This is dangerous! I know where this leads... it leads to monkey bombs and RAGE and above all heartbreak and disappointment. :/ But just for this brief bubble in time, because it may really be the last time ever, I want to capture my excitement about Smallville delivering some of the joy it is possible for it to deliver.
Above all else, the thing that surprised me most in these four episodes was that I loooooooved the Clois. OMG, their chemistry was off the charts! And there was not so much Lois!fail! \o/ The JOY!
OK, it was still Smallville so it still had plenty of WTF and plenty of stuff I had to handwave and plenty of stuff I had to blinker out, and I no doubt benefited from watching four eps in a hit, not all strung out, but there was so much GOOD, there really was!! *flail*
So, I understand from my friendslist that many people enjoyed this episode, and I definitely see why. It was definitely the episode that won me back emotionally to the show, to Clark, and to the Clois.
I've really struggled with the power dynamic in the relationship for a long time. I know other people have seen Clark's affection for Lois for a long time but I honestly struggled to. I felt the imbalance in their emotions keenly. Perhaps for that reason, if I'm being honest, having Lois know Clark's secret but Clark not realise that was really, really good for me in terms of balancing things out again. Lois kind of emotionally had the upper hand in that situation, and I feel like it therefore allowed her best qualities to be displayed. When she visits Clark in the barn at the start of this episode she really tries to reach out to him and give him the confidence boosting talk that he needs to jolt him out of the emo-ing. And she does a pretty damn good job of it despite having to tiptoe around the truth!
At first I wasn't sure about the premise of a reunion--frankly because I didn't expect them to handle it as well as they did. The flashbacks to Clark meeting Lana for the first time and hearing Chloe talk about the Wall of Weird really worked for me. Baby!Clark!! They made me ache with missing Lana and Chloe the way she used to be when she was my favourite character on the show. I thought the Chloe fans were actually really endearing and Clark's WTF face at the GenY-ness of the Wall of Weird being on an iPhone was adorable.
Undeniably, this episode really was a gift to long-term viewers of the show, with its use of characters from early seasons and its call-outs to a different era of the show. While the joke about no one remembering Lois went there wore a bit thin, it also kind of worked in terms of positioning the audience in Clark's perspective. The school days did hold so many memories for him and the 'move on from the past' message was definitely one he badly needed (thanks Brainiac!).
Also that crown and Clark's facial expression in it is the funniest thing I have seen in a long, LONG time.
And then came the bit where Brainiac showed up to tell Clark to stop being a douche-y boyfriend and RETURN OLIVER'S CALLS ALREADY. What?! That's totally what happened! :D Have to say I found that scene a little invasive though... how would Ollie feel if he knew that Clark was lurking behind him staring at him in some weird non-time-travel-time-travel scenario? (don't even try to work it out! it's Smallville!)
TOOOOO MUUUUUUUUCH FLAAAAAAAAIL about the fact that Oliver's code to his secretary is that 'any calls?' means any calls from CLARK. LOL!! And also, OMG OLIVER YOU WOOOOOBIE! You wear your heart on your sleeve so hard. Let's just cut to the dialogue shall we:
Clark: He's always so Oliver I didn't know that he needed me.
Brainiac: But he does.
Clark: Well, I don't know how not returning his calls amounts to some darkness within me!
LOOOOOOOOOOL. Hilarious line! I love Clark's snark, I really do. Except! I take issue with it because I think it DOES point to a weak spot in Clark's character. It's the same weak spot that allowed Clark to ignore the fact that his friend was spiralling and suicidal. The same weak spot that thinks that being a good friend is giving someone a LECTURE. No, I don't think it's exactly a 'dark side' but I'm super glad that Clark got a chance to see things from Oliver's perspective at least briefly. It's always been incredible to me that Clark does not see just how badly Oliver desires his approval, desperately both needs and wants Clark in his life. The fact that Oliver makes his own decisions, acts on a different moral code than Clark, confuses Clark, I believe, into thinking that Oliver is less attached and less reliant on their friendship than he is in reality. Brainiac, take it to the bridge...
