I should stay straight up that I was never a Pete Ross fan. None of you really had to hear about it because I only started posting after he'd left the show. So if you're sensitive about Pete, then I warn you in advance that I'm not very generous to him here. However, I feel the episode won me over because it actually provided some growth for him. In the end, it sat quite well with me.
My first reaction to Pete's return was: didn't he learn anything in his time in Smallville? Beware of glowy green substances! (Jimmy, I'm not so sure that Pete's 'smart'!)
I loved the warmth with which Lana greeted Pete. She really glowed! I never saw any chemistry between those two at all, but I felt like Kristin made a special effort here to show how glad Lana was to see an old friend. In part, I think that might be because Lana's a lot more confident a person now, and she's been through so much, lost so many people, that I can see her really valuing the ties with those people still left in her life. Maybe I'm reading way to much into that small scene, but I enjoyed her excitement at seeing an old friend.
I also liked Pete's (completely justified) double-take at Lionel being at the Kents. And at first I liked the nostalgia-trip of seeing the boys play basketball together. But so quickly, the old issues I had with Pete reared their head again. I never had any sympathy for the way he used to whine about how hard it was to be Clark's confidant and friend. It's not that I don't see that those emotions--the insecurity, the jealousy and the resentment--aren't natural, but it's the way he feels so willing to air them and actually seems to thrust them on to Clark as if they're Clark's fault. Pete needs to resolve these issues himself--not make Clark feel even worse about his powers. Sheesh! I felt this even more when Clark was so young and vulnerable. When he first told Pete his secret he was so afraid, and Pete's freak-out really didn't help his intimacy and trust issues!
It kind of broke my heart to hear Clark say 'after the danger I put you in knowing my secret, I actually didn't want to tell anyone else'. I think he's being gracious there. It wasn't just the danger--it was also Pete's reaction. Clark saw how hard it was for Pete to live with. And sure enough: Pete brings it up again! Whine whine whine, my life is crap and i's all your fault, whine whine whine. And then Clark drops the bombshell that Pete didn't return his calls. Ouch! But Clark seems so magnanimous about it, and it's actually Pete that passes it off as selflessness on his part. Which would wash if, as Clark gently points out, Clark had actually asked for that. But instead we have Pete martyring himself and then complaining ('I had to leave my life behind because of you, Clark, but it was better than living in your shadow')
Now maybe I'm being unfair to Pete, because he was under Kryptonite influence. I'll try and remember that--and I'd particularly like to think Pete's nasty little threat to expose Clark was only due to the GreenK--but it's tough because the attitude Pete shows here is consistent with his past issues. And GreenK aside, I find it really ugly that Pete didn't come back until he was able to upstage Clark's abilities. Evidently that is the ONLY reason he came back. What a little egotist! It's not all about you, Pete! Maybe Clark might have needed a friend. Hey, guess what, he DID! And Chloe and Lana have shown that it's possible for people to have a far more compassionate response to sharing Clark's secret. It's not easy on them either, but they also make it clear that they consider it an honour to be trusted with it. Pete, you need to grow up and stop indulging your testosterone-driven competitiveness.
So I was very glad with the resolution scene between Pete and Clark. Firstly, I found Clark's attitude to Pete very magnanimous and mature throughout the entire episode. He didn't take Pete's issues on as his own problem and he forgave him for bitching at him and threatening him with exposure. He accepted Pete's thanks generously, without making Pete feel small about it. I am VERY glad that we got a clear apology from Pete for blaming Clark. And Clark looked really moved by that, but as if he didn't want to show how much it meant to him. He's stronger now and able to weather that blame a bit better--but I think it still means a lot to him that Pete acknowledges it. And I confess that Pete's 'I gotta find another way to save the world' actually gave me shivers. I think because it was so unexpected. I thought it was a cool twist to hint at a change of direction, a growth into maturity for Pete.
One of the things I did enjoy about the episode was Jimmy. It was great to see his quick photographer's instincts at work. The fact that his first instinct was to photograph Kara dancing suggests to me how visual a person he is--he saw the photo opportunity. And then wound up catching the 'hero' shot! Even though it was an accident I like it when they show us these little touches of who he'll become.
And while I did like the sparks between Kara and Jimmy, that ship never really went anywhere. I'm not surprised now that the air has been cleared between him and Chloe he's thinking of her again. Particularly when a little bit of jealousy flared to make him aware of his feelings. And I found Jimmy's stumbled 'I should have just said I was, right?' very adorable. I find myself happy to see them smoothing things out again.
Clark Mark II
I enjoyed the Lex parts of this episode the most. Seeing Lex pull out a little gladiator figurine made me squee, and then I was instantly fascinated by the crest and what it could mean. Although, amusingly, the star constellation on it kind of looks like a reverse Southern Cross, so it made me wonder if the Luthors had some kind of Sekrit Southern Hemisphere Past, lol. (Clearly that's not NEARLY interesting enough!) I love Smallville's visual imagery though so I instantly went into decoder-mode trying to make sense of what it could mean. I'm particularly interested in the way that the stars are framed within a sun. Given Superman's connection to the sun, I found it intriguing that they'd chosen to go with that. And what does the 'V' symbol mean? I can't wait to find out more!
