Episode Title: Solitude
Episode Airdate: November 17th, 2005
Not much in the way of e-mails this week (since last week’s review was so late), however one reader, Nate, did send me his thoughts on who is going to die this season. He brought up the very good point that Chloe making such an obvious and outward reference to dying could be a red herring. I can totally see that, and even considered that myself. However, I told him about the old Scream rule, where you think that somebody is so obviously the killer, that you convince yourself that person isn’t the killer (since it’s too obvious), and then when that person is revealed as the killer, you’re still shocked. Same line of thinking could be applied here.
He also suggested that Lana could be the one to go, killing off Clark’s one true love. That’s distinctly possible, and considering that she’s already missed a few episodes and the show has done fine (arguably, it’s better off without her), her character certainly doesn’t seem safe. However, my qualm with this is that, ultimately, Lana isn’t supposed to be Clark’s one true love, Lois is. If Lana dies when the two of them are together, it’ll always seem like he SHOULD have been with her, but ended up with Lois because of his loss. The thing is, in the end, Lana is supposed to be Clark’s past. His high school sweet heart who will ultimately be remembered as the girl next door. For this to happen, I think it’s important to have Clark actively leave her in favor of a relationship with Lois (maybe not directly or explicitly, but in the end that’s how it has to be).
Another reader, Brett, brought up a very interesting error that I had not caught. He writes:
Maybe I missed the explanation, and I’m sure it’s been brought up before, but a person has to be 30 years old to run for the U.S. Senate (and 25 to run for the House of Representatives).
Lex isn’t that old, is he?
I checked online, and indeed Brett is correct. According to Wikipedia: “Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution sets forth three qualifications for senators: each senator must be at least thirty years old, must have been a citizen of the United States for at least the past nine years, and must be (at the time of the election) an inhabitant of the state he or she represents.” I’m not sure they’ve ever explicitly stated, for certain, how old Lex is, but he’s certainly not 30 years old. It has been said several times that he’s not much older than Clark, and in order for him to be 30, he’d have to be over a decade older. It’ll be interesting to see if the writers make reference to this, and have some sort of explanation for us.
Anyway, to the episode….
We kick off this week Lois dropping off Martha at the Kent house. Martha compliments Lois on becoming so independent, buying a new car and having her own apartment. Wow, that coffee shop sure is paying well, huh? By the way, I do believe that car is the one that Smallville is pimping during the commercial breaks. Anyway, as Martha makes her way towards the house, an inexplicable gust of wind takes her notice. Shelby starts barking as yellow, blue, and red lights in the sky converge and create a big ball of light. In the barn, Clark notices the commotion and rushes outside, to find Martha on the ground. She doesn’t remember anything that just happened.
We return at the Daily Planet. That graphic of the gold globe spinning at the top of the building still impresses me. Anyway, Chloe tells Clark that no weather anomalies were reported last night. He tells her what happened to his mother, and that she went to the hospital this morning but they found nothing wrong. Chloe assures him that Martha will be fine, but senses that he’s still hiding something. Clark confesses that he thinks Jor-El has something to do with it, and tells her about the deal they made when he brought Clark back to life.
Meanwhile, at the Talon, Lex gets his pictures taken for some photo ops. Lois tells him that after a million or so pictures, he doesn’t get any prettier. Lex asks for a latte, and Lois brings up the fact that he’s having his photo shoot at the place that Martha Kent works, which is a bit sleazy. Lex quickly reminds her that he owns the Talon. Oh yeah, I forgot that. Lois asks “What don’t you own? I guess now you want to own the government.” Lex asks why she’s so angry, and Lois says he reminds her of the guys who buy themselves into office. She asks if he honestly thinks he can beat Jonathan Kent, since there has to be so much dirt on him. Hmmmm, lets see….we have a gabillionaire who came from privilege, and a “good guy” farmer with very limited income. Yeah, I’m sure Lex is shaking in his boots. Lex says “Please, grab a shovel and start digging, I have nothing to hide.” Lois tells him he should drop out of the race before a pesky little squirrel digs up one of your rotten acorns. Lex snidely responds “well thanks Lois, there’s nothing more valuable than savvy political advice from a muffin peddling college drop out.” After an intense stare down, Lex adds “speaking of which, do you have banana blueberry today?” That. Was. Awesome.
