Fair warning, guys: full blown rant ahead. I hate the Clana. HATE it. I loved it once, rooted for it, even swooned over it. But it's a relationship Clark should have left behind in high school, and every time it rears its ugly head, my hero makes me cringe. First of all, Clark is destined to be Superman, and Superman is destined to love Lois Lane. She is the love of his life, not Lana Lang. Smallville has already raised Lana's importance in Clark's life far beyond where it should be, and to resurrect their romance now, AGAIN, just makes me want to scream. Or cry. I don't care if Clark and Lois get together on Smallville, but someday, somewhere, they are going to share a love for the ages, the kind of love that makes them both better, the kind of love Superman needs to fully become the hero for whom the world so desperately waits. But how am I supposed to believe in that when Clark is still nurturing an obsession which, to hear him tell it, he's had since kindergarten? Show, if you make the legendary Lois Lane look like Clark Kent's second choice, I will never forgive you.
Second of all, I have a problem with Clark still loving Lana anyway. She has done things that should be a deal breaker for the future Man of Steel. Even if you believe (I don't) she was driven to her actions by Clark's secrets and lies, or if you believe (I don't) that the fault lies with Lex and his machinations, she's still responsible for the choices she made. And I'm giving her a full pass for any occasion where she "wasn't herself," like when she stabbed Genevieve in the heart in Commencement, or when she tried to kill Lex in Wrath. I'm talking about how she has had her own share of secrets and lies, how she was going to leave Lex trapped underground to die in Nemesis, how she stole $10 million from Lex and created the Isis Foundation as a front to spy on him, and how she kidnapped and abused Lionel Luthor. And that's just for starters. Of course I expect Clark to have compassion for Lana, but I don't expect him to think someone who has shown such ethical ambiguity is the person with whom he wants to spend the rest of his life, not when he is supposed to be the moral compass for the rest of us. No, show. Just no.
Third of all, I don't like what the Clana does to Clark. I never thought I'd see the day when my superhero would beg another man's pregnant (or so he and she both thought at the time) wife to run off with him. Yeah, it was two years ago. I'm still not over it.
Screen cap courtesy of acampbell.
The last scene in Bulletproof made my head hurt. Watching Clark try to convince Lana to give it one more try, while she selflessly reminded him the world needs him more, was depressing. And if Clark is going to realize there's a woman out there with whom he can share his unique life, why have the subject of that epiphany be a woman we already know is leaving the show forever after two more episodes? At best, it makes Clark look confused, and like he doesn't know his own heart. At worst, especially after Bride, it makes him look fickle and pathetic. And that was the unsexiest kiss I've ever seen. It's hard to believe this is the same couple who gave us this scorcher:
Screen cap courtesy of oxoniensis.
Okay, I feel better now. That's pretty much covers the big problem I had with Bulletproof. Now we can move on to my normal gushing review, where I either fanwank or forgive everything that bothers everyone else. :)
The story of corrupt cops taking the law into their own hands is far from original, but I thought it was a great way to illustrate exactly why Metropolis needs heroes like Clark and Oliver. Criminals who slip through the cracks in the justice system, and vigilante cops who hunt them down, quickly losing sight of what justice truly means, was a moral issue I was happy to see Clark wrestle with, especially because he operates outside the law himself. Just as I did in Prey, I liked watching Clark figure out where he stood, visibly forming the moral code that will be the framework of his life in the future. I loved the way he took everything in and appreciated every side of the story, but didn't let his sympathy for Danny dissuade him from doing the right thing. And in the end his words and actions inspired Danny to find his way back to the right path. Awesome.
Except for that last scene, Clark was great in Bulletproof. He was smart, focused, determined, compassionate, and heroic. He had the courage of his convictions, and wasn't swayed by anyone else's opinion or argument. But he was also open, truly wanting to hear what Danny thought of the "capes" who fought crime in a different way. It was fun to see him go undercover, and a thrill to see him blur in to save the day. And Tom Welling in a police uniform, towering over all the other cops, made me weak in the knees. Not to mention how dreamy he looked in all the other clothes he wore in this episode. Can we all say welcome back to the delicious grey short-sleeved tee/white long-sleeved tee combo? Yum. And Tom's hair looked gorgeous. I love that they're letting it get a little longer.
I also enjoyed the scenes between Clark and Oliver. I know some people get tired of Oliver busting Clark's chops all the time, but that's just who Oliver is. He's arrogant, he's kind of a hothead, and he can be an ass, but he's also passionate about helping people, and I think the way he pushes Clark is good for him. Their conflicts help Clark articulate his own beliefs, and serve to remind him that he can provide the world with a different kind of hero, one who would never argue that the end justifies the means, or appoint himself judge and jury over a man's life. I think Oliver covets Clark's powers (who wouldn't?), and it frustrates him that Clark doesn't use them the same way he would. But Oliver is all too human, and can never truly understand what it means to be Clark, and to wield almost limitless power.
