In the last episode before April 17, this week’s episode of Smallville focused on the Illuminar….um, Veritas, the secret society preparing for the arrival of, and sworn to protect, the traveler. Along with that, Lex continues his downward spiral towards the dark side.
And by the way, aside from the brown hair, Brainiac was looking awfully Spike-esque this episode, wasn’t he?
Before I get into the episode (consider the above section the “cold opening,” in television terms), for anybody interested, I’m going to be participating in an MS Walk on April 13th. If anybody is interested in making a small donation, please check out my pledge page (linked below). Any amount of money would be helpful. Obviously, it’s for a great cause. Thanks in advance.
In my previous column, I erroneously referred to last week’s episode “Traveler” as Kristin Kreuk’s last episode of the season. Obviously, that wasn’t the case, but it does appear that this week’s installment did mark her final appearance of the year. While it was a far more suitable ending, it was kinda exactly what I didn’t want to have happen. I’m a very firm believer that Lana shouldn’t die or become comatose or whatever else. Clark and Lana, the relationship, shouldn’t come to an end because of some unexpected tragic X-factor. Instead, they need to actively realize that they don’t belong together, even though they do love each other. Otherwise, it just seems as if Clark and Lana SHOULD have ended up together, but because she died (or became incapacitated), he ended up with Lois. It makes Lois look like a consolation prize.
Yes, this series is about Clark Kent in Smallville, and not Superman. But ultimately, the show is also about Clark Kent becoming Superman. With that in mind, Smallville must properly establish the realities of the future Superman. I think the show has done a wonderful job of doing that, especially within the last few years, in every possible way, except for the whole Lana thing. It positively baffles me why this is the one thing the series just refuses to move past. It’s like they are absolutely determined to make this relationship happen, despite the fact that it doesn’t even have a huge fan following.
This is why I was dissatisfied with how her “departure” was written. In my last column I wrote: “The most important thing of all, though, is to not have Clark go into some massive depression. Instead, simply have him be at peace with the situation, finally ready to move on with his life. That’s how I’d write it, anyway.” So how do they end the episode? With Clark crying in Lana’s lap. The story was undeniably touching, but not the way it should have been.
Oh, and if Lana is aware of what’s going on but has no control over her faculties, it’s kinda messed up that Clark shut her eyes. I mean, I understood the symbolism of his actions, but maybe, at the very least, she was enjoying the view. Now she is forced to just sit in a chair with her eyes closed. For that matter, what the hell was up with that room? It looked like a long, dark hallway that was completely empty except for a giant statue of an angel. Yikes!
There was one other disappointment – and it’s a shortsighted one – and that’s the little tease they did with Clark learning to fly, only for him to not even try and fail! I mean, hell, physical comedy is funny! Have him leap out the barn only to fall hard onto the floor. Anything would’ve been better than him meekly saying that he’s wasting time. That said, Kara was absolutely brilliant throughout the entire scene. I loved how she nudged him forward, while doing her little tippy-toed “go” motion. Then after Clark relents, she coyly states “I’m sorry, it’s just REALLY easy…” Despite being slightly disappointing, it was an overall great scene.
And the reason why I said that this is a shortsighted complaint is because (and perhaps I’m just being optimistic here) I feel like this scene is setting up for Clark to fly in the season finale. Honestly, the show really, really needs to have Clark fly by the end of the year. There’s no excuse for him not to. Like I’ve said countless times in the past, but when the whole “no flight, no tights” rule was initiated, they probably had no idea whatsoever that the show would last eight years (taking Clark into his mid-twenties). As it stands now, that rule is just refusing to allow the show to grow, and from a creative standpoint, that’s just foolish.
Wow, considering the negative way I kicked off this column, you’d probably think I hated this episode. Quite the contrary, I actually think this episode did a great job of piquing the audience’s interest during the short hiatus.
In my previous Smallville column, I stated that I wanted to see more scenes with Lois and Jimmy together. Not only did this episode give me just that, but it also set up a long-term business relationship between these two. That is GREAT news!
I also thought that the flashbacks were awesome. In addition to continuing the past events that were alluded to in the last episode, they also managed to tie it into the series premiere, with young Lex and Lionel heading to Smallville in the helicopter just as the meteor shower arrived.
Speaking of Lionel, he remains the highlight of the show. I think my favorite part of the entire episode is how the show didn’t feel the need to tell the audience “Clark and Chloe are correct” or “Lionel is telling the truth.” At the moment, it’s open for interpretation, with both sides making a very strong point. Chloe pretty much hit the nail right on the head when she said that Lionel has always been ambitious in the business world, and after conquering that, he came to realize that aligning himself with Clark was the closest he’d ever be to God. This theory carries some real weight, as – through the flashbacks – we came to realize that Lionel has always had aspirations of controlling the traveler.
At the same time, Lionel’s desperation when he tried to convince everybody of the impending danger seemed genuine, and his plea that working with Clark is the only way for him to repent himself for his past sins was very convincing. It truly does amaze me how incredibly this show has developed characters like Lionel, Chloe, Lex, and even Clark, but then refuses to take the plunge with arcs like ENDING the Clark/Lana relationship and having Clark fly.
Oh, and biggest lesson from all those flashbacks? Between games of hide and seek, vents in the closet, and doors being a crack open, children ALWAYS peek.
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