The Smallville Project: Episode 1.15 – “Nicodemus”
|October 3, 2013||Posted by Jess under Comics, Television, The Smallville Project|
Jess: Day. A truck drives down the road. Inside, the driver calls someone and introduces himself as “James Beals; Lionel Luthor is expecting my call.” There’s a strange flower in the planter on the seat next to him. “I don’t care if he’s in a meeting, get him out of it!” he screams. “Tell him I found something! No, I won’t hold! Get him!” He slams the phone against the dashboard a few times, then throws it on the floor.
Picking up speed, he pulls up behind the truck in front of him, which turns out to be Jonathan’s, and leans on the horn. Jonathan looks understandably alarmed.
Rebecca: Ugh, Jonathan is listening to the Dukes of Hazzard theme song, just like every other Kansas farmer who’s played by the former Bo Duke. I DON’T NEED THIS, SHOW.
Jess: Beals screams “Move it already!” and actually hits Jonathan’s back fender, then pulls around into the oncoming traffic lane and tries to force Jonathan off the road. Jonathan pulls off onto a downhill dirt road and Beals follows, takes the hill too fast, and flips his truck over. “Whoa,” Jonathan says, hilariously sounding only moderately surprised. He stops and gets out of the truck, then pulls an unconscious Beals out of his own truck and carries him to safety, then shields his body with his own as the truck explodes. This is honestly more active, selfless heroism than we’ve ever seen from Clark.
As Jonathan tries to wake Beals, a CGI flower that looks like the one that was in the truck sprays him with green pollen. He sneezes, then picks Beals back up.
Rebecca: That flower looks like a Windows 95 screensaver.
Jess: Luthor Castle. Dr. Hamilton walks into Lex’s study and tells him that a Luthorcorp employee was helping him install some new equipment, and he stole something. Lex asks what it was and Hamilton pauses before saying, “A flower.” Lex is like “Seriously? We did kryptonite flowers five episodes ago.” Hamilton says the flower, the nicodemus, has been extinct for 100 years, but he brought it back by irradiating the seed with meteor fragments. “I want to know [the meteor rocks’] affect on people, not on plants,” Lex snaps. I think Amy Adams would like to have a word with you, Lex.
Rebecca: Between Hamilton’s lab, the Melville greenhouse, the Luthor rose garden, the toxic waste on the Kent Farm, and the fertilizer developed on Level 3, are there any plants in Smallville that don’t have kryptonite mutations?
Jess: I might never eat creamed corn again. (Luckily, I never ate it before.)
Hamilton yells at Lex about science for a bit and Lex asks the name of the thief. “James Beals. I just found out he was in a car accident. He almost didn’t make it but another driver pulled him out.” “Don’t tell me it was Clark Kent,” Lex says, because he’s not entirely genre-blind. “Actually, it was his father, Jonathan,” Hamilton says.
Kent Farm. Clark walks in to find his parents totally making out. Haha, ADORABLE. “I did not need to see that,” he says as his parents laugh. “Hey, son. Just getting the old hero’s welcome, you know what I mean?” Jonathan says, giving Martha a playful swat on the ass and making her jump. Clark asks what’s going on and Martha says Jonathan’s been acting strange since he got home.
Jonathan suggests he and Clark watch the game and whacks the cap off a bottle of beer against the kitchen counter. “Don’t you have…work?” Clark says. “Nah, I earned a rest,” Jonathan says, using the curtains to wipe the foam off his bottle. “You can pick up the slack for me, can’t you?” Martha, annoyed, tosses him a dish towel.
Rebecca: Jonathan being an asshole about Clark’s powers is always at least slightly hilarious to me.
Jess: Lex knocks on the screen door and walks in looking for Jonathan. Clark and Martha greet him cheerfully, but Jonathan’s even more belligerent than usual (though Lex did kill all his cows and poison his farm last episode, so maybe it’s not just the kryptonite flowers – YEAH, I FIGURED IT OUT ALREADY, EPISODE). Lex says he heard about the accident and wanted to see if Jonathan was all right. “No you didn’t,” Jonathan says. “You wanted to see if I was gonna sue you or not.” Martha tries to reign him in, but Jonathan’s not having it: “You see, I don’t like Lex Luthor, I don’t like Lionel Luthor, and I don’t like your friendship with my son. In fact, if all of you Luthors were to dry up and die, I wouldn’t shed a tear.”
Clark tells him that’s enough. Jonathan swats his hand away and burps in Lex’s face. Wow. He announces he’s going to take a nap, gropes Martha again, and walks upstairs. Clark and Martha look mortified, which, fair enough.
