The Smallville Project: Episode 2.15 – “Prodigal”
|October 16, 2014||Posted by Jess under Comics, Television, The Smallville Project|
Jess: Gambling den. Everyone there is Chinese except for one smug white guy in a suit. He speaks Chinese, though, and is in fact working with one of the waiters to cheat at poker. He’s caught and is forced to flee for his life out the back alley; he’s about to be shot when Lex appears out of nowhere and helps him to his limo.
“Who are you?” the stranger asks. “Lucas, I’m your brother,” Lex says, and they peel out in the limo.
Rebecca: Raise your glass from the Salvatores’ vampire bourbon cellar for Paul Wesley, neé Wasilewski, still on the CW 12 years later. You gotta hand it to him. (You, too, Padalecki.)
Jess: SOMEBODY SAAAAAAAAAAVE MEEEEEEEEE!
The Talon. Lana’s opening up the cafe when Clark comes in and asks for a job. They’re remarkably friendly considering how they left things last week. The rose is even still fresh in the trash can. Ooookay. Lana’s like “Um, but you’re a flake.” HA! Clark takes offense at that COMPLETELY TRUE STATEMENT and Lana agrees to consider his application.
Rebecca: Also, Clark pulling the “Help Wanted” sign off the window is a dick move.
Jess: Metropolis. Lex and Lucas smug their way into Lionel’s office. Lex introduces them, and Lionel grabs Lucas in an emotional hug. Unimpressed, Lucas babbles something about a samurai sword Lionel has in his office because of course he does. Lex asks why Lionel told him Lucas was dead, and Lionel asks Lucas to give them a minute. He asks Lex what his angle is, but he already knows – Lucas is 18 and entitled to 10% of Lionel’s LuthorCorp shares, which will enable Lex to take over the company somehow? Who cares.
Rebecca: Lotta L’s in that paragraph. Also, why is Lex constantly showing his hand to Lionel? This is dumb.
Jess: Kent Farm. Clark and Pete are shooting hoops and Clark’s talking about how he’s going to woo Lana by working at the Talon. UM, SHE THINKS YOU MOLESTED HER BEST FRIEND INSTEAD OF GOING ON A DATE WITH HER, DUMBASS.
Lex and Lucas roll up and Lex introduces Lucas to Clark and Pete. Clark is stunned that Lucas is alive. Lex gets a page (A PAGE!) about some business thing and has to leave, but Clark invites Lucas to stay so he and Pete can get to know him. Lex drives off, and Lucas notes that he and Clark seem “…close.” (HA!) “They’re like brothers!” Pete chirps, and everyone gets uncomfortable for a minute.
Rebecca: Why isn’t Lucas like, “Lex, why are you taking me to meet two 15-year-olds? Can’t we go to a bar or something?”
Jess: As they toss the basketball around, Lucas starts pontificating about how parents always “try to make you little versions of themselves”; to prove this, he points out that a Clark raised by Lionel would be a very different person.
Rebecca: Ho ho, we’ll soon find out IN SEASON 10.
Jess: And were he to be raised by no parents (but, like…wolves? or what???), “that’s when you find out what you’re really made of.” Both Clark and Pete clearly think Lucas is a douche (they’re correct).
Then Clark uses his powers to win at basketball. #hero Even Pete is like “Dude, dial back.” Despite his warning, Clark still winds up crashing into Lucas and hurting his arm. What is Clark’s damage? Lucas plays it off like it’s okay, even though Clark is clearly FURIOUS for NO REASON, and asks Pete to drive him home.
Jess: The Talon. Chloe and Lana discuss Clark’s application to the Talon. Lana says she’s not going to hire him because it’d be weird to manage a friend and also, again, Clark’s a flake. Chloe doesn’t buy that. Really, Chloe? Have you met Clark?
Rebecca: Where’s the Chloe who would say, like, “Clark’s so flaky he’s basically a Parisian croissant” or some such bullshit?
Jess: Luthor Castle. Lex is mad that Lionel froze his accounts. Why is Lionel there? He kicks Lex out of the mansion, Lex says he and Lucas are going to take Lionel down – and Lucas, from the doorway, says he’s not so sure. Apparently he and Lionel had a chat and now Lucas is Team Lionel. Lex tells him he’s being naive. Lucas yammers about poker. There’s a lot of closeups and sinister music. I hate this whole family.
