There was so much going on in this episode, you didn't want to look away for a second for fear you would miss something critical. The main event, of course, was Chloe's wedding to Jimmy, and the teaser, video footage from the occasion, did just that, showing us just enough to make our jaws drop and our hearts race. First we saw the cute and funny video message from Clark and Lois, and then the wedding itself. Everyone looked so beautiful, and so happy, and then BAM! What was that thing?! As the video cut to static and we jumped into the opening credits, the lyrics of the Smallville theme song have never seemed more appropriate!
As every woman should be on her wedding day, Chloe was radiantly happy and as pretty as a princess. She looked amazing, and Allison Mack's performance made me believe with absolute certainty that this was the happiest day of her life, and that Jimmy Olsen was her one true love. I even started rooting for them as the episode went on! Chloe had compassion for Davis, but no inclination to encourage his obsession with her by talking to him again. She kept Davis's calls a secret from Jimmy to spare him the worry, but she made her feelings clear in her heart-to-heart talk with Lois. She wanted nothing more than to marry Jimmy and live happily ever after.
I was confused about what Chloe remembered and what she didn't. Did she still know she had been infected by Brainiac, or was that knowledge too closely entwined with Clark's secret? For that matter, was Brainiac still inside her head at all? Because when she told Clark about the weight that had lifted, I wasn't sure what she was talking about. I thought maybe it was Brainiac's presence inside of her, that was now gone, left behind in the FOS. Clearly Clark thought she was talking about the burden of knowing his secret, but I just don't think that was the case.
Jimmy was adorable in this episode. He was so happily in love he wanted everyone else to feel it, too, and even tried to play Cupid for Lois. His scene with her was fun to watch. His enthusiasm for Lois and Clark as a couple was infectious, and persuaded Lois to let her guard down, just for a moment. I love the camaraderie and chemistry between these two! Jimmy's superstitious fears about seeing Chloe before the ceremony were cute, and sadly poignant in hindsight. At the wedding itself he was happy and thoroughly smitten, and devoted to Chloe in every way. Jimmy may have his faults, but he's a good man.
I'm glad Chloe had the good sense to ignore Davis's phone calls and voice mail messages. The scene with him in that alley totally freaked me out! The man was covered in blood, and it was dripping from his ambulance as well. What did he do?! *shivers* I could only imagine the terror and panic going through Davis's own mind, and Sam Witwer's performance made me care more than I wanted to, but that didn't change the fact that he had become an uncontrollable monster. The squishy sound those plastic bags made as he picked them up turned my stomach, and we all knew that cop was toast the second his flashlight beam hit Davis's face. The gory splash of his blood across the wheel of the dumpster only confirmed our fears. And we had our first true glimpse of Doomsday, as horny protrusions burst through the skin of Davis's hands, and his eyes flashed red, but it was nothing compared to what was to come.
Oliver was out of control in Bride, driven by anger and hell-bent on vengeance, no matter how much he denied it to Clark. First he tried to drag Clark away from the wedding, calling Lex "that monster," and implying that Clark was using Chloe as an excuse to let Lex slip away. Then he compromised Clark's secret by talking about his abilities with some random tech guy within earshot, and he exploded in frustration when Clark wouldn't go along with his plan. Finally, he went to Cuba anyway, and, without so much as a hello, shot a mannequin he thought was Lex through the back of the head with an arrow. Did you see the size of the hole it made? Seriously, dude, what exactly did Lex ever do to you that you find murder your only option? Because if this is about Lionel killing your parents, Clark is right. You can't punish the son for the sins of the father. And I have to agree with Lana, too. You're better than that.
I didn't think Oliver's instant and unshakable dislike of Lex in S6 was particularly fair, but at least I could understand it. I always figured that Lex was a constant reminder to Ollie of who he used to be, and it wasn't a memory that made him proud. In addition, Oliver had spent much of his life trying to make amends for the events we saw unfold in Reunion, and he judged Lex for not doing the same. Once he started investigating 33.1, I guess he found even more fuel for the fire. But now he's taken things too far. I appreciate Oliver's loyalty to Clark, and his desire to protect him, but as Clark said, I think that's only half of the story. And I just don't think Ollie acted like one of the good guys when he went after Lex this week.
