Not being spoiled means I had a LOT to process about this new season of Smallville, very fast. So let me get it out of the way now before I talk details of the episode.
Things that must be said straight away
1. I miss Michael! Waaaaaaaaaaaaah! When they showed a clip of him in the 'previouslies' I wailed.
2. Lois and Clark at the Daily Planet! Lois and Clark at the Daily Planet! *happy dance* IT'S BETTER THAN I DREAMT POSSIBLE!
3. Somehow the show has retained a balance of awesome, completely crazy, and I-don't-care aspects, despite new dynamic, as well as the necessary aspects of Pretty and Slash. :D
Things that make me euphoric with happiness
- Lois and Clark! Lois and Clark! They're going to be working together. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! He filled in the application. I never dreamed he would! After years of waiting for him to leave the farm, I'd ceased hoping for such miracles.
- Oliver is back! And he is clearly dating Clark. In fact it feels like he has been dating him all along! He was all 'I'll never give up on my boyfriend!' and he looked all excited at the prospect of Clark joining them.
- Tom! OMG the PRETTY! It is at new levels of amazing! Or is it just the drought of the hiatus making it seem that way? *ponders* No. That Russian fight scene was out-of-this-world. I was seriously sad to see him lose those greys, but then he looked so pretty dying I got over it. ;)
- The previously was KICKASS!
Things that I am Not Happy about
I had mixed feelings going into Season 8, as I'm sure many long-term fans did, and sure enough there are a few things that I am genuinely not thrilled about. However, I'm not going to dwell on them because the show gives me a lot of joy in other ways and I'm determined to enjoy what I can. For the record, these things please me not:
- Tess Mercer. WTF she's in the credits?! I was unspoiled for this, and am not thrilled. I don't like the idea of someone taking Lex's place, I think that's a huge mistake from the writing team. I had assumed the villain of the season would be unrelated to Luthorcorp. As it is they leave themselves open to comparisons between this new Luthorcorp and the old. No one can beat Lionel and Lex for Machiavellian crazy, and I groaned at Oliver's line about her. More duplicitous than Lex? Er... no. And if she was, please show, don't tell. I don't buy it. I don't buy her. And I seriously HATE her taking over the mansion, which is Lex's space. If I was to get into her at all, she needed to be a stronger actress and less obviously one of Lex's long strings of minion brunettes. I guess it would be cool if she turned out to be Mercy (Mercer? possible?), but I found her predictable and her scenes yawn-enducing. They were lines that Michael could have lifted to another level but this actress was incapable of doing so. She pinged well off Lois, but that was it.
- Chloe plot. All of it. I cannot believe they gave her MORE powers. Of all the unnecessary things... they took a plot I already disliked and made it ten times worse. Also, she may have a photographic memory now, but apparently she's really dense. It took her that long to work out she was not being held by the DDS? And why the hell would she comply with anyone in the first place? Think before you act, Chloe! It didn't really matter though because the bad guys were too dumb to work out that with only three numerals remaining in the phone number, they could have just found the correct number anyway by trial and error.
- Chloe and Jimmy, marriage, yawn.
Now let's talk about the promising stuff...
Taking a step forward
The most exciting aspects of the episode for me were those that moved the show much closer to a Metropolis-based future.
I was thrilled to see Lois's hair a darker shade, and I love the new cut. She kicked ass in this episode, and it had great continuity for her as a character. Once again, she's saving Chloe! She was first introduced into the show when Chloe was presumed murdered, and we know she'll stop at nothing to rescue her cousin. I love that loyalty, and I love that she had infiltrated the facility so wonderfully. She got there faster than Ollie and Clark. AND she actually had a workable plan. Love it!
I was totally blown away by the final scene between Clark and Lois. It was a coda to the episode that I had not anticipated and which totally seems to frame the whole season as being about them. Clark was so chuffed with himself. I loved his little cheeky grin at Lois's surprise at seeing him opposite her. His compliment to her about doing well made me laugh--from Lois's point-of-view that was pretty funny, considering that Clark was the one who struggled to pick up the nuances of her plan and who pretty much just tagged along. More important to her is the fact that she has reason to compliment him. I'm glad that Lois had a chance to see Clark's 'attempt at heroism'. Oblivious to his true identity, she never usually sees heroic!Clark.
A lot of flak was thrown at Lois and her fast rise as a journalist--most of which I found chronically unfair. I am completely on board with Clark as a journo and for the sake of the great plots that may arise am prepared to handwave the implausibility, but I think it bears saying at least once that it is way more implausible that Clark obtains this position than that Lois did. Lois was accused of using her looks to get her position. Will Clark be accused of the same thing? Somehow I doubt it.
The Justice Leaguers
I love 'em. I know they'll draw the ire of some fans, but I find them great fun and could watch them gallivanting around Metropolis happily all season. I'm thrilled Justin's in the credits. Aqua still can't act, but he looks ok, and I found myself enjoying Dinah's scenes a lot (though I prefer her out of character).
It's Oliver who really makes that team work though, and Justin put in a marvellous performance this episode as Clark's
The final scene on the street corner between them was wonderful. I liked Dinah's little suggestive comment about a form-fitting costume for Clark (Clark: *stares into distance thoughtfully* 'yeah... I am a hottie'), and Oliver's excitement at Clark acting like 'one of them'. The rescue of Clark gives him a closer bond with them, and that makes the future seem all the closer.
Waaah! Lose your powers, lose a few more braincells, it seems. I adore him, but oh my he wasn't at his smartest in this ep. (Though very, VERY pretty!) I can forgive that though because apparently he really, really needed a coffee (LOVED that running joke!).
And hey, who am I to complain when they construct a plot around the premise 'Clark, human, sweaty, bleeding and in the rain'?! That's SHEER GENIUS! I forgive the crazy implausible Russian caviar plot (Russian caviar mafia find dead hot guy in Arctic and turn him into their slave?!). Because that level of hotness requires no explanation. :D And then they took it even further and had him fight Oliver, the only guy on the cast who can hold a candle to Clark's pretty, and who was undercover as his saviour. *flappy hands of joy*
Clark, having failed to come up with an escape plan better than 'hit guy, steal car' himself, struggled to understand Oliver's cunning ways. I loved his confused face! 'It's Oliver! But he's angry at me. What's the plan here?!' Of course the Russian guys were not fooled. It was no doubt transparently obvious that the random hot blond billionaire had the hots for their slave. But hey, they got paid, who's complaining!
The angst got amped up massively when Oliver was controlled by the green-K serum and shot him in the chest. Eeeeeek! I hate it when Clark gets hurt so there was a lot of wincing from me. When that second arrow went through him?! Eeek! I thought his powers were going to return to save him--it was a real shock moment. I loved that Clark knew it wasn't the true Oliver, and I felt so badly for Ollie watching his best friend die at his hand.
Clark absolutely broke my heart too, in the way that only Clark can. (Tom you have become such a great actor!) His death-vision and him lying weakly in MM's arms was seriously heart-tuggy. He looked so beautiful waking, healed, in the sun in the barn.
I'm not sure what I think of J'onn giving up his own powers though... that's a MASSIVE self-sacrifice, and it made me wonder what comic fans would make of it. I think it does add a huge incentive for Clark to make something of his own life though and I'm glad to see him taking immediate action to do so--I would have wound up pretty annoyed if he hadn't. When he put his red jacket on again, I got little shivers of happiness. Go greet your future, Clark!