First of all, no matter how many times I am reminded of it, I just can't seem to accept the fact that this show always has and always will revolve around Lana Lang. Even though Kristin Kreuk reportedly will not appear in any of the remaining episodes this season, instead of finding a sensible way to write Lana out of the show, the writers have instead made her the tragic victim of Clark's unique destiny once again, and, big surprise, Lana in peril drives the action of the story. As usual, a blameless Clark heaps guilt on himself, and frozen in fear of causing Lana further harm, is completely impotent in the episode. Grrr. And this time we get the extra added bonus of seeing Kara do the same thing, sacrificing herself to Brainiac's extortion in an attempt to save the precious Lana. I'm not buying what you're selling, Smallville, and I'm tired of this nonsense.
The last scene of the episode made clear to me that Clark's entire focus now will be on finding Brainiac, but not because he could be a threat to the entire planet, or because he took Kara away to parts unknown, but because he's the only one who can bring Lana back. *gags* And also, somehow, what happened to Lana is all Clark's fault. Did you listen to the lyrics of that song that played over the scene? Sheesh.
Secondly, something was clearly missing from this episode. If the writers' strike had not been resolved in time to resume production, this would have been the season finale of the show. When it became apparent there would be additional episodes, some scenes were evidently moved to future episodes or reworked entirely, leaving obvious holes in the fabric of Veritas. And I'm not sure the missing scenes were even replaced with something else, because the episode clocked in at just about exactly 39 minutes, and that's including the opening credits. The story seemed abrupt in some places and incomplete in others. Perhaps this was unavoidable, the transitionary price of getting back to work, but it was jarring to watch.
Finally, what was the point of even having Lois and Jimmy in the episode? They were totally isolated from the true action of the story, and everything they discovered was something we already knew. Their little hunt for The Big Story was a complete waste of time. Plus, we had to suffer through Lois's usual quota of clunky lines. Her response to Lionel's question of whether she has boundless courage or incorrigible stupidity? "Potayto, potahto." What?
Okay, I feel better now. Let's talk about the good stuff. Brainiac! James Marsters' portrayal of Smallville's best villain ever was perfect. The man can act, people! Emotionless, ruthless, and remorseless, Brainiac is the embodiment of evil. Best of all, he is completely unmoved by Lana, and impervious to her charms. Of course I love him! He wreaked havoc this week, and I can't wait to see what he does when he returns.
John Glover's performance in Veritas was a tour de force! Smallville has been so fortunate to have an actor of his caliber all these years. He never disappoints, and he always raises the bar for the other actors, somehow inspiring them to their best performances in their scenes with him. His scenes this week with Clark, little Lex, and especially Chloe were all phenomenal. We finally got an answer about Lionel's true motivations, and while I think he's a bit self-deluded (he has made some decidedly nasty moves since his possession by Jor-El), I truly believe he thinks he is a changed man. Lionel was beyond desperate at the end of the episode. I wonder what his next move will be?
The flashback sequences were fun. I rejoiced to see Connor Stanhope again, I adore his little Lex. He didn't have a single line in this episode, and yet I found him compelling in his expressions and reactions alone. The boy is going to be famous one day, I promise you. Plus, how cute was he, playing with his Warrior Angel action figure? Little Ollie was adorable as well, with his little bow and arrows, and I guess that must have been little Jason Teague. Remember Jason? I liked him, before he went psycho, anyway. :) The secret meetings little Lex witnessed contained some interesting information, and it was very satisfying to tie up all those loose ends. Continuity FTW! \o/
I enjoyed the scenes of Lex and his nameless, yet devoted, minion. There is no longer any ambivalence about Lex's villainy, and I'm glad to see it. So often in the past we saw the evidence of Lex's secret agendas, but it's much more fun to see him in action, calmly ordering illegal activities and occasionally giving us glimpses of the barely suppressed rage that burns inside of him, hidden behind those deceptively cold eyes. *shivers* Lex is really beginning to scare me.
