Review of “Smallville” series
Note: episodes that are referred to by the text are given in the brackets''
Clark Kent is in his right place, of course, – a superhero with a soft heart, good breeding, a just man of high principles, ready to sacrifice his own life for other people’s sake (Arrival). He's not always there when you want him but he's always there when you need him (Shimmer). But he never had to justify somebody’s confidence by keeping that person’s secret, which is more important than his own.
Schooldays. Reporter of school newspaper and Clark’s classmate, Chloe Sullivan, is in unrequited love with him. She writes a touching letter to him that "she is the girl of his dreams masquerading as his best friend, who hopes that one day he’ll fly back to her" (Fever). A school beauty, Lana Lang, is in love with Clark, too, but she has another guy, the footballer Whitney. Perhaps Lana loves him, perhaps she doesn’t. Chloe knows Clark prefers Lana, and it is hard for her to accept it. But she studies. And those schooldays taught her not only how to write good articles and to crack computer networks, but also to be attentive towards the feelings of others. She keeps on waiting for addressee of her letter and at the same time she lets him to live his own life. As good friend she even helps Clark with good advice. But she had to pay a price for the studies. Chloe meets admirers who either benefit self-interestedly from everything (Cool) or are some kind of madmen (Crush, Dichotic). And she meets people, such as Lex, who rub salt into her wound, saying: “I think I’m getting an inkling why you've never had a boyfriend” (Fragile). She pursues her studies, and eventually she accepts that “Lana is the love of his life” (Blank).
But her life goes on, too, and the time does its part. On the final day of the school Chloe understands that nothing is “scarier than being stuck in the past and not moving on” (Forever). She goes ahead and now works in the Daily Planet as reporter. She dates with Jimmy Olsen, with whom she will fall in real love over time. But this feeling will come to her long after, during two years. Even if this feeling didn’t become more perfect than her feeling for Oliver (Shield) but it was exactly real, not simulated. It is painful when the circumstances force us to change our views or feelings, but it is much more painful to do it yourself. But Chloe was able to cope with it. Her feeling towards Jimmy was tested during monthly stay in the Black Creek at first (Odyssey), and then on the electric chairs with the lie detector (Committed). And before wedding, wishing to close the old chapter of her life and to start the new one with Jimmy, she shows her teenager letter to Clark (Instinct). I want to add enviously that the idiom “love cannot be forced” is not about Chloe Sullivan, and when Clark told that anybody “can't just stop loving someone just like that”, she is sure to know he isn’t right (Bulletproof). The real hero changes the world, beginning from himself!
It is known that all people are different, and everyone displays love in his own way. A term was invented for the designation of such event – a language of love. Everybody has his own language. Chloe Sullivan’s language of love is a trust.
Such person as Chloe believes in those, whom she loves, believes in friends. When Lana doubted to accept Clark for employment to Talon, Chloe assured her that “bossing around Clark is the highlight of my day” (Prodigal). She, of course, already had work experience with Clark. But she believed that he is able to cope if not with any job (Drone) but with most of them indeed, because she told about him in such way to everyone and always, not suspecting him to have super abilities yet (Prodigal, Jinx, Collateral). Let’s remember the episode when Oliver Queen was poisoned and he asked not to take him to the hospital. Clark dug his feet in, but Chloe insisted on Oliver’s wish: “Clark, if you were lying on that couch, I would do whatever you asked, down to the letter. I wouldn't hesitate. Now trust him.” (Toxic).
Such person as Chloe sees good in people first, then the rest. Curiously enough, but its reason is the trust in people. Just because of lack of trust people are suspicious and skeptic. Suffice it to mention about Davis Bloome, to whose salvation she sacrificed very much (Doomsday). Unfortunately, at that time she fell a victim to her own confidence, but it doesn’t belittle her deed in the least. Clark notices and appreciates this Chloe’s quality (Crush). But maybe Chloe was inferior to Clark in this respect. Clark believed in everyone. In spite of all Jonathan’s admonitions he wanted to see friend in Lex, not opponent. As well he wanted to make a pal of everybody: Lex, Lionel, Davis, major Zod, Tess Mercer, and practically all of those one-episode antagonists, with whom fate brought him together, and Chloe wanted to be like him.
Such person as Chloe knows that if friend conceals something he has his reasons for that. Eminently that it is Lois who gave Chloe such advice (Pariah), but I have no doubt that Chloe herself understood it as well as Lois. Chloe had to experience lack of trust from friends, when she found herself as meteor freak (Cure).
