I was in a bit of a cranky mood going into this and kind of not in the best frame of mind to enjoy the crack-ness of the whole beauty pageant plot. So I sorta hated it. Models aren't my thing at the best of times and I was kind of sad to see Supergirl, potentially such a brilliant injection of female power on the show, reducing herself to eyecandy. However, there were also a LOT of things I did like about the Kara plot, so I'll focus on them.
What I was really smitten by in this episode was the way that Kara followed all of Clark's behaviour patterns with a twist of her own. It's Smallville's parallelism taken to extreme and showing that there's a commonality of experience between these two Kryptonians' lives on Earth.
First of all, they are highly suggestible. They both take what they see of life on Earth and try to model it in the most perfect way possible. Clark grew up with the wholesomeness of Kansas farm life--and also heard his dad talk about days of football glory. Kara, in her first week on Earth, gets stuck at home watching a bunch of shows about beauty and modelling. Both of them imprint really fast on a way to be recognised as a human--to fit in, but also to excel just a little too. It's what Clark said about Alicia ('she made me feel normal and special at the same time') that is their ultimate idealised state which they strive for.
Also, they both crush really hard and really fast. At fairs. Apparently. The opening scene at the harvest festival was a total shoutout to the Clark-Lex apples-at-the-fair scene in Metamorphosis, where Clark is crushing (depending on your reading) on Lex or Lana (or both). Kara's eye also falls on someone at the fair--but with her, it's Jimmy. There's a lot of meta potential too in the fact that she falls for him while photographing. He's someone who directs his gaze on others. Clark, however, in early Smallville was the voyeur--watching Lana through his telescope. It would be easy to infer from that that female Kryptonians are usually the object of the gaze (is Kara's lack of gaze-control connected to that?). However, I don't think it's really that simple--we know Clark enjoys being objectified himself so clearly it can work both ways.
Clark's awkwardness with her arousal was absolutely adorable and the watermelon scene was hysterical. It exploded just like his popcorn! *giggles and giggles* But the scene worked at a weightier level as well. Clark modelled both his fathers in that scene. It could have been Jor-El OR Jonathan speaking when he said 'not before you learn to control your abilities'. I love that Jor-El was uptight--hee! But when Clark exploded at her emotionally after her watermelongasm, I felt that was pure Jonathan--unable to control his temper. And it just pushed Kara into stubborn resistance the same way it did Clark.
The parallels kept on coming later with her getting the chance to save the one she's enamoured with by ripping the door off a car. If you count the tornado at the end of S1, that means both Clark and Kara have saved the one they were crushing on this way (potentially exposing themselves) AND they've both saved Lex from drowning in a car. AND they then go stand by the bedside of their crush-object in Smallville's candy-coloured hospital. Oh, Smallville!
There is one part of this plot that really didn't work for me, although I see what the writers were trying for. Having Kara nuke the green k with her heat vision was a really really stupid move, imho, since now every time it appears we'll be thinking 'can't he just nuke it?' It also makes Clark look really daft for not having figured that out a long time ago. And since it seems to destroy it completely (if it was in fragments or a gas, it would still affect him, right?) then why can't Kara (or Clark) just go round the whole of Smallville, ridding them of green k forever? Gah! Ridiculous plot hole. But I do see that they were trying to find a way to have her use her powers creatively to save Clark--I personally think her busting out of prison was enough. It would have still allowed him to thank her for saving him by going against his advice/wishes.
Kara sounded exactly like Clark in the barn scene. It was incredible. But the thing that really made that scene for me is that she mentioned his longevity as an issue. She's more clear sighted about that than Clark ever was. Perhaps because she was older before she came to Earth. And I can't help feeling it's very telling that Kara said Clark couldn't just stay on a farm and grow old with Lana in the same episode as Lana told Clark that's what she wanted.
I had trouble suspending disbelief on a few crucial points in the Lana plot, which made it really hard for me to enjoy her return. I found her saying she couldn't tell Chloe yet just weird. I was also very confused by the way she behaved as if Lionel wasn't a threat any more--then I remembered his disappearance was widely publicised. However, I still feel that she and Clark should have had a chat about the 'weakness' that Lionel threatened Clark with--she doesn't KNOW that it's just the one he already knows about (Green K). Gah! Also, their kitchen chit-chats were a little too cosy and relaxed... wouldn't they have a MILLION things to talk about? I mean, they never got to talk openly about Clark's powers, his heritage, the Fortress for example... *shrugs* Guess these guys just never really did that kind of chat well.
I do love that Lana took 10 million with her--and that Lex was able to use that to point out the moral distance between her and Clark. And I was still happy to see Lana back--but a bit unprepared for the Clana, or at least the way it was played. I think I could have handled a passionate reunion better than this preliminary-dating scenario. I just kind of think that if you thought your childhood love was dead, you'd be a little more swept up in the moment when they returned. Is that just me?
I nearly fell off my chair from shock when Lex strolled into the Kents' kitchen so confidently. He hasn't entered without knocking since season 4! And it's amazing how powerful his presence there felt because of that. But I also thought it was interesting to see because for so long the balance has been the other way--Lana has been located at the mansion and Clark's been busting in having d&ms with her there. Now, Lex and Lana talk divorce terms in the Kents' kitchen. I was holding my breath for Clark to walk in!
Finally, I have no words for how much I adore that Lex was all clued up about Kara. That he didn't beat about the bush and that he clearly had had her tracked. I was pretty much in total adoration for Lex through the entire episode. He's just so full on! I was both laughing and reeling from his earnestness when he told the gov't agent that the 'angel' saved him from 'drowning in the evilness of his ways'. And, wow! His tactics with that agent were incredible. Lex has always excelled at mixed motives. Here he appears to be sacrificing himself to throw the scent of Kara--and he does so before learning whether she'll be any more open with him than Clark was. That's amazingly generous--it's leaving himself open for major heartbreak all over again. But at the same time, his decision to share his secrets with the government is not as selfless as it first appears: it's also possibly the cleverest, most sensible response to the government basically telling him that he's under suspicion. Align his motives with theirs and he stands the best chance of being able to continue his work unhindered. Nice move, Lex!
His alleyway scene with Kara actually made me tear up. Seeing Lex with his heart on his sleeve like that so prominently again, after so many years, was just devastating. He even showed a flash of that old delighted humour ('you ripped the roof of my car'). But at the same time, Michael's performance also made it clear how much has changed in Lex. Beneath his appeals, there was a clear vein of anger and impatience at her denials. He might swallow it quickly, but you could tell that he was unbelievably annoyed that he was retreading this path again. His line 'I've already protected you, like I would have protected others close to me if they had told me the truth' GUTTED me. He did protect Clark even when Clark lied to him, and here it's happening again. Yet Lex is such an absolutist--if you're not his lover, you're his enemy; if you don't tell him the whole truth, you're a bad omen not a saviour. It's tragic.
And wow! Clark got Kara trained about hiding her powers in the nick of time! Even if it would actually have made for sense for him to just TELL Kara that Lex has them under scrutiny and suspects them.