Clark says he 'knows something' about Jor-El. Later in the episode we get some hints about what Clark's personal Jor-El canon is at this point in time. He says 'I know what you were like on Krypton' and suggests that Jor-El's MO is to dedicate his life to helping others. The AI denies this: its mission is to train Clark for his destiny. No doubt Jor-El will cop a lot of flak for his role in this episode and I'm sure we'll see another chorus of 'Jor-El is a big meanie' from fandom. However it probably comes as no surprise that I was delighted with the AI. When Clark first arrives in the Fortress, the AI tells him--as he always does--the truth. The crystal doesn't belong here, it's made by Zor-El (who the AI had warned Clark about), Lara is gone forever. In the past, the AI's given Clark even stronger warnings when there would be consequences for his actions--but in this case he doesn't bother. I kind of loved that. I loled at the AI's 'you seem to lack the capacity to learn your lesson' (OMG SO TRUE). The AI *does* apologise for that, but if you read between the restrained lines, the AI has clearly HAD IT with Clark ignoring his perfectly reasonable advice. This ain't going to go well...
I'd have more sympathy for Clark if I didn't find his actions in resurrecting Lara so completely batshit. The scene between Kara and Clark at the beginning was hair-tearingly frustrating because Clark has made so little effort on-screen to ask questions about either of his parents--either with the AI or with Kara. Surely THAT would have been a better first step than resurrecting his mother?! I think it was more than just regular 'human emotions' clouding Clark's judgement in this one: because, seriously, it's a little hard to believe that anyone would think this was a good idea. Yes, he longs to know his real mother. The episode stresses the significance of a flesh-and-blood parent over a memory or a disembodied voice--and I do have sympathy for Clark, but that doesn't mean he should act on those feelings. Where's that rational brain I've seen him use of late!? He needs to temper his emotions with some clear thinking. This was a bad idea on SO many levels.
In the end one of the things I found most devastating was its effect on Kara. First of all, he betrayed her by lying about the crystal. Secondly, he took this rash action without thinking about the consequences for her: Clark didn't just resurrect his mother, he also resurrected Kara's father against her desires. Clark immediately dismisses the danger, but he doesn't factor on Kara's 'human emotions'. If Clark is weak when it comes to resisting the appeals of his mother, Kara is weak where it comes to her father, and Clark should have anticipated that.
Poor Kara is not prepared for the emotional conflict she's thrown into. She's still coming to terms with the loss of her planet and her father's betrayal--of course she would want to believe her father when he says he's changed, just as Clark has wanted to believe Lex and now Lana. It's to her credit that she attempts to kill her father, though it seemed obvious that she would not succeed. It was good to see her defend humanity; she often comes across as very immature, but her determination was on show here.
The consequences for her are terrible--she loses her memory and is flung back to Earth. But is it just me or was the melodrama about her being in Detroit (omg! so far away!) a little OTT?! I mean it's not like she's in Australia or something. Has she lost her powers though?! If she didn't know she had them she'd have snapped off the door, yeah? Poor girl.
Before you start thinking that I hated this episode completely, let me say that it did contain some things which made me more optimistic about Clark's journey:
- We heard Lionel say 'Kal-El is following his own destiny'. Present tense, now?! Whee!
- It was brilliant to have Lara herself insist that Clark had already lost her, that his real mother was dead. (I liked her a lot better in this episode than previously.)
- Jor-El was described as a 'feeble minded pacifist', making me squee. So he wasn't willing to sacrifice the weak?! YAY!
- Hearing CLARK defend Jor-EL! Wooooooooooooooot!!
- Zor-El saying Clark would understand about duty and responsibility if he had raised him. Hmmm. Very interesting! Perhaps that is true, for Zor-El would have bullied him mercilessly, just as Lionel bullied Lex. Jor-El's AI has allowed Clark to make his own mistakes, even if that's not what he wanted. His far more abstract style of parenting has tried to show Clark the consequences of his rash actions, but ultimately those decisions have been left to Clark. Would a more aggressive style of parenting have created a monster? Possibly. But on the other hand Clark DOES need to be taught these lessons if he's to become Superman.
- While the AI warns Clark against his human emotional irrationality, at least he doesn't exploit it the way Zor-El does.
- At least we have evidence now that Zor-El can hack the crystals. That seems to confirm that it was Zor-El who tinkered with the AI on the ship to give it the message 'you must rule them with strength, my son'.
- In the end Clark DID destroy the crystal and his mother along with it.