Rebecca: Watching Welling trying to consciously act confused is amazing to see.
Jess: Smallville High. Pete’s more impressed by Jonathan’s piggishness than anything else. Clark’s worried, but Pete’s loving it, especially “the part where he dissed Lex.” “Why, what do you have against Lex?” Clark asks. Wow, way to be an observant friend, Clarktopher. “Hmm, let’s see: he screwed my family out of the creamed corn factory,” Pete says. Clark says that was Lionel, and also 12 years ago, and asks why Pete never said anything. “I was hoping you’d see he was bad news,” Pete replies.
Chloe runs up to them: “What’s your deepest desire?” Well, we know Clark’s is Lana, yours is a Pulitzer and Clark, and Pete’s, I’m guessing, is a subplot to call his own. Chloe explains that she’s doing a Principal Kwan-mandated poll. Pete points out a pretty girl passing by as his answer, and Chloe says that every answer she’s gotten “has been either sex or violence-related.” “It’s human nature, Chloe,” Pete says, and trots off to introduce himself to the girl in question.
“Did you know that Pete doesn’t like Lex?” Clark asks. “Yeah, he’s totally jealous of your friendship with him,” Chloe says. Ahaha. Lana pops up and Chloe asks her to take the poll. “Uh…I would climb the windmill down in Chandler’s Field,” Lana says. “Somebody told me you could see the Metropolis skyline from there. Haven’t got the guts to climb up and see for myself.” Okay but you guys seem to live like ten minutes from Metropolis. Chloe somewhat skeptically writes that down and Lana offers to change it. “No, I like it, it’s…unleashing the inner Lana,” Chloe says. HEYO.
Rebecca: GOD, LANA, YOU ARE SO BORING SOMETIMES.
Jess: Chloe asks Clark for his answer as he watches Lana walk away: “Remember, it’s a PG-13 poll.” He tells her he can’t make a move on Lana while Flash’s dad is in the hospital. “You know, Clark, there are other girls out there that don’t require crossing an emotional minefield,” she points out. “Yeah, but I can’t just turn off my feelings for her,” he protests. Chloe looks about as fed up as the rest of us when she says “You know, the choice is yours: you can either sit in your loft and play with your telescope, or move on.” There’s a delightful little almost-pause before the word “telescope” that makes the line even more cutting. She walks away and Clark looks baffled that the girl he knows has a crush on him doesn’t want to listen to him moon over Lana for the umpteenth time.
Rebecca: Clark’s willful ignorance about what Chloe and Lana know or don’t know about his fantasies is baffling.
Jess: Kent Farm. Jonathan cozies up to Martha and suggests they go upstairs for a little alone time, and she says she has work to do and maybe he should call Lex to apologize instead. “Why? All I did was tell him the truth,” he says. “I know I said you should let your feelings out, but you’re taking this too far,” she tells him. “What’s wrong with you?” He tells her he feels fine, but when she touches his forehead it’s hot. She tells him to go back to bed. He tries to put the moves on her again but she wiggles out of his grasp, looking a bit uncomfortable, and leaves.
The phone rings once and goes straight to voicemail, which seems odd. It’s someone from the bank, calling to turn down Jonathan’s loan. Jonathan grabs the phone: “Hello, Jim? Yeah, listen to me. I have done nothing but give back to this community and all anyone has ever done for me is screw me over. So what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna come down there to that bank, and you are gonna have to turn my loan down right to my face. That way I can see whether you still have a pair, or whether your wife keeps them in a drawer too.” He smashes the phone against a support beam until it breaks. I kind of feel like the overall message of Smallville is “Never rescue anyone from a car accident.”
Rebecca: If the Kents didn’t interfere in any car accidents, the population of Smallville would be back down to pre-meteor shower numbers in no time.
Jess: Downtown Smallville. Jonathan careens down the street in his truck, nearly killing several people, even going so far as to open the car door and shout out of it. Clark watches, making a series of hilariously horrified faces. He zips over and finds Jonathan marching towards the bank with a gun. Jonathan rants about the ungratefulness of the town and Clark tells him he’s not thinking. “I’m thinking just fine, son, now get out of my way!” Jonathan says. Clark grabs for the gun as Jonathan pushes past him. The barrel ends up pointed at Clark’s chest. Jonathan pulls the trigger.
Clark’s fine, of course, except for some embers in his shirt, but he looks horrified, and so does Jonathan. “Clark…” Jonathan says, and then his vision goes all swimmy and he drops to the ground.
