The Smallville Project: Episode 2.05 – “Nocturne”
|June 5, 2014||Posted by Jess under Comics, Television, The Smallville Project|
Jess: A fog-shrouded cemetery, night. Lana rides up to her parents’ graves on her horse and dismounts, leaves fresh flowers (in the middle of the night because Goth Lana rules), and finds a note on top of the headstone. It’s got her name in loopy script and it’s sealed with wax, with the imprint of a B on it. Ugh, does Lana have another stalker?
Jess: A noise disturbs her, but no one answers when she calls. Wolves howl.
Rebecca: “Is Lana’s stalker a werewolf?” everyone watching wonders despondently.
Jess: Elsewhere, a “teenage boy” (read: 25-year-old) runs through the forest. He trips, and an older man looms over him with a dog and a shotgun. A shot rings out…
…but we cut to the boy being flung down indoors somewhere, very much alive, apologizing to the man, who he calls “Father.” “Father” reminds him of the household’s one rule, which the boy repeats: “Byron stays in the cellar…because Father knows what’s best for Byron.” Yikes. “Father” tells Byron that if he tries to escape again, he’ll be shot with worse than a tranquilizer.
Rebecca: I’d like to note here that the weirdness surrounding Byron is explained, but we never find out why he wears silk scarves or uses wax seals on his letters.
Jess: SOMEBODY SAAAAAAAAAAVE MEEEEEEEEE!
Smallville High, day. Lana’s showing the note she found, which is apparently a love letter, to Chloe and Pete (aw, she and Pete are friends!). Chloe thinks it’s a little creepy; Lana thinks it’s sweet. Pete is just wondering who wrote it.
Rebecca: I wish Pete had more of an inner life.
Jess: Clark pops up as they walk into the Torch office and Lana gets visibly uncomfortable and walks away. “Lana has a secret admirer,” Chloe crows. “It’s nothing,” Lana says quickly, but Pete hands the letter to Clark. “It’s a little mushy,” Clark says upon reading it. “Almost forgot. Clark Kent, the man of steel,” Lana sasses. I like her attitude so much I’ll forgive that line being groanworthy. Pete and Chloe exchange looks, and Lana takes off.
Rebecca: I’m so thrilled that Lana is still (rightfully) angry with Clark after the events of “Red” and, like, the entire series.
Jess: “If you ask me, it sounds more like a stalker than a secret admirer,” Clark says. Good thing someone’s finally noticed that everyone stalks Lana. Too bad that includes Clark. Chloe and Pete just look at him.
Crazy Byron’s Dad’s House. CBD drills padlocks into the trapdoor to keep Byron in the basement. Byron scrunches up his face and covers his ears.
Rebecca: By the by, Byron is played by Sean Faris, who I predicted was going to play the DCW’s Barry Allen via a very scientific study (I was wrong, luckily, although he’s perfectly whatever in this episode).
Jess: Ironically, Sean Faris used to be my Superboy fancast!
Rebecca: He’s just the right type!
Jess: The Talon. Lana waits on a table, then returns to the counter to find Lex holding the envelope that the note came in. “It’s kind of personal,” she says. Then maybe you shouldn’t have left it on the counter of your place of employment? She reaches for it and he snatches it back in what’s actually an adorably obnoxious big brother-ly gesture. I’m sad they get married.
Rebecca: Aren’t we all. Also maybe Lex should back off of these children.
Jess: She sighs and tells him to read it. He does, and declares: “The imagery’s a bit naive, but the meter is quite sophisticated.” Oh, Lex. She gets kinda snippy, and when he asks if she’s okay, says everyone’s been giving her a hard time about it. The Gwen Stefani on the soundtrack is really distracting me. #2002
Rebecca: Remember when No Doubt decided to bring reggae (back) to the white masses?
Jess: Lex quotes mildly inappropriate John Donne at her and, when she’s pleased, says he’s found her Achilles heel. He then says that poetry’s all about seduction. SHE IS FIFTEEN, ALEXANDER. BACK THE EFF AWAY.
