Final Season: Smallville & Parents

I’m not sure anyone is reading these, but I’ll keep doing them for my own sake. I will make one minor complaint right off the bat, that I am finding the studio’s anti-conservative message a tad annoying this season. It ranges from off the cuff remarks like Ollie commenting that all we want to do is built a wire fence to keep immigrants out (sorry, Ollie… maybe your ancestors were illegals, but mine weren’t) to this Freak Registration Act going before the Senate, and of course the preview next week in which the big bad government kidnaps and waterboards a couple of our heroes. The government, let’s face it — stinks. Our military doesn’t, but the show has always been anti-military, which is kind of anti-patriotic, and coming from a bunch of Canadian writers — that’s lame. I say all hail and thank God for the military.

Moving on to Granny Goodness and Thanksgiving with the Lanes…

The Story Last Week:

Clark and Lois have become hot and heavy as a couple — but their snuggling is interrupted by the arrival of her father, General Lane, and younger sister, Lucy. The General has made life hell for every single one of Lois’ previous boyfriends and she is concerned that he might run off Clark too — and he gives it his best effort in handing over a list of impossible chores that must be done in order to “make the farm safe for Lois.” Things like chopping wood, fixing squeaky windmill blades, etc. In the past, her boyfriends have all whined about it — but Clark does it all at super-speed without complaint. The real sticker here of course is that the General is all for meteor freaks and superheroes registering — and Clark thinks that is stupid and limits their ability to save people. Both men look to Lois for her opinion and she… sidesteps it, not wanting to pick as side.

Meanwhile, a secret evil branch of the government that has been forming its own baddies militia wants to harm the General to prevent his support of the Registration Act (um… why? it’s not like generals can do anything about bills before the senate…) and manipulate Lucy into planting a tracking device on him. After an argument with Lois, he leaves the pen on the counter in the Talon and a minute later, a missile hits and the place goes up in flames. (Awww… no more Lexana love nest?? Noooo!) Clark is able to save Lois, and leaves his burning insignia nearby, so the general realizes she was saved by a superhero. They return to the farm and have dinner — and the General is satisfied that Lois has at long last stuck up for one of her boyfriends. The fact that she wasn’t willing to stand up to him before indicated that she never really loved any of the others.
 

The Story This Week:

Tess Mercer awakens from a nightmare about a creepy old woman in an orphanage and clutching at a musical box — but the music keeps playing. The sound leads her downstairs where she finds the box from her dream. The investigation introduces her to a local orphanage run by the sweet, charming “Granny Goodness,” who takes in lonely and neglected girls, erases the pain of their previous experiences, and then trains them to be lethal assassins. She traps Tess in the orphanage, revealing to her that her parents were powerful people and forced her to erase Tess’ memories for a dark purpose. Her minions manage to temporarily disable Clark with green kryptonite, but he inevitably breaks free and saves Tess. We learn at the end that Granny is in alliance with Darkseid and a third individual who is part of the “unholy trinity” of evil. Moved by the experience, Tess finally remembers the man who took her to the orphanage and left her there, someone she called “daddy” — Lionel Luthor.

While moving her stuff to the Kent farm, Lois comes across a box with her mother’s things in it, including a set of tapes addressed to “my daughter.” The first contains the encouragement and love of a mother, which starts her to thinking about the importance of family. Knowing that Clark has been estranged from Jor El for months, Lois discerns a way to visit the Fortress of Solitude and pleads for a reconciliation. When Clark shows up to take her home, the Fortress shows him a hologram of his parents and their message for him as he was packed into the spaceship that would take him to earth. He discovers that he was meant to be “the savior of the world.” He also shows the audience a very special engagement ring in his pocket…

The Symbolism:

Obviously, there is the ongoing symbolism of Christ figures coming home to rest in Clark Kent, but most of what the last two episodes have been about were family. Two weeks in a row we have had Lois struggling to come to grips with the past and her family members, while Clark meanwhile has been forced to contend with the silence of his father in the Fortress, and now Tess discerning her true association with the Luthors (half sister to Lex? Egads!) as well as her tormented childhood at the orphanage. Since family is something we all are forced to deal with, it’s an easy manner of permitting the audience to understand some of these churning emotions. What I find interesting is that Lois Lane is a progressive and forward character, very firm in her beliefs and strong in her convictions. But when faced with having to stand up to her father, or when faced with memories of her mother, she becomes very insecure and child-like in her obvious fears.

