As with Labyrinth, the episode premise was a predictable one, following a certain convention—in this case, the thriller-suspense stalker plot. While it followed this convention very predictably, I didn’t find the writing as clunky as in Labyrinth and I thought that the plot premise was quite fitting. It connected with Lana’s current situation of living a life under press scrutiny and being constantly suspicious. The layers of secrets and lies extend right to the most intimate level of her relationship with Lex, so paranoia is quite understandable. I thought that added to the resonanace of this episode,
Yes, there were some ridiculously obvious set-ups—like Lana being transferred to the (creepy) old wing of the hospital, the guard sending everyone home for the night, the telephone calls which Lana really really should have stopped answering (GPS!)—but they are kind of par for the course for the genre/set-up, so I didn’t find them unbearable and I thought there was some other interesting stuff going on in the ep.
Lana as detective
I really liked the follow-through on the Chloe-Lana scene from Crimson. Lana trusting Chloe with the photo, telling her what was in it (the chisel Lex stabbed Clark with) but asserting that she would find out Clark’s secret on her own: this is something I’m really pleased to see. It allows both girls to retain respect in the friendship, and I’m not surprised that we saw Chloe draw a line with Clark later in the episode as well. She’s finally in a position where neither Clark nor Lana expects her to divulge the other’s secrets.
She may or may not have copped flak from it from others (haven’t read any other reviews yet—just guessing) but I liked that Lana had double motives in this episode. It made her slightly more empowered in a plot that otherwise had her cast as victim. But she made use of her refuge in Chloe’s apartment and then Clark’s bedroom to snoop. Immoral? Yes. Abusive of trust? Yes. But Clark’s right—Chloe was also persistent in her time and also broke friendship boundaries. And, sue me, but I just love Lana channelling Lex’s Clark obsession. You know Lex would have done this too!
I thought there were some nice touches in this plot too—like Chloe having the ‘CK’ folder password protected now. (Though Lana, sweetie, she’s totally going to see that you were trying to get into it, the moment she opens up her notebook again!) That’s a nice piece of evolution from the last time when Lana snooped on Chloe’s computer. Then there was no protection and the secret was of Chloe’s own feelings for Clark. Now, even the way that the folder is named shows that times have changed—‘CK’ being Jimmy’s name for Clark. Cute! Chloe’s heart is more guarded now--she has another serious relationship.
When Clark rescued Lana, I loved that for the first time she didn’t just accept the ‘you’re safe now—that’s all that matters’ line. She’s stunned, not just by the implausibility of him being there, but also by the fact that he’s there despite everything. I actually got shippy pangs in that moment! And I really like the way Lana’s taken Lex’s place as the one who’s obsessed with getting to the bottom of the secret. Lex points that parallel out himself later in the episode. In light of that, it’s very interesting that Clark equates that with love from her--he draws a parallel between her reasons for watching him and his. Like Lex, Lana also proved her loyalty to Clark. She wants Clark’s secret for herself, not to share with anyone else, even Lex. (And interesting to note that two photojournalists have now died as a result from Lex and Lana’s private ‘protection’ of Clark’s secret—echoes of Vortex in this episode.)
I was most amused to see them actually use the ship name—Lexana—in a newspaper headline. Hee! And Clark’s under surveillance as the ‘ex’! \o/ That amused me greatly. I also thought that it was a good way of showing that Clark’s finally using the brains in that pretty head: he had decided to do chores the normal way in case of surveillance on his own, without a suggestion from Martha or Chloe. *proud* In fact, he showed far more sense than Lana. Because Lana, honey, your ex’s place is one place the paparazzi would look! I’m glad you had an ulterior motive because otherwise that decision on your part would make NO SENSE (and I still think Lex saw right through it).
I liked quite a lot of the symbolism in Labyrinth. I don’t think the writers have excelled at it quite so well this season as they have in seasons past, but this episode had some interesting symbolic choices in the visuals, that I thought were worth noting.
In the opening scene Lana examines the chisel, wrapped in red satin. She’s dressed in purple satin. Coincidence? If the chisel represents Clark’s secret, Lex’s secret is within Lana’s body at the moment, since he has control of the pregnancy.
The snow was another interesting choice—particularly since we had Clark clear it out of the way at the end of the episode. If a relationship is where one feels warm and safe, Lana’s in a very chilly place. It’s a long way from the fireside kisses of Lexana past. There was a lot of nice touches with this metaphor—Clark asks Chloe ‘shouldn’t you be warming up next to Jimmy?’ and she admits that they’ve broken up. It’s Clark that ‘warms them up’ to one another again (more on that later). And Lex offers to get Lana a warm drink, but it’s not enough to avoid the chills. Lana’s also clutching a mug in the Kent farm. It’s Clark who rescues her and who blows away the snow. And now, I’m interested in the ways this episode connects with Labyrinth, which also featured snow.
I liked the parallelism in the bedside drawers—Clark with a photo of Lana, Lana with the chisel (representing Clark). And then she found the necklace! Awesome! Continuity points, writers!