Rebecca: I’M SAYING. Also, it’s hilarious to me that Donne is “one of [Lana’s] favorites.” Who ARE you, girl?
Jess: Clark walks in, Lana snits at him, and Lex says the poem has raised the bar for “any other contenders” with a meaningful look at Clark. If this doesn’t end in Lex “teaching” Clark about poetry by reading it to him while they lie on a tiger skin rug eating grapes, I’ll be so disappointed.
Lex smirks away, and Clark apologizes for making fun of the poem. “I was just so surprised that you would show Pete and Chloe and not show it to me,” he whines. SHE IS MAD AT YOU, CLARKTOPHER. FOR SEVERAL GOOD REASONS.
Lana, a.k.a. My Personal Hero Forever, asks why she should share things with him when he won’t be honest with her. “Don’t you think it’s weird?” he asks. “This guy’s sneaking around watching you.” YOU HAVE A TELESCOPE TRAINED ON HER HOUSE, YOU ASSHOLE. Queen Lana calls him on that, too: “Tell me you’ve never watched someone from afar.” <3 <3 <3 LANAAAAAAAAAAA. Rebecca: Lana is just terrific in this episode. My fondest wish is for Clark to get called on his shit to this level for the rest of the series.
Jess: Luthor Castle. Some awkward guy named Tad apologizes profusely to Lionel for some mistake or other, and Lionel cheerfully fires him. Lex is not pleased that Lionel keeps firing his employees. Whatever, I can’t even with this scene. EVERYTHING YOU TWO DO IS BORING. WHY WOULD YOU WASTE YOUR TWO BEST ACTORS ON MINOR BUSINESS DISAGREEMENTS, SHOW???
Lionel bitches about how Lex can’t find him a good assistant, then lurches out into the garden to listen to…some kind of device that scans the newspaper he’s holding and reads it out loud? Is that a real thing? That seems like an amazing thing.
Rebecca: It seems like it can’t be real, because how could Lionel possibly scan it over a straight line of text without being able to see the tiny type in a newspaper column?
Jess: After a minute he flings the…whatever it is he’s listening to…away in frustration. “I couldn’t listen to another word of that droning either,” Martha says, popping up out of nowhere. Martha!
She’s here to pick up the monthly produce check. Lionel makes some comment about how much Lex hates having him there, and Martha kindly denies it, to which Lionel is like “Hi, are you new?” She sits down on the bench next to him and starts reading the paper to him, interrupting herself with shrewd commentary on Lionel’s business doings. He’s duly impressed and suggests her talents are “being wasted on organic produce.” “I’m going to take that as a compliment,” she says. Guys, I am so so happy Martha’s getting to do something besides look mildly concerned when Jonathan and Clark fight.
Jess: Byron’s Basement. In his candlelit lair covered with magazine clippings, he’s just finished penning another letter to Lana when the trapdoor opens. He hides it as his mother walks in. She presents him with a collection of Edgar Allen Poe stories, though she says she didn’t really understand it. He snarkily says that’s a surprise, since “He writes about pain and suffering and people being buried alive.”
She tells him to be thankful and stop complaining, then leaves. He seals the letter with wax, then pries some bricks out of the wall – presumably his escape route.
The cemetery, night. Lana’s asleep on her parents’ graves. GIRL, NO. This is a serious safety don’t!
Rebecca: ESPECIALLY for someone who’s been kidnapped upwards of six times in the past year alone.
Jess: She wakes, checks her watch, tells herself what she’s doing is crazy – and spots Byron staring at her. He bolts, and she calls after him to wait: “I read your poem. It was beautiful.”
“Really?” he asks. She asks his name, and when he tells her, says “Like the poet?” “Like my great uncle,” he replies, which is amusing enough that I half-forgive the stupidity of naming him that in the first place. She asks why he leaves her the poems, and he says she inspires him.