The hospital. The doctor tells Clark and Martha that Jonathan’s in severe anaphylactic shock, but they don’t know what it is. All they know is that James Beals has the same symptoms. “That’s the guy Dad saved,” Clark says. “How’s he doing?” “Not good,” the doctor admits. “He fell into a coma an hour ago.” Martha grabs Clark, looking tearful.
Out on the road somewhere, Chloe and Lana get out of a car and Lana asks what they’re doing. Chloe says Jonathan and Beals have the same symptoms, and this spot – presumably the crash site – is the only place they’ve both been. She starts taking photos while Lana heads into the woods with a flashlight. I see no possible way this could end badly.
Rebecca: But… Chloe and Lana investigating together! No! Boys! Allowed!
Jess: “I think I found something,” she calls, and Chloe starts to head over, but it’s only the hula doll from Beals’ dashboard. But squatting has brought her close to the nicodemus, which opens up. As Lana peers at it, it spits pollen in her face.
“Whatcha got?” Chloe asks. Lana shows her the hula doll: “Sorry.” Chloe declares this lead to be a dead end, and they head back to the car. As they get in, Lana sneezes.
Hamilton’s lab, which is full of nicodemuses in glass cases. Nicodemi? Whatever. “Seems you haven’t been completely honest with me, Dr. Hamilton,” Lex says as he walks in. Hamilton says it’s under control, and Lex says two men are in the hospital over it. Lex says he did a little research of his own: “Apparently in 1871, a strange contagion struck the Morley settlement and 200 people died almost overnight. A priest who witnessed the scene left a diary. His last entries describe how the settlers began acting out of character. He claimed a local flower was to blame.” He picks up an old paperback and starts to read: “On God’s green earth, this flower was the thief in the temple, the silent temptress that with a simple sneeze brought out the basest instincts in man and drove them to violence.”
Hamilton says that’s just folklore and Lex says if that’s the case, Hamilton shouldn’t mind him opening one of the other planters and smelling the flower. Hamilton stops him. “Why’d you bring it back?” Lex asks. Hamilton says the flowers are rumored to have toxins that are deadly but also have “other applications.” Lex says he’s supposed to be concentrating on the meteors, and now he’s put people in danger: “If Jonathan Kent dies, you’re gonna lose something a lot more valuable than your tenure.” He tells him to pack up a flower because it’s going to a team of specialists in Metropolis. Hamilton glowers at him as he leaves and strokes the side of one of the cases. Anyone want to sing a little “Feed Me, Seymour?” with me?
Rebecca: I SUPER wish that was an actual subplot of this episode. This show needs about 100% more Joe Morton and 600% more musical theater-style camp.
Jess: Smallville High. Flash stares as Lana walks in in what I guess is supposed to be a bad girl outfit, except it’s a black tank top with little flowers on it and boots with a low heel. WHAT A JEZEBEL. Seriously, the whole school is staring. Is it that big a deal when Lana doesn’t wear pastel yellow or pink?
Lana cozies up to Flash and suggests they skip class. He tells her he’s barely keeping his grades up as it is. “You know what? I’m tired of your excuses,” she says. “Ever since your dad got sick, you haven’t been any fun at all.” He tells her his dad’s health is kind of important. “Whatever. Feel like I’m locked in this relationship out of guilt,” she says. “Well, if that’s the way you feel, maybe we need to reconsider this relationship,” he says. “Fine,” she says. “It’s over, [Flash].” She walks away. He looks floored.
Journalism room. Clark plays idly with a helicopter in his lap (I SWEAR THAT’S WHAT HE’S DOING). “Not going to class, Clark?” Lana asks, lounging against the filing cabinets. He stares at her outfit and she asks if he likes it. “I think the operative word is ‘gulp,’” he says. That could go either way, Clark.
Rebecca: Also, just to reiterate this – this is the least “shockingly sexy” outfit perhaps of all time. I’m showing more cleavage right now on my couch.
Jess: But are you showing…your shoulders???
She sits down next to him and tells him he can’t let things get him down: “The key is to keep your mind off it. Let your friends be your friends. Let them distract you. Trust them.” He tells her he does trust her, and she leads him out of the journalism room and into the pool. Or, well, the pool deck.
As he stammers about this being off-limits, she takes her boots off and swings up onto the diving board. Even her toenail polish is dark. Do you think she did that last night, or does she normally secretly use all the dark colors people wouldn’t expect of her on her toes?
