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Smallville: "Descent" Review
by Doom and Black Goliath
guest starring Gay Lex Luthor
...for the last time.
I must've pissed off Doom with my "Malice/Batwoman" comparisons. Maybe I raped someone in my past life. Whatever it is, constantly reviewing Smallville has to be some sort of punishment for my less than honorable actions. All this season, I've been designated the go to guy for reviewing this trash, and it's incredibly aggravating to rewrite why I hate this horrible show time and time and time and time again. This one, "Descent", did stand out for one reason. This episode finally aligns Lex Luthor into the EEEVIL column. Granted, I thought we already had this epiphany multiple times during the show's run, not to mention that his name is Lex fuckin' Luthor, but I must've imagined those instances, because this episode proves once and for all that he really is the "villain of the story". The show does have some other scenes with the rest of the shitty cast fulfilling their shitty roles, but the real reason this review exists is because of Gay Lex Luthor finally coming out of the closet. Since I'm the more sensible member of the Raider, I'll explain.
A large, awful component of Season 7's arc so far has been the secret society of Veritas and the special little keys each member had with which to unlock the secret to controlling the Traveler (aka Clark). It's implied Norman Osborn killed off a couple members of Veritas to procure their keys, but apparently at some point he stopped caring and allowed most of the rest of the Veritas people to continue on living. Lex recently learnt of Veritas' existence and is trying really hard to get all the keys. This means taking on his dad. Lex believes the key is more important than Osborn's life, so dead goes Osborn, through a window onto the concrete. Ground pizza. This sends shockwaves through, well, nothing really. The cast cares a bit, most of all Clark because Osborn became a second father to him in Seasons 6-7 despite Hairman kidnapping the boy on multiple occasions (to say nothing of what he did when he was evil). Suspicion immediately falls on Lex, who admittedly does a pretty shit job of hiding his handiwork.
So shit, in fact, that Dutch and Claudette (Jimmy and Lois) catch onto the true culprit behind Lionel's murder rather quickly. Course, them being them, they don't get to reveal the truth to the American public. Lex's assistant, Gina, catches on to them and shoots Lois in a bid to quash their dissent. The scene's hilarious because Lois lunges at Gina, who justifiably shoots the woman about to attack her. Lois' first words: "You shot me?!?!". Uh, Lois, you fucking attacked her. What the fuck did you think would happen upon trying to assault someone carrying a fucking gun? Also, Lex fires Chloe, since you'll remember he owns the Daily Planet now. MORE LIKE LEX HITLER, AM I RIGHT?!?!!? All throughout, Lex suffers from visions of his young self (cf. "Fracture") yelling at him about his callous murder. Yes, young Lex would shed a tear for the killing of a man who frequently abused him. Inner children are fucking idiots. Luthor eventually throws the young boy in his head into a fire, killing him imaginarily (I bet he wishes he had a young boy on his head). He also offs Gina, his assistant. OH NO, NOW SHE'LL NEVER BECOME MERCY!
Clark eventually figures out Lex killed Lionel and confronts him in a passive-aggressive, whiny, "uh, I dunno, Lex" way (after the scene, he goes back to the farm, puts on Type O Negative's "Everyone I Love Is Dead" and cuts himself with a kryptonite razor blade). Typical for Clark and typical for Lex. Along the way, Clark reads a message for him written by Lionel before his untimely death. In it, he explains he did everything he did as a measure of protection for Clark, even when there's no fucking way anyone could construe his actions as protection. It'd be like me saying I killed prostitutes to protect them from the chances of getting STDs. Even that's a more logical argument than Hairman's. Lex and Clark agree to become archfoes and finally, after almost 7 full goddamn seasons, the greatest foe relationship between Lex Luthor and fucking SUPERMAN is established. Goddamn, this show blows. Will Clark EVER become Superman? Ever?
"Dammit, Lex! Killing me won't bring your hair back!"
One could easily turn the death of Osborn into a metaphor into facing your inner demons and accepting your sexuality. Take the character of Lex. Since I have no hatred for homosexuals, I can say this without trying to beat someone to death. Lex on Smallville is a FAGGOT. Seriously, you can be the Dalai Lama, and even he would want to cure, if not kill, him. With the very look of a gay stereotype (skinny, foppish, head like a penis), Lex has a huge chip on his shoulder. Chip, not dick. That is compounded with his actions, which do not match typical hetero behavior. Comics Lex would not punish his enemies by firing them. He would torture them while drinking a glass of Merlot and getting sucked off by Mercy Graves. Not only that, but Smallville Lex has been in the more notably gay moments on the show, like "Lexmas", 33.1 and the image of naked test tube men, and his barely concealed lisp. So if you add those elements together, you no longer see this as a murder, but as a final step out of the closet. The other times were half steps, such as being nice in Season 1, going to something called Club Zero, hiring a big black man for "protection" or claiming he's Bi-curious. This time, it's full on. While you have to admire his bravery, it still doesn't excuse the shittiness of the episode. Not to mention, he STILL didn't make out with Clark. Not even fucking Ross and Rachel (or Ross and the monkey) took this long to hook up.
Lois Lane, winner of 2008 "misunderstanding gunfire" Darwin Award.
