The Smallville Project: Episode 1.20 – “Obscura”
|January 18, 2014||Posted by Jess under Comics, Television, The Smallville Project|
Jess: Lana and Flash gallop across the rolling green fields of
Rebecca: HOW does Lana have time to tend to her horses, work at the Talon, go to school, AND do all of Flash’s 12th grade homework for him??
Jess: Well, their school doesn’t seem to consist of any actual classes, which has to free up some time.
A distant explosion startles the horses. Flash and Lana hitch their horses to a nearby fencepost and head off towards the sound, because they have learned nothing in the past 19 episodes. By the time they get to what turns out to be a gas main fire, there’s a crowd of workers, plus someone from the sheriff’s department. None of them notice a nearby pipe shaking, about to burst. Flash tells Lana to run and heads over to warn the crew.
Lana runs one way, the men run the other, and the pipe explodes, knocking Lana off her feet in a shower of dirt and meteor rocks.
Rebecca: RIP Lana. Just kidding.
Jess: Hospital room. Clark hurries into Lana’s room, where Flash is sitting with her. She’s asleep. Clark asks if Flash is okay, which is nice. Chloe comes in behind Clark, much to his surprise; apparently she’s got an internship at the Planet. Wait, how does she have a summer internship if they haven’t had their spring dance yet?
Rebecca: Also, what kind of world-class newspaper gives prized summer internships to high school freshmen? Does Kansas State not have any journalism students?? ALSO, she mentions in this scene that she’s going to stay in her cousin’s dorm in Metropolis – apparently her only cousin is Lois, and if Lois is ALREADY in college, then it makes NO sense that she would have to come to Smallville to retroactively finish high school THREE YEARS FROM NOW. ANYWAY.
Jess: Clark assures her that Lana will be fine, she’s just got a mild concussion. Which means she and Lex are all tied up in the Concussion Olympics at five apiece, with Pete and Chloe trailing at two each. It’s neck and neck! [NB: I tried to make a “neck and neck injury” joke there but it didn’t work.] There’s some cute Chloe and Clark banter, and she takes off.
EDIT: NO, WAIT! I didn’t count last week’s concussion, so Chloe is actually winning, with six! Looks like money can’t buy everything, Lex!
As Chloe leaves the hospital, Lana wakes up. And…apparently Lana can see Chloe getting into her car (HOW CAN CHLOE DRIVE, SHE IS 14)? As Lana watches, someone comes out from behind the bushes – someone whose POV Lana is seeing through – and presses a cloth to Chloe’s nose and mouth, and she passes out. Lana sits up, gasping in horror.
SOMEBODY SAAAAAAAAAAVE MEEEEEEEEE!
Rebecca: PLEASE STOP KIDNAPPING CHLOE, VILLAINS!!!
Jess: Kent Farm. Martha tells Clark the school asked her to chaperone the dance and asks why he hasn’t mentioned it to her. He says he doesn’t have a date. Jonathan tells Martha to leave it alone, but she gives him a look (SO CUTE) and asks if Clark’s planning on asking Chloe and tells him he can’t keep waiting for Lana.
Rebecca: BECAUSE SHE HAS A BOYFRIEND! Wait for them to break-up! He’s theoretically going to college soon, your problem’s gonna solve itself!
Jess: Lex shows up to talk to the Kents, and Clark heads out to work on the paper. Lex tells the Kents that he’s managed to get them compensation for the chemical dumping a few episodes back. They boggle a bit at the amount, and Jonathan says he hopes Lex isn’t sweetening the deal because he loooooves Clark. Okay, maybe not in those words. Lex insists that the compensation is exactly what they’re owed, nothing more. He and Jonathan shake hands.
Smallville High. Lana walks into the Torch office and asks to see Chloe. Clark tells her she’s in Metropolis – oh, and the paper’s falling apart without her. “Safe to say we won’t lose you to the entrancing world of journalism,” Lana says. Siiiiigh.
Rebecca: God, I wish this show put half as much effort into actually telling us about Clark’s growing love of journalism as it does dropping these anvils. ADULT CLARK IS SUPPOSED TO ACTUALLY LOVE IT!
