Episode Title: Arrival
Episode Airdate: September 29th, 2005
We start off Smallville’s fifth season with a very helpful “Previously on…” segment. Important scenes include: the meteors coming towards Earth, the three elements coming together, Smallville getting destroyed, Lana giving Clark a piece of the element, Lex going all heel, Lionel getting messed up by the stone, Lex kidnapping Chloe, Clark and Lana professing their love for each other, the Kent farm getting decimated, Lana’s helicopter crashing, Lana finding the spaceship, and Clark arriving at the Fortress of Solitude.
We begin with the crystal flying through the sky, finally hitting the snowy ground. Suddenly (in an awesome looking CGI effect) a massive ice kingdom erects. The thing is huge, and the special effects are quite impressive. We also get a variation of the classic Superman theme as Clark walks towards it. Very cool. Clark walks inside, and seems mystified by what he’s seeing. An ice crystal floats in front of him, so he grabs hold of it. Jor-El begins speaking to him, telling him a new journey is about to begin. He tells him, “Welcome home my son.”
We also get a very cool new style opening credits, now featuring Eric Durance as Lois Lane. Also, John Glover still appears in it, so evidently he survived after last year’s finale.
Lana climbs up the huge crater formed by the spaceship, and looks down as the spaceship doors open, creating a very bright light. As the smoke and dust clear, two Kryptonians are standing in front of her. She pleads “Please don’t hurt me.” Strangely, they have no color. Police cars and helicopters arrive on scene, but they are no match for the heat vision of the Kryptonians. Lana drags herself out of the way, as the officers shoot at them. Of course, the bullets just bounce off of the Kryptonians, who wreak a little havoc via their heat vision abilities. The female Kryptonian asks where the girl is, but the male Kryptonian says she’s irrelevant, and that they must find Kal-El.
Lois arrives at Kent Farm, where Shelby (the dog) greets her. Unfortunately, the house is nearly destroyed. She walks inside, where Jonathan is frantically looking for Martha beneath some wreckage. Lois jumps in on the search. She finally finds her underneath some planks of wood. Martha is barely breathing, but alive. John Schneider did a particularly great job in this scene, showing Jonathan in a very vulnerable state.
In the caves, Lex gets to his feet and starts yelling for Chloe. Man, Lex is really good at playing a douche bag. He finds her blackberry (or I guess it’s an orange berry) as he sadistically ask “where’d you go Chloe?” He walks into the hidden room, and finds the octagonal key. Suddenly, from behind, the Kryptonians arrive and take the key. We get that kick ass music that played during the finale, whenever the meteors were shown coming. The male asks if he’s Kal-El, to which Lex answers “Who wants to know?” The Kryptonian grabs him by the neck and starts strangling him, causing Lex to bleed. The female notes that Kal-El wouldn’t bleed, so the male throws Lex against the rock wall. Instead of that, ya’ know, killing him….Lex just kinda sorta winces in pain.
Meanwhile, in the snowy terrain of wherever Clark actually is, Chloe lies in the snow. She wakes up, and yells for Clark. Then, in another awesome effect, we see the reflection of the Fortress of Solitude in Chloe’s eye.
Inside the Fortress, Clark says that he thought Krypton was destroyed. Jor-El answers that it was, but the geography of the planet has been replicated for his training. Clark says he knows he can learn a lot, but he is needed at home. Jor-El tells him that the dark forces of Krypton have been opened, and that its sight is set on earth. Clark asks what he has to do, and Jor-El answers that he must do what he tells him. Clark is enveloped in light, where he is surrounded by Kryptonian symbols.
Meanwhile, Chloe enters the Fortress. She’s clearly freezing. She sees Clark inside the light, and walks closer to him. Suddenly a massive gust of sub-zero wind takes over the Fortress, forcing Chloe down to her knees. She begins freezing to death, as she quietly calls out to Clark. Well I guess Clark’s about to find out that Chloe knows his secret.
Clark is still inside the light, when he suddenly hears Chloe calling out to him for help. His training is disturbed, and he sees Chloe lying on the ground. Jor-El tells him he must continue his education and he cannot stop. Jor-El tells him his destiny is far greater than saving one life, and that every time he lets human emotions guide him, he puts humanity at risk. Clark begs for him to allow him to save Chloe, and Jor-El finally concedes, telling Clark that he must return before the yellow sun sets. Jor-El tells him that if he fails him, the consequences will be grave. Chloe then tells Clark to switch into Super-Clark mode. Clark is confused. Chloe tells him that she knows he can run faster than a speeding bullet, and asks him to take her along for the ride. Clark lifts her up, and she tells him to go. He runs away with super speed.
