Father" Award. She now reports that "Yami Malik is mad at Lionel because he gives psychopaths a bad name." (YGO fans will know how strong a statement this is.) Technically, I think Lionel is a *sociopath*.

At the end, when Lionel tells Dr. Foster that he loves Lex "more than life itself" -- excuse me, *how*? I'm not doubting that Lionel has convinced himself that he's doing this out of love, but what is his twisted chain of logic? "I'm proving my love for my son because I *could* kill him to keep myself safe, but instead I just destroy his mind"?

2. Though Lionel implies that Lex killed Julian accidentally-on-purpose, we don't necessarily believe it because this ep is *all* about Lionel fucking with Lex's head. Back when "Stray" first aired, we came up with a list of possible causes of death for Julian, and most of the entries still hold up.

In addition, FoF speculates that Lex witnessed Lionel (or Lillian!) killing Julian, and that "Shattered" is not the first time Lex has been drugged to "help" his memory.

3. When Lex started rocking the blanket and singing to Julian, we yelled "Hamlet!" "He's trying to fool Clark into thinking he's crazy, because Clark can't lie for toffee." Oh well, that theory doesn't hold up, but a whole bunch of stories where young Lex spent time in very very bad asylums got inked.

4. Boy, it's sure a pity that Lana has never spent any time around horses, so she didn't know how to do anything but lie there when a horse was mildly startled and trampled her, which horses will usually avoid when at all possible even in cavalry battles.

5. At the end of the ep when Lana says she almost died and tells Clark she'll have to avoid him because being around him is too dangerous, I went, "HUH?!?! You mean, it was Clark's fault that you tried to help your boss who's also supposed to be your friend, and it was Clark's fault that you, an experienced horsewoman, got trampled in a stable?!? In what world did Clark cause any of this?"

But FoF has an explanation! She says, "I wonder what Lex told Lana in that 'I'll tell you everything' conversation, eh?" We can't help wondering if Lana learned something about Clark, or about Lex's feelings for Clark, or about what Lex and Clark do together, that makes her feel rejected, put upon, and as though Clark has caused all her woes. In other words, Lana Has Become One With The Clue.

I'm starting to think Lana has a passive-aggressive death wish. Lying there to get stomped by the horse reminds us of how she, a lifelong resident of Kansas, got back into the truck when she saw the tornado coming. Of course, that happened just after she said good-bye to Whitney while (as FoF points out) her backup boyfriend was taking someone else to the dance. It is really tempting and fanfictionally plausible to postulate that Lex said something in that conversation that really upset Lana's idea of her place in the (Clark's? Lex's? world). And it might be that Lana's reaction gave Lex some feeling that she was not 100% well-disposed toward him, which made it more likely that he would lose it over the chamomile tea.

6. When Lex said "you're with me or against me" we were sure Clark was going to choose "against", so when he turned his back on his parents and walked away with Lex we squeeeeed like *maniacs*. Clark believed in Lex throughout, and though neither of them made perfect choices they chose each other, every time.

CLex. Is. Text. What do you call the relationship for the sake of which you walk away from your parents? Pretty damn romantic, I say.

Lex shot Morgan Edge, and Clark said "thank you." *blissful sigh*

I don't blame Clark for fleeing at the end there, because they'd both had *too much*. I gather some people are seriously ticked at Clark for leaving Lex at the end, but it never occurred to me. If Clark really wanted to run away from Lex and his problems, he wouldn't have stopped the car so obviously and then just stood there, letting Lex look at him, letting the truth and lies sink in.

But Lex has lost it, too much has happened to his body and mind -- as we can see when he turns to Dr. Foster, of all people, and starts babbling about Clark. This is *way* OOC for Lex, and to my mind proves what Clark already knew: that he who fights and runs away lives to rescue his friend's ass from the loony bin another day.

7. It is notable, and surprising, that Lex is in dire jeopardy in this ep neither because he tried to do something shady nor because of anything to do with Clark. It's the Feast of Atreus coming home to roost, nothing extra-terrestrial. Lex is showing his real heritage as a Greek tragic hero: he isn't going down because he's not good enough, but because Fate is against him. We don't get to blame his character flaws for what happens to him, we don't get to distance ourselves by saying, "well of course he becomes the Villain, he was always Eeeevil."

The events in "Shattered" arise from Lex's search for Truth and Justice. Part of what will drive Clark to be Superman is seeing how terribly Lex's human efforts have backfired.

8. While they were busy laying on the continuity, I wish there'd been some acknowledgement of Lex's KryptoHealing powers. Dr. Skeezeball says Lex will lose "all his short-term memory," which I guess is TVese for "he'll forget everything that happened in this ep."

Science!Rant: "short-term memory" really covers only about 20 minutes and yes, it is quite common for e.g. a blow on the head to wipe the time just before the trauma forever, gone, poof!, pretty much exactly like what happens to an unsaved document when your computer crashes. You *might* get back what you had on your hard drive, but whatever was in RAM is gone forever. /Science!Rant

I would have no problem buying any of the following in fanfic:

(a) Lex loses only short-term memory, meaning the 20 minutes before he's dragged away. This is the most medically plausible. It would be especially neat and realistic if he started out with a sizeable retrograde amnesia and then gradually recovered everything except those last 15-20 minutes.

