The Smallville Project: Episode 2.03 – “Duplicity”
|May 8, 2014||Posted by Jess under Comics, Television, The Smallville Project|
Jess: Luthor Castle, night. Someone walks through the halls, fingers twitching, as ominous music plays. They enter Lex’s study – and it’s Hamilton, who asks him why he called this meeting. His fingers are wiggling frantically, and Lex says he doesn’t look well. “I hear you’re having some personnel problems at Cadmus,” he goes on. “They all quit when you turned violent and started throwing lab equipment.”
Lex tells a manic, twitchy Hamilton that he’s a liability and that he’s fired, but if he sees a doctor, Lex will pay for it. Hamilton says he doesn’t need a doctor or Lex, and storms out.
Elsewhere, a locksmith’s van drives down the road. Hamilton drives erratically in the other direction, fumbling for his pills, which he spills all over the floor of his car. Um, show, we already had the shaky black guy on pills. Maybe look into being less racist?
Rebecca: EVERY BLACK MAN GETS JITTERS. 🙁
Jess: While trying to pick up the pills, Hamilton nearly slams into the van, which veers at the last minute and goes cartwheeling into the nearby field. Don’t drive in Smallville, folks! An approaching car makes Hamilton panic and take off.
The car stops…and it’s Pete!
Rebecca: My boyfriend and I said “Pete!” at the same time when he appeared.
Jess: He runs into the field to check on the van, which is upside down. The driver is alert, but staring at something in front of him. Pete turns to see what he’s looking at…and it’s the spaceship. Oh, nicely played. I expected it to turn up here, but not for Pete to be the one to spot it.
SOMEBODY SAAAAAAAAAAVE MEEEEEEEEE!
Kent Farm. Clark’s shooting hoops out back, sinking shots from well past the imaginary half-court, then zipping forward at superspeed to catch the ball as it falls through the net.
Rebecca: What a dork! How is this a fun game?
Jess: Pete pulls up and based on the timing, by which I mean sloppy editing, there’s no way he didn’t see Clark using superspeed, but our boy Peter is nothing if not oblivious. He jovially says they need to borrow Jonathan’s truck, but refuses to say why: “If I told you, you’d never believe me.” O IRONY.
Cut to Pete leading Clark to the spaceship, which has never looked as plastic-y as it does right now. Direct sunlight is not kind to that thing. Pete’s clapping and singing to himself and clearly seeing fame and fortune in his future (AND THE WHITE HOUSE LOLZ).
Rebecca: “I’m taking this spaceship RIGHT TO THE WHITE HOUSE!”
Jess: Clark tries hard to look clueless (insert obvious joke here) and asks what it is. Unfortunately for him, Pete is like A SPACESHIP, DUH. Clark tries to guide him towards the “downed military experiment or Russian satellite” theory, but Pete’s not having it: “This thing’s got extraterrestrial written all over it.” It’s got “Milton-Bradley” written all over it, but whatever.
Rebecca: More like “Milton FINE” (as played in Season 4 by James Marsters)! Also, “Russian satellite?” Clark’s such a grandpa.
Jess: Even Clark being deeply sarcastic about the possibility of aliens doesn’t dampen Pete’s enthusiasm, and he tells Clark to help him get it in the truck. He says he told the sheriff he couldn’t remember where exactly the car crash happened, but sooner or later the sheriff will find it. So Pete somehow got the driver out of a flipped van without further injuring him and brought him to the hospital all on his lonesome?
Clark tries to convince Pete to bring the spaceship to Jonathan, and Pete insists that it’s his spaceship and he’ll hide it in his own toolshed, thank you very much. Clark, I know you’re constitutionally incapable of being forthcoming with your nearest and dearest, but your best move here is a confession. Instead, he reluctantly agrees.
Luthor Castle. Lex is pouring himself a drink (this and playing pool by himself are literally the only business they ever give Rosenbaum, and considering Lex was only 20 last season it’s really the Sad Tale of an Underage Alcoholic) when an underling opens the door to the study and Lionel walks shakily in, wearing dark glasses and tapping the floor with a cane.
Lex sighs in dismay as Lionel angrily dismisses the underling. This is some real community theater-level Blindness 101 bullshit, but Glover is still working that imperious body language like a champ. It’s pretty great.