Rebecca: I wish the show was self-aware enough to make this a Buffy-esque metaphor about Nice Guys. But it’s not. 🙁
Jess: She turns a flashlight on to see him better and he says “Don’t!” and knocks it out of her hand. “GET AWAY FROM HER!” Clark yells, charging at them like a rhino that loves jackets very, very much. Byron flees, trips, and hits his head on a gravestone. As the others bend to help him, he touches his head, sees that he’s bleeding, and faints.
The Talon. Byron is horking down food and holding an icepack to his head. I guess in Smallville, concussions are so common they don’t bother with the hospital. Clark apologizes for scaring Byron, who calls Clark a chivalrous boyfriend; Lana, profoundly uncomfortable, quickly corrects him.
Byron takes the opportunity to quote poetry at Lana while Clark makes some hilariously skeptical faces, then asks who wrote it. “Shakespeare,” Byron says with thinly veiled contempt. Not all of us live in basements, B.
Rebecca: These faces are possibly my favorite acting Welling has done in the series to this point, maybe ever. In this moment only, I am Clark and Clark is me.
Jess: Lana makes reference to Byron’s “homeschooling,” and Clark sees deep scars wrapping around his wrist and asks if his parents are really strict. “They only want what’s best for me,” Byron says, super creepy.
The milk delivery arrives, and Byron panics when he realizes what time it is. Clark drives them back to his house and offers to come in and explain, but Byron bolts for the front door – as his parents come out, his dad holding the shotgun.
Clark and Lana scramble out of the car as Byron’s mom hurries him into the house. “Byron!” Clark calls, and Byron tells them to go away. “I better not kitch you around mah son agin!” Byron’s dad says, leaning hard on the accent no one else in this town has. “Get out, before ah shootcha fer trespassin’!” Alarmed, Clark and Lana leave.
Rebecca: Thank you, actor who’s probably from Regina or whatever, please head to accounting to pick up your check.
Jess: Kent farm, morning. Jonathan boggles at Martha’s news: Lionel offered her a job. He’s not pleased that she’s considering it, since he says Lionel always has an ulterior motive, but Martha says she’s been thinking about going back to work, and “I could use a bigger challenge in my life.” Jonathan snottily asks if farming is too dull for her, and says they could lose their privacy. “You don’t trust me to make that call?” Martha asks.
The fight is interrupted by the arrival of a shellshocked Clark and Lana. “We met this kid and we think his parents are abusing him,” Clark says. Okay, but I love them for going straight to the Kents, and I love the show for getting straight to the point.
Rebecca: For once!
Jess: Meanwhile Jonathan mostly looks annoyed.
Jess: Byron’s house. Jonathan, Clark, Lana, and Sheriff Ethan pull up outside. The dog is freaking out and there’s a swingset covered in disembodied antlers. Creepy!
Byron’s parents answer the door and Sheriff Ethan asks to speak to Byron. Byron’s dad says that’s not possible, and Clark demands to know where he is. The parents tearfully say Byron’s dead – he drowned in Crater Lake eight years ago.
“We just met him last night,” Lana snaps, because she no longer takes anyone’s bullshit, and because she is the queen of my heart. Byron’s dad insists he’s never seen either of them before and that this is a cruel prank. Sheriff Ethan apologizes as the door slams. So…Byron can’t be exposed to daylight, I’m guessing?
The kids insist they were telling the truth, and Jonathan says they’d better check, just in case. Sheriff Ethan says he’ll get a warrant.
In the basement, a shirtless Byron glares at a candle and tugs at the manacles chaining him to a wall. Excuse me, I need to go holler “Angel of Music” at the full moon.
Rebecca: Like, this guy and his whole aesthetic are baffling.
Jess: Torch office. Chloe’s found Byron’s birth certificate. (She calls him “a member of the Dead Poets’ Society.” ILU Chloe.) She asks if he could be a ghost, because “this is Smallville,” but they don’t think so.
Rebecca: But, like – why NOT? I don’t understand the difference to these characters between plausible weirdness and impossible stuff.
Jess: It’s like those old Silver Age comics where Superman would be like “MAGIC IS IMPOSSIBLE! Oh, hey, Zatanna.”