I’m a bit of a fan of creepy hospital scenes, so despite the obviousness, I enjoyed Lana lost in the old wing. There was also something very fitting about it given her role as Lex’s ‘lab rat’, if that is what’s going on with the pregnancy. And it also connected with Labyrinth. We’ve seen both Clark and Lana as patients, trapped in a maze of confusion and misunderstanding this season. I’m actually almost intrigued enough to rewatch that ep and compare them.
I quite liked the stalker. While it’s yet another hiring fiasco on Lex’s part (GET SOME BETTER MINIONS! And try, you know, cultivating their loyalty!!), I did like getting the insight into his staff. They watch Lex’s life silently and inevitably judge what they see. In this case, he’d pegged Lana as compassionate and felt that she was becoming ‘more and more like Lex’, presumably in terms of ruthlessness and duplicity. But the stalker himself sounded a lot like Lex when he spoke of the lines he’d been crossing recently. It’s very Lexian to be uber-protective, to make a virtue out of going further than anyone else to ‘save’ Lana. I thought it was chilling that this desire had been pushed as far as killing a man. And I found it quite compelling that he didn’t see the ways in which he was becoming like Lex while supposedly being repulsed by him.
I also liked that Lana knew how to play the guy—appearing to ‘buy into’ his complex to draw him close and then attacking him. For once, rather than implausibly neat martial arts, she actually used some props. Yay for believability! Though running to the bedroom—not the best idea!
Clark as relationship glue
Clark’s threesomes: you really can’t get away from them this season! ;-) Last week I talked about the way Clark’s fingerprints are all over everyone else’s relationships this season, and we see a continuation of that here in Labyrinth with Chloe and Jimmy. When Chloe tells Clark about the split, Clark immediately asks if this is anything to do with him (and keeping his secret). He is aware of the damage he’s wrought and in Labyrinth he goes about repairing it. As I mentioned last week, the missing link in the Chloe-Jimmy-Clark dynamic was that Clark didn’t really ‘rate’ Jimmy. He’s never really paid much attention to Jimmy.
I found the photocopy room (hee!) scene impossibly cute. And I adored that Clark just loved Jimmy threatening him. That’s so Clarky! He really likes guys that will defend their women (::gags::), not to mention the fact that Jimmy’s reaction to (he thought) Clark and Chloe getting together was very Clark-y. The ‘if you hurt her, I will cut you down’ response is something Clark has also felt, and he responds accordingly—with a warm smile and genuine admiration for Jimmy.
Not only that, but he accords Jimmy more respect than he ever has in the past by asking for his help. I liked that a lot—Jimmy’s treated as an equal in the plot, and he stands his ground. He gains Clark’s respect and regains Chloe. On Jimmy’s part, it’s a little harder to understand, since I think his issues from last week are still legitimate. But I can live with that since Jimmy seems like a pretty forgiving guy, and I can see that he would appreciate being treated as an equal by Clark.
I liked the restraint on ‘who you going to blame more—the guy snapping the pics or the public for eating it up?’ That moment wasn’t too overplayed but it was a nice hint of the future, with Clark being predictably judgemental of that position.
And yay! Chimmy reconciliation!
RIDICULOUSLY SLASHY! RIDICULOUSLY! *flails* It knocked me flat at the end of this episode. That little headshake in response to ‘are we done yet?’ And that long stare after ‘Lana still cares about you—I know that’. Yes, Lex undersands that.
I loved Lex’s snark in this scene: ‘sleighride down memory lane’ = heeeee! Thank you, Michael, for bringing you’re A-game to that scene.
I loved Lex’s bravado: ‘when I thought you mattered’. And omg, he invited Clark to the wedding! He HANDDELIVERED the invite. I guess it would have been too much to invite him to be best man for a third time. Which means Lex will have no best man. But I love that Lex is continuing this little dance. And it’s genius gameplay after Clark gatecrashing the engagement dinner. He’s not going to let that happen again—this time, Clark’s there on his terms.
Lex wants Clark to be there on their wedding day to see what he lost?! ::is officially dedded::
I also love the way Lex flipped from insane intensity (long eye stares, deep voice) to flippancy (hands in pockets, strolling away, talking about RSVPing for headcount). It was lovely to see him switch so easily between the two. He’s so layered and self-protective these days.
And the lyrics in that final scene could not have been more perfect, about the confusion of emotions surrounding love, telling lies from truth, nightmares coming true, not knowing what to do. Ending on that line that ‘one day we woke up and somehow thought we knew exactly what to do’. That’s very Clexy right now. They’re both so sure they ‘know what to do’, but are both still lost in a maze of emotion and secrets.
Clark and a horse = yay! Why do we not see him with horses more often? It was very cute.
Chloe’s folder structure looks frighteningly like my own: Videos, Music, Photos, Smallville, CK…
Jimmy calling Clark ‘impossibly gigantic’.
Why does Clark have a ‘customer service’ poster on his bedroom wall? Ok, I get that it has a picture of Earth on it, but I still find it endlessly amusing. I hope it inspires him to greatness!
Bob is back hone with us and he’s doing well. The cat is a little freaked but hasn’t fled upstairs—he’s just hanging around and hissing. Bob wants to make friends with him. He’s all stitched up and can trot around quite well but the stitches are bothering him. He’s sooo cute!!