I have outlined my problems with the Clana relationship many times before, and I won't bore you with that litany again here. Seeing Clark continue to choose Lana makes me sad and angry, but that's just my own personal opinion. What I really don't understand is the need to give our hero a life steeped in sorrow and setbacks. If the showrunners truly believe that Clark and Lana's love is timeless, then find a way for them to be together! [Not really, I'm just making a point here.] I'm so tired of seeing my Clark burdened by angst. Superman is a creature of sunlight, not shadow; Batman is the dark figure. Superman is supposed to give us hope and inspire us. How can Clark ever become that man if his heart is destined to be forever broken? Can't the boy ever have more than a fleeting moment of joy?
Once again this week Clark looked more like Lana's sidekick than the star of the show. When he wanted to chase sunsets, she reminded him that there was work to be done. He stood by helplessly as she uncovered the remnants of the LuthorCorp bomb, and as she dispatched the kryptonite bomb on the roof of the Daily Planet. Fake!Lex gave them two choices of how to deal with the bomb; I would much rather Clark had done what Superman undoubtedly would: found a third solution, one that required neither the loss of human life nor Lana's martyrdom. And then Clark was ready to murder Lex, until Lana talked him out of it. I think their roles should have been reversed in that conversation, especially in light of what Clark said earlier in the episode. Just who is the hero of this story again?
I thought the Super!Sex was icky (and yes, I got the symbolism of the broken oak bed, I'm not impressed), and my cold stone of a heart was completely unmoved by all the schmoopy declarations of love throughout the episode, as well as the heartbroken, tearful goodbyes in the loft, so I'll leave it to someone else to wax poetic over the acting in those scenes. But even I have to accept that these two will love each other for all eternity. I'm not sure where Clark is supposed to go from here, but if he shows even a hint of romantic feelings for Lois on the heels of what went down this week, he's going to look like a colossal jerk.
Clark did have his moments in Requiem. I loved his scene with Chloe on Oliver's plane, where he was adamant about not killing anyone, refused to get dragged into a vendetta against Lex, and vowed to move forward and not live in the past. My heart soared as I watched, and I was so proud of Clark in that moment! Too bad he negated the whole thing by charging off to kill Lex for his part in the Clana breakup, and showing us he will always live in the past when it comes to Lana. :( It was cool to watch him use his super hearing to locate the bomb, and I was glad he didn't hesitate to choose the safety of others over his own happiness when he told Lana she had to defuse it. And I loved that he grieved for Lex, and gave him the same moment of respect he showed for Jonathan and Lionel when he scattered a handful of dust over his figurative grave. I applaud Tom Welling's acting throughout the episode, even in the scenes that made me want to spork out my eyes. Given the opportunity, he always embodies the hero for me. *still loves Tom*
Fake!Lex was an abomination. I get that they wanted to involve the three characters who were the core of this show at the beginning in Lana's tragic exit, but it was so not worth disrespecting Michael Rosenbaum's Lex to do so. And I don't believe for a moment that Lex is really dead; I'm sure that like Lana before him, he planted a clone to fool everyone, which means we could be subjected to this horror again in the future. Show, please, just don't, okay?
I do find some small sliver of solace in the fact that Lana was the author of her own destruction. She voluntarily chose to steal Lex's power suit and change her life irrevocably by putting it on. Heedless of any risk or consequence, and without consulting the man with whom she intended to share the rest of her life, she decided to alter the very fiber of her being and remake herself into a superhero. I still have a problem with Clark being okay with that, but whatever. Certainly Lex played his part in what happened to Lana, but the bigger burden of responsibility rests squarely on Lana herself. To me that says she placed personal power and glory above everything else, and for that hubris she received her just reward. I just feel bad that Clark got caught in the crossfire.