Jess: Well, and also Clark’s love of journalism is tied to his love of honesty and the truth and the common man and whatever. It’s not a randomly-chosen job – it means something about who he is. So his disdain for it here is just part of this show’s chronic Asshole Superman Doesn’t Care About Your Problems issue.
Lana asks if he’s spoken to Chloe and he says no. “I had this intense dream about Chloe I just can’t shake,” she confesses. Yeah, I’ll bet you did. She tells him about her vision, and he’s perturbed because Chloe actually was carrying the bag Lana saw in her “dream.” He offers to call her dad to make sure she’s okay, but Lana says it’s probably just the concussion or painkillers or both. Um, why hasn’t Chloe’s dad checked with Clark and/or Lana and/or Pete since she’s gone missing? I mean, I guess she was supposed to go straight to Metropolis from the hospital, but I can’t believe a high school freshman was going to drive off to LIVE IN A BIG, STRANGE CITY BY HERSELF.
Rebecca: Also, if I were Gabe Sullivan, I would not trust my teenaged daughter with Lois at this point. (I guess we’ve reached the point where I have to give the disclaimer that my deep disdain for Smallville Lois has nothing to do with my warm, loving feelings for Comics Lois or Lois & Clark Lois.)
Jess: You’re making me worried about Smallville Lois!
Rebecca: I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority on this, so many this time around I’ll feel better about it. It’s partly Erica Durance’s line readings and partly several seasons of Sexy Undercover Costumes that wore me down last time. I guess we’ll find out in Season 4!
Jess: Luthor Castle. Roger the Reporter walks in all cranky because Carrie Castle’s profile on Lex has just been published. This show has no idea what the timeline for newspaper articles is, and also, UGH THIS PLOTLINE COULD NOT BE MORE BORING. Anyway, Roger’s been investigating the meteor shower and found someone with “an interesting view” of it, but he needs Luthor money to carry the investigation further. SNOOOOOORE.
Kent Farm. Clark can’t get the tractor to start. Frustrated, he hits and dents it. Jonathan tells him to chill and Clark admits he’s worried about Chloe. He shakes it off and starts talking about the new tractor they’re going to buy with Lex’s money, but Jonathan hasn’t decided to accept it yet. He says he knows Lex isn’t trying to buy him off, but his gut’s telling him not to accept the money. Clark tells him that “slamming the door in [Lex’s] face over and over is only going to turn him into what you think he already is.” That makes absolutely no sense out of the context of “someday Lex will be a supervillain.”
Rebecca: Also, that’s exactly what happens. That’s how Lex goes evil (spoiler). Eventually, Clark takes over for Jonathan in the door-slamming. TAKE YOUR OWN ADVICE, SHOW. 🙁
Jess: “When’d you get to be so wise?” Jonathan asks. Clark smiles: “Ask my dad.” OKAY, THAT IS UNACCEPTABLY CUTE, SHOW. HOW DARE YOU. HOW DARE YOUUUUU.
The Talon. Clark asks if Pete’s heard from Chloe and Pete says no, “but the Planet better not have turned her down if they know what’s good for them.” Turned her down? Doesn’t she already have the internship? I’M SO CONFUSED AND I HATE YOU ALL. Pete says something about Chloe’s cousin, so I guess that’s who she’s supposed to be staying with…but then wouldn’t the cousin have called Chloe’s dad when she didn’t turn up? This is so fucking dumb.
Rebecca: LOIS IS AN IRRESPONSIBLE AIRHEAD whyyyyyyyy
Jess: Pete starts talking about his date for the dance: “So do you want to know the secret? I asked her.” Ha, well played. Lana appears with uncanny timing as Pete skips off, and asks if Clark’s heard from Chloe. He says he called Chloe’s dad but “he was still at that seminar.” Nope, I don’t care, this still makes no sense.
Lana asks if Clark’s asked anyone to the dance and he says no, but “I’ve got my eye on someone.” “Well, you’d better hurry up,” she says. “No one likes to look for a dress last minute. Not even Chloe.” Clark squirms.
Rebecca: OH MY GOD CLARK, EVERYONE KNOWS YOUR BUSINESS BETTER THAN YOU DO.
Jess: As Lana walks away, she has another vision: Chloe, bound and blindfolded in what looks like a meat locker. Her kidnapper looks in a mirror, giving Lana (and us) a look at him that isn’t very useful, because he’s in this fetish-y black mask. He punches the mirror and Lana gasps and drops the bowl she’s carrying. Clark asks what’s wrong and Lana tells him she had another vision.