Rebecca: TEENS LOVE BOARDS OF DIRECTORS AND SHAREHOLDERS AND TRUSTS!!!!!
Jess: Kent Farm, night. Lex shows up at the door and asks if he can stay with the Kents. Everyone stares at Jonathan.
Rebecca: Lex can’t, like, afford a room at the local inn? (Uh, now I want to write “Lex stays at the Independence Inn and banters with Lorelai Gilmore” fic DON’T LOOK AT ME.)
Jess: OH GOD GIVE IT TO MEEEEE.
Morning. Jonathan watches from the window as Lex trundles a wheelbarrow around the yard. Hee! He’s vindictively gleeful but reminds Clark that Lex investigated him for a year, and tells him not to let Lex poke around the farm alone.
Clark joins an inexplicably filthy Lex in the barn [Rebecca: speaking of fic], where he’s mucking out the stables that, as far as I know, nothing lives in. He’s determined to prove that some Luthors pull their own weight…
Rebecca: (Not phallic at all, Lex.)
Jess: …and we cut to Lucas playing video games, the evillest act of all.
Rebecca: Remember how that’s what Clark did on red K? IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT.
Jess: Lionel’s annoyed by the noise – and much more so by Lucas’s refusal to sign his shares over to Lionel, at least not without a higher payoff. He asks why Lionel didn’t try to find him “before I was 12” and Lionel says it was because he thought Lucas was dead. Lucas starts shooting pool during this conversation, so I guess the paternity test is unnecessary.
Rebecca: Do you think there’s someone employed by the Luthors whose whole job is to make sure the pool table is always properly racked?
Jess: Lionel practically begs Lucas to sign and Lucas agrees, but scrawls “BITE ME” instead of a signature. Lionel’s face falls momentarily. As he walks away, Lucas calls his name, then hurls the 8-ball at his head. Lionel ducks at the last second and Lucas calls him out on faking his blindness. I’m bummed that this overly-eyebrowed pre-vampire is sharper than Lex. Lionel asks what he wants, and Lucas says, “Lex is the past. I’m the future,” which doesn’t really answer the question.
Rebecca: First of all, “overly-eyebrowed pre-vampire” is the sickest burn I’ve ever heard. Second of all, I was hoping that rewatching S2 in its entirety would help me spot when Lionel regained his vision, but this still makes no sense. Was he faking the entire time? Did the writers just get sick of having to write around a character’s disability?
Jess: I’m guessing he could see by “Insurgence” and that’s why he knew Martha knew about the Clark file? Maybe?
The Talon. Lana tells Clark he got the job. This is why 15-year-olds shouldn’t run businesses, people.
“Don’t you think you should check with the boss first?” Lucas asks, smugging his way in. Clark introduces them, and they explain to Lana that Lex has been disinherited. “Anything that was his is now mine…including this place,” Lucas says. Lana’s not into it. Me neither, girl.
Torch office. Clark’s brought Chloe coffee and a pastry in thanks. Aw. Chloe’s all over the Lucas story. Clark doesn’t trust him and asks if Chloe turned up anything weird when she was digging.
Rebecca: By the way, this scene has the episode’s second line of dialogue that explains the meaning of the word “prodigal.” #teens
Jess: Cut to Clark telling Lex that Lucas’s file with Metropolis United Charities – the fake organization that handled his adoption – didn’t even exist until two weeks ago. Meanwhile Lionel planted it, and Lucas was in on all of this from the start. “While I’ve been playing checkers my father’s been playing chess!” Lex declares nonsensically. Hoo boy.
Rebecca: Quick reminder that people thought the Luthors were the best part of this show. (No disrespect to Rosey and Glover, all disrespect to the dingbat writers.)
Jess: Luthor Castle. Lucas is doing shirtless chinups. Stephen Amell you ain’t, kid. Lex comes in and mocks Lucas’s changes to the decor. Guys, you REALLY need to stop having the characters “change” the decor of this pathetic set and then comment on it, because it’s always just moving like one piece of chrome furniture in or out and it just makes the fact that this “castle” is one tiny sad room really obvious.
Lucas and Lex smug at each other for a bit, which has some disturbing undertones of sexual tension. Lucas admits Lionel contacted him three weeks ago: “Let’s face it, Lex – I’m the son he wants.” “Careful, Lucas. You’re showing your hand,” Lex smirks. He tells Lucas that Lionel will never love him.