This segues quite nicely into Lex speeding down the road. He sees Lana dragging across the street, so he slams the breaks and just barely misses her. He gets out of the car and asks if she’s okay, and that he can get her to the hospital. She tells him that there are a man and a woman, and that they came out of a spaceship. Lex asks where it is, and she tells him. He tells her that her mind is playing tricks on her. She then passes out and collapses to the ground. The absolute lack of concern on Lex’s face when Lana collapses is absolutely priceless. I really, really liked good Lex, but man, I may love bad Lex.
In a hospital in, let’s just say Alaska, Chloe notes to Clark that he finally knows she knows his secret. Clark asks why she never told him she knows, and she tells him that she thought he would tell her when he’s ready, under his terms, not hers. Clark kinda smiles, and tells her that she’s a good friend. She tells him, “Obviously not good enough.” Clark reveals that there are a lot of times he’s wanted to tell her, but she says she doesn’t blame him. She then asks if Lana knows. After a pause, Clark answers that she doesn’t. Chloe assures him that she will never tell, no matter what. Finally, Clark reveals that the meteors are not what gave him his powers, and that he’s an alien. Well, he dropped that bomb a little more gently than that. Clark tells her he’s still the same person. At a loss of words, Chloe finally says that she thinks he’s so amazing, saving people’s lives and never taking credit for it. To her, he’s more than just a hero, he’s a super hero. If there were more humans like him, the world would be a better place. Clark smiles. This is an absolutely wonderful scene, which I will talk about at length in my review. The moment is interrupted, however, when he sees a news report on the meteor shower. Chloe tells him that Smallville needs him more than she does, and tells him to leave. He uses his super speed to exit, almost knocking the drink off of Chloe’s table. A cool effect, but why hasn’t that ever happened before?
Lana lies passed out in Lex’s mansion, when she is suddenly awaken by the sound of scratching. Must be a light sleeper. She drags herself across the room and looks down the balcony. She starts walking down the stairs, where Lionel Luthor is carving something into the ground. Lana calls out “Mr. Luthor,” and sees a Kryptonian symbol etched into the floor. Lionel grabs Lana by the arm and says “The disciples of Zod” when he looks up, she sees that he has no eye color. He says that “they must be stopped.” He adds “Their home is their only poison.” He then points to the inside of the safe, where some Kryptonite is stored. He repeats “Their home is their only poison.” Lana asks where they are.
In the hospital, Martha finally wakes up. Man, every year one of these Kent parents find themselves in the hospital. Martha asks if Clark has come home yet, but Jonathan tells her not to worry about him. Lois walks in, and the three of them share a nice moment before an explosion ruins it. Jonathan walks outside, where he sees the two Kryptonians. They ask where Kal-El is. Jonathan insists that he doesn’t know who they’re talking about. The Kryptonian throws him across the room, so they grab Lois by the neck instead. Lana comes in, and tells them that she knows where Kal-El is, and that she’ll take them to him.
Clark arrives at the Kent Farm, where Lex is waiting. He tells Clark that his mom is at the hospital, and that she’s going to be okay. Clark asks about Lana, but Lex assures him she’s safe. Lex tells him he’s worried about Chloe, and basically accuses Clark of helping her escape from the caves. Lex says he saw a bright light, and would have sworn he saw Clark standing in the epicenter. Who the hell says “epicenter”? Clark insists he was no where near the caves, but Lex continues interrogating him. Clark says he doesn’t have to listen to this, but Lex asks him to be straight with him. He says “if you’re my friend, just tell me the truth” and asks if he was in the cave when the meteors hit. Clark answers that he was not. Another great scene, which really emphasized the strain on Clark and Lex’s relationship.
At the hospital, Lois is on the phone with the police when Clark arrives. Lois tells him his parents are going to be fine, and tells Clark about the Kryptonians. She tells him they were looking for some guy named Kal-El. Clark asks where they went.