Rebecca: I know that they’ve seen a lot of kryptomutants at this point, but Clark and Lana are EXTREMELY chill about this development. Don’t you guys remember what happened to, oh, EVERY OTHER person with powers you’ve met? Namely, SOMEONE ended up having to throw them thirty feet into a wall? I would love a scene where Lana voices a concern that she’s going to end up a forest hermit like Kreepy Kyle.
Jess: I would love a scene where Lana possesses any interiority at all.
Back in the meat locker, which now looks like a storage room of some kind, the kidnapper is, like, welding or something, IDK. Chloe uses a sharp piece of metal to saw through the duct tape on her wrists, pulls off her blindfold, and frees her ankles. What looked like meat through Lana’s vision is actually bags of stuffed animals, hanging from the ceiling. Chloe’s looking for an escape when her kidnapper grabs her and injects her with something green. “Home sweet home,” he says.
Back in the Talon, Chloe’s dad walks in with a couple of deputies. He still hasn’t been able to get in touch with Chloe. One of the deputies is rudely dismissive of Lana’s story, despite all the shapeshifting murderers they’ve arrested (well, attempted to arrest) this season; the other’s gentle but also fairly skeptical. In the middle of this Chloe’s dad gets a call – they found Chloe’s car abandoned in the woods. Clark makes absolutely no facial expression whatsoever in response to this news.
Rebecca: “Oh, sorry, I was just thinking about craft services. Did you see the sandwiches they have today?” – Tom Welling, always.
Jess: Some broken-down shack on the outskirts of town. Lex and Roger meet with “Eddie Cole,” a former cropduster who lost his license because the FAA thought he was crazy. Lex forks over some cash and asks to hear his story. Cole says he was up in his plane when the meteors hit: “Then one just missed my tail by about 10 feet. I saw it go straight down – and then swerve just before it hit.”
“Doesn’t sound like a meteor,” Lex says. Cole insists it was a ship – and when he went back to look for it, it was gone. This is a terrible story. I mean, obviously it’s true, but if I were Lex I would be like “Damn, I could’ve spent that $600 on a ridiculous present for Clark.” Looks like Lex is thinking that too, because he walks off, much to Roger’s frustration.
Rebecca: I also don’t understand why either Roger or Lex is interested in this story at all, considering that they have no reason to assume that aliens are involved in the Clark Mystery.
Jess: Yeah, “Remember that car crash last fall? Well, here’s a crazy hobo who saw something weird and completely unrelated 11 years prior. YOU’RE WELCOME!”
Rebecca: Tangentially related, but I can’t believe it takes like five or six seasons for someone to assume Clark is a kryptomutant. OCCAM’S RAZOR, SMALLVILLE CHARACTERS. (Sorry about all the caps lock this week – I’m just SO MAD at everybody for this stupid episode/show.)
Jess: Attic of Sad Voyeurism. Clark broods. Lana comes in and Clark tells her they didn’t find anything in the woods that could help them. He tells Lana that he never appreciated Chloe until now, which is weird because she’s been in peril quite a few times this season, but whatever. He reminisces about the first time he met her: “It was eighth grade. She’d just transferred from Metropolis and I was assigned to show her around. The first wanted to know was where she could buy a copy of the Planet so she could ‘keep in touch with civilization.’ When she found out I lived on a farm, she insisted I invite her over so she could experience it firsthand. I think she thought I was Amish.”
Lana laughs, and Clark goes on to say that the first time he took Chloe to the Attic of Sad Voyeurism, she kissed him: “She said ‘I know you’ve been thinking about that all day, so I figured we’d get it out of the way and be friends.’” You guys, this isn’t news or anything, but Chloe is the best character on this show by a million.
Rebecca: I like this story/monologue so much and so wish that someone who can actually act had delivered it.
Jess: Lana assures Clark they’ll find Chloe, gets up to leave – and has another vision. This time it’s of the windmill from a few episodes back. The kidnapper is burying Chloe in the field below it, in a metal box with a glass front. She tells Clark, who says he’ll go get help and darts off.
