The Smallville Project: Episode 2.08 – “Ryan”
|July 17, 2014||Posted by Jess under Comics, Television, The Smallville Project|
Jess: A darkened lab. Ryan (remember Ryan?) sits shirtlessly in a chair, covered with electrodes.
Rebecca: The WB: “Even our children are shirtless!”
Jess: “All right, Ryan, what am I looking at?” a man in a lab coat asks. When Ryan doesn’t answer, the doctor snaps at him. Ryan sullenly describes the pictures on the monitor the doctor is looking at, then starts wincing and holding his head. The doctor asks if it’s “another pressure headache,” but won’t let him stop.
Rebecca: I like the actor who plays Ryan well enough (and he’s apparently an adult on Teen Wolf now), but his tactic for portraying “headache” is basically James McAvoy’s Xavier fingers-to-temple move, and it’s pretty silly.
Jess: Also, tossing his head like he’s in a shampoo commercial.
His nose starts bleeding and the doctor sends the orderly after a coagulant. Ryan asks what oxycontin is, and when the doctor asks why, says, “He’s stealing it.” “I knew it,” the scientist says, and then leaves. He finds the orderly, but when it turns out the orderly’s just getting the coagulant he was told to fetch, they run back to the lab.
Ryan’s already gone, having escaped through the vents into a storage room. He finds a phone and dials the Kents’ number as the men bang on the door outside.
Clark answers and Ryan frantically tells him that he needs help, that Clark needs to get him out of there. Concerned, Clark asks where he is and Ryan tells him he’s at Summerholt Hospital right before the men grab him, rip the phone out of the wall, and inject him reeeeeeeeally grossly with something green that knocks him out.
Rebecca: Right to the skull! Trigger. Warning. Also, it’s green but not (explicitly) kryptonite. Do you think they just had extra Green Prop Liquid lying around?
Jess: All Bad Things are green, didn’t you know? Just like all Good Things are red and blue and jacket.
Jess: SOMEBODY SAAAAAAAAAAVE MEEEEEEEEE!
Kent Farm. The Kents are trying to figure out what’s going on with Ryan: his aunt’s phone’s been disconnected, and there’s no Summerholt Hospital in Edge City, where Ryan and his aunt live. “I never heard him so scared,” Clark says. Well, you knew him for like a day, so maybe that’s why?
Rebecca: They do exposit here that they’d been emailing each other, which is a nice idea.
Jess: Smallville High. Clark’s talking to Pete, beating himself up over letting Ryan down. It’s ridiculous that I should have to say this, but: I like it when Clark cares about other people! Keep it up, show!
They enter the Torch office, where Chloe’s contact at the phone company (of course she has a contact at the phone company) traced Ryan’s call to Summerholt Neurological Institute, in Metropolis. But it’s a research institution, so why would Ryan be in lockdown there? Clark furrows his brow at the camera.
Luthor Castle. The mayor’s there to see Lex. Lex is concerned that the zoning commission hasn’t signed off on his plant’s expansion, and vaguely threatens Smallville with job loss if it doesn’t go through. The mayor basically tells Lex that Lionel always bribed him and if Lex knows what’s good for him he’ll do the same. Zzzzzzzzzzz.
Rebecca: This whole plot is nothing!
Jess: Lang…Farm? IDK, a pasture somewhere. Lana rides up to Nell and dismounts. Nell tells her that Dean (her creepy boyfriend, remember?) has taken a job in Metropolis and wants the Langs to move there with him – and she already said yes. Lana’s…mad, I think? She seems mad but she’s also saying all of her lines very quietly, like they’re having this conversation while infiltrating the FBI instead of standing in a field. Then she just stares for a really long time. Okay!
Rebecca: This plot is also basically nothing!
Jess: Kent Farm. Martha can’t get through to the Summerholt Institute over the phone. Clark wants to go there and look for Ryan, but Jonathan points out that the cops have already checked and didn’t find him.
Rebecca: It amuses me that Jonathan says, “You can just go there and start knocking down doors!” and then Clark immediately does literally that thing.
