I'm a believer
The first thing to love about this episode: Jimmy was used well. \o/ There was a lot of suspense in this episode for me because I couldn't work out how it was going to end--it actually seemed for a while that Jimmy might end up knowing Clark's secret. The opening scene where he captures the 'blur' on film was wonderful at setting up the 'danger' for Clark. (And wow, the days of digital photography mean instant recognition--hadn't thought that through before!) Also, how cool is it that Clark moves faster than Jimmy's camera can capture?! :)
I really appreciated the way they handled Jimmy cluing on that Clark was Metropolis's mystery hero. One of the things that makes Jimmy unique as a character is his capacity for (optimistic) belief in his hunches. He can read as naive, but in this episode we got to see how special that naive hope can be. Right from the beginning, Jimmy finds it so easy to believe that there is a mystery hero who moves so fast people can't see him. Most people would be way too sceptical (cynical) to leap to such a conclusion. Jimmy SO has an 'I want to believe' poster! ;) As he points out to Clark, he knows he lives in a world where the 'bizarre and unexplained' are real. But what also makes Jimmy's outlook special is that he doesn't assume all of these things are dangerous--he believes there could be supernatural forces for good out there, and he wants to believe in that.
Jimmy understands that his point of view is a leap of faith. He knows Lois is a 'nay-sayer, a non-believer'. He is self-aware about the fact that it is a matter of belief. But he doesn't give up on the idea anyway. And he is right in thinking that it could be his 'big break' on the paper. Tess articulates the reasons why it works: it's a 'tease', a mystery, the start of a bigger story, and it will capture people's imagination.
I also loved Jimmy's research. Because it's true that anyone with an interest could find a link between Smallville and the Metropolis hero. I loved the way Jimmy realised it was Clark mid-conversation--so well played. Clark's prevarication increasingly read as defensive, and Jimmy began to think about the aspects of Clark that could make it likely to be him. As Jimmy begins to consider what it would mean if Clark was the hero, he realises that it makes sense of other aspects of his life--namely, Chloe's behaviour about him.
'You blurred over here, didn't you?' was a very cute line, and I liked that Jimmy got extra proof that Clark was the hero. Chloe and Clark stonewalling in that scene made them look pretty stupid, but I understand why they did so--especially since they hadn't had a chance to talk and come to an agreement to tell (or not tell) Jimmy yet. What I liked was Jimmy's reaction--rather than wallow in hurt at Chloe and Clark not trusting him, he just became more determined to prove the truth.
Another thing I loved was that Jimmy emphasised that Clark would be the same person in his eyes if he told the truth. That was really poignant to me because Clark's had such a hard time with reactions from the people he does tell. Especially with Lana gone, he could really use a friend who saw him the same way either as hero or 'normal' guy. Jimmy's line about Clark always being there for people and that being rare was really awesome because it means someone recognised the hero in Clark is connected to the hero in his 'superman' identity.
I have never loved Clark more than in this season. SERIOUSLY. I feel like my heart is just EXPLODING with Clark-love. And hey, if it took Lex's absence to achieve this then maybe I'm happy that we had a season without him, because loving Clark this much is very enjoyable. I was 'with' him emotionally through the whole episode. His fear of discovery was so tangible. I'm sure other long-term viewers will agree that having watched seven and a half seasons in which protecting Clark's secret has been paramount, the tension surrounding this was immense. But Clark has grown up so much and though this moment is terrifying, life-changing, he faces it maturely ('I think I'll stand'). Tom's acting was wonderful--his 'what am I looking at?' conveying both tentative relief and the desire for confirmation that he is really 'off the hook'.
Clark nearly showed his hand when he challenged Tess about the story. But he did do his best, his strongest card being the suggestion that Tess was doing something that Lex would have baulked at (and I think that may be true).
LAUNDRY PANIC!! One of my favourite scenes. :D Clark realises that everything he owns is red, white or blue: OH NOES! Then he discovers that grey can also be VERY SEXY. YAY!
I didn't think much of Chloe advocating Clark let the story go public. As supacat put it, what does she want him to be? A fame whore? She was acting like Clark's self-appointed PR department. When she talked about people wanting a 'hero', I felt it came more from her own perspective as crazy-Clark-fangirl than from any balanced perspective about what would be good for Clark. I'm glad Clark didn't immediately buy into that. However, her speech did lay the groundwork for him thinking about people needing heroes, and when he got to see ordinary people actually reacting positively to the idea of a hero, I admit that I was moved. What made it work for me was Clark getting to see the publicly acknowledged 'hero' identity as literally 'not him', as something outside himself, something he could hide behind, rather than be endangered by.
I must admit that when Chloe's computer overloaded, I joked that I wished her brain would. Oops! Because that moment actually was intended as foreshadowing--of someone else's brain exploding. I guess we're supposed to find Chloe killing Sebastian chilling, but I just found it silly and a bit boring. I've thought Chloe was that far gone vis a vids Clark for some time--she acts like such a 'cult of Clark' member I have no problem believing that she'd kill for him. And yeah, it is TOTALLY hypocritical given her recent speech about killing never being justified (she meant just for that one person, not for her, clearly!) but Chloe's been a hypocrite in my eyes for ages. Found it lolarious that she dressed up and brought scary black gloves just so she could melodramatically remove them, but other than that the scene left me bored and puzzled. Why didn't Chloe's brain overload?!
