My OT3s (hee! multishippy me!) were all over this ep. It amuses me greatly that Clark is currently in two relationships--he's the ghost figure in Lex and Lana's relationship and he's the glue in Oliver and Lois's. Oh, Clark! Actually my heart was bursting with love for Clark this episode. He's grown up so much--he not only has faith in himself, he has faith in others, that's what came through to me this episode. And it's gorgeous.
Lois and Ollie finally made out!! Wheeeee!! \o/ And they looked gorgeous, though personally I'm completely baffled as to why Lois left to take off the absolutely gorgeous dress. Ok, it's cute that she came back in one of Ollie's shirts, but ... I'm fanwanking that she had extremely hot underwear on under it that she couldn't wear with the dress. Or something.
Anyway, the disappearances begin! Get used to it Lois. I liked that Lois's reaction was to view it as partly her own fault. She's used to screwing up a lot and she's nervous in relationships--so she thinks that she's partly to blame. But she puts a very peppy cheery face on it to Martha and Clark. Though we also learnt that she's well aware of the power imbalance there (billionaire/tabloid reporter--still more plausible than billionaire/muffin pedlar!).
When Lois first announces that she and Oliver are breaking up, Clark's response is just what we would expect from him--'I'm sure you'll find someone more suited'. While Lois thinks he means someone closer to her social status, he really means someone without a secret identity. And when Oliver sends Lois flowers, Clark immediately jumps into judgemental mode: 'you forget everything he's done!' Which of course is completely hilarious because Lois is not swayed by flowers anyway.
Clark is able to help Oliver only because of the information that Lois gives him. In confronting Oliver's problem he also finds himself protecting Oliver's relationship with Lois ('that could have been Lois coming through that door'). And the journey of acceptance, forgiveness and thanksgiving that Clark undertakes in this episode leads him to play a key role in bringing them back together.
Of course Lois is in complete denial about Clark's significance and indeed is frustrated by what she sees as his inappropriate meddling. When Clark tells Lois that he was 'looking out for her' and went to talk to Oliver at his apartment, Lois responds with a despairing frustrated 'you didn't?' I loved her line 'I have 20/20 vision, I look out for myself.' This is true of Lois, however in this case what's needed is x-ray vision--to see beyond the surface level actions in the relationship to the cause behind them (the injection that Clark saw Oliver take). For better or worse, Lois and Oliver need Clark to keep them connected. Once Clark imparts the news about drugs to Lois, she's fine with it. Ah, dear Lois! Give her flowers and she'll blow you off. Tell her you have a drug problem and she'll be by your side. ::happily amused sigh::
I thought Oliver's attack on Lois was well handled--it looked like an instinctive rage response to being attacked. And then his voice slipped for a moment when he said 'I didn't...' This seemed like real regret and I adored their coziness in the doorway reunion at the Kents.
Clark encourages Oliver and Lois to patch things up--he invites Oliver to Thanksgiving and he shoos Lois off to the door to greet him. There's a sense of acceptance in this from Clark, which is very healthy for him, I think. He's not letting his experiences with Lana dictate how he views other people's relationships now. And it worked! I love that Ollie and Lois glanced at each other when Clark said to think about what they're most thankful for in their lives. Eeeeee!!! That one is going to break my heart when it ends.
The Green Arrow's dark side
I thought Oliver's superhero rescue sequence at the start was well set up. It's the first time we've seen him step in in to stop a crime and it left me troubled. He could have killed that guy in the car crash, so I was already wondering if this was his usual MO. It's possible it was since we saw him deliver the 'cops will have a key' line and we didn't know he was taking the drug yet. If so, it bothers me as a bit reckless--but I have this prob with nearly all superheros and it's not as bad as some of Clark's casual chucking around of meteor freaks has been. However, the other thing that I was very conscious of in the scene was how much harder it was for Ollie than for Clark--to the point where it seemed almost implausible without superspeed. He needs so many gadgets to help him through.
And then of course he has the mortality issue. Brilliant! I'm so glad they explored this! We've seen that Clark himself is not successful as a mortal. Green Arrow's shooting echoed Clark's shooting in Hidden perfectly, complete with the same panning-back arial shot. This was a great way in to exploring Oliver's jealousy of Clark. Because while it was the drugs that made him come out with it, I do think Oliver is jealous of Clark's abilities, is frustrated by how much it takes to keep himself in shape (such lovely shape!) and equipped with all the gear--and even then he risks death time and time again.
(Aside: um, nice hot scene with Clark walking in on Ollie working out--and hey look! Ollie's wearing Clark's clubbing top from Red! ;-) )
So Oliver dabbles with a dangerous chemical solution, familiar territory for Smallville, but well integrated into the themes of the show. Naturally it comes with a side-effect--rage. I wasn't surprised to hear Oliver blurt out his frustration about Clark 'bailing hay' while there was a crime wave in Metropolis. That was bound to grate on Oliver, despite his patient 'when you're ready...' statement. But it was when he showed Clark the door that I knew that something was causing a personality shift. Because we know that Clark and Oliver have an 'open door' relationship now.