“You think too much, Clark,” she says, taking her belt off. “Right now I’m thinking you don’t seem like yourself,” Clark says. Lana slips out of her skirt: “Or maybe…I’m more me than ever.” She kicks it over to Clark, who catches it like he never imagined touching a girl’s skirt before in his entire life. How many takes do you think that took? I’m picturing a frustrated PA repeatedly fishing skirts out of the pool.
Clark hastily drops the skirt and tells her this is crazy. Lana says that’s the point, and pulls off her shirt. What 14-year-old has lace underwear like that? Clark stares. “The question is, do you want what I want?” Lana asks. She does a back handspring on the board, pauses, then does a backflip into the pool. Clark gapes.
Rebecca: I believe the body close-ups are a body double rather than the 19-at-the-time Ms. Kreuk. I don’t know if that’s more or less gross?
Jess: I guess I kind of hope it’s a double, because there’s a lot of buttcheek showing. But what I really wish is that the writers hadn’t written this plotline. Or anything. Ever.
“Don’t you wanna come in, Clark?” Lana says as she surfaces. “I don’t think so,” Clark stammers, but he’s definitely enjoying the show. Lana climbs out of the pool and steps in close: “I know you want me, Clark. Just stop holding back. Come on. You’re not made of steel. Or are you?” I c whut u did there, show.
They kiss. It’s really not good.
Rebecca: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it many more times: these two are the worst on-screen kissers to ever walk this earth. Anyway: Why this kiss? Magic personality change (kryptonite flower division).
Jess: “Wait,” Clark says. “Aren’t you tired of waiting?” Lana asks. As Clark steps away from her, he wobbles, and Lana gives him a gentle push into the pool. There’s a sound from outside, and Lana runs for it. Clark surfaces – and finds himself looking up at a very unhappy Principal Kwan.
Journalism room. “She just stripped down in front of you. Lana Lang in all her glory,” Chloe says incredulously. Clark, in his gym clothes, says it was weird, like Lana didn’t know what she was doing. “What do you think made Lana Lang go softcore?” Chloe asks. “First my dad, now Lana,” Clark says. He suggests they missed something at the accident site, but Chloe says she was there and she’s fine.
Scrolling through her pictures, she spots Hamilton in one of them. “The meteor freak? What’s he doing skulking around in the woods?” Clark asks.
Rebecca: Clark calling Hamilton a “meteor freak” is confusing, since I believe by that time fandom was already using that phrase for the kryptomutants.
Jess: Chloe heads off to talk to him, while Clark heads off to find Lana, since she’s probably due for a coma soon.
The Talon. Lex is at a table inside, telling his scientists over the phone that he wants “something better than progress. I was just at the hospital; they’re getting worse.” This is our first look at the new and “improved” Talon, and I seriously don’t understand why people would drink coffee in a dark movie theater lobby when there’s a perfectly good coffee shop down the street.
Lana strides in, still in all black and red, and a waitress asks where she’s been, since they’re short-staffed. “Why is this my problem?” Lana asks. “Because Nell’s in Metropolis and you’re the assistant manager,” the waitress says. “Well, I’m taking the afternoon off, so I guess we’re closing early,” Lana says. She puts three fingers in her mouth and whistles, then informs the guests that they’re closing early, “so coffee’s on the house.” That…makes no sense. Unless they don’t pay for their coffee until they finish it?
Rebecca: I…guess that’s also how the Beanery worked, since Lana was a waitress there? I mean, I KNOW we’re overthinking this, but still.
Jess: Lex goes over to Lana, who’s sucking whipped cream off her fingers because she’s 14 and can’t think of anything else “sexy” to do. He tells her he’s not impressed by her attitude. “That’s right,” she says. “I heard you were quite the bad boy before you joined us here in Smallville.” Stroking a hand up his chest, she says, “You don’t really care about the Talon. You only invested because I asked you to. Now, why would you go and do a thing like that?” She wipes whipped cream over his lips. This is so gross.
Rebecca: I CAN’T WAIT FOR THESE CHARACTERS TO GET MARRIED!!
Jess: He takes her hand off him and says, “I’m not sure what this is, but it isn’t you, Lana. Are you feeling okay?” “Actually,” she says, pressing herself up against his back, “I’m a little nervous. I might need some guidance, you know, from someone with a little more…experience.” How much do you think the writers were getting off on anticipating making Kristin Kreuk do all this?
