Episode Title: Splinter
Episode Airdate: November 10th, 2005
I apologize for this (significantly) late recap/review, but I was a bit under the weather this weekend, and the beginning of the week brought me a number of unexpected obstacles. However, this was an enjoyable episode of Smallville, so I felt that it deserved the attention I usually provide. Hopefully, future editions will not be this late again.
Anyway, before I get to the recap, I thought I’d talk about a few e-mails I received (by the way, I am aware I have also been a little slow with returning e-mails, for this I apologize. I will send out responses as soon as possible). As you know, I have been somewhat critical of the recent portrayal of Lex Luthor, claiming that it’s too reminiscent of how he behaved during the beginning of the season, and that his character has evolved beyond that. Regarding this, I have received two interesting theories.
The first is that Lex is currently going through a campaign, so it makes sense for him to be nice and friendly again. This is a valid argument, but I have issues with it. First off, if Lex is in the middle of a campaign, surely it could not be great publicity to actively help an underage kid (Clark) to get into a strip club that is in the midst of a murder investigation. Then, on top of that, using his pull to get that same person and his friend who was, arguably, interfering with said investigation (Chloe) out of getting in trouble with the law. His opponent was already at the center of this controversy, it would be extremely poor judgment to put himself in it as well. Lex is smarter than that. Further, Lex knows that Senator Jennings is a close family friend of Clark’s, so trying to win over his vote was a moot point. And when the possibility of Jonathan running for senate arose, attempting to get Chloe or Lana’s vote would have been unlikely as well. Therefore, I’m not quite sold on the possibility that Lex is just acting nice and helpful to secure a seat in senate.
Another line of thought is that Lex has always been hesitant to join the dark side, and has always resisted the urge to do bad things. This is positively true, but I feel like we’re beyond this point by now. By the middle of season one, I’d say that Lex was completely good. During season two, he had some ambitions and perhaps became slightly darker, but he was still a good person. In season three, his ambitions grew, he was willing to reconcile with his father, he didn’t mind getting his hands dirty, and by the end of the season, he didn’t so much help Clark with Lana, and instead set his sights on her. By season four, Lex was, for the most part, still good, but he didn’t allow his friendship with Clark to jeopardize his lust for money, power, and, well, Lana. By the end of season four, his friendship with Clark seemed more like an obstacle towards the dark side instead of prevention. Eventually Lex needs to lose this battle and submit to the dark side, and I think that time has come. In the season four finale and season five premiere, he really didn’t care less about the well being of Clark, Lana, and Chloe, and instead had his eyes on the prize: he wanted to discover Clark’s secret, and he wanted to get his hands on that spaceship. His relationships with the three of them got in the way, and he wasn’t afraid to endanger them. To me, it just seems inconsistent, having Lex put Lana and Clark’s family’s lives in danger for the off chance of catching Clark using his powers one second, and then giving Clark a heartfelt and selfless speech so that he doesn’t lose his hero the next.
Probably nobody loved “good Lex” more than me, but the time has come for him to be the evil bastard we saw at the end of last season and beginning of this one.
Our fresh Smallville begins with Lana checking out some astronomical stuff on her laptop, when Clark walks in. She immediately closes her laptop, and rushes over to him. Man, a lot of people close their laptops as Clark walks into the room. Surprised he’s not more self conscious. Clark makes reference to a text message he received from her, but she says she doesn’t remember sending him one. Before this can be delved into, she asks for the food he brought. As they are about to eat, Clark opens a package that was sent to Lana, apparently from Lex. Inside is a silver meteor rock, which cuts Clark’s finger. Panicking, Clark rushes out.
As he drives home, he looks at the small cut on his index finger. Suddenly, a black truck behind him starts honking incessantly, eventually rear ending him. In the background, a song is playing that makes reference to Lois Lane, even though she’s not even in this episode. Ultimately, the truck runs Clark off the road, as the pick up truck continuously rolls over. Man, this family really goes through a lot of auto repairs. Clark looks around, but the truck is gone. His cell phone then rings, and a deep voice on the other end ominously says “I know who you are.”
At the Kent house, Martha asks Jonathan how wise it is for Jonathan to run for senate with his heart condition. The stress of putting together a campaign in such a short amount of time could be too much, but Jonathan counters that the stress of watching Lex running everything would be worse. I do have to wonder, though, how readily a farmer with very limited finances and no political background whatsoever could even run a campaign in the first place. Martha brings up the fact that him running for senate would make every reporter look into their lives, and somebody could find out Clark’s secret. At that point, Clark enters and tells them what had just happened. Jonathan tells him to go through his normal routine.