Rebecca: He pitches everything he does slightly too high. I feel like that’s his evil acting secret.
Jess: He casually says his doctor told him to get away from the stress of Metropolis, so he’ll be staying there for a few days at least, and only Lionel can make such breeziness seem so threatening. It’s a shame they’ll probably waste it on more boring corporate nonsense.
Lex suggests Lionel would be happier at the beach house and Lionel asks if Lex doesn’t want him there. “No, Father, I just want what’s best for you,” Lex says. NO, FATHER. HELP, IT IS TOO GOOD AND TOO STUPID ALL AT ONCE.
The Talon. Lana awkwardly puts the check down in front of a PDA-ing middle-aged couple. I don’t understand how this coffee shop works. The guy cheerfully mansplains to Lana how she should rearrange the seating in the Talon, and she fidgets as he kisses the woman – who I am belatedly realizing must be Nell, which just goes to show how infrequently the show uses her – then leaves.
Rebecca: WELCOME BACK, NELL!!!!
Jess: Nell sighs dreamily after him like she’s the 15-year-old: “Isn’t he wonderful?” Lana suppresses her gag reflex and says “Yeah, he’s great” with a simply beautiful edge of sarcasm, then turns to see Chloe walk in, rearing back from Uncle Boyfriend with a look of surprised distaste as she passes him. HAHA YES, JUDGE THIS GROSS DUDE HARDER, GIRLS!
Nell asks Chloe how “the sleepover” went and Chloe gives Lana an absolutely baffled look. Lana responds with huge, pleading eyes, and Chloe quickly covers by pretending they spent it watching Keanu Reeves movies. These girls are about ten years too young for that; in 2002, I’d say it was more likely to be…hmmm. Ewan MacGregor? Leo? IDK, I feel like the big heartthrobs were in TV and music around then. (Like, on this show. Or at least this channel.)
Rebecca: I would have given them major points for shouting out Dawson.
Jess: Nell leaves and Lana thanks Chloe for the save. She says she had to get out of the house so she told Nell she was staying at a friend’s; Chloe looks touched when Lana says she was the first person who came to mind, which is so sweet I won’t even remind her that she and Clark are Miss Popular’s only actual friends, now that Shapeshifting Tina’s left town. Lana explains that she was avoiding “Dean,” an insurance adjuster Nell met post-tornado, since he and Nell are constantly all over each other. She spent the night at the Talon, which is just the saddest; Chloe’s like “Um, next time just actually stay at my place.” Aw. Also, I assume Dean’s gonna turn out to be sleazy in some way but I think a thoughtful plotline about Lana dealing with Nell dating (has she really just been sitting around hung up on Jonathan for 13 years?) would be nice. Too bad that’s way too much Being a Person for Lana to be allowed.
Ross house. The boys put the spaceship in the toolshed and Pete heads off to call Chloe, but Clark stops him. Pete says a spaceship is Chloe’s “Holy Grail,” and there’s some astonishingly bad editing where he finishes the line, we cut to a different angle, and we see him silently finish the line again before Clark protests that Chloe will write an article about it. Fame is exactly what Pete’s after, and he wants to get out in front of the story before the van driver does, but Clark says that if they tell Chloe it’s a spaceship and it turns out to just be a newfangled cropduster or something, she’ll mock them forever.
For some reason that stupid excuse works, and Pete agrees to hold off. Clark hands him a crowbar to try and get into the ship, then heads off “to look for Missing Spaceship flyers,” which may be the Worst Superman Excuse Ever.
Rebecca: I was going to say “Fitting for the Worst Superman Ever,” but congratulations to Man of Steel for taking that honor! (No offense, Cavill, I still love you.)
Jess: Back home, he tells the Kents what happened. Jonathan’s ready to steal it back in the dead of night, but Clark doesn’t like lying to Pete, and even suggests telling Pete the truth. Martha says even good friends sometimes slip up, and Jonathan says “This information is way too dangerous for Pete,” with a hilariously dismissive tone on Pete’s name. So basically the show is positing that Superman doesn’t share his secret with his closest friends not because he doesn’t trust them, but because he thinks they’re stupid. I’m not sure which is worse. Clark sighs, resigned.
