The Smallville Project: Episode 2.12 – “Insurgence”
|August 21, 2014||Posted by Jess under Comics, Television, The Smallville Project|
Jess: Luthor Castle. Closeup on Lex’s steepled fingers. Alexander, you are a parody of yourself. He yells at some terrified businessman about something boring having to do with Lionel getting the jump on him. The guy flees and Lex flings his computer onto the floor, smashing it – then picks up a flower that was also knocked to the floor and pulls an electronic bug out of it.
Morning. Lex has clearly spent all night tearing up the study looking for more bugs. Clark walks in and is like “…?” Lex turns up the music he’s blaring to cover their conversation and shows Clark all the bugs he’s found. He’s clearly freaking out, so Clark X-rays the room and too-casually suggests Lex check the stereo. Sure enough, there’s a camera in it. Lex smashes the stereo.
Rebecca: Jesus, Lex, calm down.
Jess: SOMEBODY SAAAAAAAAAAVE MEEEEEEEEE! Uh, I don’t know that that opening was dynamic enough to require this hyperbolic theme song, but okay.
Rebecca: Can we just agree at this point that it’s overall not a good theme song? Promos for the series premiere used Perry Farrell’s “Song Yet To Be Sung,” which probably would have been better. Whatever.
Jess: Kent Farm. Jonathan’s finished frying a chicken “just the way [Martha] likes it” and Clark teasingly offers to make it extra-crispy with his heat vision and this is already too cute for mortal eyes and ears.
Rebecca: I dunno, I wouldn’t particularly want Clark eye-jizzing on my food. (Apologies to the Prop Toast.)
Jess: How dare you defame Prop Toast, Smallville MVP! Anyway, he’s 15. Just tell him it’s a chicken breast and let him go.
As the boys pack up a picnic basket (OMG TOO CUTE) Clark asks why they’re not going to Metropolis for their anniversary and Jonathan points out that last year when they did that, “a certain somebody had a party at our house.” Hee! Clark’s face is great.
Rebecca: This is the beginning of this episode copying nearly all of its beats from “Jitters,” which is a little annoying but not NOT a good idea, seeing as that’s our favorite episode so far.
Jess: Martha comes in and regretfully tells Jonathan she can’t go – Lionel needs her to go to Metropolis for a night. Jonathan’s pissed and sulky (hey, so that’s where Clark learned it!) and accuses her of caring more about work than family. Clark barges into the conversation to say she shouldn’t be working for Lionel anyway, since he’s been spying on Lex. Jonathan basically tells him to shut up, which, yes, child, do.
Martha points out that Jonathan puts his work – the farm – over quality time with the family all the time, so why shouldn’t she? She leaves. The Kent men gulp silently in emotional turmoil.
Rebecca: Yeah, shut up, Kent patriarchy.
Jess: Luthor Castle. Lex tells Lionel he founds surveillance equipment in his office. This conversation is mostly dumb but at one point Lionel sniffs theatrically and says, “Do I detect a faint whiff of innuendo?” and that alone justifies at least three seasons of this malarkey. Lex doesn’t outright accuse him, so Lionel sashays out.
Rebecca: The sniffing is truly sublime. It’s the RuPaul’s Drag Race of acting choices. God bless John Glover.
Jess: Lex’s cell phone rings. He attaches a voice modulator to it, then answers with an alias. It’s a guy who is…bugging the property Lionel just outbid Lex on, I think? Dun dun dun! No, actually, this is so boring.
Rebecca: Lex’s alias is “Mr. Green,” probably because he’s seen Reservoir Dogs too many times.
Jess: Attic of Sad Voyeurism. Clark is reading Families in Conflict: Healing the Rift. Clark reading self-help books is the actual best thing.
Rebecca: It’s so silly.
Jess: In comes Lana, very pretty in a baby pink (of course) dress. She’s going to meet Henry Small’s wife and she’s nervous: “What if she votes me off the island?” #2003 Clark basically tells Lana that to know her is to love her, which is trufax, and if Jennifer Small doesn’t accept her, that’s her loss. Lana says she’s dreaming of a perfect family and Clark says it’s not all roses. “Unless of course you’re a Kent,” Lana teases, and it’s SO CUTE, omg, Kreuk, you adorable little Disney princess of a girl. He tells her his folks are fighting and she assures him that they’ll work it out.
