tariel22 (tariel22) wrote,

Smallville 8.15 - Infamous

Smallville, my love, THIS is why you are my show. With Infamous you gave us a story that was all about Clark, as he struggled with another issue that is critical to his journey to become Supes: his need for a secret identity. In the best episode I've seen since Bride, you showed us a Clark who is truly his own man now, making his own decisions and dealing with the consequences of them. You brought us a little joy, a little heartache, a little action, and more proof of the superhero our boy will soon be. In addition, you advanced the Doomsday story arc, and gave us new insight into the relationship between Clark and Lois. You even included impressive levels of continuity, and great callbacks to previous episodes! But what surprised me the most was the way you integrated the events of the Lana arc. I was afraid it would be as if those episodes had never happened, but instead we saw a Clark who was believably shell-shocked and wary, mindful not only of the hurt he suffered, but that for which he feels responsible. He's moving on, but not too fast, and for that I love you, show. Yeah, it's official, guys. Smallville and I have kissed and made up. :)

Clark took an important step in Infamous. He has always wanted to be accepted, but in the past he tried to seem normal to fit in, hiding and denying his special abilities. Over the course of this season, we've seen him begin to embrace who he truly is and what he has to offer, and this week he was ready to face the world as himself, with no more secrets or lies. Linda Lake may have forced Clark's hand, but he made his decision on his own, with both hope and relief. I loved that Clark wanted to believe the best about the human race, that we would welcome him, stranger in a strange land, with open arms. I never want him to stop believing in us that way. Chloe sensibly tried to dissuade him. Chloe's a realist, and after what she's been through lately, I wouldn't blame her if she became a cynic as well. But I was glad Clark didn't heed her advice, even if things did turn out badly on the original timeline. I liked seeing Clark be independent and proactive, and I enjoyed watching how he met each new challenge as things went crazy after Lois's article hit the stands.

How wonderful was it to see the joy on Clark's face as Metropolis showered him with love? Fleeting though it may have been, he'll always have that memory, and I suspect it will sustain him for a long time to come. And as things started to unravel in the face of Linda Lake's lies, I was so proud of Clark for trying to calmly reason with the authorities, instead of running away. When they attacked him, he stood tall and strong, deflecting their bullets but never giving in to anger or frustration. Even when it became clear that everything was spinning out of control, Clark still wouldn't consider Chloe's suggestion of a time reset at first, not for the sake of his friends or himself. Only when he realized he would no longer be able to help the world did he choose that drastic solution. And after it was done, he destroyed the ring, unwilling ever again to risk the dangers of controlling time.

Infamous also marked the return of Lois Lane to Smallville, and boy, was I happy to see her! I love the dynamic Lois brings to this show. She blew into town hurt and angry, and rightly so. First Clark walked away from her on the dance floor at Chloe's wedding, then he basically had no contact with her the whole month she was gone, and finally he forgot to pick her up at the airport. I was glad to see Lois give him a hard time. It was clear to me that Clark truly regretted hurting her, and that having her back made him start to fall for her all over again. Did you see his happy smile the second time around, as Lois dished out the snark instead of her fury? And he made sure to pick her up on time, too, because while he may not be able to tell her his secret, there are other ways he can show her she's special. Clark's regard for Lois was evident in every scene they shared.

The big reveal was delightful. I loved every moment of how Lois reacted. Her initial disbelief, with that wonderful laugh, was perfect, and it made her speechless shock when Clark demonstrated his powers that much sweeter. I liked that her reaction to the truth of his secret was the same in Infamous as it was in Blank, showing us that Lois has always been ready to accept Clark just the way he is. And I loved how her emphasis was totally on what Clark brings to the party ("what guns you got in your arsenal?"), rather than how different he is. What I liked best of all, though, was her belief that the public would embrace Clark's news with the same joy she did. Clark was right; there was no better reporter to tell his story. And speaking of Clark, he was adorable. He was gentle with Lois as he dropped his bombshell, and a little bit vulnerable, but also a little bit proud. His obvious affection for her made the moment intimate, especially when he stepped close and looked deep in her eyes as he asked her to do him the honor of introducing him to the world, evoking a proposal of a different kind altogether.