Maybe what Lana said to him in Cuba woke him up, because I liked Oliver a lot better when he showed up for the wedding. He was a good friend to Lois, and it was nice to see the two of them move on and forge a friendship now that their romance is over. I don't know what's up with Oliver, but I'm worried about him. He did look positively dreamy in that suit, though. :)
Speaking of Lana, Bride marked her return to Smallville, in the first of five consecutive episodes. I've been anticipating this day, part of me dreading it, and part of me looking forward to seeing what the new showrunners had in mind for her. And my reaction is a mixed bag as well. Like Clark, Lana seems to have found a new maturity in S8, and she wears it well. I practically cheered when she questioned Oliver's motives in Cuba, and suggested that maybe he should try to be a little more like Clark. And something about the way she said it made Ollie listen. I also liked that she told Clark he was wrong to take Chloe's memories away, and that she finally gave voice to what we all know to be true, that Clark and Lana weren't meant to end up together. But I found the rest of what she said to Clark in the loft very confusing. And what Clark said wasn't much better.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's go back to Cuba for a minute. Lana told Oliver she was there to protect Clark, having come in response to blah blah blah megagigs (megagigs?) and blah blah blah ethernet. Oh, wait, I forgot Lana has mad computer skillz now. Anyway, her grand plan was to head down to Cuba solo and go all ninja on whomever she found there? Does that make sense to anyone? Then, when Lana arrived at the wedding, we once again saw the power of the Clana to stop Clark dead in his tracks. Clark was completely focused on Lois when Lana walked through the door, and as soon as he saw her, Lois ceased to exist. I get that it was the big dramatic moment and all, but that was not cool.
I just don't like the hold this relationship has over Clark, and how it seems to diminish him. I mean, Clark was great, truly. He was strong and at ease when he approached Lana in the loft, and they talked more like old friends than star-crossed lovers. It was a whole new level for them, and I liked it. But still, Lana implied that Clark would never have become the hero we've seen this season if she hadn't made the decision to leave Smallville. Ugh. When the whole barn was under attack, Clark rushed not toward the source of the danger, but to Lana's side, and stayed there until she gave him leave to go. In the hospital she was the one to say he didn't need to stay. *sighs* I just want to see Clark and Lana close the book on their romantic relationship once and for all, in a way that respects both characters, as well as what they've meant to each other over the course of the series. Oh, and did I mention the secrets and lies Lana brought back with her? *rolls eyes*
As much as this episode was about Chloe's wedding and Lana's return, it was also about Lois and Clark. We saw their relationship change in Bride, as Clark realized that Lois didn't beat the lie detector in Committed, and he found himself drawn to her in return. The first clue we had was when Lois descended the stairs in her maid of honor dress, and Clark walked up in his suit. They froze, drinking in the sight of one another, and then, as Lois came close to help Clark with his cuff links, he gave her one of the most intimate looks I've ever seen on this show. Lois made an unintentional sexual innuendo, and then turned and stepped away in embarrassment. Clark chose that moment to read Jimmy's vows aloud, and thinking he was speaking from the heart rather than a script, Lois turned back with all her love for him shining in her eyes. Clark faltered, his brow furrowed, and we could see him putting it all together.
Later, Clark caught and held Lois's gaze on the dance floor. Flustered, Lois brushed past Clark to leave, but he grabbed her hand, and with a single, silent tilt of his head and a sexy little smile, invited her to dance. Wait. What? Who was this man, and what had he done with our innocent farmboy? *swoons* Not a word was spoken during the dance, but not a word was needed. Tom Welling and Erica Durance said it all with their eyes, and every other nuance in their acting arsenal, as Lois asked and Clark answered. When she put her hand on his chest, and he took a step forward, and then leaned in for a kiss, it was an incredibly romantic moment. That was of course interrupted at the last second by Lana's entrance. Oh, Smallville, you play with my heart!
Erica once again impressed me with Lois's scenes of emotional vulnerability, but I also loved seeing the brash, funny, competent Lois, acting every inch the general's daughter as she whipped her troops into shape to make Chloe's dream wedding a reality. I like Lois's tender side, but I don't want to see her pining for Clark while he makes up his mind how he feels about Lana. So I was kind of happy to hear she won't be in the next four episodes. Lois won't be back until after Lana leaves for good, and I, for one, am relieved that the show resisted the temptation to give us one more patented Smallville triangle.
Clark made all the right moves in Bride, right up until the moment Lana walked back into his life. He refused to rush off after Lex with Oliver, knowing how important it was to Chloe to have him by her side as she walked down the aisle. Clark did help Oliver as much as he could, and tried to dissuade him from his dark path by sharing the story of his own close call back when Jonathan died. At the wedding, Clark seemed genuinely happy for Chloe and Jimmy, and his tender regard for Chloe throughout the episode was truly heartwarming. It still makes me sad to think about what Chloe and Clark both have lost, though. :(
It seemed clear to me that in the romantic atmosphere of two people pledging to love one another forever, Clark searched his own heart, and found he had feelings for Lois. What those feelings are, exactly, though, remains obscure, as do his feelings for Lana, and what, if anything, he plans to do about Lex. I long to hear Clark open up a little, to give us the same insights about himself that we gained about Lois in her confession to Oliver this week. Is that a possibility, show? Or are you being ambiguous on purpose?