Brainiac: Help Oliver be who he can be: today, tomorrow. Be there for him now and stop punishing him for his past with your SILENCE and your DISTANCE. (emphasis ALL MINE)
My joy at having someone actually say these words to Clark KNOWS NO BOUNDS.
Then just when I thought I'd got everything I could from the episode it turned out that Brainiac had an even more awesome message to impart: CLARK. You actually become this REALLY AWESOME DUDE. With a kickass girlfriend! Level up and get there already! :D :D :D And CLARK LISTENED!
The glasses! The glasses! OMG they were so hot! And omg future!Clark was SO AMAZING. That scene in the lift was so incredible! I love that Clark basically fanboyed himself! And helicopter! WHEEE! The epicness! That cute little motion that Lois does to indicate 'get the glasses on already!' The way he GLOWED about Lois protecting his secret! Woah, that seriously REALLY turns Clark on, doesn't it?! Their rooftop kiss was mindblowingly hot. And that Clark BEAM came out! I was powerless...
I also loved the way that future!Lois knew all the Clark pitfalls and had them all down: emo? Kryptonite? I forgot our anniversary? She fully had a checklist! Adorable! She pep talked perfectly and this riffed really well off the way we'd seen her attempt a similar act earlier in the episode.
Oh yeah there was some stuff about Jonathan too but I do not care for that. :D
The follow-up was brilliant too! Clark showing up for Oliver's press conference was great. It took me by surprise because I expected it to be cast as 'Clark graciously gives Oliver his approval' but instead I think it was played more as Clark opening his mind a little and really listening to what Oliver had to say and how he carried himself and finding some inspiration in both. I actually saw him recognise that Oliver already carries this wisdom about not dwelling on the past. Their exchange of smiles was so incredibly different to me than other glances they've exchanged in the past--for once it was really Clark saying 'hey, I SEE you, I heart you being yourself here' and Oliver showing that he appreciated that and was touched by that. Clark showing up meant so much to Oliver but for once Clark did not abuse that privilege, did not act like that made him the better man. And perhaps he got to see a little just how much faith he can give to others when he opens their heart to them--he can help them have belief in themselves. I felt like they both grew up a bit in that scene. I adore it.
As if that wasn't cute enough and hot enough, they gave us that amazing barn dance and Clark flooooooooooooooooooated! OMG floaty barn!dance, floaty barn!dance! I LOVE YOUS and the Clark FULL BEAM smile that was so blinding Lois had to snuggle into his chest in refuge! LIVING IN THE MOMENT!!! OMG!
All in all: gorgeous episode, MUCH LOVE. Did not believe it was still possible for Smallville to lift my spirits like this!
OK, so admittedly this episode had some batshit. Isis!possession was pretty LOL, though Erica did her best with it.
But! It had cute (Lois dorkily rehearsing in front of the mirror), it had great lines ('Oliver, you're better than Christmas!' YES HE IS), it had blatant gay metaphors (coming out!), it had Oliver giving Clark advice (What are you willing to risk for love?) and OMG, it had CLARK TELLING LOIS HIS SECRET FOR REALZ!
Before we get to that, let me mention the other stuff I appreciated about this episode, which was mostly: Tess. I've always enjoyed her and Oliver together, I think they challenge one another in interesting ways, and this episode did not disappoint in that regard. As Oliver said, Tess is one of the few people that calls Oliver when he gets too ridiculous. She really hangs in there with him and in fact she has even less reason to do so than Clark.
Admittedly I'm pretty much just ignoring all the emo-ing about Chloe because I don't connect with it emotionally at all. I don't miss her in any way and I never saw any chemistry between her and Ollie... and Justin has chemistry with everything so that's saying something. But! I do respect the way they handled Tess taking over Watchtower. She really does respect what Chloe (supposedly) means to Oliver. I found it incredibly moving that Clark and Oliver were willing to take a leap of faith with Tess and make her that offer and her reaction was just gorgeous.