Lex is loving the situation he's in now with Kara. Having her express her doubts about Clark must be so gratifying to him, it validates all his longheld resentments. And there was so much suggested in the Kara-Lex scenes. She is SUCH a Clark substitute for him! I laughed so hard when he reached for the Ty Nant bottle: 'Let me just go over here and remember Clark some more.' I thought it was quite cool that Kara had worked out that Clark had no medical or dental records. Nice one! And of course it provided the clever line 'who doesn't get sick?' Delivered to Lex, that has added power--it's a subtle shoutout to the audience, reminding us of Lex's unnatural healing ability (something I'm sure he'll keep from Kara). His appeal to Kara, was completely reminiscent of his old appeals to Clark: the shoulder grasp, the promise to protect her, and the underlying selfish motivations.
From a continuity perspective it was exciting to see Lex pull out the shots of the Kryptonian symbols at the Kent farm, and to hear that he'd showed Kara Lana's old tattoo. The idea of him having someone to show off his portfolio of Kent-related memorabilia makes me both excited and giggly. And is response to Kara asking to move in was glorious. It was simultaneously chilling and hilarious. You could see his subconscious flipping over and thinking 'wheeee! a girl!Clark of my very own! and she's asking to move in!' How long will he be able to hold off on making moves on Kara? Or will he just play it smart so she makes all the advances--I kind of think he'd rather it that way. What he wants is a Clark (or Clark-substitute) that wants him, that sees him as a genuine protector. He gets everything with Kara: an alien of his own to control, and also revenge on the alien who rejected him.
Am I the only one that was puzzled/amused by Lionel's emphasis on the word 'visiting': "Kara has been 'visiting' with Lex." He made it sound like a euphemism! For...? *g*
Not only does Kara work as 'Clark Mark II: the improved receptive version' for Lex; she also works as someone he can identify with. Her frustations with Clark match his. And when he promised her he'd help her get her memory back it made me wonder if he was subconsciously reliving his own experience with memory loss. Except rather than lie to him and tell him to forget all about it (like Clark did) he tells Kara he'll do whatever it takes to return those memories to her (like he wished Clark had done with him). The fact that the memories are potentially dangerous to her and could cause quite the identity crisis and conflict with others is not his predominant concern. And in this I have to agree with him. I never bought the 'lie to protect' business with Lex, and I don't buy it now with Kara. There are ways to tell her the truth and keep her grounded, I'm sure. Sure, she might fly off the handle a bit at first. But after the initial shock it will be better for her. SURELY?!
I'm not surprised by Clark's avoidance of the Fortress. Whenever there's conflict with Jor-El he practices avoidance, although he always winds up back there eventually. In due course, I've no doubt that Jor-El will give him a serve about not bringing Kara straight there. What I was pleased about, though, was seeing Clark want to tell Kara the truth. And I'm not really sure why Lana and Lionel thought she wouldn't believe them. To me, it's quite obvious that the bigger danger is in allowing Lex to be the one to reveal the secrets to Kara. Why oh why are they giving him that power?!
So when I saw Clark burying the bracelet at the end of the episode I shook my head in despair. I do feel a little as if the writers have forced this plot to set Clark and Lex against each other once again. And I'm kind of torn, because I do love the Lex angle on it. He's so fun to watch and it makes him a more sympathetic figure to have him be the one supporting Kara in her search for the truth. The Clark angle kind of makes no sense.
Kara's not so far from the truth when she says that Lana and Clark 'lie on auto-pilot'. They've both got very good at it, though she doesn't realise that Lana honed that skill under Lex's tutelage, not Clark's. Ironically it helps Lana keep Clark's secret more effectively. I really liked her line about Lex being the hero at the exact moment that you need him to be. But I sympathise with Kara pointing out that the best way to prove the truth of that would be to tell the truth herself. And it was very interesting to see Lana thrust into Clark's old role in barn scenes of stone-walling and criticising Lex, while the other person vowed to find out the truth eventually. I actually thought Lana would regret her actions there and go to Clark and agree it was best to tell Kara the truth. I thought she was empathising with Kara. After all, she's been in Kara's position so often hereself. But no.
Back to things I enjoyed... Chloe's little run-in with Lex. As much as I understand Chloe's indignation at the power that Lex is exercising here, I really don't think she stopped to think before mouthing off at him. He's her employer, and she's pretty naive if she thinks that management don't monitor activity on work computers anyway! Again, this was a situation in which, despite who he is, Lex had more of my sympathy. Chloe is his employee and she wastes a hell of a lot of time on work time and using work property pursuing her own agenda. She holds the audience sympathy because that agenda is protecting Clark. But objectively? Chloe would have been fired by a vigilant boss a long time ago for time-wasting. And the minute Lex took over the Planet, Chloe would have been wise to stop using her work computer as control centre for Clark Kent,
Also, Chloe was kinda hypocritical to call Lex on espionage when, um, that's what she does to him all the time. Seeing those two fire off at one another was entirely enjoyable though, so I say bring on more snark!
Final random thoughts:
- I thought One Republic were quite enjoyable.
- Every time I watch Smallville after a break, Tom's beauty takes my breath away all over again. He seriously is the perfect example of male perfection. *happy sigh*
ETA: Apparently the chewing gum is a real brand. *laughs and laughs* Of all the stupid things Smallville has done...