This week Kara finally came back to Smallville, Clark and Lois were trapped in the Phantom Zone, Chloe and Oliver teamed up to bring them back, Davis found out the shocking truth behind his mysterious blackouts, and Tess was everywhere. When Bloodline was over, we had new information to process and new questions to ponder. Who stole the crystal and then sent it to Clark? What did they hope to accomplish by sending him back to the PZ? What in the hell has Brainiac done to Chloe, who's displaying way more than a little extra brain power now? What was Ollie up to in Venezuela? What does Tess know? Davis is the son of Zod?! What else about him changed when Faora killed him and made him indestructible? And what's going to happen in the inevitable showdown between Davis and Clark? I'm on the edge of my seat, and I'm up for anything!
I loved Clark in this episode. He was a man of action in the Phantom Zone, determined first to save Lois from a fate she was never meant to suffer, and then to bring Kara home. Stripped of his powers, Clark showed us once again that what truly makes him a hero is who he is inside, not what he can do. He used his strength and compassion to bring Lois back from the brink of hysteria, and to break through Kara's hard shell of cynicism and despair. Refusing to give up on the only blood relative he has left, Clark's love for his cousin finally brought her hope back to life, and in the end it was Clark's heart, not his superpowers, that saved the day. Tom Welling was wonderful in the emotional scenes in the PZ, both with Lois and Kara, but most notably in the moment when Clark told Kara what she means to him. His performance made me realize what Clark keeps hidden from us all.
Back on Earth, Clark was his usual awesome self, dealing with Faora, standing up to Tess with aplomb, talking hero-to-hero with Oliver, and bidding a wistful farewell to Kara. We even got a little bit of the Clark and Lois funny at the DP, where Tom gave us a couple of his priceless reaction shots, like when Lois told him Tess had given her a raise. :) This whole episode reminded me anew of how far Clark has come since we first met him all those seasons ago, and how very close he is to becoming our Superman. And Tom looked gorgeous, as always. We were treated to another lovely DP ensemble, and, surprisingly, I liked him even better in the traditional garb he wore in the PZ. The blinding glare of that desolate place somehow suited Tom, who looked prettier than ever, especially when he was showing off his incredible body by running and jumping and climbing all over the place, in jeans that actually kind of fit for once!
I was happy to see Kara, and Laura Vandervoort, return to Smallville. I've missed her. LV and TW have always had incredible chemistry together, and this episode was no exception. There was a warmth between Kara and Clark that was truly special. LV perfectly portrayed a Kara made hard by the harshness of her prison, which made her return to her normal self once she escaped the PZ that much sweeter. I also liked Kara's Mad Max look in the PZ. What a shocking transformation! I get why Kara's not a regular anymore, and her leaving to search for Kandor is a good way to explain her departure on the show, but I wish they could bring her back again sometime. She and Clark make a good team.
Lois went through a lot in Bloodline, and the episode was a showcase for how accomplished Erica Durance has become as an actress. Lois started out her normal, animated self, blowing into Clark's kitchen like a mini hurricane, promising to turn his life upside down. Clark looked stunned, but I think he would have welcomed the change. I think that's why he invited her in the first place, because his life is never boring when Lois is around, and I think he loves that about her. But then they were both transported to the Phantom Zone, and Lois understandably freaked. I loved how Clark's top priority was finding a way to send Lois home, and then she refused to leave without him. The bond between these two grows stronger all the time. Kara finally had to shove her through the portal.