Chloe says she looked up the doctor who signed the birth certificate, Jenkins, and eight years ago he supervised a medical trial at “Metron Pharmaceuticals” (hee) with kids exhibiting antisocial behavior – including Byron. Lana doesn’t believe someone so gentle and honest with his feelings could be antisocial. Clark squirms.
Rebecca: Lana is throwing legendary shade at Clark in this episode. It’s the best.
Jess: Luthor Castle. Lionel is playing a grand piano, because of course he is. You know, the more random props and activities they cram into this pathetic set, the more it looks like repertory theater. Lex comes in, displeased that Lionel’s hired Martha, and asks what his angle is. “Martha Kent is a very…capable woman,” Lionel replies. “Unshakeable honesty like hers is hard to come by.” Lex points out that Martha’s one of the few people who could make Smallville like Lionel, and Lionel’s like, “Gee, I never thought of that! WINKY FACE.”
Lex tells Lionel to stay away from the Kents, and Lionel asks if Lex thinks if he’s “a very good boy, they’ll welcome you into their family?” Hee. Lex sasses that it would be a step up. Lionel responds by bafflingly twisting the story of Prometheus into some kind of father and son parable where Prometheus wants to be mortal but can’t. What. WHAT.
Rebecca: Obviously that makes no sense, but Luthors have already actively discussed Donne and Chopin in this episode, so the Prometheus thing just put me to sleep instantly. WE GET IT, LEX, YOU KNOW RICH-PEOPLE STUFF.
Jess: Lex tells him again not to hurt the Kents, uses the word “detente,” and flounces out of the room. Lionel goes back to his Chopin. I can’t decide if I love them or if I really, really hate them.
Rebecca: Ha, same.
Jess: Chez Byron. Clark starts poking around the house, Pete in tow. He pulls a board off a window – and the dog lunges out, biting him! …And then pulls back, whimpering, and runs off, presumably to nurse its wounded jaw. Aw puppy.
Rebecca: Welling makes a hilarious series of faces when the dog bites him, like he forgot momentarily that he’s invulnerable and then is relieved when he remembers.
Jess: The boys sneak into the house, which Pete accurately describes as “an NRA petting zoo.” Clark X-rays the rug and spots a trapdoor. It’s lead, so he can’t see through it, but he can yank it open pretty easily, and does.
In the basement, Byron shrinks away from the sunlight as Clark comes down the stairs. Clark’s horrified at the sight of Byron chained to a tiny cot, even though Byron says it’s not what he thinks. He breaks the chain, then explains it away to Byron with “…rusty lock.”
But Byron won’t go: “Last time I went out during the day I hurt my dad.” Clark ignores Byron’s protests and drags him outside. Side note: for a melodramatic shut-in, ol’ B’s pretty abtacular.
As they step into the direct sunlight on the porch, Byron screams and falls to his hands and knees. “Byron, you okay?” Clark asks as Byron writhes and scars appear on his back. There’s that investigative skill that will stand you in good stead in your journalistic career, Ace!
Rebecca: He’s just very NON-JUDGMENTAL, jeez. Also, I love how Byron is kind of a zombie and kind of the Hulk and kind of a werewolf. Just a real genre hodgepodge.
Jess: “You should have listened to me,” Byron growls in a deep voice, and backhands Clark, who goes flying across the yard and into the shed. Pete suddenly remembers to act like this is alarming. Byron turns – his eyes are solid black – and throws Pete through the windshield of the nearest car. I’m sure Pete’ll be fine.
Byron runs awkwardly away, and Clark hurries to check on Pete.
Rebecca: I mean, “hurries” kind of overstates it – he just kind of saunters over and nudges Pete lightly on the shoulder. Friend of the year, over here.
Jess: Cut to the hospital, where the Kents come in to see Pete as Martha throws off a line about seeing his mom downstairs so that the show can get by without casting Pete’s parents just a little bit longer. Pete’s got a broken arm and, I’m guessing, massive bruises.
Rebecca: And definitely also a concussion, right? This is a concussion-heavy episode.