Oliver claims Clark's 'only concern in life is protecting his own identity'. In the past this would have been a fair call on Clark. However, we know now that his concerns stretch far wider than that--he's just vowed to rid the world of the Zoners for starters. This call was similar to Lois's call: 'I don't desert people when they need help'. Neither is fair of Clark as he is now, and both calls are based on the character making them not knowing Clark fully. But from their perspectives, that's what they see--a cross Clark has to learn to bear.
As Oliver worked himself into his rage, the crux of his anger comes to the forefront--'staying alive'. It's the mortality issue that divides him from Clark at a fundamental level, and having lost his parents (when?) Oliver must be hyper-conscious of it. While his anger is chemical-enduced, the concern behind it is not. He does risk his life to do what he does, whereas Clark does not.
Clark played a very Supermanly role in this plot, calling Oliver on his sloppiness and later confronting him over Lex's (possible) killing. This came nicely to the foreground in the resolution scene between Clark and Oliver with Oliver saying 'I'm not even in your league'. Awww... But you will be! And Oliver describing Clark as 'able to bring justice to the world without having to worry about getting killed in the process'. I think it's great that the role modelling works both ways now--Oliver sets Clark up as his role model now--pointing to Clark's strict morality. Oliver's has always been looser. And he knows he's got a darkness in him from his bully past. It's only his human self that keeps himself in check--he's got nothing else to draw on. So Oliver needs to be very clear about his boundaries.
Oliver was well and truly out of control by the time he held Lex to ransom--his voice was slipping, he was reckless and aggressive. I love, love, loved that Lex raised the question of which was faster--an arrow or a bullet. And then they put it to the test, and hey, guess what? They both kill you! Good, going guys! (MEN.)
Again, Oliver's rage was grounded in his real emotions--he really doesn't think much of Lex and so his disdain for him comes out. And Oliver views him as a killer--well, that call is fair. But Oliver and Clark have also got stains on their record, so a pot/kettle situation there.
Oh, Clark! The knocking phase didn't last long. Once again he's doing the burst-in at the mansion. And I still don't buy that he's not at all concerned for Lex--when he said 'Lex could be next' it sounded like concern, not practicality. Also, he burst in in the heat of emotion, only back-pedalling when we saw Lana. And when Clark walked in on Lex shot dead he looked really ouchy and moved. Good to see, too, that Clark's fingers went straight to Lex's pulse. He's had lots of practice, I guess. And hee! Apparently super-speeding Lex to a hospital isn't good enough for Clark anymore--he's got to resuscitate him himself. Leaving aside the rather dodgy medical judgement involved here, I found this rather moving! Though I wish Clark had seen fit to use the opportunity to remove some of Lex's clothes... Oliver tried to appeal to the part of Clark that is deeply anxious about Lex and his role in the world, but Clark was having none of it--both for moral reasons ('that's not for us to decide') but also for emotional ones if that eye flicker and frowny brow are anything to go by. And don't tell Clark to let his man die! You'll get thrown across a room!
On a Lex level, let's pause for a moment to consider that once again he's been a) shot, b) killed, c) administered a foreign dangerous substance, d) been gifted with regeneration and e) left to baffle all this out on his own. What a life!
I loved Clark's emotional journey about Thanksgiving in this episode. At first he wants to keep it low-key, saying 'I'm not feeling very thankful this year'. And wow, Martha actually mentioned Raya--points for continuity! (Usually when Clark's girlfriends die everyone forgets in the next ep.) It was interesting that Clark told Martha he was struggling with the idea, a legacy of Jonathan's, that he should be thankful for his abilities. This was a bit of a step back for Clark to his Season 5 emotions of 'if only I didn't have abilities/if only I wasn't this person, nothing would have happened'. That's a pointless road to go down, and I'm glad that Clark worked past it in this episode, through his experience with Oliver. When Oliver echoes Jonathan's words that he should be thankful for his abilities and who he is, Clark reflects on this and realises that he should be as well--he can't tell Oliver to do that and not apply it to himself. Yay!
And this gratitude of Clark's expresses itself in being magnanimous with invitations to Thanksgiving lunch after all. I loved that scene! Clark staring around the table as the patriarch of his little world. Lois and Ollie being love-birdy and Chloe getting smushy messages from Jimmy. Martha and Lionel chinking glasses... and yes, I teared up again. *headdesk* We learnt that Thanksgiving is a hard time of year for others as well--Oliver thinks of his parents, Lionel thinks of Lillian. It made me wonder if the others round that table were thinking of lost parents--Chloe and Lois both have missing mothers.