Where Clark is concerned, she almost doesn’t stand up for him — kind of like the kid in the schoolyard cornered about her beliefs who mutters, “Um… well, I’m not really sure about them…” I think we have all been there. It’s easy to love someone or to believe something until you must stand up for it — then you have to make a choice of what is the most important thing in your life. Lois faltered but did come around, and her father respected her more because of it. People who can bully you don’t respect you. I think we respect people more who stand up for their beliefs than those who sway in them or attempt to appease people with false humility or by giving in. I remember when two mutual friends set me with with a guy they knew, in the hope we would hit it off. I knew it wouldn’t work the minute he gave in to me in an argument — not because I had made my case about a particular literary character, but because he did not hold fast to his opinion and probably was concerned I might not like him if he continued to argue with me. That was our last date. I wanted to respect him but couldn’t because he didn’t stand up for his convictions — even on something as menial as whether or not a literary character was pathetic.

In situations where family and lovers are concerned… I think your priorities lie with the person you intend to spend the rest of your life with. While we are to honor our parents, we should not allow them to be unreasonable or sabotage our adult relationships. They need to see you yes, as their daughter (or son) but also as a person deserving of your respect. Lois was wrong not to stick up for Clark, even though she did come around. She almost proved herself not mature enough to be in a meaningful and lasting relationship — but fortunately she did come around and find her footing. And in a way, she was right also to encourage reconciliation between Clark and Jor El. She has no trouble standing up to the man she loves!

Immaterial Thoughts:

I think it was a pretty bold (and stupid) move on Lois’ sister’s part to make a move for Clark… like that is going to help your relationship with your sister? But then, Lucy has always been something of a loser — which made me smile a little bit when Lois confessed that she was relieved when Lucy took most of the attention, because it allowed her to escape it. Overall, though, I have a bit of fondness for the Lanes, and it was a nice touch to have their mother show a softer side of the General in musing about them romantically. Bringing in Terri Hatcher to make the memory tape was a nice touch — much more sweet and less dramatic than Dean Cain’s appearance from a couple of years ago, but very impacting. I admit to shedding a couple of tears and Erica’s performance as she sat there and watched the tape was really very moving — simple but emotional.

Not being familiar with the comic books is kind of nice at this point because I have no idea where they are going with Granny Goodness and Darkseid. I thought the scenes at the orphanage were great — very dark and full of ominous atmosphere. I will say one thing, however, that the complete absence of little Alexander for several weeks has felt a tad strange, considering he was such a threat earlier in the season and it was said that his life span would soon be over. Just a mention of him would have been nice, but then the show has always had trouble with consistencies and having people vanish without a trace or explanation for months on end. (Why is no one looking for Chloe? Don’t they know she traded herself to a secret operation group in exchange for Ollie? Is no one concerned? Four seasons ago Clark would have been tearing up the planet looking for her and now he’s happy as a clam to have Tess in charge?)

Which brings me to Tess. In all honesty, I have never liked that character and some part of it probably has to do with resentment that she has “replaced” the Luthors on the show. Not only that, she sold out Luthor Corp to Queen Industries — something that will not endear her to the real Lex Luthor whenever he returns. So when she found out Lional was her father last night, I screeched, “OH, YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!” Because… I’m not sure how I feel about it. Part of me is not at all surprised since Lionel seems to have illegitimate kids running around everywhere… and part of me thinks it is a major cop-out. (And what is it with the name on the birth certificate? Must all the Luthors have “L” first names?! Just once I would like to see an “Alanna” or something.) I am not sure where the series is going from here, but at the very least it should be entertaining!

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