Jess: Clark has a very limited skill set:
- Zip up to a place and X-ray vision it very slowly from a great distance.
- Knock down doors.
- Throw someone into a wall.
- Stand uselessly by while someone dies.
Only two are relevant here. (Oh, I made myself sad.)
Rebecca: You nailed it. 🙁 🙁
Jess: Summerholt. Ryan lies in a bed, hooked up to various wires.
Meanwhile, Clark is at the front desk, where he’s being told there’s no one named Ryan there. Summerholt, if you want to seem less sketchy, maybe don’t conduct your business in omnipresent eerie blue lighting?
Rebecca: It’s Metropolis! It’s ALL blue!!
Jess: As Clark insists on speaking to someone in charge, the doctor from the opening scene enters, and the receptionist gladly passes Clark off to “Dr. Garner.” Garner denies that Ryan’s there and walks away, as does the receptionist. Clark looks past the deck and sees a chart listing a room as restricted.
He bursts into it – and it’s Ryan’s room! He starts to free him, is interrupted by the orderly from before, throws the orderly into a wall (it’s his only move, basically), and finishes unhooking Ryan.
Rebecca: Kind of a dick move, that orderly was just doing his job.
Jess: “I knew you’d come for me, Clark,” Ryan says faintly. Clark picks him up and carries him out, and I would like to remind you all once again that the actor playing Ryan is the age Clark is supposed to be, and the show would have been so much more interesting (though probably – HOPEFULLY – less homoerotic) like that.
Rebecca: Also, opposite Ryan, Welling looks exceptionally old and Clark seems exceptionally dumb.
Jess: RYAN FOR SUPERMAN 2003!
Luthor Castle. Lex brings Ryan a cup of hot cocoa. Aw. Lex has also purchased some chairs to arrange awkwardly in the middle of his study, because this set doesn’t come with a living room. Clark asks about Ryan’s aunt and Ryan says he thinks she moved to Arizona. Clark’s judgy double take is pretty great as he asks how she could just leave him. Ryan says the headaches and nosebleeds were too much for her, so when Garner offered to pay for his care…well.
Lex asks what they were treating Ryan for and he starts to answer when Clark cuts him off: “They were holding him there for observation.” Lex coldly asks to speak to Clark privately and walks out. “Clark,” Ryan says, then pauses and says, “Never mind.” Hmmm.
In the hall (heeeeey the set has a hall! a fake-ass looking one!) Clark thanks Lex for taking Ryan in, since the Kents “would have freaked.” “Yeah, kidnapping has that effect on people,” Lex replies. Zing! Lex wants to know why Clark broke Ryan out, abducting a minor in the process, if they were just observing him, and points out that this could get them both in trouble (Rebecca: also Clark is also a “minor” LOL). Clark gets all huffy and says he’ll take Ryan somewhere else, and Lex tells him to chill. Clark does: “I’m sorry. I didn’t think this through. I saw him hooked up to all those wires and I just had to get him out of there.” Clark’s so Super in this episode! I love it!
Rebecca: This dummy cares so much about Ryan. 🙂
Jess: Lex asks how Clark got Ryan out by himself, without getting caught or stopped. “Just lucky, I guess,” Clark says blandly. “You’re the luckiest guy I’ve ever met,” Lex replies, then kisses him, with tongue. Okay, no, but he really looks like he wants to.
Kent Farm. Clark walks in to find the Kents standing in the kitchen…with Sheriff Ethan and Dr. Garner. “Where’s Ryan?” Garner asks. “Safe from you,” Clark replies. Garner’s got a warrant and orders Sheriff Ethan (God, this poor dude has the worst job and is probably sick to death of the Kents) to search the farm, and to arrest Clark for kidnapping. Clark stammers a request to wait until tomorrow morning, and Garner tells him if Ryan’s not back by then, “federal marshals will be crawling all over this place and your life will be under a microscope.” Okay, uh, that’s a really strange threat to make, and also why isn’t Sheriff Ethan like, “Wow, this guy is shady as fuck?”
