Well, Smallville is back on my television screen as it heads toward its series finale. And… for the first time in my life I find myself thinking, “That was an awful episode to come back with.” This episode makes me regret that I have to talk about it, it was just that bad — I actually felt embarrassed for the entire cast while watching it, and that takes a unique form of anti-talent from a group of writers. I haven’t seen an episode this atrocious since “Thirst” back in a previous season in which Lana is transformed into a Kryptonite vampire and tries to chow down on Clark. (Why Clark? Lex was standing right there… ah, never mind.)
The Story: Clark has been missing for weeks and Lois is frantic. When he reappears, she discovers that he is devoid of his powers — a problem that everyone else who was in the tomb burying Hawkman when the bomb went off shares. Black Canary can no longer knock people out with her screams. And Ollie doesn’t remember much… and what he does remember, he wants to forget. All of them keep having flashbacks to being tortured and… Chloe was behind it. That’s when she re-enters their lives and explains to Oliver that this is not reality, he is in fact hooked up to a machine in a lab, living out life in his head while scientists monitor his mental state. She has created an avatar of herself to assist him and the others in finding freedom. Olivier is quick to snap out of it, but Black Canary is more of a hard sell — and Clark downright refuses to believe Chloe until the bitter end, when Lois helps him see the light — and fly off the Daily Planet building into the rift that brings him back to consciousness. The episode ends on a sappy but happy note with Lois and Clark asking Chloe to be a part of their wedding party.
I love how much this entire season has been about faith and trust in one form or another — everything from that cult’s odd views of religious doctrine to the struggles Clark and Lois are experiencing, the final season of this series is painting itself with a different brush. This episode can be summed up in one simple statement: “Clark’s leap of faith.” Will he trust Chloe or won’t he? Clark is struggling with his anger and bitterness over her abandoning all of them. She left without a word, shut down Watchtower, and vanished. Why should he trust her? He has memories of her “torturing him” and believe she helped them remove his powers. Those are hard things to overcome. He has to choose whether or not to step off the top of a building and follow her into the real world, or to remain where he is, trapped in a computerized version of reality in which he is devoid of his powers.
Clark reminds me of myself… and a great many other people. We have to make choices every day that impact our life and the lives of those around us, sometimes life-altering choices. God asks us to trust Him unconditionally, but that can be really hard when we do not understand. Sometimes (much of the time?) God does not explain His methods to us, which can leave us, like Clark, wondering where He is. Why did He abandon us? Where is He? Why isn’t He answering my prayers? Why did He allow this to happen to me? Clark doesn’t know that Chloe went into hiding to protect him and the others — he doesn’t see her side as it unfolds, so he must learn to trust her on his own. I don’t know why some things happen, why we are not given the answers, and why sometimes we are required to take a leap of faith — but I do know that leap pays off. Just as Clark and Lois’ leap of faith (flight of faith?) opens their eyes, our leap of faith does too. Things become clear in time, often after we make a choice. Sometimes God seems far away until I have decided that I am not going to allow the silence to push me away from Him. I have gone through “dry” periods in my spiritual life in which I see no evidence of His existence, only to renew my faith in Him and continue to believe without proof — and then begin to comprehend the many ways in which He daily touches my life.
Lois had one line of dialogue that I thought was really marvelous, very profound — it was about trust, and if you truly trust someone, you don’t need to ask questions or demand explanations, because you know whatever they are doing is in your best interest. Now, it is easy to place trust in the wrong person or things, but she does have a point. The more secure we are in love, the less we need to question motivations and actions, because we have faith in that person. I kind of love the dynamic Lois has with Clark now, because in some ways she seems more grounded in her faith than he does. She has faith in him, he just needs to learn to have it in other people. That is, essentially, where he messed up so much as a teenager — being too suspicious and not having enough faith in his friends.
I just… other than the symbolism, I thought this episode was a giant cheese-fest. I don’t know if it’s because it was a total rip-off of The Matrix or because I had just finished watching the latest episode of Fringe, in which my mind was blown in a good way. Maybe repeat viewings later on will change my view but I remember being bored and quite distressed by it, because it really was that bad. I am willing to bet that the concept was awesome on paper but the execution stank. The slow-motion fighting just made it apparent how fake all the moves are. Admittedly, some aspects were really cool — loved Chloe in her white suit, materializing through the wall in Oliver’s cell, and that shot of her using guns in the hospital corridor made the Prada-heels-wearing, butt-kicking feminist side of me coo. I also really like her dynamic with Olivier in the real world.
And… although it started out really corny, Clark holding Lois in his arm and flying around Metropolis … kinda … okay, I turned into a giant sap and it filled my heart with joy. Happy now? I want him to learn to fly by the end of this season and take her for a real spin. I demand it. If that does not happen, I will require answers — and as a Mastermind, you know that won’t end well for people in general. I am both dreading the end of this season because it represents a collective closing door on a giant chunk of my life, and excited about it because part of me hopes we will actually get to the wedding. Without anyone dying. I sadly suspect we will not see Rosenbaum and I am bummed about that. (Actually, I am more than bummed — I am irritated, bitter, annoyed, and generally resentful about that.) But I also am looking forward to a confrontation with Darkseid. That should be cool.
All of that to say… next week’s episode should be ten thousand times better, because it has a LUTHOR in it. Lionel is back in town! And Martha! Oh, that reunion should be good. “Hey, weren’t you, like, spattered all over the steps of Luthor Corp, after being shoved out a 40 story high window by your son?” “… was I? Wow, the Lex in this universe is way less of a pansy than the one in mine! Tell me, in this universe do I still have the hots for you, Martha?”