Such person as Chloe wouldn’t ask private and intimate questions that embarrass her friend. Why do that? Friend himself knows when, to whom and what about is necessary to speak, and when is necessary to be silent, doesn’t he?
But several times Chloe attempted to learn Clark’s secrets after all. The reason of that was her inborn reporter curiosity stirred up by special abilities. Indeed, what do abilities burst upon people not do to them?! It makes no odds if these abilities are supernatural or not. Once she infected by the truth gas got the ability to make anybody to tell truth easily. With turned head having such gift, urged by artful exhortations of Lionel and attracted by inborn curiosity, she went to do a job. But afterwards she apologizes to Clark from the heart, realizing that she wouldn’t like to be treated in such way (Truth). She wanted to take the wraps off her friend once before, and that occurrence was related not to supernatural, but to ordinary and quite strong and tempting gift as the influence of billionaire Lionel who had begun to make her career in Daily Planet. Having money and power, or at least using its influence, is much more attractive ability. It is good that she understood in time, what is a double life, and renounced this ability voluntarily (Exodus). Is she a supergirl or what? Is impenetrable flesh necessary to be a superhero? It is much more important to have a heart that is impenetrable for temptations! Chloe often admired Clark’s such capability (Drone, Recruit, Arrival). But Clark was taught it by his educators, Jonathan and Martha Kent, and he was grateful to them for that very much. And what about Chloe? Who was her educator? Such situation was natural course of things to her. Life was her teacher. Maybe she had followed Clark’s example. Anyway she had learnt both any extraordinary ability can turn her head and the trust in loved one or friends in general is more important than her own wellbeing.
Those who appreciate confidence in relationship not only trust to others but also expect such treatment to themselves. In the end of the episode with Dr. Knox (Cure) offering everyone up a sacrifice for his beloved one, Jimmy and Chloe had a conversation. Chloe didn’t want to tell him about her gift of healing. For some reason Jimmy couldn’t be with her while she had secrets, although he had ones himself (Committed). In spite of the fact that Chloe convinced him that only she was guilty of all uncertainties, he suspected her of being jealous of Kara Kent all the same, and at the same time he was jealous of Clark (Cure). Chloe expected Jimmy would treat her as she had treated Clark. Because she hadn’t taken umbrage at Clark, when she didn’t know anything about him but just had suspicions concerning his secrets (Zero, Collateral). She hadn’t felt hurt when another person, Alicia, revealed Clark’s abilities to her (Pariah). She hadn’t drifted apart, as Pete Ross had (Duplicity), when she learnt unusual secret from Clark himself (Arrival). And now she expected the same thing from Jimmy…, but he left. He came back only when the circumstances with bomb in elevator forced Chloe to tell him about herself (Gemini). But once she acquire new secret about cracking of NSA network he is off his balance again. Clark practically repeats the same advice as Lois gave Chloe formerly, but for Jimmy now: “If you look at the relationship you have with this friend, do you really need to know everything about her? Or is knowing what is truly in her heart enough to know you can trust her?” (Sleeper). Trust between people is needed not only in relation to such extraordinary secrets but also in any vital and everyday details.
Probably not all readers would understand what I write about. Because as I said in the beginning every person has his own love language. There are people who may say: “How do secrets bear love? Anyone who loves mustn’t conceal anything from his loved one”. It is also good, of course. But what shall we do if many things really depend on the secrets? If you say, “Not the secret of extraterrestrial birth somebody would conceal, indeed,” I would answer you, “Very much depend on even most usual, habitual and at first sight imperceptible things!”
The secrets even are not the enquiry, but the confidence is. A sincere faith that your friend himself would cope with problems and do what is needed in the right place and time can inspire that one who you trust to. If a man doesn’t cope with his task, people often blame only him, not suspecting that the lack of trust to him was the main reason of the lapse. So, Carter Hall’s advice for Clark was the best: “You have to remember they're people, too. They'll make mistakes. We all do. We all have to keep trying.” (Absolute Justice).