(I couldn’t find a gif of him saying “…Maybe [you should have let those children (including Pete) die].”
Jess: I feel like “No, son, let me tornado-die for no reason” is applicable to many situations!
Hospital. A doctor tells a frantically twitching Hamilton that “this isn’t the type of bizarre cellular mutation I usually call you with, but, uh, I knew you’d be interested.” Hamilton impatiently slips him a bribe and he gives up the room number.
It’s the van driver, who wakes up when Hamilton walks in. Hamilton pretends to be one of the regular doctors and asks about the spaceship the driver claims to have seen. The driver gets cagey and claims he was babbling because of the morphine, but Hamilton tells him he checked the cornfield, and there’s an impression of something that was there, but is now gone. As Hamilton pops some more pills, the driver confesses that he did see a ship, and maybe the kid who helped him did too – Pete Ross.
He belatedly recognizes Hamilton as the driver who forced him off the road and tries to push the button for the nurse, but Hamilton takes the remote away from him, then increases his IV drip as he yells for help. His eyes close, presumably from a lethal dose of painkillers, and Hamilton takes off.
Rebecca: By the way, shout out to this racist episode for at least kind of passing the Blackdel Test, the metric my roommate made up to measure media in which two black people talk about something other than a white person. Enjoy it now, because once Hamilton and, eventually, Pete are gone, that’s pretty much it for people of color on Smallville. LOL.
Jess: Well, there’s Lana, sort of. Or, well, there’s Kristin Kreuk. Thanks for the whitewashing, WB!
Jess: Ross house, night. The Kent men open the toolshed to find the ship gone. Clark says someone else must’ve taken it. “We’re not gonna find out who it was tonight,” Jonathan says, and they leave. As they drive off, Pete sees them leave and makes a lot of angry and incredulous faces/gestures. Why on earth did they bring the bright red truck when Clark could’ve zipped in fast and carried it out singlehandedly?
Kent Farm, day. Clark walks outside to find Pete waiting for him. Pete tells him someone stole the ship and asks if Clark told anyone about it. Clark bad-acts his way towards a denial and Pete straight-up calls him a liar: “I saw you and your dad driving away from my shed last night.” Clark insists he didn’t take the ship, but he can’t explain himself either, and Pete angrily heads off to tell Chloe: “I can already see the headlines: The Real Clark Kent, Exposed.” I c whut u did there.
Rebecca: I’m pretty sure this episode breaks records for characters full-naming Clark.
Jess: It’s no “Well, if it isn’t Little Joey Potter” four times an episode, but it’s something.
Pete drives off, looking in the rearview mirror at Clark as he does. Suddenly Clark’s in front of the car, stopping it with his bare hands. WHOA, I legit did not see that coming! “Pete, we need to talk,” he says. Pete stares.
Rebecca: YES! That moment is pretty good!! I like the shot of Clark holding the car while Pete’s still revving the wheels.
Jess: Storm cellar. Pete asks if Clark is human and Clark says he doesn’t know: “I don’t know what I am! I just know that I grew up in Smallville, and everything that I care about, and everyone that I care about, is here.” Welling always does a good job sounding young when he’s on that border between panicked and whiny, and this is no exception.
Rebecca: I actually like the way this scene is written, but I think Welling’s a bit on the whiny side. Better than cardboard, though.
Jess: Pete’s hurt that Clark didn’t tell him: “What, you didn’t think I could handle it?” Clark squints at Pete: “Can you?” Hee! Pete circles Clark, staring at him, and Clark says this is exactly what he didn’t want, people looking at him like he was a freak: “Look, would you say something? Call me an alien, call me a monster, just say something.” Aw poopsie.
Pete says it’s like he doesn’t even know Clark, and Clark insists that he’s the same kid Pete grew up with. As he takes a step towards Pete, Pete jerks back: “Back off, man!” “Pete, I would never hurt you,” Clark insists. “Too late,” Pete replies, and leaves. Uh, so do you think that was supposed to read like a coming out scene? Or…what?
Rebecca: Hahahaha. I like that Pete is a little mad and a little scared – it’s an interesting note and totally understandable. Spoiler: of all the main characters who find out (all of them), he’s the only one who reacts this way.