I'm not sure how I feel about Chloe in this episode. I loved seeing her scoobying again, with both Clark and Oliver, and Allison Mack was awesome in every scene, but are we headed for Dark!Chloe, even without Brainiac's influence? I like Chloe best when she's working side by side with Clark. The last thing I want to see is more walls coming up between them. I'm glad they're revisiting what happened with Sebastian Kane, because I'm sure that traumatized Chloe, but I'm nervous, too. And what about Jimmy? Are we supposed to believe that Lois still sits by his bedside, or has he been abandoned to the loving care of the hospital staff? Either way, it makes Chloe look bad. Couldn't they have spared one line of dialogue to explain?
And then there's Oliver. What the hell is up with him? I thought he was supposed to be one of the good guys! I've been fanwanking his questionable actions all season long, but I guess he truly is taking a darker path this time around. Doesn't this show have enough villains already? Tess, Doomsday, Brainiac, and Fake!Lex, plus various guest baddies, aren't enough? And what about the Oliver who had such a problem with the vigilante activities of the rogue cops in Bulletproof? Hypocritical much, Ollie? Although I have to give Justin Hartley props for selling it. Whether Oliver was commandeering the LuthorCorp Board of Directors meeting, flirting with his nurse, outwitting Winslow Schott, ruthlessly manipulating Chloe, or chillingly contemplating Lex's kryptonite ring, I found him to be both believable and captivating. I'm actually intrigued to see where they're going with this.
I have to make special mention of Justin Hartley's magnificent bare chest. I don't know which hospital administrator instituted the "no gowns for hotties" rule at Metropolis General (which we also saw in practice at the SMC in Quest, with Lex), but give that person a bonus, stat! I swear I didn't hear a word of the dialogue in those hospital scenes the first time through, because I was mesmerized by the sight of Justin's perfectly chiseled pecs. Add in the handcuffs, and I wasn't even thinking about Requiem anymore! :) I know I've poked fun at the abundance of Oliver's shirtless scenes on this show before, but I've never been happier to see the warm expanse of his glowing skin than I was this week. The man is gorgeous, and he provided me with a welcome distraction from the tortures to be found elsewhere in the episode. He also looked positively dreamy dressed, in the suit and tie at the beginning.
I liked Chris Gauthier as Winslow Schott, Smallville's version of the Toyman. He hit just the right note of creepiness combined with banked rage in his performance, and portrayed Schott's obvious delight in his toys perfectly as well. Oliver said he fired Schott six years ago, and five years ago Gauthier played a nameless LuthorCorp tech guy in Delete. Did we witness the Toyman in the making all those seasons ago? The continuity totally works. Well done, show. Gauthier is one of those actors you've enjoyed in small parts on many different shows. I'll always love him best as Ronald Reznick on Supernatural.
Random thoughts: Why does the Super!Sex always have to be so violent? Did Lana find her necklace by snooping through Clark's drawers? Some things never change. Chloe said that Lex declared war on Clark years ago, and that he's a monster now. Huh? What show is she watching? And a shameless plug: watching Smallville in HD on iTunes, with no CW logo marring Tom's pretty face, is GLORIOUS.
I always say I'm not a shipper, but perhaps I've been deluding myself. Because while I don't root for a romance for my beloved Clark on Smallville (and I truly don't, although I've enjoyed the flirtation between Clark and Lois this season), I loved Lois Lane long before this show ever hit the airwaves, and I do ship Superman and iconic Lois Lane in the future. I don't see that as a possibility for Smallville's Clark now, and that makes me heartsick. I even shed a few tears for their lost love as I watched Requiem. But the show doesn't belong to me, and it's not my story to tell. I don't find the Clana love believable or compelling, but love by definition often defies logic or explanation. It is what it is. I guess it's my turn to accept and move on, just as Chloe fans had to accept that she would leave journalism and the Daily Planet behind without a fight, Lois fans had to accept that she would sleep with her boss, and Lex fans had to accept that he would be completely emasculated by his love for Lana. I'm not bitter that the show didn't go the way I had hoped it would, but I won't say it doesn't hurt. I'm not sorry we have another hiatus right now; I think Smallville and I need to take a little break. Because I kind of hate you right now, show.
Cross-posted at Starkville House of El Podcast.