Such person who doesn’t combine secrets with love was Lana. She didn’t like secrets with both her first boyfriend, Whitney (Shimmer), and Clark. During first five seasons she didn’t understand why Clark keeps mum. In relation to secrets Lana was exacting in some degree. A thousand times their relations become tensive just because of his secrets. However hard Clark tries to sidestep the questions and lie adroitly, they both feel that if it were not for Clark’s secrets everything would be all right. But the enquiry is that Clark had motives for not to tell her. First, he didn’t want to expose Lana to danger. As Pete, who learnt Clark’s secrets, was threatened with killing twice (Duplicity, Forsaken). Second, Clark didn’t know how Lana would react to his indirectly guilt of her parents’ death (Scare). Second reason, fortunately, was not bringing ruin. When Lana did learn all secrets, she treated him with favour and didn’t blame him. And it reflects credit on her. Well, such is Lana’s love language. She appreciated that Clark himself told her everything and he remained “the same Clark Kent” to her (Phantom). But, when did the tension between them begin to decrease? When she herself began to conjecture about Clark’s abilities (Crimson) and conduct an inquiry, following him, taking pictures of his barn and searching through his room (Trespass). At the end Lana began to trust fully to Clark (Legion), but, unfortunately, it happened at the end. Tension between them might have not increased if she trusts to Clark from the first. One day Clark even had a dream about such turn of the events. In episode with their skinny-dipping in the Crater Lake, Lana told him that she would wait for him as long as he wants, in other words she wouldn’t try to find out all his secrets (Slumber). In actuality Lana said it just once (Visage). On the other hand Chloe had to say it to Clark many times (Zero, Lineage, Fever, Truth). Lana insisted on openness all the time, but Chloe, on the contrary, was sincerely sorry that her journalistic curiosity sows dissension between her and her friends (Lineage). Therefore Chloe and Clark almost never had tension between each other. They were best friends!
There are many movies, shows, and soap operas, bringing up the issue of confidence. And readers been used to such huge flow of fictional characters could be amused by my idealization of one personage. But I liked one episode of Season Six, after which I actually decided to write this review.
How many movies showing faithfulness, friendship and love are there? A great number. How many movies showing friends who ardently and sincerely thank each other for rendered trust are there? Fewer. But how many movies showing a depth of the confidence not emotionally but technically are there? Fewest. The confidence is a sphere of psychology, and this show pretends not only to a fantastic but also to a scientific genre. In Season Six’s twelfth episode (Labyrinth) Clark was attacked by phantom infecting him, making hallucinations and trying to capture his body. But it is not so easy to overcome the cryptonian, his spiritual condition is strong as well as physical one. For realization of the plan the phantom succeeded to use all of his near and dears… except Chloe. As all of that was in Clark’s mind, phantom deceived him by Lana very easily. Although Clark loved her, he didn’t believe her, that time at least. Phantom could use even Martha Kent. Clark’s belief in Chloe excelled even love for his mother! And phantom couldn’t shake this belief. The phantom could destroy his belief in all and everything, but not in Chloe Sullivan. The phantom tried to mire her in Clark’s eyes, made her mad, but after realizing that nothing can help decided to kill her. Even after that Clark couldn’t believe that she is dead. This episode, contrary to general opinion, tells not about Clark and his feelings, but exactly about Chloe. About what kind of response in Clark’s soul was remained by Chloe’s friendly and trustful treatment to him. Clark himself trusted not nearly as Chloe did (Collateral). I couldn’t hold back a tear, when in the end of this episode Clark said to Chloe: “You mean a lot more to me than you know”.
On this evidence Chloe’s behavior in Season Nine makes itself conspicuous. Chloe loses trust to everyone, even to Clark. What caused such sudden change of her behavior? The end of Season Eight was marked by death of her beloved man and husband, Jimmy Olsen. And he was killed by that one who she protected and wanted to save. She understood her mistake and felt guilt. Maybe Clark blamed himself more, but the question is not about him now. The guilt bore heavily on Chloe’s heart and she stopped to trust to herself, first of all. Probably this was an occasion of her suspicious treatment to everybody. What with new danger in Major Zod and candorians. Now she stopped to trust to Clark, suspecting that he can come over to his congeners. She became sullen in her Watchtower and cut herself off the entire world. And just security system protecting her from outside influence and also Tess Mercer’s quips could sober her up. In end of the season she understands that she needs to return to the previous life grooves. I consider this Chloe’s change as a crucial moment after which she became more experienced and stronger. Such way of absolute trust without reliable grounds may seem “slippery” for sceptic and inexperienced people. On such way you may reach a deadlock. But this is not deadlock, indeed. This is a step; this is a next stage with its vertical side higher than a man’s height. And now you have to look upwards, not ahead! You need to raise your head up, see upper edge of the stage, grasp it, pull yourself and get up on the next level of your life. I am sure that people who never trust without checkup and want to see and hear themselves cannot trust even to themselves (Collateral).
I want to quote Clark and Chloe’s dialog describing briefly and clearly what confidence is (Collateral):
- How’d you do it? Trust me, I mean – back then, before you found out.
- I had my suspicions.