At Central A&M, Professor Fine tells Clark that he’s surprised it took him so long to trust him. Clark tells him that he wants to know more about Jor-El, and that he’s done something to his mother. Fine makes reference to the deal Jor-El made, and asks if Martha has any marks on her skin. Clark says she doesn’t, and he wants to know more about what’s going on. Fine states that patience is such a pathetic human trait. Things get a little more intense.
At the Kent house, Clark tells Jonathan about Professor Fine’s abilities and being Kryptonian. Jonathan wants him to steer clear from him, but Clark tells him he wants to know more about Jor-El. Jonathan notes that everything he’s come in contact with a Kryptonian, they’ve been hell bent on death and destruction, but Martha notes that Clark is Kryptonian too. Jonathan brings up that he was raised by humans though. Clark tells Jonathan all the good things Fine has done, but Jonathan says he doesn’t know what his motives are. Martha lifts up the tea kettle, and drops it immediately, saying she can’t feel her hands and that her shoulder is burning. She lifts her sleeve, revealing a massive mark on her arm.
Clark is waiting in the waiting room of the hospital when Jonathan tells him that the doctors don’t know what it is, but they gave them some antibiotics and that they can go home. Clark argues a bit about this not being normal, and Jonathan asks if there’s something he’s not telling him. Clark says he’s just worried, and Jonathan assures him that she’ll be fine.
Chloe is doing some work at the Daily Planet when suddenly she is approached by Lionel Luthor, who congratulates her on making it to the Major Leagues. She seems understandably skeptical. Lionel tells her she just needs a big story in order to get upstairs. Lionel tells her that her passion has always been the bizarre and inexplicable, so she’s perfect for this story. Lionel adds that there’s somebody at Central Kansas University who can run at the speed of light, can lift an automobile with one hand, and can create fire with a blink of an eye. A nervous Chloe asks for proof, and Lionel tells her that the person’s name is Milton Fine, and wishes her good day.
Speak of the devil and the devil came, as Professor Fine walks through the campus. Clark comes after him, telling him that his mother has marks on her now. Fine then tells Clark he can no longer hide the truth, and that Jor-El was a violent dictator who ruled Krypton with fear and intimidation, and anybody who spoke against him was locked away, even the hero of the people, Zod. He then tells Clark that Jor-El destroyed Krypton, and that billions of people died, but he made sure his only son survived so that he could rule over the human race, and create a new Krypton on earth. Clark asks why he should believe him, and Fine responds that he can believe what he wants, but he must see Clark’s mother. This was actually an incredible scene, in my opinion. The writers seem to have swayed a bit with the Jor-El character in regards to how he is portrayed in the comics and movies (to my knowledge). He seems a lot darker and more sinister. With this in mind, I wasn’t terribly sure if Fine is manipulating Clark, or if they were doing another twist with the mythos. Along with that, I really, really liked the reference to Zod, and how the premise of the second Superman movie (if I’m not mistaken) was summarized somewhat.
At the Kent house, Fine examines Martha. Jonathan seems pretty confrontational and defensive, demanding that they take her to the hospital. Fine tells Jonathan that if doctors puncture her skin, she could die instantly. She begins seizing, and Fine tells Jonathan she needs a meteor rock. Jonathan rushes to get one, and Fine tells him to hold it against her forehead. It soothes her, and Fine reveals that there’s no cure, the rock is only easing her pain. He says that in a matter of hours, Martha will be dead. Clark rushes out of the house saying that he’s going to see Jor-El, and on the porch Fine tells him not to, and that he’ll just feed him more lies. Jonathan soon joins them, and asks if Jor-El is responsible for this. Clark then reveals the deal Jor-El made when he brought Clark back to life. Jonathan tells him to go do something. Clark promises “I won’t let him kill her.” After a slight pause, Jonathan says “don’t.”