Clark speeds to the windmill, climbs up it, and X-ray visions the field until he spots the box. He runs back down, plunges his fist into the ground, and yanks the box up, then rips the cover off. Chloe’s unconscious. He screams her name and reaches in to help her up, and her eyes open. “Clark,” she sobs, hugging him. “I knew it was you. It’s always you.” Aw, cuties.
Rebecca: How is Clark going to explain this? J/K, he won’t have to.
Jess: Someone watches them from the woods. DUN DUN DUN!
Hospital. Clark and Lana walk in to Chloe’s room as she gets off the phone with the Planet, who want to interview her about her kidnapping, but she’s decided to give the Torch an exclusive. Clark asks what she remembers. She’s clearly struggling to pull up the memories as she says she remembers tripping on metal rails, and teddy bears hung from the ceiling. “Anyway, that’s where I was kept until I…” She starts to cry. “I’m sorry, you guys. Flashback. I can still hear the dirt falling on the coffin.” She thanks Clark and he tells her to thank Lana instead. Chloe smiles through her tears and says Lana “sure picked a perfect time to take a walk on the weird side.”
Rebecca: WHY IS NO ONE CONCERNED.
Jess: Clark tells Chloe to rest and starts to leave, but she tearfully asks him to stay, since whoever did this is still out there. He agrees, and Lana squirms at the sight of their clasped hands and leaves.
She has another vision, this time of the back of her own head, but when she turns around, the hallway is empty.
Kent Farm, morning. Clark, having spent all night at the hospital, helps Jonathan load the truck up with burlap sacks of feed. Cutely, Clarks grabbing a few at a time and tossing them into the truck like they’re empty while Jonathan struggles with one.
Rebecca: I’m a huge sucker for these truck-loading scenes because Schneider really enjoys giving his all acting like the cargo is heavy while Welling does his usual nothing. A+ Cheap Powers Exhibition, A+ Welling Usage.
Jess: I will take Cheap Powers Exhibition over Exciting Special Effects Powers any day of the week. It’s just such a good way to make the role of Superman feel lived in. Not to keep comparing them (lies: I’m gonna compare them forever) but Lois and Clark did a wonderful job with this (and a hilariously terrible job with the Exciting Special Effects Powers).
Rebecca: Agree forever. If there’s big fanfare every time Superman uses his powers, how am I supposed to treat him like a guy in this world? It’s the casual stuff that makes him feel real.
Jess: Clark frets that the kidnapper is still out there, and Jonathan, bafflingly, tells him they got Chloe back safe and that’s what’s important. So the fact that there’s a lunatic targeting teenage girls in Smallville and trying to bury them alive isn’t important? Jonathan, you’re weird.
Rebecca: Sorry, I just got a Man of Steel PTSD flashback. Like, IMAGINE IF JONATHAN KENT DIDN’T CARE ABOUT THE WELL-BEING OF CHILDREN. CAN YOU EVEN?? 🙁 🙁
Jess: PSHAW, THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN.
He asks if Lana’s had any more visions and Clark says no, but he wonders if they’re connected to the gas pipe explosion. Jonathan tells him to let the police handle it.
Clark asks what Jonathan’s planning to do with Lex’s check, and Jonathan says he’s decided to accept it. They drive off, but someone is watching them through binoculars. DUN DUN DUN AGAIN!
As they pass by a field, they notice a crew of Cadmus Labs workers in yellow jumpsuits, with Lex supervising. Jonathan pulls over and he and Clark head over to Lex, who tells them he’s thinking of buying that land, so he’s testing the soil. Jonathan asks why the metal detectors and hazmat suits. Lex says this field was a major meteor site and they just want to make sure there’s nothing harmful there. Jonathan squirms before telling Lex he can’t accept his money and handing the check back. Lex says he doesn’t understand. Jonathan literally crams the check into Lex’s hand and says “I wouldn’t expect you would” before storming off. Dude, being a giant weirdo about this is only going to make him suspicious.
Rebecca: Also, dude, why are you worried, you KNOW Lex isn’t going to find the ship in that field because it’s IN YOUR STORM CELLAR.
Jess: Clark runs after Jonathan and says Lex didn’t deserve that. “I know that!” Jonathan snaps. “But this field is where your ship crashed down. If Lex’s scientists find anything out here they could trace it right back to you.” Yes, good, we all already knew that.
