And Bizarro showing up again?! AWESOME! :D
Lois and Grant
I'm going to really miss Grant. While it was misguided of Lois to try dating her boss, I did find them cute together and Grant really charming, especially sneaking around in closets. I was pleased to see that Lois was still concerned about her career and earning her jobs legitimately. I also squeed that Lex had requested Lois on the story. At last! Lex has decided that Lois is worth watching, and I'm not at all surprised he didn't fire her--it's keep your enemies close with Lex, and Lois is too much of a wildcard to have at a rival paper.
The break-up had echoes of Lois's break-up with Oliver. She took it on the chin, again, but also drew her boundaries, not letting him kiss her a last time or drag her into teary farewells. She had a resigned attitude about it as well: she is very used to rejection by now, including rejection that has little explanation. And in such cases she tends to attribute fault to herself. She speaks of ruining relationships. Of course if she thinks she can avoid a relationship with someone she works with in the future, she's kidding herself.
I liked the final note of the break-up, with Grant ceding territory to Lois and telling her she's being ridiculous about it being her that takes the stairs. That was a nice touch, given that Grant's been her superior through their relationship and there was always a danger that he didn't consider her his equal.
I thought the bomb plot was played really well. I loved Erica's acting and I think they established really well how trapped Lois was. It was very effective to have her misidentify the caller to begin with, thinking a delivery guy who was staring at her was the culprit. I'm very fond of the way Lois talks to herself when stressed ('pull yourself together, Lois') and her shock at the death of the delivery guy made it completely believable that she wouldn't risk doing anything that could endanger Chloe. Her ingenuity shone in her trick with the mail. The elderly mail lady was very amusing! I like these little insights into Daily Planet working life: it makes me want to write them into a story.
I loved the scene where Lois confronted Lex and Grant, particularly Lex's responses. I think he sensed the tension in Lois as artificial fairly early. It was also obvious that the alarm bells were ringing for him instantly when Lois dropped Adrian's name. Yet he played it calm and smooth to avoid making Grant suspicious. When Lois start reciting Adrian's past, Lex had to take her out, but he didn't do so soon enough: Grant identified them as his own memories.
I'm a bit in love with Lex's pissy expression in response to his clones confronting one another. He looked so righteously pissed off, and yet they were only telling the truth. How tedious, Lex! Lex's indignation sank into pouty glaring that bordered on the petulant, as if he was a child who'd been caught out playing a forbidden game and he doesn't want his toys taken away from him.
Now that we know that Grant was a clone created by Lex (good guess, fandom!), it's interesting to think about what he demonstrates about the Luthor view of 'family'. Both Lionel and Lex tried to reinvent themselves independently from their parents. Lionel then used the force of his personality to dominate the family he created with Lillian. He split sons against one another and he tried to craft Lex into his own creation by pushing and challenging him but never letting him forget who was truly in control: Lionel. In the fencing scene, we see Lex doing the same thing with Grant, in a very deliberate shoutout to Lionel and Lex's fencing bouts of old. Lex saying 'I thought you would have learnt by now: I always find a way to win in the end' could have been Lionel speaking from Season 1.
Lionel was the first to engage in cloning. I'm also reminded strongly of Lionel's entrapment of Emily Dinsmore and the way he kept her in a bubble, in a constructed reality, where he played God. Lex has acted in a similar way with the Grant clones by implanting them with false memories and pulling the strings in their lives.
Given how scarring (real) Julian's death was for Lex and how much he mourned the loss of a brother, it would have been plausible to assume that he was attempting to recreate a lost relationship, to find a replacement for Julian. This was an aspect to his relationship with his schoolfriend and to Clark in early seasons. But in his explosion of rage at the clone ('You are not my brother!') we see that intimacy, familial love and affection is not what he ever wanted here. I suspect he's kept the memory of the real Julian buried deep and considers the Grant clones as imposters, only tolerable when they're playing by his rules. This was an exercise exlusively in control and manipulation.
And yet that IS how Luthors show their love or express their familial bonds. While they may initially crave closeness, they wind up playing cold, distant mindgames. We saw the same shift occur in the Lexana relationship, from tender passion at the start, to dispassionate manipulation towards the end. So I think this is another sign of how far down the path Lex is in terms of turning into his father, and then surpassing him.