Lucas tells Lex to leave, and Lex says that a lot of people are probably looking for Lucas, who is pretty easy to track down. “You know, Lucas, the Luthor gene pool is a shark tank and our father’s just chummed the waters,” Lex says, and leaves. Oh dear. That there is some dialogue.
Rebecca: No wonder the writers invented like a dozen more illegitimate Luthors (none of whom are named Lena, sadly).
The Talon. Lucas bursts in and demands to know where Clark is. Lana doesn’t know. Clark comes running in, apologizing for being late. What the hell, dude? You weren’t even saving anyone, and this is apparently your first day. You are an astonishingly bad employee and friend. Lana tells him to take some lattes to Table 3. How does he know where that is? Has he ever been trained?
Lucas tells Lana to fire Clark, who is apparently a whole half hour late, like, what the HELL, Clark. When Lana refuses (WHY???), he tries to fire her too, but Lana tells him that according to the partnership agreement, he can’t do that. Lucas says he’s going to take down the Talon and storms out the back. You know, everyone’s acting like Lucas and Clark have any kind of history besides a two-second basketball game. Why do they hate each other?
Rebecca: You know the answer. (Sexual tension.)
Jess: Clark follows Lucas into the alley and tells him to leave Lana alone. “Too late,” Lucas says.
Suddenly a motorcycle pulls up behind them. The rider, who is Chinese, pulls out a gun and starts shooting.
Rebecca: Well this windchimey music cue is racist.
Jess: Lucas flees, and Clark knocks the guy off the bike, then swats all the bullets away, tackling Lucas to the ground when he can’t catch the last few. Lucas stares. The biker drives off.
Luthor Castle. Lionel’s deeply amused that Lucas was almost killed, and that, of course, Clark Kent was there to save him.
Rebecca: Lionel says “Clark is a very special young man,” which could be referring to whatever was in the file that was in his vault AND/OR the scene in “Red” where Clark shot his own hand in front of Lionel, depending on when Lionel’s vision returned, WHICH WE DON’T KNOW.
Jess: Or he just loves plaid. He suggests that Lex tipped the biker – Dirk – off; Lucas says Lex suggested that Lionel wanted Lucas out of the picture. I am tired of these L names. (I know, I know. It’s a Superman story. It’s not gonna change.)
Lionel says it was all a test to see if Lucas was tough enough to stand up to him, and Lucas passed – unlike that failure, Lex. This is basically candy to Lucas.
The Talon. Clark’s working. Chloe comes in and tells him that Dirk was taken into custody – where he suddenly died. Suspicious! Clark thrusts his tray at Chloe and tells her to cover for him. Lana watches him go like “Are you fucking kidding me?” ARE YOU ACTUALLY SURPRISED, LANG.
Rebecca: Clark is an EVEN WORSE server than Lana was at the Beanery. WOULD YOU TRUST THIS MAN WITH THE FATE OF THE WORLD?
Jess: Kent Farm. Jonathan’s, uh, woodcarving? when Lex comes in holding a duffel bag. He thanks Jonathan, and Jonathan tells him he’s welcome back any time, because he did all the worst work without complaining: “You would’ve made one hell of a farmer.” It is clearly the nicest thing anyone has ever said to Lex. Aw.
Rebecca: It’s basically this:
Jess: They shake hands, a silencer goes off, and Jonathan drops. Lucas stands behind him, holding a gun on Lex. “What are you doing?” Lex asks. “Finishing what you started,” Lucas replies.
Rebecca: Lucas holds his gun sideways because he is a douchebag.
Jess: Luthor Castle. Lionel is lounging hilariously on the couch when Clark barges in. The blind act is even funnier when we know it’s a lie, btw. Clark points out how convenient the past few days have been for Lionel. Lionel calls him paranoid and basically dismisses him as his cell phone starts ringing. Seriously, 15-year-old boy, what did you think you were going to do here? “Send my regards to your mother,” Lionel adds as Clark leaves, just to be a dick. (Does Martha still work for Lionel? Who knows.)
Lionel answers the phone, looks startled, asks Lucas where he is, and agrees to meet him at his office in Metropolis. Clark eavesdrops from the hall.