Chloe was in her usual place this week, right by Clark's side. I find myself seeing her in a different light after the events of Traveler. She's not just Clark's sidekick, she's his partner, and it's obvious nothing is more important to her than helping Clark do good in the world, and protecting him from harm. I loved how she said to Lionel, "We're not stupid." That whole scene with Lionel was incredibly intense, and both Allison Mack and JG gave stunning performances. Well done, show. I'm confused about why Chloe burst into the room where Clark and Lana were at the end of the episode, right after she told Clark she'd wait outside. Did she have urgent news to tell him? Did she somehow sense that Clark was distressed? Was there a disturbance in the Force? :)
Wait a minute. You don't think that when Brainiac said, through Lana, "You're too late, Kal-El," that he then made Lana stop breathing and she died? Is that why Clark shut her eyes and started to cry? Is that why Chloe rushed in? Nah, no way, Lana dead? That's just crazy talk. Besides, she was still sitting perfectly upright. And we know KK is coming back next season. Wow, I really got myself going for a second there! :)
I'm still loving Kara. Laura Vandervoort and Tom Welling seem completely at ease with one another. Their scenes together are so natural and believable, and always a pleasure to watch. The failed flying lesson was really cute. It looks like Kara has her own little trademark red and blue outfit now. Will she wear it so much that we start calling it The Horrible Blue Hoody? :) At least she changes it up a bit with both long-sleeved and short-sleeved versions. And those massive guilt trips Clark is always on? Evidently they run in the family.
Then there's Clark. You weren't very super this week, were you, big guy? Quite a letdown after Traveler, I have to say. I do get it, it's a hostage situation. Brainiac is basically holding a gun to Lana's head, and Clark isn't going to make any sudden moves that might make him pull the trigger. Still, it was frustrating. My least favorite moment of the episode? Clark, on the roof of the Daily Planet, looking up helplessly as Kara and Brainiac fly away. *sighs*
OTOH, some scenes rocked, and I thought Tom did some of his best acting of the series this week. I loved Clark's encounter with Lionel at Isis. Did you see the look on Clark's face when he threw open the door and saw Lionel standing there? It was pure exasperated fury, quickly brought into check. And then he points at Lionel and growls, "Save it for the police!" My favorite moment of the episode! This whole scene was wonderful: Clark on the move, desperately searching for Lana, while Lionel, even more desperate, pleads with Clark to listen to him and heed his warning. And Clark will have none of it:
"You've already destroyed the life of one son. You don't get a second chance. The only real son you have hates you just as much as I do."
How many years have we waited for someone to acknowledge the damage Lionel has so tragically done to Lex? And for it to come from Clark makes it all the sweeter. Thank you, Smallville. And as much as the Clana drives me crazy, I was moved by both the visual imagery and the devastating emotion of that last scene. Clark and Lana in profile, with a supplicant angel behind them, was an achingly beautiful image. Lana looked like a perfect porcelain doll, and Clark looked like an angel himself. As Clark's eyes filled, first with anguish and then with tears, and he bowed his head, I found tears in my own eyes. By the time Chloe came in, shedding her own tears, and we heard Clark quietly sobbing in that desolate room, I had completely lost it. It was a powerful scene, and it served to remind me how far Tom has come as an actor since those early days.
Random thoughts: Jimmy totally checked out Lois's cleavage while he was looking over her shoulder at the coroner's report. Whose idea was that? Ewww. Did you notice the Veritas flags hanging from the fireplace in the flashback? Lex looked very pretty in sunlight filtered through stained glass. The way Lionel threw his head back as he removed the locket was a nice touch. And Shelby was back! Hi, Shelby!
So in the end, not very much happened in this uneven episode. Brainiac gave Lana a lobotomy, Kara flew away, and we learned a little bit more about Veritas. And that's about it. It didn't live up to the hype, or the promise of last week, and that was disappointing. John Glover's swan song was a masterpiece, however, and everyone was still very pretty. :) I'm looking forward to the five newly scripted episodes, and I'm curious to see what a Lanaless Smallville looks like. We'll all find out together in three weeks!