And I have to do my little happy dance about the use of music in that scene--again, nice lyric choice from the SV team. The 'she said noone will love you more than me' line worked really well for Martha, especially after Clark's tribute to her. And the 'I'm waiting for you to believe' line was in keeping with the theme of Clark's parents having faith in him leading him to have faith in himself (and others). And was that a Chlarky echo? 'I wish that love was all it took, I'd fall into you if I could...'? And Clark DID make a graceful recovery from his aborted attempt to pursue something with her.
And then it even worked for the Lexana scene as well (could that table have BEEN any longer, btw?). The 'I'm not easy' line was perfect for Lex, but also with that connection back to Clark. And was the lyric 'this ain't hallowed ground'? Interesting. *geeks*
Ohh, near kiss! Wow! norwich36 will be excited! I love that Lionel has obviously been so restrained around Martha for so long that she's finally cracked and it's her that acknowledges there is something between them. I liked their near kiss, but I'm actually very glad that Martha drew a line and said she didn't want to explore it yet. Mainly because I think Clark is going to FLIP OUT. Despite the hints we've been shown recently that Lionel is evil again, around Martha he behaves like a paragon of virtue. He seemed so genuine. It's a perfect echo of early season Lex around Clark. He's a different person when he's with his son or investigating alien technology--and as with Lex, that split is going to catch up with him one day and become apparent to Martha. But I like that they may have a dalliance first.
The go-to girl
Chloe and Lana are friends again. Interesting. Especially as it was made immediately obvious how awkward this is for Chloe, given her friendship for Clark. The other source of awkwardness is Chloe's view of Lex and Luthorcorp. I was intrigued to see how this would be handled and I think the writing team got around it quite nicely with having Chloe validate Lana's caution rather than slagging off Lex. And I was amused to see Lois turning to Chloe as well this episode. Hee! She's really set up as the alternative problem solver to Clark. And Lois, for one will continue to favour her cousin. And now Chloe has another secret to keep! Lana's pregnancy is a big one to hide from Clark.
At first I wondered whether Lex was setting Lana up to work with the Halfway House. The convenient brochure and overheard phonecall seemed like Lexian manipulation. But then I realised that it was for plot purposes and that Lex was genuine in not wanting Lana to work with them, though not necessarily for the reasons he states. Regardless, I liked the symbolism--Lana wants to work with reformed or reforming adults, Lex tries to palm her off with charities related to 'youth' or 'victims'. Hmmm. This isn't Lana any more. She demands to be taken seriously as an adult and asks 'what is it with people feeling like they have to protect me?' In the past lines like this from Lana have annoyed me because she did seem fragile. But she doesn't any more--so I had a lot of sympathy for her there.
Ok, so I gather that the Lana pregnancy has already prompted fanwars? Why am I not surprised? I was, it turns out, spoiled for this one. I read the word 'pregnancy' somewhere ages back before my eyes flicked away but was never sure if it was a joke or not. Turns out not. Am I bothered by it? Yes and no. I like what it does for Lana, I'm not so sure about it for Lex. But I don't mind how it's been played on the show so far and I will continue to reserve judgement until I see how the show handles it--sorry but I hate kneejerking about spoilers before I have the full context of the episode(s).
You know what I REALLY REALLY LOVED? The Clana scene! *dies* No, I ADORED it! I teared up! Now that they're not together the history between those two plays really well as denied intimacy and tenderness. And, yeah, ok, maybe I was rewatching Mortal and Hidden the other day and found them cute. Go on! Press the defriend button! You know you want to! ;-p
That fireplace of Lex's? The coldest fireplace in the world. So much for the promise of warmth and love and intimacy. Instead, Lana's alone in front of it. And I loved her facial expressions when Clark burst in--she's alone not just with her conflicted emotions about her pregnancy but also with her emotions about Clark and his continued connection to Lex. And I really loved how the scene played from there with Clark showing real concern for her and Lana trying to fight the urge to open up to him. And the back in time line slayed me. That's the heart of the tragedy in the show--if you could go back and change time and make it different... and to have Lana saying that to Clark? With Lex the ghost between them? Eep! *tears up for all three* And then Lana shut off again when Clark hinted at accusing Lex of something--despite everything, she'll protect him in front of Clark.
Lex and Lana are in black a lot recently, but when Lana came to tell Chloe she was pregnant, she wore a white jacket. I wonder what that means--especially given Lex toying with the black chess pieces earlier. And then in the icey final scene between them, she was in a white robe. I don't know if it's too early to say, but my guess is that the pregnancy is going to mark a key turning point for Lana with her in opposition to Lex.
Although that's in opposition to the way she behaved with Chloe, shutting her off from telling her the news about the Halfway House. Obviously Lana feels very conflicted right now. I'm really intrigued to see where she goes from here. But oddly far less interested in Lex. As I say, I find the current plot great for Lana, but meh for Lex.