The second big scene between Lois and Clark came when he rescued her from the DP and whooshed her off to his barn. I loved Lois's passion as she implored Clark to stay and fight, believing that, given the chance, the whole world couldn't help but see him the way she did. And when he said it was too late, and she realized what she was about to lose, she broke my heart. She all but declared her love for Clark, telling him her feelings for him were different from those she once had for Oliver, which I took to mean that with Clark she wouldn't feel left behind or second best; with him anything would be possible. Clark couldn't face the enormity of what she was saying, not then, but he respected her enough to admit he wouldn't tell her his secret after he reset time. It was because he cared too much, but Lois thought it was because he didn't care enough, and I had tears in my eyes as Clark said he had to go.

So let's take a moment to consider what Clark is going through. Chloe found out his secret years ago, and since that moment has stood by his side, fighting the good fight. Her life has been in danger countless times, up to and including this very episode. Clark told Lana his secret the first time and she died. He told her the second time, and between Bizarro, Brainiac, and Lex, her life was torn asunder, and then she was ripped from Clark's arms forever. Clearly, from Clark's POV, revealing his secret to women he cares about is BAD.

Clark told Lois his secret, and within a day she was being hunted down by trigger-happy government goons. In addition, she fell even deeper in love with him. The danger to her is twofold. And Clark himself is at risk, too. I think he's beginning to realize she might be the love of his life, and he's just not ready to face that yet. He was nothing short of destroyed by what happened with Lana in Requiem, and he can't possibly be over her yet. He knows that Lois loves him, by her own admission, by her actions, and from Chloe. He knows he has the power to hurt her, from what she said when he didn't pick her up. He knows he has feelings for her as well, but he's not sure what those feelings are. He can't commit to Lois right now, but he doesn't want to close the door either. So all he can do is put on the brakes, and get some distance while he lets his heart heal, and works things out in his head.

Which brings us to Lois and Clark after the reset. I admire Lois for being so straightforward about what almost happened at the wedding, and suggesting they get together to talk about it. Although she was gone for a month, I'm assuming she heard about Clark and Lana getting back together and breaking up again. Lois is no stranger to heartache, and has been among the walking wounded often enough herself to know how hard it is to move on, so she gave Clark an easy out, all the while hoping he wouldn't take it. And he almost didn't. He showed up, all dressed up just for her, but bailed at the last second, looking totally anguished about it, when he saw her from across the street. He just couldn't be the man she needed right then, and having The Talk at that moment might have meant ruining their chances forever, and hurting her to boot. So he retreated, better safe than sorry. Smart move, show. I'll be perfectly happy if you do no more than hint at a romance between these two for the rest of the season. And if you do intend to get them together eventually, I'm going to need to hear Clark articulate all the reasons he and Lana never would have worked out, kryptonite or no kryptonite.

Actually, most of my impressions about where Clark and Lois stood with one another came from the actors rather than the script, which was rather vague on the subject. Tom Welling turned in another wonderfully nuanced performance in Infamous. His Clark was in complete command of himself, facing each new challenge with self-assurance, never backing down or losing control. More and more I see Superman in him. But where he truly touched me this week was in showing us Clark's emotions, from the hope in his eyes as he told Chloe that maybe the public was ready to accept him, to his shy but radiant happiness when people cheered him on the street, to his wistfulness when things didn't work out. In the scenes between Clark and Lois, Tom portrayed tenderness, affection, respect, and concern, and left me convinced that this relationship grows ever more important to our hero.

Erica Durance was equally memorable. Lois went through a lot in this episode, and we felt every moment of it with her, because of Erica's performance. She added so much to the scene where Clark told Lois his secret, showing us a reporter who was desperately trying to maintain her professionalism, but who couldn't help but react with wide-eyed wonder at each new revelation. I especially liked the bit with the x-ray vision, that gave us a little of that Lois and Clark humor I've missed so much. In the barn scene, with dialogue that was confusing at best, the one thing we knew with absolute certainty was how much Lois loved Clark, and how vulnerable that made her. And in the final scene, as the perfect song played, we saw Lois's heart break, and her protective walls go up, right before our eyes. *sniffles* Welcome back, Erica!