Meanwhile, Dr. Hamilton is back! And he’s found something! He hands a baggie with whatever it is that he’s found to Lex and Lex says he wants Hamilton to handle all the tests personally and report anything he finds directly to Lex.
The Talon. Lana’s cleaning up when Flash walks in, looking pensive. He tells her he was going through his dad’s stuff and found his medals from Vietnam. Whatever, this is boring. Can we please pick up the pace on writing Flash out?
Rebecca: I can’t believe his dad never told him that he WENT TO WAR and GOT A PURPLE HEART. I’m GLAD you’re dead, Flash’s dad.
Jess: Attic of Sad Voyeurism. Clark’s studying all the evidence he has re: the explosion when Lex walks in: “Glad to see I’m not the only one that’s curious in Smallville.”
Rebecca: Guys, you both have met Chloe, right?
Jess: He asks why Jonathan’s pissed and Clark says it’s not really about Lex, then subtly asks what Lex was doing in the field. “I thought I made myself clear,” Lex says. “You did,” Clark agrees hastily. Awkwardness abounds.
Lex calls Clark out for not believing him, and Clark says he knows Lex can get obsessed with things, and why would he personally supervise a routine land survey, “if that’s what it was.” Lex tells him about Cole’s ship story: “Chances are he’s just another crackpot, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t check it out.” Clark tells him to put the past behind him and Lex babbles something dumb about stars. You guys are both jerks. STOP LYING AND BEING CREEPY, EVERYONE.
Rebecca: Spoiler: they won’t. 🙁 🙁 🙁
Jess: Torch office. Chloe walks in, and Clark uses his best mom voice to tell her she should be in bed. She says she’d rather keep busy. Flash walks in, to Chloe’s surprise, and says Clark called him. Clark tells them the explosion connected Lana with someone at the accident, which he’s deduced thanks to a combination of meteor rocks at the explosion, and an article on De Kretser Syndrome, a form of PTSD that connects victims of a traumatic experience psychically. Wow.
Clark asks who was around Lana at the explosion, and Flash says himself and two deputies. Ah, so it’s Nice Deputy, and Mean Deputy is a red herring. Got it. Creepily, Chloe tells them both deputies are in a bowling league with her dad. Uck, uck, uck, I need to go shower.
Anyway, they have to warn Lana because whichever deputy is the kidnapper, he knows Lana’s “seeing through his eyes,” as Clark dramatically puts it. “I’ll drive,” Flash volunteers, and Chloe hastily suggests they take her car instead. I’m guessing this is because Flash has been in like nine car accidents this season, in which case that’s hilarious.
The Talon. Mean Deputy walks in to ask Lana some more questions. She snarks at him, then offers him a cup of coffee. While she’s getting it, she has a sudden vision of the Talon from across the street, then the front door, then Mean Deputy turning around just as the MYSTERIOUS KIDNAPPER, a.k.a. Nice Deputy, whacks him across the face. You know, Clark’s article said stress is supposed to bring on Lana’s visions, but she seemed fine just now – that is, unless she secretly hates coffee.
Rebecca: Haha, she sure picked the wrong after school hobby.
Jess: Lana turns to see Nice Deputy in his creepy mask, and screams. COMMERCIAL BREAK!
The Talon. Clark, Chloe, and Flash help Mean Deputy to a chair and ask where Lana is. He says the kidnapper took her. Clark asks where Nice Deputy is and Mean Deputy says he’s working his second job as a security guard down at the carnival. That fits with Chloe’s report of teddy bears, especially since, as Chloe says, “the carnival’s closed this time of year. It’s the perfect place to hide someone.” Ah, yes, the end of the school year and beginning of summer is the most reasonable time for a carnival to be closed.
Rebecca: Wait, why is Nice Deputy working if the carnival is closed?? Did no one proofread this scene?
Jess: “Did no one proofread this scene?” = the Smallville motto.
Carnival. Lana wakes up on a mattress with her wrists and ankles taped together and screams for help. Nice Deputy, who I guess I should call Not-So-Nice Deputy, tells her no one can hear her, and asks how she can see through his eyes. She doesn’t know, of course.
