When you look back to the Pilot, this show was about a boy who, like most teenagers, felt different. But this boy really was different. And the show was about his struggle to find himself, and to find a way to fit in as an alien in a human world. The story took place in Smallville, and centered around his family and friends there, including his new best friend, a bald billionaire who knew all too well what being different truly meant.
Now the boy has become a man, a man who is finally ready to accept what being different means, and the destiny that goes along with that. Smallville will always be the home to which he can return, but it appears that his path lies elsewhere now. He has finished one journey, and is about to embark on another. And I can't wait to see what the future brings!
Overall, I thought the episode was great. There was a lot going on, and we saw a bunch of big developments take place in a short amount of time. I don't think it's an exaggeration to call this season a reboot, and the show did a good job of setting up the changes we're going to see in the episodes ahead. I loved all the action sequences, especially the ones with Clark, and I can't help but think that Tom had a blast throwing punches and taking them in return. His part this week played out like an audition for an action adventure film! Hollywood, are you taking note? So yeah, I thought the episode was a thrill ride. But let's talk specifics.
First and foremost, there is no replacing Michael Rosenbaum on this show. I didn't spend the whole episode missing him, but there were a couple of poignant moments. When they showed Lex in the previouslies, I felt a little pang in my heart. And when Tess whipped that sheet off of Lex's desk and sat down, something inside me cried, "Nooo!" All I can do is remind myself that Michael is exactly where he wants to be, and I couldn't be happier for him. Smallville will just have to go on without him.
The events of Odyssey finally answered some questions I've had all summer, but they also raised a whole bunch more. When you have roughly 40 minutes to tell a story with multiple characters and storylines, the viewers are inevitably left to connect some of the dots themselves. That's okay, this is Smallville, and a certain amount of fanwanking goes with the territory. :)
So what did we learn? The pink orb from Arctic evidently "controlled" Clark by taking away his powers, leaving him no threat to the human race. Also, the orb's presence in the Fortress, brought there by a human, triggered some sort of self-destruct sequence, presumably to keep all the knowledge stored there safe, and hidden from human eyes. All that remains is the crystal, which I hope Clark can activate again. Chloe was dragged off by Lex's minions, not government agents. And Chloe's confrontation with Brainiac left her changed. She appears to have expended all of her healing powers in fighting off his invasion of her mind, and in addition, he may have left a little of his computer intelligence behind, giving her superpowered cognitive skills. Interesting.
What don't we know? How did Oliver find Clark? How did Lois know what to look for in the mansion, and where it was? How did Lois get inside the Montana facility? What's the deal with that serum made from Moira's spinal fluid again? Where did Martian Manhunter come from? Was Clark unconscious, or actually dead? If Clark was human, as he told Chloe, how did the sun heal him? Since when does the sun restore Clark's powers? If the sun stripped MM of his powers, how did they get back to Earth? And did MM change Clark's clothes before arranging him so prettily on that couch in the loft? :)
There are new credits, of course, with all the cast changes. It's great to see Allison Mack get second billing, and I loved all the action scenes they included. How funny is it that Justin Hartley's sequence includes a shirtless scene? :) But I was disappointed they didn't shoot something new for Tom Welling, and I was reminded again that this show has systematically eliminated every character over the age of 30. In general I like the three new regular cast members, and am optimistic about the stories they will inspire.
It's quite clear that Chloe has her own story now, and that she will be much more that Clark's sidekick this season. I don't see how that serves the story of Clark's journey, but I'm fine with it. AM is the most talented actress on the show, IMO, and I find her captivating to watch. I enjoyed every moment she was on my television screen this week. It's also evident that Chloe and Clark are still immensely important to one another, and we saw some wonderful emotional scenes between them. I particularly liked how Clark dying in Chloe's arms so closely mirrored Chloe's death in Labyrinth. I don't see a romance there, though. As Allison said in a recent interview, it's cool to see a guy and a girl have such a deep connection without any sexual overtones.
AM is even beginning to sell me on the Chimmy! I don't like that relationship, but Chloe obviously does. She not only accepted Jimmy's marriage proposal, she flat out stated she's leaving her romantic feelings for Clark in the past. OTOH, Lana said that about Clark to Lex, and we all know how that turned out. But for now all I can do is take Chloe at her word. It's like when your sister is dating someone you can't stand. You wish they would break up, but you can't deny she's happy with him, and unless he's hurting her, at some point you just have to accept it. *sighs* Even Jimmy knows he's not good enough for her!