Next morning. Clark walks in with Ryan and the Kents hug him. Aw. Jonathan sadly tells him that though they’re glad he’s okay, they don’t really have a choice – they have to give him back. Martha asks how he ended up there in the first place and he says his aunt found out about his powers and was really freaked out. “She’s not a bad person,” he says unsubtly. “She just couldn’t take the fact that I was different.” I think Clark is supposed to look sympathetic and troubled, but he mostly just looks bored.
Garner loudly protests to Sheriff Ethan that he’s Ryan’s legal guardian, and Jonathan says that “having custody of a child is not the same as having the pink slip to a car.” Garner replies that the Kents “can lose one boy today or both of them. I believe kidnapping counts for some juvenile time.”
Rebecca: “Juvenile” LOL.
Jess: Suddenly, Lex pulls up! And presents Sheriff Ethan with a restraining order against Garner, giving the Kents temporary custody! And threatens Garner with further legal action! The boring dialogue is enlivened by a) Garner delivering all of his lines like my hubby Chris Evans in Scott Pilgrim and b) Clark gazing at Lex with UTTER ADORATION, and Lex’s answering “I know, I’m awesome” face.
“This isn’t over,” Garner snarls,
and skateboards away.
I wanna have his adopted babies.
Jess: The Talon. Clark and Ryan walk in to find…a surprise party! Or, as Chloe calls it, “your jailbreak party.” Lana even kisses Ryan’s cheek, to his amazement and Clark’s deep, hilarious, amusement.
But, um, who are the rest of these kids, and why are they all here celebrating Clark’s successful attempts at kidnapping strange children? As the girls walk away, Clark murmurs, “You knew about this the whole time, didn’t you?” through his big fake grin. “Half a block away,” Ryan admits. Hee and also aw.
Rebecca: OH MY GOD THE KENTS SHOULD HAVE ADOPTED RYAN.
Jess: Later, a band wearing Logan Echolls’ castoffs plays some strummy song I’m sure Rebecca can identify for us.
Rebecca: That would be VonRay, who never went anywhere, but this song (“Inside Out”) was track 2 (after “Save Me”) on the first Smallville soundtrack (“Vol. 1: The Talon Mix”), which I’m sure the show was promoting around this time and which I am listening to right now in deference and also because I’m dumb, although I guess there were at least three songs on this thing that I genuinely liked before this soundtrack existed.
Jess: I love you and your encyclopedic knowledge of obscure Oughties pop/rock. I just want you to know that.
Rebecca: I’m glad someone does.
Jess: Ryan asks Pete to thank his mom, and Pete explains to Clark that Judge Ross signed the restraining order against Garner. “Imagine getting a call from Lex Luthor at five in the morning,” he says, which I think isn’t really that hard for Clark to imagine, or anyone, because it’s not that exciting, just mildly annoying.
Rebecca: It’s also probably also not that hard for Clark to imagine for other reasons, wink wink.
Jess: I know what you mean, but now I’m picturing Lex calling Clark in the middle of the night to misquote Napoleon at him and then hang up.
Rebecca: “Clark, I just woke up from a dream about The Illiad – have you ever considered that maybe you’re the Agamemnon in this situation?”
Jess: Weird that the Rosses would do a Luthor a favor, though, which might be the cause of Ryan’s troubled expression.
Oh, no, as Pete leaves Ryan tells Clark Pete knows his secret. Clark tells him it’s okay, and Ryan says Pete’s afraid Clark’ll slip and someone will lock him up in a place like Summerholt. Aw, Petey.
Rebecca: Pete’s life kinda sucks.
Jess: Lana brings them cake and Ryan flinches – another headache. As Lana goes to fetch him water, he tells Clark she’s moving to Metropolis. Clark makes literally no facial expression at all for a while, then looks comically sad.
Attic of Sad Voyeurism, night. Lana comes over and they chat about Ryan; then he asks if, oh, hey, you know, there’s anything she might want to talk to him about, like, you know, big life changes or something? She tells him about the move, which she’s still pissed about: “I feel like a piece of luggage Nell and Dean want to throw into the trunk as they drive off to their new life.”
