Okay, I know it was the last moment of the show, but I have to go there first. Clark isn't Clark! Clark is still in the Fortress, frozen in a giant ice crystal, and Bizarro has taken his place! OMG! The big question is, when did you figure it out?
As soon as Clark appeared, we knew something was off, and I have to applaud Tom Welling for that. His acting tonight was a delight. He incorporated so many subtle touches to tell us all was not what it seemed. His performance was far from obvious, but at the same time unmistakable. Something about Clark just wasn't right.
His voice was all wrong, all soft and low, and he displayed a false earnestness that smacked of bad high school acting. Obviously Bizarro thinks Clark is a big fat woobie. And talk about OOC! Clark giving up on Kara? Encouraging Lana to investigate Lex with him, instead of protecting her at all costs? That's not the Clark we know! Then, every once in a while, that devilish Bizarro grin would start to break free, and we'd see a wicked little smirk float around the corners of his mouth, and a cold glint in his eye. Who is this guy?
After the scene in the barn with Lana, I was thinking Clark had been mind-whammied by Jor-El. Then I thought he might be Braniac. Then I thought Bizarro, but I wasn't absolutely sure until the planes of his face fractured before my eyes in the final moments of the show.
So what is Bizarro up to? Does he want Clark's life, as he said in the season opener? Does he want revenge on Lex for refusing to join forces with him? Is he looking to hook up with Braniac? Does he want to rule the world? What I can't forget is what a careless killer he is. What happens when Clark's friends are no longer useful to him? Someone needs to get up to the Fortress with an icepick, pronto!
Michael Rosenbaum was awesome in this episode. Lex was supremely confident, sexy, coldly dismissive of Lois, and totally in control. Until he cracked, screaming "You're not my brother!" before dispatching Adrian with a single bullet. Chilling. And then the moment was gone, a fleeting glimpse of the dark villain he will one day become. The coup de grace came when he revealed, "I am your boss! Merry Christmas, Lois. I just bought the Daily Planet." Oh, snap! And let the games begin.
When Adrian confronted Lex and Grant, we received confirmation of our suspicions that Grant is not the original Julian, but a clone. Hallelujah! Memoria remains intact as one of the most significant episodes in the Smallville lexicon (do you see what I did there?). I was quite impressed with Michael Cassidy's performance tonight. Grant showed warm affection towards Lois, confusion and dismay at Adrian's revelation, and outraged anger at Lex's manipulations in his life. And his final scene with Lois was truly poignant. Well done.
Speaking of Lois, I loved the role she played tonight. Yes, she was still dating the boss and showing less than stellar skills as a reporter, but I'm not talking about her role as the ILL, I'm talking about her role as Chloe's loyal cousin. Lois was fiercely protective of Chloe, and completely consistent in her efforts to win her release. I really enjoy the strong bond these two cousins share, and I'd much rather see the show explore that than to show them in competition or in conflict. I did find Lois's blouse rather distracting, however. Her neckline was so plunging it often went right off the screen! Unprofessional, much?
I kind of feel sorry for Lana. Her boyfriend has expressed deep reservations over the only activity that makes her life meaningful, her obsession with her ex-husband. Then he disappears for two weeks, and in his absence she resolves to change, presumably in order to keep his love. Now he comes back and appears to have done a complete 180. He wants to spy and plot and obsess right along with her. She's thrilled and excited and has never felt closer to him. But it's not him. It's some crazy killer alien. That's sad. And it's going to be a whole lot worse when she figures out the truth.
Okay, I saved the best for last. Let's talk about Chloe! First of all, Allison Mack was beyond beautiful tonight! Every time she appeared on my television screen, I was struck anew. Fabulous hair, glowing makeup, gorgeous wardrobe - she was a study in perfection!
In her first scene tonight, Chloe cheerfully handed Lois a big fat envelope of her research on Luthorcorp. For a second I was dumbfounded, but then I noticed she said it was assembled by the paper's print shop. I think all she gave Lois were copies of all her past articles and maybe her related notes. I don't think she would give the print shop (or Lois) access to her most important research, into 33.1 and Lex's clone army. We all know I have a tendency to fanwank, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it! :)
The core plot point of tonight's episode was Chloe and Jimmy, trapped in an elevator with a bomb. I loved these scenes, with their relentless Christmas Muzak, awkward conversation, and two people inching their way back to friendship. I've probably said it a hundred times before, but I like Aaron Ashmore's Jimmy - I just don't like him with Chloe. I loved his incredulity that Chloe is once again turning to Clark in a moment of crisis: "What's he gonna do? Dismantle the bomb with his great hair?" hee!
Faced with an impending explosion and no rescue in sight, Chloe plays true confessions and tells Jimmy that she's a meteor freak. He in turn plants one on her, and they share a goodbye kiss. Bizarro's not Clark, so he didn't hear Chloe's earlier cries for help, but once he finds out there's a bomb, he zeros in on the sound of it counting down, and super speeds to the rescue. We're treated to an awesome special effects sequence, as Bizzy races through the Planet, past scores of people frozen in time, flies up the center of the stairwell, grabs the bomb, and flings it from the top of the building to explode in midair. It's altogether very cool.
In the aftermath, Chloe pulls her usual retreat, joking with Jimmy about kisses made at the end of the world, and offering him an easy out, which he takes, with just the slightest touch of confused hesitation. She did it with Clark after the Spring Formal, and again after their kiss in Vessel, and it seems to be her knee jerk reaction to intimacy. Then they talk about her meteor status, and whoa! It turns out Chloe has mastered her healing power, as she demonstrates by healing Jimmy's finger. When did that happen, and why didn't we get to see it? It's obvious it causes her pain, but we don't learn any details about what we just saw. The scene ends with a hug, but I think it's friendly rather than romantic. Jimmy contemplates his healed finger with a thinky look.
Didn't I tell you there was something for everyone?
We also were treated to some wonderful new artwork, with snowy exterior shots of the Daily Planet, the Luthor Mansion, and the Kent Farm. My favorite was the Planet, with reindeer circling the globe at its peak, and neighboring buildings adorned with twinkly lights. Lovely!
Random thoughts: When Lex said he always finds a way to win in the end, I kind of wondered, is he watching the same show I am? :) Did we already know that Clark could understand and transcribe spoken Kryptonian? Or was that just a Bizarro thing? And I loved the sad Christmas song that played when Grant broke up with Lois, but my Google-fu has failed to turn up the title or the artist. Does anyone know?
So we left Smallville with Bizarro on the loose, no one the wiser, and Clark trapped in the Fortress. How long will Bizarro be able to get away with this? What havoc will he wreak? Who will figure out his secret first? How will Clark escape the Fortress and return home? Will we have another super smackdown? Points to ponder during the long, tortuous dry spell ahead. Have a safe and happy holiday, and I'll see you all next year!