Rebecca: I genuinely love that people constantly give Clark shit for having a happy home life. #checkyourprivilege
Jess: Luthor Castle. Clark barges in and demands to know the most romantic restaurant in Metropolis. Like people do.
Rebecca: I mean, they do it to their boyfriends when they want to go on a romantic date with them, sure. (Sorry. It’s just that this tin hat is stuck on REALLY tight.)
Jess: Lex IDs a French place, of course, and Clark asks him to set up a reservation for his parents. Lex is alarmed to hear that Lionel and Martha are at Luthorcorp today, and offers to “do you one better than a reservation,” then excuses himself.
Metropolis, Luthorcorp. The crew Lex hired, disguised as a cleaning crew, is bugging Lionel’s office (which has a grand piano in it, because of course it does), and I’m just gonna tell you now because it’s easier that there are three dudes – Kern (the leader), Pine, and Nicky – and a woman named Bishop. Lex calls Kern and tells him to get out ASAP. Kern tells the others to shut it down but Pine hits a remote that reveals a vault door and tells him they didn’t come here just to plant bugs. When Kern protests, Pine knocks him out, then sends Nicky (what an adorable name for a criminal!) to check the other offices.
Rebecca: Here’s a fun framed picture in Lionel’s office:
Jess: He looks like he’s photobombing Lex’s yearbook photo. Which is a real possibility.
Lionel and Martha are signing paperwork in another office. She’s clearly pissed because this isn’t really urgent and he tells her this is her new office. He’s even got a present for her – an expensive watch in an ornate box. It’s engraved: “To Martha, with deep affection, L.L.” Okay but in this universe that could be anyone.
Rebecca: “Chloe’s cousin got me a watch!”
Jess: Martha’s delighted by the watch but clearly unsettled by the note, and further unsettled by his announcement that he’s promoting her, so she’ll need to be in Metropolis more. She gently turns both the watch and the promotion down. He kind of caresses her hand, tells her she deserves to have her own ambitions outside of being “a farmer’s wife,” and that they’ll discuss it over dinner. Dude!
Rebecca: This is such an elaborate plan to break up the Kents’ marriage.
Jess: Before she can protest further, Nicky bursts in with a gun. Way to be stealthy, bro.
Kent Farm. Jonathan storms into the house and bellows for Clark: “I don’t suppose you’d have any idea why there’s a helicopter parked in our front yard, would you?” Clark comes in beaming and holds up a suit, still in its drycleaning plastic: “Lex is gonna take you to Metropolis.” Oh you sweet dumbo.
Lex is there too, and Jonathan starts berating him for invading his privacy, which, ??? Lex is finally like, “You know what, you’re a dick,” and leaves.
Rebecca: He calls Jonathan out for his “sanctimonious platitudes,” which is so great.
Jess: Jonathan is all ARGLE BLARGLE LUTHORS ARE EVIL ALSO STAY OUT OF MY MARITAL PROBLEMS. So tired of this plotline, and of Clark “Goldfish Brain” Kent being stunned, STUNNED every time Jonathan doesn’t like Lex. “Since when has this been happening? Certainly not since the pilot!”
LuthorCorp. Nicky brings Lionel and Martha into Lionel’s office. Pine puts down the blowtorch he was using and tells Lionel to open the vault, but Kern, who is awake and tied up, snarks that they already burned the plate. Then an alarm starts beeping – the cops are on their way. Pine finds a panic button in Lionel’s hand. Lionel is hilariously smug.
Martha suggests the thieves let them and avoid kidnapping charges. Kern says they should’ve stuck to the plan, and, annoyed, Pine shoots him dead. Martha screams and Lionel shields her with his body (!) as Nicky and Bishop, horrified, pull guns on Pine. Pine lowers his weapons and they get back to work, even though Lionel tells them there’s nothing of value in the vault.
