I loved this episode so much that I almost don't know where to start.
I love that Oliver clearly adores Lois 'despite her personality' as Clark put it. Her socially awkward cringe-moment ('sorry about your oil tanker') was hilarious, but Oliver suaved it out. Justin played Ollie's mixed emotions so well--embarrassment (after all, he's a well-bred boy), amusement (he doesn't have much love for that guy himself I suspect) and frustration (both socially and sexually--hee!). This week I had a little moment of insight into why people may not enjoy their chemistry--for me, I'm a sucker for the 'impossible to date sassy woman being pursued by adoring guy' set up. I always shipped Lois/Clark more than Lois/Superman. And therefore the Oliver/Lois relationship is perfect for me. It echoes so well the future canonical Lois/Clark.
And in this episode we got to see the first interaction of Oliver and Clark. This interaction proved to have great significance in terms of Clark's character growth, which I'll tackle shortly, but in terms of relationships, it was also interesting. Oliver brings a refreshing clarity of insight about the Smallville characters, with some great calls on both Lois and Clark in this ep (having already snarked at Lex last episode). His 'I'd have masked my feelings in sarcasm too' line was a brilliant come-back to what was actually quite a sharp (bitchy) call from Clark about Lois's personality. Oliver's no idiot. The 'masked in sarcasm' call cut both ways, and I think his eyes were opened about not only Clark's feelings, but also Lois's. He can see there's chemistry and denial there, even if they're still willfully blind to it. It was interesting to see the shot set-up in that scene, because Oliver walked to the back of the room, leaving Lois and Clark in the foreground.
The writing team are realling earning their bucks this season--Clark and Oliver weren't the only ones with good lines in this scene: Lois undercut both of them with 'just for the record, that's not me!' about them 'marking their territory'. I also love that she walked out on them leaving Clark alone in Oliver's apartment at midnight. Hmmm. We'll get back to that. ;-)
First of all--she has some! Hooray! Secondly, I'm glad to see how unrushed it is. In Season 4, when we first saw Lois stumble into Smallville, she broke all sorts of social rules. She still ignores people's boundaries and oversteps the mark socially, sometimes unknowingly. In Arrow we saw her bumble in the more elite circles of Metropolis society. Her faux pas are trademark, but she has evolved far enough to know she's blurted out the wrong thing now (at least some of the time). Part of it is nerves and awkwardness, masked by false bravado and a desire to please that means grabbing the limelight even when that limelight then just shows up her flaws. It's endearing--if you like that kind of honesty.
I also think her journalism career is being well handled. Lois may be getting front pages stories at the Inquisitor, but she's still only investigating at a surface level. Despite having clues dropped, she persisted in viewing and investigating Green Arrow (Bandit!) as a villain. It was Chloe who saw more layers there and who articulated the moral subtelties to Clark, neatly echoed in her 'I'd drop the Bandit' call. Lois remained blind to them, and while that worked for the plot, I think it also works well for her character development--she's not the fully perceptive, astute journalist of the future yet. Nor should she be, for she must grow over time as the other characters do.
I liked her interaction with Chloe in this episode too, particularly her call about not trusting 'part' of Chloe. I think that's spot-on, for we know that although Chloe has great loyalty to her friends, her desire to know the truth can outweigh other loyalties--we saw this in the past with Clark. But Lois still trusts her to a certain degree, and they both get something out of the exchange of information. It was nicely balanced so as not to put either character at a disadvantage. Chloe's changed now too--she has a secret to protect at all costs: Clark's secret. And that means that she and Lois cannot ever work together fully. This episode also made me realise what Chloe's sacrificed to be the holder of that secret--she can't fully reap the benefits of her investigations of the supernatural (or superhero) for fear of outing Clark. That Chloe hasn't complained about that shows what a true friend she is, because journalism is such a strong ambition for her.
Watching Lois and Oliver is a joy for me on two levels--I'm loving the Green Arrow in his own right as a character, but I'm also loving the way he doubles as the Clark-of-the-future with Lois.
I'm glad we got backstory on Oliver Queen this episode and got to see him in his full superhero act. They used the Batman music too! And while it's frustrating that they didn't get rights to Batman, it's still fun to see them play with that. Queen is not as dark as Batman, and I think that actually works well here. In some ways, they get the best of both worlds with Green Arrow, but it's a balancing act that I can imagine won't work for some. Me, I'm a sucker for a boy in leather with a hi-tech bow-and-arrow--what can I say? ;-)
This episode showed the Difficulties of Dating Lois Lane incredibly well. Oliver clearly crushes on her ('I think this Green Arrow guy must have a thing for you'), but Lois is far more interested in his other identity. And she's a liability--at the party, it was Lois who came closest to foiling his jewel-thievery--and Oliver must experience such conflicted emotions there--'that's my girl!' mixed with 'goddam it--I nearly brought about my own downfall!' I also felt for Ollie when she turned his Cancun offer down, even though there's no way I'd want Lois to blow of journalism to be a beach bimbo. Poor Ollie! Has he even got a snog out of her yet? I don't think so. :-( It was therefore cathartic to see him get his bitchy side on a little as the Green Arrow. His call about her 'tombraider act' being a cry for attention to Daddy was very perceptive. The good character calls keep coming from the writing team. I liked that Lois fought and fought hard, but was still unable to escape. She was never a victim, but she was outgunned. Plus, it was hot as hell when she flipped him over!