Clark is inside the Fortress of Solitude, where Jor-El says he has not caused any harm towards Martha. Jor-El then reminds him that it was Clark who turned his back on him. Clark begs for Jor-El to let Martha live, but Jor-El apologetically says that the wheels of fate are already in motion, and not even Clark can stop what must happen.
At the mansion, Lex is looking at a surveillance video of the spaceship. Apparently every now and then, there’s some electro-magnetic tidal wave that interferes with the signal. So is this the explanation for how Fine keeps checking out this ship but never gets caught? Lionel walks in shortly afterwards, who brings up all the things Lex is hiding. Lionel adds that he’s worried about Lex’s legacy, as he doesn’t want him to be remembered as the candidate obsessed with little green men. Lionel advises him to get his house together.
At Central A&M, Milton Fine walks through the campus, and is followed by a snooping Chloe.
At Kent Farm, Martha is lying on the couch with a piece of Kryptonite against her. Doesn’t that sort of exposure give Lex cancer or something in the future? Clark walks in, so Martha puts the Kryptonite away. That was actually a bit touching, how it mattered more for her to be with Clark than to ease her own pain. Clark sits beside her, and a noticeably upset Clark asks how she is. Martha tells him she knows about Jor-El, and she’s more than ready to give up her life for the life of her child. Martha adds that he’s given her so much happiness, and she doesn’t know what she would have done without him. Clark notes that without him, none of this would have happened. Martha tells him not to feel guilty over this, and that he’s going to be fine. He’s a wonderful man, and her job is done. Clark says it’s not, and that she has to fight this. Martha weakly tells him that she loves him, and that just because she’s gone, her love will not go with her. She will always be in his heart. Clark boldly states that he’s not going to let her die.
That night, at the Daily Planet, Chloe continues doing research on Fine. Lois rushes in, and wants Chloe to pick up some dirt on Lex. Chloe notes that there’s a lot Lex is hiding, but that he’s gotten it well hidden. Chloe asks about the sudden interest, and Lois reveals that she’s mad that he called her a muffin peddler. Chloe brings up that Fine is doing some investigating on LuthorCorp, and that she followed him to a warehouse downtown, but she couldn’t get past security. Lois tells her to give it another shot, with her help.
At the warehouse, Lois manages to distract the security guard by showing him her new car (in what ought to just be a commercial for the Ford Fusion), as Chloe sneaks into the warehouse. I don’t know about you, but if I was hiding an extraterrestrial spaceship, I’d have only one, young, inexperienced guard watching out for it. Once inside, Chloe looks through a fan vent thingie, and sees the spaceship inside. Suddenly, some black ooze comes from it, and Professor Fine materializes. Just then, Chloe is caught by a security guard. When she turns back towards the spaceship, Fine is gone.
Meanwhile, the security guard flirting with Lois gets a message about an intruder, so Lois punches him out. Chloe then escapes from the other security guard, and jumps into Lois’ car. The two drive away. They really love having Lois kick guys’ asses, don’t they? I mean, it’s one thing to use self defense skills to escape, but to completely knock a security guard unconscious with one punch? A little tough to believe…. That said, I do find it excusable and forgivable since, for years, Lana and Chloe have been portrayed as completely defenseless and dependent on Clark’s (or, in some cases, Lex’s) protection, so it is a bit refreshing seeing a female character who is more than capable of protecting herself. I just don’t think she needs to be completely kicking guys’ asses every single episode, because then it just becomes unbelievable.
Professor Fine is doing some work in his classroom when Clark walks up to him, saying that there has to be a way to save his mom. Fine tells him that there’s one option, but he wouldn’t recommend it. Fine tells him that the only way to save his mother is to destroy the Fortress, and that if you destroy his fortress, you destroy his will, and he can save his mother. Clark says that all he’s done is try to ruin his life, and Fine tells him that was his legacy on Krypton as well. Clark says he wants Jor-El gone.
At the Kent house, Jonathan tells Martha that if anyone is strong enough to get through this, it’s her, and that she can’t give up. Just then, Chloe arrives and apologizes for barging in. She tells him she needs to find Clark, but Jonathan tells her that Clark went to the caves with Professor Fine. Chloe reveals that she’s not sure how helpful Professor Fine will actually be. Jonathan looks on confused as Chloe rushes out of the house.
