2nd Most Beautiful Female Character
The first I saw of her was in Season 2 of Smallville and in a couple of early Season 3 episodes, back when those were airing. These were the first bits I ever saw of the show. I know for sure, from the glimpses that I saw, that the one episode was of Clark getting sick, which I later found out turned out to be quite a cool story for Chloe. Anyway, asides from seeing the chemistry with the characters and overall feel of the storytelling, which intrigued me and made me want to give Superman a chance, since suddenly the character of Clark Kent became something on an enigma and the complexities of real-life relationships made the character far more interesting, I also saw Chloe and loved what I saw. I wasn't so into her back then, but I remember asking if she was Lois Lane, because I thought that the depiction and the actress were both perfect. A cousin of mine corrected me and said it was someone else, but I still thought the depiction would have been perfect for Clark's true love. She had the sharpness going for her, that sense that she could truly be a friend, and the overall attractiveness thing going for her, which would be enough to drive Clark crazy if he had his eyes open.
Then I got the first two seasons a couple of Christmases ago, knowing that I would begin to like Clark Kent, but then suddenly rediscovering Chloe. She came on the screen and, I kid you not, almost every time I would shout "CHLOOOOOOOOOEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"
And then I'd shout "CHLOECHLOECHLOECHLOECHLOE!"
First, her hair was awesome. Look at that flippy flipster of flippiness! It's so blond and...flippy! And it was short and pixie-like and so lively, and so was her face. Even when she had a bandage on her head, her face was absolutely beautiful. I loved her forehead, her eyebrows (with their amazing range of expression), her eyes, her nose, her cheeks, her lips, her chin. Basically, every single feature of hers is perfect and has this amazing sharpness and clarity to it. Then she could make these amazing faces, like the one above, that had this remarkable ability to just warm the heart.
She was a great friend for Clark, too, and I was shipping a romance between them. She seemed more like what Lana should have been, canon-wise. And it all just worked. Even though there was uncertainty about how she would be different than Lois Lane, she managed to pull it off, and she managed to be a fun character that I loved to follow over the course of the first season, being the person who both saved Clark's butt multiple times by being the ultimate information source, being the one who was always getting into trouble, and being the one who was always on the verge of discovering Clark's secret whether by digging up information or because of the times when he needed to save her. The strained dynamic between them became an entertaining fixture during Clark's high school years, but for the first season it was also fun to just revel in the shared innocence of the characters, who at the time were both incredibly comfortable and safe with each other. The moments when Chloe got closer to Clark, meanwhile...Well, I totally pretended I was in Clark's shoes. After all, my real-life nickname became Superman. Then Clark asked her out to the prom (what freshman were doing at the prom, I don't know, and then in the fourth season it was treated as if it was a senior-only thing), I was like "YES!" and returned to my usual chanting of Chloe's name.
The second season was a sort of the same. There were obvious changes, and they were dramatic and cool, and I liked them. The innocence of the first season was slipping away, but not entirely gone. She was discovering that there were things she didn't know about Clark, that there were things that she was keeping from her, and her curiosity got the better hand. Then, meanwhile, her ability to sniff up information became so insanely good that it attracted the attention of the new series regular Lionel Luthor (and don't get me started on how awesome he was over the course of the series, especially when he could contrast against a cast that was almost completely innocent). While Lex was still a good guy and she was still friends with him, her life became just a bit darker as Lionel made things tough for her, and she had to stand her own against intimidating forces. Ultimately, it resulted in this very dramatic moment where she found out that Lana had snagged Clark behind her back, and that betrayal led her to seemingly confirm a deal with Lionel Luthor. Chloe on the dark side? Awesome.
My favorite moment in the second season was when she read a letter to Clark while he was unconscious on the couch, taken down by a Kryptonite infection. She was really concerned for him, and to "eliminate embarrassing eye contact", she read the letter out loud in what turned out to be one of my favorite moments in the show:
I want to let you in on a little secret, Clark. I'm not who you think I am. In fact, my disguise is so thin, I'm surprised you haven't seen right through me. I'm the girl of your dreams masquerading as your best friend. Sometimes I want to rip off this façade like I did at the Spring Formal, but I can't because you'll get scared and you'll run away again. So I decided that it's better to live with the lie than expose my true feelings. My dad told me there are two types of girls: the ones you grow out of, and the ones you grow into. I really hope I'm the latter. I may not be the one you love today, but I'll let you go for now, hoping one day you'll fly back to me. Because I think you're worth the wait.
