Two things that I found it useful to keep in mind when watching Season 4:
1. Never apply logic to the Smallville universe.
2. When all else fails, look for the pretty! (one of the things I love is how great the production quality was by Season 4--so much love for the visual direction)
Warning: this got looooong
Season 4 saw the arrival of Lois. As a Lois fan from way back, I started squeeing from the first sight of her at Chloe's desk--and I loved that her introduction to the show demonstrated both her tenacious investigation skills and her steadfast loyalty to her loved ones.
Also, she held up the long tradition of talking on the cellphone while driving in Smallville. :-)
Like Lex, this resulted in a crash. Unlike Lex, she didn't get a snog out of it, but she DID get an eyeful!
And so did the fangirls! Ah, naked Kal-El ... obsessed with cherubs. *reminisces*
Meanwhile, Lex was going all Indiana Jones on us. Personally I have deep love of his impeccable white suit and wished we'd got more of his globetrotting adventures!
Al&Miles showed an admirable commitment to nudity, nudity and lots more nudity in the season opener.
(Aside: supacat will tell you that this scene actually caused me deep angst. Long into the season, I assumed that Lex was still receiving transfusions. Yes, yes, of course I should have known better than to expect continuity from the writers, but I was young and naive, you know?!)
We also got to see Clark (or rather Kal-El) go zooooooom!
Margot Kidder guest-starred.
And the show temporarily explored the role of mothers (refreshing after Season 3's father-obsession). One of the major highlights of the season opener for me was Annette's acting--not only can she scream really well, she can beat someone's chest convincingly and she does motherly comfort like noone else.
In the less-functional family storyline, we found Papa in prison. Ripped Lionel doing push-ups on books is definitely my favourite incarnation of his--love him without the hair.
Plus it facilliated lots of Lex/Lionel snark through the prison bars--and doesn't Lex look purty?!
Also! Random Lionel implied-prison!rape scene! (My love for S4 can perhaps partially be explained by my adoration of absurdism and wtf-ness--this instance has me rotfl.)
Lois, meanwhile, was busy disregarding other peoples' personal space. A mortal sin in secret-ridden, privacy-obsessed Smallville! Personally I was all for this. I found her transgressive-ness fascinating.
Plus it provided us with comedy gold in the form of perplexed and pissed-off, shower-damp Clark.
Al: I think something's missing...
Miles: I know! We need more ...
What this cap doesn't show is the amazing back-ripple that Tom performed. I swear I've rewound that scene 50 times. Who knew backs could be so erotic?!
I really should mention Lana--a lot of the season was about her. Kinda. There was brief Clana angst, but Lois was sceptial about it all: You two?! Really?!
Lois and Chloe got to hang out as cousin-pals at school together.
And one of my favourite scenes of all time ensued:
Awww, look at that grin!
Lana this season came with bonus Coach Teague! I had great fondness for Coach Teague--he was so peppy, he had such disturbing mother issues. *happy sigh*
The Clex action was angsty this season--there was lots of use of this shot set-up, a fave of mine. And it was back in the day when Lex was still channelling his inner woobie.
But that didn't stop Lex investigating his plane's door being ripped off--in fact the first time that Clark sees Lex after that incident, Lex's body is covered in the evidence of that investigation--a beautiful visual representation of how Clark sees Lex: steeped in suspicion and obsession.
So Clark channelled his energy into ... football. Ah, the sublimation! He didn't get his hugs and kisses from the team straight away, but he did get them.
You've got to admire a show that can tough it out with a punctuation error as glaring as this:
Which boy do they mean exactly?! I'm guessing it's Mr Pouty!
Context: The Slashiest Scene of All Time
That's right--Lex bought the football team. Ok, he sponsored them. He put clothes on their backs. To quote the famous icons of said event--he put his money where his mouth is. Clark and co. running around with 'Lexcorp' badges on them was definitely a highlight. And just check out this backdrop of male flesh for Lex's love-letter gesture to Clark.
I think Coach Teague knows what's going on!
Of course there had to be a green k plot here somewhere, and indeed there was, resulting in Chloe going all fangirly.
I hurt for Chloe losing her dignity like this, but Clark's girlphobia is always fun to watch.
Speaking of girlphobia... this is one of the best shot set-ups of all time. Lois had absolutely no qualms about using Clark as bait in her investigations. Again, I loved the gender reversal--pretty boy distracts suspect, rather than pretty girl distracts suspect.
In an unguarded moment, Lex's devotion to his man was obvious.
He's watching Clark... watching him closely. The change in Lex this season was fascinating--this shot shows it brilliantly--he played his cards close to his chest and he watched and he waited. I'm sure in his mind he was leaving the ball in Clark's court--waiting for the magnanimous gesture. You could also argue he let Clark hang himself.
It wasn't all angst though! Bart (aka The Flash) dropped in for some fun. I loved this ep!
And let's just freeze on that face for a moment. *blisses*
And Clark got some joy out of using his super-skills freely, albeit just in football and just in his own back yard.
Season 4 also brought us Tom's acting tour-de-force: the episode Transferrence, in which Lionel decided he liked being Clark.
Though things turned a little creepy.
And he didn't exactly blend in with the Kents.
Lex and Myx get slashy, but of course Lex totally plays him in the end. And here we come to another missed-opportunity for continuity. Personally I like to think that Lex has an entire floor full of beautiful super-powered men that he will one day release on Superman. *g*
Lana went all witchy.
And while ‘Spell’ wasn’t widely liked, it did give the girls a chance to vamp it up.
Oh, the glorious wrongness of the Clark!dance.
And chained up boys are fun!
An unexpected moment of poignancy and intensity was provided by Michael and his supreme acting ability--he turned the farcical premise 'play the piano until your fingers bleed' into a true horror, and provided us with a Clexy rescue.
In Bound, we got Lex in a tux. Mmmm, yum!
Making out with a Clark substitute in deliciously hot fashion.
Clark had some *issues* (aka jealousy) about this.
Thankfully there was a balm coming for Clark in the shape of Alicia. The ice skating date was one of the cutest things of all time!
Caps by acampbell and oxoniensis