Chloe was awesome in Infamous, and Allison Mack's acting was fantastic, as always. It just amazes me how she makes it look so effortless. I liked that Chloe genuinely cared for Davis, and yet never wavered in her loyalty to either Jimmy or Clark. When Davis said friendship would never be enough for him from her, she simply walked away. When she found out the government was after her to find out all of Clark's secrets, did she run? Only as far as Isis, where she spent her time shredding anything to do with Clark. When Davis found her there, and she realized he was in fact Doomsday, she recoiled in horror and ran, as much to warn Clark as to save herself. But not before delivering her impassioned imperative: "You stay away from him!" Clark really couldn't wish for a better friend. Do you think Doomsday killed her after he tore the door off her car, or is she the Beauty who can tame the Beast?

I do have to say that I think having Chloe pimp the whole secret identity thing to Clark again was unnecessary. First of all, Clark has known all about secret identities ever since he met Oliver two years ago. He even knows what it's like to don the costume, since he pretended to be Green Arrow to fool Lois. Second of all, they already had that conversation, in Identity. And finally, Clark's not that dumb. He gets it. He wanted to be able to be himself, completely, but he realizes that's not possible now. The secret identity, and a costume to go with it, is the logical next step. Let him get there on his own for once.

Davis was finally interesting in this episode. Less woobie and more monster worked great for me, and the intensity of Sam Witwer's acting was riveting to watch. The scene with Chloe at Isis was chilling, and his confrontation with Linda Lake was even better. So Davis killed without fully transforming, and without any memory loss. Is that a first for him? Was it in fact the murder itself that kept the monster at bay? Fascinating stuff. And best of all was watching Davis toss the pills in the garbage at the end. Clark embraced his inner hero this week, and it looks like Davis just embraced his inner beast. Game on!

I welcomed the return of Tori Spelling as Linda Lake. Yes, the character was completely over-the-top, with ridiculous dialogue and mustache-twirling villainy, but she was also a hoot, and Tori played her brilliantly, giving her the same unbridled arrogance we saw in Hydro. Who else would have the audacity to taunt Doomsday while handcuffed helplessly to a hospital bed? I thoroughly enjoyed her performance. Besides, anyone who can deliver their lines coherently while standing opposite the perfect beauty that is Tom Welling in the rain is an accomplished actor in my book. :)

There was a lot going on in this episode, and I appreciated that the show concentrated on just four regular characters this week, rather than trying to find a way to fit everyone in. Even so, some things seemed rushed and rather abrupt, like the way the public turned on Clark instantly and unanimously after hearing Linda Lake's accusations. But given that an episode is just 42 minutes long these days, I'm willing to let it go, the same way I'm willing to accept that everything in Metropolis happens on that one little city block. I'm still impressed with what Smallville manages to give us, week after week, given the constraints of their budget.

Random thoughts: Someone seriously needs to reorganize that supply room at the DP. Who keeps their copy paper on the highest shelf they can find? Chloe goes through cars the way the Kents used to go through pickup trucks. Those baying bloodhounds in the woods with Clark and Chloe made me laugh. Did anyone else notice that Linda Lake was wearing her trademark black and white houndstooth from Hydro, albeit in a much smaller check this time? Couldn't Clark stick around for one more second to hear that Davis is Doomsday? And Clark talked to Martha!! Yay!!

I never thought it would be possible after the travesty that was the Lana arc, but Smallville is totally back on track as far as I'm concerned. Clark's my hero, Lois is back, Chloe is herself again, and I'm actually interested in what happens next with Doomsday. I don't know what's up with Oliver, but I can't wait to find out, and I even miss Jimmy. And next week we have a showdown between Clark and Tess! I am so in! Welcome back, show. It's so very nice to see you again.

Cross-posted at Starkville House of El Podcast.

And because everything's better with a little pretty, here are my ten favorite screen caps from the episode:

Screen caps courtesy of Home of the Nutty, with my thanks!
Tags: picspam, smallville, sv episode review, tom welling
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