Jess: Hamilton’s barn/lab. He fondles the octagonal depression in the ship gleefully (yes, it’s gross), knocking the whole thing around like the piece of plastic that it is.
Luthor Castle. Hamilton tells Lex he’s come for his “severance package”: the octagonal disc. Lex says it disappeared during the storm, and Hamilton sweeps everything off of Lex’s desk, shrieks “Liar!” and storms out. Lex looks mildly alarmed.
In the hall (Hey, a new set! The castle no longer just consists of Study and Other, Identical Study!), Hamilton passes Lionel groping his way along, then stops and introduces himself. Lionel’s intrigued when he hears that Hamilton was studying the meteor rocks for Lex. Hamilton says he and Lex are through, “but you have a reputation for a man of vision.” Ugh, this writing hurts me. He tells Lionel he’s discovered something earth-shattering. Lionel gropes for his face. Papa Luthor, you should be able to hear crazy better than that.
Smallville High. Clark approaches Pete and says he understands if Pete’s freaked out and angry, but they need to find the ship. The girl at the locker next to Pete’s gives them a weirded out look and walks away, and Pete looks at Clark like “You freaking moron.” It’s pretty great.
Rebecca: That’s the way I look at Clark always.
Jess: Pete gets loud as he says he always told Clark all his secrets, but everything Clark told him was a lie. Clark says maybe he was right to, since Pete’s not exactly reacting well. “Clark, you don’t get it, do you?” Pete says. “I don’t care if you’re from the moon. You never trusted me. What kind of friendship is that?” He’s not wrong, Clarktopher.
Chloe walks up and asks why they didn’t tell her about “the superhero deal.” They stare at each other before she clarifies that she’s talking about Pete rescuing the van driver, and asks him for an interview. “Maybe later,” he says, and she asks if his reluctance has to do with the “spaceship conspiracy” – her source at the hospital says the driver was rambling about a spaceship.
“Sure, Chloe,” Pete says. “I saw a spaceship. I even met an alien…Actually, he looks a lot like Clark.” Chloe gives him a weird look and says she thought aliens were little and green. “I guess things aren’t always what you think they are,” Pete says, and takes off.
Chloe asks what’s going on and Clark says it’s guy stuff before asking if she’s really taking this spaceship thing seriously. She says she doesn’t know, which is reasonably open-minded for someone who lives in a town where people can suck out your body heat or move things with their minds.
Rebecca: HOW DOES CHLOE NOT FIGURE OUT CLARK’S DEAL IMMEDIATELY???? Ugh.
Jess: Seriously! Every other episode she’s like “Someone just died weirdly, and one time this kid in my math class wore a blue shirt, so clearly meteor rocks, murder, front page article, boom” and now she can’t put all this evidence together? Quit dragging your feet, Sullivan.
Rebecca: One of the greatest missteps in the history of the show is that Chloe doesn’t figure Clark’s secret out on her own.
Jess: Kent Farm. Clark walks in lookin’ all farmy with a basket of produce in one arm and eggs in the other to find Lex waiting for him. Lex says the castle was feeling a little crowded. “Doesn’t it have like 75 rooms?” Clark asks. Yes, but they’re all studies.
Clark asks if Lionel’s being awful and Lex says he’s being really nice, and even claims he wants to work on their relationship: “He’s lied to me so many times it’s hard to believe he doesn’t have an ulterior motive.” Clark thinks Lex should give him the benefit of the doubt, but Lex finds it hard to forgive a lie. Oh, and speaking of, has Clark seen the octagonal “paperweight” he had on his desk? Clark plays dumb (although to be fair, he doesn’t have the disc) and Lex pretends to believe him. Well. He probably believes Clark’s dumb, at least.
Hamilton’s lab. It’s Lionel’s turn to fondle the spaceship, though as he points out, without eyesight, “this could be a post-modern coffee table.” Hamilton says the alloy the ship is made of is made of elements not found on Earth – except for those elements in the meteor rocks. Lionel asks for proof, and Hamilton puts his hand on the octagonal depression, then tells him about the disc, which he’s sure is some kind of key that will open the ship and prove it’s extraterrestrial in origin.