Clark suggests she talk to her new maybe-dad Henry Small about this, but she doesn’t want to dump this in his lap when they’re not even sure they’re related. Clark says she could live with them, “it’s just…kinda crowded right now.” Lana mists up as she says how lucky Ryan is: “At least he got to choose his family.”
She starts to leave. “Don’t go,” Clark says abruptly. “I mean, don’t go to Metropolis.” “Or what, you’re gonna kidnap me too?” she teases. LOLZ. He tells her Nell shouldn’t be able to dictate her life to her, which kind of misses the whole “she’s 15” thing but I guess there’s a theme about underage autonomy struggling to get out of this episode? Sort of? She nods and leaves.
Rebecca: I can kind of imagine two 15-year-olds having this conversation about how it’s not FAIR, but the fact remains that they kind of don’t have a say at all. Shut up, guys.
Jess: I mean, it completely sucks, not least because Nell has only been dating Dean for like a week and Lana doesn’t even like him. But also: no.
Luthor Castle. Martha and Ryan are running a quick errand for Lionel, who’s “out of town” (read: they couldn’t afford to pay John Glover for all these episodes). Ryan picks up on the fact that Martha loves her job more than she lets on. She says she might quit to spend more time with him, and alarmed, he says he doesn’t want to be a problem. “You are a gift,” she insists. Awww. #TEAMMARTHA
Rebecca: MARTHA, MARTHA FOREVER.
Jess: “I know your secret,” he says suddenly, and urges her to tell Jonathan and Clark. “I will, when the time is right,” she says. Neither of them looks upset, so…is she pregnant?
Rebecca: …No spoilers.
Jess: Lex joins them, and as Martha goes off to work, Ryan asks to see Lex’s Warrior Angel collection. “Are your hands clean?” Lex asks. NERD.
Cut to him showing Ryan Warrior Angel #1, which is framed and in mint condition, and is also an unsubtle copy of Action Comics #1. The cover is cute; the whole Warrior Angel conceit is not. Lex says he’s got two copies of every issue. OMG YOU NERRRRRRD.
Rebecca: Ugh, I wish Warrior Angel was not a thing.
Jess: He adds that good ol’ WA helped him through some tough times. “After your mom died?” Ryan asks sagely, which clearly weirds Lex out a bit. Lex makes an anvilicious little speech about how in comics, you know who the heroes and villains are, but when you grow up, not so much. #FORESHADOWING #INCASEYOUDIDN’TGETIT #JUSTKIDDINGOFCOURSEYOUGOTIT #IT’SPAINFULLYOBVIOUS
Ryan’s troubled that Lex sees things in shades of gray and Lex says that “sometimes you have to get your hands dirty, make compromises,” which aren’t the same things at all. “That’s what your father told you,” Ryan says, and Lex is weirded out again. Luckily, Ryan grabs his head, nosebleeds onto the comic, gasps “It’s so loud,” and collapses. Just in time!
Rebecca: The cover of the comic is pretty fucking hideous.
Jess: It’s SO BAD, which we get to enjoy as we closeup on the cover, which fades to Clark’s face DO YOU GET IT??? (But also, seriously, who drew these?) He’s in Ryan’s hospital room. Ryan wakes up and Clark presents him with the latest issue of Warrior Angel. “They had it at the gift shop,” he says, in the single least plausible moment of this show to date. (Single issues in a hospital gift shop? What is this, 1962?)
Rebecca: Comics of any kind in a hospital gift shop!! Also, this is such a nerdy pet peeve, but I hate when TV shows have fake comics and the covers/art are so poorly done/thought out that it’s impossible to even kind of guess when the comic came out. You can’t just take a painting and slap some text over it – google some covers from the era you’re going with and take two seconds to pick, like, the right font or cover style. GOD, GUYS.
Jess: This show in particular has absolutely no excuse for not knowing things about comics.
Clark asks about the “floating balloon” (as opposed to a lead one?) and Ryan explains that it’s WA’s “Aerodrome. A floating fortress where he can get away from his troubles on Earth.” UGGGGH. Clark says he’d like a fortress, but not a floating one, because he has a fear of flying. UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH. THIS IS KILLING ME.