Jess: Jonathan says they were supposed to wait, but stops scolding when Clark reveals that Byron was chained up in the basement. He’s pretty alarmed to learn that Byron is physically a match for Clark, though. Fair enough!
Cut to Byron’s mom leading Clark and Jonathan into the basement. She’s worried about her husband finding out, and Jonathan says they just want to help. “You probably think we’re horrible parents,” she says, and Jonathan and Clark are conspicuously silent. Kent men: total douches. (I mean, but she is also a horrible parent.)
Rebecca: I’m concerned that one of the thematic purposes of this story is to prove to us that Jonathan is the Best Dad Ever.
Jess: Clark asks what’s going on with Byron, and she says it’s a side effect of “the drug” that “they said would make him normal.” Eesh. The other boys all died, and they faked Byron’s death certificate because they didn’t know what else to do. But if Clark gets him out of the sun, he’ll go back to normal. Well, normal-ish.
Rebecca: He won’t STOP wearing silk neck scarves, unfortunately.
Jess: The Talon. Clark walks in. Lana’s been to see Pete and she’s pissed that they went without telling her. He says he didn’t want her to get hurt, but she thinks he doesn’t trust her. He asks if she’s seen Byron. “No,” she says, “but if I had, you’d know, because I’d have been honest with you.” LANA. <3 Rebecca: Not to diminish the significant joy of seeing Lana take Clark down at every turn, but it reminded me that every character who finds out Clark’s secret (basically all of them) immediately drops every grudge that came from secret-related conflicts. Don’t forgive Clark! It’s not a valid excuse!
Jess: Chloe scurries in with the Research That Solves Everything, as is her wont: the drug Byron was given targeted his adrenal system. Not sure how that helps, but whatever. Also, Metron Pharmaceuticals is no more, but they were owned by Luthorcorp. Hmmmmm.
Clark says he’ll talk to Lex, Chloe leaves to visit Pete, and Lana heads out to look for Byron. Clark protests: “Byron’s not the same guy. If you see him, don’t get too close. Call someone.”
Lana finds Byron immediately – he’s at the cemetery, of course, staring at his own grave. Shut up, Byron. She calls his name and he turns, and it looks like the Smallville makeup artists borrowed a few tips from network neighbors Buffy, because his face is totally vamped out.
Rebecca: Haha, yeah, I was totally trying to place that brow wrinkle.
Jess: “I was down there for eight years. I’m not going back,” he snarls. She tells him that the Byron she knows wouldn’t want to hurt anyone and that Clark is talking to the Luthors and they’ll find a cure.
He grabs her: “I WANT YOU.” UGH FUCK THIS SHOW. “Byron, no!” she scolds like he’s a dog, and claws at his face to get away. He hurls her at a huge headstone, knocking her out, then runs away. And Lana holds tight to her lead in the Concussion Olympics with her ninth!
Rebecca: I can’t with basically an actual rape threat at Lana. I can’t. Although this Nice Guy metaphor I’m projecting is really panning out. #YesAllWomen
Jess: This show is garbage forever for not connecting Rapey Byron to Stalky Byron to Stalky Clark. STOP TEACHING BOYS IT’S OKAY TO BE VIOLENT, CONSENT-ESCHEWING PIECES OF CRAP, MEDIA.
Luthor Castle. Lex is not happy to learn of yet another terrible thing Luthorcorp’s done, and tells Clark to warn Martha. “My mother can take care of herself, Lex,” Clark says with utmost faith. “Besides, I haven’t seen her this excited in a long time.” Aw bb. Blah blah, boring talk about Lionel. THERE IS A WEREVAMPIRETHING RUNNING AROUND, YOU TWO.
Rebecca: Lex, dude, no one cares about your legacy right now! People are threatening to rape Lana!
Jess: A helicopter lands on the lawn outside and they watch Martha help Lionel towards it with some anvilicious dialogue about the Kents not flying much. Ugh.
Inside, Martha’s all excited for her first flight in a helicopter as they lift off – until the helicopter starts freaking out, shaking violently and unable to lift more than a few feet. Because Byron! Seriously, I laughed out loud when his snarly little face popped up.