Clark and Professor Fine are in the hidden section of the cave, where Clark inserts the key. They are then transported to the Fortress of Solitude. Fine hands Clark a dark crystal, and tells Clark to insert it into the console, and it will trigger a self destruct mechanism. Clark asks what it is, and Fine explains that it was created to destroy Jor-El, but Zod was a man of peace and would only use it as a last resort. Clark emotionally states that Jor-El will never hurt his family again, and stabs the dark crystal into the portal. A red light shines as pieces of the Fortress begin collapsing. Clark and Fine watch on, when suddenly Fine takes out a piece of Kryptonite and holds it out towards Clark. Writhing in pain, Clark questions whether or not Fine is Kryptonian at all. Fine reveals that he was created by Krypton, but he’s a whole lot smarter. He also reveals that only Clark could destroy the Fortress, and that he couldn’t do it without him. Fine then states that Zod (the one true Krytponian) will now be freed, and they can now create a new Krypton on earth. Clark then says that when Fine was talking about Jor-El, he was really talking about Zod…and that Jor-El didn’t infect his mother, Fine did. Fine is disgraced that Clark would give up his Kryptonian heritage for one human. Clark lies down as Fine places the piece of Kryptonite on his chest. A portal then opens, as Fine awaits the arrival of Zod.
Chloe arrives in the caves, and sees that Clark is gone. She takes out the key, and reinserts it. She is transported to the Fortress of Solitude, where she sees Clark powerless. She runs towards him (when Fine isn’t watching) and takes the piece of Kryptoniate away. Clark then walks to the console and takes out the dark crystal. The portal closes, before Zod can escape. Fine uses his super speed to run towards Clark, but Clark dodges him and throws him across the Fortress. Fine uses his speed to return, and uses his heat vision to send Clark sailing away. He then straddles Clark, and attempts to stab him with the dark crystal. Clark fights him off, and throws him with all his might. Fine lands in the crystal console, and is impaled. Fine slowly turns his head towards Clark, as black ooze seeps from his eyes and mouth. There is a bright light, as he disappears. The spaceship in Lex’s warehouse then disappears as well. Suddenly, Martha is cured. Clark looks on, unsure of what just happened.
Martha is in the barn looking out on the rain as Clark walks over to her. He tells her that he can’t imagine what life would be like if she was gone. She tells him it would be immensely difficult, but he’d move on. Clark then tells her that she’s his heart and soul, to which Martha assures him that she has no plans of going anywhere for a long time. They then hug.
Chloe is inside sitting at the fireplace when Clark gives her a warm drink. Chloe reminds Clark that he needs to be more careful with that key, since anybody can get there if she did. Clark tells her that Professor Fine told him that humans are insignificant and artificial, but he obviously didn’t know her. He also wonders how she got on Fine’s trail, to which Chloe admits that Lionel gave her the lead. Clark then reveals that the spaceship is now gone.
Lex is sitting in his office looking none too pleased. Lionel enters, having apparently been summoned by Lex, and is accused of stealing the spaceship (in so much words). Of course, Lionel denies any part in it. Lex says “I don’t know what happened to you in that meteor shower, but I have a feeling you’re more connected to what was in that warehouse than I’ll ever realize.” Lionel tells Lex he’s a fragile man, and he doesn’t want him to be shattered by his delusions. Lex then gently grabs Lionel by the face, and stares at him. He then walks away. Strangely, Lionel walks over to the piano and hits a few keys. Wonder if that means anything?
At the Daily Planet, Lois asks Chloe if she got any dirt on Lex. She’s worried that, eventually, he’s going to try to rule the world. She’s also disappointed that their earlier mission was fruitless. Lois wonders how Chloe could chase story after story and come up with dead ends. She doesn’t think she could do that. Chloe says “that’s usually how it starts” as Lois stares at the Daily Planet logo.