Now, the Clois... their initial flirtation around each other with the donuts and the coffee had me all aflail, but it was nothing to their final scene together. I never thought Smallville would run so long or Clark would grow so much that I would hear him 'come out' to anyone, of his own free choice, the way he did to Lois. He really laid his heart open, admitted to the fear that he feels but take the leap of faith anyway (and interesting that it comes on the heels of him opening his heart to other characters too). The fact he turned away from her at first when saying he was the Blur was really telling, I think. He was prepared for a bad reaction, he really was. But he also wasn't nearly so shaky as he would have been a year or so ago... he turned around ready to face whatever her reaction was.
And omg, how cute was that tackle!hug/leap into his arms?! Lois FTW! Her reaction could not be more adorable. And Clark looked like a happy little boy beneath her, and that cheeky GRIN of Lois's?! The 'yup, I totally knew' one? SO MUCH ADORABLE! Lois wins! Lois WINS!!! (haha, yes I evidently do view dating as a form of competition!) But it's all good because Clark was overjoyed at it being that easy and it must have been such a relief to him that Lois was already not only accepting of the truth but (ahem) turned on by it. YAY SHIP! YAY! \o/
Amid my excitement about the Clois I did have a moment of sadness as a Lollie shipper. Seeing Oliver save Lois ... for her to fall into Clark's arms brought out all the poignancy of that ship all over again. It was the whole journey in microcosm and Justin as usual totally brought it with his look of sadness. I know it was supposed to be all about how Oliver realised Lois was right with Clark but just was sad that he'd lost his 'the one' but... I don't think I'll ever stop shipping Lois and Oliver, really--I felt like his heart was breaking a little bit all over again (though I do believe he respects their relationship and I love him for it).
OK, premise of episode: BATSHIT. But who really cares when it gives cute scenes like Clark and Lois running over all the past incidents and Clark explaining they were all, yup, Kryptonian. And total LOL that Lois thinks it's like dating Bono. And that Clark parses that that is GOOD. I found them really cute together! Even if Clark was being a bit Edward-Cullen-y with his 'I just want to make sure that you're safe' nonsense. It was made bearable by the fact that Lois definitely did show that she can handle things pretty damn well on her own. In fact, as was (yay!) revealed in this episode, she can even save Clark on occasion!
Skipping over the batshittery, that was the most beautiful moment in the episode for me--when Clark realised that Lois had saved his life. Lois took it relatively lightly, in a cute 'yeah... huh, that DOES seem like something I would do' way, but for Clark it was totally amazing. I think finding that out added another layer to his love for Lois and especially his appreciation of the way she protects him. Clark is so used to saving others and not very used to being saved himself.
The other huge, HUGE thing in this episode was Alexander. Or rather: Lex. Wow. Just... wow. I cannot believe they managed to sell that! At first, when we found the clone lab I was really excited at the creepy potential. But then I felt like they'd treated it really crassly with that one hideous deformed Lex clone. I didn't feel that guys acting was good enough to carry it off and I also felt it would have been more powerful if we'd never really seen the 'bad ones', just heard about them. The kid!Lex was definitely a powerfully creepy idea from the get-go though. But even so I didn't expect it to deepen into anything as disturbing or powerful as we saw.
I give an awful lot of credit for this to Cassidy, who is acting her heart out with (at last!) some brilliant character material. Her obvious bond with Alexander and all her hopes for him were obvious to the audience, but it was oh so chilling to hear little Lex himself dissect her psychology. I was so glad they were able to get that older kid actor back to play Lex--it helped a lot, and they even paid attention to the barn lighting (maybe it was a fluke)! I confess I never expected the writers to have a strong enough grasp of past seasons to be able to draw out Lex as well as they did in the barn scene between him and Tess. The scripting was so totally Lex. He pushed and pushed Tess's buttons until she hit him. It was terrifying how quickly Lex gained emotional ascendency over Tess.
So I do really understand the decision that Tess made at the end of the episode to destroy the antidote (and yay continuity with that btw!). It felt like things had come full circle in terms of the question 'can Lex be saved?' Here Tess technically has the power to 'save' him but concludes that the world needs to be protected from Lex, that he is basically unredeemable. Few things could be convincing enough to justify that but a fast-aging clone who has access to all Lex's memories and distorted beliefs is chilling enough that I can buy it.
