This was the episode I've been waiting years to see, the episode where everyone tells the truth. These were the most straightforward conversations I've ever seen on Smallville, and I couldn't quite believe it, even as it was unfolding before my eyes.
The episode opened with a gorgeous horseback riding sequence. Lana and Clark raced over the countryside with uncharacteristic abandon. Kristin Kreuk looked not only beautiful, but joyful, and the song My Eyes, by Travis, played. At one point they galloped past a tree that I swear was the same one under which they kissed in Exodus, and the mood was very evocative of that episode: an idyllic calm before the proverbial storm.
This was the episode in which Clark finally has the veil pulled back from his eyes, in which he finally begins to see Lana as she really is. In addition, he comes to understand how she has become the woman we saw tonight, and how the actions he has taken out of necessity over the years may have contributed to her journey. It's a devastating realization for Clark, but is also perhaps the first definitive step on his path to leaving the Smallville fantasy behind and becoming Superman. Which may explain the general bouncing and victory arms going on in my living room. :)
The episode actually started out cute and funny. Lana and Clark shared some romantic banter, and a sweet kiss. The moment when lightning struck was powerful, and the look on Lana's face when she discovered herself holding up the windmill was perfect: awestruck disbelief followed by unabashed delight. She then started trying out her new found powers, while Clark attempted to put on the brakes, displaying the awkward reluctance that has practically become his trademark over the years. Everything changed, however, when Lana realized the implications for their frustrated love life.
The scene that followed is already dividing fandom, but I loved it. I'm no Lana fan, but I think this played out just as it should have. I've never quite figured out how much time passed between the end of Mortal and the beginning of Hidden, but at best this couple enjoyed a couple of weeks of intimacy, followed by a couple of years of celibacy. In Lana's eyes she was rejected without explanation time and time again, only to suffer the ultimate betrayal of finding Clark in another woman's arms. Now that she finally knows Clark's secret, he holds her at arm's length for fear of physically hurting her. With that obstacle gone, the most natural thing in the world is for them to fall into each other's arms. The look on Clark's face as it changed from wariness, to surprise, to elation, to pure sexual hunger, was hilarious!
When Chloe showed up at the farm, things started to unravel, and that's when this show really got going. Clark and Lana ended up on wildly divergent paths, his one of discovery, and hers one of vengeance.
Lana spent the rest of the episode trying to destroy Lex one way or another, resolved in the end to just kill him outright. She sneaked away from the farm, and after a quick stop at the Smallville Krypto!Bad Fashion Boutique (Clark's first stop in any Red!K episode) for the requisite black leather ensemble, proceeded to wreak havoc all over town. She terrorized Lois and Grant, and then went after Lex, while we speculated how much of her behavior was caused by Clark's powers, and how much was just because she's, y'know, EVOL! :)
Meanwhile, Clark tried to find Lana, and along the way was hit again and again with evidence of her true nature. First Lionel, then Lex, then Lois, and finally Chloe told him of her plots and misdeeds, and forced him to face the truth about their relationship. Each revelation was a like a physical blow to Clark, his eyes reflecting more and more pain and confusion after each conversation. Finally Chloe took him to Isis, where he discovered Lana's surveillance set-up, and realized only he could save Lex.
I was greatly encouraged by the heroic qualities Clark displayed in the showdown with Lana in the lab, especially when he said, "Taking people's lives is not our choice to make." There's hope for you yet, sweetie! Ultimately, he saved both Lex and Lana, stripping Lana of her powers in the process.
The final scene, between Clark and Lana in the loft, was the most awesome scene in the history of Smallville. Honesty and accountability abound! Lana's in denial, and Clark calls her on it! Clark admits he doesn't trust Lana! Clark says honesty has never been part of their relationship! Clark admits he's been living in a fantasy world! Lana tells him to stop putting her on a pedestal! Finally, Lana asks Clark to declare his unconditional love for her, and he doesn't answer! Who are you, show, and what have you done with Smallville? Hope burns in my heart once again! Did I mention I really liked this scene? LOL!
So, what about the non-Clana portion of the show? Lex was fabulous, cool and in command, wielding the truth like a weapon with both Clark and Lana. He presented himself quite convincingly as a man with a mission, determined to save the world from the alien hordes. Misguided, yes, but not necessarily villainous. His lab is vaguely reminiscent of his old Clark room at the mansion, it's just about aliens in general now. And where did he get Dr. Swann's streaming Kryptonian message?
Lois and Grant were cute. What I got from their scenes is that he's not actually letting her publish much of anything, which raises questions about why he hired her in the first place, and that he's truly falling for her in spite of himself. He's clearly a Lex minion, in my opinion. Lois, confident as always in her supreme sexual attractiveness, can't see the forest for the trees and remains clueless. I didn't really get the part where she had to sneak out of the hospital in her gown. When I went in to get my appendix removed, I don't remember anyone locking up my street clothes. That appeared to be a plot device to let Grant check out her ass. Weak.
And then we have Chloe. Chloe who rocks my world. She started out the show in her usual role of long-suffering, underappreciated sidekick, and ended it as a quiet yet determined tigress, letting Lana know in no uncertain terms that her days of sullying our hero are numbered. Oh, Chloe, I love you!
Random thoughts: My Eyes is a great song, and the lyrics are actually quite apt for the episode. Yeah, I thought the whole earthquake thing was a bit much. The earth moved, literally! Gah! Great injury continuity with Lionel's rubber ball physical therapy. Did that Braniac goo remind anyone else of the X-Files black oil of yore? And the acting on tonight's show was exceptional, especially by Tom. So good, in fact, that I almost forgot about the pretty. :)
Now if we can just avoid regression in future episodes, and quickly resolve the writers' strike, we have the potential for a truly memorable season. Next week's episode, again, could go either way, but I have very high hopes! See you then!