I liked Lois in the episode. I don't think her characterization is entirely consistent with who she was last season, but I had some problems with that Lois, so I'm not complaining. The Lois I saw in Odyssey was passionate, headstrong, reckless, brave, smart, and fun. And altogether clueless about Clark. :) That's the Lois Lane I loved before Smallville ever began. She also looked beautiful. I like the new, darker hair color, and I'm glad they haven't completely abandoned Lois's trademark ponytail. I thought Lois and Clark were very cute together, and I liked that their vibe was not a romantic one, at least not just yet. I don't mind a little flirting, but any relationship between these two belongs in the future.
My jury's still out on Tess. I thought they spent a little too much time on her this week, and I miss Lex too much to embrace his replacement without hesitation. Cassidy Freeman seems like a good actress, capable of giving this character some interesting complexity, but I'm just not feeling the love yet. Ask me again next week.
Loved, loved, loved the Justice League! I think Justin Hartley is a wonderful addition to the cast, and Clark's scenes with him were among the best of the show. JH is funny, he's a good actor, and he is extremely easy on the eyes. It's all good. I also enjoyed Black Canary and Aquaman. I want a Black Canary action figure to go with the rest of my set! Alaina Huffman was awesome; I want her to come back. And Alan Ritchson was good, too. I thought that shower scene was beyond gratuitous, but whatever. You can't argue with the fact that the guy has an incredible body, and obviously has no problem putting it on display.
I have to give a special mention to Phil Morris as Martian Manhunter. Like James Marsters, he raises the level of every scene he is in, and even with very few lines, he rocks. I'm not sure why they felt the need to take his powers away. So Clark would be completely on his own, I guess. I hope he finds a way to recover eventually, and that they bring him back.
As usual, I saved the best for last. Let's talk about Tom. Our very first view of him is vastly different from how we've ever seen him on this show before. The camera starts on his ginormous man paws, and travels up to reveal his broad back. Then he turns, and we're hit with the full power of the pretty. *thud* With nary a primary color in sight, Clark is clad in a snug grey henley over a white tee. He's dirty, scruffy, dripping wet, and sexy as hell. Even when he's unconscious. Show, are you trying to kill me? There's no better way to introduce the new Clark. He's tough, he's determined, he's on his own, and he's a man in every sense of the word. The boy from Smallville is all grown up. Point taken.
He's changed in other ways as well. Gone is the downtrodden boy who was so burdened by guilt. In his place is a man, one who takes responsibility for what he sees as his mistakes, but who looks ahead to making things better, rather than dwelling on the past. A man who is ready to face the mirror and take a long, hard look at himself. A man who is ready to embrace his destiny and leave his childhood dreams behind. People, I believe we have our Superman.
All through the episode Clark is a man of action. He tries to escape and crashes a truck. He throws punches right and left, and rolls around on the ground with Oliver. o_O He runs, and jumps, and bursts through doors, and punches some more. He's awesome! And he has his lighthearted moments as well. He brings the snark, and he brings the funny. And he smiles! Do you know how much I've missed Tom's smile?
By the end of the episode, I'm convinced. Clark has officially said goodbye to his old life, and is now in search of a new one. He has taken a job at the Daily Planet, and he's ready to start helping the world. Tom's acting is stellar throughout the episode. I'm willing to bet this is his Clark, and it's definitely my Clark. I am in love. And I am all in.
Random thoughts: I can't believe the Justice League went all the way to the North Pole and conquered the forces of evil in order to save... that stupid red jacket! LOL! Yeah, I get it, especially after this episode, it's a symbol for the cape, but I hate that damn thing! Although I loved the Supes music when Clark put it on. :) I'm bummed they didn't have Clark stay unshaven until after his powers came back, and then reveal how he shaves his indestructible scruff. The movie playing at the theater in Metropolis was called Confidential Ultimatum. Do the budget cuts mean no more songs in the episodes? And that was the sunniest rainstorm I've ever seen. :)
Could I nitpick? Sure, but I'm not going to. This is my favorite show. I am devoted to these actors, and I like a lot of the other people who work so hard to entertain us as well. They are facing reportedly massive budget cuts, and have virtually no support from a network that some say is in danger of failing altogether. I think they're doing a fantastic job under the circumstances. I loved this episode, and I can't wait for next week!