Starting with some subtext
The episode started in grand fashion with something I love to see: Clois subtext! Clark tagging along to protect Lois makes me giddy with joy, especially when she's protesting that it's completely unnecessary and he's ditched Chloe to be there. The 'saying goodbye' surprised me as much as it surprised Lois but I loved her 'you can't break up with me, Clark--we're not even dating' reply--mainly because this could have been used so often through the years by other people (Lana, Lex...). And I saw a flicker of genuine regret there from Lois about Clark leaving! Joy! I've been seeing affection from Clark towards Lois for ages now, but Lois is a little more guarded in her expressions of affection, so it was lovely to see.
It looks like passion
This episode packed so much in that it was hard to pick my favourite aspect. But the Lois plot was the one that had me most euphoric. I was very happy with Lois's development in Season 6: she started her journalism career with pluck and determination despite a lack of formal structured training. She's demonstrated time and again that once she's set her heart on a course of action, she'll go to great lengths to see it through--but not if it compromises her own morality, especially her steadfast loyalty to friends and family. We saw all of that reinforced in this episode in perfect detail:
- the minute Lois sees the spaceship, she focuses in on it and starts recording details while also using deductive reasoning (it is covered in algae so it's been in the lake a long time)
- when she recovered from being knocked out she was completely focused on recording her story--asking for her lap-top and not being put off by Clark and Chloe's 'protective' measures to take her to hospital
- she sticks up for her paper, even though she knows it's not the Daily Planet, holding her own head up high
- when offered an opportunity to advance her career, her first instinct is to defend her cousin who already holds a position at the Planet
- despite not offering the story to the Planet, she's already done the groundwork and got photo evidence
- she submits the story but doesn't expect success.
The icing on the cake for me was hearing these words from Grant: 'it looks like passion--and it's what separates you from the rest of the pack'. YES YES YES!!! This is exactly what's important about Lois--and we have textual support for that finally. Though I think the Smallville team have done a wonderful job of subtly building up this aspect of her character over the years. She always had a slightly obsessive edge, whether it was tearing after her cousin's killer (climbing into the very grave, remember!?) or simply never letting life get her down. In small ways they've shown her as competitive--even when she hadn't found her ambition yet, she played computer games obsessively (what?! it's a cute touch!) and always saw things through in determined fashion. To see this all coming to fruition is beautiful. Lois deserves this fork in the road--the seeds of greatness were always within her, and I just adored the way this episode--and a sparky new editor--drew them out. :D
I loooooved the sparks flying between Grant and Lois. She called him 'bow tie'! :D And he called her a lightening bolt! I love that Lois doesn't try to impress Grant. Indeed their first interaction begins with her reprimanding him for eavesdropping. Chloe, on the other hand, swoops in with an immediate put-down and cheesy suck-up smile.
Chloe did not impress me in this episode AT ALL. I found her behaviour quite horribly selfish and disingenuous. And while I completely understand that she's protecting Clark's secret, I find the way she does so difficult to swallow: rather than adopting a sympathetic attitude she lectures Lois and tells her that spaceships are not appropriate subject matter for stories. The subtext is very much 'I have a privileged position at the DP: let me tell you how things are'. I could not have been more delighted that her new editor turned the tables on her. Chloe makes no attempt to hide her shock at the idea that Lois might score a job at the Planet by writing a spaceship story. From her character perspective it must be a blow to find someone else rewarded for what she did for years. But Chloe's never shown Lois's flexibility and she fails again here to rise to the new challenge. She can't muster up any grace about Lois, her own cousin, getting a job at the Planet. And I'm sorry, no matter how personally hurt she may be by Grant's dismissiveness about her, she should be at least a little bit happy for Lois. And I particularly hated the way Chloe would back Lois up ('she's just starting out') ONLY when it seemed like she had nothing to lose. No points, Chloe.
An interesting contrast to Lois's determination, intiative and passion is Lex, who displays the same characteristics but taken to such far ends that they border on psychosis. His enemies may accuse Lex of 'needing some serious psychiatry', meaning it as an insult--but they're not far from the truth. Lex always takes things to extremes. In 'Bizarro' he believes he's been saved for a path of redemption. But I'm glad to see he heasn't been wasting his intellect away in that prison cell... he put two and two together and deduced that Lana had staged her own death and framed him for murder.
