tariel22 (tariel22) wrote,

Smallville 9x08 - Idol

Idol was a rollicking good ride, from start to finish. The focus was on Lois, as she tried to make sense of the visions that have haunted her since she came back from the future, and we were treated to lots of scenes of Lois and Clark, with all the trademark romantic comedy we've come to expect from them, as well as a deeper emotional resonance that was both heartfelt and bittersweet. The Wonder Twins were a delight, and their hero-worshipping hijinks brought out a side of Clark that was absolutely glorious to behold! The episode also gave us new insight into what is behind the changes we've seen in Chloe this season, and another intense flash of the future we'll finally see next week, not to mention my favorite Shirtless!Clark scene since Exile! Idol was fast, fun, action-packed, and immensely satisfying. Once again a story that many dreaded turned out to be one of the best of the season!

I thought the Wonder Twins were all kinds of fun. Their part was smaller than I expected, but maybe that's why they worked so well. They love Clark as much as I do! Their misguided, youthful exuberance made me root for them, and I loved how they came through for Clark in the end. I adore Allison Scagliotti, who played Jayna. She has this incredible energy that just lights up the screen, and I wish we could have seen a little bit more of that. I also liked the WT's cute costumes, their crazy digs, and their abject terror at Chloe's threat to obliterate their Twitter account. :) And their interactions with Clark and Chloe were quite illuminating.

When Clark paid a visit to the Wonder Twins after they helped him rescue Lois, he wasn't the Blur, he was Superman, in every way possible. My heart swelled as he talked to them; every word made me proud, and I could barely contain my squee! Clark doesn't lecture, he inspires. He finds the good in people and nurtures it with his encouragement and approval. I would do anything to please this man! When he stepped into the light and revealed himself to the Twins, they were awestruck, and I think it was an important moment for Clark as well. His shield may give people hope, but its power as a symbol is nothing compared to the power of the man himself, in person. The Blur is all about action, the rescues and the saves, but Clark will one day be so much more; he is destined to be a beacon for all of mankind. I hope seeing the impact he made on the Twins will help Clark realize how important it is for him to find a way to emerge from the shadows.

Chloe's tone with Jayna and Zan was friendly, but stern. Her speech about saving Clark from himself was jarring to me, but I think it perfectly summed up how she sees him these days: he makes mistakes, and she has to watch and stay in control, so she can avert disaster and clean up any messes that might arise as a result. I honestly think she sees him as incompetent, and an incomplete hero without her help. How ironic then that it was her error that led to Lois hearing Clark's unaltered voice during her call from the Blur. But of course Chloe would never see it that way; little bumps like that are just unavoidable collateral damage, and besides, she fixed it, didn't she?

It's not that Chloe doesn't care about Clark; in fact, I think she cares too much. She's lost so much, and she doesn't want to lose Clark, too. She sees him as her friend, first and foremost, and guards him selfishly, no longer willing to let him fly free to embrace his destiny. She didn't care what anybody said about the Blur, she just wanted to keep Clark safe. Chloe has lost sight of the big picture where he is concerned. Her need for control has compelled her to seize every bit of power within her grasp, and each day she seeks to extend her reach. Clark has become one more playing piece on her virtual chess board, and it's all getting pretty scary, if you ask me. I was glad Clark called her on her Big Brother shenanigans, but as with the cameras she planted at the farm, I don't think he went far enough. I'm sure he doesn't want to create any more conflict between them, but things are getting seriously out of hand.

Lois, on the other hand, gets Clark perfectly. She loves him for himself, but wouldn't dream of trying to hold him back. She has complete faith in him, and when she realized that Clark and the Blur were one and the same, her only thoughts were of how to best help him, the whole him, man AND superhero. Clark is still finding his way in the whole hero game, and while his instincts are spot on, he sometimes wavers, and questions his own judgment. What I love about Lois is that she doesn't tell him what to do, but instead helps him to believe in himself. As Lois stood up for the Blur, and spoke so passionately about him to the gathered crowd, you could see Clark's uncertainty leave him, and the way he looked at her in that moment left no doubt about what she means to him.

So tell me, Smallville, why in the world doesn't Clark just let Lois in on the big secret? She has proved time and time again that she can handle it, and the whole keeping her safe argument doesn't hold water for me. The only thing I can come up with is what Clark said to the Wonder Twins about there being no room for mistakes. With all that's happened in his past, particularly to those who were in his inner circle, and all the pain for which he feels responsible, he's afraid. And Lois is too precious to risk. But I think it's too bad, for both of them. Beyond the love they have to offer one another, Clark needs a sounding board, a confidant, and neither Chloe nor Oliver seems very well suited for that role. And Lois is being tormented, not only by her visions, but by feeling torn between Clark and the Blur. It all seems so unnecessary, but therein lies the drama, I suppose.

I liked watching Lois's therapy sessions this week. It was nice to get such a thorough exploration of her thoughts and feelings, plus there was a lot of humor in those scenes. I would love to see the other side of the coin in an episode that gave us such an in depth look at Clark, but I'm not holding my breath. :/ I also liked the way Lois stood up to Sacks on the roof of the Daily Planet, scoffing at his plan to discredit the Blur, and never losing her courage even when she was facing certain death. But most of all I enjoyed Lois in her scenes with Clark.