Metropolis, Lionel’s office. Lionel barges in to find Lucas at his desk and Lex tied to a charge. Lex points out that this “Cain and Abel fantasy” is exactly what Lionel wanted. Lucas aims at Lionel and Lionel tells him to put the gun down. Lex is like “…How do you know he’s got a gun?” Lionel takes his glasses off, and Lex lunges fruitlessly towards him: “You twisted son of a bitch!” This is totally worth all the stupid Luthor family arguments in this episode. What a bunch of delightful weirdos.
Lucas says that he needs to get Lex out of the way to take his place in the Luthor family. Lionel tells him not to shoot Lex, and Lucas presses a second gun into Lionel’s hand, puts the first gun to Lionel’s head, and tells him to do it instead. Hilariously, both Lex and Lionel mostly look annoyed.
Clark doofs his way into the building, sees what’s happening with his X-ray vision, and contemplates the vents. Meanwhile Lex points out that Lionel’s the one who kept Lucas in the foster system, that he’s manipulated this whole situation, and that he’ll never actually love Lucas. Lionel tells an increasingly-distressed Lucas they can talk about this, and Lucas agrees – after Lionel kills Lex.
“I can’t do it,” Lionel says finally. “I will not kill my son.”
Clark, in the vents above, heat visions Lucas’s hand, making him drop the gun in pain. Lionel instantly pistol whips him across the face: “You psychotic little brat!” He shoots him, twice…
…with blanks. Both Lucas and Lex start laughing. Lucas reveals that both guns held blanks, and Lex smirks: “Checkmate.” #FAMILY
Rebecca: YOU NUTCASES.
Jess: Lucas frees Lex and helps him up, and they leave together. Lionel stands there stunned – and then notices the melted metal of the vent dripping onto the ground in front of him.
The Talon. Lana’s locking up when Clark comes in. She’s not mad (HONEY, IT WOULD BE OKAY IF YOU WERE, I PROMISE) but she does point out that he let her down. She gently fires him, and he says he hopes this doesn’t change things between them. “I don’t see how things are ever gonna change between us, Clark,” she replies. His face falls and he leaves. MAYBE STOP LETTING HER DOWN AND KISSING HER BEST FRIEND, YOU JERK.
Luthor Castle, where Lex has settled back in. Lionel comes in and they chat about his “miraculously” regained vision; he says playing blind allowed him to “see more clearly than ever,” ugh. He offers to return LexCorp, which Lex knows is in exchange for his silence re: Lucas; Lex agrees but says Lucas is under his protection. Aw.
Lionel mentions the fable of the frog and the scorpion, which I’ve literally never heard of but whatever.
Rebecca: Wait, seriously? The rambling monologue about the frog and the scorpion and “because it is my nature” is one of the most annoying TV overwriting tropes. I can’t find a supercut of it, which is upsetting.
Jess: Look, I mostly watch tween TV and Hannah Montana never speechifies like that. (Although she was clearly a scorpion.)
Anyway Lionel warns Lex that Lucas is a sociopath and Lex is like “Hmm, wonder where he got that from?” Lex leaves. Lionel inscrutables into the night.
Kent Farm. Lex pulls up. Clark says he’s sorry Lucas wasn’t the brother Lex wanted. Lex says Lucas is safe but it’ll take time to regain his trust. Clark says Lex isn’t his father, and Lex says he’s lucky to have Jonathan: “My father may try to rule the world, but yours will inherit the earth.” Bleccch. They gaze lovingly at each other. Take us out, end credits!
Rebecca: The Flaming Lips are playing, obviously.
Jess: Hey, I just realized…is Jonathan still unconscious (or dead) in the barn? Did Lex thank Jonathan for being nice to him for literally the first time ever by sending his brother to shoot him? Wow.
Rebecca: It’s worth a reminder that even though the writers aspired to write the Luthors as brilliant and manipulative, they were completely unable to outthink their own characters, and as a result it’s literally all nonsense. I wish Lex had more to do this season than play weak mindgames with Lionel. Anyway, say goodbye to Lucas – we’ll never see him again.
Jess: My thoughts exactly – this could have been a fascinating series of double crosses but it’s simply not clever enough. I’d love to let the Revenge writers loose on a Smallville spec script, though.
Rating: Dropping a tray of coffees all over yourself.
Next week: Clark takes a nap on the couch.