Lana brings the Kryptonians to the mansion, and tells them that Kal-El is in the safe. Both of them drop to the ground, but the male manages to shut the door. Uh oh, Lana is screwed. The female grabs Lana and throws her against the wall. They really like doing that, huh? Clark arrives on the scene, and introduces himself as Kal-El. They tell him they’re the last survivors of Krypton, and that they want him to join them and make this savage land Utopia. Clark tells them he won’t let them kill anybody else. They grab a silver ring, and throw it across the room. It opens up some sort of portal which distracts Clark, allowing the Kryptonians to hit him in the back with some heat vision. Clark begins getting sucked into the portal, as the male tells him that they can’t destroy him, but they can send him someplace where he can never stop them. When it seems imminent that Clark will be sucked into the portal, the Kryptonians turn their back to him. Clark manages to grab the female and throws her into the portal. He does the same to the male. The portal then turns into a sheet, where you can see the images of the Kryptonians inside (a la the Superman movie). The sheet them floats out of the room. That was a pretty cool effect, but I’m a little surprised Clark overcame this obstacle so quickly and easily. Clark sees Lana on the ground, and sees that the sun is about to set. He looks at Lana, then the sun. Finally he runs over to Lana and checks on her. He looks out the window again, to see that the sun has set. That is some fast sun setting. Clark brushes his hand through Lana’s hair, and cuts his finger on a piece of glass, causing him to bleed. He then sees the Octagonal key on the ground, and puts his hand towards it. Instead of the key floating into his hand (like it usually does), it just stays on the ground. He grabs it as we go to commercial. Interesting development.
Jonathan and Martha Kent return home to the farm, where they see the destruction of their home. Jonathan assures them that they can rebuild the house, especially with their one-man construction crew. At that point, Clark drops the bombshell that he no longer has his abilities. He reveals that Jor-El took them, but Clark is seeing the silver lining of the situation. Jonathan tells him he thinks the adjustment is going to be more difficult than he thinks. Clark insists that he believes Jor-El is done with him, and Clark is ready to take a step to the future. He wants to start by rebuilding the house, one board at a time. Jonathan has a concerned look on his face.
Chloe sleeps at the Alaskan hospital as a shadow approaches her. She calls out “Clark?” but instead Lex is standing there. He says “Now how could Clark possibly be here, we’re in the middle of the Yukon?” She says she must have been dreaming, and asks what he’s doing here. He says “I’ve come to take you home.” That dastardly fiend.
Clark walks into the Smallville hospital with some flowers. Lois cuts him off and takes them, saying that he shouldn’t have. The two share some flirtatious banter, and Clark finally thanks her for being there for his parents. She gives him back the flowers, and tells him where Lana is. Interesting note is that the flowers are purple, and Lana is in a pink gown. I guess this means Lana is back to her pastel colored wardrobe, ditching the season four black attire. Anyway, Lana is reading the paper, which is reporting the deaths of the Teagues. Interestingly, the photo used does not look like the guy who played Jason (the dude on Supernatural). Next to the photo it says (in marker) “You owe me one – L” Interesting. Is it from Lionel, or Lex? Clark walks in, and brings up the fact that she said she loves him before the meteor shower hit. Lana says she never knew if she’d ever see him again. Clark says that people sometimes say things they don’t mean in a crisis. Lana admits that she meant every word, but asks Clark if he did. Clark sits down on the bed, and gives her a kiss. He tells her “No more secrets, no more lies.” Lana then asks if he believes in life on other planets. After a slight pause, Clark tells her he does. She then tells him about the spaceship she found in the crater.
This brings us to Clark at the crater, which is now empty.
This, of course, then brings us to the hallways of LuthorCorp. Inside a guarded room is the spaceship, which is leaking some black oil. The oil slides across the floor, and begins taking the shape of a body. The person turns around, and it’s James Marsters (Spike, from Buffy fame), who will play Brainiac this season. Incredible premiere.
After last season’s amazing finale, the expectations were high for the season five premiere. Considering that most believe that this will ultimately be the last season, there’s a lot of pressure on the creators to really deliver. That said, I think they delivered. The interactions between the central characters were incredible, and I really enjoyed the character development that we began to see last season.
