My favorite moment of the whole episode was when Clark stood on the street next to Jimmy, and watched all the people around him look up at Oliver, who was pretending to be Clark. He saw the excitement on their faces, and finally understood how badly they need a hero to give them hope. And in that instant, maybe for the first time since he learned the truth of his origins, I think he no longer felt like a stranger in a strange land. He could see his place in this world, and a look of absolute peace came over his face, with just the hint of a smile.
Screen cap courtesy of Home of the Nutty, with my thanks!
*sniffles* Do you know how long I've waited for my boy Clark to see even a glimmer of what I see every time I look at him? I can only hope he now realizes that his gifts are something to be celebrated, and that his presence on this Earth is the greatest gift of all.
For most of the episode Clark was a bundle of nerves, scared to death his secret was about to be exposed, and desperate to prevent it. Since the time he was a little boy, his parents had always taught him that nothing was more important than keeping his abilities hidden from the world. Secrecy is practically his religion, the way it forms the core and framework of his life, and colors every decision he makes. And he has seen firsthand the terrible price those who know his secret can pay. As Jimmy relentlessly pursued the truth behind the red and blue blur, the situation rapidly spun out of control. Clark began to panic, and his barely controlled agitation was evident in his every word and action. His attempts to kill the story led to some pretty outlandish behavior, like confronting Tess in her own office and practically berating her for deciding to run it. Oh, Clark, honey, take a deep breath!
Tom Welling was incredible again this week. He unerringly showed us exactly what Clark was feeling, even when it was completely at odds with the words coming out of his mouth. As always, he was the master of nuance. He put so many little touches into his performance! Did you see how Clark bit his lip when Jimmy was about to show him the photo for the first time? How about the way he swallowed convulsively, or set his jaw, or the way his brow would furrow, his eyebrows forming an adorable little upside-down v? My heart went out to him as he struggled to look cluelessly innocent in the face of each new revelation from Jimmy, and I loved the Clark classic: the startled, frozen gaze of a deer in the headlights. Not to mention a bitchface to rival that of the legendary Jared Padalecki! :)
I was especially impressed with how Tom portrayed the escalation of Clark's anxiety as Jimmy's investigation progressed, spilling over into desperation as he told Chloe that Jimmy had figured it all out, and culminating in his passionate plea to Oliver to set aside his wastrel ways and help him. His performance was carefully crafted, showing us the true depths of Clark's feelings, but without ever being over the top or showing even a hint of hysteria. And he honestly made me believe that Clark's first concern was for Jimmy. If Tom Welling has learned anything over the course of this show, it's how to play the hero.
After his epiphany on that dark Metropolis street, and secure in the knowledge that Jimmy has been thrown off his trail, Clark came into the DP the next morning transformed. Relaxed and at ease, his confidence was back, and with it came his focus, his sense of humor, and a healthy helping of snark. I don't think I fully realized how his worry had burdened him until I saw him without it again. Which only made me appreciate Tom's acting more.
All the series regulars were great in this episode. Let's talk about Allison Mack first, because she rocked my world! She was so vibrant this week she practically leaped off my TV screen! How wonderful was it to see the Chlark friendship in full force again? I loved how Clark went straight to Chloe for help, first when he saw Jimmy's photo, and again when Jimmy figured out the blur was Clark. And I don't think that was because of her potential influence over Jimmy; it was because she's his best friend and always has his back. Her response to him was perfect both times. I was completely swept up in her enthusiasm for Clark as a symbol of hope, but I enjoyed even more the way she shifted into sidekick mode when Clark needed her most. Her shocked "What?!" when Clark told her Jimmy knew his secret made me laugh. :) Chloe was completely loyal to Clark in this crisis. Did you notice how she moved to stand by his side when Jimmy implored her to tell him the truth? Once again, best friend trumps boyfriend.
AM's true moment of triumph, however, was the very last scene of the episode. OMG!! Chloe, what has Brainiac done to you?! I was shocked, dismayed, and thrilled, all at the same time! It was beyond awesome, especially the slo-mo exit, where Chloe walks out, cool as a cucumber, and her face looks almost as stunned as we feel. Oh, bring it on, Smallville, this is gonna be good! And Allison is going to have a field day with it. You go, girl!
Aaron Ashmore made me like Jimmy more than ever this week. We had barely a hint of the Chimmy in Identity, but plenty of Jimmy with Clark and Lois. See how well that worked, show? More, please! Poor Jimmy, he figured out the secret of the century, and he doesn't even know it. But we did see a dawning of deep admiration for Clark, and outright hero worship for his alter ego. I liked Clark and Jimmy together. I hope their friendship grows as they continue to work together, and I hope it survives the heartbreak I can't help but think lies ahead for Jimmy with Chloe.
