I had such a crazy week, I almost skipped this one, but I had to do something while I hid from spoilers, waiting for Smallville to air on the west coast. :)
Isis was an odd mix of awful and awesome. The main storyline was ill-conceived, poorly executed, and didn’t make a whole lot of sense. At times the dialogue was painfully clunky, especially when Isis was delivering her heavy-handed speeches about love. But the episode also gave us a Clark Kent who was more like Superman than ever, the marvelous return of Cassidy Freeman as Tess Mercer, the utter hilarity of Cat Grant vs. Lois Lane, and a final scene that went a long way toward saving the entire episode all by itself. Overall, Isis was a win for me.
Clark Kent returned from his high school reunion a changed man, and for the better. No longer held back by self-doubt, he’s not just a visitor to Watchtower anymore, he’s the leader there now. We saw him make decisions, take action, and issue orders, and both Oliver and Tess deferred to his command. There was an ease to his authority that made me feel safe, and convinced me more than ever that if Tom Welling wanted to, he could play Supes on the big screen like no other.
One of my favorite moments was when Clark welcomed Tess to the Watchtower team. In direct contrast to Oliver’s sniping criticism earlier in the episode, he saw what Tess had to offer and embraced it. By believing in her, he touched her heart, and not only inspired her to live up to that faith, but to extend it to the tragic little boy in her care. Best of all, Clark didn’t hesitate, agonizing over possible outcomes; he was content to give Tess a chance, let her find her own destiny, and then deal with the consequences, good or bad.
Clark reached out to Oliver, too, including him in his decision to tell Lois his secret, and his mission to return Isis to her amulet prison. He knows now that Oliver needs him, and so he made him the first recruit to his new team, giving him a purpose in life beyond the flashy new public persona that is quickly beginning to define him, and a diversion from his broken heart. And we could immediately see how Clark's influence makes Ollie a better man.
When the episode began, Oliver and Tess were bickering and trading insults. Their banter was funny, but then he took things up a notch and genuinely wounded her. Later he dismissed her offer to help because he didn't think she could be trusted, and his hypocrisy in judging her wasn't any more palatable here than it was in Checkmate. Most of the time I adore Oliver, especially when he's playing the funny and charming good guy who has Clark's back, but he has a real mean streak sometimes, and he can be a complete ass. Clark ignored Ollie's objections, effectively forcing him to work with Tess, and she found the key to defeating Isis. When Oliver realized what he had almost passed up, and what could have happened to Lois because of his arrogance, he was humbled. He apologized to Tess, and took a long, hard look at himself.
There was a definite change in Clark's relationship with Lois after Homecoming as well. They had declared their love for each other, and we could already see that their walls were crumbling. There was a new intimacy in the looks they shared, and even a change in their body language. I liked that Clark looked just as unhappy as Lois did when Cat shoved her desk up against theirs. I loved their secret meeting on the roof, and how Clark needed only two words ("Roof. Five.") to make it happen. And I definitely took note of the way Clark moved to stand next to Lois when Cat attacked, forming a united front against her assault. There was no doubt whose side he was on.
When Clark was given a glimpse of the future, I was concerned that he would tell Lois his secret simply because of what he saw there, and at first it looked like that was exactly what was happening. But then the show did something very cool. Clark clumsily, but adorably, blurted out that he was the Blur, only to have his announcement (hilariously) fall flat because Lois wasn't herself. When the moment wasn't everything the future had promised it would be, it hammered home the reality that life holds no guarantees, and put Clark back at square one, worried that knowing his secret would change the way Lois felt about him and put her life in danger. Putting that uncertainty back in the equation made the second time he told her, at the end of the episode, infinitely sweeter.
The reveal scene was wonderful. Lois kept trying to tell Clark that she knew he was the Blur, but I think deep down she wanted to hear it from him, wanted him to trust her enough to open up. And Clark wanted to tell her, but a lifetime of fear and caution isn't an easy thing to overcome. When Lois brushed past Clark to press the elevator button, I thought for sure the show was going to make us wait again. But then Clark started talking, and I knew he couldn't let Lois walk away from him again, the way she did in the loft in Salvation. He was completely honest with her, confessing not only his fears, but his hopes and dreams, finishing with those other three little words we've been dying to hear: "I'm the Blur." Clark talked about taking a leap of faith with Lois, and she responded by taking a running leap into his arms! I was stunned, and delighted! She couldn't have offered him more resounding proof of her love and acceptance. As Lois smiled down at Clark and let him in on her own little secret, a smile of absolute joy lit up our hero's face, and tears filled my eyes. I've wanted this for Clark for so long, and everything about it was perfect.
