Lana asks Chloe to be her maid of honour--but it's also quite obvious that she doesn't have anyone else to ask. She admits that she can't afford to lose Chloe, who's really her only friend. Chloe suggests that this might be because she's been pressured by Lex to give up her friendships, but I think that's a misplaced suggestion. Lana is responsible for her own relationships and could have made more of an effort to sustain them.
At first I was surprised that Chloe was so delighted to be asked to be Maid of Honour. But Chloe also lacks female friends, and I'm sure she would rather be able to continue a friendship with Lana--it's just become very difficult. The 'elephant in the corner called Clark' is the major hurdle, but I liked the fact that the girls addressed this directly. I particularly liked Lana's request that Chloe stop denying that there IS a secret about Clark. Chloe's nod seemed to indicate that she recognised the fairness of this call. Lana has said she will respect their friendship enough not to ask her to betray Clark--that's a big step forward towards a healthy friendship for these girls.
Chloe and Jimmy
I really liked them in this episode and I was sad to see them falling apart, but this has been coming for some time and I found the way it unravelled convincing and successful. I think Jimmy had a right to be surprised by Chloe's passionate defence of Clark ('a grown boy'!). Of course it read as jealousy to Jimmy! And Chloe may feel that's not justified because she knows there's a meteorite connection, but that just allows her to ignore the hidden truth in Jimmy's words. She may be in denial of it, but she's still attracted to Clark--and she was 'outed' on this in this episode.
I thought it was interesting that Chloe asserted that Jimmy was 'her guy' when she delegated to him. So being someone's lackey translates to being 'theirs' emotionally to Chloe? Very telling given her relationship with Clark. I don't think she's aware of it, but I think she has imprinted on this as a model for a relationship, but it's not one of equality--either with Clark or with Jimmy.
I actually loved their break-up scene. Jimmy's shock at Clark's actions was fantastic. Because viewed objectively they were inexcusable and I'd want to hear more than just that the person was beating themselves up about it. Chloe is a little to confident--she doesn't have a good cover story for Clark. Perhaps she's forgotted how disconcerting Clark's odd personality changes were to her before she knew the cause. There's another difference--Chloe and Lana and Lex and his family always absorbed these things and eventually forgave him because, well, he's Clark and they love him. But Jimmy isn't glamourised by Clark. He has no reason to see past the actions. Chloe's reassurance comes to slowly. Jimmy's heart is broken. :-(
Lex and fatherhood
Lex has a strong drive towards fatherhood, demonstrated in this episode by the excesses of the baby's nursery. For me, there were strong echoes in this scene of Lionel and Lillian. The mobile and the blue tones of the room brought to mind the nursery scene with Julian. And the chandelier overhead reminded me of the excessive nature of Lex's own upbringing--that enormous birthday table and the absent guests. The excess of material wealth and the absence of genuine emotion. Lana's own reaction on entering the room definitely echoes that discrepancy between the demonstration of emotion and the internal reality--for her, at least, this is too much at this stage. But then Lex shows himself to be genuinely invested, with his cute 'Mr Duck or Stegasauraus' question, and her first ambivalence dissolves. If this is genuine for him, then it's less overwhelming for her.
However, there is a genuine difference between her and Lex at this point in time. He is eager to announce the pregnancy, whereas she argues that she wants people to know she's marrying him for him not the child. This is true of Lana--we've seen that her pregnancy wouldn't have stopped her leaving Lex if Clark had opened up to her. However, I'm not sure this is true of Lex. Lex wants Lana, yes, but the child increases his desire tenfold.
Later in the episode, it's revealed that Lex already has 'control' over the pregnancy--he confers privately with the doctor and we learn that the pregnancy is abnormal. How much of this does Lana herself know and how much is being kept secret from her? If Lana does know, her mixed feelings about becoming a mother are even more understandable (though I think they're also quite understandable given her youth and the suddenness of the pregnancy).
