Clark was making all my dreams come true this week. He embraced his powers, took charge of every situation, and played the hero throughout the episode. Once again he was my Superman. Did you you see the happiness he radiated in that first scene with Chloe? He was practically bursting with pride over his Red Blue Blur rescues, and he delighted in showing off his ability to change clothes in the blink of an eye. He was beyond adorable, and I just sat there drinking it all in, with the biggest, goofiest smile on my face. How long have we waited for Clark's powers to bring him joy? Thank you, Smallville!
There were so many great Clark moments in Turbulence. My inner fangirl swooned at the oh-so-iconic shot of our boy with his buttons undone and his tie loosened, pulling his crisp white shirt open to reveal that flash of royal blue beneath. Ditto for the scene at the DP where he blurs into the phone booth to change, emerges in all his red and blue glory, and then speeds off as the camera shoots him from below, his determined face and broad shoulders filling the frame. I also loved him on the plane as all hell broke loose, with the pilot gone and Tess unconscious, figuring out a plan of action and then making it happen. And who else thrilled at the sight of Clark bursting through those double doors at the mansion, just like old times?
I reveled in every scene he shared with Tess, as they did their fascinating dance around what remains unspoken between them, each not quite ready to put their cards on the table. This is the way to keep Lex alive in the story, by making him the common ground between Clark and Tess, not by giving us the lame Fake!Lex we saw during the Lana arc. I especially liked how Clark defended Lex, and said their friendship was real. Tess obviously learned from the master, and her pursuit of the truth about Clark was very reminiscent of Lex's before her: reach out to him in genuine friendship, open up to him about the secrets you share with no other, hoping he'll do the same, and set up a test to give you proof of the suspicions you already accept as fact. But Tess added another layer that was all her own. She fangirled Clark like nobody's business, flirting, making double entendres, and batting her impossibly big eyes at him. And she was surprisingly direct, imploring him point blank to spill for her. She also put herself right in the middle of the manufactured crisis, instead of observing from a safe distance the way Lex always did. Where Lex was cool and calculating, Tess is hot and unpredictable, but they're both intelligent, manipulative, and dangerous. Tess is no replacement for Michael Rosenbaum's Lex, but as the next best thing, she's not half bad.
The banter between Clark and Tess is different from what we've seen before. It's not snarky and flirtatious, like with Lois, or friendly and cute, like with Chloe. It's serious, and smart, and fraught with sexual tension that, like the Clex, will probably never be acted upon, but still adds an intriguing facet to the relationship. Clark, as always, wants to believe the best of Tess, but he is suitably wary of what she may already know, and what she is still trying to find out. I like the way he holds his ground with her, an adult in every way, quietly confident and for the most part unshakable. Clark still can't tell a decent lie (and I love that about him), but he's a lot more smooth with Tess than he ever was with Lex. Our sweet farmboy has grown up. He did a pretty good job of hiding his shock at the news that Lex left a journal behind, although his attempts at nonchalantly grilling Tess about the contents were a bit transparent. And I laughed out loud when he went for the booze as a way to get her to talk! Smart boy, I approve!
Tom Welling and Cassidy Freeman have fabulous chemistry, and they were both great in this episode. Their scenes together gave us intensity, emotional resonance, and humor. I remember when CF was first introduced at Comic-Con last summer, and the new showrunners went on and on about what an amazing actress she was. I had never heard of her, and I was still mourning Michael Rosenbaum's departure, so I dug my heels in and vowed not to like her. But they were absolutely right, and with every episode she's in, I become a bigger fan.
Turbulence didn't do Chloe any favors, I'm afraid. Since when did she become Clark's naysayer? bop_radar was so right last week when she said that Chloe's new role seems to be to "say the exact opposite of what Clark says, even if what Clark says is something she herself said earlier." Maybe the writers were trying to show us how much Chloe cares about Clark. Or maybe they were giving Clark a chance to demonstrate his independence, and his commitment to his new life as the RBB, by dismissing her concerns. Either way, I thought Chloe came off as a wet blanket who didn't show a lot of confidence in Clark's judgment. Even worse, though, was how she treated her husband.
Jimmy told Chloe he witnessed Davis committing a murder. Chloe has seen Davis act inappropriately toward her, and display some pretty stalkerish tendencies, and yet she immediately believed him over the man she's supposed to trust above all others. She didn't even give Jimmy the benefit of the doubt. And then she rushed to apologize to Davis for Jimmy's accusation, and found comfort in his arms just a few feet from where her husband was standing. What the hell? Later she tasered Jimmy into unconsciousness to protect Davis, when simply making her presence known would probably have been enough to stop him. I have to agree with Jimmy, Chloe doesn't trust him. And I also have to echo Jimmy's question: why did Chloe marry him?