At Kansas A&M, Professor Fine talks about past relationships in which people were betrayed by their best friends. Foreshadowing, yes? Fine remarks “Duplicity is human nature.” At the conclusion of class, Clark gets up from his seat and grabs his backpack, and inside is a piece of Kryptonite, which immediately makes him nauseous. The overhead projector then turns on, with the message saying “I Know how to Kill You” appearing. Clark rushes out, and runs into Professor Fine. Clark tells him what happened, and Fine reveals that the same truck has been following him. Fine insinuates that Lex could be behind it, and gives him the license plate number.
At the Daily Planet, Chloe looks up the license plate number, but doesn’t think that Lex is behind it. When she leaves to check, Clark finds several e-mail messages from Lionel Luthor. He checks the last one, which says “THERE ARE NO SECRETS.” Chloe returns, and says that the license plate doesn’t exist. Clark asks about her correspondences, and Chloe reveals that her job requires her to talk to different people. He accuses her of telling him his secret, and leaves in a huff as Chloe denies everything.
Meanwhile, Lex is on the phone having an intense conversation when Lana arrives. Lana is far too friendly to Lex, considering how hostile she’s been with him all season. Lana thanks him for the silver meteor rock, but Lex tells him he didn’t send it to her. She then brings up the spaceship, and Lex tells her that everything he’s done has been to protect her. She doesn’t need protection, she needs the truth. Lex says “then I have something to show you.”
Moments later, Lex brings Lana to see the spaceship. He says that he wants her to help him get inside to see what they’re dealing with.
At Kent farm, Jonathan is doing some labor when Lionel walks in. He’s strangely sporting a goatee with sideburns. Surprisingly, Lionel offers to back Jonathan for senate, telling him that Lex has an extraordinary appetite for power, and that he’ll soon devour the world. How true he ends up being. Meanwhile, Clark watches on. Lionel tells Jonathan that he knows about Clark, and that Chloe has provided him with all the information he needs. He reveals everything he knows, and then tells Jonathan to accept his support, and he’ll guarantee him a seat in senate. Lionel hands Jonathan an envelope, filled with money. Lionel tells him that Clark’s safety is at stake. Methinks that Clark is imagining all of this, or at least what he’s seeing.
Lana and Lex continue examining the spaceship. Lana strokes it, saying “it’s so smooth, it almost feels like liquid.” Lana asks why he would make him think she was losing her mind this entire time. Lex says he was just trying to protect her. Lana asks what changed, and Lex answers that he couldn’t lie to her anymore. Lana sees through his (possible) act, and says that her scientists are stumped, and she’s the only one that’s seen it open. Lex says he’s giving her the opportunity of a lifetime to get all the answers she’s ever wanted and whether she takes it is up to her.
At the Kent house, Clark walks inside where Martha tells him that Jonathan was looking for him. Clark tells her he just saw him in the barn talking to Lionel Luthor. Martha is understandably shocked, just as Jonathan walks inside. Clark quite forcibly frisks Jonathan to find the envelope. Jonathan tells them that Lionel gave him Lex’s balance sheets to let him know what he was up against, and Clark talks about the money. When Jonathan asks, “what money?” Clark takes out the sheets of paper, and says “This money!” Ah, so it seems Clark THINKS he’s seeing money, when he’s actually not. Clark starts getting violent, even hitting Martha. Clark then grabs Jonathan by the neck, and demands the truth. Jonathan answers “You were never really my son. You were a thing I found in the cornfield.” Suddenly Clark starts feeling weak, and Chloe is standing behind him with Kryptonite. He says “you’re all in this together, I knew it” and runs away. Martha asks how long she’s known about Clark, and Chloe tells her. Jonathan asks how much he told her, and she says everything. Martha asks why he’s acting this way. Martha suspects red Kryptonite, but Jonathan doesn’t think so. This makes Chloe remember the silver Kryptonite.
Lana returns to her dorm room, where a frantic Clark awaits. He tells her that they have to go up North, and that everybody is against her. He tells her she’s the only one he can trust. He then rushes out of the room, telling her not to tell anybody where he is. Moments later, Chloe returns, asking Lana if Clark was here. She asks her if he touched that rock she had. Lana reveals that he pricked his finger on it, but she doesn’t know where he is. Chloe tells her to stay there, and if he shows up to call her and keep him calm.
At Kansas A&M, Clark hurries over to Professor Fine, who plays dumb and reveals that he hadn’t seen Clark in over a week. Clark mentions their discussion earlier about the black truck, but Fine tells him he didn’t see Clark this morning. He tells Clark to wait in his office, and that whatever happens, they’re in this together (echoing the words that Fine claims he never said to Clark this morning). Clark goes into Fine’s office, and hears loud whispers and sees strange lights. Clark asks who’s there, and sees a cradle rocking. He starts panicking, and sees Lex in the distance revealing that Clark is from another planet. Clark yells in his defense, as Lex reveals that he knows his weakness. He then says “I’m the one who’s going to kill you, Clark.” Just then, Clark is enveloped by gaseous Kryptonite.