Although we don't fully understand why yet, on Lex's part, he's clearly invested in the pregnancy and the course it will take. This resonates with all sorts of parts of Lex's psyche--starting with Julian and passing through the gaping emotional voids left by Duncan, then Clark and through the damaging relationship with his own father. We saw Lionel play god with his sons' lives, setting Lucas up against Lex. Now it is Lex who sees a child as his final hope of salvation. I have no doubt he would be as overcontrolling. How chilling!
Tell me you don't love me
Now let's get to the fun stuff!
RedK!Clark: So, let me show you one of my favourite passtimes: breaking into Lex's mansion.
Lois: Um, I'm not sure, Smallville...
Clark: Just trust me, Lois: it's hot!
The engagement dinner was so beautiful, so serene, so civilised. The contrast between it and Clark and Lois's RedK trashiness could not have been greater. Lex toasts Lana, who looks radiant in white, with triumph in his voice, but it is totally upstaged by Clark's triumphant arrival. Lex doesn't at first realise the danger that should have been signalled by Clark's clothing--all black. His initial 'what are you doing here, Clark?' is more bored that scared. But he grimaces when Clark says 'you didn't think I was going to miss this did you?' For it makes emotional sense that Clark would interfere in this event in some way. Every step of the Lexana relationship has been dogged by Clark's presence so far. Why should this be any different?
So Lex reconciles himself to a confrontation, but he still doesn't expect what follows, nor does anyone else in the room. Clark circles the table tearing away the smokescreen around each of his relationships. First he calls Martha on 'raising a glass with the enemy' (what IS she doing here? Lionel isn't even here!) and accuses her of racing to marry Lionel. (Mother and son have not discussed this overtly, but it's no surprise that deep down Clark is angry about Martha's developing relationship with Lionel.) Then he turns to Chloe and delivers what must be a damning blow--that he's aware of her unrequited love and that he HAS thought about it but she's missed the boat.
Turning to Lana, he accuses her of using Lex to get back at him. That stems from Clark's own psychology, not Lana, for she hasn't been shown to have that sort of deliberate vindictiveness. But Lex has. Lana keeps a cool head--she asks Lex not to react, and his own self-control asserts itself to begin with. But Clark pushes far past that, accessing Lex's capacity for psychotic rage. He does so by giving a 'gift', a baby's rattle, and using Lex's own glass to toast the 'happy couple', announcing to the room that the baby is the 'real reason that Lana's marrying you'. This gift is a double mindfuck of Lex: for we saw earlier that he loved Lana's assertion that the baby and the engagement should be kept separate, that she's marrying him for him, but we also saw that 'baby Luthor' is incredibly important to Lex. And when Clark throws the rattle at him so dismissively, Lex appears confused and almost frightened. He breaks out at attacks Clark--a move that cannot possibly do any good, but he's been pushed beyond reason.
As a Clois shipper, I hated the 'this is the present' line. (Ouch!) But as a Clex fan I loved it. If Lana is Clark's past, Lois his future, Lex is his present, despite initial appearances. Clark kidnaps Lana, saying he will 'save' her from Lex. But his actions suggest that he's more interested in pursuing a cathartic confrontation with Lex than consoling her. Once again, Clark's relationship with a woman (in this case Lana) is overshadowed by his need to assert his dominance over a competing man (Lex). This mirrors the way he earlier asserted himself over Oliver in seducing Lois. He tells Lana she'll never be satisfied with Lex--that it's him she loves. He pushes for a kiss, but remains completely impassive in response to her outpouring of emotion. It's almost as if he's thinking 'ah yes, I just have to listen to this to get what I want'. There's a lot of truth in Lana's suggestion that he just can't stand that she loves someone else. When Lex enters the barn, calling for her, he watches Lana almost clinically, curious to see how she'll react. This is all a big game for Clark--a set-up, a chess board checkmate to get his victory.