I LOVED the Lois developments in this episode. And on a shallow note, she should wear that suit ALWAYS, and her hair was gorgeous as well. I'm delighted that they've continued the sub-theme of Lois being a bad photographer (yes! take Olsen!). But the real joy in that scene for me, was seeing Lois ask Grant if he'd hired her because he was attracted to her. Lois hides her insecurities well, but they are there--and I think this would really have preyed on her mind. This was a wonderful chance for the audience to see her fragility. When she turns her back on Grant and says 'I knew it', the disappointment is written across her face. Yes, she would take the job despite her suspicions--because she's ambitious like that. And yes, she's genuinely enjoyed her liaison with Grant, because she's a romantic like that. But this hidden truth is ultimately more significant to her. And I couldn't have been happier for her when Grant showed her the article that had made him want to hire her. (I hope that's true, btw!) I think she was genuinely proud of that article and had a flicker of 'aww, yeah, that WAS a good one' in her eyes when she looked at it.
I anticipated the worst when Chloe saw Lois and Grant kissing. But in the end she wasn't as obnoxiously written as I'd expected. Yes, her first jabs about it were bitchy, but I was glad to see her say she believes Lois when she says it had nothing to do with her getting the job or getting ahead. After all, Chloe is right when she says that people will talk. So I'm willing to take her words at face value--apart from anything else I don't want to believe that Chloe is that big a bitch that she'd doubt her cousin's side of things. On the other hand, she wasn't exactly a shoulder to cry on for Lois. She was bossy and abrupt, but that's par for the course with Chloe lately.
How cute was Lois's reaction to the eclipse?! Hee! Some 'perfectly boring scientific explanation'.
Grant and Lois are two of a kind--they're ambitious and determined but they're both vulnerable to their emotions. However, they CAN separate their feelings from their work, and Grant doesn't modulate his reaction to Lois even though they're still together--despite Chloe's assumptions.
The Clana relationship seems to be back to minimal communication. Does Clark really believe the 'visiting Aunt Nell' bluff? And wow, Clark, way to fill Lana in when it came to introducing her to your mother. No explanation, just 'hi, this is my mother, please babysit her, kbye!' As usual, Lana is gracious and hides her discombobulation--I heart her capacity to do that. I loved that Lara saw that Lana was worried she'll uncover the darkness Lana's concealing. Her appeal to Lana was wonderfully compassionate--she could see that there was both good and bad in Lana and that Lana must fight to avoid the bad overcoming the good. It was a relief to hear that Lana's not lost yet. (What would Lara have made of Lex had she met him?) It also seemed that Lara's words really haunted Lana--her self-doubt was in evidence in her scene with Clark later.
I had mixed feelings about Lana-as-Clark's-confidant at the end of this episode. On the one hand I'm glad they used her own history to show Clark some compassion. Yes, Lana would understand the desperate desire to know one's dead parents (she's been on her own dark quest with that in the past), but at the same time I think Clark did need to take responsibility for his reckless actions. The line 'it's how we come back from the mistakes that matters' was wonderful though. Clark PLEASE listen to yourself and come back well from this one!
Ohh, revelations! Before we get to the Big One, let me say that I was delighted to see the return of the pool table. Lex shooting pool is always good, and there was a very cosy atmosphere between Grant and Lex. I love that Lex has set boundaries around Lois and is very clear about the threat that she poses. Is it too much of a stretch to think that he recognises that 'insatiable curiosity' as equal to his own? ;)
Before the Julian reveal, I was starting to think that Grant was the most naive minion ever. He didn't expect to be bugged?! Come ON! But it makes a lot more sense if he thinks he's a relative. In that case it echoes Lex finding Lionel's bugs on him. History repeats. There were hints here that Lex is treating Grant as an 'experiment', just as Lionel used to mess with his sons' lives and set Lex against Lucas, for example. What game is Lex playing here? If Grant really is Julian then that's one serious retcon. And one MASSIVE mindfuck for Lex who took the fall for Julian's death. But it hasn't been played that way so it seems more likely to me that Lex has constructed this situation himself, that Grant/Julian is his own construction to outplay Lionel. On the other hand, this is one crazy show and maybe Lionel really DID set up Julian's death (woah!) and then give him up for adoption (not really clear on the motive for that, but then it's not the first child he gave up). What's chilling in that case is the lack of brotherly emotion between Lex and Julian--Lex mourned Julian for so long, telling Clark he was like the brother he'd lost, surely his discovery of Julian would have been a cause for joy? It's a creepy sign of how guarded Lex is that instead he seems to be viewing Julian as another pawn on the chessboard.