Rebecca: THE WORST. The only redeeming thing is the look on Ryan’s face, all, “Why would YOU be afraid of heights, you dumbass?”
Jess: Clark says the doctors are going to run some tests to find out what’s wrong with him, but Ryan already knows, having read Garner’s mind: “There’s a tumor in my head, Clark. It’s getting bigger.” He starts to cry. “I’m dying, Clark. And no one can save me.”
Jess: Kent Farm. Jonathan finds Clark reading a comic and brooding. He gently tells Clark that the tumor is growing super-fast, probably because of all the experiments at Summerholt. Clark says Ryan thinks he’s a hero but he can’t even help Ryan himself. Jonathan says they’re going to have to hope for the best, and Clark declares that he won’t give up and stalks off. Maybe he’s going to walk across America?
Jess: Torch office. Chloe catches Lana looking up “Facts on Child Emancipation.” Lana says she told Nell she’s not moving to Metropolis, which Chloe declares “very Erin Brockovich.” Um, okay. Nell was basically like, “Um, yes you are,” and Lana says the emancipation thing looks like it would take forever anyway. Lana, honey, please stop whispering your lines, it’s okay to get angry! Anyway, Chloe has a plan!
Luthor Castle. Lex suggests Clark talk to a doctor in Hub City (HI, TED KORD!) who’s been working on a way to shrink tumors – but he’s about to leave for Helsinki for the next six weeks, which is too long. Lex adds that according to his research, this kind of tumor can give people ESP, and he thinks Ryan can read minds. Clark angrily asks if Lex wants to exploit Ryan and Lex is like “Uh, you’re a dick.” (I paraphrased.)
Clark apologizes, and Lex says sometimes you just can’t save someone. When his mother got sick he spent all his time researching doctors and not enough with her, and he doesn’t want Clark to make that mistake. “I’m not gonna let him die, Lex,” Clark insists for the millionth time, and leaves.
He speeds-runs to Hub City. It’s pretty goofy looking.
Rebecca: This made me realize that maybe I doth protested about the effects in the Flash pilot too much, because this is so, so much worse.
Jess: <3 <3 <3 FLASH PILOT <3 <3 <3 (Sorry, readers, you don’t get to hear my thoughts on that puppy until October. Spoiler: <3) Rebecca: <3 <3 <3 Jess: Hospital. Lex has brought Ryan comics, including #66, “the rarest issue there is…Because it’s the one where Devilicus turned against Warrior Angel.” THIS IS SO DUMB.
Rebecca: I WISH DEVILICUS WAS NOT A THING.
Jess: There’s some profoundly anvilicious dialogue that I don’t have the strength to recap, where Lex explains what’s clearly a major plotline to a supposed super-fan, which makes no goddamn sense. It’s like going up to someone at a con dressed as Jean Grey and explaining the Dark Phoenix Saga to her.
Rebecca: Perhaps the worst part about this – which is really saying something, because this whole thing is the worst – is that this is not the last ~mythological foreshadowing of the Clark/Lex story, and they more or less completely drop this one but spend seasons alluding to the Native American fable they find in cave paintings. I want to die. (Although I guess we do eventually see the production of a Warrior Angel movie and then later someone accidentally uses magic to essentially turn into Warrior Angel, so we are not free of this bullshit yet.)
Jess: If Prop Toast is the true hero, Warrior Angel is clearly the villain of the show.
Clark runs some more, right up to a small airport, where Dr. Burton’s plane is taxiing away. Clark runs in front of it, holding his hands up to stop it, and the pilot…slams on the brakes? IDK how you stop planes.
Burton comes out of the plane and Clark begs him to help Ryan: “By the time you get back from Helsinki, it’ll be too late!” Airport security pulls up and tells Clark to back off. Burton tells them to wait, looks at the brain scans Clark’s holding out, and asks, “Where’s your friend now?” Clark smiles.
Hospital. Ryan’s in surgery. Martha tearfully tells Clark how proud she is of him, and Jonathan agrees, but gently warns him that just because he got Dr. Burton there doesn’t mean Ryan’s gonna be okay. Clark beams as he says he has a good feeling about it. Uh-oh.