Clark and Lois together were the highlight of Idol for me. All the way through their scenes I smiled, and laughed, and loved my show to pieces. And the dialogue in this episode was just sparkling. Welcome, Anne Cofell Saunders! Great script! It was nice to see our pair as reporters again, hitting the streets to investigate a story, and taking on a villain who was altogether human. As the story unfolded, we saw a nice progression from the lighthearted scenes at the beginning, to the emotional intensity of Lois hanging off a flagpole with Clark desperate to rescue her. I didn't really understand the way Lois went off on the Blur when she finally decided to take his call (love the ringtone!), acting like a jealous girlfriend, but Clark seemed more amused by it than anything else, and I loved the OMG moment when the voice scrambler failed, and the backpedaling Lois did as a result the next morning at the farm. :)

My favorite scene between Lois and Clark was, of course, at the end of the episode, when they met in the copy room at the DP. The cuteness of Clark in his glasses could only be outdone by the cuteness of Lois in his glasses, and I loved the intimacy of them standing so very close. The look on Clark's face when Lois called him the nicest guy she knew just about killed me, as did the way they smiled as they looked into each other's eyes. And when Lois kicked that stack of newspapers across the room to slide to a stop at Clark's feet, and then climbed up to plant one on him, that was the best part of all. You go, girl! It was the perfect mirror of the Crossfire kiss, because this time it was Clark's turn to be taken by surprise, and then surrender to the moment. And it was HOT. Right up until Lois started to have a seizure and passed out, that is.

Speaking of passing out, that's what I almost did when Idol started off with a slow, delicious pan down Future!Clark's naked, sleeping body, followed by his leisurely, shirtless strut across the room to snuggle up to Lois and deliver a scorching kiss. Yowza! I didn't even need to watch the rest of the episode to give it a favorable review! Mr. Welling, you are looking mighty fine, and I thank you for seeing the dramatic necessity of including that scene. To fully understand its significance, I have now viewed it approximately eleventy billion times. Because I watch for the plot. *nods*

Clark was awesome this week, but when is he not? In addition to everything else I've already talked about, I especially liked watching Clark struggle with the dilemma of whether he should remain an invisible presence, known only by the calling card he leaves behind, or if there are circumstances in which he should come forward in the light of day, to defend his honor, for example, or to save a life. Finding a balance between the two is what will lead him to become Superman, and is a fascinating part of his journey to me. I was glad to hear Clark articulate what his shield represents, and to not let Chloe dissuade him from its importance to the people of Metropolis. Someday Clark will stand before them, the true symbol of their hope, but until that day comes, the shield will stand in his place.

Tom Welling made this episode of Smallville a joy to watch, with his faultless comic timing, his priceless line delivery ("Are you turning red?"), and his perfect embodiment of the iconic Man of Steel. Much like the character he plays, the power of his presence is undeniable, and he makes every scene his own. Tom seems exceptionally comfortable onscreen this season, displaying a quiet confidence in his acting that I find irresistible. And the man continues to be ridiculously pretty.

Erica Durance was wonderful this week. Most of Idol revolved around her character, and the emotional range she was asked to portray must have been daunting, but she met the challenge and then some. I don't think I've ever enjoyed Lois more than I did in this episode, or felt more strongly that she is the one for Clark, and it was Erica's performance that made the difference. She hit the perfect notes of confusion and anguish in the therapy sessions, drive and determination as Lois in reporter mode, unshakable faith and fierce devotion when she was convinced that Clark was the Blur, and honest attraction and affection in that last scene at the DP. She was also hilarious, and she looked gorgeous in every scene!

It's a good thing Erica has emerged as such a strong actress this season, because there's no denying that at least so far, she is the star of the show. Almost every episode hinges on what is happening to and around Lois, and her time onscreen has increased dramatically as a result. I think anyone who started watching Smallville now would be shocked to hear it was originally conceived as a show all about Clark Kent, and that Lois wasn't even in the first three seasons. I'm not complaining, exactly, because I really am enjoying this season, but it's not the show I signed up for, and the pure gold Tom delivers in each and every scene he's in makes me ache for the show that could have been.

I'm sure we'll never know the full story of why Clark is not at the center of Smallville the way he once was. I think it's partly because the writers don't know how to write for him without rushing him headlong into the cape, so they focus on other characters to slow his journey down, and I think we've been seeing that to varying degrees since S6, when TPTB brought Oliver on board. But I also have to think, for S9 in particular, that Tom has asked for a lighter load. He's a producer now, and has projects outside of Smallville as well. I respect that, and I'm struggling to accept it, but still, I'm disappointed. Especially because he's turning in some of his best work ever, but maybe that's because he no longer feels overworked. What I do know is, Tom's Clark is the reason I watch this show, so of course I wish we saw more of him, and had more episodes that were about him.

Random thoughts: I love Lois's ponytail. Yay, Randall is back! I was afraid he didn't survive Rabid. Why doesn't Clark ever write his own stories about the Blur? If TPTB are set on having the Triangle of Two, showing Lois in competition with Clark for the scoop on the Blur could be fun. Clark really does look surprisingly different in those glasses. Tom is TALL. And why was the therapist's office full of phallic symbols and fertility statues with huge penises? I was blushing!

I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for the Superman stuff. Even though our Clark isn't quite there yet, I love it when the show brings in guest stars from the DCU. They manage to attract some truly phenomenal actors for those roles, especially this season, and they always give the characters that special Smallville twist. I thought the Wonder Twins were a blast, and I liked the way their storyline meshed with everything else that was going on this week. But the Twins were only one of the reasons I loved this episode. In fact, I don't think there was a scene in Idol I didn't like, and that's rare. For that reason alone, it's going down as one of my favorites.

I have a new source for Smallville caps to share! ophelia_77, one of my favorite people here on LJ, just started making screen caps, and they're gorgeous! Here are ten of my favorites from Idol. You can view (or download) the rest at her journal, HERE.

And because there is no such thing as too much pretty, here are twenty more from the fabulous Home of the Nutty, with my thanks!

Tags: picspam, smallville, sv episode review, tom welling
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