If "Descent" marks Lex's descent to the evils of open homosexuality, then the episode also marks the cementing of Lois Lane's role on the show. Due to Chloe being fired from the Daily Planet, Lois now is the sole Daily Planet employee with an anti-Lex agenda (Jimmy's agenda: pro-kittens). So now I suspect the writers shall give her all the news reporting storylines instead of Chloe. For the majority of the past two seasons Chloe has been sidelined in favor of other characters, and now Millar and Gough have finally established Lois as Chloe but even more snarkier. One could argue Lois of Smallville has always been that, but I disagree. She started out as a shitty reference to the comics and blossomed into the show whore, as shown by the episode where she went undercover at a strip club. Note then she refused to become a journalist, saying "even if I could spell, the last thing I'd want to do is spend my time in a newsroom". GET IT, SHE ENDED UP IN A NEWSROOM ANYWAY. IRONIC! So yes, later on she joined the Daily Planet and became the show's resident journalist, despite Chloe being at the Planet first and despite Chloe being, uh, competent. Now with the likelihood of Chloe dying or going to her home planet higher than ever before, Season 8 will no doubt make Lois the hard boiled journalist she is in the comics, without any sort of organic character development at all. You know things suck when I hate Jimmy less than another character.
Oh, boys! Now this is what I'm talking about. I can really take a bite out of this one. Remember how for "Veritas" I said I missed the scenes I used to have with Clark? Well, in "Descent" they're back. If there's something I love more than the feeling of dick in my mouth, it's sharing the screen with Clark Bartholomew Kent. There's a HUGE scene where throbbing Clark goes to my mansion and accuses me of killing my daddykins. Well, I don't think I did that, but if he accused me of my father taking me to a NAMBLA meeting as a boy, guilty as charged! John Glover lists his sexuality as openly gay and you know what they say, like father, like daughter (er, I mean, son! Until the hormones start doing their thing I'm still a son!)! Anyway, back to Clark. Though the scene did not have us kiss, there were a lot of unused takes of me and Clark making out and me drinking his semen from a stained milk glass. Those will probably show up on the DVD. Also on the DVD: the scene of me fellating my dad's dead body at the funeral. Rigor mortis means he's even harder than usual IF YA KNOW WHAT I MEAN!
Fag. Uh...I mean, thanks, Gay Lex. You always provide...an interesting perspective. Too bad you're leaving the show after Season 7. But I do not doubt you won't find work elsewhere, like in the upcoming sequel to Capturing the Friedmans.
"Uh, I dunno, I had the chance to pull the trigger on you once, I didn't do it, and Lionel lost his life because of it!"
The sole moment of enjoyment I squeezed out of "Descent" came from the similarities between this episode and Shield Season 6 episode "Chasing Ghosts", the one in which Vic found out Shane killed Lem and confronted him about it. The similarities are a scream. Much like how Vic realized Shane killed Lem when he read Kavanaugh's report and found out Kavanaugh only tailed him and Ronnie, Clark figures out Lex killed Osborn to get the special Veritas key upon Chloe informing him that Hairman left the remaining key in her desk but Lex confiscated it. This sets up a hilarious scene in Lex's mansion where Clark confronts him and they whine to each other for about 5-10 minutes. And while Lex didn't tell Lionel about the goat farm, it's still totally like The Shield if you replaced the anger and animosity undercurrent with emo angst and thinly veiled homoeroticism. Lex's basic argument mirrors Shane's - somebody needed to do something about all the weird happenings in Smallville and he was the only one willing to step up. He also brings up Clark's dad in a fuck you Terry Crowley sort of way ("THAT SON OF A BITCH, JOHN KENT WAS A TRAITOR WHO KEPT ME FROM LANA, LIONEL WAS MY FRIEND"). Clark protests he had nothing to do with John Kent's death, but you can feel the guilt in his delivery. And though Lex never outright says "all I was doing was following your gameplan, coach!", there's that hostility of Lex thinking Clark changed on him (again with the homoeroticism and the innuendo!). Hilarious. I really did enjoy the scene. Too bad Smallville had to then fuck up the scene with the gravesite bit at the end, where they both show up at Lionel's funeral and stare at each other in a "music video that ends with two men kissing" sort of way. What ever happened to Clark's "If I see you again, I will kill you"? Idiots, all of the writers. They had a glorious opportunity, but then they fucked it up.
In death, Lionel looks very Hugh Laurie-esque.
Though I did find it funny how no one understood why Lex would have reason to kill his dad. Come on. I don't even like the show and I found it an understandable action by Lex. Osborn was an abusive asshole. For the sake of the strained Shield comparison to continue, he was Guardo - an asshole murderer. He's tried to kill the entire main cast about 15 times over. He routinely belittled and abused Lex both when he was a boy and when he was an adult. For Christ's sake, he killed his parents to collect the insurance money. Despite the stupid turn a couple years back which made him into Jor-El for some retarded reason, he did not reform to the extent that he wasn't still a villain. He fucking kidnapped Clark two episodes ago! Look, I don't care if Lionel claims he did all that evil, horrible shit to protect the Traveler/Clark. Every goddamn villain pretends to have good intentions, and Osborn's are half-assed and poorly thought out. "I did it to protect you!" is incredibly lame. I find the deification of Lex's murderer father stupid and disturbing. If they really wanted to show Lex was evil, he could've, I dunno, killed Chloe or someone who hasn't been shown time and time again to be an amoral douchebag.
"Okay, Clark. Let's go to that goat farm."
In spite of an unarguable significance, "Descent" still fails to live up to the lowest of the lowest of primetime television standards. Ridiculous dialogue, stupid plotting, impenetrable mythos, bad acting, poorly defined characters, way too much fucking homoeroticism and a shitty song montage thingy at the end are just a few of the systemic problems of Smallville, and it's doubtful such will change anytime soon, even with the departure of Millar and Gough at the end of the season. And they killed off Norman Osborn, one of the more fascinating (fascinating if measured against Lois and Clark) characters on the show, which ALSO means more screentime for Jimmy fucking goddamn fucking shit cock die Olsen. Course, those of us watching Smallville non-seriously never want the creative team to allay any of those myriad problems in the first place. So from that perspective, I believe Smallville will remain shitty and awful for the next 5 years it's on.