Rebecca: Clark is being a dummy.
Jess: Luthor Castle. Lex shows the mayor a campaign ad that lists all of the mayor’s misdeeds and tells him he’ll be throwing his support behind the mayor’s opponent. The mayor says he won’t approve Lex’s plant expansion and Lex says that’s a price he’s willing to pay to get rid of the mayor. Also Lex quotes Winston Churchill. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.
Hospital. Lana shows up to see how Ryan’s doing and runs into Clark. She tells him that the Sullivans have offered to let her stay with them until she graduates. Nell doesn’t like it, but she’s agreed. “Wow, you and Chloe as roommates…” Clark says as a thousand fantasies spring into his feverish teenage brain. He says, a little regretfully, that she won’t be the literal girl next door anymore, and she says, “Maybe now you can give your telescope to Ryan,” and kind of laughs. Lana, honey? I know you’re shaky on consent issues because of how unconcerned everyone is about how frequently you’re stalked and kidnapped, but Clark spying on you isn’t cute, it’s a creepy violation of your privacy.
They’re chuckling over Superman’s lack of respect for women’s boundaries when the Kents approach. Martha’s in tears. “Clark,” she manages before breaking down.
Cut to Clark walking into Ryan’s room. Ryan’s reading a comic and tells Clark that he always wanted his own Aerodrome: “Up there all my problems would seem so small and far away.” He asks Clark to give the comic back to Lex and Clark says Ryan can do it himself, when he gets out of the hospital.
Rebecca: Clark. Baby.
Jess: Ryan says even though he warned Clark away from Lex, Lex really admires Clark, and he asks Clark to promise to keep an eye on Lex after he’s gone. Clark continues to insist that Ryan will get better, and Ryan says no, the doctor only bought him a few extra days, and he wants to spend them with his friend. Then he starts wincing and complaining that “it’s so loud in here.” “I’ll take you somewhere quiet,” Clark promises.
Rebecca: I maintain that Ryan doesn’t hear anything around Clark because Clark is never thinking.
Jess: “I like being around you, Clark. There’s no words. Just ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ playing softly, over and over.”
Jess: Cut to Clark and Ryan in a hot air balloon soaring over
Canada Kansas. Ryan says he thought Clark was afraid of flying and Clark says, “Not when I have you to protect me.” Aw. Ryan thanks him and talks vaguely about Clark’s destiny. They hug and Clark squinches up his face in crying-adjacent ways.
Rebecca: Welling thinks about crying and then decides against it. Also for some reason his jacket has buttons AND a zipper.
Jess: Hospital. Clark gathers up Lex’s comics from Ryan’s empty bed and makes the “Ugh, someone died” face. Couldn’t they have ended this on the hot air balloon shot? Come on.
Rebecca: NOW YOU KNOW FOR SURE THAT THIS CHILD IS DEAD. Superman!!!
Rebecca: As in “Stray,” I thought the stuff with Ryan and the Kents was strong, while everything else orbiting around them was stupid. All the subplots were bad. I hate Devilicus. Rosenbaum was good. RIP Ryan, but as I recall, a lot of the strengths of the Ryan Saga would be recycled for “Run,” the episode that introduces Bart. Bart! (RIP Bart, who dies in the Smallville: Season 11 comic. Sorry.)
Jess: Yeah, the thing that’s so great about Ryan is that he manages to wring some Superman-like qualities out of Clark, because he’s someone Clark connects to easily (likeable!) and gets very protective over (heroic!), and because his plotlines don’t involve half a dozen high schoolers dying mysteriously and no one being too upset about it. I’m not in love with Superman stories that revolve around his inability to save people from real-world illnesses, or dying children, but on the whole Ryan episodes are better than not-Ryan episodes. (And yes, everything else in this episode was boring and pointless. But I guess Lana moving in with Chloe means more Gabe and less Nell? Hopefully?)
Rating: Crashing your hot air balloon into someone’s backyard, which is what happened when Rebecca rode in a hot air balloon IRL.
Next week: There’s more than enough of Jonathan Taylor Thomas to go around, ladies.