(b) Lex loses the ability to "set" short-term memories into long-term, as in Memento. This could be permanent, or could get gradually better (via KryptoHealing).

(c) Lex loses everything he had in STM at the time he was dragged away, plus all LTMs from this ep. I predict TPTB will choose this option.

(d) Lex loses STM plus all LTM since the drugging started, which might be most of the season so far.

9. How many kinds of happy did Lex talking about a "Judas kiss" make me? How high can you count?

In the first place, Lex says their relationship is like a kiss. *beambeambeam *

In the second place, I have been predicting from early S1 that the Rift would be sealed with a kiss, the SuperAmnesiaPlotDevice!Kiss (aka Lethe Kiss) used in the Supes movies. This was OK with me, because a Lethe Kiss can easily be morphed into a Lethe Night of Passion or indeed a Lethe Long-Term Relationship.

But I was never happy with the Lethe Kiss with regard to Clark. When FoF read a rough draft of these Musings, she asked what a "Lethe Kiss" is. I explained, and she said, "And he's supposed to be the *good guy*?!?!? People who kiss you to suck your memories out are the Bad Guy, I know this!" Indeed, re-arranging someone's mind to protect yourself is just like Lionel, and thus Truly Evil.

Now, though, Lex has (probably) lost some portion of his memories, but it's not Clark's fault. Not to mention that KrytoHealing!Lex may well recover a good many of them, and certainly will in fanfic.*gg*

10. But what's got me grinning as I type is -- *drum roll please*

There. Is. No. Rift.

Further (going *waaay* out on a highly theoretical limb): There was no Rift. There will be no Rift.

Why? Because it takes two to Rift, and after "Shattered" I do not believe that Clark will ever truly give up on Lex. Even if Lex is too damaged to remember the love & trust they showed each other in this ep, Clark will remember. He will always hope (a hope justified in innumerable stories yet to be written) that the Lex he knew can be recovered. He will always know that Lex didn't *choose* to become like his father, he fought it every bitter step of the way.

And when he flies, he'll wear Alexander's sigil on his chest, not Jor-El's.

11. I'm not the only one who found much of this ep stunningly reminiscent of < a href=”http://lanning.slashdom.com/”>Lanning's "Identical" series. When I went back and re-read "Divergence", I was struck by one large difference in characterization between fanfic and this canon:

Martha. Both Kents, really, but Martha in particular. Why do they look at Lex's wounds and think he's just imagining things? Why don't they take him in and offer bandages, chicken soup, pie -- or at least treat him with the solicitude you'd expect for the person who gave them the farm and who they said was "like family"? Why do they believe Lionel? -- a man I wouldn't trust if he said the sky was blue, and who both Kents know is a dangerous liar?

Is there some angle of Kent psychology we're missing at our house because we haven't seen "Perry", "Relic", and "Magnetic" yet? Absent that, the only spackle I've been able to come up with is that Lionel (no doubt deliberately) is pushing Martha's "parent trying to bring a child back home" button, which has got to be majorly large after the summer. What I don't understand -- and what TPTB didn't show us, no biscuit! -- is how and why this succeeds.

The most beautiful and most harrowing moments in this ep -- Clark's choice of Lex at the farm, Clark's disappearance at the end -- seem to me to be tied together. If the Kents had believed Lex, Clark wouldn't have had to choose sides so romantically. With the Kents helping, the situation might not have spiraled so desperately out of control, Clark and Lex would both have had more options along the way. And maybe if the Kents weren't so afraid, Clark might have been more courageously open with Lex all along.

Unless this is spackled, I'm going to lose sympathy with Martha as well as Jonathan.

Just after I wrote up the above, "Home to Roost" was posted.

That's *exactly* what I mean.

12. FoF did the Happy Dance when Lionel said Clark was Sancho Panza to Lex's Don Quixote, because that is a Rift-free relationship.

13. When Lana and Lex sat down for their talk, I said "They're sure giving the Lexana 'shippers material." "They're giving *all* the 'shippers material," said FoF: "Lexana, Chlark, Chlex, and a double helping of Clex." It'll be interesting to see if S3 ends up re-asserting the hegemony of Chlark and Chlex over Clana and Lexana at fanfiction.net.

During S1 there were *way* more Chloe-centric than Lana-centric stories at ffn, completely out of proportion to their relative number of lines & scenes. Chlex, in particular, was quite popular despite only the thinnest tissue of canonical interaction. In S2 as TPTB removed Chloe's spine and ratchetted up the Clana to near-toxic levels, the proportion of Lana-centered stories at ffn rose remarkably. Even though "Shattered" gave Lexana more material than it's had in a long time, I predict that "Magnetic" and "Shattered" between them will send Chlex into the stratosphere.


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by Mary Ellen, "Doctor Science, MA"



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updated January 29, 2004

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