She recognizes NSND and asks why he’s doing this. He yells that he didn’t want to hurt Chloe; his plan was to rescue her and be a hero. Uh, how was he going to get her out of that coffin? And what kind of amazing case would it be where they never caught the culprit? Anyway, he tells a terrified Lana that he can still be a hero – by solving her murder. He takes out a gun.
Rebecca: You’re going to solve her murder with no murderer and no evidence? Great plan.
Jess: Clark races into the carnival, X-rays the area, and sees NSND aiming at Lana. He races in and throws his hand in front of the bullet. It ricochets into a mirror above Lana’s head, which shatters. Clark flings himself on top of her, shielding her from the glass.
NSND flees. Clark helps Lana free her wrists, then heads after NSND. A siren wails in the distance as NSND hides, but Clark’s already behind him: “It’s over, [NSND].”
NSND shoots Clark point blank several times, but nothing happens except that Clark ruins yet another red shirt. “What the hell are you?” NSND asks. Clark hurls him into the ticket stand, then bolts as the cop cars arrive.
Lana, still in the process of freeing herself, has another vision through NSND’s eyes: the squad cars pulling up, the cops coming out with their weapons ready. Clark runs back into the storage shed as Lana sees NSND hold his own weapon up, and a bullet coming straight for him, and nothing. Man, this has been a traumatic week for the girls.
Rebecca: This makes me so happy that Chloe is getting out of town this summer. I hope she hooks up with a cute boy at her internship who we won’t meet for five years!
Jess: Clark leads Lana over to the police. Someone is still watching them through binoculars: Roger the Reporter.
Barn, day. Clark’s forking hay, and can I just say that Tom Welling looks all kinds of good doing manual labor in a tight white T-shirt and some old jeans? Hello.
Chloe walks in and tells him she got the internship at the Planet on the strength of her article on her own kidnapping. Well, the Planet does like its reporters writing at length about their own misadventures, journalistic objectivity be damned.
Clark’s thrilled for her, but then awkwardness descends. She starts to leave, and he stops her, and asks her to the dance, FINALLY. John Mayer’s “No Such Thing” plays, because 2002, as Chloe gladly accepts. Clark apologizes for not asking sooner. “It’s okay,” she says. “It was worth the wait.” She leaves, and Clark wanders around the barn, looking like he doesn’t know what to do with all this happy. It’s legit adorable.
Rebecca: This is possibly the most charming Welling has been to date in the series. Adorable scene, Mayer aside.
Jess: Luthor Castle. Hamilton walks in and asks to talk to Eddie Cole, but Lex says Cole’s disappeared. Hamilton takes out the “fragment” he showed Lex earlier, a octagonal piece of metal, and tells him that “there is nothing like this alloy on Earth.” Lex stares at the metal, which we see has Kryptonese writing on it.
Rebecca: Aww, baby show’s first macguffin! Love to hate you, Octagonal Disc.
Jess: Cut to the spaceship hidden in the Kents’ storm cellar, and a place where the metal fragment would fit perfectly. Um, did we need that? I think we all know where that metal came from.
Rebecca: But what does it do????? We’ll find out…in like 20 episodes.
Rebecca: Thematically, it makes sense to close out a season’s worth of Freaks of the Week with an episode where one of our leads becomes said Freak. What does it mean to assume the worst of people with powers, based on what we’ve seen this season? How do the powers effect Lana emotionally? Is she able to control it? How does it change the way Chloe sees the Wall of Weird? How does it make Clark feel about all of the mutants he’s incarcerated/killed/tossed into a wall? What does it mean to live in a world where superpowers are an open reality? What are Kreepy Kyle and Ryan, the two non-evil mutants we’ve met, up to? How does everyone’s treatment of Lana’s powers make Clark feel about one day being honest with his friends? But this episode…doesn’t deal with these questions in any way. Instead, it’s a boring mystery that mostly just accomplishes a pretty thorough damseling of both our female regulars. That’s it. The end. Good night.
Jess: But Rebecca, girls are so much prettier being tied up and threatened than they are having thoughts and feelings! Uck, now I need to go scrape myself clean just from typing that.
Rating: Being buried alive underneath a windmill.
Next week: Everyone goes to the Spring Formal and nothing bad happens. Just kidding. The season’s last Freak of the Week… is nature.