RedK eps are always fascinating for exploring Clark's psychology, for the reason that Martha articulated at the end of this episode--there is a grain of truth in what he says when his inhibitions are stripped away from him. And truth-saying in Smallville has a kind of violence to it, so profoundly successful is the usual silence around certain subjects. This episode had a lot to say about Clark at this point in time--it's been a long time since we've seen him on RedK and his emotional landscape has shifted since then (though some things remain the same). Additionally, others' reactions to Clark revealed a lot about them and the dynamics of their relationships.
Hot fudge and halibut
Emotionally, Clark and Lois are in a very similar place at the start of this episode--smarting from the failure of their relationships and cranky with Valentines Day. They are contrasted with Chloe and Jimmy who have lost their cynicism where V-Day is concerned. This worked brilliantly for the humour--Clark's monotone 'welcome to the lovefest' line being my particular favourite--though I also liked watching them have totally nothing to say to each other at the bar while Chloe and Jimmy conferred. I love that it was Jimmy's idea--it's so cute that he ships them! And it works within the show because as an outsider to the group, Jimmy's more free to see their potential than Chloe who is too close to both of them.
When Lois puts on the Red-K-laced lipstick she sees Clark come into focus over her shoulder. Apart from being a great shot, this works emotionally since Clark has been close to her, just over her shoulder, for some time now (usually because she's turned her back on him!) With the RedK infecting her (hey, this is SV, we don't have to go into the whys and hows!), she falls for him--the attraction is not just physical, it's romantic. She doesn't just chase him down straight away. She goes home and makes him a Whitesnake CD. Apart from the extreme hilarity of this, it's interesting that the writers chose to play the romanticism card. It worked for me because it pushed Lois more out of character, more obviously 'under the influence', than her simply getting the hots for Clark. At the end of the episode, when she presses for the details of their liaison, she doesn't seem that flapped about the possibility that they had sex. Sex doesn't hold the same omg!significance that it has for Clark or Lana, for example. But the romanticism is a shock--both to Lois and Clark. When Clark jokingly hands her the CD, he was just trying to win the round of banter--he couldn't let Lois have the last word with 'would have been the highlight of your life'. But when he sees her reaction ('I must have really liked you') the grin falls away. I think until then Clark had found the Lois aspect simply amusing--but this shifted it to something more significant.
Lois's arrival at the Kent household was comic brilliance--I loved Martha's reactions. You could see her thinking 'wow, Lois has lost it! And indeed, judging by her outfit, she had. Lois doesn't have innate good clothes sense, and she's been shown to be particularly lacking in discretion when she's in an emotional flap about a guy (the S5 deleted scene where she needed Martha's help to choose a date outfit springs to mind). She's such a dag! And her clothes in this ep were truly cringe-worthy.
I love Clark's reaction in this scene. Before he sees her, he's started showing her sympathy, apologising for the night before. He's kind-hearted where Lois is concerned now. But he's also more vulnerable to her physical charms--he gets completely distracted when he sees her in that outfit. And she unsettles him completely by taking his hand and commenting on how big and strong they are. That totally hit all Clark's buttons, but he tries to resist it. He seems almost relieved when the mix CD is produced, because it throws him right back into that safe place where Lois is a ridiculously dorky friend, not a hypnotically attractive woman. But ironically this is Lois at her most romantic--Clark just doesn't realise it yet.
Lois hits Clark's buttons in a lot of ways in this season--simple physical attraction predominating, but also her repetition of her attraction to how big and strong he is. Clark likes people to like that. But he's also turned on when Lois says she's going to tell him something secret--she'd kill him if he told anyone else. Clark's eyes flicker at that. Secrets are a bond in the Smallville universe, and it turns him on to think he might have one with Lois. The 'secret' is so hilarious it's easy to dismiss it--that she likes slowdancing in the arms of a big strong guy. But actually for Lois to admit this is really intimate. For Clark it contains two strong emotions--arousal at her attraction to his size and strength, but also FEAR at the dancing. Heeeee! That cutaway of him zooming out of the room was one of the best comic moments on Smallville ever!
The fear isn't related only to the dancing though, for we see Clark run for help to Chloe. That was a super-cute scene! Clark producing the CD as definitive proof of Lois's infatuation, Chloe pissing herself over it, Clark whining that it's not funny! But the reason Clark is taking this so seriously is partly because he knows that he is vulnerable to her 'strikes'. Though apparently he is NOT turned on my temporary tattoos--that just freaks him! ;-)
When RedK Clark kicks in with the kiss, naturally the landscape shifts. Faced with a more-than-willing Lois in front of him, she instantly becomes the focus of his attention. His inhibitions stripped away, he pursues her with determination. When she attempts to check that this is 'for real' he says whatever she needs to hear. FANTASTIC acting from Tom on that 'oh yeah, this couldn't be more real' line. However, things don't stay all about Lois for very long...