The Talon. Lana’s having coffee with the Smalls. Jennifer suggests Henry go get them some refills, then compliments the Talon. Lana thanks her for that, and for agreeing to meet. Jennifer says that Lana seems like a very “together” young woman and so she feels she can be candid: stay away from Henry. Not because she doesn’t like Lana, but because he’s unreliable and tends to “lose interest.” He’s already got two children in boarding school who he never calls, and Jennifer doesn’t want to see Lana get hurt too. Henry returns and both women clam up, though Lana is tearful.
Rebecca: Why is she still married to Henry if she feels that way about him? Jesus Christ.
Jess: Metropolis. There’s a news crew reporting on what’s turned into a hostage situation at LuthorCorp. At home, the Kent men see this on the news and grab their Action Jackets. Jonathan tells Clark he won’t stop him from speeding over, but to be careful, and he’ll follow as quickly as he can. Clark points out that Lex can get Jonathan there faster than the truck. Road trip!
Rebecca: Uh, we’ve commended Clark for being Supermanny before this episode, but his determination to save Martha might be the first time I’ve really felt it. He’s gotta run to Metropolis right NOW!
Jess: LuthorCorp. Bishop is cutting into the vault. Kern’s phone rings and Pine answers. It’s Lex, of course, and he’s pissed – and alarmed when he realizes it’s not Kern on the line. Pine hangs up – and Jonathan walks sheepishly into Lex’s office. He says if he had accepted Lex’s offer, he and Martha might be having dinner right now. “Believe me, there’s plenty blame to go around,” Lex says.
“Lex, I was wondering…” Jonathan says. Lex waits. “I was wondering if I…” “Sure, Mr. Kent,” Lex says finally. “I’ll give you helicopter ride to Metropolis.” What a great interaction. Jonathan’s such a stubborn prick, and Lex is just evil enough to make him work for it, but not actually evil.
Rebecca: Schneider played that scene really well. He’s really trying to apologize but can’t bring himself to do it.
Jess: Metropolis. Clark pushes his way through the crowd outside the LuthorCorp building but is shoved behind the barricade by cops. He somehow slips past them, and the cops running into the building in SWAT gear, and finds his way to a grate that will presumably lead to tunnels that head into the building. He starts to pull it up.
“Start up and put your hands on your head,” someone says, and he looks up to see a female cop with a gun pointed at him. He obliges but tells her his mother’s a hostage. She says if he’s telling the truth, playing hero would just get Martha killed, since every entrance to the building is wired with alarms.
Inside, Nicky is freaking out because Lionel and Martha can ID them. Well, Martha can. Lionel whispers that he knows Martha’s thinking if only he hadn’t asked her to come into work, and she tearfully says it’s not his fault, but she wishes she and Jonathan hadn’t parted on such bad terms. Lionel actually smiles, which is the most sinister thing I’ve ever seen on this show, and says he fought with Lex, too.
Rebecca: Lionel’s so gross.
Jess: Pine uses liquid nitro to freeze the locking mechanism on the vault, then smashes it with a crowbar. They open the vault and see…bricks of kryptonite. The thieves don’t know what it is, but Martha is horrified. Lionel inscrutables into the middle distance.
Rebecca: This is the first time anyone on the show has processed kryptonite, right (I guess besides the fertilizing mist in “Jitters,” also Lionel)? He sure is forward-thinking.
Jess: Yeah, are we ever going to find out why he thinks it’s valuable? Does he know it gives murderers superpowers/makes Clark fall down comically?
Rebecca: I genuinely don’t know if we’ll ever find out. But it may or may not involve a secret society built around a prophecy!!
Jess: Outside, Jonathan and Lex have arrived. The cop who detained Clark, who turns out to be Maggie Sawyer, tells Jonathan to keep Clark away from the building. Lex, not stopping to wonder how Clark got there so fast on his own, asks her for an update on the negotiations and they walk off.
Rebecca: Maggie Sawyer!! The FIRST character from the comics to be introduced on this show SINCE THE PILOT. Kind of hard to believe that from here we’re going to get the Legion, the JSA, Booster Gold, Brainiac 5, or Kon in the next 8 seasons. (Also, it’s worth noting that this show doesn’t spend enough time with Maggie to make her demonstrably gay, as she in in the comics, though Superman: The Animated Series managed it.)
Jess: I’m kind of afraid of what this shows thinks “demonstrably gay” means, even for a good guy.
Rebecca: Fair point.
