SMALLVILLE: Solitude

 

Previously on SMALLVILLE... I missed three episodes in a row. I expect to be confused.

 

MamaKent and Lois return home. Lois apparently no longer lives at the farm, since she's dropping off MamaKent. SuperDog is barking as the wind picks up. This being Smallville, it's not a tornado – it's a strange flash of extraterrestrial light, and Clark superspeeds outside to find MamaKent collapsed on the ground. She's dizzy and doesn't remember what happened.

 

Somebody saaaave me...

 

Daily Planet. Chloe is working there. Wow, that's the nicest newsroom I ever saw, until she goes into the actual newsroom and it's a strange hybrid between LutherCorp and Gotham City's paper from the first Batman movie.

 

Chloe – whose straight hair does not suit her, by the way – senses she's getting "the abridged version" of the story. Clark for some reason things Jor-El has something to do with it. When in doubt, blame your quasi-dead evil biological father! Clark needs therapy. Ah, Clark means the bit about life force being taken from someone he loves.

 

Talon. Lois snarks at Lex, who is having CAMPAIGN shots taken at the Talon... hold the phone. What is Lex running for? I know in the comics he's the President of the United States, and may I say he'd do a better job than our current Commander in Thief, but so would a lobotomized chimpanzee, so it's beside the point. Lex shoots back that he owns the Talon, and Lois has an oh-shit moment before she rallies and asks him how he thinks he can beat JONATHAN KENT? Oh boy, I am lost.

 

Kudos to Lois' automatic distrust of politicians, since it bodes well for her future as the Daily Planet's top reporter. She obliquely threatens Lex, and he shoots back, "There's nothing more valuable than the political advice of a muffin-peddling college dropout." Ouch. That one stung.

 

USmallville. Professor Spike is lecturing Clark on not trusting him. It's the fangs, Spike darlin'. They make everyone nervous. Professor Spike seems to know all about Clark and Jor-El, the bargain and more. Yikes. He's declining to give information, and Clark is getting quite upset. Spike makes a few snide comments about humans, and Clark shoots back that he cares a lot more about this pathetic human race than Krypton.

 

Da Farm. Clark is coming clean about Professor Spike's Kryptonian heritage (just going with the flow here...) and PapaKent is freaking. He wants Clark to stay away from him, because every Kryptonian is bent on death and destruction. MamaKent helpfully points out that Clark is Kryptonian, and PapaKent backpeddles to provide a "raised by humans with strong values" exception to the "all Kryptonians are evil" stereotype. Clark says Spike has been nothing but helpful so far. Because Clark is a good judge of character. Not.

 

The teakettle whistles, and MamaKent goes to get it. She drops it, and is in sudden pain. There is a mark on her shoulder - sort of looks like a burning rash. Get some Kryptocortisone!

 

Commercials.

 

Smallville Hospital - they're sure here a lot, aren't they? PapaKent says they're sending her home with antibiotics. Clark is freaking.

 

Daily Planet. Chloe is visited by the Ghost of Evil PastÉ I mean, PapaLuther, bearing flowers. I'd check them for glowing green rocks. PapaLuther is dancing around giving her a story, and while they bicker I'm trying to read the headline that says, "Metropolis Strangler Surrenders to Police." Going with the flow, going with the flow... Amazing these two can have a quasi-civil conversation considering he tried to have her killed. PapaLuther feeds Chloe the news that "Milton Fine," a.k.a. Professor Spike, can run at nearly the speed of light and bench-press a car.

 

 U-Smallville. Clark seeks Professor Spike's advice about MamaKent's injury. I'm struck by how short James Marsters is - either that, or Tom Welling is really tall. Funny – as Spike, Marsters always seemed to be about the same age as Buffy and the rest of the cast. But as Professor Spike, I really get the twenty-year age difference between him and Welling. It's not the face – Marsters has never looked like a man in his forties to me, more like late twenties. It's acting.

 

Professor Spike overshares that Jor-El tortured dissidents on Krypton with the SuperFlash. Ha! He calls Zod "the great hero of the people." I know, I know, current canon, etc., but I'm a child of the Reeve movies, Jor-El is Marlon Brando and Zod is evil, end of story. The twelve-year-old kid in me is cuddling my DVDs.

 

LITTLE REANNON: The Voice of Jor-El is really the Voice of Zod screwing around with Clark, and Jor-El is going to turn out to be the nice guy after all!

REANNON: The comic books...

LITTLE REANNON: I can believe it if I want to!

 

He says Jor-El destroyed Krypton and sent Clark to conquer Earth and recreate Krypton. The music is doing a great almost-John-Williams riff.

 

Kent Farm. PapaKent is twitching about being rude while Professor Spike examines a leprosy-ridden MamaKent. That'll never heal if you don't stop picking at it. Professor Spike says if they puncture her skin, she'll die immediately. MamaKent starts seizing, and Professor Spike says they need a meteor rock. Apparently, they keep one in the closet. Because I absolutely want to keep around a volatile, dangerous substance that is utterly lethal to my son in the house, particularly one that has the weekend bonus of warping my DNA and making me into a supernatural freak.