Hamilton says Lex is holding out on him, and Lionel suggests that Lex doesn’t have the disc any more, which seems like a random leap to make. Hamilton asks where it would be. “If you can answer that question, Doctor, you just might get your funding,” Lionel replies, completely unhelpfully.
Rebecca: One of the most painful things about rewatching this show is that it’s so clear that the writers had no idea what the disc “does.” It literally has 6000 different uses over just a few seasons. Incidentally, I recently found out that the writers of a genre show going into its second season don’t know answers to questions like “who is the bad guy?” and “what are the characters going to do fight them?”. TV writers are stupid. It’s a bummer. Anyway. Sorry.
Jess: I have many, MANY issues with Joss Whedon, but there’s a Whedon quote going around about the difference between answering questions with more questions, or answering them with actual answers that lead to interesting plot stuff. Both Smallville and Arrow suffer from the first one (though Arrow’s improved this season). Of course, Lost is the KING of “answering questions with more questions because we have no idea what the answers are.”
Rebecca: If the Arrow writers don’t have a clear picture of what exactly goes on in Nanda Parbat, I’m going to be very sad.
Jess: Attic of Sad Voyeurism, night. Clark walks in to find Lana looking through his telescope (not a euphemism). She says she was scoping out her house to see if it’s safe to go back. “Hiding from Nell?” he asks, and she confesses it’s actually the boyfriend.
Clark turns mopey and asks if she’s ever had anyone resent her for telling them the truth. It’s a pretty stupid question for someone who broke up with her boyfriend over video message the episode before. Oh, never mind, it turns out Clark actually didn’t know, and Welling sits quietly with the knowledge and no reaction for a few minutes. ACTING!
Rebecca: Again: ALL of their conversations start with “Have you ever [something that’s talking around the actual conversation]?” UGHHH.
Jess: Anyway, he says he’s not sure his and Pete’s friendship can survive this current fight. Yes, Clark, please bring up the fight you and Pete had over how you won’t tell the truth to someone else you can’t tell the truth to, this is brilliant. Sure enough, when he refuses to explain what the fight was about, Lana mutters, “Typical,” and then: “Clark Kent starts a discussion, about telling the truth, no less, and when it’s his turn to open up, everything is suddenly a deep, dark secret.” Love u, Lana!
He says it’s personal and she points out that so was the Whitney stuff. He tries the “Well, you haven’t talked to Nell” angle and she says he’s right: “Hiding the truth only keeps people apart.” Then she walks out. LOVE U, LANA.
Rebecca: Lana’s super great in this episode!! Why did I ever hate her?? Was it internalized misogyny????
Jess: Probably a bit, but also bad writing + mediocre acting + unconvincing TRUE LOVE (which, I don’t even know why they went there, honestly, when everyone knows Clark and Lois are endgame in every universe). (Well, everyone except DC at the moment.) (SIIIIGH.)
Jess: Ross house. Pete walks into his shed to find Hamilton tearing the place apart, looking for the disc. Stupidly, Pete confronts him, and Hamilton demands to know where the disc is. “I know you,” Pete says, squinting in Hamilton’s flashlight beam. “You’re Dr. Hamilton.”
Hamilton slams Pete against the wall. “You don’t know who you’re messing with!” Pete shouts. “That spaceship belongs to someone a lot tougher than you!” I’m torn between finding Pete’s faith in Clark cute and being disappointed by how right Jonathan was re: Pete’s ability to keep secrets. Sure enough, Hamilton demands to know who the ship belongs to. Pete tries to recant, then to flee, but Hamilton knocks him out. Nice try, Pete, but you’re still lagging in the Concussion Olympics.
Kent Farm. Jonathan wonders if Pete could’ve told the van driver, who they now know is dead, anything about the ship. Clark confesses that he told Pete the truth. Jonathan’s furious and thinks Clark should’ve come to them first, and Clark angrily asks what they would’ve suggested: “Another lie?” Martha’s more concerned that Pete might tell someone.
The phone rings and Martha has a hurried, distressed conversation with the person on the other end, then hangs up and reports that Pete’s missing. Jonathan nods all “I knew it” for some reason. Shut up, Jonathan.
