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Smallville: Prey



This was the first episode this season that I was really unimpressed with.

There were a few things about it I loved
First and foremost, it was great to see Clark really stepping up to the hero role, and being committed to saving everyone. And I was unspoiled for the reappearance of J'onn J'onzz, and was really happy to see him again and excited that he took a job on the force mainly to help Clark. Yay! for Clark having smart allies. ETA: And I actually cheered when he flew jumped to the top of that building. So supermanly!

And in theory I like the idea of Chloe and Clark going in different directions in a way that pushes Clark to take more responsibility for doing his own research and in general turning into Clark Kent, reporter, not just Clark Kent, superhero. It was great watching Clark listening to the police band and in general researching on his own, since Lois was at a monster truck rally. (Hee!!)

But there were many, many things I didn't like about the episode

First of all, when the hell did Metropolis become Gotham? The crime rate seems a little extreme, and some of that stuff (like the teenagers mugging the little kid? In the middle of the night?) was pretty damn unbelievable.

Second, the conflict between Chloe and Clark seemed extremely manufactured to me. I can see Chloe being protective of her "kids"--though I am still finding this whole Chloe-rehabilitating-mutants storyline really uninteresting, like Chloe has just adopted Lana's role--but Chloe is perfectly aware that not all MA folks are perfectly stable, AND Clark has made a whole career of putting his faith in people's he's only just met, so the actually substance of their argument seemed unlikely to me. Though partly I just want Chloe to back to some sort of investigative job and stop trying to be Mother Theresa. Ok, her statistic about the 327 mutants she investigated--and the zero that she saved--was kind of moving, and in some ways I like how they're setting her up to be the anti-Tess (or setting Tess up to be the anti-Chloe, whatever), but....empathetic counselor Chloe BORES me.

And while the Chloe-Davis chemistry is fun to watch, I really actually don't understand why she instinctively trusts him. And obviously he's going to turn out to be a bad guy, so she's just getting set up for a fall.

And Clark's whole speech to Chloe about how he's not interested in singing kumbaya? Wow. I actually wanted to slap him. I liked his apology to her at the end, but I was pretty mad at the writers for making that necessary, because I can buy him getting obsessed with saving people, but his particular level of jerkiness to her seemed very OOC to me.

Things I am suspending judgment on for the moment

I kind of like Jimmy investigating the mystery hero--for one thing, I like any plotline that gives Jimmy something non-romantic to do, and besides which Jimmy has good investigative instincts. I just fear that he, too, is just getting set up to be shot down (like when he was investigating Lex Luthor), since we all know Clark's identity isn't going to be revealed. ETA Oops, I may have spoken too soon, since I missed the preview for next week's ep when I flipped over to watch Grey's, and didn't see it until I watched my recording of SPN.

The Davis mystery is interesting, but they better go somewhere with it soon or I will get very impatient.

I really missed Lois and Tess in this episode, dammit!

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
roxymissrose
Oct. 24th, 2008 04:45 am (UTC)
I felt he was OOC this ep too. I have to say though, wow--he looks so incredibly good this season.

I guess they have stuff planned to happen soon because this felt like a big old stepping stone to *something*.
norwich36
Oct. 24th, 2008 07:41 am (UTC)
Yeah, this was definitely a setup episode, but sometimes they can do those sorts of episodes and not be quite so boring!

I definitely agree he's looking good this season.
cinderella81
Oct. 24th, 2008 04:46 am (UTC)
Yeah, I don't understand why Chloe and Davis were automatically chummy with each other ... like within 5 minutes of meeting ...

Makes no sense ...
ladydreamer
Oct. 24th, 2008 04:51 am (UTC)
It's called libido :P
norwich36
Oct. 24th, 2008 07:42 am (UTC)
I agree with ladydreamer, a lot of it is probably supposed to be chemistry. It's just odd that he told her about his history of blackouts and suspicious behavior and she still didn't suspect him at all.
prim_rose_etta
Oct. 26th, 2008 03:26 am (UTC)
It doesn't make any sense whatsoever for Chloe or any of this crew to trust someone not to be a killer just because they like them.

Natch they still think that Supermanly means judgmental black and white, so that's Clark-idiotic as usual.

But Chloe ought to reserve her judgment until she's (hello) researched the possible perp, ya know? It is very OOC for her.

(Deleted comment)
norwich36
Oct. 24th, 2008 07:43 am (UTC)
I don't know if it's DC canon or not, but I know it's been mentioned on the show before, and I *love* that that's part of her character.
theclexfactor
Oct. 24th, 2008 11:28 am (UTC)
First of all, when the hell did Metropolis become Gotham? The crime rate seems a little extreme, and some of that stuff (like the teenagers mugging the little kid? In the middle of the night?) was pretty damn unbelievable.

I think one thing we have to remember is that this is a Metropolis without Superman even if Clark is starting to do his superhero thing. It would be unbelievable for a city that's supposed to be as big as Metropolis to not have a big crime rate. I'm sure it will go down when Superman has established himself, and then all Clark will really have to worry about is crimes committed by metas.