Suddenly realization hits Lex and he asks where she’s been in the past 24 hours. He tells her again that this isn’t her, and she shoves him. “Why? Because I’m not doing exactly as I’m told? Because I’m not sitting in the corner hiding in a book? For once I’m not scared of life and no one can handle it because you all prefer the insecure little girl.” She shoves him again. I’m way more interested in Angry Lana than Horny Lana.
“Well, I’m sick of her and all her talk about her dead parents,” Lana concludes. Have you been reading my recaps, Lana? I, uh. Sorry about that. I do like you! Anyway, she chucks a glass jar at Lex, grabs his car keys off the table, and runs out.
Rebecca: HELL YEAH! SCREW THE DEAD LANGS! SOMEONE GET BRUCE WAYNE OVER HERE FOR A TUTORIAL!
Jess: Clark arrives just in time to see her peel out in Lex’s convertible. He runs after her, switching to super speed when he’s out of sight.
Hamilton’s lab. Chloe walks in and introduces herself: “We spoke a few times on the internet about the meteors.” She asks what he was doing in the woods and he says he was looking for meteor samples: “I find them easier to spot with a flashlight.” “So you weren’t there looking over the accident scene?” she asks. “What accident?” he says. She spots the nicodemus book Lex left on his desk and quickly says she was mistaken as she beats a hasty retreat.
Lana fishtails through a field and parks near the windmill. Clark superspeeds up to her and asks her what’s going on. “It’s called self confidence,” she says as she heads for the ladder. “For the first time I’m not repressing my feelings. I’m free.” He says she’s not and she says he’s one to talk: “I’ve seen the way you look at me. Why don’t you just tell me how you feel?”
Rebecca: I feel like Clark and Lana have a conversation every other week where Lana tells Clark that she knows what he’s up to and he refuses to cop to it for some reason. It’s getting pretty fucking tiring.
Jess: “Lana, you’re sick. I need to get you to a hospital,” he says. “Don’t avoid the question, Clark. Are you in love with me?” she asks. He doesn’t answer. She shakes her head and heads up the ladder: “You want me? Come and get me.”
As she reaches the top of the ladder, ignoring Clark’s pathetic cries for her to come down, the dizziness starts. She falls and he catches her. “Clark,” she manages before passing out.
Hospital. Martha and Lex are at Jonathan’s bedside when Lana’s wheeled in. Lana appears to be naked under the sheet on the gurney, for reasons I can’t fathom. Clark tells Martha Lana has the same symptoms as Jonathan and Beals, and asks how Jonathan is. “He’s slipped into a coma,” she says tearfully. “The doctors don’t know how long he’ll last.” Lex tells her he’s flying doctors in from Metropolis, and she nods. “Clark, I’m sorry,” he says as Clark looks through the window at his father. “It’s not your fault,” Clark tells him. Lex looks guilty.
Smallville High. Chloe tells Clark and Pete about the book Hamilton had, and that the symptoms the book lists for the flower are the same as the current victims are experiencing. One catch: the flower’s been extinct for over 100 years. Clark asks how Hamilton fits into this, and Pete pulls out a paper Hamilton wrote six years ago. Chloe explains: “In it, he postulates that the meteor rocks could be used to irradiate dormant plant cells.”
When Clark suggests they go talk to Hamilton, Chloe stops him: “Wait, there’s more! Dr. Hamilton didn’t check out The Nicodemus Diary. Lex did.” “You think he’s involved?” Clark asks. “I told you all along he was bad news!” Pete says.
Rebecca: LIBRARY DRAMA. Real supervillain stuff over here.
Jess: Downtown Smallville. Lex is on the phone outside the Talon when Clark walks up to him. He hangs up and tells Clark the doctors think they’ve isolated the problem. “Does it have to do with the nicodemus flower?” Clark asks. He asks Lex why he checked the book out of the library and Lex says his property was built on the site of the original settlement: “I always thought it was an interesting story. When I heard about your dad’s symptoms I remembered it, tracked it down to see if it could be any help.”
Rebecca: Serious question: is this the first bald-faced (sorry) lie Lex has ever told Clark in the series? I think maybe it is. Now compare it to every lie Clark’s told to Lex’s face. SIGH.
Jess: Clark asks if he knows Hamilton and Lex denies it. “Don’t lie to me!” Clark says, grabbing Lex’s coat. Lex tells him to calm down: “I’m not responsible for what happened and I’m doing everything in my power to fix it. That’s the truth, Clark.” This is a super functional friendship. I wouldn’t get too jealous, Pete.
Rebecca: VICE PRESIDENT PETE ROSS. (Sorry again.)