Jimmy was smart in this episode (and awww, hurt when Clark didn't give him credit for it), and I liked how they used his investigation to pull in the earlier seasons again. My favorite scene between Jimmy and Clark was the one at the farm. I was grinning from ear to ear as the truth dawned on Jimmy, as his speech slowed and his mouth hung open. And I was bouncing in my chair as he grabbed that photo of Clark in THRJ and compared it to the blur. See, Clark? I told you not to wear that stupid thing every damn day! LOL! Jimmy's stunned speechlessness was priceless, and all of Clark's diversionary babbling did no good whatsoever. Then, when Jimmy rushed to Chloe's and found Clark already there, Clark was totally busted! How much did you love Jimmy's response to Clark's lame shortcut excuse? "You know what, Clark? Why don't you show me on a map?" hee! I've been waiting years for someone to say that!
I was glad to have Lois back, and her scenes with Clark were the usual delight. How cute was it when she asked Clark to zip her up for her date, and our already stressed hero totally gave in to petulant jealousy? Clark was adorable, and Lois ate it up with a spoon. And then proceeded to torment him, by flirting outrageously and fawning all over her fake date. *giggles* Erica Durance was too funny in that scene. Their snarky exchange at the DP, after Clark got his mojo back, was completely different in tone, but equally fun. I continue to love these two together.
I enjoyed Clark's scenes with Oliver, and the role reversal between them from what we saw in S6. Justin Hartley is a welcome addition to the show, and his character was used to great effect this week. Because of the special bond Clark and Oliver share as fellow superheroes, exploring their friendship on the show gives us a unique opportunity to hear Clark articulate how he feels about that part of his life. Besides, it's just cool to see these two gorgeous guys together, talking man to man and hero to hero. They also make me laugh a lot ("Clark, you made out with my girlfriend, man. Whadja have to complain about?"). Clark needs a friend like Oliver. By the end of the episode they were on equal footing, each off to save the world on his own terms.
Tess wasn't in this episode much, but she still managed to make the most of her time. Every moment reminded us that she is intelligent, mysterious, and ruthless to the core! *shivers* I loved how she was openly incredulous that Clark would turn down a plum assignment, and intrigued by it. I also liked how she made it clear that Clark enjoys the luxury of repeatedly bending the boss's ear only because it amuses her, at least for the moment. And the news that Wilson was off to murder Lois didn't even make her blink. I do wonder why she was crying at the mansion. Was it a small moment of weakness in this cold life she's made for herself? A glimmer of regret for what she and Ollie might once have had? Or despair that her search for Lex remains fruitless?
The whole FotW storyline was boring. Of course Wilson served his purpose in that final scene, but I couldn't care less about the rest of his time onscreen. I didn't understand why they gave him the power to steal memories if he wasn't going to use it. Everything he did involved his power to read people, and even when he found out Lois knew all about him, he opted for murder rather than mind wipe. Was it just to make him seem more menacing?
Oh, wait, I almost forgot to talk about the pretty! Except for that first, brief scene in his trademark red and blue, Clark wore nothing but grey, black, and white in Identity. Okay, it's official, this show is trying to kill me. Every week they come up with new, more stunning ways to dress a man who is already so beautiful his face renders me incoherent on a regular basis. And Tom doesn't help by rolling up his shirtsleeves and jamming his hands into his pockets every chance he gets! Guh. I have to give a special mention to that deceptively simple grey tee, that hugged Tom's chest so gloriously, and those lovely black slacks, that highlighted so nicely that which we love but rarely see, Tom's delicious booty. Yeah, I went there. :)
Random thoughts: What was that mugger wearing on his face? A black painter's mask? Who else put their DVR on pause to check out the contents of Lois's purse as they went flying? :) Since Ollie's apartment set is now the Ace of Clubs, will he be relegated to that tiny private jet set for the entire season? That cape was total CGI, right? I loved the "Faster Than a Speeding Bullet" headline. *is a dork* Shouldn't Wilson have been handcuffed to the bed, or had a police guard outside? Presumably Lois had him arrested for attempted murder. And have you ever noticed how much Clark favors shirts without pockets this season? How's that for random? :)
Prey was written by Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson, and Identity was written by Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer. And the difference between these two episodes perfectly illustrates the reasons why, as a Clark fan, the latter pair is one of my favorite writing teams, and the former is not. This week we were given an amazing episode. It was all about Clark, and focused on his journey to becoming the hero he is destined to be. We saw him attack his problem and solve it, with the help of those closest to him, his secret keeper and his brother in arms. The episode had action, drama, mystery, humor, heroics, special effects, and the tiniest hint of romance. And it ended with a staggering reveal. It was just about perfect, and I loved it. Keep 'em coming, Smallville!
ETA: OMG, starry_dawn just reminded me! One of the biggest laughs of the episode? Clark desperately weeding all the red and blue clothing out of his wardrobe! HAHAHAHA!! Talk about having nothing to wear! And I loved that we could see so many of our long-time favorites in the potential reject pile. Too funny, show.