Having said that Lex's views are distorted, I do also want to say that at the same time, his perspective was completely coherent and sympathetic. If this boy really does have access to 'our' Lex's memories, and if he really is haunted by dreams of the all-powerful Clark who wants to kill him (and it is convincing that Lex would think that) then it seems near impossible to persuade him out of these beliefs. He's also aging at such a rate that he does not have time to process the emotions he is feeling. So to my great surprise I find myself once again able to both sympathise with Lex's beliefs but feel that he's crossed so deeply into darkness that he's unreachable and potentially terrifying. It was so, so creepy to cut from the Clois love scene to Lex's mad scribblings.
Now, let's backtrack... WOAH THE HOTNESS of 'I want you to know me completely, no secrets'. Waah, and the way he grabbed her head before saying that!! (But kinda LOL about 'the one' line: that is such a GUY line!) But pretty, pretty, PRETTY sex! And oh the way they stared at each other, soaking each other up! It's so crazy crazy romantic!
The hotness rolls on into this episode! Morning after, whee! I have to say that their morning flirtations were a little reminiscent of the sweetness of post-coital Clark/Lana, for me, but I didn't mind. I'm not sure how Clana fans would have felt, of course, but I liked the continuity in a way. I'm happy for Clark that he finally has this happiness, I guess. Seeing his amazing smile this often is just so intoxicating!
I was personally very happy to see the return of the General and Lucy! Once again we got to see the writers actually pay attention to the previous seasons and write some continuity! I always felt very sympathetic towards Lois's family situation and I felt like Clark didn't really understand it. This was explored well in this episode. Clark doesn't realise how unusual his family was--he didn't have a dominating adversarial parent the way Lois did. Even though I found Jonathan pompous and self-aggrandising, Clark genuinely loved him and respected him. While I'm sure Lois does love the General, his aggressive tactics are at a very different level of manipulation. I don't feel it was fair of Clark to demand that Lois stand up to the General for him--you can't dictate to your partner what their relationship with their parents should be, and frankly if you know nothing about having a dominating/abusive parent you should back off and respect whatever they need to do. Which is usually the path of least resistance! Because you can NEVER win against parents like that.
Speaking of which... it is SO CLEAR that Clark would totally be like the General as a parent. I can just see him sitting his daughter's suitors down and grilling them. And also giving them a list of things to do! *eyeroll* The writing was pretty overt about drawing the parallel between the General and Clark! The part I liked best was the General's line that no one stands up to him the way his wife used to. Ahh, yes, this is why Clark needs Lois. Clark too needs someone to stand up to him sometimes and speak the hard truth.
I was amused to see that in the end Clark came to understand that the General had been testing Lois not him. I imagined him thinking 'ahh! I get it! My dad tests me too! And I always fail! I understand this dynamic!' And then at the dinner he was all aglow with the pride of: I HELPED LOIS PASS HER DAD'S TEST, OMG I AM AWESOME! \o/ Hee!
I'm so glad that Lois handled Lucy's shenanigans with such aplomb. Her understated reaction of 'really?!' to catching Clark and Lucy kissing was brilliant. Those two are a funny pair but I still kind of like Lucy.
Meanwhile I was also enjoying the Tess/Oliver plot. I am sad that those two won't be hanging out in Watchtower more because I do love them together so much. But I also found Oliver's territorialism to be well-written. Yeah, even weathering the Chloe stuff... I can deal.
And Oliver showing up in the barn (Clark takes his calls now! WHEE! Good boy!) and then having to hop out the window as if they'd been caught snogging was really adorable. Yay, BFFs!
I'm finding the whole vigilante bill thing a bit X-Men and am not sure it fits so well in this universe but hey, I can roll with it. It's hellishly better than many an element we have suffered through in the past! And I'm definitely ok with it positioning Tess, Clark and Oliver on one side and other 'heroes' on the other.
Yes, I know, no doubt there is much badness ahead. Please, please don't tell me about it. I will suffer it all soon enough! Meanwhile I shall be here in my happy bubble, soaking up that Clark Kent SMILE.
(Did that really just happen? Did Smallville make me happy again?! O.O)
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