 

Clark stands back carefully with Professor Spike while PapaKent holds the rock to her head. She calms down. But Spike says there is no cure, and she'll be dead in hours.

 

Clark storms out, declaring his intention to ring up Jor-El. Spike protests, and PapaKent has finally caught up that Jor-El did this to her. Clark comes clean about the price for his return to life, and PapaKent has the marvelous advice, "Go do something." Clark says he won't let Jor-El kill her, and PapaKent snaps, "Don't."

 

Commercials. If you're just joining us, something is killing Clark's mother. And you're totally lost.

 

Fortress of Solitude. Clark tells Zod to leave MamaKent alone. Zod says even Clark cannot alter destiny.

 

REANNON: It's Jor-El, not Zod.

LITTLE REANNON: It's Zod! Zod is the bad guy!

 

Los Alamos. Sexy Lexy is looking at a shot of the alien trapezoid. One of his interchangeable Hot Female Scientists in Black Suits says weird shit is happening with the trapezoid. PapaLuther interrupts to nose about and scold Lex for his continuing obsession with "little green men" while seeking public office.

 

U-Smallville. Professor Spike stalks across campus, while a trenchcoat-clad Chloe (say that three times fast!) loiters about quite un-stealthily. When she walks away, I see it's not a trenchcoat, but it looks like one. She's not subtle with the whole following thing.

 

Kent Farm. MamaKent is lying on the couch, and sad music plays as she goes about the business of dying. The Ick is creeping all through her. She tells him she is more than ready to give up her life for the life of her child.

 

MAMAKENT: You've given me so much happiness, Clark. I don't know what I would have been without you.

CLARK: (self-pities) Without me none of this would have happened.

MAMAKENT: Don't ever feel guilty about this. Do you hear me? I wouldn't have it any other way. You're gonna be fine. Look at you, you're a man now, Clark. A wonderful man. My job is done.

CLARK: No it's not, Mom. You can't say that. You have to fight this.

MAMAKENT: I love you, Clark. And just because I'm gone, it doesn't mean my love goes with me. I'll always be in your heart. Always.

CLARK: I'm not going to let you die. I won't let you.

 

A parent wrote that. Excuse me. I have to go hug my son.

 

Daily Planet. Lois tries to get Chloe to take down Lex. They decide to go to the warehouse where Professor Spike was nosing about.

 

Warehouse. Lois pulls up and plays the lost hotness. The security guard is more entranced with Lois' car than Lois. But it works. Chloe sneaks in, since the place is so important it has only one guard. The guard, by the way, bears a strong resemblance to Tom Welling. Lois flirts some more.

 

Chloe sneaks upstairs and sees goo coming from under the trapezoid, coalescing into Professor Spike. Chloe gets caught by a security guard, who calls for help. Lois attacks her guard and speeds her car into the complex. Chloe beats up her own guard and leaps into the car. And the LutherCorp Security Force wins the Stormtrooper award  for training, skill and discipline once again!

 

Commercials. Anyone else absolutely salivating over the Narnia movie?

 

U-Smallville. Clark begs Professor Spike for help. He says the only way to save his mother is to destroy the fortress. I sense a major lie. Losing the fortress does not make Clark blink.

 

Kent Farm. Sniff. The Ick is progressing, and PapaKent is nine kinds of tortured as he begs her not to give up. Chloe interrupts to find out where Clark and Professor Spike went.

 

The Cave of Contrivance (tm TWoP). They zap to the Fortress. Professor Spike hands him a crystal that will self-destruct the Fortress. It was created as a weapon against Jor-El, Spike says, but "Zod was a man of peace."

 

LITTLE REANNON: Bite me! He was gonna kill everyone in that street just to annoy Superman!

REANNON: What in the blue blazes are you talking about?

LITTLE REANNON: Zod is evil! Evil, I say! Stop this crazyman talking nonsense! Or better yet, wait for Chloe.

 

Clark swears, "You will never hurt my family again," and jams the Pop Rock of Self-Destruct into the Fortress. Everything starts to fall apart around them, and this, of course, is when we "discover" what we've known since before the season began: Professor Spike is not a Kryptonian exile come to help Clark. He holds out some Kryptonite, intending to eradicate Clark with it, now that he's used Clark to destroy the Fortress. He was created by Kryptonians, but he's "a whole lot smarter." A brain, one might say. He works for Zod, who is actually the evil one planning to destroy humans and recreate Krypton. Spike opens a swirly portal and welcomes an unseen Zod while leaving Clark lying on the altar with Kryptonite on his chest. Ooh, I bet that burns.