In many ways this episode was the 'Clark's a MAN now' episode--he's not a timid boy any more and it frustrates him that that's not always recognised by others. He's been alone this season, while others pursued relationships, and we've seen his loneliness. But with his inhibitions stripped away RedK!Clark confirms that he's also felt the unjustness of this--there's a part of Clark that thinks 'but I'm more man than Lex/Oliver/Jimmy--why aren't they with me?!'
When Lois recognises his kiss and is excited that he's the Green Arrow, Clark replies 'hardly' in a dismissive tone. He recycles Oliver's own words in stating that he's in a different league than Oliver. And he hates the Lois is attracted to his normalcy, to the dorky farmboy. This is particularly fascinating because with Lana Clark longed for her to be satisfied and attracted to that normalcy. But the RedK Clark is not content with winning a woman with his normalcy alone--he has to prove his masculinity more definitely and more spectacularly. And preferably in contrast to another man.
There was no need for Clark's interactions with Lois to be about Oliver--Lois was already completely over him, so emotionally there was no need for the Clois to include and mention of Oliver. Yet Clark deliberately chose to assert himself in contrast to Ollie. He picks the most extreme of his powers to show Lois--something that noone else but Clark can do--flight. Absurdly, Jon Jonzz can also do this but he's so completely not on Clark's radar at this point in time, that I feel he doesn't count--he certainly doesn't count to Clark. Annoyingly. And then he chooses Oliver's apartment as the place to consummate his seduction of Lois. He breaks in, penetrating a space that was previously a site of intimacy between Lois and Oliver, and between Clark and Oliver. There was some great symbolism too in placing Lois between Oliver's hidden Green Arrow closet and Clark. She's almost guarding it, without realising that Clark's already been given access to that space--that it's her who was excluded from part of Oliver's life.
Consummation is on the cards, until Clark catches sight of the invitation--or rather the LL, I imagine, since he doesn't know until he picks it up exactly what that card is. So I'm guessing it was those significant initials, in Lex's trademark signature, that stood out to him. It was that or Lex's name, since Lana's name was on the side of the invite facing the audience--he has to turn it round to read that. So, er, apparently Lex has the ability to stop an aroused Clark in his tracks. Hee.
I have a LOT more to say about the Clex in the rest of this ep, but I think that deserves a post of its own. In the meantime, let me wrap up about Lois. Once rejected (awwwwww), Lois takes her comfort in eating everyone's desserts. I love that girl! I love that there were only three left--clearly she'd already eaten her way through the rest. Lois is resilient--she tells herself 'I was too good for him anyway'. I love that even RedK-affected Lois has that capacity! And I loved Jimmy's line: 'It's so weird to see her acting like a girl!'. For that's true--Lois isn't traditionally feminine in the Smallville universe, which is one of the reasons, I believe, that Clark's so attracted to her. Lois is unique in being able to arouse Clark despite himself--she irritates the hell out of him and he still can't help it. That's so unlike Clark! Usually he requires some kind of connection to feel attracted to a girl--a shared power, a shared secret, or the promise of the 'perfect normal life'. Lois offers none of the yes, and yet she still tugs him into attraction. But it comes as a surprise that she is a girl, that she does have romantic feelings and that she is capable of real emotion where he's concerned.
Their final barn scene unpacked this perfectly. Interestingly, as Lois enters the loft she calls out 'girl alert! I never know what I'll find in the grown man's clubhouse!' This has never happened before. Noone has felt the need to warn Clark of their arrival. Noone has recognised that he IS a grown man and that he may just be doing something, er, private up there. I really liked that shift because it reflected the fact that in this episode, Clark's masculinity was foregrounded and asserted successfully. He's not a boy any more. It was cute that it was actually Martha up there--but she is also respectful of her son's need for privacy, leaving promptly, just as she did when Lois arrived earlier in the ep.
Lois is unlike other Smallville characters in wanting to know what happened when she lost her memory. She wants 'the gory details' where others have shied away from them or been content with a glossed-over version. Lois seeks the details out--she'd rather face up to it, however embarrassing. Clark teases Lois, trying to get her to say the words--the suggestion that they might have had sex. And then he's so kind to her and says 'no, I think I'd remember' in quite a kindly tone. Of course, she can't have that--so she punches out the 'highlight of your life' line and Clark tries to reestablish their jokey relationship of oneupmanship by producing the CD. Only it doesn't quite work how he expected. There's more there, more resonance to this relationship, than Clark expected. Awww!
I LOVE THEM!!!
Ok, I'm going to have to break this post up. *headdesk* Damn, I get wordy! I have SO MUCH MORE to say!