First things first, the Chloe-Clark relationship has taken a new turn, and I’m excited to see what becomes of it. They did a great job of having Clark find out that Chloe knows his secret, and the way each one reacted to their respective revelations was fantastic. In the past, Chloe has been less than honest with Clark, and he’s reacted quite defensively to it. There was a chance he would behave like that here, but instead he genuinely appreciated the fact that she kept his secret, and he understood why she didn’t tell him he knew. From there, he could have been less than truthful with her, and just told her that he had been affected by the meteor rocks. Instead, he was completely honest with her, and told her about how he comes from another planet. In turn, her reaction was realistic (she was at a loss of words, and was clearly shocked), but she also made sure not to make him feel different. Clark was trying to convince her that he’s the same as he’s always been, but instead Chloe made sure he knew that she thought he was even more incredible than she originally thought he was. Clark displayed a great deal of trust in Chloe, and in turn Chloe showed herself to be a supportive friend. The smile on Clark’s face when he lifted her up in the Fortress of Solitude and after she called him a superhero was sweet, as well.
The stuff with Lex was excellent, in my opinion. For those of you who have discussed the show with me before, you all know how much I like good Lex. In fact, I enjoyed that character so much that it saddened me to know that he would be turning bad, eventually. However, I have taken a full 180 on my stance after seeing Michael Rosenbaum’s superb performance as evil Lex. He truly is unbelievable playing that role. Every scene he was in really drove home his new personality. His first scene was great, with him in the caves calling out to Chloe without any concern whatsoever for her well being. It was clear that he did not care if she was okay, he just wanted answers. Then again in his scene with Lana in the street, he couldn’t care less when she collapsed to the ground. His mind was clearly on getting the spaceship. His behavior with Lana really displayed the vast difference between how he is now, and how he was even half a year ago.
His scene with Clark at Kent Farm was really telling as well. Unlike with Chloe or Lana, Lex hasn’t had a formal falling out with Clark. Therefore, the sinister undertone in his interaction with Clark was very significant. It is also important to note that Clark pretty much immediately caught onto Lex’s intentions, which is interesting because Clark always seems to be in denial about suspecting Lex. This shows Clark’s growth over the past year. The fact that Lex jumped right into his interrogation of Clark, and continued with it even after Clark insisted that he was no where near the caves, emphasized Lex’s new, darker personality. Perhaps the highlight of Lex’s scenes was when Lex walked into Chloe’s hospital room, condescendingly asking her why she would be expecting Clark in the middle of no where. Lex will undoubtedly have a lot of questions about how Chloe got there in the first place, and this certainly sets up a lot of future conflicts between Lex and Chloe and Lex and Clark.
I was very surprised by two things this episode: The fact that Clark so seamlessly defeated his Kryptonian adversaries, and that Clark didn’t get his powers back by the end of the episode. In my opinion, that showed great restraint from the writers. Anyway, I was a bit disappointed that Clark so easily defeated his foes, since I think it’s a story arc that could have been extended a lot further. At the very least, it would have been nice if the premiere was 90 minutes, or a two-parter, so that it wouldn’t seem quite so abrupt.
I actually really like that Clark lost his powers, and it appears as if he may not get them back within the next couple of episodes. Right now, Lex is more suspicious than ever, and the fact that Clark is now an ordinary person may avert those suspicions. Also, Clark and Chloe are at a point where they can finally be open about his secret, and now he’s got nothing to hide. There also seemed to be a special connection between Clark and Chloe in those two scenes they shared together, in which the secret was out in the open. Now with that special connection is gone, Clark may not have the urge to see what can happen with Chloe instead of resuming things with Lana. And it looks like the two of them will be having some of the sex in a short while. By the way, I thought having the Kryptonians note that Kal-El wouldn’t bleed (when the male was strangling Lex) was a sly way of reminding viewers of that fact, so that when Clark cut his finger and bled, people understood what that meant.
Overall, a really strong episode that helped further the momentum from last year’s finale. I definitely like the prospect of Clark not having his abilities for a few episodes, and James Marsters should be fantastic as Brainiac. I’m not completely familiar with the character, but Marsters is a tremendous actor. Lex’s new personality alone makes the show worth watching, and the new relationship between Clark and Chloe should be very enjoyable to watch. Also, what’s the status of Lionel? And was it him, or Lex that left that note for Lana? There’s a lot to look forward to this season, and I’m excited to see what will happen next.