Lana storms into Lex’s office, saying that Lex couldn’t stand to see them happy. Lex plays dumb, and Lana shows him the silver meteor rock, which Lex claims he’s never seen before. Lex asks what he would gain by lying to her, after he showed her the spaceship. Lana reveals that he’s acting all paranoid, and that Chloe thinks he’s infected. Lex says he’ll take the rock to LuthorCorp, and he’ll do everything he can to find a cure. Okay, see, this is another qualm I have. I don’t know if Clark is imagining this, and I have no doubt that if it’s real, Lex is putting on a little show for Lana, but even so, the new Lex would be asking questions up the wazoo about how Clark could get infected by this, and why Chloe (who he already suspects knows more than she’s saying) would think he’s infected. Further, finding a cure? I think not. Evil Lex would have his eye on the prize, running every imaginable test on Clark he can think of. Anyway, Lana thanks him, and apologizes for not trusting him. Meanwhile, Clark spies on them, just as Lex and Lana start getting cozier. They embrace, and then kiss passionately. Afterwards, they embrace again, as Lana looks sinisterly in Clark’s direction.
When we return, we get a nice exterior shot of Lex’s mansion, and I gotta tell ya’, I don’t think I’ve ever noticed that fountain outside. Is that new? Anyway, inside Lex is on the phone demanding an update every 30 minutes. As they are about to leave, the lights start flickering. He tells Lana to stay there, and he’ll check what’s going on. As he walks through the dark halls, I am forced to wonder why somebody with super speed, x-ray vision, heat vision, and super strength needs to shut off the electricity to get the upper hand on his adversaries. Lex finds one of his security guards unconscious on the ground. Lex takes his gun, just in case. Finally, Lex comes face to face with Clark. Lex tries talking some sense into Clark, but Clark won’t have any of it. Lex points the gun at Clark, but Clark smiles sadistically. He then breaks Lex’s hand, and tosses him across the hall. I did enjoy the “I don’t want to hurt you” from Lex, and Clark saying “But I want to hurt you” in response, though.
Clark uses his super hearing and x-ray vision to find Lana hiding in the basement. He starts yelling out for her, telling her he knows she’s there and that he just wants to talk. He says that they were meant to be together. Lana asks if he hurt Lex, which pisses off Clark. She insists she never kissed him, so she grabs her by the neck and lifts her up into the air. He tells her he loves her, but she betrayed him. Suddenly, Professor Fine shows up from behind him. He tells Clark not to hurt her, and to trust him. Clark approaches him, but Fine uses super speed to get out of his way. Fine says that if he hurts Lana, it’ll destroy him. Clark hits Fine, sending him across the room and through a table. Fine gets up, and uses heat vision to send Clark flying. He then uses super speed to straddle him. Clark asks who he is, and Fine reveals he’s Kryptonian, just like him. He apologizes, and says this is going to hurt. He then takes some suction contraption, and places it on Clark. It then sucks out the splinter. Fine tells him that he’s going to be fine, and calls him Kal-El. He then uses his super speed to escape, just as Lex arrives. Clark, now evidently fine, lifts Lana up in his arms. Lex asks “What have you done?”
Lana lies in her hospital bed as Chloe sits beside her. Clark walks inside, and Chloe excuses herself. Clark apologizes for what he did, and tells her that he’d never hurt her. Lana says its okay, and that Chloe explained everything, and that she knows he would never hurt her. She takes her hand, and places it over his. She assures him that there could never be anything between her and Lex, and what he saw he imagined. He mentions hearing her and Lex talking about the spaceship, and she implies that he imagined it.
Clark leaves, and Chloe is waiting outside. He thanks her for covering for him. She tells him that the rock evidently disappeared during the excitement, and Clark says that he still doesn’t trust Lex. Chloe then confesses that he didn’t imagine the e-mails from Lionel, and that he’s been feeding her inside information about Lex’s campaign. The thought of Lex in office apparently scares Lionel also. She then insists that she’d never tell anybody his secret, and that “I’d die before I betrayed you.” Oh, dammit, why’d you have to say THAT???
At Lex’s mansion, Lex is sporting a black eye as Lionel walks inside. Lionel smirks and says “those Kents, they pack quite a punch” alluding to his past squabble with Jonathan. The two debate a bit, and Lionel tells her that last he checked, Lionel has a boyfriend. He also brings up that Lex is just running for office so people will see him differently. He tells Lex that the people closest to him will always know what’s in his heart, and that’s why Lana will never love him. This is coming out awfully cruel, but I actually think Lionel’s intentions are pure. Somewhat.