The Talon. Lana pours Nell tea and awkwardly tries to broach the subject of Dean. Nell pleasantly says that she already told Dean to stop mansplaining to her and try to get to know her instead. Aw. She then says they should all spend more time together “as a family,” and Lana blanches a bit at that last word. Sure enough, Nell and Dean are engaged. Lana fake smiles through the pain.
Hamilton’s lab, sunrise. Pete wakes up to find himself tied to a post. Hamilton demands to know who the ship belongs to, and Pete bad-lies that he was just trying to scare Hamilton.
Hamilton’s twitching has escalated to just randomly waving his arm around, and Pete offers to get him medical help. Hamilton says he’s dying and nobody can help him, but before he dies he’s going to prove he’s not a quack, and if Pete doesn’t help him, Hamilton will kill him. Pete looks more annoyed than scared, and maybe a bit like Hamilton smells bad. Hamilton is pretty sweaty.
Luthor Castle. Lionel’s listening to a robotic book on tape about the meteor rocks, unaware that Lex is lounging in the doorway. “Interesting reading, Dad,” Lex says, and Lionel starts in surprise. Lex says he talked to Lionel’s doctor, who did not send Lionel to Smallville and in fact had no idea where Lionel was until Lex called him. Lionel says he was tired of being treated like an invalid, and Lex says “So you decided a couple of days of Oedipal mano-a-mano would make you feel better?” because the writers are monsters. Lionel calls the analogy “apt but flawed,” since Oedipus was the blind one, not his father. So…Lex fucked his mom? Is that what we’re supposed to take away from this scene?
Rebecca: Hahahahaha “your analogy was apt but flawed” hahahahahaha
Jess: Lionel heaves himself up tragically to go back to Metropolis, and Lex asks about Hamilton, who he says is crazy. Lionel says lunatics can be useful: “Every Arthur needs his Merlin.” What. What. Anyway, Lionel tell Lex to check out Hamilton’s barn.
Rebecca: Why do the writers think rich people talk like this? Wait… do rich people talk like this?
Jess: Smallville High. Clark asks if Chloe’s seen Pete. She hasn’t, but she has seen the hospital visitors’ log, showing that Hamilton stopped in to see the van driver just before he died. It’s suspicious enough that Clark decides to check out Hamilton, and zips off while Chloe is looking away, leaving her baffled.
Rebecca: You know what would be great? If the writers deliberately wrote this as an episode about how Clark is the worst possible friend. But they didn’t. 🙁
Jess: Hamilton’s lab. He pulls out a syringe with green liquid in it and tells Pete that his tremors are from too much exposure to meteor rocks, and that Pete’s about to get a much worse dose. He adds that he hopes whoever Pete’s protecting is worth dying for. “Take that needle and stick it wherever you want, because I’m not telling you a damn thing,” Pete replies. PETEY.
Rebecca: Wait, why doesn’t Lana have kryptonite Parkinson’s? 12 years wasn’t long enough?
Jess: Maybe it’s worse in liquid form?
Just as Hamilton’s about to stab Pete in the neck, Clark BURSTS through the door, shattering it into matchsticks. Way to go, Captain Stealth! “Put the needle down!” he orders. “Not ‘til he tells me what he knows,” Hamilton replies. Um, dude, a 15-year-old just SHATTERED your barn door, I think you now also know what Pete knows.
Clark heat visions the syringe and it explodes, a few green-slicked pieces of glass sticking to Pete. Hamilton lunges at Clark and Clark easily punches him into a pile of industrial metal barrels. He rips open the ropes holding Pete in place – but cuts himself on one of the pieces of the syringe. As Hamilton staggers to his feet, Clark tries to stand and collapses.
Rebecca: Ha ha, my favorite part of every episode!
Jess: “What’s wrong?” Pete asks. “I’m allergic to the meteor rocks,” Clark gasps. Hamilton, hearing this, grabs a beaker of green liquid and holds it over Clark’s head. “This ship is yours, isn’t it?” he asks. “Open it!”
Pete grabs a metal…thing…and wallops Hamilton in the back with it. Hamilton collapses next to his worktable, a beaker dripping green onto his face. Pete tries to help Clark up, but, well, these aren’t the show’s best actors and it looks more like a hug performed by two people who’ve never received one, but have read about it in books. While lying down.