- But that’s what I mean. You knew I was lying to you, and still you looked me in the eye every day and you trusted me.
- I guess that’s the true test of believing in someone – knowing that their lies are there to protect you. It’s not really trust if you ask someone to explain themselves.
- But that’s hard.
- It’s really hard.
- You never give up.
- And never will.
In addition to the last words of this dialog I would like to give some words from Clark’s marriage vows for Lois: “You've always believed in me, and I believe in you. And when you believe in someone it's not for a minute, or just for now, it's forever!” (Finale)
Chloe Sullivan is a sanguine. She is talented, clever and many things come easily to her. The excellent reporter (Zero) and the best hacker (Crossfire), liking her occupation from little up (Progeny). It’s not for nothing that she gained a superability of the high speed data processing (Odyssey). From the beginning she was practically only who found true explanations of all Smallville’s anomalies (Craving). Remember how craftily she deceived Jimmy in the opening of Ace of Clubs (Sleeper). She has a talent to be leader. It was she who headed up the school reporter team with Clark and Pete for the investigation of the local incidents, united all heroes and organized the Watchtower, became the leader of the Resistance in Season Nine’s alternative future (Pandora), could skillfully take the lead of Suicide Squad (Collateral). Her frequent smile, even when an interlocutor hurts her by the sharp words, indicates that she is optimist. Chloe is pretty fast with the comeback. She always knows what and to whom is necessary to answer. Not just Chloe’s but also Lois’ sallies run through the entire show. Unlike her sister, Chloe always used the appropriate and timely jokes.
I agree with Jimmy Olsen who said to his wife before he died: “I see what you have sacrificed for him. For everyone, really… You are as much of a hero as he's ever been. What you have gone through, what you've risked” (Doomsday). Here is the real hero of Smallville: a reporter of school newspaper “Torch”, a Wall of Weird keeper, a journalist of the world newspaper Daily Planet, an upholder of a justice in the Justice League, a tutor of heroes, and also their protector as a chief of Suicide Squad, native of earthly city, a usual person and a faithful friend of those who she loves and who loves her, Chloe Sullivan.
At times I think why Clark finished dating with Chloe so hastily after Season One’s Spring Formal. She was greatly happy dancing with him! (Tempest) But later on I realize that it would be better, otherwise it’s doubtful whether we could get to know about such amazing superability of Chloe Sullivan – confidence. Ironically the real heroes not only in the cinema but more often in the real life remain as the secondary characters.
A thought occurred to me that the show is supposed to be continued. I understand that show’s main heroine is Lois Lane, but because of that I liked character of Chloe Sullivan best of all, I am going to offer my version of Season Eleven. In that season Clark would save the world from villains as usual. And the main clew of the season would be the story of Cassandra Carver’s prophecy from Season One (Hourglass). The story about how Clark remains alone without his relatives and close friends he loved from little up. They all one by one grow old and die a natural death. First Martha Kent and General Lane, and after a couple of decades all his friends: Pete Ross, Lana Lang, Oliver Queen and even Lois Lane. And Clark often falls into depression because while he saves the world he can’t help his closest people. In the season’s last episode, after some decades from the events of Season Ten, Clark Kent is still the same, young, in excellent shape, staying close by a bed of aged and dying Chloe Sullivan. She tells him: “Clark, all my days you were the hero for me. You gave me a hope that helped me to live till these years”. Clark takes her hand: “Chloe, you are the best friend and I don’t want to lose you, too”. With a smile on her face Chloe closes her eyes. Clark in utter despair flies to the Fortress of Solitude and asks Jor-El angrily: “Why?! Why is the fate not fair?” Jor-El answers: “My son! Your life path had been long before you became the hero of humanity. I wanted to be your only guide and mentor, but I could give you just strength and knowledge. And the real hero you became owing to the very people to whom I sent you and among who you grew up. But just now you begin to understand in practice why I wanted to be your only guide. I warned you about it before, my son, and if you didn’t listen to me I punished you. And now I do not blame you. At that time I wanted you to leave people you were close to and not to tie yourself anyhow…” Clark quiets down: “Well, it doesn’t have need anymore”. Later, graveyard, tombstone with epitaph “Chloe Sullivan, 1987-2059”, Clark is nearby. By the words “sorry, I couldn’t justify many of your hopes” he puts on the top of flowers a photo with him and Chloe dancing in the first Spring Formal.
I want to thank all who took part in creation of Chloe Sullivan’s character, specifically writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. And, of course, I want to express a great gratitude to Allison Mack, the actress who played Chloe Sullivan.