Some of the poetic elegance that went into this were genius upon the part of the writers, with particular her reference to her this disguise. At the same time, this moment reminds me of Darlene Conner, where she shares her deepest feelings, read from a sheet of paper in an earlier season, that clearly establishes where her heart is, and what sort of inner turmoil she was going through. At that point, I stopped just having a crush on Chloe and started genuinely caring for her as a human being. I wanted Clark to love her back because I wanted to see her happy so much, because I wanted to see that radiant smile of hers.
Beautiful, competent, lovable, brief girlfriend of Superman, adversary of Lex Luthor's daddy, brief convert to the dark side, may I repeat "beautiful"? I swear, this is what Mary Sue writers wish they could pull off before they end up failing miserably. It's really strange, because they even treat her as if she's the lesser of two beauties when compared to Lana Lang, an obvious fallacy (down with the Lana Lang), but they somehow manage to even pull that off without even being remotely Mary Sue-ish. I suppose it helps that she does attract guys from time to time, albeit them all being mutants who later turn out to be psychos (which is almost comedic once she recognizes jut how absurdly bad her luck is), and that Clark apparently does find her attractive, but has sort of the same feelings toward her as Josephine March had for Laurie Lawrence.
The third season was perhaps the darkest in the series, surprisingly so. Lex went insane. Lionel played both God and Satan with the lives of others. Pete was forced to leave. Many bad things happened, and Clark carried out an ongoing struggle with his Kryptonian father and his dawning comprehension of his greater destiny. Amid all this stood Chloe, not quite as important as Lana, Lex, and Clark, but still a fixture in the show. By this time, her innocence had been lost. She had made a deal with Lionel, that great Satan of the show, and was now struggling for her soul. Meanwhile, her sense of betrayal from Clark became greater and greater, and in the episode where she gained the power to force anyone to tell the truth, except for Clark, the two things she did were to get an incriminating testimony from Lionel and chase after Clark's parents to get the truth about him. "Do you know what it's like being friends with someone who lies to you every day?" she said over the phone. The desire seemed to real, so uncontrived.
To complete the dark note, she seemingly died at the end of the third season when her struggle with Lionel Luthor finally came to a close. Had I been with the show at the time, that would have been very upsetting, but I was quite a few seasons behind when I started and knew she stuck around to the very end, so I just appreciated it for the dramatic ending it was, though I can only imagine how dramatic it must have been to have actually been there when it aired for the first time.
In the fourth season, everything freshened up. It took on the light heart and the innocence of the first season while dropping the consistency of the "monster of the week" formula in favor of a few larger plots that centered around a continuing, larger conflict that brought Clark closer and closer to his destiny. This would have almost been an ideal season to end the series on, if not for a few loose ends. Turns out the fourth season wasn't even close, but boy, it's still perhaps my favorite season.
I might mention right here, by the way, that one of the great things about Smallville were all the close-ups. Granted, if I was a director my vision would be a bit different, as I tend to prefer shots that depict entire scenes, but I wasn't complaining when certain characters got their moment right up next to the lens, most of all Chloe. It makes it so easy to find great pictures of her on Google.
The reason for that is pretty simple. Season one was Whitney season. Season two was Clark Season. Season three was Lex Season. Season four was Chloe season. This was the season where her character had some of her best moments, where so many resolutions and great changes came her way, and how they made he to grow was extraordinary. Chloe discovered Clark's secret halfway throughout. The producers had been playing chicken with this development for quite some time, and I had become so accustomed to any discovery of Clark's secret to being fixed by amnesia, but then they finally did it. Of course, Allison Mack captured the mannerisms for the character perfectly and delivered her sense of surprise and her struggle to come to terms with the revelation in the most amazing way, with the help of amazing writers. Watching Chloe secretly help Clark and continually grow in her faith of him was amazing, and I loved her even more for it. Once all of that uncertainty was gone, once she understood Clark and the faith was returned, that innocence of the first season came back in full. She that amazing friend once more. And then, defying all expectations, she did not expose him to the world. Amazing person, Chloe. God bless you.
Lana was put on the backburner as Clark began to just enjoy his senior year with his friends and the people who mattered. Lois and Chloe were great friends (even though he found Lois annoying), and angst was set aside. it was a season to rejoice in Clark's coming of age and a rediscovery of the simple friendships that hold us together, the things that once we reach the end of the line for we realize we don't ever want to truly say goodbye to.
It was also really cool that she also happened to still have feelings for Clark and there was a humorous episode dedicated to her drinking a love potion that enhanced preexisting feelings. And it also hurt like a thousand bee stings during that episode at the beginning that ended with the song "So Much For My Happy Ending" when she was standing next to Lois and Clark having a good time during high school events. I felt so sorry for her.