Grant addresses this directly when he says he is 'living proof that you've forgotten how to love'. Lex insists that he does love 'Julian', that he considers him a brother. But coming after his explosion of rage at the dying Grant clone, and the fact that he shot him dead and called him a 'mistake', is it any wonder that Grant does not swallow it? I was actually delighted to see Grant jolted out of his naivety. And I loved that he challenged Lex to do the hardest thing of all for a Luthor: let go. 'Free will' is not a concept that the Luthors are particularly comfortable with. Grant has demanded it, and Lex looked visibly shaken. My first instinct is to suggest that he will see this as a betrayal and take revenge accordingly. But by expressing it as a challenge, a way for Lex to prove the genuineness of his affection, Grant has probably won himself some time. Because Lex won't want to lose.
I'm not much of a Chloe/Jimmy shipper these days (Jimmy and Kara are so much fun), but I have to say that I was quite fond of the elevator sequence. It's always fun to see Smallville play with the cliches, and this was a great one. It also provided an opportunity for them to get past one of the things that's been bugging me about their relationship: Chloe not telling Jimmy about her meteor powers.
In keeping with the way they have paralleled Chloe and Clark this season, Chloe's reveal about her powers prompted Jimmy to kiss her as his sign of acceptance. That reflects Lana's kiss when Clark revealed his powers to her at the end of Season 6. Again mirroring Lana, Jimmy also later articulated that the powers didn't change his view of Chloe. I'm glad Jimmy did not let her get away with that excuse about the kiss in the elevator. I was also really glad that she admitted that what the true issue was was her accepting herself, not trusting Jimmy. Reflecting back the other way, that's an interesting comment about Clark and Lana. It doesn't apply quite so clearly there, since a lot of the reason that Clark didn't tell Lana was to protect her. However, I think there's an extent to which it IS true: Clark took a long time to come to terms with his nature as an alien, and for a long time he assumed Lana's reaction would be rejection, because he hated the idea too.
It was interesting to see Chloe use her powers again. Did I miss something or is this the first time we've seen her use them at will? It seems like it drains her of lifeforce or energy or something any time she heals someone, which I think is a good thing in a way. Otherwise she'd become the 'fix it' girl for everyone on the show every time they were injured: it's better to play that power as having serious side-effects. Still, I suspect there's a lot of interesting meta to be written about the nature of the power and it's self-sacrificing aspect.
Of course I knew that something was amiss as soon as Clark turned up with only reassuring words for Lana, and with no word of Jor-El's punishment. However, I didn't guess that he was Bizarro. I was initially thinking more along the lines of him having gone through some sort of transformative experience. Before the reveal, it was actually really fascinating to see Clark let Lana lay her cards on the table and (claim to) work with her. It was a little window into how things could possibly play completely differently. Although Lana initially told Clark she was going to give up her investigation of Lex, it seems more likely that she was just going to bury it deeper. Instead, encouraged by Bizarro, she tried full disclosure as an approach.
There were some insightful observations from Bizarro, particularly about Clark not letting Lana open up about her experience with Lex. And I admired Lana for taking a risk in showing Clark everything, including her most extreme measures (which are not so far from Lex's own behaviour). Lana admitted later that she had considered that rejection was a possibility if she showed Clark this, so the fact that she risked it anyway says a lot about how committed Lana is to this investigation.
Interesting comment from Bizarro about realising that feelings good or bad didn't just go away. Does this mean that Bizarro's finding that he's falling for Lana? It sounded like that. And interesting from Lana's perspective that she assumed he was talking about Lex!
I'm not entirely clear on Bizarro's true agenda, but gaining information was clearly his first objective. I'm excited about the return of Brainiac. Was it just me or did Bizarro look a little bit pleased at that possibility? That's ominous!
And oh noes! Clark trapped in the Fortress?! Eeek! What was Jor-El's plan there? Take him out of action for a month or two? Hmm. Perhaps he's trying to sever his ties with people? I feel a pang for Martha most of all. Poor offscreen Martha will go out of her mind with worry if her son is missing for very long. Of course she's not around to clue in that it's not her real son who's come back to them. Grr! I miss Martha. :(
Other things that made me squee:
- Lois watches the Daily Show! Cute!
- The Daily Planet globe ringed with reindeer = very cute!
- Jimmy's infuriated response to Chloe using her one phonecall to ring Clark was adorable: 'What's he going to do? Dismantle it with his perfect hair?!' Hee!
- Was that a bit of intra-textual meta on the soundtrack from Chloe? 'Always imagined this playing out to a Kelly clarkson song, not Jingle Bells musak.'
- Great slo-mo setpiece in the Daily Planet office!
- And if I haven't said it already, I could listen to the line 'I am your boss. Merry Christmas, Lois! I just bought the Daily Planet' over and over and over and never get sick of it. *glee* I just love the idea of Lois and Lex going head to head. Especially when it involves him out-suaving her and her finding ingenious ways to get back at him (which I suspect she will). Bring it on!