Lex hasn't seen the kiss, but Clark makes sure he knows about it. Lana asserts that she's not a competition--yet only a minute ago she was accusing Clark of possessiveness rather than genuine love for her. And Clark fires back with the way in which she's a competition for Lex. With Lex and Lana both facing the camera, the audience can see Lex's fearful expression--he knows that this is a strong card because Clark uses Lex's very own words (just as he recycled Oliver's earlier): that Lex wanted everything Clark ever had. Lex's poker face lets him down here--he's clearly disconcerted and looks like he just might faint with annoyance. And I just about fainted on the 'now, tell me you don't love me!' line. Because Clark is facing and addressing both of them--and they both respond with similar expressions. When Clark clarifies by calling her name--Lana!--Lex pulls a gun.
Clark's response to this--'you don't even know the rules of the game'--reminded me of his line from Red: 'you don't know what I'm capable of'. RedK Clark has always been faintly mocking of humans and particularly Lex's naive belief that he's the more powerful one. And he's out to prove him wrong in this scene. He attacks, pushing him through two walls and strangling him. Clark's deathblow is actually verbal--that if he'd know what Lex would turn out to be, he wouldn't have saved him. This was a hugely powerful statement. What does it mean emotionally in terms of how Clark feels for Lex? Well, first of all I think there's a big difference between saying that he would have changed the past and saying he would kill Lex now. I don't believe Clark does want to kill Lex, even when on RedK. He has hatred for him, yes, but it's more for the problem that Lex has become in Clark's life. Lex is an unavoidable thorn in his side. Clark can solve so much else in his life--defeat meteorfreaks, confront Zoners--but he can't rid himself of Lex who has so much power of his psyche. And I wasn't all that surprised to here an uninhibited Clark assert that he wished he could live without that pain.
Clark broods afterwards, wondering what he would have done to Lex had Martha not shown up. Taking that in the lightest possible way, that made for a very amusing line--yes, just what would you have done, Clark? :-p But to address the scene more seriously I don't think it would have ended in Lex's death--Clark needed something from that confrontation and it wasn't elimination of Lex but victory over him. I think he would have wanted Lex to admit defeat. I think he would have wanted Lex to watch Lana turn to Clark. Because Clark is trapped by his ongoing struggle with Lex and ending the battle with out a clear victory would not be satisfying.
Clark stamped himself, damningly, over three relationships in this episode--two completely deliberately and one less so. He deliberately drew Oliver into his attraction with Lois, asserting himself as the winner in that threeway dynamic. He wedged himself between Lex and Lana and left their relationship in tatters--it won't be the same now that those truths have come tumbling out of his mouth, no matter how hard Lex tries to wedge that pedastal back under Lana's feet. And unknowingly he caused the deterioration of Chloe's relationship with Jimmy. I don't think he intended that. There's a big difference in that dynamic--Clark is not invested in the male member of the relationship at all. Jimmy doesn't rate in Clark's eyes. Oliver and Lex DO.
Regardless, the result is that three relationships are shown to have had Clark at the heart of them. And the results are devastating. Clark may supposedly be the loveless one this season, but his fingerprints are all over everyone else's lovelives.
Lex says to Lana 'I wasn't the one kissing him' and she retorts with 'I wasn't the one holding a gun to his head'. The two actions are equated: love and violence. Who is the more invested? And Lana presses even further to the heart of the matter--what was Lex's intention--to save her or to hurt him? The same question could be asked for Clark, for that kidnapping did not read as 'saving' to me, it read as a deliberate act to hurt Lex.
A grain of truth
I admit I was surprised by Martha's advice at the end of this episode--but delighted! At last some hard truths from Mum! yay! This is yet another sign that Clark's an adult now and can handle this stuff. And Martha's advice to leave Lana alone is definitely what he needs to hear. If Chloe won't say it, at least Martha will!
Lana gets her own 'grain of truth' out of this episode: she hangs on to the farm tool that bent on impact with Clark. I really liked that scene actually, with Martha appealing to Lana to leave. It was a nice parallel with Chloe admitting that there IS a secret about Clark but having Lana respect their relationship enough not to ask her to betray it. I hope Lana unravels the truth without making either of these women confess it.
And how great was that final reveal about the baby?! Yay! It's not normal! Yay! So many great possibilities embedded in that. *happy sigh*
I'm quite overcome with joy! (And my fingers are about to give out from typing.) So I'll adjourn for now. *g*