Jess: Clark tells Jonathan that he can get in via the Daily Planet building, which is nearby – but not that nearby, making Jonathan nervous. “Besides, don’t you have a fear of heights?” Hee! Jonathan says they can’t afford to make a mistake that could get Martha killed. Also, you have no proof Clark won’t splat, or at least dent, if he falls off a skyscraper, but I guess that’s not important?
Rebecca: Well, if you may recall, Lex hit him with his car at 60 MPH, so he’d probably be OK? Also, the Daily Planet! It’s ALMOST LIKE THIS IS A SUPERMAN SHOW!
Jess: Also, wait, didn’t Clark jump off a dam like three weeks ago? This sure is an inconsistent fear.
Night falls. Choppers circle. Pine demands to know where Lionel’s keeping the money. Why would he have a vault full of cash in his office, you moron? Lionel is unhelpful and unintimidated, and Pine angrily chucks a stack of files at his feet. That’ll show him! Martha notices a file on Clark and looks in alarm at a smirking Lionel.
Bishop, meanwhile, has found our old friend the Octagonal Disc in a glass cannister. Pine yanks Lionel’s head back by the hair and demands to know what it is. Lionel asks Martha to describe it and she does, shocked and alarmed. Lionel says it’s a keepsake. Dude, just say you think it’s from a spaceship, but in a really crazy way, and they’ll write you off as a nutjob. Pine pockets it. Martha looks suspiciously at Lionel.
Rebecca: I feel like Lionel’s ego wouldn’t let him come off as a nutjob. Also do you think he knows that Martha knows what it is? Probably, right?
Jess: I don’t think so – he reacts visibly to her picking up the files but not to this.
Pine calls Sawyer and demands transportation. She says she needs a hostage as a show of good faith. He hauls Martha over to the window, points a gun at her head, and says, “You got ten minutes, then you can take this one out in a body bag!” Clark and Jonathan watch in alarm.
Post-commercial, Clark walks out on the roof of the Planet. He looks down at the street far below and makes some hilarious “scared” faces, then backs away.
Rebecca: Some actually decent Welling face acting in this scene, although he’s overplaying it by quite a bit.
Jess: Lex, meanwhile, calls Pine, which is a terrible way to mess up a hostage negotiation. Pine’s pissed because the only things in the vault were green rocks, files, and a metal octagon. Lex perks up at that last one and tells him to pack it all up. He can get them out of the building, but first they need to let the hostages go.
Clark jumps, and bless this episode’s director, because it’s in slo-mo, so we get to see his horrified face as he realizes he’s going to hit a window and not the roof. Ahaha. He’s fine, of course, but he sets off an alarm. Nicky goes to investigate.
Sawyer finds out about the smashed window and puts together a team to go in. Lex hears this and calls Pine, who demands a million dollars plus an exit. Reluctantly Lex tells him Lionel has a private elevator that leads to a tunnel that leads to a parking garage three blocks away.
“Hey, Luthor, you been holding out on me? There some kind of secret way out of here?” Pine asks. “Oh, yes,” Lionel says calmly. Hee! Pine holds the phone out so Lex can hear Lionel offer to double whatever “that anonymous coward” is offering, “in exchange for our lives and the contents of that safe.” Martha’s like, ugh, are you shitting me with the safe? Lex says Lionel’s untrustworthy and Pine points out that he doesn’t even know who Lex is. Lex pleads again for Pine not to hurt them, but Pine hangs up.
“Don’t hurt who, Lex?” Jonathan asks. OH SNAP. This episode keeps escalating in truly exciting ways. What show are we watching??? Lex says anything he does is in Martha and Lionel’s best interests. Jonathan says if he finds out Lex had anything to do with what’s going on, Lex will wish he’d never set foot in Smallville.
Inside, Nicky walks the oddly-narrow halls, looking for the intruder. Papers pinned to a bulletin board flutter. Nicky turns – and Clark’s behind him! That was actually a pretty cool moment! It is ruined, however, by Clark slamming Nicky against the wall and shrieking “WHERESMYMOM” incoherently, and Nicky responding with a strangled velociraptor noise. Oh well, can’t have everything.
Rebecca: Like, “where’s my mom?” You dumb child. But I agree that the reveal is exciting. Superman!!(?)