 

LITTLE REANNON: HA! I TOLD YOU SO! I TOLD YOU SO! Zod is the evil one, and Jor-El will turn out to be a good, kind father who saw the goodness in humans, and sent them his only son, a savior!

REANNON: Yes, you're very smart. Shut up.

 

Chloe runs into the cave, and sees the glowy light. Being brave, loyal and dumb, she sticks the polygon into the slot and zaps herself into the Fortress. The portal is spinning, and a Phantom Zone is rotating toward us. Chloe grabs the Kryptonite off Clark, while Spike stares into the portal. Let this be a lesson to evil villains everywhere – do not turn your back on the hero until you're sure he's dead!

 

Clark gets up and yanks out the bad crystal, which immediately stops the self-destruct or whatever it was. Spike superzips at Clark, but Clark throws him into a wall. Spike superzips back and tries to kill Clark with the bad crystal. Clark throws him off, and into the protruding crystals, which impale him. Spike is bleeding black stuff, then vanishes.

 

At the same time, the trapezoid vanishes.

 

MamaKent sits up, miraculously cured. PapaKent has the happiest face I've seen in weeks. They laugh and kiss.

 

Fortress. Clark stares. He may be striving for "upset," or "worried," or even "grieving for burgeoning mentor who was only fucking with his head like every other mentor who has ever shown up," but on Tom Welling's cute-but-nonexpressive face, it comes across as "dazed." Slightly different from his usual "befuddled."

 

Commercials.

 

SUPERMAN TRAILER!!!! The REAL Superman music plays. Marlon Brando says the real lines, at least, I think it's him. The sun rises over the Kent Farm. We get little flashes of Krypton, the barn, flying, the Daily Planet, the costume.

 

"They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their great capacity for good, I have sent them you. My only son."

 

And I SWEAR TO ZOD, when he opened his eyes and flew, for a moment I thought Christopher Reeve had come back to us. I'll be damned if that thirty seconds didn't make me sniffle. Excuse me, I need to rewind.

 

Okay, I'm back. MamaKent pets SuperDog. Clark tells his mom how much he loves her. Aw. Sorry, I'm still sniffly over the trailer.

 

In the house, Chloe is wrapped up in blankets in front of the fire, griping about forgetting her parka when she goes to the Fortress. Clark brings her a cup of cocoa wearing a fugly combo of bright blue shirt and moss-green pants. Clark sort-of kinda thanks Chloe for saving his life. Chloe snarks that "Robo-Professor" knows as much about human nature as R2-D2. And millions of Artoo fans squawk in protest.

 

Clark fills Chloe in on Professor Spike's mission. She tells him that PapaLuther told her to start poking around. How did he know? Clark says. Well, Jor-El has taken up permanent residence in PapaLuther's brain, that's how. At least, that's my theory.

 

LITTLE REANNON: It's not Jor-El! Jor-El is a good, kind dead father! It's Zod pretending to be Jor-El!

REANNON: Take your pills and shut up.

 

Los Alamos. Lex accuses PapaLuther of swiping the trapezoid. Lex looks pretty scary as he glares at PapaLuther, then storms out. PapaLuther walks over to the piano and plinks at it.

 

LITTLE REANNON: Zod, I'm telling you. Only Zod would play the piano like that.

 

Daily Planet. Lois gripes to Chloe that they need to stop Lex. And the writers need to stop treating Lois as the comic relief. She's strong – yet annoying. She's smart – but underachieving. She's undisciplined – except when she's spin-kicking. She's supposed to be the love of Clark's life. Stop making her the butt-monkey and give her something to do! End rant. Extra smack for Chloe referring to their snooping as "the thrills of journalism." No, honey. Breaking down the security gate of a warehouse, snooping on private property, breaking and entering these are misdemeanors, not journalism.

 

Lois says she doesn't understand how Chloe can keep seeking stories that are dead ends. "I'd never be able to let go," she says. "That's usually how it starts," Chloe shoots back with a grin, and we get a cool shot of Lois under the Daily Planet logo. Please, writers – listen to Chloe. Time for a life-changing event for Lois. Something catastrophic to make her get serious, grow up and stop being the butt-monkey. If Xander can do it.. oh. They had better writers.

 

Time for ANOTHER epilogue. Ever notice how this show always climaxes in the third act and the whole fourth act is spent wrapping up loose ends? It's very clumsy structure, and I intend to write a strong email to Gough-Millar about it. Or, y'know, not.

 

Barnness of Solitude. PapaKent approaches for some words of wisdom. Clark is kicking himself for believing Professor Spike, and worries about Jor-El's price. PapaKent offers some cliches, and the flashing sign PAPAKENT WILL DIE is only visible with Kryptonite glasses. Oh, all right – the heartbeat when flashing to credits really was affecting, since we all know what happens.

 

I guess we're done with new eps for a while, since the next episode is LEX-MAS. Mmm, I'll unwrap that present. 

 

LITTLE REANNON: Huh?

REANNON: Nevermind.