At the Kent house, Clark discusses how he doesn’t know what was real or fake. Jonathan tells Clark that he decided not to run against Lex, out of fear of Clark’s secret getting exposed. Clark talks him out of it, telling him that running against Lex is the right thing to do. If anything happens, they’ll deal with it as a family.
Clark heads up to the loft, where Professor Fine is waiting. He says “How are you feeling, Kal-El.” Clark remarks “I thought I was the last son of Krypton, but you people keep popping up.” That was an awesome line. Clark asks why he’s here, and Fine says to help him walk the path of a true Kryptonian. Clark shoots that down. Fine asks why he continues to trust humans instead of his own people. Clark asks why he posed as his professor this whole time, instead of just telling him who he is. Fine brings up that Clark keeps his secret from the woman he loves. Fine says “this race shows promise, but they’re still duplicitous by their very nature. Even the ones you think you love can’t be trusted.” Clark defends the human race, and tells Fine that his name is Clark, and that he’ll always believe in his friends and family. Fine says “I sincerely hope your trust hasn’t bee misplaced” as he excuses himself.
Later, Fine walks over to the spaceship (which, as many have complained, is not the least bit guarded). He then grabs the piece of silver Kryptonite, as his hand turns to black oil and completely envelopes it. He then drops the piece of Kryptonite to the ground.
I quite enjoyed the last scene of this episode, with the confrontation between Clark and Professor Fine. Particularly, I liked how Clark is so assimilated to the human race, and just coming to terms with his Kryptonian roots, while Professor Fine is so assimilated to his Kryptonian roots, and is just coming to terms with becoming a part of the human race. As such, Clark’s perception of Kryptonians is very negative, while Fine’s outlook on humanity is equally bleak. This dichotomy works very nicely, as I’m sure Fine will take advantage of Clark’s longing to better understand who he is and where he came from. I just really liked the way that the two were echoing each other’s sentiments, just taking direct opposite stances (one pro-human, anti-Kryptonian, the other pro-Kryptonian, anti-human). I’m already intrigued and entertained by the complexity of their relationship, and it’ll only get better when Lex is thrown into the mix.
I’m also liking how Lana, who has always criticized Clark for all the secrets he’s kept, is now very actively keeping secrets from him, and lying to him. Actually, the episode was pretty much sandwiched by this, as Clark and Lana’s first scene had Lana hiding the laptop from him, and then lying (presumably) about what she was doing. Then, in their last scene together, she lied to him about Lex and her discussing the spaceship. I actually found this a bit curious, since she readily revealed what she saw in the beginning of the season, and Clark told her he believed her. I’m interested to see where this is going, and I’m expecting it to be the catalyst to the end of their relationship.
This episode actually explicitly stated something I had been wondering: Do the Kents know that Chloe knows Clark’s secret? Evidently they did not, which I found somewhat surprising. First off, Clark pretty much immediately told his parents when he told Pete his secret. Why hide it from them when he tells Chloe? Perhaps because, historically, she has shown to be less trustworthy. Also, I thought it was pretty much implied that they knew she knew his secret in the episode with the missile silo, when she showed up at their house to tell Clark about the strange phone call. Why would she tell Clark if she didn’t know he had abilities (granted, he didn’t have the abilities at that time)? Anyway, I’m happen that it’s now clearly out in the open. Along with that, Chloe gets another piece of the puzzle as she finds out about red Kryptonite.
Speaking of Chloe, her line of “I’d die before I betray you” was eerily close to foreshadowing. Again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jonathan bite the bullet in the midst of the political campaign, but this comment makes me believe Chloe might be the one who bites the dust. No matter the case, evidently somebody’s biting something.
I was intrigued by Lionel’s behavior this episode. Are his motivations pure? Considering how disappointed he’s been with Lex’s “niceness” in the past, it’s surprising that he’d be afraid of Lex getting too much power. It seems like this is exactly what he would want. On the other hand, could this be a bit of “good Lionel” (another guy I loved) peaking in? It seems possible, since we did see a twinge of good Lionel at the tail end of last season. And his speech at the end did seem somewhat fatherly (albeit a harsh form of fatherly love). On the other hand, Lionel could be threatened by Lex achieving more power than him. I’m looking forward into seeing where this is going.
And then there’s Lex… How did I feel about his behavior this episode? Well, truth be told, my problem wasn’t so much with him, it was with Lana. The girl has been constantly and consistently hostile towards him the entire season, whether he was being an ass, being a nice guy, or even if his name was simply mentioned. Then he gives her a meteor rock, and she’s all friendly and forgiving? It definitely seemed like Lex had ulterior motives, so I can (somewhat) excuse his niceness this episode. And while I’ve never been a fan of the Lana/Lex sexual relationship, I do kinda like how Clark has always been the person keeping Lex from going to the dark side, and now it’s Lana instead. That does show some form of evolution.