Clark sits up in the original fortress of solitude (the loft), when Jonathan checks how he is. Clark wonders how he could be so gullible. Jonathan says he was just trying to save his mother, and that they should put this behind them. Clark says that Jor-El’s warning is still out there. Jonathan notes that Jor-El hasn’t done anything yet, and he may never do anything. He then adds that none of us will be around forever, and that they can’t dwell on it. Jonathan tells him to live life to the fullest, and spend as much time as you can with the people you love. Clark says “you’re right.” Jonathan smiles and says “yeah.” Episode ends. I continue to absolutely love those endings that appear to come out of no where, where you are expecting the next line to be uttered, but instead the episode just ends.
In my opinion, this may have been the strongest episode of the season. And trust me, that says something. I was almost certain Martha wouldn’t die, but nevertheless they still had me guessing and questioning that. For a while, I truly believed that there was a possibility she would die. I also really liked how they put into words Clark’s relationship with his mother, since so much of the show is about the father/son relationship (with Clark/Jonathan, Clark/Jor-El, and Lex/Lionel). It was nice that he stated that Jonathan has given him more than he can imagine, but that Martha is his heart and soul.
The stuff with Milton Fine was tremendous. I’m not sure if he’s dead, but I certainly hope he’s not. The interactions between him and Clark, as well as him and Lex, were fabulous. Further, I’m a big fan of James Marsters’ work, so it was always nice seeing him. I thought the allusions to the Superman 2 back story were fantastic, and the possibility of General Zod making an appearance seems like a great season finale story arc. Hopefully Clark has a tougher time with him than he did with the two Kryptonians in the premiere, though. It was also nice seeing a lighter portrayal of Jor-El, as the early seasons really painted a bleak picture of him (to the extent that he was practically a villain). One thing I do wonder, though, is why Jor-El didn’t use Lionel as his vessel in this episode, since he could have instructed Clark of Fine’s misdeeds and manipulation. Also, the fight scene in the Fortress was damn cool. I certainly hope we haven’t seen the last of Fine.
I know I’ve been pretty critical of the execution of Lex’s character for a few episode, but in this episode he was spot on perfect. His snide remarks to Lois were great, and his pulls-no-punches line about her being a muffin peddler was awesome. Creating a tension between Lex and Lois is a great idea, and I especially like the idea of Lois seeing through Lex, and being determined to expose him in the midst of his campaign. For one, it’s a fantastic way of setting them up for their future characters: Lois as the hard nosed reporter who isn’t afraid to ruffle feathers (no matter how big the bird is), and Lex as the sinister millionaire who uses his money to gain more and more power, and using his expansive resources to hide his dirty secrets.
Once again, Chloe showed her value as a friend to Clark, and I’m really glad that Clark openly thanked her for it. The fact of the matter is, she completely saved the day. If not for her intervention, Martha would have died, Clark would have died, and (through Fine and Zod) humanity would have been doomed. The lack of explanation for Lana’s whereabouts was odd, especially since her boyfriend’s mother was on death’s door. I’m not complaining that she wasn’t around (while I may be in love with Kristin Kreuk, I am starting to feel like the Lana character has run its course), but some sort of explanation would have been nice. I do like, though, that for the most part Lois and Lana only appear when the other doesn’t, because sometimes it’s too weird seeing the two of them together and all chummy.
This episode actually did a very effective job of creating a great deal of suspense for who will die in the 100th episode. I’m still inclined to say Jonathan (especially considering the final scene of this episode), but Chloe and Lana also seem like likely possibilities. For the reasons I stated above, I hope it’s not Lana. However, due to how well the show has functioned without her, I think there’s a chance it could be her. However, due to Chloe’s comment last week, and due to the increased attention on her value, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s her either. Along with that, the “Chloe Sullivan” character doesn’t appear in the Superman comics, so there has to be some explanation as to why she’s not there. The strong possibility of Martha dying really showed the impact of Clark losing somebody close to him, and this episode did a great job of establishing that.
Oh, and regarding the Superman trailer….I’ll see the movie, but one thing that struck me was how much less impressive it seemed compared to Smallville. I know I’ve fawned over the golden Daily Planet globe, and, to me, the version they use in the movie is much more underwhelming. Additionally, the “Kent Farm” sign doesn’t look nearly as good. I’d have to see a more detailed trailer before I make a final judgment, though.