This episode showed Lois’s integrity: she handled Jonathan’s inevitable questions about the campaign funds with aplomb, covering convincingly for Martha and acknowledging it as her own decision. Her personal sense of loyalty is such that she wouldn’t even feel that Martha was putting her in an unfair position, and in the final scene with Martha and Jonathan it seemed like she’d been validated by them for her innate qualities of both loyalty and honesty. This endorsement from them will mean a lot to her: being campaign manager is not about money or a career for her, it’s about doing something she believes in.
I also loved this week’s future echo—the sound of Lois’s car pulling up as Clark said ‘I can’t imagine ever loving someone else’. Tom’s delivery was wonderful. I really believed him in that moment, despite what we know will be true. And Lois’s ‘turn that frown upside down skippy!’ was a beautiful reminder of how she frustrates him. That sense of a love that will overcome these odds was gorgeous.
At first I was surprised to learn that Lana had been investigating the ship with Lex, not because it was out of character for her, but because I thought the writers were going to do more with the Clark-leaping-to-conclusions track, though by the end of the episode I was pleased with the handling.
The hug between Lex and Lana in the hospital reflected perfectly the Splinter scene between them, which haunts Clark’s subconscious. We can imagine how it will have hurt him. Once again Smallville plays with surface meaning and true meaning. What Clark ‘sees’ and assumes is happening is not what’s really happening. The reality is more layered and subtle than he could know at first glance. Lana seems genuine in her offer of friendship; Lex, far from being ready to take advantage of that, seems shocked by the intimacy. She’s an icon of hope for him, but he hadn’t expected any return to friendship or trust.
It was interesting that Lex chose to tell her about his vision. I don’t believe he really thought he would die, but having her so close to him when he was (again!) shot in the chest and in peril, must have brought back those memories with great immediacy. The ‘Clark has nice hair’ line was adorable, and underscored the ways in which the three of them are drawn together. Lex’s mind moved from thinking about himself, to thinking about Clark and comparing himself to him (which he returns to eternally) to remembering Clark in his dream and then to Lana. Lana as trophy, as the ‘best thing’ in his dream, makes it seem like she was the symbol for him of being a man equal to Clark, a man Clark could be friends with. Yet what I love about Season 5 is that for the first time, the feelings of both Clark and Lex for Lana are clearly and convincingly more than just desire for an object of perfection. It makes the Lana-related plots far more subtle than they used to be.
Lana seemed moved by the idea of Clark and Lex being friends in Lex’s dream, and although she was uncomfortable with her own part in Lex’s vision, I think this revelation from him may have been partly what moved her to offer friendship in the hospital. Lex opened up to Lana and showed her how alone he was now: that’s something she really responds to, especially at a time when Clark is more closed-off to her than ever.
Who’s the saviour?
Lana tells Clark that Lex saved her life and that she risked her own life in return. It’s confronting for Clark but it shouldn’t be. He too has had people, most notably Lex, risk themselves for him out of gratitude for his own protection. I think some of his anxiety is related to Lex usurping his role as saviour and protector. If other people do that for Lana/for each other, how is he special? Yet he’s in a difficult position, as Chloe points out, because he can't/won’t explain to Lana that he too saved her life. What’s most ironic about Clark’s worries here is that that’s not what really 'speak' to Lana emotionally now. I really liked her line about preferring a fairground prize to Lex risking his life for her. Although it was a throwaway line, attempting to lighten a serious moment, I think it also said a lot about how Lana has changed. She’s no longer the girl that wants or needs that type of protection. She knows the baggage that can come with that and she’d rather do her own protecting.
I liked Lana a lot in this episode because she seems to be making a lot of rational and fair decisions. It was interesting to contrast her to this week’s villain, whose life had also been altered by the encounter with the spaceship. He was also obsessed with the encounter and driven to take desperate measures, as are so many people who encounter Kryptonians at close range (Lex, the meteor-freaks, etc.). It’s understandable that Clark would fear Lana also becoming obsessional about this and she’s shown she has a fixation, but she is also acting in a very emotionally controlled way for someone who has been through so much. I actually feel like he’s very lucky she’s not gone more off the rails.
I loved the scene between Clark and Lana in the barn and the fact that the way he kissed showed her so much. As we learnt last week, all of Clark’s anxiety about keeping secrets for her is attached in his mind to sexual intimacy so it’s convincing to me that he wouldn’t kiss her fully and that she would notice.
The set-up now seems to be about who will be the most truthful to Lana: Clark or Lex. Lana asked Lex for the truth from now on and it seemed as if, after admitting that the ship was missing and acknowledging that he’d hoped somehow to overcome that hurdle without having to admit it to her, he’s realised that really is what she needs. However this week’s freak pointed out that he ‘almost looks like he believes his own lies’ and that has been Lex’s problem all season: he says hollow words with an air of conviction that may no longer be true. So will he really be honest with her? The same question is raised about Clark in the final scene with Chloe laying it on the line and saying that they won’t stay together if Clark doesn’t tell her the truth.
I barely ever bother to complain about the text, because I’ve long ago reconciled myself to how bad it is. But I found it completely unbelievable that in the middle of a senatorial campaign no one would notice Lex Luthor missing!
Got to fly! Wish I had superspeed. ;)