Hamilton starts twitching so fast he’s an actual blur (FORESHADOWING??? no) and Clark tells Pete they have to help him. Pete squats awkwardly next to Hamilton for a minute trying to figure out what to do, but Hamilton finally stills. Clark gets his patented “Ugh, someone died” face on as Pete says it’s too late, and finally hauls Clark to his feet. I wish I could convey how poorly acted, staged, and special-effect-ed this scene is to you all. It’s really a wonder.
Rebecca: Just a quick reminder that this is the identical shitty effect they used in Jitters, the episode they filmed fourth, and this is the twenty-fourth. And yet, we will remember these days fondly when they’re forced to produce Season 10 in a basement with a kettle and some string.
Jess: Kent Farm, day. The Kents and Pete assemble in the storm cellar, where the spaceship is back in its rightful place. Pete says he understands now why Clark didn’t tell him the truth and apologizes, and Clark pauses for a dickishly long time before saying Pete had good reason to be upset.
Pete asks why Clark tried to save Hamilton despite everything. Clark says he can’t let anyone die to protect his secret. It’s really depressing that Clark’s so awful on this show that his efforts to save Hamilton read as out of character to me.
Rebecca: He didn’t even try that hard! I’m hesitant to give him brownie points for half-heartedly reaching. Also I’m upset that Pete’s the only person who had to apologize in this episode.
Jess: Jonathan tells Pete he’s proud of him (!) but that knowing The Secret is a huge responsibility. Clark grins: “That’s my dad’s way of saying ‘Welcome to the family.’” Everyone laughs at a stony-faced Jonathan, INCLUDING ME.
Hamilton’s lab. The Luthors walk in to find nothing there. (Did Clark and Pete report Hamilton’s death? Do the Luthors know about it? These are reasonable questions!) Lionel then says he’s not going back to Metropolis; Lex says he hopes it’s not because of spaceships and Lionel chuckles and says it’s because he wants to spend “more quality time with my only son,” touching Lex’s face faux-lovingly as Lex rears back in horror.
Kent Farm. Clark and Pete are shooting hoops while Pete grills him about his powers. Clark says his super-speed is something like 20-30 MPH, which, um, no.
Rebecca: I think that’s actually him “cutely” “smirking,” but Welling fails to pull it off. Maybe be specific instead of smug, dude!!
Jess: He also says he never uses the X-ray vision to check girls out, which is also simply not true. Sure enough, when Pete presses he admits he peeked in the girls’ locker room, and Pete says “That’s my boy!” because our culture does not teach teenagers about consent.
Pete asks if Clark’s been holding back on the court and is all “Show me what you got” and it’s only a little gay. Clark leaps over his head and 30 feet forward towards the basket, and dunks. BUT NOT FLYING, OKAY? IT’S TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM FLYING.
Pete chuckles and they continue playing, this time sans powers, as we zoom out. Aw.
Rebecca: Aw for sure, but if I were Pete, I would straight-up stop playing basketball with Clark.
Rebecca: I guess this is the part where I grudgingly admit a fairly unfounded fondness for this episode because when it aired, I was literally frothing at the mouth for someone to find out Clark’s secret already. That plot doesn’t actually play so well here, partially because Jones and Welling are NOT strong actors, and also partially because, as usual, Clark’s a tremendous dick. I wish they had played with Pete being a little hurt, afraid, or weirded out going forward, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t really happen. Anyway, this is an all-star Lana episode and I can’t wait for more of her and Chloe this season (it’s happening)! The Lex/Lionel stuff is a total write-off; we have entered self-parody territory. Sorry, Rosey!
Jess: Yeah, it’s a toss-up. (Basketball!) On the one hand, Pete finding out Clark’s secret was genuinely unexpected and exciting, even 12 years after the fact, and for the most part the actual writing between the two of them is very good. It’s also nice to see them actually using Pete, when he barely made a dent on Season One. On the other hand, like you said, you can’t really rest a story on Jones and Welling’s acting ability. Also, the racism. But Lana is fantastic, so there’s that?
Rating: Basketball at normal speed for some reason.
Next week: Jeph Loeb brings us a classic tale of teenage rebellion and three (3!) new jackets.