Jess: Hamilton’s lab. Chloe and Pete sneak in and start looking around. Pete starts to move the tarp covering the flowers. There’s a crash. Chloe whirls around but Pete’s nowhere to be seen. She finds a nicodemus on the floor, surrounded by broken glass, then turns to see Pete making a “seductive” face that…I can’t, you guys. I just can’t. I’m laughing so hard right now.
Jess: “You looking for me?” he asks, and Chloe realizes pretty quickly what’s going on. “We’ve gotta get you to the hospital,” she says, and runs for the door, but he yanks her back. “That’s right. Ignore Pete. He’s just the funny guy. Don’t have to sweat his feelings ‘cause you only got eyes for Clark.” He reaches for her face and she pushes him away.
UM, EXCUSE ME, HOLD EVERYTHING FOR A MINUTE. In this episode we have four people who are affected by the nicodemus, and yet the only one whose sexuality is presented as physically threatening is the black man’s? (Lana’s was certainly presented as threatening, but only because sex is Naughty and Bad, look how bad she is!, not because she posed any physical peril to Clark or Lex.) Really? REALLY, SHOW. Especially since Pete’s symptoms are cycling through much faster than anyone else’s in order to up Chloe’s peril, since he’s already progressing to rage. This is some racist bullshit right here. I’m actually furious.
Rebecca: I completely had the same feelings. It’s fairly clear that he accelerates so quickly because the episode is almost over, but the fact that the show never second-guessed that decision or saw how it looks when it’s THE ONLY BLACK CHARACTER IN THE REGULAR CAST ON A LILY-WHITE SHOW is incredibly appalling.
Jess: Especially in an episode with Hamilton, who, let’s not forget, is the first adult black male the show introduced and a convicted rapist. Like. Thank God for the doctor in this episode, but STILL.
Anyway, Pete throws some books around, yells about Lex for a while, then picks up a gun that’s just sitting on Hamilton’s desk because why not. He demands Chloe’s keys at gunpoint. OH GOOD YOU GAVE THE BLACK TEENAGE BOY A GUN AND HAD HIM STEAL A CAR, WELL FUCKING DONE.
Jess: Hospital. Clark enters Jonathan’s room and she tearfully tells him that Beals died recently. Welling tries out a few “maybe I’m gonna cry?” facial expressions before saying “With all my abilities, there’s nothing I can do.”
Rebecca: First of all, his scrunchy maybe-tears face is hilarious. Secondly, do you think this dialogue is a deliberate allusion to Superman ‘78 in order to try to red-herring us into expecting Jonathan’s death?
Jess: I don’t think the show’s that clever. And that’s an extremely low bar for “clever.”
“Did I ever tell you about the first time I ever saw him?” Martha asks. “He came to Metropolis U to take a finance course, and he was sitting by a fountain, all denim and flannel, eating an apple, and I asked to borrow his notes. He didn’t know that I was the notetaker for the class, he still doesn’t.” “You’re sly, Mom,” Clark tells her. Aw. “He was so cute,” Martha goes on. “So I asked him for his notes and he just handed over his notebook without even asking my name and I said, ‘How can you be so sure I’ll bring it back?’ and he said, ‘I prefer to believe in people.’” Oh jeez, Martha, I’d’ve been sunk too.
“That sounds like Dad,” Clark says. “And I remember looking at him, completely embarrassed because I was thinking the dumbest thing, I was thinking, ‘God, I hope he marries me.’ I still think that. Every day there’s a part of me that says, ‘God, I hope he marries me.’” She dissolves into tears and Clark hugs her. Martha is an unsung hero of this show.
Rebecca: Oh my god, she’s so great in this scene. Like, this is a scene out of a much better show. Annette O’Toole, ILUSM.
Jess: Chloe knocks on the door and asks to talk to Clark outside. He hugs Martha again, then leaves the room. Chloe tells him what happened in the lab, and that Pete’s got a gun and he’s going after Lex. Clark dashes off. I wonder what Chloe thinks he’s going to do?
Luthor Castle. Hamilton is showing Lex an ancient book with instructions for a Native American antidote to the nicodemus. Lex says he’ll send it to his team in Metropolis immediately. “Nobody’s going anywhere,” Pete says from the doorway. Okay, it’s canon that Lex has security, right? I buy that they let Clark through any old time, but not some rando with a gun.
Rebecca: I just had a horribly jokey thought about this being the one night that non-employee black men are allowed at Luthor Mansion. I’M SO SORRY.