I love that it took Lex barely a day to pinpoint Lana. And then he not only flew to Shanghai, he let himself into her apartment. Oh, Lex! *facepalm* I love that Lana was unsurprised by his entrance--she has learnt! The apartment scene was unbelievably gorgeous and oh, so heartbreaking. At first it seems that there's no way Lana will be swayed by his forgiveness speech. Yet he takes things to such a crazy place ('giving you a better target') that he pushes her into capitulating. Melodramatic as it was, I still found it convincing from a character perspective--Lana may be willing to let Lex die now, but to actually pull the trigger at point blank range herself? That's a stretch. Especially when he's actually begging her to do it. Oh, Lex!
I would love to know when Lana found out about the clone. For one glorious moment I thought that maybe Model 503 might still be running around Smallville (since it was missing) but then the jigsaw pieces fell into place and I realised that was how Lex knew the DNA evidence was meaningless. Damn! A rogue Lana clone could have been fun. How incredibly creepy for Lana though! *shudders* Although it's all very retconned, it does make me better understand how Lana could actually be willing to set Lex up to take the fall for her death.
I'll be completely honest--the actress didn't thrill me. But I think she looks the part and they directed her as best they could. And I'm enjoying the character and plot-potential of Kara so much that it didn't matter.
I thought it was very cute that she was searching for little baby Clark--and the potential Clarks were very cute. ;) It must be more than a little unsettling to find that the baby you knew has become a grown man. The entire dynamic has shifted: it is Clark who finds himself in the caretaker role now. She seems, if anything, younger than him--reacting with pettiness and spite ('don't touch my stuff') like a teenager. I found that created an interesting dynamic because Clark came across as the more mature and experienced of the two (as he should!).
What I'm most enjoying about Kara so far is the way Clark responds to her. Tom put in another acting tour-de-force, I felt. I loved little touches like him seeming eager to bond with Kara over the green rocks weakening them, before shifting into a more formal protective tone again. I also love that Clark stepped back a tad when he worked out they were cousins. He was so crushing on her before that! He always falls for the women with powers who he can empathise with. Though I think given that they're the last two survivors of their race, they'd be more than forgiven for breeding if they were so inclined. But the House of El has a lot of secrets does it? Sounds like another family we know of... at least Kara calls it how it is ('dysfunctional'); the Kents were never so honest. ;p
There were a lot of cute moments too, like her breaking the lift doors because they 'can't wait for ancient technology'. She's going to be a handful! That introduced a bit of a pissy sibling dynamic between them, especially when she teased him about not being able to fly. I hope she teaches him how! It would be great if they could kind of help each other--I loved the scene where he helped her focus her hearing.
Clark breaks the terrible news to Kara that her planet has been destroyed, that they are the last survivors. Again, I loved Tom's acting in that scene. The actress who played Kara struggled a little perhaps, but I certainly find it convincing that Kara would find the news very difficult to absorb. It's harder for her than Clark because she had grown up on Krypton--the deaths of her friends and family will weigh on her.
I loved that Kara got a barn scene with Clark--she's part of his intimate world now. And the lighting in that scene was so gorgeous. He asked her to 'be my memory'! *glee* This is something I think Clark really needs--a real living connection to his home world, and I'm so glad that Kara was able to give him some words of comfort about him being a 'miracle baby'. And he rewarded her with an offer of shelter, family, and even one of those rare Clark smiles of such radiance. :)
I made my father a promise
I have to admit that I cracked up laughing when Kara said 'I made my father a promise and I couldn't keep it'. Oh, the irony! Because Clark's made promises to Jor-El too. Which he could have kept.
And then my second favourite line of the episode: 'Kal-El, my son, you have finally chosen to begin your training' WOOOT! Oh, I cheered! Though don't worry--I didn't really think he would start it straight away. And I see that the AI has decided that baby steps are the way to go, setting Lesson 1 as 'learn that you can trust me--I just state the truth'. As usual Clark adopted a pissy, petulant tone in the Fortress, which I have come to enjoy. We so rarely saw Clark as a normal demanding teenager, he was never like this with Jonathan--there's something kind of endearing about it. (I can be so magnanimous now that he's matured!)
I love that they've raised a question mark over Kara's trustworthiness. I wonder what the secret of her father's past is--there was something guarded in the way she told Clark about the family rift. And she may not have killed those park rangers with her own hand, but they did die because of her presence on Earth. I'm liking the potential this plot has. Though what's the bets Clark ignores Jor-El's advice that Kara poses a greater threat than he believes? Sigh.
Little note: I think it's cool that the government is being introduced a bit more this season, with them snagging the crystal. I hope this bodes well for the Lex plot.
ETA: I totally forgot to mention that I loved the touch of having Grant not actually run Lois's article because she didn't have a photograph to go with it. Jimmy!!! *happy sigh* I can't wait until those two start to team up properly.