I think we have to consider that Brainiac had a hand in Chloe accepting Jimmy's proposal. First of all, he proposed for all the wrong reasons, because he was jealous, and insecure, and afraid, and he wanted her to prove to him that she loved him more than she loved Clark. Chloe knew they had unresolved issues, and that Clark's secret stood between them. Did anyone really think she should have said yes? But it served Brainiac's purposes quite well, ultimately inciting Doomsday to fully emerge when Chloe's wedding day threatened to put her forever out of Davis's reach. Chloe has made a valiant effort to see this marriage through, but I think it's time to admit it never should have happened in the first place. What Jimmy said to Chloe before he stormed out of the hospital was awful, but it also held a lot of truth, and I really can't blame him for lashing out. In his place, I would see Chloe's actions as nothing short of betrayal.
Aaron Ashmore's performance in this episode was the best I've ever seen from him. I'm a much bigger fan of Jimmy the way he was in Identity, intrepid reporter wannabe with a side order of comic relief, but I give AA props for making desperate, confused, angry Jimmy completely believable. Allison Mack was also great. I may not have liked the way Chloe was acting, but AM sold every nuance of her anguish over Jimmy and her compassion for Davis. Which brings us to Sam Witwer, and his incredible portrayal of Davis Bloome. I don't know how Smallville manages to attract the caliber of actors they consistently bring us, but I'm so thankful they do. Like Michael Rosenbaum and John Glover before him, SW has crafted a villain of great complexity. The monster he showed us this week, the one who has taken over Davis on the inside and now looks out at us through his eyes, was infinitely more frightening than that rubber suit they call Doomsday.
Davis was the anti-Clark in Turbulence. As the RBB patrolled the streets of Metropolis saving lives, Davis made his own sinister rounds, taking them. Yes, he was only killing the "bad" guys, and yes, he was doing so to keep the monster at bay, but those were only rationalizations for his insupportable actions. He has crossed a line from which he can never return. While Clark struggled to tell a convincing lie, Davis was the master, deflecting the suspicion cast on him by throwing it back on Jimmy, undermining both Jimmy's credibility and his character with his insinuations. When Jimmy scoffed at him, Davis became condescending and dismissive, and utterly convincing. I was infuriated on Jimmy's behalf, and truly scared of what havoc Davis would wreak next. He went to church at the beginning of the episode, ostensibly to confess his sins. But as he poured out his story to the priest, and we saw in his mind's eye how his words subtly but fundamentally differed from his actions, I realized he sought not penance, but validation, and justification to carry on. He lies to everyone, including himself. And God.
Davis ended the episode in the rain, staring intently up at Chloe's window. What exactly is her connection to him? She is Brainiac free, and yet he is still drawn to her. Chloiac said he had no free will, so who controls his destiny now? And why does Chloe's mere touch have the power to soothe the savage beast he holds within? When Chloe chose not to tell Clark about her troubles with Jimmy, was it because she was embarrassed, or was it an attempt to shield Davis from Clark's scrutiny? I hope we'll find the answers to these questions in the episodes ahead. The Doomsday story isn't playing out the way I expected it to, and I'm glad. I'm more interested in it than I've been all season, and now that Jimmy has put Tess in the loop, I can't wait to see what happens next.
And of course I have to make mention of the pretty. Tom was unbelievably gorgeous in Turbulence. His close-ups took my breath away, and his wardrobe was wonderful. First we saw the classic Clark Kent combo of dark suit and white shirt, which even looked dreamy with his high school (or is that High School Musical? hee!) backpack. Then they gave us two of my favorites together: the glorious purple shirt from Committed, and the sexy, stylish jacket from Instinct. Yum. On the plane, after the champagne started flowing, Clark lost the jacket and tie, and rolled up his shirtsleeves to give us some forearm porn. Then, at the mansion and back at the farm near the end of the episode, he showed up in a sweater!! starry_dawn, when was the last time we saw Clark in a sweater?! S2? And did I also see a pair of blue jeans that actually sort of fit? I think Clark relegating THRJ to RBB costume status is going to do wonders for his casual wardrobe. And he's rocking that slightly longer hair. I hope they don't chop it off anytime soon.
Random thoughts: I liked that Clark went to see Jimmy at the hospital. I wish we could see more of a friendship between them. Did Clark change clothes between the farm and the DP, or was that supposed to be a different day? Tess's new straight hair style looks good. Jimmy had a bouquet of yellow roses in his hospital room. Did you know that traditionally they symbolize jealousy? Was Tess's question about the weather in L.A. her prearranged signal for the captain to ditch the plane? If the prop people aren't going to do a better job of writing the articles we see, then stop giving us close-ups of them. The one about the plane crash was the worst one yet. And when Tess said she and Oliver share all of their toys, did that include Clark? *snerk*
In terms of time, Clark's story seemed almost secondary in Turbulence, but it was far more compelling and entertaining to me than the Davis/Chloe/Jimmy triangle. Clark and Tess together are made of win, and I hope we see more of their verbal sparring in future episodes. The Doomsday stuff brought some chilling developments, and one welcome one. Let's hope the Chimmy breakup sticks this time. Thanks to that amazing promo, I'm counting the days to the next episode, and I have high hopes for the rest of S8. Smallville owns me again, and I couldn't be happier about it.
Cross-posted at Starkville House of El Podcast.
And for just a taste of the pretty to be found in this episode, here are my ten favorite screen caps:
Screen caps courtesy of Home of the Nutty, with my thanks!