And Oliver is also, of course, vulnerable when it comes to Clark--he got catty pretty fast with Clark after he realised that there was a lot more to 'Smallville' then Lois had made out. There's jealousy there, and he's afraid that Clark may be right when he says you can't be with someone properly unless they know who you are. I really wonder what he will do from here vis a vis Lois... I could watch those two swan around town together endlessly, but it ain't an easy relationship.
Lex on top
I didn't see the twists coming with the Lex/Lana/Lionel triangle. I'll fess up! For part of the episode I was deeply amused that Lex might learn some good 'lackey management skills' from Lana. (Because seriously, the guy's still got issues with that!) Amusing as this was, I was glad to be proved wrong. The circle of Lex-Lana-Lionel is fascinating. I am really glad that Lana acted the way she did--both Lex and Lana continue to exercise confronting honesty with each other. But Lex is the one ultimately pulling the strings. He's also neatly reversed positions with his father--and chilling as that is, I'm glad he has by Season 6! Otherwise I'd be whining! It's Lionel now who has an image to lost in regard to the Kent family. And once again, it's because of a love obsession as well as the mystery at the core of that family. Lovely lovely parallel and reversal--ah, Smallville does it so well!
But influence doesn't just go one way. Although we got to see how Lana's being drawn into the Luthor web of manipulation, we also got to see a more carefree Lex in this episode. They went jogging together (didn't Lana do that with Jason? Her relationship with Jason prefigured her relationship with Lex so heavily!) and was that water I saw Lex drinking?! Heavens! He hasn't drunk that on-screen since... when? Season 3? A long time, anyway. I liked that he's clearly enjoying the genuine side of their relationship. But he's such a Luthor, and there are a lot of layers at play.
In other notes, I was amused to hear them do a global warming shoutout about the Kryptonian device. And though it would not have been very Smallvillian, I desperately wanted Lana to reply to Lex 'no, you must continue the research if it will solve our energy crisis!' Hee. On a more character-driven level, I like that Lana is watching out for Lex and does fear his ambition and drive. The fact that it could be a weapon is not scary at all unless there's a weak link in the chain of people who know about it--and she must fear that that is Lex himself. However it's also interesting that she hates/fears aliens to such an extent now that she's happy to see a weapon developed against them. Having faced down Zod has firmed up her boundaries/morality in a certain way.
Speculation: I wonder if we will see Lex develop this 'weapon' and get an op to use it on the Phantom Zone escapees?
Some minor complaints
Oh, Martha, Martha, what are you doing? It's hot to see you out with Lionel, but is it WISE? And Clark, why don't you talk to your mom about the necklace and where it came from? Why don't you guys talk? And we didn't get to see Lois tell Martha about her new job. That was a little disappointing for me, but if I have to sacrifice Lois/Martha for anything, it would be for Lois/Oliver/Clark! ;-)
Justice League Babies
Aww, they are so cuuuuute together! I'm shipping Oliver/Clark hard now. I love that both their differences and their similarities were clearly, even textually (shock!) articulated in this episode. And both have penetrated each other's private spaces. Clark not only bursts in on Oliver's intimate scene with Lois, he also uncovers Oliver's private weaponry. Likewise, Clark comes home to find Oliver in the barn. He'd been reading about him there, which implies an intimate interest, but the invasion is still not completely comfortable. Both men are wary of one another, though having shared their secrets, they're already bound together. They test each other's boundaries in that final scene. Oliver already has an articulated position about the use of his super powers: ends justify the means. We already know that Clark firmly opposes this view. He continues to do so. But Oliver also calls Clark on the brittle nature of his own morality. 'You have such a clear idea of right and wrong' he says. But Clark admits, and I was glad that he did, that 'it's not as clear as it used to be.'
No matter whose morality you sympathise most with, Oliver is one step ahead of Clark in one regard--he's already living his life by his own established code. He's successfully managing to balance two identities. Only one person threatens that--Lois. In this way, Oliver serves as a good template for Clark to model his own life on. It should give him hope that that balancing act can be achieved--and of course he will dismiss Lois as a threat because he's in denial about his own feelings there. (Hee!) Had Oliver been introduced earlier in Clark's development there would have been a danger that Clark would have been swayed to Ollie's morality. But Clark's self-assured enough now to state that he will never feel that way. Oliver accepts that but still extends a hand to Clark, for when Clark is ready.
Personally I really enjoyed that. I wondered whether some fans might find it annoying that another superhero plays an important part in kickstarting Clark's 'career'. I didn't find that problematic because I think that we all define ourselves against others, and Clark needs to see that there's a bigger stage that he could act on. Oliver wasn't really telling him anything he didn't already know--but what Oliver might be doing is reminding him of that bigger stage at a time when he's receptive and nearly ready to take it on. It gave me chills of excitement!
I'm a little rushed this week, and have to go out now, so apologies if I don't respond promptly to comments, but I am dying to see what other people thought about the ep.