Jess: Lex asks Pete what he’s doing there and Pete fires at him. Lex ducks just in time. “I knew you were behind this,” Pete says. “You’re pretending to be Clark’s friend but you’re not. And now his dad’s gonna die because of you.”
Hamilton asks what this is about and Pete says he’s been to the barn. Lex realizes he’s infected. “Pete,” he says soothingly, “we have the cure, we’re gonna make everyone better.” Pete looks considerably younger than Clark (unsurprisingly, given that Sam Jones is six years younger than Welling) and it really highlights the age difference between Lex and the kids. “You’re nothing but a liar,” he says. “Clark can’t see it, but I can, and now you’re gonna pay.” Man, I bet Pete’s sorry he wished for a subplot back at the beginning of this episode.
Hamilton tries to run for it and Pete shoots him in the shoulder, causing him to drop the book with the nicodemus antidote into the fire. “Pete,” Lex says, “if that book is destroyed, you and Lana and Mr. Kent will all die.” Pete screams that Lex doesn’t care about anyone but himself: “You come to town and suddenly you’re Clark’s new best friend!”
Hamilton grabs a poker. “Lex, the book,” he says. “Pete, I’m gonna reach in there and grab that book,” Lex says. “If you wanna shoot me, go ahead.” “No problem,” Pete says. Lex reaches for the book, Pete aims at him – and Hamilton slams the poker down on Pete’s arm, making him drop the gun.
Lex grabs the book, tosses it to Hamilton, and tells him to run. Pete grabs the gun and shoots at Hamilton, but Hamilton makes it out of the room. “Say goodbye, Lex,” Pete says, aiming at him.
Clark bursts in: “Pete! Don’t do it!” “We used to be best friends,” Pete says. “His dad screwed over my dad, and now he’s trying to screw up things between us. The world’s a better place without him.” Man, I wonder who’s going to be more embarrassed when they get better, Pete or Lana? Pete tells Clark that Hamilton was there and Clark asks Lex if that’s true. “Clark, he’s delusional,” Lex says. Oh, Lex, no.
“I don’t believe you,” Clark says. “You’re right, Pete. He’s been lying to everyone. I know who my true friends are.” “I knew you’d see the light,” Pete says. Clark advances on Lex: “You can’t talk your way out of this one. I see you for what you really are. Our friendship is over!” He grabs Lex and slams him against the wall, knocking him out. Aw man, I thought Lana would tie things up in the Concussion Olympics this episode, but we’re five to four now. Also, Clark, this is a shit way of solving this problem.
Rebecca: THERE ARE SO MANY BETTER WAYS TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM THAT DON’T INVOLVE INTERNAL INJURIES. The most frustrating part is that there’s no plot reasons for this, only promo reasons.
Jess: Pete congratulates Clark on his work and aims the gun at Lex to finish him. Clark smacks it out of his hand with a completely unnecessary superspeed gesture that makes me laugh out loud. “How’d you do that?” Pete asks. “Don’t worry, Pete. We’ll get you to the hospital,” Clark says, and smacks him on the forehead. Sorry, Pete, you’ll never win the Concussion Olympics at this rate.
Rebecca: Clark’s incapacitating casual bonk on the head DOES make me laugh.
Jess: My kingdom for a gif of the gun-smack and or head-bonk in this scene.
Rebecca: I couldn’t find one, but here’s a consolation (WE’LL GET THERE):
Jess: Lex comes to and Clark apologizes. “So it was an act?” Lex says, spotting the unconscious Pete. He helps Lex up. “Was Hamilton really here?” he asks. “What do you think, Clark?” Lex says. Clark looks like he’s not sure.
Hospital. Clark’s asleep next to Jonathan’s bed when Jonathan puts a hand on his shoulder: “Morning, sleepyhead.” Clark practically jumps on him to hug him and Martha comes running in to shower him with kisses. Aw.
Rebecca: I also like the detail that that’s Jonathan’s first line to not-baby Clark in the pilot. KENTS.
Jess: Martha tells Clark that Pete and Lana are already up. Relieved, he asks Jonathan if he remembers anything. “No,” Jonathan says. “Doctors think it’s because of the fever,” Martha says. “Trust me, it’s better that way,” Clark assures them. Lex watches from the doorway, then walks away all sad and broody.
Elsewhere, Chloe walks into Hamilton’s lab to find it just an empty barn again.