Never were the differences between them more apparent than when Oliver came to confront Clark at the farm. Oliver was all about jumping into the fray and knocking some heads together, while Clark was determined to take the time to understand why these men did the things they did, and find a way to pull them back from the edge. I think Oliver has been trying to be more like Clark since he got back from Cuba, and it grated on him to hear Clark seem to defend the same vigilantism he's been struggling to leave behind. But Clark doesn't know any of that, and he has no idea just how well Oliver understands the forces that made those cops cross the line.
I like it when Clark and Oliver hang out together, being all manly and saving the world, with the occasional snarky remark (from Ollie) or exasperated look (from Clark). They're cute together. :) Clark needs a guy friend, and he and Oliver have a lot in common. So I was happy when by the end of the episode, Oliver saw that Clark's faith in the human race was not misplaced after all, and the boys resolved to work together rather than apart.
I'm always glad to see Phil Morris guest star as John Jones. I enjoy the adult presence he brings to the show, and the mentorship he provides for Clark. Plus, even in small doses, he's just plain cool. That scene in the hospital with Clark, Oliver, and John was completely made of win. And how cute was the little Martian in the spaceship hanging from John's rear view mirror?
Chloe only had one scene in this week's episode, and I was curious to see if she would say anything more about her experience with Brainiac. The only thing she expressed was regret over losing her super brain power. Maybe she's more resilient than I expected, or maybe she's just keeping it all inside. Time will tell, I guess. It was great to see Chloe and Clark working together again, without any tension between them. I've missed that. And the scene had its poignant moments as well, as Chloe warned Clark not to run roughshod over her smitten cousin's heart in his rush to Lana's side, and we could see on her face that the pain of unrequited love was one she remembered all too well. We know Lois loves Clark, but we have yet to hear him say how he feels about her. For now, anyway, his actions seem to suggest that Lana alone holds his heart. AGAIN, some more.
Tess was awesome this week, aside from an all too predictable case of Lana worship. Why does Lana have to be so fabulous, anyway? Can't she just be a real person? She's so perfect, an expert at everything, better than everyone else in every way, and loved by all. Way to make her relatable, show. *rolls eyes* Anyway, back to Tess. I love her exquisite combination of hard edges and surprising vulnerability. I just can't figure her out. One moment she's shooting someone in cold blood, and the next her big eyes are overflowing with tears. But mostly she's smart, and cold, and unapologetically ruthless. I love her! And Cassidy Freeman plays her perfectly, making her a fascinating mystery.
I'm not sure what I think of this latest development in the Lex plot. I completely understand how Tess would feel both betrayed and violated, to have technology implanted in her body, and her every experience watched and no doubt recorded, all without her knowledge or permission. I keep imagining all the things Lex has seen through her eyes, and don't tell me Oliver naked didn't spring to your mind right away, too! No? That was just me? :) But what is her plan? I kind of wish she would reconsider and remain loyal to Lex, but if not, I don't want her to destroy LuthorCorp just for the sake of lashing out. She's better than that. And she's already demonstrated she can play Oliver, so I hope she has a brilliant master plan up her sleeve to go with her proposed merger. I do think it was a miscalculation on the show's part to flash that newspaper with a photo of Michael Rosenbaum's Lex front and center. A stab of longing went through me when I saw his face, and I was reminded anew of how terribly I miss seeing him on the show, and how Tess, as good as she is, will never begin to replace him.
Random thoughts: Did everyone recognize Trevor from Hothead? Clark's undercover name was Joe Fordman. Was that a double shout out to Jor-El and Whitney? Lana thinks she was Lex's equal? Yeah, honey, you just keep telling yourself that. That was a cool shot of Clark catching Oliver's arrow. Did anyone else want to wipe that dribble of blood off of Tess's mouth? And I loved Clark's "oh, hell, no" face when the bad cop was about to shoot him. :)
Screen cap courtesy of Home of the Nutty.
Last week we saw Clark unequivocally state that he doesn't kill, ever. This week he showed us that he never gives up on anyone. He's embracing the concepts that will define the superhero he's destined to become, and we are actually witnessing the journey we signed up to see all those seasons ago. In spite of my major problems with this episode, I still love this season and this show. I just need to somehow find the strength to survive the next two episodes.
Cross-posted at Starkville House of El Podcast.
To the Lana/Clana fans on my flist, I apologize for the rant. I respect your love for this character and this relationship, but I don't share it, and I had to get that off my chest. I hope we can still be friends, but you should probably skip my Smallville reviews for the next two weeks.
And because the pretty always makes it better, here are my top ten screen caps of Tom from the episode:
Except where noted, screen caps courtesy of KEakaCK, with my thanks!