Tell me you're sober
I didn't weigh in on all the Oliver-bashing that went on after the scene in which Clark admitted he'd known about Oliver's parents. But I was frankly quite baffled by it. Sure, Oliver was drunk and mean, but wouldn't anyone be if they'd just found out their parents were murdered and their best friend knew. I'd be fucking pissed off if my best friend did that to me. I don't think anyone would be on their best behaviour at such a time, and I also knew that it was very Oliver-like to go off the rails for a while in reaction to that news. Frankly, I sympathise. No, it doesn't make him the 'perfect hero', it makes him a real human being--which is what I like about him. I always had full confidence he would come round eventually, and I absolutely loved the pay-off in this episode regarding that journey.
Having raved above about how much I love Clark, I must say that I don't find his behaviour here impeccable. He turns up to see Oliver only when he himself has a crisis and needs help (um, flashbacks to Clex, anyone?) and instead of responding compassionately he immediately starts lecturing Oliver on his behaviour ('what's wrong with you?'). Clark knows what triggered this for Oliver but he hasn't bothered to go and talk to him until he needed something. I'd expect more from my best friend.
Oliver completely came through as a hero in this episode (in my eyes, at least) because he was able to put all that aside when Clark pointed out that the lives of innocent people were at stake--specifically Jimmy's. 'Do it for him' was a FABULOUS speech from Clark--and Oliver was unable to argue with that, because he knows the dangers in these identity issues so well himself.
I absolutely loved the Clark-Oliver banter 'on the job', including the shoutouts to the reverse episode, in which Clark pretended to be Green Arrow. I looove that they traded favours here. Inadvertedly, Clark provided Oliver with exactly what he needed to snap out of his funk--the minute Oliver saw Jimmy actually in danger, all his hero instincts kicked in.
I loved the 'transition' costume that Oliver wore: jeans, blue hoodie, a mask and red cape. Hee! We're getting there... and how cute was the call about the cape?! 'It helped with the aerodynamics'--whee! Of course, we know that Clark secretly likes the cape and would ditch the mask instead. :D And yay red curtains of foreshadowing in that scene!
I know lots of fans have issues with Oliver's role in Smallville-universe in Clark's journey to becoming Superman, but I find the way both guys give something to each other wonderfully handled. Here, Clark admits that he's beginning to see how 'hero' personas can give people hope, and Oliver finds his way back to being the Green Arrow. Oliver confesses that he feels most himself in that role--and that fits really well with the theme of the episode. While Clark needed to learn that his hero identity could exist outside himself, Oliver needed to learn to 'own' his. I like the parallel/contrast.
Clark redeemed his previous behaviour a great deal in my eyes by telling Oliver that his parents would have been proud of the man he'd become. Oliver's expression in response betrayed his own doubts on that score--he's well aware of his flaws and regrets his bad-boy rebellion. But Clark's ability to overlook that and see the good in people, to focus on the decision that Oliver made to return to Green Arrow rather than his temporary derailment, makes him special. And a true friend.
Waiting for her cross-dressing pilot to make his landing
I found the writing of Lois in this episode excellent, including her attraction to Clark. It was far more subtle than some of the Season 8 material, and I appreciated that. I liked moments like Jimmy noticing that she'd complimented Clark, and the smile we got to see when Clark zipper her dress up. I also 'bought' that she would ring Clark now when in danger. She would once have rung Chloe, but I suspect that subliminally, after things like Clark 'rescuing' her when she was drunk, she's more likely to ring him. She probably expected him to ring the police for help--but even so I liked it!
VERY happy about the scene in the Talon apartment. I love it when Lois gets Clark all confuzzled and helplessly aroused. The dress-zipping was wonderful. Poor Clark! Lois putting her hand on his chest afterwards was delightfully sizzly, and hee, Clark was so terribly defensive with his 'I know what a date is!' (Awww, yeah, you went on one once didn't you, poppet? Once?) Clark's green-eyed monster was definitely showing--his concern about her dating someone she'd just met, wearing so little, and his pointed coughing when Sebastian arrived.
Lois was kickass on so many levels in this episode. First she fought off the mugger, and, even better, she clued into Sebastian straight away, recognising him from Black Creek. I love that she 'protected' Clark by not telling him she was undercover, and also by sweeping him out the door before Sebastian could 'read' him (though she had a double-motive for that, because Clark could have given away her lie). She also did a good job of fighting him off and disarming him. However, we also got to see that Lois gets herself in trouble, gets in over her head and relies on her own abilities a little too heavily, which is why she needs a hero backing her up. :)
Her 'I am a true believer in this red and blue superdude' confession at the end of the episode was the perfect icing on the cake. Yes, Lois is a cynic, but two coincidences in short succession is too much for even her to ignore. And I am THRILLED that she's vowed to land the first interview! Wow! They are really pushing the plot along here--further than I ever expected--and I'm so excited.