Everyone in this episode looked beautiful, especially Chloe, but I'm sorry, not one of the women on this show can hold a candle to the gorgeousness that is Tom Welling in his finest. Devastatingly handsome doesn't even begin to describe how pretty he looked this week. Guh.
The last eight minutes of Bride took my breath away, turned my whole Smallville universe on its head, and made me fall in love with my favorite show all over again. And gave us a whole new meaning for the term wedding crasher. Doomsday exploded through the roof of the Kent barn, and chaos reigned. There was death and destruction, blood and unbridled fear. The monster looked awesome: huge, alien, scary, and better than anything I ever expected to see on my television screen. Well done, show. Clark realized in the space of a moment who stood before him, and faced him as he had promised, but between Doomsday's impossible strength and an errant meteor rock, was powerless to stop him. Cutting a swath through the wedding guests, and leaving Jimmy unconscious and bleeding on the barn floor, Doomsday went straight to Chloe, called her by name in his terrible, guttural voice, and carried her off. Her screams of terror as he reached for her reminded me of nothing more than Fay Wray in the clutches of the mighty King Kong. Is this Smallville's version of Beauty and the Beast?
In the aftermath, Clark ended up at the hospital, his immediate attempts to find Chloe having been in vain. As he left Lana's room, he saw Lois, who had been holding back to give them privacy. She was utterly destroyed by all that had happened, lost in despair, and Clark hauled her into his arms to promise her he would get Chloe back. And we saw in Clark's face that losing Chloe was something he couldn't bear to contemplate. As Lois pulled away and turned to go, we shifted into slo-mo, and I realized that those plaintive piano notes in the background were the opening notes to a song! OMG, it was a musical montage! To an amazing song, Don't Take Your Love Away from Me, by VAST.
First we saw Lois walk away, turning for one last shared look with Clark. In that moment they mourned all they had lost that night, not the least of which, I think, was a closeness that may prove difficult to recapture. Next we saw Lana in her hospital bed, obviously in pain, but somehow I think it was something else that caused the tears we saw in her eyes. Then we saw an unconscious Jimmy being wheeled out to be transported to Star City, Lois by his side. It will be awhile before we see either of them on the show again.
The next thing we saw was beautiful and terrible, all at the same time. Doomsday carried an unconscious Chloe into the Fortress, the scene a study in contrasts: white snow, glittering ice crystals, and a glowing Chloe, against black walls, infected crystals, and a dark monster. It gave me chills. As Doomsday gently laid Chloe down on the ice, Brainiac either reinfected her, or fully awakened that part of himself that was always inside her, and she opened her eyes and smiled. And that image, of Chloe's face, her eyes the color of metal, smiling up at her monster as he splays his claw next to her head, will haunt me in the weeks ahead. *shivers*
We ended where we began, on the teaser footage, but this time the camera panned back and away, and we saw that the video was being watched by (wait for it) Lex!! Lex, all smooth skin and mysterious shadows, with a network of creepy wires and tubing coming from his body, taking it all in. And then we were out, as the final strains of VAST played over the credits.
Random thoughts: So Ollie's tech guy can wirelessly download info from a router that isn't even turned on? Chloe didn't give Clark that boutonniere at Homecoming; they went to the Spring Formal together. The part where Chloe crooked her finger and motioned Clark to come dance? Cutest scene EVER! Who refers to Green Arrow as the Archer? Is Jimmy's gay friend dead?! *cries* And careful, show. I don't know what you've got up your sleeve in regards to Lex, but Fake!Lex is worse than no Lex at all. If Michael Rosenbaum isn't coming back, don't even think about going there.
Bride was a big episode. It was a visual spectacle and an emotional roller coaster ride, with acting that touched my heart, an impressive big bad, and an ending that knocked my socks off. And it brought back my beloved Smallville end-of-episode musical montage! \o/ It gave me lots to squee about, plenty to agonize over, some mysteries to ponder, and even a few grumbles. It was a wonderful way to finish out the first half of the season, and everything about it guarantees I'll be back for more in January. I hope you will be, too!
Cross-posted at Starkville House of El Podcast.
And I couldn't resist including my top ten caps from the episode, because there was just so much pretty!
Screen caps courtesy of KEakaCK, with my thanks!