As this episode began, we saw Clark playing the Blur full time, presumably continuing his training at the Fortress in between bouts of cleaning up crime in Metropolis. It looked to be a solitary existence, devoid of human contact, perfect for maintaining the dispassionate distance Jor-El insists he needs. But Clark is cheating; he's been calling Lois. He was doing fine until Lois came back, but now that he knows she's alive, he can't seem to stay away. And I can't say that I blame him.
Lois has a bad case of hero worship when it comes to the Blur. Her faith in him is unshakable, and she never questions his judgment or tells him he's doing it wrong. Who wouldn't love that kind of validation? Lois is also the only one of Clark's friends still living in Metropolis who hasn't betrayed him, and with whom he doesn't feel wary. And because she doesn't know the Blur's true identity, he can come to her without any of that baggage. But most of all, as Clark himself said, it just feels right to talk to her. He can't define or articulate the feelings he has for Lois yet, but he doesn't deny them either.
Clark's eagerness to connect with Lois made him quick to call her for information, with disastrous results. Of course she jumped at the chance to take it a step further and investigate, even when he told her not to. It was just one of several crises that could have been avoided if Clark had been where he belongs at the Daily Planet, and I loved all the little ways the show kept reminding us of that. When Lois ended up kidnapped by Metallo, Clark realized that the very detachment that was supposed to insure the world's safety not only helped put Lois in danger, it also left him ill-equipped to step in and save the day. He was disconnected from the flow of information, and a bit lost, and found himself back on Chloe's doorstep, looking for help. Which meant he got another round of recriminations along with the Google-fu. I'd rather see Clark back at the DP, using their considerable resources, than begging for favors and getting cold comfort at the Watchtower.
The showdown between Clark and Metallo was intense, and awesome. Clark never lost sight of the man who was a victim in all of this, but he also recognized the monster he had become, who was far beyond listening to reason. Clark came prepared, with an EMP grenade and a plan, and when that didn't work, he came up with an even better one right there on the spot. I love Clark when he's smart! He had compassion for Corben and all that he had suffered, but Metallo had to be stopped, and Clark got the job done. The rescue was his first face-to-face contact with Lois since before she disappeared, although as soon as she started to wake up he retreated to the shadows. She implored him to step into the light and show himself, and for a second he looked like he was going to reveal everything, but then in a flash he was gone.
After reflecting on everything that had happened since he decided to walk away from his former life, including the bitter accusations John Corben hurled at him, Clark concluded that he had taken the easy way out. He learned a long time ago that running away never solves anything, and now he's ready to stand and face the newest challenges in his life. I have no doubt he will rebuild his cherished friendship with Chloe, and help drag Ollie back from the depths to which he has sunk. He will continue his training, and keep his city safe. He will solve the mystery of where Lois has been, and find out what new mischief Tess is up to. And he will return to the Daily Planet, and explore the feelings he can no longer ignore, for the woman he can't resist: Lois Lane.
The first two episodes of this season have been unrelentingly dark. Tom Welling's nuanced performance has shown us every facet of Clark's struggle, and how haunted he is by the conflicts in his life. I was beginning to think we would never see our boy smile again. So I was surprised and delighted to see Clark Kent step into the sun-drenched basement bullpen of the DP, dressed once again in his reporter's shirt and tie, and reunite with Lois, in one of the most adorable scenes this show has ever given us. From Lois's unabashed joy at seeing Clark again, to the way she barreled into his arms, to Clark's happy bemusement at her reaction, it had me grinning from ear to ear, and hitting rewind a few times, too. :) And of course the best part of all was Clark's request to hear all about Lois's adventures with the Blur, and his wonderful, affectionate smile as she perched on the edge of his desk and excitedly launched into the tale. Awww! *draws sparkly hearts around them*
Tom played the emotion in this scene perfectly. If the Triangle of Two is going to work, it can't ever seem like it's a joke on Lois. If Clark tips just a little too far into amusement, he's going to look like a jerk. And in this scene, Clark radiated warm regard, with not one speck of condescension. Well done. I also thought Lois's welcome showed a lot more genuine, heartfelt emotion than her starstruck awe in the presence of the Blur, and I liked that. Clark is the man, and the Blur is the myth. Lois can worship her larger-than-life hero all she wants, but for Clark's sake, I hope she saves her heart for the man. He deserves nothing less.
Things are still tense between Clark and Chloe, and I'm having a hard time figuring out what is pushing Chloe to be so nasty all the time. First she's mad at Clark for turning away from humanity, and now she's railing at him for coming back. And what's with the guilt trip about her sacrifices? Maybe I'm supposed to believe it's the grief talking, or concern for Lois's safety, but the vibe I'm getting is all about jealousy, and bitterness that Clark is turning to Lois instead of her. And I could totally understand that, if only she hadn't given him a colossal reason not to trust her! Is Chloe ever going to take responsibility for her actions? She seems to blame Clark for Jimmy's death more than herself, and she still hasn't apologized for anything, even after Clark said he was sorry for leaving her alone. I don't know if Chloe is blind, arrogant, or just poorly written, but I'm finding her very difficult to like at the moment. And why doesn't Clark say something?
