First and foremost, I have to applaud Tom Welling in his dual performance as Bizarro and Clark. Just as he did in the season opener, Tom gave us two distinct personalities, and there was no mistaking who was who (well, unless you were Lana, of course). We saw Bizarro first, and he was definitely not our hero. Selfish, devious, and dangerous, the only pure thing about him seemed to be his love for Lana. To me he seemed like a small child, very aware of his needs and desires, but his limitations and responsibilities? Not so much. I believed in his love for Lana, but I didn't believe that love had fundamentally changed him. Clearly he was still capable of the careless violence he had displayed in the past, particularly if he were crossed.
When Clark finally emerged from the Fortress and returned to Smallville, it felt like I was coming home too! Here was the Clark I adore, the one I've been missing all these weeks. Noble, compassionate, heroic, and, in the end, achingly alone. Grimly determined to rid the Earth of the final threat he inadvertently released from the Phantom Zone, Clark was completely focused on keeping the world, and especially his loved ones, safe. You're so close, babe, your destiny's right there, just beyond your reach!
Tom seemed to be having a blast playing Bizarro, especially in the scenes with Brainiac. I loved his confidence, his swagger, his humor, and the lethal intent that simmered right below the surface. And he had an earnestness, misguided though it was, that actually made me feel a little sorry for him. It was obvious to me that Tom carefully crafted his Bizarro, and I thought his characterization was consistent throughout the episode. Very nicely done.
And speaking of Brainiac, how awesome was James Marsters? Every scene with him was a delight! Braniac was beyond cool: ruthless, manipulative, snarky, and as smart as a supercomputer should be. He played Bizarro and Clark like a master, then left them to face each other while he went in for the kill with Dax-Ur. What will he have in store for us once he uses the information from Dax-Ur's brain to repair himself? I can only hope we get the chance to find out!
I also enjoyed Marc McClure as Dax-Ur. That was a cute bit of stunt casting. How telling was his conversation with Clark, especially the contrast between Dax-Ur knowing in a heartbeat that his wife was worth any sacrifice, and Clark still unable to make a full commitment to Lana after more than six years?
So let's talk about Lana. Is there anyone who still thinks she and Clark are meant to be together? How many times do they have to show us how disconnected this couple is? Lana was with Bizarro for a month and had no clue he wasn't Clark, even in their most intimate moments? Has she met Clark? I'm not buying it. That chick was in major denial. She finally had the Clark she always wanted, who worshipped her and lived for nothing more than making her happy, and whether willfully or subconsciously, she just ignored all the signs. When Chloe tried to express her concerns, Lana was dismissive and condescending [my fanwank of Lana's thoughts]:
"Well, maybe you don't know him as well as you think." [Not as well as ME!!!]
Actually, Lana, that would be you. You evidently don't know him at all.
"I think he's just taking some time to focus on his own happiness." [Being with ME!!!]
Since when does Clark do that?
"His priorities are different." [They're all about ME!!!]
Which should have been your first clue that something was terribly wrong.
And while Lana did ultimately destroy Bizarro, her anguished face in the aftermath tells me that decision will haunt her for some time. Lana was truly happy with Bizarro, and I think that knowledge will destroy whatever is left of her romantic relationship with Clark.
It was really interesting to me how the scene between Bizarro and Lana that opened the show was almost identical in its first few moments to a scene between Clark and Lana in Hidden, and the parallels between the two really seemed to drive home the point that Lana can only be happy with Clark, and share her love with him, when he isn't himself. And because of that, she will always hold him back from fully embracing his destiny.
What a contrast to how Chloe is with Clark, completely accepting not only of his alien status and the powers that come with it, but also of his responsibility to help those weaker than himself. Contrary to what Lana said in this episode, no one knows Clark better than Chloe. Of course Chloe realized immediately that Clark was not himself. And although Lana clearly saw Chloe as a romantic rival in this episode, that only served to show us that Lana doesn't understand Chloe's relationship with Clark. Chloe stopped pining for Clark a long time ago, and now stands firmly by his side, a hero in her own right.
Loved, loved, loved the Chlark scene in this episode! Tom and Allison are always so amazing together. Chloe's wariness, Clark's surprise and dismay when she backs away from him, and then the joyous way she hurls herself into his arms, were all wonderful, emotional moments. Plus, Chloe looked beautiful, again.
So what were the Luthors up to in this episode? Buh bye, Grant, I can't really say I'll miss you (although I still adore Michael Cassidy). Why did they have this character anyway? He made Lois look like a skank, Chloe look like a failure, Lionel look like a monster, and Lex look pathetic. Good move, show.
The scene between Lex and Lionel was classic, with Lionel baiting Lex with every word, and Lex starting to rise to the challenge, until he realizes his father's game and refuses to play. And the scene between Grant and Lex was chilling. Was that Grant's bitterness over finding out he was a clone talking? Because that was cold, dude. And Lex's anger, masking much deeper feelings of betrayal and loss, broke my heart, as did the scene in the rain later, taking us instantly back to Memoria. Lex has watched so many people leave him, and the pain of that continual loss has definitely taken its toll. Lex is slipping away, and there doesn't seem to be anyone who can save him now. I mourn for the happy days of the first season.
What did you think about what Bizarro said to Clark? "You're lying, Clark! To yourself. You're so worried about doing the right thing, you don't even see it." I think that rocked Clark to his core. And then, when Bizarro turned to Lana and said, "He won't commit his life to you like I will," Clark didn't protest, didn't say a word. His silence spoke louder than words. The seeds of doubt have been planted. I think Bizarro was telling the truth, I just wonder if Clark will be able see it.
The last scene was very satisfying for me. For once, Clark didn't instantly forgive Lana, and he looked positively lost trying to process all that had happened in his absence. The last moments of the episode, Clark and Lana side by side in the bed, yet miles apart, were quite a contrast to the first moments we saw, Bizarro and Lana side by side in domestic bliss. I think these two are finally beginning to realize that the obstacles to their happiness together may be insurmountable. And the song, Pioneer to the Falls, by Interpol, was perfect.
Random thoughts: Shirtless!Tom in the very first scene. Yowza. That was a nice little reaction shot, the way Clark rocked back when Lana said, "Remember in bed?" Ouch. And Bizzy getting busy with Lana proves that superpowered sex doesn't have to be lethal. So what is Clark really afraid of? Lana mentioned that time is different in the Fortress. Have we always known that? And what was the point of Jor-El trapping Clark in the Fortress? Some colossal timeout? Sheesh.
So if Wrath proved that Clark doesn't know Lana as well as he thought he did, Persona proved that Lana doesn't know Clark at all. Where do we go from here? All I know is, with so few episodes left before we reach the end of this shortened season, I'll be savoring each and every one. I'll be back for another new episode next week; I hope you'll join me!