But on the other hand, Lois was likewise amazing.
Then one of the last episodes was dedicated to a relatable theme about saying goodbye to high school. I watched it when my senior year was almost over. It was indeed a very bittersweet ending. Looking back, although the episode itself doesn't make me cry, once I begin thinking about those things my nostalgia forces tears on me as the abstractions of my mind get conflicted. I'm glad to find a character who feels the same way.
The ending of the fourth season was by far the best of the season finales. Meteor showers. Again! Chloe kept her head pretty cool, and it looked like Clark was about to truly discover his destiny. Chloe helped defend his secret from a Lex who was beginning to fall down the wrong path, and then in the Fortress of Solitude she walked up to Clark and explicitly asked him to use her powers to save her. It was in the moment pictured below, an there was really no better way of doing it. Especially since Clark was looking at clips from the Richard Donner film for his education. This was a really great way of paying tribute to the original Superman movie while taking him in a new direction. Really, really good.
Meanwhile, I was watching this episode during my senior trip, and at around midnight you could hear my jumping up and down during this scene and shouting "CHLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!"
And I repeated that one word several times. Man, was I ever on a high that night. Chloe Sullivan in one glorifying moment, Clark meeting his father's presence in the fortress for the first time, the creation of the fortress, the music, everything. That was seriously cool stuff.
Great memories. They're partially brought on by nostalgia, partially brought on because they were simply great. There's something about childhood that I will never be able to reclaim, but at least I can still keep on loving this character. Yeah, she was pretty cool in the later seasons as well, but during the high school years that I watched when I also was in high school, there was truly nothing like it.
So what have we learned? Well, the power of friendship is one. In spite of the mega-crush I had on Chloe Sullivan, I also saw the character as someone who was simply a great friend, and I think any relationship with he would have to first and foremost be a relationship built on friendship. Sorry, Jimmy Olson who turned out to be an expy of himself. One can also see how previous characters mentioned can be brought into the Mackster's best role ever. She's quirky like Juno, but real. Asides from being a non-powered comic-book character, she shares with Selina Kyle a plain, straightforward style of femininity. Like Molly Mahoney, she's a radiant example of innocence in spite of unlikely circumstances. Like Darlene, there was that letter and those moment where she discovered herself as she got further into high school. Like Becky, she's competent and has pretty good social skills, and has pretty similar hair, I might add, except better. Like Saavik, she has sharp features and would look awesome as a Vulcan, while having the intellect and initiative to be a member of Star Fleet. She even had an obvious Eponine vibe going for her, although her final story was fortunately nowhere near as sad. In so many ways, she's this ultimate ideal for everything I can possibly imagine as attractive.
I also liked that she wasn't defined by her gender. Yes, she was obviously feminine, and he crush on Clark was a defining trait of hers during her childhood, and she also has a great sense of fashion in every single way, all of which you could attribute to her femininity, but what defined her was that she was a determined reporter. She had passion. She had strong principles. She was defined by her strengths and her weaknesses and how she dealt with them.
The cool thing about her was that she was the everyman, or everyperson if we would rather go by more gender-neutral phrasing. She was the person who's story we didn't know. She was the wild card. She was the girl whose fate could be ended at any moment, that could go in any direction, but meanwhile, that was good because it made me enjoy every moment I had with her without taking her for granted. During my last two years of high school, as I traveled through the high school seasons of Smallville, she came to represent something for that time in my life, the joy of my youth, and a face in which I could fall in love with so that I couldn't hurt myself again with the drama of real-life romances.
Wait, though, what of Miss Lois Lane? I ambiguously refer to whoever I will ultimately marry as Lois Lane, so surely I see the merit to that character. Indeed, as the seasons progressed, Lois had her great moments, and though Chloe ousted Lois during her first unofficial season, that set up the character in the most lovable way. She's so lovably...flawed. And in the later seasons, she became my reason for watching. Chloe was still awesome, but Lois became even more awesome. It still would have been cool if my first impression of Smallville back in the day was true, though, and Chloe was really a high school Lois. It would have been the most perfect of hybrids. As she stands, Erica Durance's twist on a role first embodied by Margot Kidder was amazing, and there is absolutely no way that Amy Adams is going to beat either of those two.
Tune in for next time for my #1 pick, someone who for as long as I can remember has remained without even the slightest trace of competition until Chloe came along and nabbed a close second place. Could it be Lois? Could it be some dark horse candidate? Could it be an obvious selection that we all know and love? Go ahead and guess, because like a really good season finale (I got so pumped up writing about that), I feel I've really completed a fun arc after this.