We still have another reveal to come, right? Lois knows there were aliens on Earth, and that they were looking for the Book of Rao. She briefly saw Virgil Swann's journal with all those strange symbols and a drawing of the BoR in Clark's trunk, and then she found the actual artifact in his pocket. One of the symbols on the BoR even resembles the Blur's shield. Lois has seen lots of potential clues, but I don't think she has connected the dots just yet. She assumed Kara's powers came from exposure to meteor rock, not that they run in the family. I'm looking forward to seeing how Clark shares this last, but certainly not least, bit of news.
Tess was notably absent from Smallville's 200th episode, but Cassidy Freeman more than made up for it with her awesomeness in Isis. She was nothing short of brilliant, whether she was being snarky with Oliver, sincere with Clark, or heartbreaking with little Alexander. We saw a transformation in Tess over the course of the episode, where, after being moved to tears by Clark's willingness to believe the best of her, she decided to set aside her usual calculated detachment, and take a chance on opening her heart to love. I just know it's all going to end badly, but I'm rooting for her all the same. At the same time, however, she reminded us just how ambiguous her morality can be, as we saw the flash of deadly intent in her eyes when Cat threatened to splash the identity of the Blur across the Daily Planet's front page. But how great was her laugh when Cat turned out to be so totally off base? hee! Tess was also hilarious in the scenes where she tormented Oliver, mocking Green Arrow's new celebrity status, and stealing his thunder in front of Clark. Tess fascinates, and Cassidy captivates. It's a heady combination.
It was fun to welcome Cat back to the Daily Planet. We already knew she was funny with Clark and Oliver (who had another comical encounter with a hysterical Cat this time), but adding Lois to the mix made Cat's time onscreen exponentially more entertaining. I don't think Lois was jealous as much as she was annoyed, but she made it clear that she didn't want Cat thinking she was the competition when it came to the Daily Planet or Clark. Cat's uptight antics were one of the more enjoyable parts of a problematic storyline, and the scene where she stabbed Lois in the hand was one of my favorites. I hope the show brings her back for more before the series comes to an end.
I was jazzed to see Erica Cerra in Isis, although I wish her role could have been bigger. Her Jo is my favorite character on Eureka, and I thought Adrianna had great chemistry with Oliver. I'm glad she took a break from her day job to guest star on another Vancouver show.
Random thoughts: That shot of the Isis necklace accidentally falling into Lois's bag was one of those previouslies we had never seen before. I loved that Lois pointed out the idiocy of Clark thinking she hadn't recognized the Blur's kiss as his in Salvation. Is EVERYONE going to fly before Clark? IJS. Sorry, Justin, but you're no Allison Mack when it comes to exposition. I say bring back Dr. Emil. Can they lure Alessandro Juliani off the stage with some TV money? Your team doesn't keep secrets from one another, Oliver? Seriously? How cool was it that they used the same Metropolis Museum establishing shot from S1's Rogue? I am so over lovesick Ollie and Chlollie-pimping Tess. Blech. And I was shocked to see Clark calmly explain to Cat that Lois had been possessed by the spirit of Isis. "This is Metropolis, weird things happen all the time! Get used to it!" hee! Times have changed, and I like it.
Isis was an interesting episode. It had a particularly weak A plot, and we were back to low-budget special effects after breaking the bank to fund Homecoming, but nothing about it made my head want to explode, I laughed a lot, and it finished with another spectacularly romantic scene between Clark and Lois that paid off on fandom anticipation of a BIG moment in every way. Clark did a lot of watching and listening in this episode, but he managed to look quite heroic nonetheless, and it gave Tess and Oliver a chance to shine. Once again the actors were exceptional, and Tess's storyline set up some intriguing questions that have me happily anticipating what's to come. Not to mention the incredible pretty. For all its failings, I liked Isis, and I've already watched it again, more than a few times, albeit with my finger firmly on the FF button.
Tom looks pretty in blue. Twenty of my favorite caps from Isis:
Screen caps courtesy of Home of the Nutty, with my thanks!