My only problems with the episode were the arguments between Clark and Chloe, but that was because they both had good points yet neither acknowledged until the end of the episode (and I even hand waved those away because both were on a mission and were single minded in accomplishing their goals)

Edited at 2008-10-24 11:29 am (UTC)
norwich36
Oct. 24th, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
Nope, sorry, I'm not buying it--even major metropolitan areas don't have crimes committed every single minute, and some of the specific crimes they showed us were WAY over the top. (If they wanted to show us Clark overextending himself to save people, they could have made it more plausible simply by having him extend the boundaries of his watch beyond Metropolis, because I can easily believe there are multiple crimes going on every minute in the whole world).
theclexfactor
Oct. 24th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC)
Nope, sorry, I'm not buying it--even major metropolitan areas don't have crimes committed every single minute,

Wanna bet? I work in law enforcement in a city with the highest crime rate in the U.S. and you'd be amazed the different types of crimes I get on my desk. Granted they don't happen in the same night, but this is Smallville and they only had 42 minutes to get to the point. But even the idea that at least three crimes (even a robbery and a mugging, even if it is of a child--which was mostly done for the amusement of the little kid throwing air punches) happening in the same night is not that much of a stretch. Not every crime gets reported or media attention. And, I may be wrong but correct me if I am, I think Clark went out with the intention of stopping the robbery and along the way stopped the mugging. While it may seem implausible that the little kid was out in the middle of the night, I have enough clients on my caseload that have been doing things they had no business doing when they were young (which is why they are still in the system now) to be able to imagine that the little kid was out int he middle of the night doing something he had no business doing.

I guess my point is that I've always lived in big cities and both of them were at one time or another the city with the highest crime rate, so some things that seem implausible just flew over my head because I'm used to it...and because its Smallville and they revel in over the top.
norwich36
Oct. 24th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
3 crimes were the ones we were shown Clark stopping. The impression given by the police band and Clark's reaction to it was that there was literally a crime occurring every minute. I lived in NYC in the 80s and wouldn't believe that sort of crime rate.

But I'm pretty sure we're not going to end up agreeing on this, because the real issue is that I think it's part of the overall shoddy writing of the episode (which I think overall took a lot of bad character and plot shortcuts) and you liked the episode and didn't find it as implausible as I did.
prim_rose_etta
Oct. 26th, 2008 03:35 am (UTC)
A great writing prof said it best:

Real Life isn't necessarily good fiction. The Crime Rate in one evening was overboard enough to get me asking myself wtf, too. imo the handling of it was a bit ham-handed and too dark. I mean, you're not supposed to cause even some of the audience to wonder, gee, aren't there an awful lot of these crimes in a short time.

The 19 yr old bullies after a puny 6 yr old after dark was over the top (implausible) and was designed to goose-up the audience happiness that Clark is now acting as the savior of the night. Very cheesy. It's aimed at the 6 yr olds in the audience tsk because it could have been finessed into something more comforting rather than leaving a whiff of something disturbing.

norwich36
Oct. 30th, 2008 12:07 am (UTC)
Yeah. That's a very good statement of the problems I had with the episode.
redteekal
Oct. 24th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
I don't think I am going to be motivated enough to even do a post about this episode. At the moment it is currently in my least favourite episode spot of S8 so far. I get that Clark is now making leaps and bounds in stepping into the hero role and that it is important that he is able to do his own research when needed but the way he approached Chloe on the list of MA struck me as completely OOC with his kumbaya line and complete absence of his usual sensitivity. Clark is not like that, I don't care how caught up he is in catching a killer. So you're right - that whole conflict came across as way too manufactured and hardly authentic.

I also felt the scenarios at the beginning with Clark doing his good samaritan jobs could have been a little less contrived. What was that? A well clothed, well fed, healthy looking 8 yr old? Out on the streets of Metropolis at what time of night? Please. Could we be a little more subtle?

Likewise on the Jimmy front (Clark needs someone to be wondering about him clearly) and thank god for the MM turn up because honestly I was starting to wonder if Clark even bothered to look around any more before zipping into super mode.

I don't know that it was any one thing about this episode that made me go Meh, I think it was the overall combination of forced story lines and characterisation in a number of places that just didn't fit well.

At least there was Clark - looking incredibly good and also supermanly with his saves.
norwich36
Oct. 24th, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC)
I get that Clark is now making leaps and bounds in stepping into the hero role and that it is important that he is able to do his own research when needed but the way he approached Chloe on the list of MA struck me as completely OOC with his kumbaya line and complete absence of his usual sensitivity. Clark is not like that, I don't care how caught up he is in catching a killer. So you're right - that whole conflict came across as way too manufactured and hardly authentic.

Yeah. It didn't feel authentic at ALL. Maybe if they had spent a couple episodes showing Chloe bonding with those kids so she had more reason to have instinctive faith in them, and if they had shown Clark descending into obsession over the same period of time--but as it was, it just didn't seem in character. And WOW do I agree with you about the good samaritan jobs being contrived.

It was cool to see Clark being supermanly, though.
huzzlewhat
Oct. 29th, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC)
"Prey" was one of those episodes that made me desperately wish that I was the showrunner. :-) It would have made so much more sense to push this ep back three or four on the schedule, and tease out the ultraviolent serial killer storyline over several episodes. Lois introduced it in "Toxic" — showing it as a continuing story thread that he was aware of but unable to stop would have made Clark's frustration much more realistic, rather than trying to fit all that history into one line of exposition in his conversation with J'onn — "I've been looking into it... five murders, etc." It also would have given us more time to get to know and potentially sympathize with Davis, and to build up more of Chloe's bond with the Isis group. This was the first time that we saw a counselling session — there wasn't enough time to adjust to the WTF-ness of that before we were asked to believe that she'd prioritize these strangers over Clark and people dying by the roomful in a bloody, mysterious manner. Nothing in Chloe's history suggests that the mystery wouldn't rocket to the front burner. Not to mention, having a story that Lois and Clark were tracking together would have been a really great bonding mechanism to show them interacting on an adult level, and increasing their awareness of the other's minds and hearts.
norwich36
Oct. 30th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
Oh, yes, that would have worked out a lot better. It's not that I couldn't see Chloe (and Clark's) positions as plausible if we had actually been given some buildup, but the way they did it in this episode was too fast and too sloppy.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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