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Dec. 8th, 2005

I had some serious issues with Lexmas, but I think that last scene with Lex made it absolutely worth it. Behind the cut, musings on the episode: whose Marysue fantasy was it? Shockingly, I suggest, not simply Almiles'.

I thought Rosenbaum's acting choices at the beginning of this episode were...interesting. He seemed more stunned and bemused than actually happy, and the transition to happiness seemed to take place off camera. I don't often think about the acting choices when I'm analyzing Lex's characterization, but I did wonder how much MR was really onboard with this "always in love with Lana" thing, and whether he was deliberately undercutting that throughout the episode.

Not that I'm gagging too much about the Lexana, because really this Lana was not Lana, she was just a symbol for "person who actually loves Lex"--that much was clear. And DAMN, how much fanfic have Al & Miles been reading, that Lex's kids are Alexander and Lily? Really, I was highly amused at the whole "Lex wakes up in his mother's skewed Marysue fanfic" scenario.

Though honestly, by the end I was thinking that a much more FUN reading of this episode is that Lex's mom was NOT really trying to teach him about sacrifice, she was trying to actually DRIVE him into the position he ended up taking, because you would assume that from that "wisdom-in-the-afterlife" place she seems to be coming from, she must have known that his two biggest fears are losing people he loves and losing to his dad, and her scenario gave him both at the same time. It's hard to imagine anyone who knows Lex thinking any other outcome was possible in that scenario. And ever since we found out she killed Julian, I've always suspected that in Lillian's world--even though she loves Lex--winning against Lionel was more important than Lex's well-being. And what better way to ensure Lex beats Lionel than to start him on the path to power?

I almost suspect the writers of DELIBERATELY setting up the scenario in which Lillian's motives are Machiavellian, not benign, because Lex explicitly criticized Lionel for "playing God" with his life--but that is exactly what Lillian is doing too, in a way--trying to give divine guidance, so to speak.

But regardless of the blecky idea that he is choosing to go evil ultimately for Lana's sake (you can just insert Clark back in there, since "Lana"="love object"), I COMPLETELY loved the fact that they've given Lex an organic reason to go bad. And really, a GOOD reason--flawed, certainly, but it grows out of his own experiences and therefore is in perfect keeping with his character. So YAY! Not just a light switch, but a deliberate path, taken for what he sees are good reasons. And he was SO wonderfully bad-ass in that last scene.

(Though him going mano-a-mano with Jonathan Kent? Can be nothing but humorous. It reminds me of basingstoke's Smallville/Austin Powers crossover, with Lex telling Scott Evil about his father's lame nemesis, some farmer in Kansas. I mean, COME ON. Give Lex a worthy adversary, please. Oh, I know, dirt will be dug up relating to Clark, which will widen the rift, etc. etc., but I still find this whole Jonathan runs for Senate thing ridiculous).

The rest of this story was fairly silly--saving Santa Claus? Please! Chloe was damn cute, as always, but that whole storyline was way contrived. I wish they hadn't bothered, and had just gone into more detail about the alternate Lexworld.

I haven't looked at anyone else's reviews yet, but I'm sure a prevailing theory, outside the "mom-created marysue" one, is that Lex was inventing this whole thing in his own mind. And if MR thinks that, that leads me to end with his acting choices, as I began. I was interested in the way he seemed to be undercutting the text deliberately in several places--like, he made Lex seem happy to be congratulated by Jonathan, but not too happy--as if, getting the accolades from the Kents he always wanted, they didn't actually satisfy him as much as he wanted. This was all in facial expressions, obviously, but also in the way he kind of underplayed his verbal expressions of joy.

And if I am reading this properly, it makes me love MR all the more, because he's kind of subtly suggesting that it is not actually just the fear of loss (of Lana) driving Lex's new quest for power, but far more the fact that getting what he "always wanted" wasn't really satisfying, in the end. Just like most Marysue stories are ultimately dissatisying because it's all *too* perfect, and so must end with some sort of tragic death--so he drives himself out of his dead-end fantasy by forcing a false catharsis. False, because though on a conscious level he says he's seeking power to avoid the pain of loss, on a subconscious level he's seeking it because his fairytale life was too unsatisfying.

Or maybe that's fanwank. But I like it, nevertheless.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
acampbell
Dec. 9th, 2005 02:11 pm (UTC)
I was pleasantly surprised and relieved overall (and I'd been absolutely dreading the ep, believe me!) I'm so glad they went with Bemused!Lex rather than Happy!Lex. I could've done without the Santa-plot entirely! Lex's final scene was amazing, and they may have saved the whole "going bad" thing--I'm just sorry they jumped the gun on that one so many times before, and that all Lex's friends have already abandoned him--it bothered me that none of the "good guys" even mentioned him in this ep (in the "real world," that is!).

I'll be doing my own post as soon as it all settles, so I'll shut up, now!
norwich36
Dec. 9th, 2005 06:50 pm (UTC)
Well, I can't wait to see what you said. And I, too, had at least been mildly dreading the episode, and thought it wasn't as bad as I was anticipating!
mecurtin
Dec. 9th, 2005 03:47 pm (UTC)
I love your interpretation so much I'd want to have its babies, except that I've had all the babies I ever want to have, thankyouverymuch.

Lex's mom was NOT really trying to teach him about sacrifice, she was trying to actually DRIVE him into the position he ended up taking

Exactly.

I also cannot stop laughing and laughing at the idea that becoming a *Kansas state senator* is the clear road to POWER! POWER! bwa-ha-ha-ha power!
norwich36
Dec. 9th, 2005 06:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was hoping someone else agreed with that interpretation!
And this I also cannot stop laughing and laughing at the idea that becoming a *Kansas state senator* is the clear road to POWER! POWER! bwa-ha-ha-ha power! made me laugh so hard the person across the hall came over to see what was so funny.
(Deleted comment)
norwich36
Dec. 10th, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks for commenting! I'm not completely wedded to my interpretation of MR's interpretation of Lex, here--I agree with you that what I was initially seeing as Lex's distance and bemusement could be seen as Lex simply being put in an unfamiliar situation and trying to cope with it. Actually, bop_radar has a similar interpretation to yours, and traces Lex's evolving emotions scene by scene in a way that's starting to persuade me that your position is correct.

But I do agree with your comment below that it is hard to imagine Lex *remaining* happy long in this scenario. Not just Lionel but also Lillian (with that Napolean watch) have been inculcating that desire for greatness in him his whole life--it's not something he could really give up and still be Lex. And even in the dream/vision, he can't walk away from the struggle with Lionel, which is really what would a necessary component to him truly being happy. Is there any way Lionel isn't going to *know* who Chloe's inside source on Luthercorp is for her expose? So even if the alternate reality continued and Lex *hadn't* become bored or disenchanted, and even if Lana *hadn't* died, the seeds of its self-destruction were already there: either Lionel would have destroyed Lex's *whole family* in retaliation, or Lex would have once again had to enter the battlefield, this time without the resources to win.
(Deleted comment)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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