A tiny voice inside of me is saying that the showrunners don't think Chloe did anything wrong, that Clark stays silent out of guilt, and that he's turning to Lois because he's suddenly madly in love with her. But I'm not listening, because if I do, my head will explode.
I liked Lois in Metallo; her energy and spirit made her a bright spot in the darkness of this episode. I must admit, though, that the way she goes gaga over the Blur is a little over the top for my taste. I think they need to dial it back a notch. The scenes about Clark worked much better for me. I thought it was sweet that Lois went to the farm looking for him, and cute when she dognapped Shelby in an effort to draw him out of hiding. And their scene together at the Daily Planet was my favorite of the episode. I also enjoyed Lois on the hunt for her keyless colleague, and I liked the way she kept her cool when she realized Corben was the one. It's always fun to see Lois in action, following a lead. I'm glad she finally has a significant role to play on the show, although I'm a little nervous about her story overshadowing Clark's. Now that he's back at the DP, I'm hoping that will no longer be a concern.
Brian Austin Green gave us a complex and compelling villain in John Corben/Metallo. When we first met him, he was already halfway to being a baddie, obsessed with exposing the Blur as a dangerous vigilante. But he never deserved what was about to happen to him. He was pulled back from the brink of death after a horrific accident, only to awaken to find himself mutilated and mangled, more machine than man. BAG showed us the pain of that experience, and the despair, and the inevitable, torturous transformation, as the same kryptonite power source that enhanced his body poisoned his mind. In true meteor freak fashion, the glowing green rock seized on his defining characteristic and twisted it, turning a reporter in search of the truth into a killer hellbent on revenge. Corben's descent into total darkness was made even more poignant by the glimpse we saw of him as a sweet and loving brother, caught on video in happier times, before unbearable loss made him bitter and hard.
I would love to see BAG make a return appearance on the show. He's a great actor, with a fanboy's appreciation for the genre. Now that we've covered Metallo's backstory, any future episodes can focus on the formidable adversary he represents. He wants nothing more than to see the Blur dead, and now he knows that the very thing that gives him his power takes away Clark's. That makes him pretty scary. Besides, it's just a trip to see the man who once hunted "metal" on T:SCC become one, complete with the creepy frozen pose of the involuntary power down.
Beyond one brief scene with Lois, we didn't see much of Tess this week, as she and her new underage sidekick hunted down clues about Zod and the Kandorians. Why would they be behind the experimental procedure performed on Corben? Were they seriously contemplating replacing their own hearts with kryptonite, and swapping out various body parts for bionic components, just to get a taste of the powers they expected to have? That seems crazy to me. And what was with those impact craters with Kryptonian symbols in them? Is that the universal Kryptonian delivery system, or a sign that the Phantom Zone is somehow involved? What about the naked guy in the House of El one? Did that look like Clark to anyone else? Was it Jor-El? I'm so confused!
In Emil Hamilton, Alessandro Juliani has created a character who has become an instant favorite of mine. I want him in every episode, and I especially enjoy his dynamic with Clark. I loved his reaction when Clark startled him by whooshing into Met Gen. And I like the idea of him playing Q to Clark's Bond, that could be fun. I was surprised to find out he works at the hospital, though. I had imagined him holed up in some secret lab. I was also happy to see Lois's no-nonsense editor return, he always makes the most of his few seconds onscreen. And the poor man's Matt Dallas they got to play Tess's newest minion is interesting enough, but I liked how she had all those devoted female assistants last season. Maybe they're setting up a situation where Lois will use her feminine powers of persuasion to get Stuart to spill about Tess?
Random thoughts: I guess Lois got over her pesky little allergy to dog hair. Corben lying in his own blood after that truck hit him is an image I won't easily forget. *shivers* Martha shout-out! Yay! Did you see all those newspapers and cut-out articles on Lois's coffee table? Is she keeping a Blur scrapbook? I liked Lois's helicopter pajamas, they made me think of the great Clois moments with helicopters in Gone and Exposed. According to Google, the phone number in Clark and Lois's booth belongs to a furniture store in Denver. I wonder if they got any calls from curious fans? :) With all the many Lois scenes in these past two episodes, I was disappointed one of them wasn't devoted to Lois's reaction to the news of Jimmy's death. And I want one of those Daily Planet keychains!
This week Clark learned that not only was it emotionally difficult to leave his old life behind, but also that he was incomplete without it. By the end of the episode he realized that Clark Kent isn't dead, but rather that he is the heart of the hero he is fighting to become. When he once again joined Lois at the Daily Planet, quite literally bringing the sunshine back into Smallville, I knew that he had finally decided to listen to one voice above all others: his own. Whatever else lies ahead on the path to his destiny, whatever obstacles are put in his way, that's the voice that will guide him home.
Clark looked amazing in this episode. My top ten screen caps from Metallo:
Screen caps courtesy of Home of the Nutty, with my thanks!