Lois landed back on Earth and stood, dazed, for no more than a moment before her body was taken over by the phantom who had followed her, Faora. And this is where ED blew me away. She became a completely different person. Faora was quintessentially Kryptonian, and very cool. She was regal, ruthless, driven, and just a little bit creepy with Davis (oedipal much, show?). How funny was it that she took the time to clean up, put on makeup, and do her hair before she set out to find her son? And I wonder how Zod really felt about her, because back in S6 he was ready to repopulate the Earth with Lana, and he didn't say anything about needing her to be a vessel for the old ball and chain back in the PZ. :)
Lois's final scene was with Clark at the DP, where she appeared completely back to normal. Lois is resilient, and it's a strength that will serve her well as her life becomes further entwined with the future Man of Steel. It's just one of the traits about her that charms me. She's self-confident without being arrogant (I think it's mostly bravado anyway), clueless without being dumb, and she makes me laugh. Like when she explained why she got her raise: "Because I'm me. Hell-o!" LOL! Something about ED's line delivery there just cracks me up. But mostly I like Lois because I think she's good for Clark. She challenges him, and shakes up his life, and keeps him from being too serious all the time. And I think she makes him feel human.
Chloe entered brand new territory in this episode, tapping into a whole new level of power to command Clark's crystal and bring him back from the PZ. She continues to change in subtle ways as her power grows, showing more dominance and less patience, but she's still Chloe to the core, with all her love and compassion and loyalty. I have to wonder what's going on in her head, especially after what happened last week. I think maybe she understands Davis's torment all too well now. Allison Mack nails every scene she's in, and I can't wait to see what she does with Chloe as this infection continues!
Oliver was great this week, too. He's like the voice of reason when all these crazy things start happening; he says the things we're all thinking. Clark and Chloe get so caught up in the current crisis, and sometimes they need someone who can take a step back and give them a different perspective. I had to laugh at his line about the PZ: "Seriously, who names these things?" hee! All the same, he jumps in when he's needed, and it was fun to see Green Arrow again, especially in a face-off with Tess. I also liked that Oliver stopped by the farm to express his concern for Chloe. Clark didn't see what Oliver saw, and he needed to hear about it. Besides, I always love a scene between the boys. :) And what is on Oliver's own agenda these days? Why is he looking at LuthorCorp's files on the halfway house from Rage?
Davis didn't have a huge part this week, but Sam Witwer made the most of his moments, playing each emotion with great skill. I'm not sure why Davis chose such a dramatic test of his vulnerability following his return from the dead, or why he had to take his shirt off to do it, but it sure made for an exciting ending! :)
And finally we have Tess, who keeps getting closer to Clark's secret. I can't quite figure her out, but I love to watch and ponder! Clearly she's a cold-blooded killer, perhaps many times over, but what is her motivation? Misguided devotion to Lex? Mindless ambition? Or sociopathy? She's manipulative and, no pun intended, merciless, like a cat with a mouse, and yet she continues to show flashes of vulnerability, and she truly seems to want to win Clark over to her side. She is an enigma, and one who fascinates me, thanks in large part to Cassidy Freeman. She's still no Lex Luthor, but she'll do in his unavoidable absence.
Random thoughts: Clark buys a cereal called CocoMoco Crispies? Coconut, coffee, and chocolate? Yuck. Did you see the big bunch of drumsticks in the box Chloe brought in? Are those Lois's concert souvenirs? It is absolutely ridiculous to expect us to believe that Tess didn't recognize Oliver instantly in his Green Arrow costume, but then this is a Superman story, and all Clark's going to have is a pair of glasses. :) I didn't get why Faora taunted Clark about his parents never coming for him. Didn't they die mere moments after they sent Baby Kal-El hurtling toward Earth? Ooh, I like Tess's new assistant! And he's got attitude! :) I loved the hug Clark gave Kara. And I think we saw more shots of Clark's booty in this episode than we did in all of S7 combined. C'mon, ladies, I can't be the only who noticed, can I?
RL has dragged me away from fandom recently, and I've had to fight to get back just long enough to post this, so at this point I'm not sure I can even string two coherent thoughts together. All I really wanted to say is that I enjoyed this episode and everyone in it, and I think this show just keeps getting better. If we were on a stronger network, I'd be rooting for S9 by now, and that's saying a lot, considering how badly I want to see TW on the big screen. I'm excited for what's ahead, I'm dreading the hiatus that's looming large, and I'm trying to savor what I think will be the last episodes of Smallville ever. And the good news is that I'm posting this so late, I can look forward to another new episode in just a few hours! If I can get home from work in time to watch it, that is. :)