Luthor Castle. Lex tells Hamilton he destroyed the lab. “How dare you!” Hamilton says. “You’re lucky you found a cure and nobody infected can remember anything,” Lex says. “But people are talking. I’m sure Beals worked for my father, and then there’s Chloe Sullivan.” He tells Hamilton he’s sending him to Cadmus Labs in Metropolis. You know, they keep talking about Cadmus, and I know we’re not going to get Kon, Guardian, or the Newsboy Legion out of it, so I wish they’d just drop it. (OH MAN WHAT IF WE GOT THE NEWSBOY LEGION THOUGH.)
Rebecca: How great would it have been in Season 10 if we slowly realized that the Cadmus anvils in Season 1 had been leading to Lucas Grabeel-Kon the whole time, instead of the contrived-as-hell way we got him and then quickly disposed of him??
Jess: THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO GREAT. Except that Lucas Grabeel never struck me as particularly Kon-like, but now I’m envisioning him as Tim Drake and it’s beautiful.
Rebecca: Oh man, yes. It was Lucas Grabeel because he played young Lex in Season 6. WE’LL GET THERE.
Jess: “Remember, Lex,” Hamilton says, “you’re the one opening Pandora’s Box.” “I’m just the key, Dr. Hamilton,” Lex says. They shake hands.
Elsewhere, Clark tells Lana – safely clad in baby pink – to open her eyes. Sure enough, there’s the Metropolis skyline, and they’re sitting on the edge of the windmill platform. Or, rather, they’re badly CGIed up there. He tells her it’s good to have her back and she says she wishes she could remember what happened. “You spoke your mind, and you did what you wanted,” he says. “Kind of an alpha Lana.” “I couldn’t believe what I was wearing,” she says. “I kinda liked it,” he admits. THAT’S NOT CUTE. IT’S GROSS. SHE WAS NOT IN HER RIGHT MIND AND YOU’RE CREEPY. She asks if she did anything embarrassing and he says no. “Good,” she says.
“So how does it feel being on top of the world? Or at least Smallville,” Lana asks. Um, do you not know you’re up there too? “I feel free,” he says, and they smile at each other. UGH.
Rebecca: 1) Ugh. 2) How did Clark get Lana up there with her eyes closed without her knowing he has superpowers? 3) Clark, she is asking you if she was sexually assaulted and you are not being cool about it. 4) UGH.
Rebecca: I really enjoyed the first act of this episode or so, up until Jonathan goes into the coma, but the “sexy teen” stuff really does not work. The show goes back to this well at least one other time to what I recall as being better results, but I guess we’ll find out if my memory serves when we get to Season 2. Anyway, I have the sneaking suspicion you have more to say about this episode in particular.
Jess: Yeah, up until Jonathan’s coma it was totally fine! And then…oh, let me count the ways this episode failed:
1. Having Clark solve his problems by giving both of his best friends unnecessary head injuries.
2. Rendering Lex’s character completely incoherent. Look, you can’t do an episode where he’s a noble wronged prince and follow it up with one where he’s lying to Clark for absolutely no reason while bodies drop around him, especially if his only clear motivation in the latter episode is guilt and wanting Lana to put her coat back on. I want an amoral Lex but this one doesn’t make sense.
3. Stripping a 19-year-old actress/14-year-old character down to her underwear and having her throw herself at the hero and a 20-year-old man as part of the show’s usual pattern of “look at this sexy naked girl, she’s so bad for being sexy and naked, LOOK AT HER!!!” then removing all knowledge of her nonconsensual sexual behavior from her mind.
4. Warping the established rules of the menace of the week in order to portray a black teenager who up to now has been consistently sweet, gentle, and helpful as aggressively sexual and dangerously violent. (Oh, hey, did you notice that while Jonathan got plenty of time to be (non-violently) horny and (non-sexually) violent, Lana’s rage and Pete’s horniness both lasted about 10 seconds? It’s almost like the writers think only white men have access to the full range of human emotions, while women are sexual objects and black men are violent criminals! WEIRD.) Look, I don’t think the writers looked at Sam Jones and went “Hmm, black dude, better give him a gun and have him grope the blonde.” But when you literally only have one black actor in your regular cast, you’ve repeatedly portrayed black men as sexual predators and/or violent, and you’ve whitewashed your only other minority, you have to be really careful about how you treat that character. And it doesn’t involve having him sexually assault a pretty blonde girl, steal a gun and a car, and attack a rich white dude!
Martha was pretty good tho.
Rebecca: Slow clap.
Rating: Jumping off the windmill.
Next week: Clark shoots hoops and goes bowling with a new friend.