Jess: Meanwhile, Pine and Lionel have worked out a deal. Bishop starts loading up the kryptonite and Lionel asks who was on the other end of the phone call. Pine has no idea: “Why don’t you think who your enemies are?” Lionel chuckles. Haha, everyone.
Pine tells Martha to pick up the files, and Lionel is alarmed for the first time. She tries to peek at Clark’s but Pine tells her to hurry. Lionel asks her in a whisper where the OD is and she says she doesn’t know and asks why it’s important – but Pine starts to hustle them out before he can make up an answer.
Clark pulls a power line and the lights cut out.
Bishop starts screaming about how the cops cut the power, giving her her second line in 37 minutes, because of course the female thief doesn’t get to have a personality the way the dudes do.
Rebecca: She DOES have a crop top, though. VERY practical.
Jess: She runs for the door just as Clark bursts through. He throws her into Vine, knocking them both down. The gun goes flying and Lionel clearly hears where it lands.
“Clark, get out of here now!” Martha screams. Clark staggers as the kryptonite glows. Don’t just stand there, Martha, drag him out of the room!
Rebecca: As they say on Tumblr: “That’s it, that’s the show.”
Jess: Pine gets up, grabs Clark, and demands to know if he’s alone. Martha shoves the cart with the kryptonite back into the vault and slams it shut. Pine tries to stop her and she shuts the vault on his hand. He screams and she shoves him into a wall, where he slumps to the ground for no reason. MARTHA!
She runs over to Clark, who’s quickly recovering – but Pine has Lionel, and a power drill pointed at his head. Clark zips over and grabs the drill. There’s a struggle – and Lionel, who has picked up the gun, shoots Pine in the back at point-blank range. Which just goes to show how little Lionel cared if he blindly hit Martha or Clark, by the by.
Rebecca: Also: “ugh, someone died.”
Jess: Martha tells Clark to burn the files, which he does with his heat vision; then she slips the OD out of Pine’s pocket and into hers. MARTHA! Also, Bishop appears to have vanished. (Not in a “she’s sneaky” way, in a “the writers forgot about her” way.)
The cops burst in and everyone puts their hands up. Sawyer stares at Clark in annoyed confusion.
Jess: Downstairs, Martha runs into Jonathan’s arms. Aw. Clark beams. Lex asks how he got inside and Lionel says he’s resourceful and saved them. Lex tries to talk to him and Lionel knocks his hand away. He clearly knows Lex was behind the break-in, and says he’ll send someone to the mansion for his things. “I’ll help them pack,” Lex replies. Lex turns in slo-mo and watches the Kents hug and walk away. I feel like we’ve seen this exact resolution to a hostage situation before.
Rebecca: JITTERS 2: THE JITTERSENING.
Jess: Kent Farm. Martha tells Jonathan and Clark she’s resigning – she can’t work for Lionel after seeing the file on Clark. Jonathan suggests she stay, so she can keep tabs on Lionel’s investigation of Clark. Clark sighs deeply. Dude, you’re not the one who’s gonna have to do anything.
Closeup on the spaceship in the storm cellar, in case we all forgot what the stupid OD belongs to. Then we see Martha in the house, looking at the OD. She hides it from Jonathan when he comes in, then buries it in a cannister of flour. Dun dun dun!
Rebecca: Hey, this one’s pretty good! A good payoff to the Martha/Lionel subplot, some decent Superman beats for Clark, some pretty strong character stuff from Jonathan and Lex. The Lana story is weak and there’s no Chloe and Pete, but probably more than any other episode so far, it feels like a Superman show, which is certainly something.
Jess: Yeah, I was really impressed with the escalating tension, the interesting pairings of characters and the way Lex’s mistake kept spiralling into worse and worse situations. I was a little bummed that they pulled their punch – if Jonathan had insisted on going into the building with Lex things could’ve gotten even more exciting, and honestly they could’ve dropped Lana entirely to make room for that – but it was still really engaging and it felt like Clark passed a threshold in terms of using his powers and overcoming his fears. Wow, Smallville!
Rating: Leaping a tall building in a single bound and only screwing it up a little.
Next week: Someone gets murder mystery’d.