Rebecca: He’s so mad at that helicopter!
Jess: He’s holding onto one of the landing bars and preventing them from taking off. It looks SUPER dumb.
Rebecca: Hahahaha they use almost this exact stunt in the 200th episode and it looks only slightly less dumb.
Jess: He yanks the helicopter down to the ground and the pilot hits his head and slumps. You’re never gonna win the Concussion Olympics at this rate, dude. Don’t even try.
“What is it?” Lionel asks. “We have to get out of here!” Martha says, undoing his seatbelt, but Byron opens the door, yanks her out, and grabs Lionel. “YOU DID THIS TO ME!” he yells and tosses Lionel across the field.
“Did what? What are you talking about?” Lionel asks reasonably as Byron approaches. Suddenly Clark zips across the field and hip checks Byron a few dozen feet. Martha scrambles to protect Lionel. MARTHA. <3 Clark tells Byron they need to get him out of the light, but Byron refuses. Clark spots a boarded-up well, tackles Byron, and crashes through the boards. They tumble down the well, and Clark holds Byron up against the wall, out of the light, until he goes back to normal. “Clark?” he asks, dazed. “It’s okay, Byron,” Clark assures him. “You’re gonna be all right.” Aw, Clark is reasonably Super in this episode. Yay. Rebecca: If you’re enjoying this boring fight where two dudes punch each other 30 feet for like a minute and then Clark punches the other guy underground to get him to switch to a less-dangerous form, then you’re gonna love the infamous Clark/Doomsday Snoozefest of Season 8.
Jess: Hospital. Clark brings Byron a book of limericks. Okay, hee. Byron can’t remember what happened, luckily for Clark.
Lana joins them, sprained wrist in a brace. Apparently injuring people’s arms is Byron’s real superpower. He’s ashamed of hurting her, but she says it wasn’t him. “You were brave to come and find me,” he says. “Friend warned me to be careful,” she admits ruefully. “Should’ve listened to him.” She smiles at Clark. Ugh, so you forgive him now? He’s still a lying liar who lies.
Lana and Byron hold hands. Clark excuses himself, surprisingly without sulking.
Rebecca: He’s mature enough to know when to sulk privately.
Jess: Luthor Castle. Lionel’s arm is in a sling (seriously, writers, people can be injured other places) but he tells Lex he’s basically fine, “thanks to Martha, and Clark.” Lex is all “Wait, Clark?” but before they can have another cryptic discussion about him, Martha bustles in all businesslike. She’s already gotten Lionel to fund research to help Byron despite his protests. As she leaves, Lionel says he “can feel [Lex’s] smirk from here.” Hee.
Rebecca: Thank you for skipping the particulars of this scene. Bottom line: I love Annette O’Toole, Martha is great.
Jess: Kent Farm. Clark’s standing in the back of a truck with a hay bale waiting aimlessly for his cue when Lana appears. She tugs a book of sonnets out of his back pocket and he sheepishly says Byron was into them so he thought he’d give ‘em a shot, but they don’t really work for him. “An honest answer,” she says approvingly.
He apologizes for lying, and she says when Byron attacked her, her first thought was of Clark, and zzzzzzzzz. Sorry, when she’s not mad at him they’re back to being terminally boring. Upshot: she’s doesn’t think it matters if someone’s really “different” as long as they’re honest. They gaze at the cows together as we pan out. Blech.
Rebecca: The conversation totally implies that Lana’s kind of figured Clark out, right? We can dream.
Jess: Does she have NO idea that he’s Not Entirely Working With The Normal Human Suite of Abilities? Because come on.
Rebecca: This episode is a lot better than I remembered! Not great, but a lot better. Lana is WAY better than I remembered. Lana is perfect. Long live Queen Lana.
Jess: INSECT QUEEN OF MY HEART. P.S. Byron is dumb.
Rating: Being thrown 30 feet into a wall. (That’s kinda fast!)
Next week: All I remember about this episode was that it was originally filmed for Season 1 and then shelved so… yeah.